Mac Pro vs. Consumer Macs

For my final set of CPU performance charts I put the new Mac Pro through the same set of tests I do all new Macs. There are definitely multithreaded components to these tests (some are indeed highly threaded), but the suite also values good single threaded performance. Here we'll get an idea of how the new Mac Pro, in its most expensive configuration, fares as a normal Mac.

I've already gone through Cinebench 11.5 results, but the following graphs should put in perspective the Mac Pro's performance relative to all consumer Macs:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 11.5 (1 thread)

If there's one graph that tells the story of why Intel's workstation roadmap is ridiculous, it's this one. The Mac Pro follows Intel's workstation roadmap, which ends up being cut down versions of Intel's server silicon, which happens to be a generation behind what you can get on the desktop. So while the latest iMac and MacBook Pro ship with Intel's latest Haswell cores, the Mac Pro uses what those machines had a year ago: Ivy Bridge. Granted everything else around the CPU cores is beefed up (there's more cache, many more PCIe lanes, etc...), but single threaded performance does suffer as a result.

Now part of this is exaggerated by the fact that I'm reviewing the 2.7GHz 12-core Mac Pro configuration. Single core turbo tops out at 3.5GHz vs. 3.9GHz for the rest of the parts. I suspect if you had one of the 8-core models you'd see peak single threaded performance similar to what the 2012 27-inch iMac delivers. The 2013 27-inch iMac with its fastest CPU should still be quicker though. We're not talking about huge margins of victory here, a matter of a handful of percent, but as a much more expensive machine it's frustrating to not see huge performance leadership in all areas.

The Mac Pro is designed to offer competitive single threaded performance, but really deliver for everyone who depends on great multithreaded performance:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 11.5 (multithreaded)

If you need more cores, the Mac Pro is literally the only solution Apple offers that can deliver. We're talking about multiple times the performance offered by anything else in Apple's lineup with a Pro suffix.

I'm slowly but surely amassing Cinebench 15 results. The story doesn't really change here, I just thought I'd publish the numbers in case anyone wants data using this new test:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 15 (1 thread)

3D Rendering - Cinebench 15 (multithreaded)

The latest versions of iPhoto and iMovie break comparisons to my older benchmarks so I've had to drop them here. I still have our Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 tests though:

Adobe Photoshop Performance

As I mentioned earlier, threading seems to have improved on newer versions of Photoshop. In CS5 our benchmark looks more like a lightly threaded test by comparison. Out of curiosity I ran the test under Photoshop CS6 and came away with a completion time of around 6 seconds.

Adobe Lightroom Export Performance

Our Lightroom 3 export test tells a very similar story. Anyone with lighter workloads looking for a huge performance increase thanks to the Mac Pro will have to look elsewhere. The Mac Pro is at least performance competitive, but in these lightly threaded workloads you won't see a huge uplift.

Putting Mac Pro Performance in Perspective: Professional Apps The PCIe Layout
POST A COMMENT

267 Comments

View All Comments

  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - link

    The device ID for the D700 is identical to the 7970 (1002-6798), so it will show up as a Radeon under Windows. Conversely, a 7970 may very well show up as a D700 under Mac OS X if the only thing being checked is the device ID. Reply
  • 666sheep - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link

    It used to be device ID only, but it has changed in 10.9.2 drivers. Now 7970 (and 7870 XT) are recognized as "themself", like in 10.8. So there's another check, most likely vendor and/or subsystem ID.
    BTW, D500 and D700 are based on the same core - Tahiti XT2 and share one EFI ROM (but not the PC part, these are different for each card). I sent Anand an email with more detailed info.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link

    But can you install FirePro drivers for it under Windows? Reply
  • 666sheep - Friday, January 3, 2014 - link

    I doubt that at this moment drivers other than Apple Bootcamp ones will detect these cards as FirePro. One should test this empirically, though. Reply
  • wheelhot - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - link

    Yes, I'm one of them as I'm using Solid Edge in Windows and wonders if the D300/500/700 is supplied with actual FirePro drivers in Windows or not. Anyone care to clarify?

    I've been searching for anyone to run a specviewperf test as it'll be easier to know if they truly comes with a FirePro GPU drivers or not in Windows, sadly none yet :(
    Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    I'd like to see a comparison pricing between the Mac Pro and a DIY machine using the same processors, not the i7. Whatever the difference, it's not the same type of machine if the CPU's are entirely different. That price difference, and possibly that of the mobo will be drastic, I would imagine, and would be a fairer comparison. Reply
  • acrown - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Lucky for you that someone did that already then:

    http://www.futurelooks.com/new-apple-mac-pro-can-b...

    Spoiler - the Mac Pro is cheaper when you attempt to keep the same design restraints.
    Reply
  • lilo777 - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Don't be ridiculous. The guy has no clue. He used two AMD W9000 cards as if this is is what D700 is. Reply
  • itpromike - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Apparently you have no clue... The W9000 is spec for spec the exact same card as the D700. Every single spec and number are identical. Aside from Apples stupid and pointless naming convention this card is the same. Reply
  • KVFinn - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    >The W9000 is spec for spec the exact same card as the D700. Every single spec and number are identical.

    The W9000 is different, it has ECC ram for example. It's spec for spec the same as the 7970 but clocked lower.

    Though most of the differences in Pro grade GPU are confined to drivers.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now