Inside the New Mac Pros

Pro Video Coalition by Mike Curtis

Mike’s recommendations, cost/performance analysis and tea leaf readings on the new Mac Pros

Last Tuesday Apple announced new Mac Pro models based on Intel’s Nehalem architecture (at long last!). We got some things we’d been hoping for (Nehalem architecture, improved memory handing, MUCH faster GPUs, cleaner internal layout), and not some others some of us had been hoping for (Blu-ray burners, 10GigE networking, cookie dispenser). Read on for Mike’s breakdown of all the BTO options, what they mean, what they cost, and what Mike recommends in a new Mac Pro. Read on after the jump for the Full Scooby.

The Big News is that the new Mac Pros have (finally!) moved to the faster Nehalem architecture. Notes on new models and options:

-clock speed down, but performance up per clock cycle

-clock speed increases are PRICEY - on the 8 core, jumping from 2.26 to 2.66 is $1400 ($3299 to $4699, that is a 42% price increase for a 17% clock speed increase...which will NOT lead to a 17% increase in render/process speeds), jumping up to 2.93GHz is $1200 more ($5899 - a 78% cost increase ($2600) for a 30% (0.67 GHz) clock speed increase). Bang for the buck? The base 2.26 GHz 8 core.

-different memory setups - for the 4 core box @ $2500, 8GB max - for the hard core, 8 core model, up to 32GB RAM - it scales, it makes sense

-I configured one the way I’d want, says it ships in 2-3 weeks - uh huh...I’ve heard that before, so Wait And See. What was the critical waiting factor? Not the processor speed jump, as I stepped through carefully, it was the change in RAM config from 6 to 8 or 12 GB that made the difference from 2-4 days to 2-3 weeks. Odd! Changing to the top end GPU didn’t affect that 2-4 day estimate either. So if in a hurry, order stock RAM and get more elsewhere.... read more...

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