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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"

SHOOTOUT:
Low-End meets High-End
4-Core 2.8GHz Power Mac
versus 8-Core 3.2GHz Mac Pro

Originally posted February 1st, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We don't have complete results but we'll share what we've learned from one of our favorite "remote mad scientists."

As for performance benchmarks for the 4-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro, we have two so far:

LEGEND of GRAPHS
Harper = "early 2008" Mac Pro "Harpertown"
Clover = "apr 2007" Mac Pro "Clovertown"
Wood = "aug 2006" Mac Pro "Woodcrest"
G5 PM = G5 Power Mac (late 2005 version with PCIe slots)
iMac = 24" iMac with Core 2 Extreme

ANALYSIS
The "early 2008" 4-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro is pretty much the equal of the "2006" 4-core 3.0GHz Mac Pro. However, if you plan to run Compressor, After Effects, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, or any app that uses all available cores, we recommend you get the 8-core version of the Mac Pro "Harpertown," regardless of the core frequencies.

To illustrate our point, here's the results of encoding a DVD using Compressor on the 3.2GHz 8-core Mac Pro. To get the 2-core and 4-core results, we used the "Processor" preference pane from the Apple Developer Exras folder to disable some of the available 8-cores.

The "+" means we used Apple Qmaster to create a QuickCluster which can be used to force all available cores to be used in Compressor encoding. Normally, no more than 3 or 4 are used for this excercise.

GO GREEN IF YOUR NEEDS ARE SIMPLE
If you don't need the 8-core version's muscle, the 4-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro certainly uses less power than the high-end 8-cores from 2008 and 2007. Did you know that the 8-core 3.2GHz Mac Pro (2008) uses less power than the 4-core 3.0GHz Mac Pro (2006)?

Here's the peak wattage for various desktop Macs:

Peak Wattage
iMac 2.8GHz
Core 2 Extreme
4-core 2.8GHz
Harpertown
4-core 3.0GHz
Woodcrest
8-core 3.2GHz
Harpertown
8-core 3.0GHz
Clovertown
Startup
164
170
296
236
397
Cinebench
CPU Render
154
180
326
287
429

All systems had one drive and either the Radeon HD 2600 GT or XT. However, the 3.2 Harpertown, the Clovertown, and the Woodcrest had 8GB of RAM. The 4-core 2.8GHz Harpertown had 2GB of RAM. The iMac had 4GB of RAM.

YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY
The number of drives, the choice of graphics card, and the amount of memory will affect power usage. For example, switching the 8-core 3.2GHz Mac Pro from 16GB of RAM and the Radeon X1900 XT to 8GB of RAM and the Radeon HD 2600 XT dropped the peak wattage from 344 to 287 while running Cinebench. Switching the 8-core 3.0GHz Mac Pro from 16GB of RAM and the Quadro FX 4500 to 8GB of RAM and the Radeon HD 2600 XT dropped the peak wattage from 468 to 429 while running Cinebench.

CALLING FOR YOUR "2008" MAC PRO TEST RESULTS
We don't have the 2.8GHz 4-core or 3.0GHz 8-core (2008) in our lab. We hope to borrow time on them for expanded testing but if you have one of those two systems and are willing to run a few benchmarks, please
email .

Also if you receive a system with the GeForce 8800 GT or receive the kit before we do (first week of March), please email .

RELATED LINKS
Bare Feats' CPU crunch tests on the 3.2GHz Harpertown Mac Pro versus others.

Bare Feats' GPU intensive tests on the 3.2GHz Harpertown Mac Pro versus others plus our advice on which Mac Pro graphics card to buy.

Bare Feats' memory speed and heat tests on the 3.2GHz Harpertown Mac Pro versus others. (Plus 800MHz vs 667MHz FB-DIMMs in the 2008 Mac Pro.)

Apple has posted some 2008 Mac Pro benchmarks.

See Apple's technical briefing on Mac Pro memory expansion.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY A MAC PRO
When ordering products from Apple Store USA, please click THIS TEXT LINK or any Apple display ad as your "portal" to the online store. In so doing, you help to support Bare Feats.

(DON'T LIVE in the USA? See links for Apple online stores in other countries.)

Also check with Small Dog Electronics and Power Max. (Power Max takes trade-ins.)

WHERE TO BUY MAC PRO MEMORY
Apple charges and arm and a leg. We recommend ordering your Mac Pro (or MacBook Pro) with the minimum RAM config and the matching set of memory modules from...

Other World Computing or Trans International

MaxUpgrades makes max_flow, a kit to keep your Mac Pro memory running even cooler. They also have a kit called "MaxConnect" which enables you to use the lower optical bay to add four more internal hard drives for a total of eight.

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2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster