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SHOOTOUT:
Mac Pro with X1900 XT
versus Others --
Motion 2 and iMaginator

Originally posted September 15th, 2006 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist.

Good news! We finally have some Radeon X1900 XT results. We will post some gaming results later today but we wanted to post this page with results for non-gaming "pro" apps such as Motion 2 and iMaginator since we have those results ready.

GRAPH LEGEND
CPUS
Mac Pro 3.0 = Apple Mac Pro 3GHz
Quad G5 2.5 = Apple Quad-Core G5/2.5GHz
Dual G5 2.5 = Apple Single-Core Dual G5/2.5GHz
Dual G5 2.0 = Apple Single-Core Dual G5/2.0GHz (October 2003)
GPUS
X1900 = Radeon X1900 XT (16X PCIe, 512MB GDDR3) -- Mac Pro only
G7300 = GeForce 7300 GT (16X PCIe, 256MB GDDR3) -- Mac Pro only
Q4500 = Quadro FX 4500 (16X PCIe, 512MB GDDR3) -- G5 PCIe only
G7800 = GeForce 7800 GT (16X PCIe, 256MB GDDR3) -- G5 PCIe only
G6600 = GeForce 6600 (16X PCIe, 256MB GDDR) -- G5 PCIe only
G6800 = GeForce 6800 Ultra (8X AGP, 256MB) -- G5 8X AGP only
X800 = Radeon X800 XT (8X AGP, 256MB) -- G5 8X AGP only
R9800 = Radeon 9800 Pro Special Edition (8X AGP, 256MB) -- G5 8X AGP only


APPLE MOTION 2 (UB) -- Fire 2 Mortise Template

STONE DESIGN iMAGINATOR (UB) -- Core Image Effects

ANALYSIS
When it comes to "Pro" apps like Motion and iMaginator, the Mac Pro along with the Radeon X1900 XT beats every other Mac CPU/GPU combination we have ever tested.

We reported yesterday that our X1900 ship date had slipped to September 25th. So we put out a call for testers. We received a goodly number of volunteers, but then, to our surprise, our Radeon X1900 XT kit arrived this afternoon. We still need help from readers for Mac Pro 2.66GHz and 2.0GHz results with the X1900. Email for test procedures.

WHAT ABOUT THE QUADRO?
The only other card available for the Mac Pro is the $1650 Quadro FX 4500 which Apple is promoting for "high-end scientific visualization." It would be overkill for most applications including games. And if you look at the specs listed on the Mac Pro Graphics Page, the X1900 beats it in two out of three performance specs. Both cards feature 512MB of DDR3 and both support up to two 30" Cinema displays. (We actually have a Quadro FX 4500 in the lab but it was purchased with our Quad-Core G5 and only works on a G5. It's not compatible with the Mac Pro or we would have included those results above.)

Can you use Windows PC PCIe graphics cards in a Mac Pro? NO. That's because Apple uses the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). Get the whole scoop in THIS ARTICLE. Nor will the G5 Power Mac PCIe cards work in your Mac Pro -- for the same reason.

Can you use G5 PCIe graphics cards like the GeForce 7800 GT and Quadro FX 4500 in a Mac Pro? No. They have different firmware.

OTHER ARTICLES ON THE MAC PRO by BARE FEATS

Bare Feat's 3D GAME tests on the Mac Pro (Now includes X1900 XT)

Results for Photoshop CS2, After Effects 7, iMovie HD, Final Cut Pro, FileMaker 8.5, and Cinebench 9.5

Fastest Boot Drive for the Mac Pro

What You Should Know About Mac Pro Memory

WHERE TO ORDER YOUR MAC PRO

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DON'T LIVE in USA?
Readers in Canada should visit Apple Store, Canada.
Readers in France should visit Apple Store - France.
Readers in Germany should visit Apple Store - Germany.
Readers in Italy should visit Apple Store -Italy.
Readers in the United Kingdom should visit Apple Store - UK.

WHERE TO ORDER YOUR MAC PRO GRAPHICS CARDS
The GeForce 7300 GT (16X, 256MB, dual-link DVI + single-link DVI port) is standard. However, we recommend the Radeon X1900 XT (16X, 512MB, two dual-link DVI ports) as a CTO option. It's much faster than the GeForce 7300 GT and just a hair slower than the outrageously expensive Quadro FX 4500. To custom order your Mac Pro with the Radeon X1900 XT, go to the Apple Store and click on the Mac Pro graphic.

Fortunately, you can order the Radeon X1900 XT as an aftermarket kit. We ordered our Mac Pro with the standard GeForce 7300 GT so we could get it within a few days. The X1900 XT we ordered separately was back ordered for 5 weeks. Click THIS link (or any Apple link on this page) to order your X1900 XT kit so we get credit for the sale.

WHERE TO ORDER YOUR MAC PRO MEMORY
You can order extra Mac Pro memory from
Apple USA when you custom order your Mac Pro, though it might delay delivery. Plus, we think Apple charges too much for their memory upgrades.

We recommend getting your memory upgrades from third party vendors. In our initial Mac Pro testing, we used kits provided by Other World Computing. They are a good source for quality memory at a reasonable price. Plus OWC has a "Trade In Your Factory Memory" REBATE program.

TransIntl.com is shipping Mac Pro memory with Apple suggested heat sink specs. They took great care to engineer their heat sinks for maximum thermal efficiency using 6 fins on each side (versus 4 on the Apple factory modules) and special aluminum alloy. We tested these and can vouch that their heat sinks are truly efficient in absorbing and dissipating heat.

MaxUpgrades offers their unique "MacSink" design for a heat sink (using 2 clips instead of 4) which results in more fin area exposed to the airflow. We've tested them and they are very effective. MaxUpgrades will sell you the memory with the heat sink or just the heat sink. Their prices are very competitive, too.

We also tested the Data Memory Systems Mac Pro memory with conventional heat spreaders. It ran an average of 10 deg F warmer than the memory with "fat finned" heat sinks. DMS is also offering memory with Apple approved" heat sinks as an option.

WHERE TO GET YOUR MAC DISPLAYS
We just bought the newest, lower priced ($999) 23" Cinema display with the improved brightness and contrast. We love it. And the pink hue on gray screens is gone. The 20" model is down to $699.

We know we've sung the praises of the Dell 24" Ultrasharp in the past but we are partial to the sleek looking aluminum Cinemas -- especially with the latest improvements. But if you still want to go for the Dark Side -- I mean -- Dell, it's on sale for $703 right now. For more details on it, read our updated review of the latest model.

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2005-2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist