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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"
Rob-ART, Main Mad Scientist (aka Dr. Frankenstein)
Bet-TAY, Special Features Edtior (aka Frau Blucher)

Mac Pro 3.2GHz 'Harpertown'
versus other Mac towers

Originally posted January 15th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated January 26th, 2008, with full Mac Pro 2.8GHz results

With the latest update, we present to you two of the 2008 Mac Pro models against two previous Mac Pros and the "last great G5" tower.

These results are using the latest 8.02 update of After Effects CS3 Professional which provides Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard compatibility fixes, Mac OpenGL support for supported video cards under Mac OS X v10.4.10 and v10.5, and more. We timed the second part of the Total Training benchmark. All cores are cranking at 100% and up to 13GB of RAM is gobbled up.

We selected six "MP-aware" actions and ran them on a 100MB and 300MB test file.

We took the 720p "wildlifeHD Reel" sample from the QuickTime HD Gallery and initiated 6 simultaneous exports to iPod format, forcing all cores to crank.

We made adjustments to one of the Tibet samples. Then dropped the adjustments to the other six samples. We saw over 500% CPU usage on the 8-core systems.

We created a QuickCluster using instances to match the number of cores. Then using the "wildlifeHD" sample video clip, we encoded a DVD using 'Best 90 minutes' format. Batch Monitor recorded the elapsed time.

Unlike some artificial benchmarks, Cinebench uses the same code as Cinema 4D for its CPU render and OpenGL test. This is one of the few apps that also stresses the memory bus.

We ran the 64-bit version of this cross platform benchmark.

Harper = "early 2008" Mac Pro "Harpertown"
Clover = "apr 2007" Mac Pro "Clovertown"
Wood = "aug 2006" Mac Pro "Woodcrest"
PM = Power Mac (last version with PCIe slots)

The 3.2GHz "Harpertown," 3.0GHz "Clovertown," and 2.8GHz "Harpertown" each had 16 GB of memory (8 x 2GB). The 3.0GHz "Woodcrest" and 2.5GHz G5 Quad both had 8GB of RAM (8 x 1GB). All were running Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.1.

Though the core frequency gain of the 3.2GHz "Harpertown" is only 6.7% compared to the 3.0GHz "Clovertown," the speed advantage in the tests ranged from 12% to 24%. That shows what a faster frontside bus and faster memory bus brings to the party.

Also, you might not be aware that the Harpertown has a larger L2 cache -- 6 MB versus 4 MB. Plus the North Bridge now has a 24 MB snoop filter which maintains an index of all cached data in each processor. This significantly reduces data traffic on the FSB, providing lower latencies and greater available bandwidth to handle requests between CPUs. (See Apple developer note for more detail.)

On January 26th we finally got our hands on the 2.8GHz "Harpertown." We configured it with the identical boot drive and identical memory modules (8 x 2GB). The 3.2GHz "Harpertown" was from 7% to 11% faster than the 2.8HGz model. Comparing that to the 14% faster core frequencies and the 40% higher price (comparably equipped) of the 3.2GHz model, I can see why many of you are opting for the 2.8 model. But don't forget, a few years from now the 3.2 model will have a higher resale value.


Many thanks to ProMax for the use of their 8-core 2.8GHz "2008" Mac Pro for testing.

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. (See also 800MHz vs 677MHz memory compared.)

Bare Feats' power usage and noise level testing on the 3.2GHz Harpertown Mac Pro vs the 3.0GHz Clovertown Mac Pro.

Apple has posted some 2008 Mac Pro benchmarks.

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

Apple Online Store

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.

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

NEED 667MHz or 800MHz memory for your new Mac Pro? Apple charges and arm and a leg. We suggested ordering it with minimal memory and getting 8GB or 16GB of matched modules from ....

Other World Computing

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