Even the lowly Mac mini comes with multiple core CPUs. That’s the only similarity with Apple’s new power champion, the Mac Pro.
Powered with up to 12 cores of CPU, it’s now officially the fastest Mac ever. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what I’d use all that Mac horsepower to accomplish, but I know two things for sure. First, I can’t afford such a Mac beast. Second, I want one.
Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Allow me to indulge in a dream. Sure, I’ll go for a quad core iMac because it comes with a 27-inch screen, which is a pricey option for Mac Pro purchasers, but there’s something to be said for raw processing power.
My objective is to price out the meanest, fastest, most powerful Mac Pro in the Apple Store.
Before moving on to the eventually scary price tag, let me point out what the very basic Mac Pro brings to Mac users, besides a huge hit on the credit card balance.
$2,499 gets you a quad-core Intel Xeon CPU with 8 megs L3 cache. 3 gigs of RAM. ATI Radeon HD5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 RAM. Dual Mini DisplayPorts. 1TB SATA disk drive. 18x SuperDrive. Four PCI Express 2 slots. Five USB ports. Four FireWire 800 ports.
Add to that Airport Extreme and Bluetooth, Apple’s numeric keypad keyboard, and Magic Mouse.
What Price Power?
The new Mac Pro models won’t be available until August so configure-to-order options don’t have price tags. Yet. The 8-core Mac Pro starts at $3,499 and comes with dual 2.4 GHz quad core CPUs of the Intel Xeon E5620 version which has 12 megs of L3 cache per CPU.
The extra $1,000 gets you 6 GB of RAM, the same ATI Radeon graphic card, same 1 TB hard disk drive and everything else the same as the lower priced Mac Pro.
Apple hasn’t divulged all the configure-to-order Mac Pro options, but it’s best to start paying down your credit card balance before the end of July. Apple has Mac Pro options for dual 2.66 GHz Xeon X5650 CPUs with 12 cores, or the even faster X5670.
Even more speed comes from the optional 512 GB solid state drives or up to four 2 TB SATA hard disk drives at 7200 RPM. Drives can be configured using the Mac Pro RAID card and with the dual or quad-channel 4GB Fibre Channel Card.
Turbocharging takes on a new meaning with these Mac Pro options.
The multi-core processors have an integrated controller which can boost CPU speeds and hyper threading to create what Apple calls 24 Virtual Cores.
Suffice it to say that if you put all those options together, add a couple of Apple’s new 27-inch LED Cinema Displays, max out the RAM to 32 gigs and fill up the drives to 8 terabytes, that your local electric company will hold a special day in your honor. So will your credit card company.
RAM is fast. Graphics are fast. SSDs are faster than fast hard disk drives. All those CPU cores are fast, and faster together. The only thing faster will be the interest you rack up on your credit card with the nearly $20,000 price tag.
Apple says these new Mac Pro models carry about 50-percent greater performance (not necessarily 50-percent faster). Whatever it is, this much power is truly lust worthy, but affordable for only the truly power needy Mac user.