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Mac Pro Nehalem, first-hand impressions

I have always had the same perception of Macs since I sat in front of one, they are computers made to last . From the academy where I received my first contact with them, to my first recording, they were computers with several years behind them (with their obvious hardware gap) that were still working like the first day .

When the opportunity arose to buy my first Mac , an iMac G5, I did so with the firm decision not to look back and enter the Mac world. The transition to Intel came, and it became increasingly clear that the PowerPC would be left to its own devices. I had been using the iMac for four years now, and although I was very happy with it, at the end of the day it is a ” laptop embedded behind a screen “.

iMac was beginning to notice the hours of use, and depending on the task, it was almost forced to take flight by its fans. Then I remembered when I went into the recording studio with my guitar and saw the sound technician playing with a Powermac G3 smurf . We were in the year 2003 and I was impressed when I saw a computer of more than four years recording 12 tracks simultaneously and playing in the air without any kind of slowing down.

My next computer was going to be a future investment . It was going to leave me a considerable amount of money, but I was looking for something that could extend its life far beyond five years , in fact, I wanted to extend the life of my computer (with some punctual improvement in the future, of course) to ten years of life . And I think that with this investment I will be able to do it.

Interior of the Mac Pro Nehalem


If anything, the Mac Pro is highly configurable, so I had to make several decisions when I bought it. I had to be very clear about my needs, and keep in mind that I wanted to configure a machine with which would last for many years .

The first step was clear, I had to choose a Octocore . The single processor one would have been a clear improvement for me already, but there are constant rumors that Apple with its Snow Leopard will take full advantage of these cores , and that the performance improvement over Leopard will be remarkable.

For audio editing, photography (at amateur level), and web programming, with the 2.26 Ghz base processors I was going to have more than enough, I just chose an upload to 8 Gb of RAM (basically for having four occupied slots instead of six) and Ati Radeon HD 4870 because I’m a bit of a player and the improvement over the other card is amazing.

Tray with processors


The first thing you wonder about with a Mac Pro , if you are like me, coming from an infinitely inferior computer, is how relaxed the whole system is. Something as simple as recording a DVD with a double layer is amazingly fast, and when you have the system wrapped up in video or audio encoding, while playing a game and you see that there is no slowdown you understand why you have made this payment.

It is not only a question of sensations, but also of making my day-to-day work much faster and easier . I can be mixing some musical input, while writing or programming without any delay.

If we stick to GeekBench’s own data this throws me a result of 13.550 , being 1000 points above the base model of 2,26 Ghz (the 8Gb of memory and the card will have something to do with it) and 1000 points below approximately the base models of 2,67 and 2,93 Ghz . They are expensive machines, I know, but you have to keep in mind that with processors with less clock speed they are getting the same results as the previous generation with higher clock speeds .

Nehalem” processor heat sinks


When you open a Mac Pro from the inside and are used to seeing towers from other manufacturers, you are amazed at the arrangement of all its elements. Cables are just right, not one more, not one less, and seeing how the tray with the processors and RAM is detachable, is a engineering prodigy .

The processors each mount their own heat sink with a small fan inside . The Turbo Boost announced by Apple, which comes into play when the system needs it, can be maintained for a long time , as the processors do not have to suffer from the rise in clock speed when this system comes into operation.

The case of the Mac Pro , where everything fits perfectly, has an ingenious locking system that protects both the cover and the hard drive bays and PCI slots.


I have never been someone who needs to always have the latest technologies . In fact, when I was using Windows, I found it annoying to see the terrible speed at which the hardware was advancing that forced you to constantly improve your computer.

My passed to Mac , came partly from this. I wanted a durable computer and Macs were. So much so, that I’ve been almost five years with the same computer, and I haven’t suffered any need to change it. Only the obvious discontinuation of PowerPC architecture (logic on the other hand) has motivated me to make this change.

The big money involved in buying a Mac Pro with a Led Cinema Display is motivated by the absolute certainty that I will survive for about ten years with the same equipment (except for a catastrophe, of course) and the confidence that this will work for me like it did on the first day .

A fondo: Mac Pro

I don’t want to experience what I suffered with an iMac , which I had to open periodically to clean the ventilation slots to try and keep the processor from suffering as much as possible.

I’m not saying that iMacs are bad computers, because they’re not bad at all. I’m just expressing my opinion that the cheap can really be expensive. Think that even if it is time that proves me right (or not) if we divide what a Mac Pro costs, by ten years, the resulting number is not that great .

I just know, that all the doubts I had about it, that it would be too much computer for me, or that the outlay was too big, have been dispelled in this month that I have been working with it .

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