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Mac Pro with Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processors

As we mentioned a few hours ago, Apple has today updated its desktop range to include the launch of the long-awaited new Mac Pro with Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processors . Apple’s “beast” debuts new architecture, a slightly redesigned interior and the latest generation of graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI. Let’s see what’s new.

Although externally everything remains the same (except for the disappearance of the FireWire 400 ports in favour of the four FireWire 800 ) it is internally where we find the enormous differences that exist between these new models and the previous ones from the beginning of 2008. Nehalem is a box of surprises and also provides up to 2, 4 times the memory bandwidth (reducing memory latency by up to 40%) by integrating its own memory controller with three DDR3 1066MHz ECC channels (vs. the old DDR2 800MHz) is able to run two threads on each core, making Mac OS X assign the new quad (actually an i7 quad-core processor) eight virtual cores and the 8- core (with two quad-core Xeon processors) a whopping 16 virtual cores .

Mac Pro with Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processors
Mac Pro with Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processors

Another interesting feature of the Nehalem is the Turbo Boost (remember when PCs had a turbo button?), which basically consists of a technology that dynamically modifies the performance of the processor by varying its clock speed depending on the workload. In other words, it is the overclocking of a lifetime but performed automatically when necessary and the temperature of the processor is not through the roof. Apple claims that the new 2.93GHz processor is capable of exceeding 3.33GHz and seeing the huge heatsinks that are on top of the Mac Pro presented today, it’s likely that it will be able to maintain that frequency for quite some time.

Turning now to the graphics, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory included as standard is a high performance card that almost triples the power of the former ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, but pales in comparison to the optionally available Radeon HD 4870 with 512MB of graphics performance. In either case, both options have both Mini DisplayPort and DVI ports, supporting the 24-inch Cinema Display (LED) and the older 30-inch display.

In keeping with its commitment to the environment, Apple has decided to bring the Mac Pro ahead of the Energy Star 5.0 requirements that will take effect on July 1 and introduce a BFR- and PVC-free computer (in its internal cables) that reaches the EPEAT Gold level, the highest in this environmental program. In the end you will see how Al Gore ends up becoming the next CEO of Apple.

But not everything can be praise and the new Mac Pro comes with some negative points behind it. The first of these is the number of cores, which again divides the basic configurations in two by burying the previous slogan of “8 cores as standard” to give way to the Nehalem processors, which are quite expensive at the moment. Continuing along the same lines, and although it is reassuring to discover that the new architecture is capable of performing the miracle of a 2.93 GHz processor sweeping to the former top of the 3.2 GHz range, years of marketing making us believe that clock speed was the only important thing in a processor (and therefore in a computer) now take their toll by presenting a range starting at 2.26 GHz in the case of 8-core and 2.66 GHz in quad-core as opposed to the previous 2.8 GHz. We’ll have to wait for the performance graphs of the basic configurations (and not the top of the range as Apple currently offers) to reassure us by clarifying (or not) whether a 2.26 Nehalem quad “can” handle the previous 2.8 Xeon. Bets are accepted .

Mac Pro quad-core

  • Price of 2,199 euros including VAT.
  • A 2.66 GHz Intel Xeon 3500 Quad-Core processor series with 8 MB of L3 cache (2.93 GHz optional).
  • 3 GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAMECC memory, expandable to 8 GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.
  • Serial ATA 3Gbs 640 GB 7200 rpm hard drive.
  • 18x SuperDrive optical drive (DVD±R DLDVD±RWCD-RW)
  • Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) video outputs
  • Four PCI Express 2.0 slots
  • Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.
  • Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse

Mac Pro 8-core

  • Price of 2,899 euros including VAT.
  • Two 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 series processors with 8 MB of L3 cache (2.66 GHz and 2.93 GHz optional).
  • 6 GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAMECC memory, expandable to 32 GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.
  • Serial ATA 3Gbs 640 GB 7200 rpm hard drive.
  • 18x SuperDrive optical drive (DVD±R DLDVD±RWCD-RW)
  • Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) video outputs
  • Four PCI Express 2.0 slots
  • Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.
  • Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse

The configuration options (in addition to the processors and memory upgrades mentioned above) include the ability to include up to four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives at 7200 rpm, a Mac Pro RAID card, a second SuperDrive 18x optical drive, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card with 512MB of GDDR5 memory, the AirPort Extreme 802 card. 11n and the entire collection of keyboards (including the new one without a number pad) and mice from Apple, as well as the server version of Mac OS X Leopard.

Apple Mac Pro

Double PS: Those who are also lucky enough to own a 2008 Mac Pro will be able to benefit from the ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card in a few weeks (estimated issue is 5-7 weeks) for 315 euros , which is not bad at all considering that it increases the power of the HD 2600 XT by 5 times and allows you to use the new Cinema Display. On the other hand, as a curiosity, the American page of the Apple Store mentions Leopard version 10.5.7 among the requirements so you know… new Mac OS X update on the prowl!

Official site

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