Apple Mac Pro is the ultimate PC?

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!AnandTech: Apple’s Mac Pro: A Discussion of Specifications

The biggest part of Apple’s Mac Pro announcement is of course the move to Intel processors and as many had predicted, Apple chose to go with Intel’s Woodcrest based Xeon processors instead of Core 2 for the Mac Pro. Architecturally, the Woodcrest based Xeons are no different than the Conroe based Core 2 processors, so you get the same level of performance we showcased in our Core 2 review. With Xeon you do get the ability to go to multi-socket systems and a faster FSB, both of which are not possible with Core 2.

So basically I had always thought of Xeon as slow and expensive, but essentially that is the name for the Core 2 server/workstation chip. So the $2500 Mac Pro is the machine to beat now and what a box it is. The main drawback is that it uses a 771-pin socket so upgrading it means you are on the more expensive workstation path. On the other hand, you get a dual processor machine from the get go. Apple doesn’t sell anything else. How’s that for a change.

If you are ordering one of these babies, drool, drool then some good notes from the piece:

* Future CPUs. Another development is that the Clovertown is the next turn of the crank for the Xeon/Woodstocks. These babies will put four cores on a single chip, so a dual processor machine will have 8 cores! Wow. It uses all workstation parts, so it has the Intel 5000X which with 4 DIMMs, gives you a whopping 21GBps to memory in a 4-way interleave. And technically, Apple lets you put up to eight 7300GTs into a single machine. Wow!*&*
* Memory. The main drawback is they are using the new exotic FB-DIMMs so they’ll be more expensive. The right configuration for “memory”:http://anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2811&p=5 is 4x1GB probably which is $676 from newegg and a whopping $1100 from Apple or a 4x512MB.
* Drives. BTW the same is true of hard drivers, the box can have four SATA drives, but Apples cost $400 while you can get very nice 500GB drives like the 7200.10 for half that or just get a 7200.10 750GB for $350.
* Graphics Cards. Apparently you have to buy these from Apple and they offer only three, the 7300GT is a basic model for those of us not gaming. and then there is a shootout between the ATI X1900XT which on PCs is faster and the nVidia Quadro FX 4500 (which confusingly is really a 7800GTX with a few workstation tweaks) which is faster on the Mac. Most think that’s because of driver differences.

Main thing to wait for if you don’t want to build a $5000 workstation is a lower end Mac Pro with Core 2 that’s single processor.

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