December 22, 2013, 5:44 PM — In case you missed it, the new Mac Pro is in the Macworld Lab, and we have our first set of test results. Our tests of a $6799 configure-to-order (CTO) Mac Pro show--as expected--that the new system is better suited to folks making their living using professional apps like Final Cut Pro than everyday users working in consumer apps like iMovie.
The new Mac Pro comes in two standard configurations. The entry-level $2999 model features a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 256GB of PCIe-connected flash storage, 12GB of RAM, and dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards with 2GB of video memory each. The stock $3999 model has a 6-core Xeon E5 processor running at 3.5GHz, 256GB of flash storage, 16GB of RAM, and dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics with 3GB of video memory each.
We tested a Mac Pro provided by Apple that was customized to use an 8-core 3.0GHz Xeon E5 processor, 512GB of flash storage, 32GB of RAM, and dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics with 6GB of video memory for each card.
Speedmark 9 scores
Results are scores. Higher results are better. Best score in bold. Reference models in italics.--Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith and Albert Filice
As points of comparison for the 8-core Mac Pro that we tested, we looked at the results from two 2012 Mac Pros, a CTO 27-inch 2013 iMac, and a late 2013 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. We ran an updated version of our overall system performance test suite, Speedmark, which is now at version 9.
It should be no surprise that the new 8-core Mac Pro is the fastest Mac we've tested, but it was only 8% faster overall than our previous champ, a CTO 2013 27-inch iMac. That custom system has a speedy quad-core 3.5GHz Core i7 processor, a 3TB Fusion Drive, 8GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics.
The new Mac Pro was 63% faster overall than the 2012 12-core 2.4GHz Mac Pro, and nearly twice as fast overall as the 2012 3.2GHz quad-core Mac Pro.
The 13 individual test results that make up Speedmark, show that the new Mac Pro really shined in processor-intensive tests like HandBrake encoding, the Cinebench CPU benchmark, MathematicaMark and Photoshop.
The new Mac Pro did well on graphics tests, especially compared to the older Mac Pros, but the 27-inch iMac's Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of RAM performed a bit better in one test (Cinebench's GPU benchmark) than the workstation-class D700 graphics in the new Mac Pro.