Interesting results from OpenCL Benchmark on my 8x2.8 Harpertown Mac Pro:
- The 8800GT, despite being a top-of-the-line video card at the time, doesn’t even come close to the 9600GT (that currently comes in every 15” MacBook Pro except the $1699 configuration) in this benchmark.
- The Mac Pro’s obscene core count helps it remain extremely competitive with modern non-workstation CPUs even when it’s nearly two years old. Despite the Mac Pro’s high price, it stays useful and performance-competitive for many years after purchase — at least 2-3 years longer than a similarly specced laptop. So far, the only limitation I’ve hit on my Mac Pro is I/O performance, and that’s only because I’m holding out on buying SSDs until the X25-M’s next capacity bump and price drop.
- For the admittedly narrow range of operations for which the GPU can be beneficial with OpenCL, a great GPU can significantly close the performance gap between desktops and laptops. (But I can’t stress how infrequently this will be used for the foreseeable future.)