Rob Art Morgan at Bare Feats:
The gap has definitely closed between the ‘mid range’ Mac Pro versus the ‘high-end’ iMac and MacBook Pro when it comes to pro apps — thanks to quad-core i7 “Sandy Bridge” processors with hyperthreading and turbo-boost. The gap varies depending on the app and the specific function within the app. And if you are comparing a new ‘high-end’ iMac or Macbook Pro to a 2006-2008 Mac Pro, you will be impressed.
Worth pointing out:
- The current Mac Pro is over a year old and is probably going to be updated with new Xeon E5 CPUs in early 2012. (Although the rest of the Macs could also be updated with Ivy Bridge CPUs around the same time.)
The 3.33 GHz 6-core Mac Pro ($3699 if you don’t like RAM) is the fastest Mac available for most single-threaded or poorly-multithreaded apps, especially Photoshop. (That’s why my wife uses that exact machine for photography work.)
But for video professionals, for whom most software is highly parallelized, or anyone who needs more than 4 RAM slots, the 12-core models might be better. The 2.66 Ghz 12-core model ($4999 base) can be (but isn’t always) a lot faster than the 3.33 GHz 6-core model.
The Mac Pro will still be necessary for people who need the fastest hardware, the most RAM, or PCI-Express cards. But what these tests really show is the shrinking gap in CPU performance between the Xeons and the consumer-class Core CPUs.
If the main reason you need a Mac Pro today is great CPU performance, your next computer could probably be an iMac or a MacBook Pro.