I just ordered my first Xeon E5 server for Instapaper, and it’s a monster. Some Geekbench scores that I just ran: (higher is better)
- 12,076: Single Xeon E3-1270 (3.4 GHz, 4 cores). This is very similar to the CPU in the current 3.4 GHz iMac.1 If new Mac Pros arrive, this is likely to be offered as a single-CPU option.
- 20,748: Dual Xeon X5670 (2.9 GHz, 6 cores each). This is the highest-end CPU available in the current Mac Pro.2
- 30,034: Dual Xeon E5-2690 (2.9 GHz, 8 cores each). This is the new one. Wow.
No synthetic benchmark is truly representative of exactly what you do on a computer, but they’re usually good to approximate relative performance between CPUs.
I ran these all on Linux, which tends to score lower on Geekbench than the same processors in OS X. I suspect the dual E5-2690s in OS X might score around 36,000. (By comparison, in OS X, the current top-of-the-line dual X5670 Mac Pro scores about 24,000 and the 3.4 GHz iMac scores about 12,500.)
An E5-2690 currently costs about $2,000. So if Apple offers two of these as the high-end CPU option on a Mac Pro, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a price tag in the $6,000 range. (Don’t just blame Apple for the Mac Pro’s high price.) But there are lower-clocked, lower-cost E5s that could be very attractive in midrange Mac Pros.