For Mac OS reviews, read John Siracusa. For Mac reviews, read Anand.
I got much more than I expected from what’s ostensibly a review of a new workstation. Page 2 is particularly interesting for the future of CPU performance even if you have no interest in the Mac Pro.
I wish the benchmarks also included results from the 8-core, though — Anand’s 12-core review unit suffers more against the much faster single-threaded performance of the iMac and 15” Retina MacBook Pro. Macworld’s 8-core tests show that while the iMac sometimes beats the Mac Pro, it’s less often and with a smaller gap than with Anand’s slower-clocked 12-core.
Regardless, Anand’s tests confirm that the new Mac Pro can be a huge win, but only for software written to take advantage of heavy CPU parallelism or OpenCL. For everything else, it’s great, but probably not worth its price difference over an iMac or RMBP for most buyers.
That said, we’ve had many laptops, a few Mac Pros, and even an iMac in our household over the years, and while I have regretted the iMac and some laptops over their lifespans, I’ve never regretted the Mac Pros.
And I’m glad that a new physical design and including dual GPUs standard has transformed Apple’s most ignored, stagnant, endangered Mac into something cool and worthy of press attention again.1 I never thought the Mac Pro would regain any share of the spotlight, but I’m glad to be proven wrong.
Apple could have just retained the old case design, updated to Xeon E5 CPUs, and made dual GPUs the new baseline configuration, and nobody would have cared (except me, Anand, and John Siracusa). They’d still have PCIe slots, drive bays, and a lot more fans. Dual sockets could add huge ceiling-performance gains for those willing to pay a lot for a pair of 8-core E5-2667 v2s (16 cores with no single-threaded penalty) or 12-core E5-2697 v2s (slower cores, but 24 of them!).
But then it would still be huge, ugly, boring, dated, louder, and more power-hungry. Thunderbolt as a display output/expansion combo would have still been a problem to implement. And all of those card slots and options would have prevented Apple from optimizing the PCIe layout.
I was doubtful when they first announced it last summer, but I think they made the right choices. ↩︎