16 months – was it worth the wait? You bet!


There was a time when the Mac Pro, being the top of the range in Apple’s line-up of Macs, was treated like it was the top dog. Its not been that way for a while now. Rather, Apple has seemingly all but forgotten about the pro desktop Mac and instead its been all about the iPhone and now the iPad. Even when it has remembered that it used to be famous for desktop computers (remember the excitement of the very first iMacs, then the first Intel Mac?), Apple has quickly gone back to talking about iPods, iPhones and now the iPad. Even the Magic Mouse and the new trackpad thingy has seemingly had more attention. Well, the wait is over. At last, after 16 months we have an update to the Mac Pro. Question is – was it worth it?
Apple introduces the Mac Pro 12 Core Desktop

The very fact that you can now get a desktop Mac with 12 cores is something that a few years ago would have seemed a pipe-dream and yet here it is, in all its mouth-watering glory! So, what do you get for your money?

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of £1999 inc VAT (£1701.28 ex VAT), includes:

  • One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
  • 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of £2799 inc VAT (£2382.13 ex VAT), includes:

  • Two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 “Westmere” processors
  • 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
  • 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 12-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of £3,999.01 inc VAT (3,403.41 ex VAT), includes:

  • Two 2.66GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (12 cores)
  • 6 GB (6 x 1 GB)
  • 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

There are also configure-to-order options:

  • one 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • one 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • one ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
  • up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
  • Mac Pro RAID card;
  • dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
  • up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.

AS always, Apple is keen to promote its ‘green’ credentials. The new Mac Pro comes BFR-free, PVC-free (internal cables) and with the usual recyclable aluminium casing. Its also rated ENERGY STAR 5.0 and EPEAT Gold.

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