Anandtech's Mac Pro Review Is Out!

Brandon263

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2009
396
19
Beaumont, CA
http://anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013

“It’s the most area efficient dual-GPU setup I’ve ever seen. “

“Both GPU boards are custom, so it would appear that Apple has effectively killed the limited 3rd party Mac GPU upgrade market. It’s entirely possible that someone will clone Apple’s GPU card design here, but that seems like a lot of effort for very limited potential sales.”


“You should, in theory, be able to upgrade the Mac Pro’s CPU down the road should you want to. It’s definitely not a simple task but at least feasible. Especially as Xeon pricing drops down the road, this may be a good way of extending the lifespan of your Mac Pro.”

“ I poked around Dell, HP and Lenovo websites looking for comparable systems… Apple’s pricing is [not] out of touch with reality… ”

“The DIY PC route is still going to be more affordable. If we go the Ivy Bridge E route and opt for a Core i7-4930K, you get more cores than either of the options above for around $600 for the CPU. Adding in another $330 for a motherboard, $180 for 12GB of DDR3-1866 memory, $1400 for two W7000 GPUs and $220 for a fast SATA SSD (Samsung 840 Pro) we’re at $2730 for a configuration that would cost at least $3499 from Apple. That’s excluding case, PSU and OS, but adding another ~$350 takes care of that and still saves you some money. If you opt for Radeon HD 7870s instead of the W7000 you can knock another $1000 off of that total price. All of that being said, I don’t expect there to be a lot of cross shopping between DIY builders and those looking for a Mac Pro.”

“The 4, 6 and 8 core CPU options all offer the same peak single core frequency (3.9GHz). This is very important as single threaded performance remains the gate for system responsiveness outside of thread heavy applications. The 12-core CPU sacrifices around 10% of this peak single core performance.”

“There is a very healthy increase in single threaded performance over the 2010/2012 12-core system. The 34% increase in performance is because the Mac Pro never got the Sandy Bridge bump. All previous Mac Pros topped out at Nehalem/Westmere. Couple all of the Sandy Bridge improvements with the much higher peak clock speeds (3.5GHz vs. 3.0GHz) and the performance gains make sense.

“It is really surprising just how big of an impact GPU performance can have on Final Cut Pro 10.1. It makes total sense that Apple went dual GPUs top to bottom with the new Mac Pro. It seems the latest version of Final Cut Pro was designed with the new Mac Pro in mind, which is unfortunate for anyone who was hoping to get by with an older Mac Pro with a far less capable GPU. It's very clear to me that the Mac Pro is really designed to be an upgrade on all fronts (CPU, GPU, SSD and external IO).”

“Under OS X games have to specifically be written to use both GPUs in the new Mac Pro. Under Windows however it's just a matter of enabling CrossFire X…. CrossFire is clearly working under Windows”
 

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RoastingPig

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2012
1,606
65
SoCal
tahiti roasting on an open fire and 463 watt balls to the walls on a 450w power supply. apple **** the bed on this one
 

ha1o2surfer

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2013
385
34
tahiti roasting on an open fire and 463 watt balls to the walls on a 450w power supply. apple **** the bed on this one
plus prime 95 and furmark causing the CPU to throttle down from 3.7 to 2.1ghz...

I am happy to see crossfire enabled in Windows. Very solid performance if you aren't pushing it hard for a couple hours.
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,934
54
England
MST topologies for single-display/4K60 support aren’t standardized unfortunately. Apple handles this by maintaining some sort of a whitelist for various displays they’ve tested. The Sharp PN-K321 that Apple sells alongside the Mac Pro (as well as the ASUS clone of it) ships with 4K60 support configured out of the box. All you need to do is ensure that DisplayPort 1.2 MST is enabled on the display itself (something that appears off by default) and plug it into the Mac Pro. OS X will automatically recognize the display, configure it for 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz and you’re good to go.

The same isn’t true, unfortunately, for other 4K displays on the market. Dell sent along its UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD display (UP2414Q) for this review, and unfortunately that appears to be a display that’s not supported by the Mac Pro/OS X at this point. You can get it working in SST mode at 3840 x 2160 30Hz, but forcing MST results in a 1920 x 2160 display spread across both tiles with a mess of garbled colors.
For those considering 4K displays. Perhaps easy to remedy, but something to have some caution over.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
plus prime 95 and furmark causing the CPU to throttle down from 3.7 to 2.1ghz...

I am happy to see crossfire enabled in Windows. Very solid performance if you aren't pushing it hard for a couple hours.
CPU core was floating around 95°C on those tests.

The tests I've wanted to see this whole time:
1) Professional Windows Apps (especially those that enjoy a huge boost from FirePro drivers)
2) HOT benchmarks - for gaming and professional applications

I understand the boost clocks are decent on the GPU and CPU, what I would like to see are after 1-2 hours how it's doing with standard workloads and gaming.

Even in the part about heat, Anandtech really only speculated how it would run. I would like to see how well it maintains the higher end of its capabilities after the heat is built up.

Luxmark nearly fried the thing--but that's fairly typical :). I'd like to see how it acts in the real world: Will users have to put the nMP on an AC duct like it's some over-priced bitcoin miner?

After all, a 29% drop in clock from boost to base clock on the D700 is going to have a huge hit in performance. The GTX780Ti with a good cooler will play all day.
 
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ha1o2surfer

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2013
385
34
CPU core was floating around 95°C on those tests.

The tests I've wanted to see this whole time:
1) Professional Windows Apps (especially those that enjoy a huge boost from FirePro drivers)
2) HOT benchmarks - for gaming and professional applications

I understand the boost clocks are decent on the GPU and CPU, what I would like to see are after 1-2 hours how it's doing with standard workloads and gaming.

Even in the part about heat, Anandtech really only speculated how it would run. I would like to see how well it maintains the higher end of its capabilities after the heat is built up.

Luxmark nearly fried the thing--but that's fairly typical :). I'd like to see how it acts in the real world: Will users have to put the nMP on an AC duct like it's some over-priced bitcoin miner?

After all, a 29% drop in clock from boost to base clock on the D700 is going to have a huge hit in performance. The GTX780Ti with a good cooler will play all day.
I totally agree here with what you said. I'd love to see that as well.
 

quagmire

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2004
6,339
1,177
plus prime 95 and furmark causing the CPU to throttle down from 3.7 to 2.1ghz...

I am happy to see crossfire enabled in Windows. Very solid performance if you aren't pushing it hard for a couple hours.
The Mac Pro anandtech tested was the 12 core so it only lost 600 Mhz, not 1.6 Ghz when it throttled using a non-real world workload test.
 

Cubemmal

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
824
1
Great work From Anand as usual. One concern ...

I've had one weird issue with the internal speaker: it occasionally produces a high pitched noise, requiring a power cycle to clear. I haven't been able to root cause the problem yet, it seems to happen while the speaker is muted (only to surface once I've unmuted the speaker) and after I've been torturing/benchmarking the machine. I'm not sure if it's tied to plugging/unplugging Thunderbolt 2 devices while it's on or if it's something in software that's triggering it. Either way if you see it on your system, know that you can clear it by a full power cycle (not soft reset).
This I absolutely do not want to hear. If this happens with my computer I will return it to the store in the 30 day window. I'm buying the computer partially because of its noise performance, a problem like this would be completely unacceptable.
 

Nugget

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
1,902
942
Houston Texas USA
I am very disappointed to see that he did not include a video of the mac pro rolling across his desk. I thought Anand's reviews were supposed to be thorough!
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
I am very disappointed to see that he did not include a video of the mac pro rolling across his desk. I thought Anand's reviews were supposed to be thorough!
Indeed. Unacceptable. Maybe we should send a pm to hellhammer on this forum asking for Anand to sort this out? (Hh writes the ssd reviews for Anandtech)
 

Mac Gus

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2013
137
12
New York City
This was a great article. As someone who doesn't know a lot about the internal functions of a computer I really learned a lot. I found his graphs to be really helpful, especially showing how GPU performance is becoming more important etc.

Looks like I made the right choice on ordering the Sapphire 3gb GPU for my 4,1. I'm just now trying to force myself to make the switch from FCP 7 to X.....:eek:
 

ScottishCaptain

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
473
Why no 12*2.93ghz or 12*3.06ghz Mac Pro 2010 comparisons?

I mean, I guess it doesn't matter in the end, because finding that stuff on the internet is easy enough. I just find it weird that their charts look so "perfect", almost as if they went out of their way to find the appropriate systems so that the nMP would look better in the benchmarks.

-SC
 

cirus

macrumors 6502a
Mar 15, 2011
582
0
Why no 12*2.93ghz or 12*3.06ghz Mac Pro 2010 comparisons?

I mean, I guess it doesn't matter in the end, because finding that stuff on the internet is easy enough. I just find it weird that their charts look so "perfect", almost as if they went out of their way to find the appropriate systems so that the nMP would look better in the benchmarks.

-SC
Anandtech doesnt buy anything- they depend on apple for review samples; not sure if apple provided those configurations for benchmarking.

Anandtech also tested and benchmarked haswell so that it would look better too. And the rmbp 15 2012 throttle test was with HL 2, not a game that would be really demanding.
 

Macsonic

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2009
1,599
59
Why no 12*2.93ghz or 12*3.06ghz Mac Pro 2010 comparisons?

I mean, I guess it doesn't matter in the end, because finding that stuff on the internet is easy enough. I just find it weird that their charts look so "perfect", almost as if they went out of their way to find the appropriate systems so that the nMP would look better in the benchmarks.

-SC
Hi ScottishCaptain. If I am not mistaken, the 8 core 2.93ghz was the model the author had that was available. In some ways though the review was detailed that gives us an idea of the other consumer Macs. Probably the new Mac Pro was targeted for users whose tasks are GPU instensive like FCPX users.
 

Beta Particle

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2012
527
5
Finally, the review I've been waiting for.

It's interesting to see that the Mac Pro does have CrossFire support in Windows, though applications in OS X will only use one GPU unless explicitly coded for using both.

Performance is not where it should be though. A single GTX 780 Ti is putting out higher framerates than the dual D700 Mac Pro in games.

As expected, the D700 does not include ECC memory, which is why the cards are "cheap" relative to AMD's workstation cards. Perhaps now everyone will stop comparing them to the W9000 cards.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013/14 said:
I have a Promise Pegasus R6 Thunderbolt chassis with four 3.5” 7200 RPM hard drives inside. The Pegasus sits four feet away from my Mac Pro and at idle the hum of its drives drowns out the idle fan noise of the Mac.
And this is one of the biggest problems I have with the Mac Pro design.
With hard drives enclosed inside a PC tower and mounted on rubber grommets, I don't hear them when they're just sitting idle. (I never let my drives spin down)

With the Mac Pro you need another unit roughly the same size, connected via a Thunderbolt cable if you need more than 1TB of storage. And that's significantly more expensive than putting drives inside the tower and hooking them up via SATA.

tahiti roasting on an open fire and 463 watt balls to the walls on a 450w power supply. apple **** the bed on this one
Assuming the power supply has something like 92% efficiency, it means that the system is actually using ~425W, so it's not exceeding the limits of the PSU. (but it's not good to run a PSU near 100% load all the time either)

Those CPU and GPU temperatures are something to be concerned about though. No wonder it's so quiet most of the time if they're letting it get that hot. Reminds me of another small form factor pro machine from Apple...
 

wheelhot

macrumors 68020
Nov 23, 2007
2,080
249
CPU core was floating around 95°C on those tests.

The tests I've wanted to see this whole time:
1) Professional Windows Apps (especially those that enjoy a huge boost from FirePro drivers)
2) HOT benchmarks - for gaming and professional applications
Yes, I was kinda disappointed that I didn't see any tests from SPECviewperf® 11/12

Any chance of reaching out to Anandtech to update their review?
 

wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
1,167
1
I'm a bit annoyed that the light graphics tests were PS 5 and LR 3, a bit old there, and leaves me wondering if performance is still the same, or as he indicated, there are improvements in CS6.

Doesn't give me the info I need.
 

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,057
241
It's great that crossfire is working on Windows. It should put everyone's worries to rest whether or not they could game with this machine. And on OS X it'll perform slightly worse than a single 280X, which is still quite decent gaming performance.

What I wonder is whether game developers can actually support dual GPU's under OS X via some later to be released API by Apple.
 

Cubemmal

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
824
1
Especially interesting was the IO bandwidth discussion. Two points ...

  • The USB 3.0 is somewhat bandwidth limited (and it's still an external chip!), so putting tons of disks there as a poor mans TB 2 array isn't a good idea.
  • Even the TB is somewhat limited. If you have 3 4k displays, for example, the outbound traffic will be congested to your disks. I will have three 27" Cinema (non 4k) and I'm curious to take a look at the bandwidth usage.
 

Lumpydog

macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2007
327
20
Amazing review

This should be required reading for every nMP owner. Incredible perspective and information - in a format that is conversational and easy to read.

Great work AnandTech
 

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