Referenced benchmarks for 2009 Mac Pros (esp 2.26 vs. 2.8)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MCHR, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. MCHR macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #1
    For anyone looking for a collection of referenced benchmarks between the 2009 Mac Pro, here are a few initial links and images. Seems we have seen fragmented benchmarks, leading to a considerable amount of confusion and anxiety.

    If anyone has additional thoughts / benchmarks, link them or add the graphs here. Overall, the midrange octo 2.26 has some distinct advantages, all cost considerations aside.

    Engagdget 2.26

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    All charts below (grey and red) courtesy of Rob at barefeats:

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    Digital Arts review, March 18, 2009. Mac Pro 2.26
     
  2. ekoe macrumors member

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    London, UK
    #2
    Thanks for putting these all in one place, MCHR. It's reassuring.
     
  3. MCHR thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 13, 2009
    #3
    No worries. I think many of us are trying to recall the multitude of links, suggestions, and charts. I know some benchmarks are being revisited, but I will post them as I relocate them. Here's another (earlier) one courtesy of tesselator.


    This one shows an advantage to the 2.8 by a 3% gain in the single render category yet an advantage to the 2.26 in the multi render category of 6%.



    [​IMG]
     
  4. Pika macrumors 68000

    Pika

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    Japan
    #4
    More evidence that the new "Nehalem" 2009 Mac Pro 2.26GHz PWNS the old 2008 3.2GHz Mac Pro. :D
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #5
    Does anyone know if this Barefeets graph actually is testing he's done that matches the above submissions by forum members or if he's just re-published the chart above?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. MCHR thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Text excerpts from the Digital Arts review, paraphrased for online digestion:

    Four stars out of five.

    Wednesday 18 Mar 2009

    platform Mac OS X 10.5
    price £1,685 plus VAT (base single-chip model) ; £2,175 plus VAT (base dual-chip model - reviewed)
    company Apple
    pros Excellent After Effects and Cinebench performance. Offers a huge amount more power for current Mac-based creatives. Great internal chassis design. First Xeon 5500 series workstation available.
    cons ‘Enhanced’ Core i7 Windows workstations offer almost as much power for a much lower price. Mini DisplayPort output is currently irrelevant. No FireWire or eSATA ports. No 64-bit version of Photoshop for Mac OS X.

    Apple's new Mac Pro represents a bit of a coup for the company. Apple got to announce a workstation based on Intel’s Xeon 3500 and 5500 chip lines before the processors were even launched. They’re formally announced towards the end of this month and this is when we expect other workstation vendors to debut their models based on the chips.

    The 3500 and 5500 series are the first Xeons based on Intel’s ‘Nehalem’ architecture, which also underpins Intel’s Core i7 platform. It provides a ‘sit-up-and-take-notice’ boost in power compared to the previous generation of Mac Pros -- and with future software releases it should become even faster.

    ‘Nehalem’ represents one of the largest redesigns in the core architecture of how a PC's processor, RAM and other components communicate ever. Previously, each chip connected to the motherboard via a front-side bus (FSB) and all communication with RAM, graphics cards and drives went through here -- which could provide a bottleneck, reducing performance. ‘Nehalem’ replaces this with the much faster QuickPath Interconnect (QPI), and -- instead of routing access to RAM through this - adds three direct path between the processors and RAM through an on-board memory controller.

    The Mac Pro is offered with a choice of one 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz Intel Core Xeon 3500 processor or two 2.26GHz, 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz chips. The review unit supplied to us by Apple has two 2.26GHz chips. All of the Xeon 3500 and 5500 series chips have four processor cores to massively boost the performance of multi-threaded applications (including most major creative tools).

    We don’t yet know whether the 3500 chips are just a renamed version of the 5500 parts for single-chip systems – but the Core i7 range is split into standard models with a QPI speed of 4.8GTps, while the Extreme Editions increase this to 6.4GTps. This could be the a difference between the 3500 and 5500 series too. We’ll find out when Intel formally launches the chips towards the end of the month.

    GTps stands for gigatransfers per second, which can't be directly compared to the MHz ratings of the old FSBs - but the hugely faster speed at which data can be transferred through the QPI compared to the FSB is easily apparent in testing.


    ‘Nehalem’ also sees the reintroduction of Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology, which runs two processes on each chip core, so Mac OS X thinks it has twice the number of cores it actually has -- which our tests have show give you up to a 10 per cent performance boost. Most mainstream creative tools don’t support more than eight processor cores currently – so if their developers add support in future updates or releases, the new Mac Pro will only get faster. The chips also have a Turbo Mode, which is designed to hike the power of single-threaded applications -- which will have no effect on multi-threaded creative packages, but will make your next ‘wind-down’ session on a high-spec run smoother.

    Our Cinebench R10 rendering test puts the processors through their paces -- it doesn’t rely on RAM or disk performance at all. The 2.26GHz 8-Core Mac Pro attained a score of 19,689, which is 6.28x what a single processor core would create. This is 12 per cent faster than the previous base dual-chip Mac Pro, which had two 2.8GHz quad-core X5462 chips. At £1,445 plus VAT, that model was a lot less expensive -- but it had only 2GB of much slower RAM, which as you’ll see makes a huge difference in our other tests.
     
  7. MCHR thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Page 2, continued from Digital Arts review

    The ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro is also faster than recent Core i7 workstations -- 13 per cent faster than a model with a single 2.93GHz Core i7 940. However, many PC workstation system buiders are offering ‘enhanced’ -- ie overclocked, but with a full warranty -- Core i7 workstations, and one we tested recently was actually 7.5 per cent faster than this Mac Pro. This had a 2.66GHz Core i7 920 chip cranked up to 3.6GHz using a Domino ALC cooling system plus 12GB of RAM, though otherwise its specs were similar to our test Mac Pro. The shocking thing here is that that system cost £1,495 -- £680 less than the Mac Pro.

    The three direct paths from the processors to the RAM offer the greatest performance when they are all used -- up to 25.6GBps -- and each supports one or two RAM modules. This means that most motherboards for Xeon chips have six or 12 RAM slots, with either three or a full six of these filled -- so the total amount of RAM will be based on multiples of three modules: so 768MB, 1.5GB, 3GB, 6GB, and so on -- which can seem odd when you’re used to multiples of two modules. 3GB is the bare minimum for a creative workstation -- 6GB being our recommended amount, and its worth investing in 12GB if you use After Effects or other compositing software.

    Weirdly the ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro has eight RAM slots, and sells RAM options offering four or eight memory modules. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a higher-end system to check if this reduces performance, as our test Mac Pro has six 1GB modules installed for a 6GB RAM total.

    The ‘Nehalem’ platform is designed to support DDR3 memory running at 1,333MHz -- but Apple has plumped for 1,066MHz RAM. Unlike the RAM used in Core i7 systems, Apple’s RAM is ECC (Error Correcting Code) memory, which checks itself to avoid crashes and is very useful if you perform lengthy renders in motion graphics, VFX or 3D animation packages.

    Photoshop is a very RAM hungry application, despite it being a 32-bit application that can access only 4GB of our Mac Pro’s 6GB of RAM -- 3GB for main app and 1GB for plug-ins. The new Mac Pro shot through our core Photoshop CS4 test, which applies 25 actions on a 500MB image -- including smart filters and 3D transformations.

    The ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro took 16 minutes 26s to complete the test -- compared to 34mins 32s for the older base dual-chop (2008 2.8) model.

    However, this is noticeably slower than Core i7 systems we’ve seen with separate media/scratch drives (our review Mac Pro has only a single 640GB drive). Running the Windows-only 64-bit version of Photoshop CS4 on those systems saw them complete the test up to 50 per cent faster than the new Mac Pro, though Photoshop 64-bit is hampered by many plug-ins not working with it.
     
  8. MCHR thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Page 3, final page from the Digital Arts review

    Photoshop’s everyday performance is boosted by the graphics card. The included nVidia GeForce GT 120 isn’t a particularly fast card -- in Cinebench its real-time 3D score was a mediocre 5,573 – but it has 512MB RAM. This really helps Photoshop’s display to refresh quickly when zooming or transforming large images. The GT 120 has a Mini DisplayPort output alongside the standard dual-link DVI, which is currently a little redundant as the only monitor that current supports the standard is Apple’s glossy LED Cinema Display, which is wholly inappropriate for professional creatives.

    The only graphic card available as a build-to-order option is AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 4870, which should give the Mac Pro some 3D oomph. You can stick in two, three or four GT 120s , but this is really only for medical or financial setups with more than two displays. There’s no option to include a workstation-class card such as one from AMD’s FirePro or nVidia’s Quadro ranges -- but then the only option before was the very niche, ultra-powerful and pricey Quadro 4600 board.

    Our motion graphics/VFX test in After Effects CS4 provides a great way of measuring the performance of the processors, RAM and drive system combined. The ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro completed rendering our 10-second 3D composition of VFX on four HD uncompressed layers in an outstanding 6 minutes and 49s seconds. This is almost a third of the time it took the older Mac Pro and 33 per cent faster than the ‘enhanced’ system detailed above.

    The ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro’s chassis has been reorganized rather than redesigned. The original innovations are still there -- ultra-quiet running, easy access to all of the components through slide out trays for RAM and slide-out bays for hard drives -- but they’re in slightly different positions.

    The only real change is the ditching of all of the FireWire ports in favour of FireWire 800, which is a right pain if you’ve got FireWire hardware. You can buy FireWire 800 to FireWire cables for £25 each at the Apple Store. Apple’s dogged attachement to FireWire 800 puts the company at odds with most creatives, and we’d much prefer Apple had kept a couple of FireWire ports and ditched FireWire 800 for the much faster and widely-supported eSATA.

    The ‘Nehalem’ Mac Pro is an obvious upgrade choice for current Mac-based creative pros -- though we’ll have to wait until early April to see how it measures up against Windows-based competitors.
     
  9. barefeats macrumors 65816

    barefeats

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2000
    #9
    Nice graphs. It would be polite if you would give credit to where you got them.

    The ones with red bars are from BareFeats.com.

    Sincerely,
    Rob-ART, webmaster of BareFeats.com
     
  10. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #10
    While you're here, can you comment on my question in post #5?
     

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