The Bottom Line
- Excellent Case Design
- Upgraded Graphics From Past Version
- Apple Keyboard With Numeric Keypad
- Very Expensive
- Limited Expansion For Memory Upgrades
- Intel Xenon W3530 Quad Core Workstation Processor
- 3GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 18x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card With 1GB Memory
- 5.1 Audio Support
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1
- Seven USB 2.0, Four FireWire 800, Two Mini DisplayPort, One DVI
- Mac OSX 10.6, iLife
Guide Review - Apple Mac Pro 2010 Performance Desktop PC
Dec 2 2010 - Apple's desktop lineup is primarily dominated by the iMac all-in-one system. Those looking for higher performance have the option of going with the Mac Pro systems which have a more traditional desktop look but definitely not standard internals. There are two versions, the two processor version and the single processor version. This review takes a look at the single processor model.
The single core version of the Apple Mac Pro uses a quad core Intel Xenon W3530 processor. This is an older Nehalem version of the workstation processor that has performance that would rank it very similar to the Core i7-860 desktop class processor which a few differences that give it a slight edge. This is matched up with 3GB of DDR3 memory that under Mac OS X runs the system fairly well but for a performance machine is fairly limited. Those hoping to expand this out will find that it is limited to just 16GB of memory which is somewhat disappointing for a workstation classed system.
Storage features on the base system are typical of a high end desktop. There is a terabyte sized hard drive that spins at 7200rpm which provides plenty of space for applications and data. Also included is a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CDs and DVDs. What sets the Mac Pro apart from the iMac is the fact that there are four hard drive bays and two optical drive slots meaning that the system has lots of internal expansion space that the iMac lacks. Unlike the other Apple products, the Mac Pro does not come with an SD card slot.
Thankfully, Apple has upgraded the graphics from their previous models of Mac Pros. Before they used an older version NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor. They have upgraded this to the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card with 1GB of memory. This change was really necessitated by the switch to the mini DisplayPort connector for their external monitors which the card has two of. It also features a dual-link DVI for older or non-Apple displays. The cards performance certainly tops the older GeForce GT 120 but it is far from short from the highest levels available from ATI or NVIDIA.
The big issue with the single processor version of the Mac Pro is the cost. With a retail price of $2500, it is possible to get an equally high performance 27-inch iMac that comes with more base memory and a built-in display for $500 less. Overall, there is little reason to go with the single processor version of the Mac Pro unless you need the additional internal drive slots.