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Apple Teases Fall Release for Mac Pro & CPU Gets Better Benchmarks (in Windows)

08.20.13 @ 9:09PM Tags : , , , , ,

Video thumbnail for youtube video Mac Pro Theatrical Teaser Alleges Release Date, While Early Benchmarks Emerge - nofilmschool“The New Mac Pro” was originally announced at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple unveiled it to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. You can’t exactly get under the hood, but it’s still not playing around with up to 12 cores, dual workstation GPUs, and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports for things such as triple 4K (or beyond?) monitoring. Aside from so-so early CPU benchmarks, we haven’t heard too much in the meantime, but more details are coming into focus. For one thing, Windows benchmarks are shedding new light on the MP’s 12 core Xeon processor. For another, it looks like Apple just set itself a hard deadline for when you may purchase The New Mac Pro — spelled out in teasers screening in cinemas nationwide.

With props to MacRumors, the teaser itself is nothing new exactly. It originally screened at the unveiling of the Mac Pro at WWDC as the centerpiece of a “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!” moment of Apple’s presentation:

Says MacRumors:

Apple has begun showing the teaser video for the upcoming Mac Pro in movie theaters across the nation. According to reports from several people who have seen the teaser, it ends with the line “Fall 2013,” offering the first concrete hint of when the redesigned Mac Pro might launch. It remains unclear when Apple might debut the Mac Pro in the fall months.


This news isn’t all that much more specific than the “Late 2013″ timeframe originally announced, but more specific it is nonetheless. If Apple is to be taken literally at its word of “Fall 2013,” you will be able to buy the new Mac Pro by December 20, 2013, at the latest. This only narrows the timeframe closer by 11 days, but you can bet the actual date will be sooner.

Whether it’s worth the wait (or the price, also yet unannounced) or not depends a lot on performance. Apple’s statement is basically “yes, it’s worth the wait,” claiming processing performances up to 2x the speed of current Mac Pros. The earlier ‘leaked’ benchmarks came off a lot less impressive, though far more data would be necessary to bolster such early disappointment.

More data is now here, offering hope for prospective maxed-out Mac Pro buyers. From another new post from MacRumors regarding the top-tier Mac Pro’s mouthful of a CPU, the 12-core 2.7 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2:

Tom’s Hardware has now gotten its hands on this exact processor expected to make its way into the Mac Pro and put it through rigorous testing in a Windows setup, subjecting the system to numerous benchmarking tools including the 64-bit version Geekbench 2… [pitted] against a variety of Sandy Bridge and other Ivy Bridge chips, as well as a Core i7-4770K Haswell chip, finding that the Xeon E5-2697 V2 generally topped the performance charts in multi-threaded tests but was beaten in many single-threaded tests by the faster chips with fewer cores.

Tom’s Hardware makes the admittance that its Adobe CS6 test battery doesn’t sing much praise for the Xeon E5-2697 V2, but has a lot of nice things to say for the CPU’s ability to handle 3D modeling. Animators, the publication said, will be especially ready to rock ‘n’ roll on a new Mac Pro.

toms hardware 3ds max benchmark intel Xeon E5-2697 V2 mac pro cpu processor performance

As MacRumors points out in the above excerpt, the 2.7 GHz chip doesn’t fare quite as well against the brawnier, fewer-core CPUs in tasks better suited for single-threaded, high-clock rate brute force. This is not surprising, given Apple’s rather strong-armed push for greater GPU reliance. But, boy, can you ever trust iTunes to throw a wrench in your works:

toms hardware itunes benchmark intel Xeon E5-2697 V2 mac pro cpu processor performance

Disclaimers first. Grains of salt must be taken with the data on the table so far. The Mac Pro isn’t done yet. The Xeon E5-2697 V2 is itself still in pre-production. The Tom’s Hardware tests, though encouraging, are performed on Windows workstations and it “cannot say which platform was used for benchmarking the Ivy Bridge-EP-based CPU.” In other words, it’s still difficult to say how well the Mac Pro and its CPU will perform, fully tricked-out and running OS X Mavericks.

All told, however, there’s plenty for a prospective buyer to be excited about here — or, if you were previously dismayed, plenty to be relieved about. The new Mac Pro will be powered by a much more capable CPU than earlier benchmarks may have led you to believe.

In other words, it’s still difficult to say how much better than its predecessors the Mac Pro and its CPU will perform. But better it will be, and soon –  lack of conventional expansibility to internal hardware notwithstanding.

Be sure to check out Tom’s Hardware’s full benchmarks below as well!

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  • Ah the new Mac Pro. I can’t wait to see this thing in action. I remember the awesome G4 Cube (well it looked awesome). I think this Mac Pro will follow in it’s foot steps.

  • The price of the i7-4960X will be $990 and the Xeon E5-2697 V2 price has been leaked at $2,949. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7214/xeon-e52600-v2-price-list-server-ivy-bridgeep

  • Apple, I love ya and this is pretty exciting but was it really necessary to show it in theaters?

  • Price of a low grade editing layout for the new Mac Pro:

    Mac Pro (Base Unit*) – $3,000.00

    Apple Thunderbolt Monitor (x2) – $1859.98 (amazon.com)

    Pegasus 4TB RAID System – $1099.00

    Total: $5958.98

    This is just to get up and running to do anything useful.

    *Base Unit will most likely consist of a Xeon Quad Core cheapy Chip, 128GB internal PCIe SSD, a single cheap bottom of the bargain bin FirePro if not a mid-grade Radeon, maybe just maybe 8GB of 1600MHz RAM but I would not be surprised if it were 4GB.

    Imagine if you spent that much on a Hackintosh, and now that ProRes is commonly available in Windows machines, I don’t see the point of Apple anymore. Maybe they should leave the “Pro” market? Would you really miss them?

    • Yep!

    • john jeffries on 08.21.13 @ 4:39AM

      “I don’t see the point of Apple anymore”

      gotta love NFS commenters man

    • @Kris – Agreed. The new Mac Pro will be pointless when you can easily build a faster and cheaper Windows machine with the same or better components.

      • I disagree…Samsung can built so much self-acclaimed better Smart Phone then iPhone. But after using Apple products for a few months, one thing I realize about Apple is the study they put in making the “overall” experience is much better than any other consumer products out there through its seamless integration with all of its products across the chain.
        Basically, you can match Apple products on paper, but there is a reason why there is a cult worshiping their products holistically.
        It is just that you have to pay heftily for what it offers. For those who can, enjoy it. For those who can’t and couldn’t be bother, move on!

        • You mean the “overall experience” of a pretty computer, with a cute little Apple logo, and average performance at twice the price? I need my computer to perform to get work done (heavy 3D renders, video encoding, mogo effects, color correction, etc.) Windows machines always outperform Macs in all of the benchmarks. Mac desktops represent only a small fraction of users (7.2%) in comparison to the almost total dominance of Windows desktops (91.3%). It’s just a numerical fact that Apple lost the desktop war, and the mind-share with it, a long time ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

          • Always gotta love it when “OS share” gets plopped out as the go-to strawman argument. As if the 150 million Celeron-powered, 256mb RAM drone boxes that sit on the mainstream office jockeys’ desktops across the corporate landscape using Windows 2000 to connect to Facebook had any relevance to a thread about editing video.

    • I run a hack pro and dual boot to Windows7. Windows isn’t half bad (for normal use) if you get the start menu back and never use their touch interface – but supposedly they are backtracking a bit on that whole deal. Though I doubt that I’ll go back to Windows any time soon.

      Apple may promote it this way but I don’t see the point of having all the components on a single heatsink with a single fan as being innovative – different, yes; innovative, no. They said it themselves: “That way, if one processor isn’t working as hard as the others, the extra thermal capacity can be shared efficiently among them. ” In other words your components that don’t normally run hot will now run hotter because of the components around them. It’s better to isolate and efficiently cool parts separately than to average them all together. However don’t expect Apple to care much about cooling. ALL their new products run hot. An iPhone can get hot doing normal tasks and laptops can’t even be used on your lap without effecting your fertility! However, being the geniuses that they are they know that more heat leads to faster deterioration which forces us to buy a new product after just a year or two after it starts to show slower speeds.

      If it was really innovative it would have been watercooled with a radiator down the center. If I can put the same chip on a hackintosh or pc and watercool it with a simple component like the Corsair H110 I would be able to get huge improvements after overclocking.

      I got a 40% improvement on my render times after overclocking with the help of watercooling on my i7. A $120 cost.

      • The Start menu/button is a non-issue. It’s easily fixed with a one-time $5 fee to http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ I use it in Windows 8 and you can’t tell the difference between how it looks and works in Windows 8 vs. Windows 7. By the way, Microsoft fired Steven Sinofsky just 15 days after the launch of Windows 8. Steven thought taking out the Start menu/button was a good idea… wrong-o!

    • Dumb question… how is ProRes now available in Windows machines? I randomly found one piece of software (prhelpersoftware) that can convert to ProRes in Windows, but I didn’t know this was now common. Very curious!!

      • A windows build of ffmpeg can readily encode ProRes, if you’re not afraid of the command line. In most cases, even the decode-only functionality of Quicktime on Windows is enough. You can still use any cameras or devices that capture to ProRes without any problems.

        • Dave Kendricken on 08.21.13 @ 7:52PM

          Been wondering about this as well, and the ‘read-only’ point is well taken. That said, what’s a reasonable alternative to ProRes for renders / exports? (I ask this as someone looong since blissfully dependent on the ProRes family, who also recently began his migration to PP CC (OS X), who is still totally dependent on the ProRes family)

        • Anthony Marino on 08.21.13 @ 8:07PM

          If I’m not mistaken (correct me if I’m wrong) but I think I had to get QuickTime Pro for my prores files to play on my pc and in premiere. That was last October, I have to check though

      • FFMPEG can render almost any input and out put Prores proxy LT vanilla, HQ, and 4444. And it’s not command line only, a simple search on YouTube will show plenty of results that show easy steps to use AnotherGUI and Avanti with ffmpeg. I’ve been doing this for years. I edit with what ever coded I’m given with premiere and then simply trans-code the final edit into Prores. The client never knows the difference.

      • DNxHD is your free friend.
        Apple has a done a very good job of convincing a lot of people that ProRes is the only option.
        In much the same way that they have convinced a lot of people that FC is the only way.
        Avid and Premiere Pro are far better options these days.

  • Marco Arment had a great post (http://www.marco.org/2013/08/10/ivy-bridge-ep-prices) about the cost/performance breakdown of the various Xeon E5 V2s. Long story short, despite video being a fairly great theoretical fit for multicore-heavy setups, you might get more realistic bang for your buck from the fewer-core, higher-clock-speed options.

    • ya, true with all the intel MPs up to this point. Intel will release 10-12 cores on a single socket in due time. 4.1 Ghz base, 4.7 Turbo pls ;X

  • Nobody but maybe less than 1% of computer users actually want to build their own fucking machines. I can’t believe you idiots think that an actual production or design firm would A. Put up with a bunch of home built machines, or B. Have a problem with the expense of the Mac Pros. There is also C, which states that all your clients run macs, expect to run macs, and showing up with a neon blue windows machine would make you look like an amateur. We’re not running servers here, Mac users buy Macs because they’ve always worked for our needs, and if we need something else we can buy a PC. They’re both totally legitimate hardware and software solutions.

    • Sorry Mark, but Mac is the minority and always has been. Most businesses and studios run Windows. Mac desktops represent only a small fraction of users (7.2%) in comparison to the almost total dominance of Windows desktops (91.3%). It’s just a numerical fact that Apple lost the desktop war, and the mind-share with it, a long time ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

      • I never said that they were the majority. But in the circle of people who do use these machines, designers, creative professionals, they are the norm. I know, because I work in this field. Though I could feasibly work in Windows, I see no reason to do so. It’s also a classic idiot internet forum thinking to state that Apple is ‘at war’ with PCs. If they’re ‘at war’ with Microsoft as a platform, they certainly won, considering all the success they’ve had since the last decade. If you were to go out and ask average consumers how they view the average Lenovo vs a Macbook, they’ll almost certainly see the Macbook as the higher end choice. However, they’re not ‘at war’ because they know that people who want a PC will buy one, and people who want a mac will buy a Mac. The market is sufficiently large enough to support users of both. If they lost some imaginary war they’d be out of business, not shitting money night and day like they do now. If you compare the user base of lets say, videos shot with phones vs videos shot with Arriflex cameras, well then certainly Arri lost the war to phones. But since that’s a fucking stupid way of looking at it…well if you don’t get the idea by now, keep on fighting your imaginary war.

      • Always gotta love it when “OS share” gets plopped out as the go-to strawman argument. As if the 150 million Celeron-powered, 256mb RAM drone boxes that sit on the mainstream office jockeys’ desktops across the corporate landscape using Windows 2000 to connect to Facebook had any relevance to a thread about editing video.

    • Shall we just overlook the custom build Linux machines that major FX houses are keen on?

  • funkydmunky on 08.24.13 @ 1:57AM

    PC/MAC=Same hardware. OS is a personal choice but matters very little/zero when you are in the app of your choice. When it gets down to PC’s the Apple premium just cant be justified unless you must run FCP-X. The illusion of quality is just that. Apple uses crap FoxConn MB and other average parts.
    Ridiculous that so called professionals would be willing to buy an overpriced PC in a coffee can, when something far cheaper and reliable can be had. For some hipster bragging rights are paramount I guess?

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