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Apple MacPro 6-core 3.33 GHz “Westmere” Ordered for Testing

What I ordered

I just ordered a new Mac Pro Westmere 3.33GHz hexacore. Since I will be upgrading it to an MPG Pro Workstation, I kept it to a minimum configuration.

Update! If it’s true that 16GB is the max memory on this machine, it just won’t work for me, because I regularly see 10-15GB used in Photoshop CS5 alone.

I did order the double-power-pig graphics card, for high-end testing. If it proves its worth (any worth), I’ll use it, otherwise it will spend its life in a cardboard box as with the ATI Radeon 4870 I already have for my current Mac Pro. I do not want to suck up an extra 300 watts for faster nothing at all. Not at $0.49 per kilowatt hour.

Testing

Testing will begin as soon as Apple can get it to me, which looks to be late August (bummer). I might change shipping to overnight, but it usually only takes 1-2 days anyway.

I have low expectations by comparison to my existing 3.33GHz quad-core Nehalem, but the tests will show whether 6 cores really matter over 4 cores on a variety of tasks.

The 12-core model is dubious: I just can’t see it offering much value except for very specialized tasks, since hardly any programs can even use 8 cores effectively. See my discussion of expected Mac Pro performance.

Shootout

In terms of testing, I’m planning on a five-way shootout:

  • Mac Pro 3.33GHz 4-core Nehalem
  • Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-core Westmere (new)
  • Mac Pro 2.93GHz 8-core Nehalem
  • Mac Pro 2.93GHz 12-core Westmere (new, speed TBD)
  • iMac 27" 2.93GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

 


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