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Evolving Thoughts on 2013 Mac Pro GPU and CPU Choices

A big thanks to Other World Computing for loaning the 8-core 3.3 GHz Mac Pro and authorized Apple dealer B&H Photo for loaning the 6-core 3.5 GHz Mac Pro.

Testing continues on the 6-core and 8-core 2013 Mac Pro.

Preliminary conclusions on CPU and GPU choices for photographers:

  • The ideal system for photography is the 6-core. The only choice is whether to go with the stock Apple 3.5 GHz, or to aim for a small bonus speed increase with a 3.7 GHz 6-core via CPU upgrade (or 3.3 GHz 8-core).
  • The Apple 8-core at 3.0 GHz is unlikely to be any faster than the 3.5 GHz 6-core for the vasty majority of photographic applications, and will be slightly slower for some tasks: it’s not an upgrade over the 6-core.
  • The emergence of huge speedups via the GPUs holds great promise (as yet unfulfilled in Photoshop). Still unclear is how much difference the D300/D500/D700 GPU choice makes even for functions that use the GPUs (no system to test yet), but it looks wise to make the D500 choice over the stock D300. Whether the D700 choice can bump up real-world gains is unclear as yet, but those who want the fastest should opt for the D700 GPUs and hope for more GPU support.
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