At the beginning of last year, Apple announced that it would migrate all of its systems to Intel platforms by its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2007. Earlier this week Apple announced that the transition was complete, finalized by announcing the brand new Intel based Mac Pro and Xserve systems for professional workstation and server customers respectively. A full year ahead of "schedule", very few expected to take until 2007 to complete the transition considering the x86 version of OS X had been in development in parallel with the PowerPC version for the past 6 years.
It's been a long and not always as exciting road, going from the PowerPC G4 and G5 based systems to the new Core Duo and Xeon based Macs. Externally, little has changed with the new Macs, but on the inside these things are full blown PCs running Mac OS X. The entire transition has honestly been quite impressive on Apple's part, as switching CPU architectures this seamlessly is not easy to do.
We've looked at previous Intel based Macs, the MacBook Pro and the new iMac, and generally have come away quite pleased with the move to Intel. There are still some hiccups here and there, mostly thanks to applications from companies like Adobe and Microsoft that have yet to provide Universal Binary support but for the most part the end user isn't aware that Apple's OS and software have gone through dramatic changes over the past year.
We will be bringing you full coverage of the new Mac Pro, including a complete review of the system compared to other PCs as well as its predecessors, however we found ourselves talking a lot about the specs of the new Mac Pro that we decided to put that discussion in an article before our review goes live. We're still awaiting our review sample and hope to begin testing in the coming weeks, but until then there are a number of items worth discussing about the new Mac Pro. We'll examine the price impact of Apple's choice of Xeon over Core 2 processors, fully explain FB-DIMMs and what they mean to you, as well as talk about the chipset, graphics and storage options on the new platform (while offering some cheaper alternatives to Apple's Build-to-Order upgrades).
Unlike the outgoing PowerMac G5, the Mac Pro only ships in one standard configuration with the following specs:
The point of this article is to help those of you ordering today, analyze and understand the specs, as well as provide some of the necessary background information for our review that will follow in the coming weeks. Without further ado, let's talk about one of the most important aspects of the new Mac Pro: the CPUs.
In many ways, the fact that Apple didn't change the exterior of the PowerMac G5 chassis symbolizes the upgrade that is the Mac Pro. The focus is entirely on the inside of the chassis, on the Woodcrest based Xeon processors, the FB-DIMMs and the four SATA drive bays, however we'd caution you on spending too much on a brand new Mac Pro right away, despite Apple boasting immediate availability. By the end of this year, Intel will begin shipping Clovertown, which should be a drop-in quad-core replacement to the current dual-core Woodcrest based Xeon CPUs. It should allow Apple to replace its dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 option with a pair of quad-core Clovertown based Xeon CPUs. We're not yet sure what the clock speeds or price points will be, but it may be worth waiting for if you can. If you can't wait, there is always the possibility that you may be able to simply upgrade the CPUs in the Mac Pro later on, in which case you may want to go with the lowest end option now and simply drop in Clovertown later. Over the coming days we will hopefully be able to figure out what will and won't be possible with the new Mac Pro design, but we're hoping that the move to Intel means good things for the cost of upgradability on these systems.
Not really. If you have access to an Apple store or a friend with an Intel-based Mac, with the Office suite installed, boot up in Windows and try opening the suite, say PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, etc. Before you can open the next app, the ones you've clicked on are open.
That's the way PCs should work, but only aspire to.
I love how thorough Anand is. This is a very good system overview.<iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=*H4hz/ywH9w&offerid=77305.10001570&type=4&subid=0" vspale=0></iframe>
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