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Apple Mac Pro is crowned the fastest "PC" in the UK

By David Fearon

Posted on 4 Oct 2006 at 17:24

The quad-core Apple Mac Pro has set new records in PC Pro's benchmarks, in the UK's first independent speed test of the latest Intel-based Mac.

The Mac Pro is fitted with two of the top-end workstation-orientated Xeon CPUs. This effectively makes it a quad-core machine, and it's fabulously fast for CPU-intensive tasks, as long as the application in question is able to use them all.

Immediately abandoning the pre-installed copy of Mac OS X, we popped a copy of Windows XP Professional on the machine using Apple's Boot Camp beta. The results, in terms of pure performance, speaks volumes for the ability of Intel's new processors - and Apple's ability to build systems around them.

The machine achieved record-breaking speeds in our multiple-applications test, where we run demanding tasks in Microsoft Office, Photoshop and a music decoder simultaneously, so keeping all four cores constantly busy. The result was almost three times faster than the reference Pentium D-based computer that PC Pro's labs test scores are based on.

We got a similarly stunning score under our 3ds max 3D-render test; the average frame-render time was 34 seconds, when even the fastest of machines we've seen before have hovered around the minute mark.

We tested the top-end specification, with the 3GHz Xeon 5160 processors, 4GB RAM, a Quadro FX4500 workstation graphics card and 1.75TB of storage, making for an all-up price of the merest fraction under £5,000.

But if the thought of a PC costing as much as a car isn't for you, the base specification, sporting dual 2.66GHz Xeons, 1GB RAM and GeForce 7300 graphics, is £1,699 inc VAT.

Look for the full review in the next edition of PC Pro, on sale from 19 October.

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