• Price When Reviewed: 1446

  • Pros: More powerful and more storage space than Power Mac G5. Low price next to PC rivals.

  • Cons: No native Adobe, Autodesk or NewTek software yet.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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The release of the Mac Pro completes Apple’s move to Intel’s processors, blowing the Last Post for the company’s long-serving PowerPC-based workstations. The Mac Pro is more than a G5 with a new processor though, it’s a powerful system that offers something not usually associated with Apple – value.

With Intel Inside, comparing the Mac Pro to the latest generation of Windows workstations is no longer about power. Using many of the same components as equivalent models from the likes of Dell and HP, the Mac Pro doesn’t offer any higher performance – but it offers it at a much lower price.

The originally confusing choice of Intel processors has been born out as the right choice, as our head-to-head review of the latest Xeons against the even newer AMD Opterons in Digit 104 proves. The Mac Pro also works out a lot less expensive – and a lot more powerful – than the Quad Power Mac G5, which began at just under £2,000.

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The Mac Pro has the same aluminium skin as its predecessor, but the cooler and less power-hungry Intel chips leave more space for storage – one of the G5’s weak points. The chassis can hold four Serial ATA (SATA) drives, up from the G5’s maximum of two. 
The Mac Pro’s optical drive bay has room for two full-size optical drives. Although this seems a bit excessive today, the choice makes a bit more sense when you consider that we’re on the cusp of a whole new generation of optical drives in the form of the high-capacity HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats.
The cooler processors also mean that while the G5 could be noisy at times, the Mac Pro is always whisper quiet.
The power of the Mac Pro is dependent on applications being updated. Most major Mac-compatible creative applications have been released in Intel-native form – though Adobe’s Creative Suite is one problematatic laggard. There probably won’t be a native version until Spring of next year. 
It runs reasonably reliably under the Rosetta emulation system, but at about the speed of a G4. The same is true for the Creative Suite and After Effects – but we’ve seen many reports of crashes when running more than one CS application <BR>
at once. There are no native versions of Autodesk Maya 8 or NewTek LightWave 9, either.
Native applications – which include QuarkXPress 7, Apple’s Final Cut Studio and Shake, and Maxon Cinema 4D – run extremely quickly. It’s as noticeable as the jump from G4 to G5.
If you spend most of your time in one of these native applications, you’ll want a Mac Pro right now. Adobe software users will have to wait a while to get full use of the Mac Pro’s power.
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<b>Processor:</b> 2x Intel Xeon 5150 (2.66GHz)<BR>
<b>RAM (standard/max):</b> 1GB/16GB<BR>
<b>Graphics card:</b> nVidia GeForce 7300 GT<BR>
<b>RAM:</b> 256MB<BR>
<b>Connector:</b> PCI Express<BR>
<b>Hard drive type:</b> Serial ATA 3Gbps<BR>
<b>Size:</b> 250GB<BR>
<b>Speed:</b> 7,200rpm<BR>
<b>Removable media drives:</b> dual-layer DVD±RW drive<BR>
<b>Soundcard:</b> on board<BR>
<b>OS:</b> Mac OS X<BR>
<b>Keyboard:</b> Apple Keyboard<BR>
<b>Mouse:</b> Apple Mighty Mouse
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