Estimating Mac Pro Performance

Ever since the first updated Mac Pro result appeared on the Geekbench Browser back in June, everyone has been curious about how the upcoming Mac Pros will perform. Arguably the most important component when it comes to performance is the processor. While Apple hasn't announced which processors will be used in the upcoming Mac Pro, they have provided some details on the Mac Pro specification page. Using this information, and information from the Intel ARK processor database, here are the processors I expect to see in the upcoming Mac Pro:

Xeon E5-1620 v243.7 GHz3.9 GHz$294
Xeon E5-1650 v263.5 GHz3.9 GHz$583
Xeon E5-1680 v283.0 GHz3.9 GHz$1723
Xeon E5-2697 v2122.7 GHz3.5 GHz$2614

Even though some Geekbench 3 results have leaked for the upcoming Mac Pro, results are not available for all of the upcoming models. Luckily, since Geekbench 3 is a cross-platform benchmark, we can estimate the missing Mac Pro scores using results from Windows workstations that use the same processors as the Mac Pros. Here are my estimated Geekbench 3 scores for the upcoming Mac Pros:

These estimates suggest that single-core performance will be similar for the 4-, 6-, and 8-core models. Since all of the processors have the same Turbo Boost frequency, and since the processors run single-core tasks at the Turbo Boost frequency, this isn't surprising news. However, it is welcome news since users will not have to sacrifice single-core performance when choosing between the 4-core and the 6- or 8-core models.

These estimates also suggest that single-core performance will be 15% lower for the 12-core model. However, the 12-core model will have the best multi-core performance. I think the 12-core model will appeal to users with heavily-threaded applications that can take advantage of all 12 cores, while everyone else will be much happier with the superior single-core performance the other models offer.

How do the upcoming Mac Pros compare to the current Mac Pros?

The upcoming Mac Pro will have significantly better single-core performance than the current Mac Pro. For example, the upcoming 4-core model will be between 50% and 75% faster, and the upcoming 12-core model between 16% and 32% faster, than the equivalent current models.

Multi-core performance is also significantly better. The upcoming 4-core model will be between 58% and 78% faster than the current 4-core models, and the upcoming 12-core model will be between 17% and 47% faster than the current 12-core models. The 6-core and 8-core models are also quite speedy. The upcoming 6-core model will only be 10% slower than the current base 12-core model, and the 8-core model is faster than most of the current 12-core models.

Final Thoughts

I'm really excited about the upcoming Mac Pros as they're the first significant update in over three years. Even if you don't consider the new industrial design, the fact that Apple has moved from the outdated Nehalem and Westmere processors to the new Ivy Bridge processors should be exciting for all Pro users.

The only question left is how much will the 8-core and 12-core models cost? Given the price of the 8-core and the 12-core processors ($1723 and $2614, respectively) I expect both models will be quite expensive, even when compared to the $3999 6-core model.

John Poole is the founder of Primate Labs and lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Deborah. You can find John on Twitter or .