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Apple Mac Pro review

Apple's 2.8GHz, quad-core MacPro puts in an excellent performance

Our Verdict

The entry-level mid-2010 Mac Pro gives us little cause for complaint. A Blu-ray drive would be welcome but was never on the cards, and it's expensive, but not poor value for money. It's great to see that even in the midst of a recession, Apple isn't neglecting its high-end range.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Quad-core

View full specification

For

  • Great new processors Extremely capable graphics card Runs almost silently 18x optical drive Good bundled software

Against

  • No Blu-ray Expensive Only one optical drive No form factor improvements Could use more SDRAM

The mid-2010 refresh's entry-level Mac Pro is a very capable machine. Its 2.8GHz quad core Intel Xeon CPU boasts Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost features that help it make the most of its processing power. The graphics card is certainly impressive.

Off the shelf it boasts an ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, allowing you to connect up to three displays. This can be upgraded to an ATI Radeon HD 5870, or augmented with a second HD 5770. A dual graphics card set-up can support up to six displays.

The Mac Pro is designed with configurability in mind. Components are easy to reach, and can be upgraded and replaced by the end user. This particular model can take up to 16GB of memory (the other two Mac Pros can handle up to 32GB), and there are four cable-free SATA bays for hard drives, giving up to 8TB storage.

In our tests, it performed admirably. When rendering 3D images, it almost matched a 3.2GHz iMac in a single-core test, and roundly trounced it when all available processors came into play. Its 18x SuperDrive makes short work of ripping CDs to iTunes too, and you can fit a second if you wish.

We liked

There's plenty to like about this new Mac Pro. Although the entry-level model, it's still blisteringly fast. Dock applications such as iCal and iPhoto open after a single bounce, and tasks such as video and music encoding are handled much quicker than with other Macs.

And although even a high-end Mac will never be the gamers' computer of choice, if you like the odd blast, this new Mac Pro is quite capable of pushing around the polygons with the best of them.

We disliked

The only real drawback here is that the new Mac Pro still doesn't bring us Blu-ray support. Apple is famously pushing HD downloads and probably feels a Blu-ray drive would cut into its sales through iTunes, but many Mac owners lament the fact that they can't play their Blu-ray movie collection on their Macs as well as their under-the-TV Blu-ray players.

Verdict

The entry-level mid-2010 Mac Pro gives us little cause for complaint. A Blu-ray drive would be welcome but was never on the cards, and it's expensive, but not poor value for money. It's great to see that even in the midst of a recession, Apple isn't neglecting its high-end range.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeWorkstation
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 5770
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Number of Processors Installed1
Total Hard Drive Capacity1 TB
DVIYes
DisplayPortYes
Product FamilyMac Pro
Processor ModelW3530
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.7 Lion
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2.80 GHz
Processor TypeXeon
Standard Memory3 GB
Processor CoreQuad-core
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Gold
Number of Total Memory Slots8
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory Capacity1 GB
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Number of Processors Supported1
Hyper-ThreadingYes
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
FireWire/i.LINKYes
Total Number of USB Ports7
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height510.5 mm
Width205.7 mm
Depth475 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC560B/A
Product NameMac Pro MC560B/A Workstation
Product LineMac Pro
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300
Manufacturer Part NumberMC560B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

The easy-access interior of the Mac Pro feels like the well-organized workstation it is. No rat's nest of components here. You don't need to turn the system on its side or struggle to reach into awkward spaces to make changes. Just remove the side panel for instant access to everything. Slide out the processor tray to add memory. Slide out drive bays to add storage. Slide a simple bar to change up to four expansion cards at once. And with plenty of I/O ports both front and back, you'll have room for all your external devices.

Maximum Memory32 GB
Package Contents
  • Mac Pro MC560B/A Workstation
  • Power cord
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • USB keyboard extension cable
  • Install/restore DVDs
  • Printed and electronic documentation
  • 4 x Internal drive carriers
Weight (Approximate)18.10 kg