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Apple flexes design muscle in speedy new Mac Pro

CNET reviews Apple's new Mac Pro, whose $3,299 default has a pair of 2.26GHz Intel Xeon quad-core CPUs, 6GB of RAM, and a 512MB GeForce GT 120 3D card.

We posted our review of Apple's new Mac Pro on Thursday night. You can read all about it here.

So it's clear, we tested the default, $3,299 eight-core spec with a pair of 2.26GHz Intel Xeon quad-core CPUs, 6GB of RAM, and a 512MB GeForce GT 120 3D card. With the help of our digital-imaging and video production teams, we also put together a few extra tests.

We took Photoshop 4 and timed a batch RAW file treatment, and we also have two Final Cut Studio 2 tests that take an HD video file and prepare it for uploading to the Web. For comparison, we had a baseline 2.8GHz eight-core Mac Pro from the previous generation, but we tested it with both 4GB and 8GB of RAM.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On the whole, we're impressed by the Mac Pro for digital-media production, and in most cases, it provides a noticeable performance improvement over the older models, especially on apps like Final Cut and Cinebench that take full advantage of its new CPU and memory architecture.

It's interesting, though, that because of its slower core clock speed, the new 2.26GHz system actually trailed behind the older 2.8GHz Mac Pro on Photoshop. Raw clock speed obviously still matters.

As for the design muscle we mention in the headline, the new Mac Pro actually has very few external changes, but the redesigned interior features some of the most innovative case features we've seen in a PC to date. Check out the review for the full story, and check back here later this afternoon for a few extra test results.

Read our review of the 2.26GHz eight-core Mac Pro.