Percussa micro super signal processor

Now grating cheese faster than ever before.

Okay, I spoke too soon. Just one day after a ZDNet blogger announced he could build a cheaper version of Apple’s high-end Mac Pro, Apple themselves have announced they can make their Mac Pro significantly faster and cheaper. I think the ZDNet machine still works out to be cheaper, but not by nearly as large a margin. Some of you wrote in to say you still want, you know, a cool case design, system-wide warranties, the Mac OS, and not having to, um, build your own system. Whatever. That sounds boring. It might even work out of the box. I’m just glad one of you mentioned hacking Mac OS support in. Needlessly risky and difficulty hacky methods? Now you’re speaking my language!

So, what about this new Mac Pro? It’s better and faster and cheaper and stuff. And it doesn’t have a Blu-Ray drive, whatever that’s worth.

Mac Pro

Seriously, Apple makes a really terrific, high-end system. You can get a number of PCs for significantly less that don’t match up spec-for-spec — and the PC market generally gives you more choices — but there’s no question the Mac has a small selection of really good choices that run both Windows and Mac OS X. You know what you want.

Apple is sticking with ATI graphics by default: the Radeon HD 2600 XT. I think the 8600-series NVIDIA is an all-around better 3D card, but for the Mac’s content creation-geared workflow, the Radeon makes sense. For 3D pros, there’s the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600, which is of course overkill price/performance-wise for all but high-end applications. But the real story here is the Xeon architecture from Intel. Think dual 45-nm Quad-Core Xeon processors up to 3.2GHz, starting at US$2799, with 1600 MHz front side bus and 800 MHz memory. I like Apple’s description: “the ideal system for creative professionals, 3D digital content creators and scientists.” I think we should just opt for the “scientist” description, fellow visualists.

One thing I’m not going to repeat that many blogs are is Apple’s hyperbolic-yet-obvious tagline, “fastest Mac ever.”

Actually, wait a minute: oil prices rising, polar ice caps melting, the potential of running out of oil, global terrorism and the potential collapse of the world economy — maybe some day we will see “The New Mac Green: Much Slower and More Expensive Than Last Year’s Model!”

No, scratch that — Obama’s campaign is gaining momentum. I’m sure we’ll avoid all of that; it’s like one of those nasty alternate realities in the sci fi movies we manage to escape.