Mac Pro: The Ultimate Vista Machine

I find it ironic in the extreme that probably the best Windows computer in the world is Apple’s Mac Pro workstation.  For $2,799 base, you get (2) Intel 64-bit Xeon CPUs, each with 4 cores, 8 memory slots expandable to 32 GB total memory with 2 GB installed, and a bunch of other stuff.

We bought one for Ahu to use at home to help speed along her dissertation experiments.  Ahu works with massive XML files and those files, when read in, take up lots of memory.

We got the computer and I ordered and installed a total of 14 GB of memory.  Mac OS X is already a 64-bit OS so it recognized the 14 GB of memory immediately, with the performance bump to show for it.  After booting up in Mac OS X, I created a 100 GB partition for Boot Camp.  I rebooted and installed 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate and then the Boot Camp drivers.  Everything installed flawlessly and within another hour I had Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2005, and associated utility applications all installed.

So she’s running dual quad-core Xeons with 14 GB.  All that for about the price of my MacBook Pro notebook, fully loaded.

But that Mac Pro workstation is a screamer.  In early performance testing, the MSBuild compile time of the .NET projects at work dropped from about 35 seconds on my MacBook to 7 seconds on the Mac Pro.  More importantly, Ahu’s experiments, which took hours before, now take only a few minutes.  The amount of time saved over the next 6 months will more than pay for this luxurious desktop supercomputer.

A few pictures of the installation.