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Mac Pro (2006-2008) Memory and Solid State Hard Drive Benchmarks

More memory equals a faster Mac. It's been our company mantra for quite a long time. With the addition of our new Mercury Extreme SSD line, we now have another contender for drastically increasing performance on your Mac.

As shown in the benchmarks below, adding more memory to your Mac Pro gradually boosts performance and allows you to run more processes and programs at once. Going from 2GB to just 8GB of memory shows a 65% increase in speed and maximizing the ram in the machine at 32GB (following the OWC MaxRAM guidelines) ran the Photoshop action test 4.5 times faster! And that's just memory alone!

By adding an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD to the stock configuration of the Mac Pro 2.93GHz not only did it run the Photoshop Action Test Large twice as fast alone, but it cut down machine boot time by half!

By using the two together, speed gains are higher still - making us rethink and expand our company mantra:

More Memory = Faster Mac
OWC SSD Drive = Even Faster Mac
More memory and an OWC SSD Drive = Fastest Mac.



OWC offers memory upgrades in excess of Apple's supported maximums. Add up to 32.0GB to make your Mac Pro screaming fast!

OWC's FREE detailed step-by-step installation videos guide you through upgrading your Mac Pro.

Adding more memory to your Mac Pro
can make a dramatic increase in performance.

Lower times are better.

Installing the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD
as the boot drive for the system
also improves performance dramatically.

Lower times are better.

Start your Mac Pro almost twice as fast
by using the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD as your boot drive.

Lower times are better.

Time to boot and open four common Adobe CS5 Applications: Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, & Dreamweaver

See the Boot Time Test shootout on a MacBook Pro in action

...and for the best performance, install both!

Lower times are better.

Other World Computing Benchmark Result Tables

Looking to delve deeper? Unlike most benchmarking sites, we put every configuration of the Mac Pro to the test so you can see exactly what your machine is capable of with additional memory and a solid state drive.

Jump to Results:

See Benchmark Results for Other Models:


"Adobe Photoshop CS5 Large Action Test" Results

This test measures the time (in seconds) it takes to execute a custom action script comprising of 45 commonly-used, memory-intensive processes on a 25,000 pixel wide image using Adobe Photoshop CS5. It is designed to represent a system-straining photo editing session of a graphic artist on a Mac Pro machine such as with multiple images, images with multiple layers, or very large images such as trade show graphics, billboards, promotional banners, and more. These same type of results can be expected from video production suites and other 64 bit applications.

No other processes are running in the background besides those that keep the machine itself running. Memory Usage is left at the default 71% of system memory. Increasing this slider can speed up the test when more memory has been added to the system, however with lower memory amounts, make sure you're leaving enough resources for any additional processes running.

History and cache performance preferences are set as follows:
History States: 20
Cache Levels: 3
Cache Tile Size: 1028K

The only scratch disk used for the purposes of this test is the boot drive itself. No additional drives are installed in the system. Increased performance can be achieved through the use of additional scratch disks. For more information on optimizing your Mac Pro for Adobe Photoshop CS5, we suggest checking out Lloyd Chambers' Mac Performance Guide article Optimizing Photoshop CS5 Performance.

Lower times are better.

RAM Configuration 2.0GB 4.0GB 6.0GB 8.0GB 12.0GB 16.0GB 24.0GB 32.0GB
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.2 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 2534.83 2100.92 1998.12 1272.89 879.36 592.18 586.21 568.23
SSD 1338.42 1138.00 887.92 755.22 635.35 577.88 560.37 559.21
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.0 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 2597.19 2158.54 1618.82 1295.73 929.33 675.69 659.26 628.33
SSD 1372.26 1147.25 858.38 816.41 642.37 613.19 570.56 567.04
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
2.8 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 2477.30 2110.58 1179.62 1276.29 873.57 812.02 648.32 620.99
SSD 1506.76 1154.04 890.94 792.04 636.46 601.92 589.37 540.10

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"Adobe Photoshop CS5 Medium Action Test" Results

This test measures the time (in seconds) it takes to execute a custom action script comprising of 45 commonly-used, memory-intensive processes on a 17,500 pixel wide image using Adobe Photoshop CS5. It is designed to represent a system-straining photo editing session of a graphic artist on an iMac machine such as with multiple images, images with multiple layers, or large images such as retail signage, movie posters, event signage, promotional banners and more. These same type of results can be expected from video production suites and other 64 bit applications.

No other processes are running in the background besides those that keep the machine itself running. Memory Usage is left at the default 71% of system memory. Increasing this slider can speed up the test when more memory has been added to the system, however with lower memory amounts, make sure you're leaving enough resources for any additional processes running.

History and cache performance preferences are set as follows:
History States: 20
Cache Levels: 3
Cache Tile Size: 1028K

The only scratch disk used for the purposes of this test is the boot drive itself. No additional drives are installed in the system. Increased performance can be achieved through the use of additional scratch disks. For more information on optimizing your Mac Pro for Adobe Photoshop CS5, we suggest checking out Lloyd Chambers' Mac Performance Guide article Optimizing Photoshop CS5 Performance.

Lower times are better.

RAM Configuration 2.0GB 4.0GB 6.0GB 8.0GB 12.0GB 16.0GB 24.0GB 32.0GB
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.2 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 1092.04 589.16 521.17 418.66 347.49 336.84 243.37 197.66
SSD 585.19 394.55 337.66 304.64 277.56 270.17 261.73 205.91
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.0 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 1109.75 601.91 518.30 453.27 347.78 324.28 264.22 216.63
SSD 599.64 397.31 327.42 317.27 288.44 285.70 271.93 216.97
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
2.8 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 1301.22 599.28 583.12 438.48 339.41 332.44 307.99 210.66
SSD 605.81 401.00 336.39 317.04 286.93 278.49 262.38 200.11

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"HALO Frame Rate Test" Results

Recognized as one of the greatest achievements in video game entertainment, the Xbox version of Halo has already sold over 3 million units and continues to be a top seller. The Macintosh version adds 16-person online multiplayer, new vehicles, new weapons, new maps, customizable multiplayer games, the precision of playing with a mouse and keyboard and more.

For our testing, we ran the Timedemo Benchmark from the Intel-native version of the popular game, Halo v2.0.3
When Halo is launched in Timedemo mode, it will run through four fixed cinematic sequences from the game. Once it's finished, it generates a file called Timedemo.txt in the ~Documents\Halo directory. The contents of the file can be examined to see what settings were used in the timedemo, including what the average framerate for the demo was.

Results are the average frame rate (in frames per second) achieved. Higher results are better.

RAM Configuration 2.0GB 4.0GB 6.0GB 8.0GB 12.0GB 16.0GB 24.0GB 32.0GB
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.2 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 195.78 191.55 196.17 215.71 215.79 210.97 212.53 210.36
SSD 220.93 223.41 229.67 217.03 217.59 221.48 222.74 220.13
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
3.0 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 122.81 123.67 123.68 123.71 123.88 124.68 126.51 132.02
SSD 131.14 131.22 131.51 131.91 131.14 132.39 133.05 133.94
Mac Pro 8-core Xeon 5400
2.8 GHz Late 2008 (MacPro3,1)
7200 RPM 168.01 174.32 178.97 179.17 178.99 183.62 188.90 190.24
SSD 179.20 181.46 190.21 190.41 190.88 190.72 193.57 195.45

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Want to check your setup against our numbers?
System preferences were also all left as close to factory defaults as possible with few exceptions. Under the Energy Saver pane, sleep has been turned off for both display and hard disk. Tests were run using a 21" LCD monitor at 1680x1050 resolution. No network connection, airport or bluetooth settings are enabled in order to eliminate outside influences to the tests.

When a specific program is used outside its factory default, the change is noted at the beginning of each test.


Memory & Hard Drive Upgrades
for Mac Pro Models