Top-notch Windows PC VS Apple Mac Pro

Greetings folks,

a very recent post made by Stephan Fung came to my notice where he mentions that a Mac Pro with top specs is cheaper than a top spec Windows PC. Paradigm shift or something went wrong with the analysis? Guess what…

Full article can be found here:

The New Apple Mac Pro is Here – But Can We Build it Better (and Cheaper) PC DIY Style?


Part 1: Why I disagree with the article

Well, obviously I have to disagree with the argument and the whole article he published, here are the reasons:

– The hardware mapping he has done between the Mac Pro and Windows PC it’s not correct, he lowered the Windows PC Specs, browsed PC retailers with high prices and that pushed even more the lower value for money of a Windows PC:

– He has chosen Micro-ATX form factor, however current Micro-ATX motherboards only have 4 Dimm sockets which mean that can only support 32Gb of RAM (4x8GB);

– The Motherboard Asus Rampage IV Gene is Micro-ATX and can only take 32Gb of RAM, the Mac Pro top Specs support 64Gb;

– The memory is the CORSAIR Vengeance LP 32GB kit (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866, the Mac Pro top Specs support 64Gb;

– The SSD/Storage is the Samsung 840 Pro Series 512GB SATA3 2.5 inch MLC SSDs, the Mac Pro top Specs support 1TB of SSD Storage PCIe;

– The Graphics Card AMD FirePro W9000 6GB GDDR5 is not the best fit for the PC when compared with the D700 of Mac Pro, there is a much better option in terms of Performance and Price, the AMD Radeon HD7990 6GB GDDR5 PCI-E is much more cheaper and outperforms the FirePro W9000 and the Mac Pro D700 with 4k teraflops against 2k Teraflops of W9000 and 3,5k Teraflops of D700.

– The case Silverstone FT03 is for Micro~ATX form factor, as mentioned we need an ATX form factor. The FT03 is either a low-end case from Silverstone, if we want to compare head to head a Windows PC with the Mac Pro we have to be fair and chose a top-notch Case.

– SSD Samsung 840 Pro Series 512GB SATA3 2.5 inch, first it does not have 1TB of Storage, second it is SATA3 where the Mac Pro top specs offer 1TB PCIe, again the Hardware mapping failed dramatically.


Part 2: Mac Pro Top Specs and Price

If we go ahead to Apple website and configure a Mac Pro with the Top Specs like Mr. Fung did, we would get something like this today:

Processor: 2.7GHz Xeon 12-core with 30MB of L3 cache
Memory: 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
SSD: 1TB PCIe-based flash storage
Graphics: Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Price: $9,599.00 (does not include Sales Taxes)

Link for Mac Pro setup:



Part 3: Windows PC with the same Mac Pro top Specs

The Windows PC Hardware configuration that I will present here is an accurate mapping for a Mac Pro with the top specifications like I’ve described above.

I want to emphasize that when you chose a Mac Pro you don’t know the detailed hardware specifications, that is somehow frustrating for such prime Price. On the Hardware world CPU’s, Memory, GPU’s, SSD’s, Motherboards can perform with higher or lower speed/bandwidth and that can represent a major difference of performance.

I don’t want to leave you with the same frustration so I will be very transparent, for each Hardware component you have the Specifications and a link for the vendor detailed specification, the retail price and a link for the retailer website.


CPU: Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2697 v2 (30M Cache, 2.70 GHz)

I’m keeping the same Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge E5 with 12 Cores.


Processor Number: E5-2697V2
# of Cores: 12
# of Threads: 24
Clock Speed: 2.7 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 3.5 GHz
Cache: 30 MB
Lithography: 22nm
Memory Types: DDR3-800/1066/1333/1600/1866

Full CPU Specs here:

Retail price: 2.376,10€ (23% VAT included)


Motherboard: Asus X79-DELUXE

I could have gone through other Asus Motherboards, but the reason I’ve chosen this one it’s because it has the socket LGA2011, 3 PCIe slots, supports 64Gb Memory with Quad-channel, Multi-GPU support and latest X79 chipset.

Other interesting value points are the number of USB 2.0/3.0 Ports, Dual Gigabite Lan, Wireless AC (1300Mbps wireless support!), Bluetooth 4.0, high quality 8-channel audio and fully optimized for the best Hardware and Windows 8.1.

Socket: LGA2011 – Intel® Socket 2011 Core™ i7 Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processors


8 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR3 2800(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Quad Channel Memory Architecture

Multi-GPU Support: Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology | Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology

Expansion Slots:
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16/x8/x8) *1
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
2 x PCIe x1

Intel® X79 chipset:
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), black
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Marvell® PCIe 9230 controller:
4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), dark brown
ASMedia® ASM1061 controller:
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), dark brown
2 x Power eSATA 6Gb/s port(s), green

Intel® 82579V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Realtek® 8111GR, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers- 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance
Intel® LAN- Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)

Wireless Data Network:
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz

Bluetooth: Bluetooth V4.0

Realtek® ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
– Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
– DTS Ultra PC II
– DTS Connect
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
– BD Audio Layer Content Protection

USB Ports:
Intel® X79 chipset:
12 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (4 at back panel, black, 8 at mid-board)
ASMedia® ASM1042 controller:
8 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (6 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Full Motherboard Specs here:

Retail price: 343,96€ (23% VAT included)


SSD: PCIe Mushkin 960GB 2150/1950 ScorpionDX PCIe

This PCIe SSD is a wonderful piece of hardware, I would love to have one of this, just have a look on the Read and Write Speeds and IOPS supported, you can’t reach such performance with the available SATA3 SSD’s and that’s why Stephen Fung failed with the hardware mapping on his analysis.

Even though we don’t know which PCIe SSD is being integrated with the Mac Pro configuration but I pretty much doubt that is something compared with this one here,  that could be an huge downturn on the performance difference if they have gone for a 800MB/Sec PCIe.


Interface Type: PCIe 2.0 x8 Interface
Capacity: 960GB
Dimensions: 167.5 x 111.5 x 14.2mm
Temp. Range: 0-70°C (operating) / -20-85°C (storage)
Read Speed: up to 2160MB/sec
Write Speed: up to 1980MB/sec
IOPS (4K ran read): 78000
IOPS (4K ran write) 107000
MTBF: 1 million hours
Controller: Quad SandForce SF-2281 SSD processors with un-throttled IOPS

Full SSD Specs here:

Retail price: 1200,77€ (23% VAT included)


Graphics Card: AMD Radeon™ HD 7990 950M BOOST 1000M 6GB DDR5 4XmDP DVI PCI-E

The Mac Pro D700 Graphics Card supports 3.5 teraflops.
The matching GPU for D700 on the Windows PC is AMD Radeon HD 7990 and it can even perform better with it’s 4,0 Teraflops. I believe that the difference should be in the GPU Clock as it can go from 950mhz to 1000mhz.


five_pictures4_2803_20130418162136_m20131127112047_FX-799A-6NF_1GPU Clock : 950MHz Boost 1000MHz
Memory Bus : 384 bit x 2
Memory Bandwidth: 576
Memory Clock : 6.0 GHz
Memory Size : 6 GB
Memory Type : DDR5
Number of Stream Processing Units: 4096

Full Graphics Specs here:
AMD Official Website:

XFX Official Website:™_HD_7990/FX-799A-6NF9

MSI Official Website:

XFX Retail price: 1.049,00€ (23% VAT included)

MSI Retail price: 989,00€ (23% VAT included)—R7990-6GD5_MSIHD79906GBDDR5.htm


Memory: 64GB DDR3 GSkill RipjawsZ F3-1866C10Q2-64GZM

The Mac Pro 64Gb configuration has ECC memory, the vast majority of memory available is unbuffered (non-ECC), I was not able to find ECC memory for a 64Gb setup and the MotherBoard also does not mention ECC memory support.

To respect the MotherBoard and Intel Xeon E5 compatibility I’ve opted for Non-Buffered memory with a good latency, 1,5Voltage, DDR3 1866Mhz – PC3-14900. Again we don’t know the Mac Pro memory specs to evaluate the memory Latency.


Clock Speed: DDR3-1866 (PC3-14900)
Kit: 64GB (8GBx8)
Latency: CL10-11-10-30
Voltage: 1.5 Volt
Compatible: Intel Core i7 processor family for socket LGA-2011(Ivy Bridge-E)

Full Graphics Specs here:

Retail price: 582,49€ (23% VAT included)


Case: OrigenAE S16T

What makes a Mac Pro special is the Cylindrical case and form factor. All the Mac Pro HW has been build for this form factor, the Windows PC world is more about standard form factors so we can’t opt for such type of case.

Even though I don’t want to leave you embarrassed with your Windows PC against the Mac Pro Cylinder, there are special cases that can make you shine, OrigenAE and Silverstone have top-notch HTPC cases. For this particular configuration I’ve chosen OrigenAE S16T but you have a very similar one from SilverStone at the same price range which is CW03 (

Both cases have an integrated LCD and remote control so that you can have a prime Home Audio/Cinema experience, now I got your attention. Winking smile


Dimensions: 435 x 175 x 390 mm (WxHxD)
Material: aluminum (5 mm)
Color: Silver
Weight: 6.2 kg
Form Factor: ATX, Micro ATX

1x 92mm (side)
2 x 80 mm (rear)

Drive Bays:
1x 5.25 (External)
4 x 3.5 (internal)

Expansion Slots: 7

AC adapter (optional): Standard ATX

I / O Panel:
2x USB
1x FireWire
1x each Audio IN & OUT
1x Card Reader

TFT Display:
Size: 17.8 cm (7 inch)
Format: 15:9
Native Resolution: 800 x 480
Maximum resolution: 1920 x 1080
Operation: Touch Screen
Interface: SVGA
Power supply: 12 V / 9 W

Compatibility: Windows 9X, ME, 2000, XP (Home, Pro, MCE), Vista (32/64 bit), 7 (32/64 bit), Mac OS 9.X from; Linux

S16T HTPC Aluminium OrigenAE
IR receiver IR310
Remote Control
Mounting hardware, wiring


Full Case Specs here:

Retail price: 610,88€ (23% VAT included)


PSU: Silverstone ST1000-G Evolution 2.0 1000W

The minimum requirement for a double AMD Radeon 7990 is 1000W.

Such case deserves a prime PSU so I’ve chosen the Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution with 1000W, per Silverstone recommendation this is the minimum requirement for a double 7990 configuration. This particular PSU has some interesting features, such as the modular cables that you can attach and detach (space free inside the case = better air flow and temperature), 2200uF capacitors for the PCIe connectors to reduce the electric noise, FAN filter and supports 83VA’s on 12V+ and a lot of protection functions.


Color: Black

Total: 1,000 watts
Combined Power: 3.3 V/5V 150 watts
Combined 12V: 996 watts
Efficiency: 87-90%

Input Voltage:
230V, 50Hz
110V, 60Hz
90-264 volts

Standard: ATX 2.03, EPS, ATX12V 2.3

Main connection:
1 x ATX (20-pole), cable length 55 cm or
1 x ATX 2.x (24-pole), cable length 55 cm or
1 x EPS (24-pole), cable length 55 cm

Drive Connectors:
6 x 5.25 inch, cable length 2 x 60 cm, 2 x 75 cm, 90 cm 2 x
2 x 3.5 inches, 105 cm cable length of 2 x
8 x Serial ATA cable length of 2 x 60 cm, 2 x 75 cm, 2 x 90 cm, 2 105 cm

Graphics card connectors:
4 x 6 +2- pin, 2 x 6-pin cable length of 5 x 55 cm, 1 x 70 cm

+3.3 V 25 A
+5 Vsb 3.5 A
+5 V 25 A
+12 V1 83 A
+12 V total 83 A
-12V 0.3 A

Power Switch A

Protection functions:
Surge Protection (OCP):
Over voltage protection (OVP)
Undervoltage protection (UVP)
Overload protection (OLP / OPP)
Short circuit protection (SCP)
Thermal protection (OTP)
Operating with no load (NLP / NLO)

Properties: Active PFC

Features: ATX12V 2.3, cable management, temperature-controlled fan, 80 PLUS certified gold

Design: ATX

Power Supply Fan: 1 x 135 mm

Weight without packaging: 3.2 kg

Dimensions (WxHxD): 150 mm x 86 mm x 180 mm
Full PSU Specs here:

Retail price: 175,68€ (23% VAT included)


OS: Microsoft Windows 8.1 64bit PT OEM

Retail price: 106,00€ (23% VAT included)


Part 4: Wrap up – Windows PC and Mac Pro Price comparison

Windows PC:


Component Description Price (Incl. 23% Vat) Units Total (Incl. 23% Vat)
CPU Intel Xeon E5 2697V2 2011  2 376,10 € 1,00 2 376,10 €
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 DELUXE  327,00 € 1,00 327,00 €
Memory G.Skill 64GB 1866-10 RipjawsZ 582,49 € 1,00 582,49 €
SSD Mushkin 960GB 2150/1950 ScorpionDX PCIe 1 200,77 € 1,00 1 200,77 €
Graphics XFX Radeon HD7990 6GB GDDR5 PCI-E 1 049,00 € 2,00 2 098,00 €
Case Origen AE S16T 610,88 € 1,00 610,88 €
PSU Silverstone ST1000-G Evolution 2.0 1000W 203,97 € 1,00 203,97 €
OS Microsoft Windows 8.1 64bit PT OEM 106,00 € 1,00 106,00 €
7 505,21 €

Mac Pro:

Component Description


(no Tax)




(w/ Tax)

Total €

(w/ Tax)

Processor: 2.7GHz Xeon 12-core with 30MB of L3 cache

$9 599,00


$10 558,90

7 643,59€

Motherboard Wireless AC+Bluetooth 4.0, 4 USB 3.0, 6 Thunderbolt, Dual Gigabit LAN, HDMI 1.4
Memory Memory: 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
SSD SSD: 1TB PCIe-based flash storage
Graphics Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
Case Cylinder 9,9″Height, 6.6″ Diameter and 11lb weight
PSU 450W
OS OSX Mavericks 10.9




For the price analysis on the Windows PC components from Portuguese retailers I’ve included the Portuguese VAT 23% (which is a complete robbery…) and for the Mac Pro on the Apple US online Store I’ve included the sales Tax (they don’t use VAT but use Sales tax) which is different from state to state so I’ve used an average of 10%.

For the currency conversion between USD and EUS I’ve used today’s post rate of 1 USD = 0.723900 EUR.


Part 5: Conclusion

Mr. Stephen Fung was wrong and as I’ve shown here a Windows PC is always more cheaper than a Mac Pro and I’ve left no margin to doubt of it, the Windows PC configuration I’ve set has the best hw you could have, I’ve surpassed the Mac Pro specifications with a better Motherboard, Graphics, SSD, Case and PSU.

At the end the Windows PC was 138,38€ cheaper than the Mac Pro and I ensure you that if I had chosen different HW for the Windows PC I would make it much more cheaper, I’ll leave it for my next post


Keep in mind that prices are subject to change anytime, they reflect the date of this post.


R-Tape Loading error,
Luís Rato


~ por Luis Rato em 30 de Dezembro de 2013.

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