updated 10:33 pm EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
Processor-only scores appear to be about double that of top Core i7 chip
A hardware site has done new testing on the processor most likely to go into Apple's forthcoming Mac Pro -- the 12-core Intel Xeon E5-2697 V2 -- and found scores in excess of 30,000 using the 64-bit version of Geekbench. This alongside testing on PC hardware using real-world applications appear to rank the chip at about double the speed of the best available standard-power Core i7 processor, the 4770K. If the results prove true and Apple uses that particular chip in the upcoming Mac Pro, it would make it significantly faster than any currently-available Mac.
For comparison purposes, the fastest standard Mac processor currently available is the quad-core i7-3770 with 8MB of on-board L3 cache. As seen in the charts below, on many tests the 12-core version of the E5 (which has 30MB of L3 cache) produces the expected 2-3x gain, as reported by Tom's Hardware. The E5 V2 used in the tests was an early engineering sample and run on a test machine using Windows 8 professional, so further refinements in the final release of the processor are possible.
The tests are of the processor rather than all of the components of the new Mac Pro, which will also add advanced graphics, speedy PCI-E based storage, and faster RAM than is used in current Macs. The new Xeon processor excels at parallel tasks, but falls somewhat short in single-threaded performance to the i7 running at a higher clock speed.
It can be argued that the new Mac Pro is not intended to be used in the same fashion as an iMac or Mac mini, so the slightly slower performance in non-parallel tasks may not be significant to users. While the chip is not part of the more recent "Haswell" family of processors, the primary gain of the Haswells comes in extending battery life through power management and conservation features, rather than a significant increase in processing power.
The new Mac Pro has been said by Apple to be "coming later this year," though a specific timeframe has not been announced. It uses a completely different form-factor that pushes expansion options outside the cylindrical and dramatically smaller main housing through the use of Thunderbolt and other forms of connectivity. Pricing on the machine is as of yet unknown, but given that it will likely be using the single 12-core E5 CPU rumored to be priced at nearly $3,000 for the chip alone (in small quantities), the cost should be comparable or higher than the current prices of the slab-sided Mac Pro.