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Apple Mac Pro MA356LL/A Desktop (Two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processors, 1 GB RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive)

by Apple
56 customer reviews
| 3 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • Two dual-core 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors, 1.33 GHz per processor bus
  • 1 GB RAM expandable up to 16 GB, 250 GB hard drive, 16x Double-Layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256 MB of GDDR2 SDRAM graphics
  • Two FireWire 800 ports, two FireWire 400 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 1.1 (on keyboard)
  • Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, iLife '08, Comic Life, Omni Outliner, Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, iWork '08 (30-day trial), FileMaker Pro 3.5 trial
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Product Description

Product Description

Introducing the fastest, most configurable Mac ever—you choose the processor speed, memory, graphics cards, and drives. Experience industry-leading quad-core performance with the latest Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors—MA356LL/A comes with 2.66GHz (configurable up to 3GHz and 4MB of shared L2 cache per processor). A redesigned enclosure gives you greater capacity and expansion options, including eight DIMM slots for up to 16MB of memory, four cable-free direct-attach hard drive bays for up to 2TB of storage, and four PCI Express expansion slots—including one double-wide slot for high-powered graphics cards. Conveniently located front FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports let you plug in a variety of external devices with ease. And with high-end workstation graphics, dual digital display support, and out-of-the-box support for a 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display, the Mac Pro is the ultimate desktop workstation. Purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan (sold separately) to extend your service and support to up to three full years from the purchase date of your Mac Pro. The plan provides support for the Mac Pro, the Mac OS, and many Apple consumer applications, along with one display when you purchase it with the Mac Pro. Extended service for additional monitors is sold separately.

Boost your productivity with the first Apple Mac Pro (model MA356LL/A) desktop PC, which is the first Apple desktop to be powered by the 64-bit dual-core Intel Xeon processor. But the Mac Pro offers even more power by combining two dual-core 2.66 GHz Xeon processors, creating an unbelievably powerful quad-core workstation that can handle even the more intensive graphics rendering. Its redesigned industrial-style enclosure offers improved functionality with a cable-free installation process and massive upgrade ability--up to 16 GB of 667 MHz RAM and four hard drive bays for up to 2 TB (that's terabytes) of storage under the hood. And while it comes standard with a 16x SuperDrive (compatible with burning DVD±R/RW and CD-R/RW discs), you can also add a second writing SuperDrive.

Additionally, the Mac Pro MA356LL/A features a 250 GB hard drive, 1 GB of installed RAM, and the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics card with 256 MB of video RAM, both FireWire 400 and 800 slots, and optical digital audio input and output. The Mac Pro also includes a DVI to VGA adapter and an Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse.

Preloaded with Leopard, you'll enjoy enhanced productivity and a clutter-free desktop (thanks to the redesigned 3D Dock with Stacks).
Preloaded with Leopard and iLife '08
The biggest Mac OS X upgrade ever, the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system features over 300 new features, including:
  • Time Machine, an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac
  • A redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs
  • Quick Look, a new way to instantly see files without opening an application
  • Spaces, an intuitive new feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them
  • A brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock
  • Major enhancements to Mail and iChat
Leopard's new desktop includes the redesigned 3D Dock with Stacks, a new way to organize files for quick and easy access with just one click. Leopard automatically places web, email and other downloads in a Downloads stack to maintain a clutter-free desktop, and you can instantly fan the contents of this and other Stacks into an elegant arc right from the Dock. The updated Finder includes Cover Flow and a new sidebar with a dramatically simplified way to search for, browse and copy content from any PC or Mac on a local network.

Time Machine lets you easily back up all of the data on your Mac, find lost files and even restore all of the software on their Mac. With just a one-click setup, Time Machine automatically keeps an up-to-date copy of everything on the Mac. In the event a file is lost, you can search back through time to find deleted files, applications, photos and other digital media and then instantly restore the file.

The MacBook Air also comes with the iLife '08 suite of applications that make it easy to live the digital life. Use iPhoto to share entire high-res photo albums with anyone who's got an email address. Record your own songs and podcasts with GarageBand. Break into indie filmmaking with iMovie and iDVD. Then take all the stuff you made on your Mac and share it on the Web in one click with iWeb.

Based on Intel's next-generation Core micro-architecture, the two 2.66 GHz 64-bit dual-core Intel Xeon processors combine both high performance and power efficiency. Augmenting the speed delivered by the processors, the system architecture features 1.33 GHz dual independent front-side buses that maximize the performance of the dual-core, dual-processor system and deliver maximum processor bandwidth of up to 21.3 GB/s. It also offers an enhanced SSE3 vector engine. Capable of delivering 128-bit vector computations in a single cycle, the SSE3 vector engine accelerates data manipulation by simultaneously applying a single instruction to multiple data--ideal for transforming large sets of data, such as applying a filter to an image or rendering a video effect.

Because Intel designed this dual-core Xeon to be more efficient, it consumes less power than similar workstation-level processors, so your system fans don't have to work as hard to keep them cool. Working with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, it also continues the tradition of enabling 64-bit computation. Ideal for scientific applications, the 64-bit Intel Xeon processors can express the extreme precision needed for floating-point mathematics and to express integers up to 18 billion billion.

Hard Drive
The 250 GB Serial-ATA hard drive is plenty big and fast (with a transfer rate of 3 GB per second) for most home users, but the Mac Pro provides four SATA hard drive bays, each on its own independent channel. This enables you to load it up with four 500 GB hard drives for up to 2 TB of data storage. Using Mac OS X, you can stripe two, three, or all four of those drives in a RAID 0 array to increase performance and create a massive volume for video editing; or create a RAID 1 array for instant backups--as you work--of photos or other digital media.

While this Mac Pro comes loaded with just 1 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 RAM--which is satisfactory--you can easily add up to a total of 16 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 fully-buffered Error-Correcting Code (ECC) memory. And with its 256-bit-wide memory architecture, the Mac Pro offers 2x the width of the memory architecture in the Power Mac G5. It comes with two memory riser cards, each with four fully-buffered DIMM slots--for a total of eight DIMM slots.

Optical Drive
If you enjoy having one 16x SuperDrive at your disposal, think how much more productive you could be with two. Imagine backing up your data to two dual-layer DVDs at once. Or exporting Aperture projects to one DVD, while importing music from a CD into your iTunes library. The installed SuperDrive is compatible with writing to DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD+R DL (dual layer), and CD-R/RW media. It will burn DVD-R discs at up to 16x, DVD+R DL at 6x, and CD-R/RWs at up to 24x.

The NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics card provides excellent all-around performance for creative applications. It comes with one dual-link DVI and one single-link DVI port, allowing you to connect one 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display to the dual-link DVI port and one 20-inch or 23-inch Cinema Display to the single-link DVI port. And thanks to the new double-wide PCI Express graphics slot, the Mac Pro provides room for three additional PCI Express expansion cards--and up to eight simultaneous displays (with compatible optional video card).

Mac Pro Connections

Expansion and Connectivity
Install PCI Express cards such as video capture, audio DSP, fibre channel, or additional graphics cards into the three full-length PCI Express expansion slots. A newly designed PCI bracket with captive thumb screws allows tool-less installation and removal of cards. It includes the following connectivity and audio options:

  • Two FireWire 800 ports (one on front panel, one on back panel)
  • Two FireWire 400 ports (one on front panel, one on back panel)
  • Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel)
  • Two USB 1.1 ports on included keyboard
  • Front-panel headphone minijack and speaker
  • Optical digital audio input and output Toslink ports
  • Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks

It measures 20.1 x 8.1 x 18.7 inches, and weighs 42.4 pounds.

Mac Pro MA356LL/A, Apple keyboard, Apple Mighty Mouse, USB keyboard extension cable, DVI-to-VGA adapter, power cord, install/restore DVDs, printed and electronic documentation.

Product Information

Expand all Collapse all Technical Details
Processor3 GHz Pentium II Xeon
Hard Drive250 GB SATA
Graphics CoprocessorGeForce GT
Chipset BrandNVIDIA
Card DescriptionGeForce 7300 GT
Graphics Card Ram Size512 MB
Wireless TypeBluetooth, 802.11bgn
Number of USB 2.0 Ports 5
Brand NameApple
SeriesMacBook Pro
Item model numberMA356LL/A
National Stock Number7021-01-545-6970
Hardware PlatformMac
Operating SystemApple Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger
Item Weight42.4 pounds
Item Dimensions L x W x H23.20 x 12.60 x 28.20 inches
Color stainlesssteel
Processor BrandIntel
Processor Count2
Computer Memory TypeDDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive InterfaceSerial ATA
Hard Drive Rotational Speed7200 RPM
Optical Drive Typedvd_rw
Voltage120 volts
Additional Information
Shipping Weight52.8 pounds
Domestic Shipping Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Date First AvailableAugust 7, 2006
Warranty & Support Return Policy: You may return any new computer purchased from that is "dead on arrival," arrives in damaged condition, or is still in unopened boxes, for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. reserves the right to test "dead on arrival" returns and impose a customer fee equal to 15 percent of the product sales price if the customer misrepresents the condition of the product. Any returned computer that is damaged through customer misuse, is missing parts, or is in unsellableRead more condition due to customer tampering will result in the customer being charged a higher restocking fee based on the condition of the product. will not accept returns of any desktop or notebook computer more than 30 days after you receive the shipment. New, used, and refurbished products purchased from Marketplace vendors are subject to the returns policy of the individual vendor.

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By J. Hirota on November 14, 2006
First of all, the included 1GB RAM will not do justice to this machine. I added additional 2GB for total of 3GB, but I still need more when I use professional apps. I upgraded from a Dual G5 2.3, and Mac Pro is quite a bit faster in every operation except PPC only apps. For them, it's about as fast as before, provided you give it enough RAM. Rosetta translation works effectively, but it requires considerable amount of memory. This is my observation that (even for Universal Binary apps) Intel Macs seem to require more memory than G5. So do yourself a favor and get extra memory when you get a Mac Pro. Unfortunately FB-DIMMs are not cheap.

Once RAM issue is taken cared, this machine is a dream. It's quiet, a lot quieter than G5 which was relatively quiet to begin with. Expansion option is great. With 4 drive bays, you can easily create RAID configuration internally.

One big bonus of using a Mac Pro (or any Intel Mac for that matter) is, by using Parallels software, I can run Windows at native speed in virtual environment. Windows runs so fast (disk array helps) that booting up to Windows desktop is considerably faster than my AMD 64 based PC.

The only other thing I might add to the system at a later time is a more powerful graphics board. The included GeForce 7300 is seriously underpowered for such a high performance system.

Overall, I highly recommend this Mac to anyone considering getting one.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By mac convert on January 27, 2007
This is my first Mac - I've been a PC/DOS user for over 20 years. When I took a look at my work needs and the upcoming requirements for Vista, it became clear that I would need to buy an entirely new machine just to upgrade to Vista - that was the last straw for me. Taking a look at Mac, it became clear that the new intel-based machines were a logical choice.

The reasons for my decision:

1. Extremely costly to upgrade to Vista, and I REALLY REALLY did not want to run a first-release WIndows OS based on my previous experiences with Millenium edition and XP. There are also potentially very serious issues with the current availability of regular 32-bit drivers in Vista at this time, let alone for 64-bit. You have absolutely no assurance that when you upgrade that all of your peripherals will work.

2. Recently tried adding a wireless USB mouse to my XP PC, from a major manufacturer. Placing the transmitter dongle in my USB hub resulted in an immediate system crash down to the BIOS level. I was without my computer for 4 days and paid a "PC plumber" $150 to find and solve the problem.

3. Boot camp - this wonderful beta release software allows you to convert your intel Mac to a dual boot XP machine - you have to do a single disc based install of XP SP2, but this is a minor issue. There is a superb tutorial on workarounds at Paul Thurott's web site to help if you need to create a slipstream XP disc containing service pack 2 - this would apply to those of you (like myself) whose original XP install discs are based on SP 1. The practical upshot - you can run your Mac in native XP mode for graphics-intensive programs like Half-Life 2.
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Greg Robertson VINE VOICE on September 4, 2006
I've been an Apple addict since the Classic was first introduced and have traveled through the good, great, and struggling years with them. Thus, I feel well-qualified in saying that Apple's new Mac Pro MA356LL is THE best Mac ever made. (Which, by extension, also means the best desktop computer ever made.)

First, it's incredibly fast. When I'm working full tilt, which is often, I'm running Photoshop, Quark, Illustrator, Acrobat, Word, and Final Cut Pro all at once, switching back and forth between programs often and in need of quick results. On this baby, everything flows smoothly and reaction times are instantaneous.

Second, it's resiliently stable. I run an advertising and design agency, so I keep the aforementioned programs running all day, all at the same time, plus iTunes, FileMaker Pro, and Internet programs, off and on. Even on my previous generation Mac G5, every now and then things would get bogged down and I'd have to reboot, then take the time to open everything again, etc., etc. Not even a hint of that on this one, so far. (As of this writing, I've had it about a month.)

Also, while the Mac Pro certainly resembles the G5 in size and casing, this new one has additional ports that make for increased productivity right out of the box. And, yes, you can add plenty more, although I'll probably just go with the factory build for the moment.

Lastly, it's worth noting that although Macs have traditionally cost somewhat more than PCs upfront (although I've always found them to be worth it), in this case, you'd be hard pressed to find a better value than the Mac Pro. Match it function for function and capability for capability with a PC, to the extent that you can, and the PC costs AT LEAST as much, and usually more.

Take this baby out and rev her up. You're in for a great ride.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By David Siegel on October 3, 2006
What David Johnson forgot to mension was that the Dell has only ONE dual core processor. The Mac Pro has two. That will put you back much more than a lcd, tv tuner and everything else you mensioned. We're talking XEONS! Kind of expensive...

Anyway, compare the other features of the mac pro such as 4 sata hard drive sleds, 8 memory risers, dual gigabit ethernet, dual firewire 800, faster fsb on EACH PROCESSOR...lets not forget that there are not 1, but 2 dual core processors working side by side.

Anyway, before writing such a biased review, please research your topic.
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