What professional Mac users think of Apple’s new Mac Pro

“On the night Apple revealed that it was pursuing Thunderbolt 2 as its answer to expandability, and despite the fact that the new,” Karen Haslam reports for Macworld UK.

“Even now, a whole week later, most of the opinions seem to be loving rather than hating the Mac Pro,” Haslam reports. “For now the new Mac Pro is worthy of its praise. On paper – and right now that’s the only place you are going to see it – the Mac Pro is one hell of a machine.”

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Haslam reports, “Larry Jordan shares his thoughts on the new Mac Pro in his blog… ‘One of the key things I realized was that this system is envisioned to be highly configurable,’ he writes. ‘The current Mac Pro is the most customizable system that Apple makes. Configuration is at the heart of the new Mac Pro as well. While I expect that there will be one physical unit, we will have a lot of choices about what goes into that unit,’ he adds… Incidentally, according to Jordon’s blog, 80% of Mac Pro users don’t have any PCI cards in their system, aside from the graphics card. Perhaps the fuss about expansion options is fuss over nothing.”

Apple's next generation Mac Pro
Apple’s next generation Mac Pro

 

Apple's next generation Mac Pro
Apple’s next generation Mac Pro

 
The next generation Mac Pro will be available later this year. To learn more, visit www.apple.com/mac-pro.

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s new Mac Pro: Does internal expandability really matter? – June 17, 2013
Developer secretly tested new Mac Pro – sight unseen – for weeks inside Apple’s top-secret lab – June 14, 2013
Dvorak: A standing O for Apple’s new Mac Pro – June 11, 2013
Apple’s new Mac Pro would rank as the 8th most powerful supercomputer on planet Earth in 2003 – June 10, 2013
Up close and personal with Apple’s new ‘jet engine’ Mac Pro – June 10, 2013
With new Mac Pro, Apple gives sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop – June 10, 2013

59 Comments

  1. Perhaps the fuss about expansion options is fuss over nothing.”
    I wouldn’t say that! The fuss is over how many points Apple’s market cap can be slashed so that the street can get in low yet again to make a fast buck.
    The options in question are market price options now that Apple inc. has got into the credit selling game in order to beat the tax man at his own game.

  2. Oh I have PCI cards in my 2007 Mac Pro all right – a CalDigit USB 3 card and a Black Magic Intensity Pro card. Theoretically I wouldn’t need either with the new Mac Pro. Maybe just a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter. Shouldn’t be a problem if this thing can already do 3-4K monitors!

      1. Correct you are. No HDMI adapter needed.
        I agree with the blogger that 80% of the MacPro users don’t use the PCI slots to their fullest. I have a MacPro and I do not use the PCI slots other than the video card, which the new system will be loaded with. Thunderbolt2 should future proof the system against any new USB standard or new PCI standard or other new ideas, in my opinion.

    1. I think it *is* the new mid-Mac. They’ve got the form factor nailed, they just need to downgrade the innards to prosumer level (memory, graphics and so on) and bingo! Maybe have coloured cases also to further differentiate the lines?

      Personally I’d like a smoked-glass jobbie to show off the innards. Mmmm.

      Smokin’!

  3. The new Mac Pro seems just about right. In fact it’s the Mac Pro mini, or headless Mac, some of us have been asking for for-EVER!

    Most of the people I know who have Mac Pros never add anything to them aside from RAM and maybe an extra hard drive, so there’s this big honking box that needs to be put somewhere.

    The rest switched to MacBook Pros and external displays and drives… swapping raw computing power for the power of portability. That’s what I’ve been doing since the PowerBook G4 Lombard.

    1. Yes, a very large fraction of Mac Pro users never have anything other than the original video card in it and never expand/upgrade anything other than the RAM and hard drives.

      However, there *IS* a significant fraction of Mac Pro users who have more than one PCIe card in it. There *IS* an even larger fraction who buy a Mac Pro every two to four years and just *UPGRADE* it through faster graphics (think compute) cards, more RAM and solid state drives.

      Yes, the 3 Gbps SATA interface in the old Mac Pro is slow for SSDs — and the new PCIe based SSD is much faster, but if you RAID (stripe) across all four internal SSDs, if you upgrade to that) you can get into the ball bark of this new machine — and that’s with a four year old design!

      The issue is not expansion — except for those who really do need more than two PCIe slots (and there are a few of us). The issue really is “upgradeability”. As I’ve said here before, you can put a Titan video card into the old Mac Pro and have a much faster compute machine than it was originally. It is *EXTREMELY* unlikely you will be able to upgrade the video cards in the new Mac Pro. You’ll have to buy a new one whenever that does come out!

      1. I think you may be forgetting that thunderbolt is for more than just HD’s and Displays. Through expansion chassies you can add additional graphics cards, eSata, FiberChannel ect.

        1. Real-world benchmarks for a 2012 mobile-class GPU show host-device (i.e. motherboard-GPU) data rates of 4-6 GB/s (32 Gb/s+). That’s a *mobile* GPU, and it’s already exceeding the maximum *theoretical* 20 Gb/s per-channel bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2.

          http://stackoverflow.com/questions/16709181/memory-bandwidth-test-on-nvidia-gpus

          External TB for storage may be inconvenient or expensive, but at least you won’t lose much performance. Externalize video cards, and you’re wasting your money on any GPU produced after 2010.

  4. I use 2 Ethernet ports on my office server which is the bridge to the InterNet for the office. This will give me the upgrade path for the office server / web page server.

    Has anyone guessed at the price yet with the assembly known, I assumed that the build cost would have been posted somewhere by now?

  5. What is Haslam trying to say???

    “On the night Apple revealed that it was pursuing Thunderbolt 2 as its answer to expandability, and despite the fact that the new,” Karen Haslam reports for Macworld UK.

    Then in addition to this meaningless intro, Haslam finds someone loosely self-described as a pro to say, “Perhaps the fuss about expansion options is fuss over nothing.”

    Well, get this: PERHAPS there are users who have significant investment in perfectly good PCI, SATA, and Firewire devices, many of which we LIKE to be housed in a single box. Quote that, Haslam.

    Just because Apple likes to dumb down or otherwise narrow user choices to suit its whims does not make it attractive. The new Mac Pro had better be released with a wave of affordable Thunderbolt accessories, otherwise I predict it will be a sales dud, just like the Cube.

    It really wouldn’t have been that hard for Apple to bridge the way between older legacy peripherals and the new Thunderbolt in a much more seamless and cost effective manner.

    1. The Mac Pro is already a tiny fraction of the Mac market. If only 20% of that already small number of users add PCI cards, that’s a very small number indeed. Not large enough to justify the expensive, hefty and large enclosure we have now.

      External RAIDs are where it’s at now anyway (for workstations and servers). If the price is right (and something tells me it will be), this will a huge.

      1. Apple and 3rd party mfrs used to offer RAID with internal or external drive arrays. Now Apple gives users one choice only. Will performance of Thunderbolt outweigh the swtiching cost? Every user will have to make that assessment. My initial thought is that TB will be great for hooking up working drives and hot swapping client drives. However, for archiving files that aren’t used every day, even most professionals will find the price per GB of storage is vastly more important than data transfter rate. All I’m saying is that the sudden switch to a TB-only world means prices for storage aren’t going to suddenly decrease, because the peripheral makers haven’t spooled up production at all. TB drives are all expensive.

        When your source CONFIRMS the sudden price drop in external Thunderbolt RAID arrays, do please let us all know.

        The MDN faithful who appear to have infinite budgets, well, go ahead and worship around the new Apple Orb without hesitation. If Apple had introduced TB and USB3 to the Mac Pro two years ago, the change would be much smoother for everyone.

        1. Dead on. Affordable TB RAID drive is necessary. I hope this might drive 3rd party vendors to get cracking and drive the cost down due to competition and thunderbolt technology isn’t going anywhere

        2. It’s true that I’m thinking about pro setups. One new server with a large Thunderbolt RAID (replacing a Mac Pro with a fibre channel card and a rack-mounted array), sounds pretty good to me. Same for a video editing / motion graphics workstation.

          Now if you’re worried about storing a 3TB iTunes library, it’s true, stuffing a tower with drives is cheaper & easier.

  6. The new Mac Pro is very capable. For everyone except the very high end video producers this machine will be an absolute dream. For very high-end, you’ll just have to rethink certain things and spend a lot of money. For example: those two video processors get to be out dated? Well: buy a new Mac Pro in 24 months instead of 40 months. So what? You are high end. Cough it up.
    You know what? My billing rate is $39 per hour. I have already “paid off” my $3000 windows to mac switch to a new 2012 27″ iMac in increased productivity. And you know else? I very well may spend another $5-6k to switch to a new Mac Pro/4k monitor if it is real good. You know why this is all worth to me? Because at the end of the day there is no aggravation using a mac and the great screen on the iMac doesn’t hurt my eyes after 10 or 12 hours. You want a good computer that will help you be really productive? Spend the money and Buy a Mac. Stop quibbling on the price or features and concentrate on your work. That new Mac pro will sit on your desk quietly and be a real workhorse that does what it suppose to do everyday from minute one for 3 or 4 years. What is THAT worth to you? Go buy a Dell and suffer. Tell me how much you have saved, Sucker.

    1. We had ONE Dell on our multi-Mac Graphic Arts network. It showed up as a destination listed as “THE DELL FROM HELL.”
      Like you, I just wanted to get work done and satisfied clients out the door. If your goal is to move $ from the customer’s wallets to your bottom line, BUY A MAC!

  7. The problem with assuming the no one needs expansion, and subsequently eliminating specific kinds of expansion, i.e. PCI cards, internal Hard Drives, etc. is that someone actually needs that expansion type that you just eliminated. Works the same way in software; if you decide to eliminate an “old feature that no one ever uses” because a certain portion of users have told you /they/ don’t use it, then you’ve just crippled the users who /do/ use it, that you didn’t talk to, or even know about in order /to/ talk about it. Progress is good, moving ahead is good, but do try not to leave those of us who have paid quite a bit of good money in the past to support you behind.

  8. Yeah, perhaps everybody complaining about the lack of expandability are just spoiled cry babies

    If your current solution is satisfying your needs, then don’t buy it

    If your current system isn’t satisfying your needs then get one that does, be it Windows or Mac. Oh, what’s that, nothing in the PC world is as powerful? Then shut the fuck up.

    Besides, if your current solution is so wonderful, sell it, and apply the proceeds to the cost of the new Mac Pro.

    Been following Mac blogs since 1997, and with each new iteration of the Power Mac/Mac Pro there has been those that find fault, then go out and buy one, BECAUSE ITS SUPERIOR TO THE CREAKING POS THEY HAVE.

  9. One more thing: to people like “Mike” above, I’m not totally insensitive to your pain but the new Mac Pro is so much faster than what you now have that almost any PCI, SATA or firewire device needs to be replaced to get the full performance out of the the new Mac Pro. This is really hard to understand, but speaking from experience, you will be glad to did.

  10. Really, the most incapacitating part of the new design is the total cost of configuration. Figure 3-5K for the computer (hopefully not more, but I’m not sure yet), extra thunderbolt cables, extraneous storage enclosure (presumably RAID, if one truly wants to take advantage of the Thunderbolt interfaces), and of course an additional extraneous storage solution for backup. Building from scratch, you’re getting pretty close to 10K or more, by the time you’ve added a monitor or two. That’s fine if you’re a high-end professional who really makes his living from such a workstation. Pretty salty for the lower-income professional. Better hope it runs 5 years before dying or becoming obsolete.

    1. Valid points all. As professionals we were simply waiting for a better Mac Pro. So now we have a new Mac Pro. Doesn’t matter whether we like it or not it’s here and we will have to deal with it. 99.9% of the people commenting here are not true professionals. I don’t mean that in a negative way just that anyone using an iMac or a Windows (!) machine as their workhorse(s) won’t ever need one of these. So it’s fun to spend someone else’s money and it’s fun to gush about the design, expandability, peripherals etc. But for those of us who needed a new high and workhorse this isn’t exactly what we were looking for. We don’t have time to sit around and study it and speak it’s praise of design. I just need to buy them turn them on and start using them. We’ll just have to see how all this works out. It’s here and as professionals we’ll deal with it. I’ll let you know how they look when I turn the lights out. With each of them glowing in the dark!

      1. Seems there have been a lot of calls from the professionals to give them a “new” mac pro, and many complaints that the latest mac pro (always “better” than it’s predecessor every year) was always just a “speed bump”. Now the cry is they just wanted a better mac pro, not a new mac pro. Apple got rid of the boat anchor so you could fly, what are you, afraid of heights? I say you had better go buy a “better” mac pro from the apple store before the “new” one takes it’s place so you can continue to use your old *expensive* (read: obsolete and slow) peripherals

        1. Boat anchor? You clearly don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. But I guess it’s fun post like you’re a big boy. I think I hear your mother calling you. I think she wants you to clean up your room so you’d better come out of the basement.

            1. Your original post is irrelevant. You jumped to a considerable level of personal insult over nothing (e.g. compared to if sfgh told you to “shut the fuck up, you fucking idiot”.

              If you think someone hasn’t understood, or is in incorrect in their thinking or has made a mistake, there is no reason to stoop to juvenile insults.

    2. Total cost of configuration? Buying external rather than internal drives only adds about $120-$700. A pair of 4TB USB 3.0 drives can be had for just $120 more than a pair of bare drives. If you’ve got 8TB of data and want maximum throughput, an 8TB LaCie 2big Thunderbolt and a 8TB LaCie 2big USB 3.0 to back it up cost about $300-$700 more than bare drives. And, once you get past 8TB of data, you’re going to need external anyway. Yeah, it was nice having 4 internal bays. But I moved to external RAIDs even before I sold my old Mac Pro. More convenient, and more disaster-resistant.

  11. A few days or so after Apple announce the the Mac Pro I went to their website and was surprised they had removed the old G5 tower model. Only the new Mac Pro was shown.

    I was Surprised because since its announcement their was no release date or cost. This thing can be released anytime within the next almost seven months. Why remove the old Macs when there’s nothing to replace it? Why announce this new Mac Pro so soon with no availability, cost or demo?

    Could it be that the cost of this new machine will not be the cost of a small car but maybe half the cost of the old Mac Pros? The new machine only uses a fraction of the material of the old chassis. The only moving part is the single cooling fan so the warranty repair costs should be much less if not almost none existent. The use of three boards instead of a main board makes this system easily and cheaply upgradeable because Apple will only need to upgrade one or at most two boards. Then there’s Apple decision to move expandability to the outside of the Mac and in doing so passing on the cost to the consumer.

        1. True, but it’s still there in the store. Didn’t take long to find it if I really wanted one. Apple’s trait is to move on quickly once they have something new, so no surprise that in places where they are pushing the new, the aren’t going to also show the old.

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