3 reasons Apple’s powerful new Mac Pro is ultimate choice for video professionals

“Apple will set the video industry ablaze when it introduces the Mac Pro in the next few weeks,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“Mac Pro speed isn’t just about the quad- or 6-core Xeon E5 processor, it’s also about the industrial-grade workstation GPUs inside the system. These best-in-class systems work seamlessly (thanks in part to Mavericks technologies such as Open CL) to deliver huge advances in graphics performance from a machine that’s quiet and small enough to fit onto your desk,” Evans writes. “Thunderbolt 2 devices are coming — and they’re coming in quantity. The biggest European video industry trade show, IBC, took place in summer and saw a huge array of Thunderbolt 2 devices put through their paces by vendors including: Promise, AJA, Black Magic, Indigo, Sonnet, mLogic. LaCie and CalDigit’s focus on Final Cut X supported their promise to deliver Thunderbolt systems as soon as they can. Signs are that NAB 2014 will see a flurry of supporting devices on show, and all at their best when used with a Mac Pro.”

Evans writes, “Don’t be too surprised Apple’s shelved its Apple television plans for a year or so. As I’ve said before, the move to deliver 4K support within the Mac Pro is on trend with industry direction, but you’re still going to have to wait a little while until there’s enough available 4K content to underscore the Apple TV/iTunes UltraHD video rentals service that’s going to be the central push of the new toys. ”

Read more in the full article here.

51 Comments

  1. I chuckle reading the forums on the tech sites how outraged the “video professionals” are that Apple has gone to modular Mac Pro rather than the internal expandable Mac Pro of current design.

    How many times do people have to make this rant. The iMac should have put these people in their place. The video professional doesn’t want to be a computer builder – they want devices that can plug and play.

    Why have a giant chassis when you’re not using any internal devices because all of your storage is housed on network servers. All your specialized video production devices are going to be Thunderbolt 2 compatible?

    Of course, there will always be the market for built-it yourself systems but as usual Apple is marketing and innovating for the 90% and not the 10%. Bad news for the 10% but good news for the 90% and Apple as they increase their sales.

    1. Most real video professionals use external drives and are not at all bothered by this. It’s the small time people ranting and raving. Although better availability and cot for TB drives would help.

      1. I think Apple is just ahead of the curve again. What we call “real video professionals” are a dying breed. What a “professional” is, is changing. I’m old enough to remember when “real video professionals” worked only on multimillion dollar Quantel Henrys and laughed at Macs. Those massive hunks of iron are gone and Quantel is a re-invted future forward company, and the people who used to use the old machines have either evolved or perished.

        We are at the cusp of converging technologies including massive fast and portable storage, unlimited cloud storage with ever increasing bandwidth, long distance creative collaboration, something Quantel calls “The Internet of Frames,” and of course always changing cameras, and video capture equipment.

        In just a few years the new professionals will be doing video editing and compositing on tablets at the beach. So the old guys can whine all they want about not having some extra drive slots in the MacPro, but I’m willing to bet the old dogs are going to learn some new tricks in the not so distant future.

        Particularly watch out for the folks who say, “I will never do that!”

      2. I wish Apple would have left a slot open for a 2.5″ HDD. It would have been nice to Be able to create a Fusion Drive setup with a 1TB SSD OS X and a 1TB HDD. That would create a 2TB Fusion Drive. Not bad for small video production. But Darwin is right, most video goes onto external drives for a variety of reasons. Usually, for high end video people, you need a dedicated digital tape drive to pull video from the camera anyway, which is usually dumped onto external drives. The internal drives are needed for temporary storage and video scratch space needed for production and editing.

    2. BS. If there’s anything we care about, its end-user customization.

      Here is your evidence:

      Do you really think we give a rat’s ass about the shape and size of the enclosure? That’s how Apple seduces consumer buyers. Pros want power and they want compatibility — Which Apple might have provided if it had implemented Thunderbolt in the Mac Pro two years ago. Instead there’s a wave of change that will be costly for professional Mac users.

      By the way, My Mac Pro has 5 internal hard drives, one optical drive, maxed-out RAM, and two PSI slots filled. It would have been really nice to transition these over into a new Mac Pro with the latest Xeon CPUs without buying yet another rack and external PCI box.

        1. No, nine racks, since we’ll have to add Thunderbolt boxes.

          You’d think that pro electronics would be slimming down like consumer gear has. It isn’t. Since Apple refuses to make a slim rack-mountable Mac, equipment rack needs have only gotten bigger. That’s not a huge gripe, since we know the old Mac Pros are solid, well-built units. But the latest Mac Pro is clearly not designed for mobile duty at all.

    3. It’s not about expandability. The upcoming Mac Pro is as expandable (through Thunderbolt 2 and Gigabit Ethernet) as any past Mac Pro (at least in a practical sense).

      The issue is the upcoming Mac Pro is likely not upgradeable due to non standard connections and form factors.Third parties have a long history of NOT building Apple specific after market items for things like the Mac Pro.

      You could, if you wanted to and were interested in raw compute power like some of us, put the newly release AMD 290x and Nvidia 780Ti into the last few generations of Mac Pro systems. Hell, you could put two into them. That could give you, for the right applications, up to 10 TFLOPS of available number crunching in a three year old machine. That’s more than the upcoming Mac Pro’s 7 TFLOPS!

      The GPU cards’ form factors are non standard. What is the likelihood that third parties are going to create video cards specific to the new Mac Pro so you can do in three years what you can do today with a three year old Mac Pro? Virtually Zero chance of that!

      Most professionals don’t upgrade their entire system on a yearly basis (or every time Apple comes out with a new Mac Pro). Most do upgrade components. An upgraded three year old Mac Pro is, today, much, much faster than it was when it shipped — at a cost much less than buying a totally new system.

    4. So now we can HATE Final Cut Pro X faster…

      I’ve said that before, but It’s true. Not one of these commenters or the article itself mentions FCPx used with the MAC PRO….. why? FCPX is not being used in professional environments. I have to think that nobody here is using it at all, or maybe for youtube videos and simple spots, web content. So sad, yet another example of Apple giving away market share. FCPX has not been mentioned once. So what NLE program will be used on the Mac Pro? Premiere? FCP 7? (I bet a good bit) Avid? Vegas? That’s a poll that needs to be done. MDN?

  2. Interesting. I like the idea of Apple releasing the ultimate hardware for editing 4K videos about a year ahead of releasing ultimate hardware for watching 4K videos. It’s like Apple is fomenting a tsunami of 4K video because it intends to surf on it.

  3. I have a feeling this overdesigned junk will sink out of sight like the XServe to the bottom of the ocean and join the Titanic at rest 12,500 ft (3,800 m) below the Atlantic.

    1. I have a feeling you know nothing about this subject at all but are posting to troll.
      Oh and show me a PC workstation with this performance and capability at the same price. I’ll wait. Because some of us actually know about these things.

    2. Nope. Because it’s all we are going to have going forward. Whether we like it or not, it’s what Apple is giving us. So it won’t sink to the bottom of the ocean. As professionals, we aren’t using our Mac Pros to surf the net and check our Facebook profile. They’re heavy-duty trucks and we use them hard. I like some things about the new Mac Pros and not too crazy about some others. But we’re professionals, we’ll make the best of it. Can’t wait to get my hands on a few of them. Talk about blinding speed! I’m excited! If they only came with a 67 Chevy II with an Ed Pink Rat motor, then I could really get a woody! Bob’s Big Boy on Friday nights. It’s the best. Check it out when you come to beautiful Southern California. Burbank California, the media capital of the world!

    1. I like that idea as I use CAD and our company just upgraded to Windows 7 this year. The boxes we use are not cheap, contrary to what people think about PC hardware for business.

  4. What I want to know is which model will you get the best bang for the buck. Sure I’d love to have the gajillion processors top of the line model but what amount of cores & processors are a good cut off point for HD & 4K video, 3D, etc.? (Too which the conventional wisdom is “all they make available.”)

    We don’t know all the prices yet and I just don’t want to spend $7-10,000 and my spending isn’t finished having to buy Thunderbolt peripherals. I nervously await the introduction and pricing of the complete line of models…

        1. No. I don’t think you did know. You just say “I know” now that someone pointed it out to you.

          The $7-10K price you guess at (without External ThunderBolt drives etc) is pot to Lunch. With the low end we already know that it will be $2999 (mac Pro) + $700 (6TB Thunderbolt) + $100 (cables). Thats $3799 plus the cost of the 4K display. The 4K in 4K display is NOT indication of its price. It will not be $4K. More likely it will be $1.5K or less (just a guess).

          So instead of a system starting at $7K (as you state) It will probably be in the region of $5K.

          1. Thanks for the laugh. I’m a Visual Effects Supervisor working in television, commercials and features since probably before you were born (anytime after 1976) plus a member of the television (ATAS) and movie (AMPAS) Academy’s. Oh I’m a VFX DP too with Local 600. So I think I know a thing or two. Don’t be presumptuous!

            The price I was referring to was a top of the line 12 core model which at minimum my guess will approach $5 grand if a 4 core model is $2999. I have no doubt a completely tricked and Storage/RAM maxed out Mac Pro 12-core will probably approach $7-10 grand. We will soon find out. You are guessing as well. Believe me if it comes all in for less I’ll be thrilled. You also neglect to add in Thunderbolt RAID and other possible peripherals. The total price will vary greatly for those here depending on need with relatively simple graphics needs to 4K and 3D. There is no one set price for all. Can’t wait to see all models and prices unveiled. So I am in denial to the extent I don’t want to spend tons of money for a personal system. It’s more wishful thinking. 🙂

            1. Read what you wrote, Mr. “I am a visual effects Supervisor”. You wrote that you didn’t know which model to buy. Here it is again for you.

              Peterblood (the supervisor): “What I want to know is which model will you get the best bang for the buck.”

              That was your first sentence.

              Then you go on…..first sentence 2nd paragraph…..

              Peterblood (the supervisor): “We don’t know all the prices yet….”

              Then you go on and list $7K to $10K. As is the lowest model might be 7K and the highest model might be 10K.

              We are supposed to “JUST KNOW” that you were talking about the full blown 12 core system all along?????

              Give me a break. By the way, I also have impressive resume. Here’s all you need to know about my background…..”Retired at age 42 after selling two startup companies in high tech. Working on another.”

            2. Apparently your comprehension skills are in need of a tuneup. When I said “which model” I was quite plainly not referring to the only model so far announced but to them all that we all know are coming. If you are on this site it’s a safe assumption you know this already. And obviously I was talking about the range of pricing and models that will be known soon. I think others here know exactly what I am talking about so I don’t understand why you are having difficulties. By stating I don’t want to spend $7-10,00 it’s ridiculously easy to infer that I am talking about the top of the line models yet to be announced, not the $2999 4 core model we already know about.

              And you don’t have to get snotty about the “Supervisor” thing as only people with low self esteem and confidence will attempt to pointlessly ridicule. This wasn’t a juvenile pissing contest trying to be King Of The Hill but to establish creditability and to counter what you said about me not knowing about the comment of more cores yield faster renders. That’s elementary my dear Watson and rendering video and composites is something I do nearly every day.

              I applaud your successes Paul and wish you well.

            3. Due to the cost of the 12 core Xeon and the D700’s I’m thinking the the base machine with 1 Xeon E5-2697 v2(12 core) @ $2614, and Two D700’s (aka AMD FirePro w9000 a $3k gpu part). is going to run you around $6500 to $7000 (that is taking into account apples discount for bulk buying of the xeon and FirePro’s). I’m hoping for less but being a realist here.

    1. ” …I nervously await the introduction and pricing of the complete line of models…”

      I think  ® announced the entry level
      model at around $2999 ..

      (and not sure, but I think that one
      is a quad) ..

      more goodies = higher price

    2. As enthusiastic as I am about the forthcoming Mac Pro, I would caution you that its a “1.0” release of an all-new design. Don’t be the guinea pig if you have to invest a ton of money, spend it on TB2 stuff for now and stick a card in your existing Mac Pro at least until the first wave of reviews are out. I have a feeling this will be a gangbuster machine right out of the starting gate, but history tells me the second-generation model is going to be a lot better … 🙂

    3. Back when I was editing at a full-time production company in houston, I was making $125/hour with the company charging the client at least $250/hour (no render time, which is why realtime 100K systems were crucial to budgets/profit. And yet these were considered competitive rates since our company owned their equipment and not leased). A NLE job at a prestigious production company with breadth of clients is very hard to get. I was mad when I had to leave my realtime Smoke and Avid setups to finish up my degrees, and have since yet to find a similar position. You are better off these days starting your own company and undercutting your competition.
      So someone looking to put 20-30K into a NLE system like the mac pro with (2) 4K monitors, and 8TB of raid storage could earn their money back on their investment within less than a year while paying yourself as well. Its all about the demo reel and ability to build what you promise in the deadlines.
      I can see someone who seriously and who knows what previous realtime systems that are not 4K cost can see this as the ultimate bargain while running on a stable OS, that is not windows based. Once you have 100K RT NLE system set up, you don’t touch it, you don’t take it online and web surf, you don’t update it, unless its a firmware from the render/capture card company that is certified and tested. A small windows update could take down a 100K system losing the company thousands of dollars a day. I have seen it happen. I have yet to have a mac pro crap out editing with a 4K card and I have no problem downloading stuff like video copilot or motion graphics plugins.
      In any case, someone who serious about NLE could not build a better system out of the box than these new mac pros. They used to sell powermac g5s configured nearly 20K or more. I can’t see how you could get to that price unless you ordered your RAID with your mac pro at the same time.

  5. Although it doesn’t make much sense but all I hear about is how the Mac Pro is the wrong shape to get any serious work done. I’m fairly certain that most people think that only a rectangular shape will work for a computer. In theory a manufacturer can build a Thunderbolt expansion chassis to handle quite a few PCI graphics cards if necessary. I don’t know if that will happen and it will likely run up the cost of ownership. I’ll have to wait to see how many of these Mac Pros are sold to get some idea of the possibility of success. At this point it doesn’t seem very hopeful because the cost is already rather for a pro-sumer type of user and Apple isn’t targeting the enterprise.

    I like the idea of having that small form factor and just hooking it up to modular units but that’s just me. Maybe most people don’t find that practical. As long as those Thunderbolt ports have the bandwidth I don’t care if everything doesn’t fit in one unit. Then again I’m not in the market for a Mac Pro, so my opinion doesn’t matter. Already the tech industry is hating on it so I just don’t have much hope for its success. I just know that low cost is everything to customers and Apple doesn’t seem to care. That’s all well and good but it’s definitely going to run shareholders and the company’s overall value.

    1. If the Mac Pro’s were at a lower cost than their predecessors and you could now go ala carte in terms of what you need it’d be great. But the pricing seems in line with previous generations with less ability to do things like add cheap storage inside. I embrace change though and these look very cool, are powerful and the option is now there to build a big or simple system depending on need, and budget. Bring ’em on!

    2. Did Apple ever say they were going to stop producing the current Mac Pro? It offers a practical form factor with a lot of internal expansion. A very important attribute for many users and something Apple shouldn’t abandon. The new Mac Pro is quite a radical departure in design and is internally limited in regards to expansion. Quite a paradigm shift for something called a pro desktop computer, which are usually large to make room for stuff. The new Mac Pro is so small, it’s hard to take serious. Like they say, it’s not the size, but how you use it.

  6. Buying new Apple computing hardware is no longer a joy. Each new generation of Apple hardware and OS takes something away. Just for example. I used to be able to buy a mac and have Java installed. Then I bought a mac and found that I had to run the “Java Preferences” app to get Java Installed. Now the Java Preferences app is gone and you have to know about an obscure web page to find a java installer.

    1. It’s for your own good.
      Not knowing “WHY” Apple did this and just saying, “boo-hoo…they took away my Java” is reason enough for you to ….er…….stop your crying!

    2. Um, go to Oracles java website and download the latest version of java for mac, they own java and now make installers for macs. If you really need the full java install its there. The only thing that has changed is that Apple does not handle the updates and it does not come preinstalled anymore. LOL

  7. Just out of curiosity, will you be able to play graphics intensive games on these or are these graphics cards so specialized for video work that gaming on them would suck?

      1. Im pretty sure that’s not true. Some are specialized for 3D/video apps that deal with rendering and not games. I’m curious if these are will be good for running games while booted into Windows

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