Why Apple’s powerful new Mac Pro shows a real commitment to creative pros

“Loyalists of Apple’s Mac Pro have been clamouring for an upgrade to the high-end desktop, which last received a facelift in 2010,” Agam Shah writes for Digital Arts. “he new workstation is priced starting at £2,082.50 plus VAT and has one of the latest Intel Xeon E5 processors, solid-state drive storage, Thunderbolt 2 and dual graphics cards tightly packed in a cylindrical chassis.”

“Craig Seeman, owner of Third Planet Video, a video production company in Brooklyn, New York, said that the Mac Pro’s entry price is lower than expected. The latest hardware, especially two graphics processors, is one reason he will upgrade to the latest system,” Shah writes. “‘The smaller design is much more space efficient. This is of major importance to those of us who work in small and often crowded offices,’ Seeman said.”

“The Mac Pro will find high-end buyers using programs like Final Cut Pro X, but interest could increase if more peripherals for Thunderbolt 2 become available, said Peter M. Fine, who runs consulting firm FinePeter Consulting in New York,” Shah writes. “But some potential buyers who have waited years for the new Mac Pro are weighing the workstation against the high-end iMac, which is cheaper and delivers sufficient performance required to run multimedia programs. Still, the Mac Pro has its advantages with server processors, faster graphics cards and Thunderbolt 2 ports, not available in the iMac.”

Read more in the full article here.

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3 reasons Apple’s powerful new Mac Pro is ultimate choice for video professionals – November 18, 2013
Apple’s Mac Pro: So what’s a D300, D500 and D700 anyway? – October 24, 2013
Apple’s new Mac Pro desktop powerhouse not aimed at consumer crowd – October 24, 2013
Apple: Making the all-new Mac Pro (with video) – October 23, 2013
Apple redefines pro computing with all-new Mac Pro starting at $2999 – October 22, 2013


    1. It would be nice if Apple would announce a hard release date.

      And I hope that TB2 storage boxes will come out in short order. I look forward to building an SSD RAID that can make use of the 20Gbps bandwidth.

      My only wish is that a single GPU option were available. I will benefit more from high-speed IO than from pixel pushing power.

        1. I think the Promise units are not yet available. I’m also waiting on announcements from Areca and DataTale. The Areca units have the best TB1 performance, and the DataTale units are the quietest, with performance similar to the Promise TB1 RAIDs.

  1. And when you get all those Thunderbolt peripherals added to your system you’ll have a mess of boxes and cables scattered all over the place. I was wanting a mini-tower. Apple doing this probably saved me a thousand or so cause my next one won’t be a Pro again; it’ll be an iMac… I think.

    1. An iMac is no replacement for a MacPro. If you need the best performance, get a MacPro. If you need a lot of disc space, stay with the old MacPro like I do. 2 x 1 TB SSD for boot, user, email, scratch disc, and 4x 4 TB hard drive for my video files as video editor. Also I’ve added a USB 3 card. This 8 core power house will do the trick for at least 5 more years to come, and then I will see what the MacPro then will look like. But again, an iMac is great choice for office work and much more, but it’s no real power machine for high end jobs when you just need raw power.

        1. I absolutely agree. It will happen in a couple of years. As I said, we will see, how the MacPro will look then. Also we will see the capacity and price of SSD. Price will go down a lot, capacity will go up. In the meantime full HD is still great. 4K is the next big thing, but still far away from regular use.

      1. This is my *only* issue with the upcoming Mac Pro — upgradability.

        I can take the 2010 Mac Pro with 12 cores, add a PCIe based SSD (just like the upcoming Mac Pro), add two Titans (10 GFLOPs versus the upcoming Mac Pro’s 7 GFLOPs), add a TB 2 PCIe card (and get comparable add on to the upcoming Mac Pro) and stll have the ability to have up to 16 TB internal storage, and dual Blu-ray drives internal.

        You have a three year old machine — that you’ve gotten good work out of for three years — and upgraded it. For less money than a top of the line, upcoming Mac Pro you have..
        Similar CPU throughput (slightly less, but for most high end work the CPU is NOT the bottleneck)
        Similar FLASH capability
        More compute power in the GPUs
        Similar (slightly less) external expandability (but with a LOT more internal expansion the need for external expansion is a LOT less)
        Vastly more internal storage
        Significantly more permanent storage (optical drives)

        With everything but RAM being a custom form factor within the upcoming Mac Pro, does *anyone* really believe that in three years we’re going to be able to upgrade all the components in the upcoming Mac Pro to still have what is effectively the “state of the art” computer?

        Please understand… I like the upcoming Mac Pro line. It IS a design marvel. But, limiting its ability to be upgraded over time is a mistake.

        1. Maybe the new Mac Pro is a paradigm shift. Maybe expansion doesn’t need to happen inside the box. Maybe you can get the special hardware you need (everybody is different) and just connect it to the Mac Pro. Maybe this is just a different way of doing things…

          Innovation is never the status quo.

    2. Look! The damn thing is 1/8 the size. If you want a case, go get one from your local PC case shop. Mount all your hard drives in the thing. Stack me up. And set the new Mac Pro down in the bottom of the case. It won’t have a motherboard or cards, so there will be plenty of room.

      Remember to put in the 8 case fans you normally would have to ensure you get the air flow.

      Then… It will be all-in-one.


      1. Yes its Intel that is being restrictive with its licenses and the price of those licenses. If Intel would loosen up and give companies a break Thunderbolt would explode with companies building it.

        1. Déjà firkin vu.

          First Apple adopts a superior printer language: PostScript. Adobe charged a premium. HP distorted the market with PCL.

          Now Apple adopts a superior bus. And Intel is charging a premium. I suppose if history is an indicator, USB will continue to dominate.

          Will they never learn? But oh yes, we’re not supposed to be concerned about market share… I forgot. Sorry.

  2. The “cheaper” perception only applies to the base configuration.

    Once SMB’s realize how soon the “Thunderbolt Tax” applies for local storage, as well as the rats nest of cords it creates, there’s going to be a backlash.

    The only thing that would stop this would be for Fibre Channel connections to become as commonplace and as cheap as Ethernet.


    1. Lol I use thunderbolt now and its not a rats nest of cables.
      LOL. I can hook 6 devices and 2 monitors to 1 thunderbolt chain. Each with 1 cable between them. No rats nest.
      What really is a rats nest is my 8 core mac pro that I currently own, there is literally a rats nest of sata, usb, mini display, tos link, firewire 800, firewire 400, power cables, monitor cables, fiber channel cables coming out of the back of it. The new mac pro will clean this up significantly. Most if not 90% of storage is external for any professional nowadays. I welcome the Thunderbolt as a way to clean up the mess that I have. I won’t miss the internal drives that much either. Really think about what you are saying then think again. The new mac pro will be as clean as it gets.

      1. So you mean to throw away every single peripheral connected to your current system and replace all of them with Thunderbolt only devices? All of them? And there is nothing you could do now, on you current system, that would clean things up in any way?

        Every single device you currently have connected is definitively necessary and best served by it’s current form? Even the FW 400 ones? And Thunderbolt is the only way to improve the situation? Those new devices wont need power cables? is it just one Thunderbolt cable to some magical ‘replace everything’ device? Please explain. Help us to understand. We are fascinated.

        1. For me, the answer to your questions are emphatically “yes”

          I plan on throwing away everything and starting new.

          That is to say, I am NOT touching the old system. When I get the new Mac Pro I will expand it with new technology that fits it’s configuration to suit my needs.

          I dare not plug in that old crap even if I could.

      2. First, if you’re using TB, then that system’s not your Mac Pro.

        Second, when you retire your MacPro, all of those extra capabilities that are currently on it are going to have to migrate onto your TB-based system –> including however many of the internal storage bays are currently in use on your Mac Pro.

        Sure, you’ll take the opportunity to consolidate what you can (we all do), but it will mostly be things like retiring two old small external arrays and replacing them with one big one. When it comes to application (niche) specific peripherals, these are always “One Off” dedicated devices that require signal … and power.

        Third, the reason I said “Thunderbolt Tax” is because the interface isn’t as inexpensive as the legacy ones – my basic rule of thumb is around $100 “tax” per peripheral. Since the legacy Mac Pro didn’t have TB, we’ve had no means to ‘early adopt’ transition, which means that the expense of a new system will also be burdened with the expenses of new peripherals . at . the . same . time.

        Fourth, when you claim that “90% is external for Pros”, that’s really specific to the use case. Small businesses & independents – – who aren’t in a large Enterprise environment with a $100K Fibre Channel based data center down the hall – – are the ones who are going to get hit the hardest.

        Fifth – at to expand on the above point, OS X has never made great inroads into ‘Large Enterprise’ centers, which means that for those that aren’t adversely affected, they’re a narrower use case to begin with – – EG, large advertising studios. That also makes the nMP self-limiting for its market.

        Six – I **have** thought about this quite a bit … and bought a 2012 Mac Pro.

        Seven – the only new Mac Pro’s that will be “CLEAN” after nine months of use … are the ones prominently displayed on the desks of do-nothing “Poseur” managers to impress the clueless. As the late Steve Jobs stated, there’s always going to be a need for a TRUCK … and this is not a truck.


  3. Thunderbolt connectors seem awesome in theory because you could have a Thunderbolt expansion chassis holding a half a dozen graphic processor cards and it wouldn’t have to be near the Mac Pro. I don’t have a problem with daisy chaining a Thunderbolt cable to various devices. I don’t see how that creates a rat’s nest of cables. If someone did design a single expansion chassis that held storage and graphic cards you’d only need one Thunderbolt cable and a power cable for the chassis. Obviously the cost will only come down if more professionals adopt it.

    Like any new technology I’m sure there will be resistance saying that the old way was a lot better. It’s understandable because I used to think that way when Apple made changes to various connectors and I’ve seen plenty over the last 28 years. No more. I go with the flow with an open mind to the future.

  4. I think the great thing about the Mac Pro is it’s portability. You could take this to event, shoot, set (somewhere out of the office) and do a lot of your work there. This will give you an idea of what the client is looking for. You can copy their media on the spot. This also helps the client, knowing that there is a backup. Also you can show them if something is f*** up while there is still time to fix it. The new Pro is a compleat rethink of what a high end computer can do. Stop bitching about what it can’t do, and look at what it can. Yea, you can build a big ass PC with better specks, but where can you take it? Of course this is all speculation until someone can buy one.

      1. Given the alternatives, there is a reasonable point here in its somewhat improved portability. Of course, because of all of the externals that invariably come with it, the savings is more that one has divided up one big box into two small ones. It is quite likely that the number of loads portaged in from the car trunk will go up slightly, such as from 4 to 5.


  5. The latest SSDs are 8-lane PCI Express Gen 3. The best coprocessors on the market are NVIDIA K40s.

    Looks like the new Mac Pro will be old technology when it is finally released, with no path for upgrade.

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