Apple’s powerful new Mac Pro a good value; far from the most expensive high-end Mac or high-end PCs

“Back in the 1980s it was possible — in fact easy — to spend many thousands of dollars on a PC. Most PCs and Macs started in the $2000 range and went up from there,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet. “The Mac Pro is a high-end system — a desktop mainframe. To compare it to older high-end Macs I went through the archives of to find the top-of-the-line systems every two years from 1986 to 2012.”

“I took the retail prices of the high-end systems and adjusted them using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index inflation calculator to translate them into 2013 dollars,” Harris writes. “The Mac IIfx was the most expensive Mac ever produced, though its retail cost was about the same as the much less powerful Lisa seven years earlier (whose price in today’s dollars would be $23,389).”

Apple's all-new Mac Pro
Apple’s all-new Mac Pro

“[With the new Mac Pro], it appears that the six core configuration – for a base price of $3999 – is the sweet spot. Of course, until we see some benchmarks, we can’t be sure,” Harris writes. “The bottom line: while a fully loaded new Mac Pro may appear expensive it is far from the most expensive high-end Mac – and high-end PCs – in cost. And it is much more expandable – with better investment protection – than costly earlier machines. Given the CPU performance plateau and the drop in bandwidth growth and storage latency improvements, these new Mac Pro’s will likely hold their value for years to come.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Yeah I am wondering for the best overall performance of 6,8 or 12 core for the best deal. The best bang for the buck. Thing of it is though how can you NOT have a full Tb of solid state storage, lots of memory, etc.. You’re still not going to get out alive for $3999. Maybe $5999.

    1. Your online storage is just for the os and apps. Everything else should be thunderbolt. I would go with 512, but even 256 works for me here so far (I replaced all of my startup drives on my machines here with solid state and PCIE drives). A 2nd solid state for AE cache and temp rendering. Attached raid for FCP. The new pro is exactly what I’m doing already, but faster, smaller and quieter. What’s not to love.

  2. Back in the 1880’s you could buy a Winchester rifle for the price you pay for a Mac Pro. We don’t need a history lesson here. Besides I wasn’t born when the Lisa II was available, so who cares. No one gives a shit what the Lisa II cost a hundred years ago. It’s not relevant.

    What is relevant though is that the Mac Pro with top ducted exhaust fans isn’t suitable for rack mounting, so it’s virtually useless as a rack mountable device. And the lack of internal expansion slots and lack of internal storage means I have to spend another $5,000 buying a TB RAID with all the associated problems of putting it somewhere along with a separate power supply.

    Useless form over function Ive design.

      1. Actually, Mac Pros are pressed into server duty fairly frequently. Sense the demise of Apple’s dedicated server hardware, it’s not like Mac users have had much choice.

        1. If customers decide they want to use Apple hardware in ways not intended by Apple, I don’t see how that’s Apple’s problem.

          Apple hasn’t targeted the enterprise server market since discontinuing the Xserve; everyone knows that.


      1. Great, here comes the “troll” name calling.

        A LaCie 2Big 4TB thunderbold Raid box indeed starts at $499.

        But you could also buy two x 4 TB internal hard drives for about $320.

        If you think that the extra $180 for the external claptrap adds value, that’s your fashion prerogative.

    1. To understand the present and prepare for the future you must be aware of the past. Did not your parents teach you that? Surely you were taught that in grammar school. If you do not understand the past you are bound to repeat it.

    2. The price adjusted for inflation tells you how much less percentage of your net income you have to pay for a top end machine today. How is that not relevant. What is irrelevant is whether you can rack mount a Mac Pro. I would guesstimate that the number of media professionals that will buy these who currently rely on rack mounted computers wouldn’t be a pixel width slice of a pie chart. It’s not designed or intended to be used as a dedicated data forwarding server. All of your points (and misinformation) make it evident that you have a near-zero understanding of what this product is intended for, making all of your comments virtually irrelevant.

  3. The new unit Apple is branding as a Mac Pro is a nice computer, but is in no way a replacement for many of the users of the previous generations. My criticisms of the Mac Pro are not as a computer- but the marketing of the device as a replacement for the internally expandable tower.

    I might actually buy one eventually, but not as my main computer sitting at my desk. I simply do not want some hunk of ugly external disk drive box and a mess of cables and wall warts and know that I am not alone. Internal expansion is more energy efficient, space efficient and elegant.

    When one figures the drive away costs of using one of these to replace a Mac Pro tower with all the external expansion stuff and overpriced cables, this is going to be a damned expensive tower.

    Price out an external Thunderbolt storage device and all the rest and add it to what the unit costs. The Tower could be hot swapped with a single screwdriver for the sled mount in seconds and you could go as high as 5 drives (one in the 2nd optical bay) without one new cable, power supply or whatever.

    The ability to have those disks at the ready is critical for many. I have an up to date disk (#2) with a partition set up with Snow Leopard & it’s Rosetta capabilities, a partition with a clean install of Mavericks and no 3rd party apps installed. I can boot into a clean copy of Mavericks with a simple reboot and can run Snow Leopard if I wish to use software that requires Rosetta.

    #3 is dedicated to Time Machine with a small partition set aside with installers for all non Mac App store images.

    #4 has all my iTunes content and non Movie video stored.

    # 5 has all my movies.

    I do not think any Black Trashcan will be able to do that with one plug, one power supply, one footprint and the extra margin of safety in one box.

    I do have an external HD used for scratch drive work and others that are used for periodic backup of media files. The data files are regularly backed up to DVD RWs.

    1. Darwin Evolved, you think just like me. I’ve got drives for:
      1a) Mavericks 1b) Snow Leopard with Rosetta
      2) Windows
      3) Movies
      4) Empty bay used when backing up/cloning other drives
      Optical) Blu-ray writer

      Some of us still see an advantage to a tower configuration.

    2. All of that stuff could probably fit comfortably now on a pair of partitioned 4TB USB 3.0 desktop drives for under $300. Including a power strip for the two extra outlets.
      As for margin of safety, putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t necessarily safer.

    3. As you seem so set on keeping a Snow Leopard partition, you won’t be interested in the new Mac Pro anyway – it doesn’t support Snow Leopard. So what is your issue?

    4. I’m holding on to my mid 2012 Mac Pro Tower with both hands. They’re getting more valuable by the minute. When I saw the first TrashCan model … thought “What idiot came up with this?” Going to Shop around for a good used QuadCore Tower; so I’ll have a back up to “”See Me Out” … as the Englishmen say.

  4. I had checked on the Hewlett Packard site to see what they had in the form of desktop workstations and for the same price they didn’t offer the nearly the same processing power as the new Mac Pro. They didn’t even come with a graphics card. On the plus side the H-P workstations did look like traditional computers. Hehe.

  5. This is the best desktop computer designed! It is clean, pure & simple. It defines what beauty is… It is a “Masterpiece Machine” !!! It definitely will be a standard for the next decade!

  6. “The Mac IIfx was the most expensive Mac ever produced”

    Yeah, so what. I can think of many cars that are price way beyond reason but that doesn’t stop people from buying them.

    As for the comments about it not being about to “rack” it. Again, so what?! You want to buy a rack of servers then there are plenty of dumb, ugly boxes on the market.

    This computer is an incredibly beautiful machine designed to replace towers. I have a Mac tower sitting on the floor next to me and I’m pretty sure I could put at least 6 of these in the same amount of space. But why would I’ll have this engineering marvel sitting on my desk where the whole world can see it. (Nobody puts baby in the corner, haha)

    I love it, Its SEXY!

  7. The first computer I ever bought, a crap DOS machine with a 16 kHz 386 processor and a 100 megabyte hard drive, cost me $1200 (might have included a monitor, I don’t remember) in 1991, which is about $2000 today. That just seems insane in retrospect.

    My quad-core Mac mini with a 1TB hard drive cost about $800, which was about $470 in 1991 money. It’s just amazing how technology continues to get cheaper.


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