What’s really wrong with Apple’s Mac Pro?

“What’s really wrong with the Mac Pro?” Wil Gomez asks for Ma360. “You won’t see too many Mac Pros in the wild and even then it seems as if there are more of the humongous cheese grater Mac Pro models of yesteryear still running than there are new Mac Pro cylinders gracing the desktops of system administrators, programmers, and creative pros.”

“the Mac Pro hasn’t been upgraded in more than three years and still ships with an older Xeon CPU that has seen three upgrades from Intel since. The Mac Pro also carries the distinction of being the only Mac assembled in the U.S. of A,” Gomez writes. “The Mac Pro can be upgraded. Mostly. I have a few co-workers who use the Mac Pro, and know a few others in the Mac creative field– graphics and media– who have Mac Pros in use daily. Except for one thing, they love the Mac Pro. But why?”

“First, it’s screaming fast. In the right configuration. Mac Pros need plenty of cores, plenty of RAM, and plenty of SSD storage, and those components add up quickly. A not quite fully tricked out 12-core CPU Mac Pro with basic 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage and dual 6GB GPUs weighs in at $7,599. Repeat. That’s $7,599,” Gomez writes. “Those prices do not include screens, keyboard, or mouse.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What if Apple were to spin off the Mac by creating a subsidiary – Macintosh Inc. – so that the resulting company could focus solely on the Mac and give it the level of attention it currently lacks but so richly deserves?

63 Comments

  1. Ive been waiting forever for the new mac pro..Apple needs to think of its users, not just looking for huge hits (ala iPhone) or nothing at all. Not every product needs to be for the masses!!

    1. totally agree and feel it’s an ominous signal that apple is a massive one trick company. many companies see the value of supporting less profitable aspects of their suite of products & services for intangible benefits they bring. seems like classic bean counter and executive compensation ID all that matter now

      1. The thing is pro Macs sell the company and the brand and market the company in ways that no amount of advertising can better. Seeing them used by the high, famous and powerful makes it a desirable brand and the pros make it a serious brand, you can’t beat that combination it’s what kept the company in business, and they feed off of each other. Indeed as there is so little Mac advertising there is not much else promoting it at present.

        It would be ironic if at the very moment that MS (spit) is getting that message Apple just can’t see the value in such matters, Not to mention oh so short sighted. If they want to keep selling up-market devices of any type for top dollar then they better re learn that you need substance and perception to sustain the image required to do so.

    2. The only support Cook has left on MDN is from other fags like him: Derek Currie, Peterblood (AKA “wade”, “KingMel”, etc).

      It was how blacks felt about Obama, “so what if he’s incompetent, he’s one of us” type of mentality.

      That’s why peterblood uses his obvious downvote app because that’s all he has to fall back on. The sentiment (after 5 long years) is finally OVERWHEMINGLY anti-Cook.

    3. No spinoff. That’s absurd for a number of reasons.

      Apple is quickly becoming NeXT: making computers that are so expensive so as to be out of reach of many consumers and even professionals outside of niche markets like education.

  2. I always see the crying about Macs here with the same BS. Why doesn’t Apple update this or that. One big reason is Intel. Apple can’t do major upgrades until Intel does, however people still expect them too. Look at some of the bitching about the new MBPs. They don’t have the latest CPUs, the ones that Intel hasn’t released or have issues with other parts that make it bad for laptops. They also seem to forget Apple does a major Mac upgrade to one model a year. This year it is the MBP, last year it was the MB, year before that iMac. More than likely next year will be MP’s turn along with some new Intel tech. We have become spoiled with first iPod, than iPhone annual updates.

    1. It’s not about the latest Intel processors.

      It’s about having slots, ports, bays, and user-upgradable HDs, memory, and video cards. And, gasp, maybe even a free bay for optical media or whatever else I want to put in my machine.

      And let me decide between hyper-priced SSDs, fusion drives, or standard HDs. When your reasonable storage media options costs more than the computer, that is a problem.

      And now the MacPro has become a self-fulfilling prophecy—it’s not selling because Pro Macs “aren’t important any more.” But Apple has shrunk the MacPro market by making them so ridiculously expensive.

      1. This is really a different discussion. Mine was about the upgrade cycle that has been going on for awhile now. One of the big complaints every time Apple comes out with a new Mac ” what about the other Macs”. Apple has had this cycle for awhile now, even with Jobs.

        On your point. Why should people have a large heavy box that half empty? One that limits where they can put it. Having SSDs makes the system faster and quieter. For most pros a separate RAID or a server is a better way to. Why should people have to hear multiple cooling fans run when one quiet one is all that is needed? Why should people have to work in a tiny space full of wires on other equipment that can get damaged when they make an upgrade? I understand your complaints, however there are some good, professional, reasons Apple designed the Mac Pro the way they did.

        1. I forgot, the SSDs, CPU, and GPUs are upgradable. I don’t understand that part of what you said. When the MP was introduced a lot of people wondered if be unupgradable like other Macs were. When it came out that GPU and CPU’s could be upgraded no one went back and reported that. It has been a myth that they can’t that hasn’t gone away. However it does require expensive, non standard tools to do it.

          1. i don’t see an upgrade path for GPU except for changing a low D card for a higher D card from Apple.

            the highest D700 is still s fraction of the speed of a current off the self PC card.

            maybe I’m wrong so perhaps you can point to me to a site that shows me how I can for example put in a 980 T card or something.

            1. eh:

              1) an external box like the the Bizon box costs hundreds of dollars

              2) according to BAREFEATS,
              running GPU intensive game Diablo 3

              Cylinder with Bizon box and 980 Titanium card 120 FPS
              SIX YEAR OLD 2010 Cheese Grater MP with 980 T 154 fps

              The 2010 Mac Pro, six years old still outpaces the Cylinder with bison box (both together costing thousands of dollars)

              imagine the speed difference with a current PC with fast subsystem running the 980 T.

              that is the solution?
              (btw the D700 in the Cylinder gives a horrific 66 fps ).

              (Note the Game tests are just an indication of GPU power, it might not be necessary to get 154 fps to play the game. )

              I agree with the video that Apple Build Quality is very good, just wish they would upgrade the MP with a proper Tower.

    2. Um what, Intel has in the Case of the Mac Pro had 3 Upgrades since the version in the current Mac Pro was released. Don’t even try to blame Intel or AMD or Nvidia. This is all on Apple.
      This a case of to many Cooks or cooks, there are way to many employees at Apple to make thing efficiently. All of Apples major break throughs have been done by small teams of nimble motivated employees, they are no longer nimble or motivated as they are making boat loads of cash no matter what they produce.

      This will not always be the case and once the average Joe gets as fed up as their loyal long term base has become look out. It took a long time for us to convince our friends that Apple was worth the extra cost, it won’t take nearly as long for us to convince them not to spend the extra money on products that are fast becoming average.

      1. I agree with the part about small teams vs big teams and useless focus groups. I always love that the iPod was made by a small team that the most important part was “would they buy one?” When Microsoft came out with the Zune Bill Gates bragged that they spent a million dollars on a color; brown, like shit. It was the worst selling color of their unsellable product. Apple may be heading down that dark path, I hope not.

        However, did the new Intel upgrades include TB3? I think that is something Apple is waiting on to make a major overhaul, like the MBPs. I did not blame AMD or Nvidea. Intel is the company that Apple and Windows OEM’s must work with for major PC upgrades.

        1. Skylake does not natively support TB3, but the new “Pro” laptops have as many as four ports that support TB3. (I won’t call them TB3 ports as they are really USB Type-C ports that support TB3 in alternate mode.)

          Kaby Lake will have limited support for TB3 built in. This will allow more flexibility if Apple ever decides to ship Macs with them.

          However, Kaby Lake “EP” processors likely won’t ship until spring of 2018, if ever. Intel is seriously investigating shipping a bridge architecture (just like Kaby Lake was a bridge between Skylake and Cannon Lake) that will support the “EP” variants in 2018. I have not been able to gather any information as to whether those chips will include TB3 support.

    3. The issue absolutely is not Intel, nor AMD, nor Nvidia.

      Intel has shipped two updates to its “EP” variants since the MacPro shipped. Another update should be coming in the next few months.

      AMD has shipped two updates to its GPU architectures since the MacPro shipped.

      Nvidia has shipped two updates to its GPU architectures since the MacPro shipped.

      There has been a major upgrade in the PCIe spec with another major upgrade expected to be ratified next year.

      RAM speeds have drastically increased in that time too.

      Apple has taken advantage of *NONE* of these. Apple could have updated the MacPro at least twice since December 2013. Apple *CHOSE* not to do so.

      Will Apple do a major update/redesign of the MacPro by the end of calendar Q2 2017? I hope so. It could include several major leaps forward.

      Apple does not update a different Mac line each year. Check your history. Apple was updating its MacPro line nearly every year until 2012.

      People used to call me a rabid Apple fanboy, an Apple fanatic, an Apple apologist, and many other similar titles. I started with Apple back in the late 70s. I cheered the introduction of the Mac. I stayed through the switch to PowerPC and still pushed the Mac through the “Dark Days”. I worked through “The Switch” to Intel and saw many, many advantages in doing so.

      The lack of proper upgrades to any of the Mac line in the past five years have given me little reason to stay such an avid Apple supporter.

      1. I echo your words. Been using iMac’s daily since Mar 1988. But I’m about to buy my first PC’s for my two kids because they want to do gaming with their friends, and I can’t afford to buy two iMac’s configured properly for games. My desktop iMac cost my $2700. (Bootcamp gaming works good BTW). The new PC’s will cost @1,100 each (w/o monitor). I’d much rather have iMac’s but can’t afford two of them at $2700 each, and I can get more versatility from the PC’s by upgrading the components over time, something I wish the iMac’s could do. I wish Apple would do the old 8500 desktop that would allow for changing out various components over time. At least ONE model for us who like to tinker.

  3. What’s wrong with the new MacPro?:

    1. Way too expensive.
    2. No internal expandability
    3. Few reasonable options for elegant external expandability–i.e. without a nest of wires and/or dongles.
    4. Values form over function for exactly the wrong reasons
    5. It’s the new Cube–only Apple discontinued the cube in less than a year.
    6.. A pro desktop machine does NOT have to be worried about size, weight or battery consumption. A pro desktop machine barely has to worry about looks–give us port, slots, bays and we’ll be happy.
    7. Remember how the previous two generations of Mac could be upgraded without even screwdriver!?! That’s what we want in elegance and innovation in a pro desktop machine.

    Couldn’t Apple make a 2X or 3X size MacMini with some expansion options–and no, it doesn’t have to be handcrafted by elves in the Black Forest from virgin aluminium from dwarven forges.

        1. What a troll. Synth posts a laundry list of complaints about an Apple product, I agree that he’s right, and then you call me an Apple plant. Are you even able to follow a thread and parse the words? I’m glad you enjoy making yourself look like a moron because you obviously are.

    1. 5. It’s the new Cube–only Apple discontinued the cube in less than a year.

      One could argue that they discontinued the new mac pro in less then a year too… only they still have 2013 stock left… as a colleague discovered when they order a “brand new” one (for reasons…) and discovered it’s SKU was from the original 2013 manufacturing run… thats sounds pretty abandoned to me.

      1. I will agree with Apple needs to stop with the “new” BS labels on their ads. After 6 months it’s not new. After a year it’s a lie. This has been something Apple has done for years and I have never liked it.

    2. “…. Apple discontinued the cube in less than a year.”

      this is significant. Apologists always say Jobs also made mistakes, true but they were relatively few and were usually quickly fixed. The hockey puck mouse disappeared quickly as well.
      The cylinder is 3 years old, no GPU upgrade path no drop in price.

  4. True that Apple cannot do major CPU upgrades until Intel does, and Intel seems to have hit a double-whammy wall. New CPUs are incremental improvements over previous versions, and often late to market despite the roadmap.

    But as to the Mac Pro, RAM and SSD storage can be upgraded, but not GPUs, and Intel’s new Xeons are at v5 while the Mac Pro remains at the original v2.

    1. But if I can update the computer with newer, bigger, faster options, Apple’s lack of updates wouldn’t matter nearly as much.
      Which is why I’m still running a heavily updated 2008 MacPro. Works perfectly and is still very speedy.

        1. But, if you have a 2009 Mac Pro you can flash it to make it look like a 2010. Then you can do lots of fun stuff.

          You can upgrade the processor(s) to chips that are roughly equivalent to the 2013 in capabilities.

          You can drastically increase the RAM (up through 128 GB for some applications).

          You can drastically upgrade the GPU(s): up through the latest from AMD or Nvidia.

          You can put a PCIe based SSD drive in one of the PCIe slots. (and have four HDD slots for data and internal backup)

          And… you can run macOS Sierra on it.

          In effect, you can take that seven year old 2009 Mac Pro and make it a better machine than what Apple is currently selling. It makes me wonder how many sales Apple is losing by people buying old 2009 Mac Pro machines and turning them into better machines than you can buy from Apple today.

          1. I’m typing this on a Cheese Grater.

            Have another one a 2010 . I bought a upgrade Xeon chip. Will buy a new GPU card. Been hesitating in upgrading as I had waited for the recent mac announcements (MBP only) and the rumours of Nov MP launch (which doesn’t seem to be happening – long shot anyhow)

            Didn’t want to do the ‘thermal paste thing’ with the Xeon etc but Apple is forcing us. Cheese graters can be got a few hundred bucks, midrange video for less than a thousand ( 3 times GPU of the cylinder).

            We WANT to buy new upgradable TOWERS but Apple isn’t moving.

        2. Yep, the 2008 cannot be flashed to update the firmware. I was all set to do this.

          Seriously considering a post 2009 Mac Pro for my next computer which I can simply slide all my current HDs into, and maybe grab a USB3 PCI card.

  5. “Made in the USA”

    That’s what’s wrong with Mac Pro.

    The manufacturing method proved to be cost prohibitive when it came to updating specific components. Apple’s been working to redevelop it – that’s why we haven’t seen an update. I also think this is the same reason we haven’t seen a new Mac mini. Apple is moving manufacturing to the US as well and developing a similar method to manufacture them that will be much more efficient and modular.

  6. The current MP (trash can):
    Needs to definitely lower the price and this will make it profitable. In order to do this Apple may create a new desktop line including:
    Quad-six core i7 CPUs and motherboard (not Xeon)
    Include only one desktop class upgradable GPU
    Leave the space the other GPU occupies free for other PCI card options.
    Update Thunderbolt to v3
    Update all components to current parts

    For a Xeon MP (trash can):
    Update all components to current parts
    Include only one Pro class upgradable GPU
    Have the option for another Pro GPU or have a free PCI slot.

    For a true desktop workstation (Xeon and Pro GPUs):
    Create a tower (I prefer a mini tower) starting with only basic features (It doesn’t need to be as huge and heavy as the cheese grater but also don’t get crazy with slim, light and fancy. include all the configuration options different professionals need.

    If the trash can wasn’t the only workstation option and had upgradable GPUs or leave the 2 PCI slots to install other PCI cards it would be a fine middle Mac many, many, many Apple fans cried about for years including myself.

    1. As I mentioned above, the latest Mac Pro turned out to be a production nightmare for Apple. Every single part was highly customized and upgrading these internal components proved to be too expensive. Rather than attempt to carry on and save face, they scrapped the whole product and decided to start over or abandon that portion of the market altogether. Possibly moving “pros” to higher end iMacs, an “iMac Pro”

      On the other hand if they decide to start over, I’d be willing to bet they’ve learned a lot about manufacturing and assembly since then and will design a system that is much more modular.

      1. You are right about the production on the MP. Now they have to decide if is better to accept the lost, abandon the trash can and start all over.

        I do like the idea of an iMac Pro, but having one 27 iMac with a scratched screen dissuades me a lot from using the current iMac for long term professional use.

        Anyway I think this Pro iMac should include:
        Back door opening for upgrade an service
        Reduce the speakers to have more room for better cooling and additional PCI cards.
        Even make it thicker to support more components and options
        Have upgradable GPU
        Include quad-six core i7 CPUs
        Have a border to protect the screen
        It will be nice to have an iMac Pro in Black
        Personal preference: Create a full desktop keyboard including back light. In black and exclude the touch bar. It will make it too expensive and today not really productive for everybody to justify its costs. The Touch bar could be and extension device, separated.

  7. No Idea what the people at Apple are smoking, but although OSX is a decent system (once you add PathFinder, Alfred, ABFR etc. etc.) I have no idea why one would buy a MacPro these days. Unless they have something really competitive coming up, I’d prefer if Apple removed the current MacPro from their lineup altogether, as it makes Apple look laughable.

    1. He used an 8-core Mac Pro? I get a price of $9,000 for the MacPro with the 12-core processor, 64 Gb RAM, 512 SSD, and the two top of the line graphics cards. That leaves $1,000 for the RAID. Why is he bringing a monitor into this? Go ahead and spend the extra monitor money on the PC and see what, if any, performance increase you get.

      Long and short of it, this guy ran a test with 50% fewer cores on the MacPro than possible within the budget and tested them on 3D rendering that he himself states is core-dependent.

      Not a good test. And it took the PC 56 cores to do the same thing. Not so impressive, PC.

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