It’s always difficult to compare a Windows PC with an Mac apples-to-apples, especially since we don’t yet know exactly how the Mac Pro’s configurations will price out. But going piece by piece, will you realistically be able to get more power and expandability in a PC you buy or build for far less money?
The base Mac Pro starts at $6,000, and even at this price, it will be priced out reach for most people. Creative professionals, however, will find plenty to love with an Intel Xeon W processor, 32GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 580X GPU, a massive 1.4-kilowatt power supply, Apple’s custom Afterburner ASIC card, 256GB SSD encrypted with T2 security chip, and eight available PCIe slots.
Not all of that can be replicated in any one Windows PC…
MacDailyNews Take: “Not all of that can be replicated in any one Windows PC.” Let’s just pause a moment for that to sink into the illogical mush that Windows sufferers call minds. One more time: “Not all of that can be replicated in any one Windows PC.” Okay, let’s continue.
Some have estimated that a fully configured Mac Pro will cost upwards of $35,000 based on parts alone… The Aventum X is one of a few pre-built PCs that can match the quad-GPU support on the Mac Pro, and it comes in at a hefty $36,000 price when configured with a 28-core 3.1GHz Intel Xeon W-3175 processor, 512GB DDR4 memory, 1,600-watt power supply, 4TB solid-state storage divided into two-2TB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 cards, and four Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards with NVLink connector. Even at this price, the Aventum X still can’t match some of the Mac Pro’s specs, falling short on RAM and lacking the ability to add an ASIC card.
DIY PC builders looking to match the Mac Pro’s expandability will need to find both a motherboard and a case that supports that many PCIe slots. One case that can support eight slots is One Stop System’s $3,795 Cube 3. This means that PC builders at home can expect to spend in the area of $5,000 for the case, base Xeon processor, AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics, and power supply — and that’s not including the fans, memory, Thunderbolt 3 support, or SSD.
Though the Mac Pro promises to be an insanely powerful tool that will satiate the needs of creatives, the base model seems a bit underwhelming — 256GB of storage is paltry, and the performance of AMD’s Radeon Pro 580X graphics doesn’t hold up well for a pro-class desktop — especially for its $6,000 price.
MacDailyNews Take: The Mac Pro’s internal storage is not intended for anything other than the OS, system files, and apps. External storage will of course be used for the massive amounts of digital video and other data storage for which these machines are designed to be used.
On the higher end of the spectrum, it’s difficult to replicate the Mac Pro experience in any PC today. The closest thing you can get is a workstation PC such as Dell’s Precision 7920, with its impressive dual-CPU and quad-GPU architecture, though it’s a system that maxes out at over $150,000.
MacDailyNews Take: Bottom line: Apple’s new Mac Pro is a tremendous value, even without accounting for macOS and the apps that run only on macOS that creative professionals need. That $115,000 difference for an overpriced Dell with an inferior OS and no Final Cut Pro X, no Logic Pro X, etc. can certainly buy a lot of Pro Display XDR stands.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]