Why I’m not sorry I bought my Mac Mini and didn’t wait for Apple’s new Mac Pro

David Gewirtz for ZDNet:

Over the years, I’ve often talked about what I call my “main machine.” It’s the one that I equip for heavy-duty projects, ranging from network simulation, multi-VM operations, AI development, video editing, or data analysis. This machine is always a Mac, because you can run MacOS, Windows, and Linux on a Mac…

Wow, that new Mac Pro is expensive. The 2013 Mac Pro hit the market at $2,999. That seemed like a lot. But $6,000 for a base machine? For individual professionals like me, that’s a big lift.

After adding an external monitor (a basic ultrawide, not the $4,999 reference monitor Apple just announced), plus other necessary accessories, I probably would have had to outlay $7-8,000.

Instead, my fully-equipped Mac Mini cost me (including monitor and other goodies) under $4,000… I’m happy with my purchase decision. For the price of the Mac Pro, I can get two or three Mac Minis (and I probably will, over time). For now, the Mac Mini is a much more practical, cost-effective solution that’s delivering all the power and flexibility I need.

MacDailyNews Take: In a related article, Gewirtz will explain why he bought a BMW X1 instead of an X7.

7 Comments

  1. Totally depends on your job. I work in UX Design – for which the Mac Mini is great for the next few years (and I don’t have to deal with busted keyboards). If you work in high end video/animation then a Mac Pro might interest you – it’s a niche product guys.

  2. I purchased an iMac Pro (10-core) when they first came out (just under $10K once I configured it the way I wanted it). I was worried I’d have buyer’s remorse when the Mac Pro came out. Also bought a new Mac Mini when it came out to replace the aging 2-core unit I was using as a server (it was about $2K configured, plus around $1,500 for a pair of 4K displays). That’s when I got buyer’s remorse. Although the display on the iMac Pro is fantastic, I could have gotten by just fine with the new Mac Mini.

    I don’t do (much) video editing. Certainly not enough to justify spending big bucks on fancy video cards (though this didn’t stop me from upgrading the card in the iMac Pro). I do, however, do a lot of circuit board layout (which benefits from multiple cores). I was disappointed that the iMac Pro didn’t completely wipe the table over my older 2012 MBP (4 cores). It was about 2.5x faster. Good, but hardly amazing considering the 5-year difference in technology (and having 2.5x the number of cores). To be honest, the Mac Mini (or even iMac 5K) at half the price would have made more sense.

    I like the idea of having a new Mac Pro, but it is such a niche device (really optimized for video/photo editing and not much else) that I doubt I could justify the $10,000-$15,000 (before display) it would probably cost to get it to the level I would want to operate (at least 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 10 cores, upgraded video card, etc.).

    At this point, I’d wait to see if the Mac Mini winds up with an i9 upgrade soon (8 cores); for most people, that would be a far better choice than a Mac Pro.

    Now the $5,000 display, on the other hand, looks like something I’d be willing to spend money on.

  3. If you can produce cut/edit one more job per month, you just paid for this machine in a few months, easy… Of course, it depends what kind of Director/Producer you are, and how much editing work you truly have, vs directing live, or living in a production truck all day. Just depends. Sounds like he is on the edge of being a high-end editor vs guy that does some of this, but clearly, he can’t justify the dollars for the Pro now?…

    Why not sell the Mac Mini and move on up? Again, it doesn’t sound like he makes enough editing and such to justify it.

  4. Adjusted for inflation the new Mac Pro costs about the same as the first Mac with 128K RAM and an internal 400K floppy drive. It was introduced as the computer for “the rest of us.” They did offer a student discount that brought the price down to an inflation adjusted $4600. I bought one as did many of my friends. It is amazing how tech prices have dropped and how our perceptions of what is expensive has changed.

    1. Adjusted for inflation …

      Nope, because the CPI just doesn’t apply well to digital technology.

      This disconnect is why today a 10TB hard drive costs $300, which is ~1/10th of what a 10MB hard drive cost thirty years ago.

  5. We really needs some historical perspective when discussing the newly announced MacPro.

    Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT computer to develop the World Wide Web. In constant dollars a NeXT workstation from 1989 would cost about $13,400 today. The original 1977 Apple II (with max ram – all 48K) sold for $2,638 and would be about $11,100 in 2019 money. Now a real failure, but still far sighted, was the Apple LISA at $10,000 in 1983 which would be about $25,600 today. [Yes, $1,000 for the monitor stand is really an artifact for the Museum of Modern Art Design Department]. Oh, an EIZO RX660 30 inch 6 MP display is over $14,000 in today’s money.
    It is all about technical need and financial capacity.

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