Is Apple’s $52,599 Mac Pro overpriced?

Mac Pro features powerful Xeon processors up to 28 cores and delivers tremendous performance and massive bandwidth.
Apple’s all-new Mac Pro features powerful Xeon processors up to 28 cores and delivers tremendous performance and massive bandwidth.

You can spec out an all-new Apple Mac Pro so that it costs $52,599, but is that overpriced?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for ZDNet:

Apple’s updated [sic all-new] Mac Pro has finally landed, and as expected, it isn’t cheap. While it starts at a vaguely reasonable $5,999, a few taps or clicks spirals this price up to $52,599.

Is the new Mac Pro overpriced? Not really.

To begin with, $52,599 is buying you a lot of hardware… But the most significant part of that hardware is, as you would expect, the RAM. Going from the base 32GB to the 1.5TB option adds $25,000 to the price, not including the fact that 1.5TB of RAM requires upgrading to the 24-core or 28-core Intel Xeon processors, which from the base price adds $6,000 and $7,000 to the amount, respectively. Is $25,000 a lot for that much RAM? Not really. The cheapest I can find is $18,000, and I doubt Apple is using the cheapest.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s all-new Mac Pro expensive, but it’s certainly not overpriced.

As we wrote just yesterday:

It’s a professional Mac, not a toy for Joe and Jane Sixpack. These machines are for pros who spend far, far in excess the cost of a new Mac Pro with multiple Pro Display XDRs on cameras, tripods, lighting, sound equipment, staff, etc. Way back when, we used to buy Avid Media Composer and Symphony systems that easily cost more than the cost of two, three, or even four fully-loaded Mac Pros, each with dual Pro Display XDRs and, yes, all with Apple Pro Stands. If you have to ask how much it costs, the Mac Pro is not for you – you’re supposed to be shopping for an iMac, Mac mini, or a MacBook Air.

We explained in June why the Mac Pro has to exist (and should’ve existed long before today):

Of the new Mac Pro, every Mac user should be proud.

The Mac Pro is sort of like why you fund a space program, if you’re smart. Yes, there are pressing needs elsewhere (and, btw, there always will be; it’s a bad excuse for not investing in exploration), but if you’re not pushing, you’re stagnating. Nothing unexpected can be discovered, no new solutions uncovered when no new challenges are ventured. It’s why smart car companies make esoteric supercars of which only a few will ever be sold and on which the investment will never be recouped. As with supercars, lessons learned from the Mac Pro, the Mac flagship, will percolate throughout and improve all of Apple’s product lines. Yes, Apple worst-selling Mac is their most important.

May the Mac Pro never be dead-ended, abandoned, and ignored again!

Think about what you thought of Apple’s Mac lineup when it had a half-decade-old, neglected, dead-end design as its flagship. The entire Mac lineup was diminished. Apple’s management who allowed this to happen were diminished, too. People could only see the flaws – in the machines and the people. Now, with the new Mac Pro proudly raising the flag high atop the mountain, all Macs, and everyone responsible for making Macs, are lifted up along with it. — MacDailyNews, June 6, 2019


    1. The 2019 Mac Pro is the new “Lisa” computer. Apple sold approximately 10,000 Lisa machines at a price of US$9,995 (equivalent to about $25,100 in 2018).

      They should sell quite a few more now. I think.

      1. Historically speaking, the pricing for the new Mac Pro is not outlandish. The problem isn’t with the $30,000–50,000 models. The people who can make good use of those machines will do so. I think what’s bothersome to many traditional Mac Pro users is the lack of a Mac Pro in the, say, $2,500–5,000 range. There are a lot of pro users who want a desktop system that’s less expensive than these new Mac Pros but more performant and expandable than a Mac Mini. Something, I think, roughly like an iMac Pro without the built-in display.

        I get why Apple kept the “Mac Pro” name. But in theory it would have been nice to have a new Mac Pro similar in scope — and pricing! — to the old pre-2013 Mac Pros, and to have these new Mac Pros occupy a new “hypercar” slot above the Mac Pro in the lineup. “Mac Workstation” is not a catchy name, I know, but something to that effect.

        From “Daring Fireball”

  1. Times are a changing. In the late 90s I bought a G4 tower (previous generation) for around $2000. That beast went through many changes as I expanded it, adding drives, PC Cards, RAM etc. Lasted me for a good 9 years.

    Those towers were for professionals but also priced for academics etc as well. Not any longer. The MacPro is for hard core professionals who need cutting edge performance especially in the video arena.

    I guess that is fair given how the industry has changed and the performance of MacBookPros etc fill the need for the above average user. Its still a shame not to be able to have a Mac box that you can play around with.

    1. Agreed, the new MacPro isn’t for serious professionals, it is for über-professionals who are already working on multi-million dollar projects or working for Fortune 500 media companies.

      Still hoping that Apple sees the need for an upgradable “Demi-Pro” which starts at $1500 – $3000 instead of $6000.

      Two PCI slots (one for GPU)
      4 – 8 RAM slots
      two HD bays, with the option for HD or SSD or combo
      Lots of USB, at least one in a place I can see without turning the computer around or flipping it upside down.
      Gigabit ethernet
      Bonus: user replaceable power supply!

      Doesn’t have to be made out of razor thin adamantium, mined by dwarves, and shaped by cold-fusion in the horse-head nebula.

      Weight and size are almost irrelevant since it is a desktop machine.

      Accessibility/modularity and user upgradability/maintainabiltiy are of prime importance since my job depends on this machine.

      AppleCare is awesome, but I’d rather not make a trip to the Apple Store if possible, even if I have to pay for replacement parts myself–uptime is more important.

      1. Yes, just like when they introduced the Mac IIcx all those many years ago….a pared down version of the Mac IIx and then a little later the IIci. They both sold like crazy…especially the IIci… I think they would sell a zillion “Demi-Pros”

    2. I agree. I have no problem whatsoever with the high end of the Mac Pro line. I used to work with people in that market. I get it. What irritates me is how easily they could have added lower-end configurations and appealed to a much broader market. Specifically, developers. Whether the people at Apple remember this or not, they live and die on their developer community. With the exception of the 16″ MacBook Pro, all of their recent releases ignore or are hostile to (15″ touchbar…..) developers.

      1. Or simply make a Mac mini twice as big so that it can have user-serviceable/upgradable RAM, HDs/SSDs, and the option of a discrete GPU.

        In other words, make the Mac mini as flexible in configuration as the iMac–that would give most serious professionals what they want.

        Think about it: Why does a Mac mini use hyper expensive SSDs but has no option for a discrete GPU–that makes no sense. Almost any serious pro who values the bit of extra speed one gets from Apple’s premium SSDs will also want at least a few discrete GPU options. But a non-pro will be put-off by the price of an SSD upgrade to a very modest 1 TB. The Mac mini is perfectly place in a no-man’s land–too expensive for Joe Sixpack because of the over-priced SSD (or lack of a fusion drive option) but too underpowered for Joe Pro, because of the lack of any GPU options, and crappy user serviceability options.

        Offer the same flexible RAM/FusionHD/SSD/GPU option on the Mac mini as you offer on the iMac, Please!

        And the Mac mini does not need to be so small–it is a desktop machine, fer cryin’ out loud.

        1. Oh, I’ve thought about it. We are in complete agreement on all points mention. This probably isn’t healthy. 😛

          I think Apple is suffering from increasing Silicon Valley tunnel vision in the last 4-5 years. The rest of the world isn’t like their little microcosm, doesn’t want to be, and some go to great pains not to be.

  2. You really cannot compare the old towers with this new Mac Pro – this thing is way more powerful than anything that has ever been out. In the past there were PC’s that were way more powerful than the Mac towers and they cost a lot but now I would say that this new Mac Pro is probably faster than any PC configuration out there.

    1. I’m sure you could improvise with some modified chair casters and superglue if you really need your Mac Pro to provide easy mobility. I don’t know how those standard legs on the Mac Pro are attached to the case, but it may be by a simple screw-in fitting. Maybe standard chair casters could replace those legs if they were threaded. Anyway, I like the idea of fitting wheels to a desktop. It adds a touch of uniqueness.

  3. Aren’t most fully-equipped workstations rather expensive? I don’t quite understand why so many people are making a big deal about the price. This Mac Pro isn’t for the average computer user and Apple has less-expensive computers for those people. This Mac Pro is going to be used by video production departments and render-farms that require high-end hardware. It just seems as though the critics are trying to compare a street car’s price to a racing car’s price. They’re going to be used for totally different things. If this Mac Pro can actually cut rendering times in half, then I doubt it would be considered overpriced because a professional could get twice the work done and make that much more money. Isn’t there some sort of a tax deduction for purchasing job-related equipment?

    I’m not quite sure why the cost of the Mac Pro is the main focus when it should be far more important that the Mac Pro can get the job done in a faster time than most computers can. I’m not talking about some custom home-built computer that doesn’t have a warranty or support. It seems like this Mac Pro is being criticized by people who would never have such a need for a high-end workstation, so what’s their point in saying anything negative about it. I don’t care what it cost because I certainly don’t need anything as powerful as this Mac Pro, so I won’t be buying one. There are people harping about the cost of the wheels and the XDR Display stand and yet neither of those items are required components to owning a Mac Pro and XDR Display. I just figure if Apple can give full support for their products then I’ll just pay the Apple tax and be done with it or buy something else. Why complain about the cost when no one is being forced to buy the Mac Pro?

  4. Apple priced out millions of professionals that need more than iMac Pros or MacBook Pros.

    The starting config for the base new $6000 MacPros is a joke. Given the 6-year wait after putting out the TRASH can, I suspect Apple lost those millions of professionals forever.

  5. I can now use the new Mac Pro’s price when someone says “but Macs are too expensive” and show them that compared to what they want for a MacBook Air or even a Pro. Compared to that, the laptops seem like a steal.

  6. I want it so much I FEEL like I need it, but not quite so much that I feel like I can afford it. With no mid-range desktop Mac in sight (already have a display, so no need for an iMac), I guess I’m looking at a Mac mini to finally replace my 2010 Mac Pro. Seems like a large step down, which shouldn’t be the case. C’mon Apple, find me the middle ground.

  7. All I want is a “Mac”

    not an iMac not a Mac Mini, not a Mac Pro, but just a Mac… something in a mid-tower form factor that has a socketed processor, RAM, and PCI Express slots.

    1. You and me both. What happened to the prosumer or enthusiast Macs? I don’t want an iMac or a portable. I want something that I know I’ll be able to upgrade the graphics card, storage and RAM in a few years. I want to use my perfectly capable 4K monitor and regular USB devices. I don’t mind a premium for Apple hardware but in this case both the base model Mac Pro and the undesirable and inconvenient iMac Pro are neither at a desirable price point. Sadly, Apple no longer makes a Mac for me.

  8. I know some of the commenters weren’t around to experience this, but in March, 1990 the Mac IIfx (arguably the first “Pro” Mac) was introduced with a 40MHz Motorola 68030 (1 core) and 40/80 or 160MB internal HDs and 128MB max memory – for $10,000 – $12,000.

    1. And those were 90s dollars – it’d be close to $20,000 with modern inflation. The base model of the new Mac Pro is still way too expensive IMO, but at least for once they are using industry standard components more or less across the board, I guess. Agreed with others though, the meanest MacBook Pro just isn’t enough for really intensive computing (my wife has one, it wouldn’t suffice for me), and a top tier iMac Pro is definitely overpriced given that it’s glued and soldered together. And the iPad Pro? 😂😂 It is what it is, I guess.

      Silicon Valley has been off its nut for awhile now, Apple is no exception. I’m not a super fan of theirs these days, but there are still reasons that make it worth sticking with them.

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