Forget the $52,000 Mac Pro, the sweet spot config is $25,000

Mac Pro features an aluminum housing that lifts off for 360-degree access to the entire system.
Mac Pro features an aluminum housing that lifts off for 360-degree access to the entire system.

A fully-loaded Mac Pro sports a price exceeding $50,000, but the sweet spot configuration is less than half that at $25,000.

Robin Harris for ZDNet:

For comparison, look at an earlier high-end pro machine. The Apple Macintosh IIfx cost $8970 for the base model in 1990, $17,652 in today’s dollars. Of course, you’d want to outfit that with the stunning Apple Macintosh 21″ Color Display, with incredible 1152×870 resolution, at the then price of $4599, or $8685 in today’s dollars, for a grand total of $26337. Feeling better about the new Mac Pro price?

The new Mac Pro may not be cheap, but it is not out of line with earlier pro grade kit. And it is, by all accounts, a stunning machine.

MacDailyNews Take: If anything, Apple’s Mac Pro is underpriced.

As we wrote earlier this month:

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. LOL 😆 I think MY “sweet spot config” is the 2013 cylinder (6-core), if I can snatch one (used) from an upgrader for about $1600, or less 🥺 I don’t need PCIe expansion cards, and TB2 works for me because I have TB2 accessories 😏

    1. You can probably get one that matches current iMac Pro specs in that ballpark. I upgraded one that I have recently adding more cores, tripling the memory, and quadrupling the SSD for around $1,600. It won’t render Pixar in 11 seconds, but it’s still great for anything else, much faster than our Macbook Pro or regular iMac.

  2. So, checked on my Mac SE I bought in 1987 for $1350. Today, the equivalent price would be over $3000. Haven’t spent that much for a Mac in a while. In fact, the last Mac I bought was a refurb’d 2012 Mini, not long ago for $240 to replace an even older one! Added a stick of ram for $30, and a 500GB SSD, for $80, in total $350.

    At my first job, my company bought me a Compaq 386 back in 1986. It was over $10k, since they paid full retail. That’s over $23k today. Yikes.

  3. Most soundtracks for TV shows are generated on a Mac (they only use real orchestras for larger film productions) . . . In the linked article, the composer talks about how they used 3 Macs in 2013 to make the soundtrack for the film “Gravity” — that same process can be done on 1 Mac Pro today . . .

  4. The IIfx was overpriced for its day. Anyone who says otherwise was not buying many Macs back then. I was, as were several people/companies I knew back then.

    I know of only one person who bought a IIfx out of all the businesses and individuals I knew that were using Macs back then (long before the dark days). He had more problems with that IIfx than he had with any Mac before or since. It was faster than the II or the IIcx or the IIci, but not that much faster no matter how Sculley tried to market it.

    Comparing the current Mac Pro (my personal one should arrive by the end of this week, business ones have been trickling in) to an over priced Mac of yesteryear does no one any good.

    There is a sweet spot for buying a new Mac Pro. Except for those that need to work at or near the maximum capabilities who really need a machine in the $30,000 or above range, the sweet spot is more like $15,000. Buy third party RAM. By third party PCIe based SSD boards (just get a big enough SSD from Apple to partition as you need to hold all your various OSes and Apps). And, unless you really need reference quality monitors, get third party monitors for 10% to 20% of the price of Apple’s new display. You’re going to have a really nice, fast, and complete setup that is well under $20,000 all in.

  5. I’ll be spending about $11,999 for my 16 core 2019 Mac Pro. It will be perfectly fine for my usual video editing, After Effects and Photoshop tasks in the immediate and as designed & needed I can build it up as time goes by. The money is standing by now but I am waiting until about March to buy it. Want to see others testing the waters first and some other options to become available. In the meantime this beefed up 2010 Mac Pro will do the job. Just not quite as well.

  6. MacDailyNews Take: If anything, Apple’s Mac Pro is underpriced.

    Boy, they must pay you guys well. For a small business that does video work, this is a lot of money in comparison to the WinTel side of the house. And I really like when publication compare dollars then and now. I think you would be shocked at what Apple really pays to produce the box.

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