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Upgrades Apple Hardware

A Flood of Fawning Reviews For Apple's Latest 501

Posted by timothy
from the nifty-design dept.
Like many other review sites, it seems that MacWorld can hardly find enough good things to say about the new Mac Pro, even while conceding it's probably not right for many users. 9to5 Mac has assembled a lot of the early reviews, including The Verge's, which has one of the coolest shots of its nifty design, which stacks up well against the old Pro's nifty design. The reviews mostly boil down to this: If you're in a field where you already make use of a high-end Mac for tasks like video editing, the newest one lives up to its hype.
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A Flood of Fawning Reviews For Apple's Latest

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  • by dougisfunny (1200171) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:15PM (#45776807)

    But the question we all want to know the answer to is: will it blend?

  • It's pretty neat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:18PM (#45776825)

    I read the review on the Mac CAD site a few days ago. They go into the GPU performance, and it looks like if you need the GPU offerings they are bundling, it's not a horrible deal. One supposes if you're into something specific like Mac CAD, then your CAD software will be updated to take advantage of that specific hardware, because it's a closed ecosystem. If you're an architect invested in a Mac workflow, then dropping $2-3K per year on your main desktop doesn't sound horrible.

    As a no-longer-an-Apple-guy, I might be interested in seeing a standards develop for commodity parts that used the tower cooling design. My big old LianLi Al case certainly takes up too much desk space. Then again, I should stick it in a closet and use a KVM extender, shouldn't I?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:18PM (#45776827) Journal
    Hey guys, have you ever wanted to buy a workstation with half as many sockets and half as many DIMM slots as the prior generation? What if I remove all the capacity for internal expansion cards so that you can enjoy buying external cardcages? Still not sold? I've come up with the least rackable shape in the history of computing, you'll love it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I do video editing and while I don't current need a new workstation, I see no problem with it. Neither me, nor my colleagues keep anything internal. All work goes on external or networked drives.

    • by mlts (1038732) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:26PM (#45776895)

      I think you hit the nail on the head. It would be nice to have had the canister Mac Pro be sold as a workstation, and the old tower with the ability to use expansion cards be made into a case that could function as a tower, or rack ears attached and put in that way.

      Heck, Compaq was able to do this with some of their Deskpros in the mid-1990s (IIRC), and Sun had kits for this for various Ultra models... I don't see why Apple couldn't offer this, so they have at least some presence in a server room without a major hassle.

      This cylinder looks cool, but for someone with FPGA boards [1], being limited to the relatively few PCIe lanes that Thunderbolt exposes to the breakout box will be a hurdle compared to just sticking the card into the case and going from there.

      [1]: Not for BitCoin mining, although when not in use, that has come to mind.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:03PM (#45777161)
      Advancing backwards. The new "Mac Pro" is just a "Mac Cube" version 2. I for one will not be buying one, which means my current Mac Pro is the last Macintosh I'll be getting. No internal drive bays, no expansion slots, not a professional computer. I would have to cover my desk with external devices to match what's in my current tower configuration.
      • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @03:56AM (#45780911)

        Couple things to note. What are you comparing this to? An average Dell/HP PC or a proper "workstation" from these companies like the HP Z820? Because if you are comparing a regular desktop, you're not comparing Apples to Apples here (pardon the pun). Chances are if you aren't looking at the Z820

        In the industries these machines are used in and targeted towards have moved to external storage arrays/SANS/NAS. What the internal hard drive(s) have doesn't matter so long as it's enough to install their main programs on. Even the smaller shops I know doing video production have at least a 20TB array, most are around 50TB these days.

        When you start comparing the MacPro's against machines like the Z820 the MacPro's pricing is competitive. I believe the Z820 with a single 3GB Nvidia Quadro card is around $4k.

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      One thing that isn't brought up enough when discussing external expansion is external power supplies. So much for compact size.

    • by null etc. (524767) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:30PM (#45777835)

      Oh shoot. I'll definitely not be getting the new Mac Pro then. I was hoping my next computer would justify putting a rack in my living room, right next to the Cray I bought on ebay.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Why are you trying to rackmount them? What person tries to use graphics workstations as servers?

  • Video editing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:19PM (#45776837)

    The whole superiority of Apple might have been true many years ago, but now it's just nonsense. You can get a Windows machine with the same hardware specs for half the price with the same software (unless you insist on using Final Cut).

    Video editing in particular is a poor example, as it doesn't have critical latency requirements - and pretty much all recent benchmarks show that Windows does a little better across the board.

    Audio is a better example, because on an unmodified Windows install, live audio WILL have worse latency and WILL have a very high chance of dropouts when compared to Apple. A tweaked Windows install will be on par.

    I am no MS shill - I just believe in using the right tool for the job, and fanboys by definition don't believe in facts.

    • I've just specced out a Dell, and the Dell is $1016 more expensive. Add to that, the Mac Pro only consumes 450w versus the Dell's 1500w, which in turn will save $1040/year in power. While the others will probably come down in price in a few weeks to months, at this moment Apple does have the edge on price. Now, when you compare to build-it-yourself, you are absolutely correct that Apple is more expensive, but so is everyone else too.
      • Re: Video editing... (Score:5, Informative)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:32PM (#45776949)

        I've just specced out a Dell, and the Dell is $1016 more expensive. Add to that, the Mac Pro only consumes 450w versus the Dell's 1500w, which in turn will save $1040/year in power.

        While the others will probably come down in price in a few weeks to months, at this moment Apple does have the edge on price.

        Now, when you compare to build-it-yourself, you are absolutely correct that Apple is more expensive, but so is everyone else too.

        I can believe the pricing (though I had a hard time finding a Dell with equivalent specs - can you post the configuration here?), but I'm having a hard time believing that a Dell with equivalent hardware specs to the Mac Pro uses 3 times more power, since the underlying hardware is, well, equivalent.

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:16AM (#45780331)

          Apple fans love to demand an "equal for equal" spec for comparisons, but that's silly. Party of the reason Macs often cost so much is you have to get a ton of shit you don't need. Ya, dual video cards cost a lot. Guess what? Next to nobody needs them. If you don't, they are wasted money. In a Dell, you just don't order one. With Apple? You get what you get and fuck you otherwise.

          So they often lose out on pricing bigtime when you compare actual task needs. Like let's say I need a system with a fast CPU and reasonable bit of RAM. I want to run some Cadence (ok you can't do that on a Mac, but whatever). A fast quad core and 32-64GB of RAM. The Mac Pro is good there. However video needs are minimal, integrated graphics is fine, as is a $50 GPU. Oh, well there I'm screwed. While the dual GPUs won't hurt, they won't buy me anything either. So I'm paying for them and can't make use of them.

          That is a problem, if money matters at least. You want to spend it on the useful things, and save it on the shit you don't need.

      • Re: Video editing... (Score:5, Informative)

        by djdanlib (732853) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:03PM (#45777163) Homepage

        If you want to talk about power supplies... You are confusing the maximum available spec with the normal power draw of the system. I have an 800W power supply in my reasonably overpowered Wintel gaming box. It draws ~160W during normal use, up to 300W while gaming. Most people will be fine with a 450W power supply unless they add a whole bunch of extra hardware, especially hard drives. The other benefit you usually see with a higher-wattage power supply is that it's typically built with better power filtering and more efficient components, so you would save money with a more efficient power supply even though it is rated for higher maximum available power. It's not totally intuitive. The more you know!

      • by iceperson (582205) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:04PM (#45777183)
        Are you generating power by throwing money into a furnace to fuel a steam engine?
      • Re: Video editing... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:05PM (#45777191)

        The Dell consumes 1500W, or it has a 1500W power supply? Those are not the same thing.

      • by ttucker (2884057) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:24PM (#45777367)
        Price out buying a computer from dell, and then adding a commodity video card (remember only Apple stops you from doing this).

        Add to that, the Mac Pro only consumes 450w versus the Dell's 1500w,

        Neither computer even draws anywhere close to 450w in normal operation, probably closer to 150w at idle, and maybe a little higher when working. You have amusingly confused a lower quality PSU to a much higher quality one, and in true Apple fashion picked which ever one goes in the Macintosh as better. The Apple has lower peak power needs because it has no internal expansion space, so instead you will be bleeding power from the various wall warts and power dongles that come with external accessories.

      • by HerculesMO (693085) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:28PM (#45777397)

        Having a 450w PSU vs 1500w PSU doesn't mean that your computer will actually consume that much electricity.

        That said if you're insistent on buying the Apple is rather proves the point that intelligence is really not a required attribute of the buyers of that system.

      • THe claims about Mac's supposedly superior power consumption are hillarious. Ive seen like 3 or 4 people post here about how awesome the new Mac Pro's 44W power usage metric are.

        NEWS FLASH: All Haswell-based platforms are going to have incredible power consumption:
        http://www.anandtech.com/show/7003/the-haswell-review-intel-core-i74770k-i54560k-tested/2 [anandtech.com]

      • by the_B0fh (208483) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @09:41PM (#45779697) Homepage

        I just submitted a link earlier today - the Appleinsider guys spec'ed out a build it yourself computer with the same specs as the high end $10k Mac Pro and it ended up costing them $14,300. That, and your $1k/year in power savings, is quite a bit of TCO savings, for someone who can use that kind of a system.

        http://slashdot.org/submission/3217733/high-end-mac-pro-is-40-cheaper-than-what-you-can-build-it-for [slashdot.org]

    • Re: Video editing... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Equivalent video cards alone cost $1400 or so, so you most definitely cannot build an equivalent pc or half the price. Perhaps you could wind up cheaper, but not nearly by as much as you suggest.

    • Audio is a better example, because on an unmodified Windows install, live audio WILL have worse latency and WILL have a very high chance of dropouts when compared to Apple. A tweaked Windows install will be on par.

      My experience tells me otherwise: Regardless of how much I tinkered with it, Neither XP or 7 could deliver acceptable latency with either the Rocksmith 1/4" TS cable, nor my Korg K49.

      the 2008 model Macbook I was given, however, syncs both up perfectly; albeit not at the same time, but I'm pretty convinced that's either a software issue (Garageband seems to play better with multiple USB input devices than Logic), or just good ol' fashioned user incompetence.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      " You can get a Windows machine with the same hardware specs for half the price "

      no you cant. Show me a build of the mac pro with Two of the equivalent video cards for HALF PRICE. Because if you do you will make a lot of people really happy.

  • by WilliamGeorge (816305) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:23PM (#45776871)

    - Only a single CPU, despite using the more expensive line of dual-CPU capable Xeon E5 processors (so you are paying for the added circuitry to handle dual procs without the corresponding benefit).

    - Dual video cards, despite this not being a gaming system. Granted, some media editing applications can utilize multiple GPUs for computing - like Adobe Premiere Pro CC - but many cannot, and even ones that can don't necessarily get a doubling of performance from the second card.

    - Only room inside for a single drive, so any serious storage has to be external (adding wires and cluttering up things, rather than saving space like this small form factor seems to be designed for).

    - 64GB of RAM maximum, despite the CPU's ability to handle more.

    - Upgrades overpriced... and this is coming from someone who works at a custom system builder, and we sometimes get dinged by folks for charging more than Newegg. Obviously things like labor, support, warranty, etc have to be factored into the parts costs, but Apple charges more than any other company I've seen for that 'value add' (this is not new news, though - just a continuation of what they have always done).

    I've already had customers of mine asking for price and performance comparisons, and the good news? We always come out on top! I love PCs :)

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:28PM (#45776911)

      Only a single CPU, despite using the more expensive line of dual-CPU capable Xeon E5 processors (so you are paying for the added circuitry to handle dual procs without the corresponding benefit).

      This is a bit of a bummer, but I think they nonetheless went with the Xeons over the desktop-class Intel processors because of the support for ECC RAM.

    • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:04PM (#45777177) Homepage
      Despite my lack of interest in Apple products and video editing, I actually did read the fucking article.

      Adobe Premier doesn't use the second video card. It barely uses the first one. It pegs the CPU.

      Apparently Final Cut X (whatever that is) is the only video editing software that features optimizations that make use of all this hardware. It's apparently wicked fast, but people hate Final Cut X. Apparently, Final Cut 7 was great, but X blows, despite running like a champ on this system.

      My head did almost asplode when I saw the price tag, though. I guess the barebones model isn't that overpriced at $3k, but the configurations they mention weighing in around $10k sound like hilariously bad deals.
      • by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @06:04PM (#45778531)

        Final Cut Pro X changed the game significantly which upset all the entrenched pros. The changes take relearning and people do not like that unless they were really upset with their previous workflow (like everybody was before FCP, even Avid which was great but it cost way too much!) People liked their FCP 7 workflow.

        The main reason pros were upset with Final Cut Pro is they removed all the hardware and high end features from the software. Your expensive camera gear was rendered useless because FCPX was file based and didn't care about film or magnetic tapes which all the pros had much more money invested in. The Mac and FCP is cheap compared to all the other gear.

        Pros who make $$ think little of blowing $10k on a new workstation. Apple ALWAYS has high end configurations for people who just want the maxed out system and money is not an issue...

        As for the base models, Apple has always had static pricing and rarely lowers price points during the life of the model. When they introduce something it usually has a fair market price with the PC world, on rare occasions it is better. I've spec'd out PCs with the same stuff and they can come out to be more-- usually because Apple has some unusual option that costs a bundle to replicate. I can't buy workstation cards like those for the prices apple is getting them at. I have a workstation card NOW and even though it is 6 years old it beats the stock GPUs that come with many new consumer machines.

        When I was in the tv industry, we would retask or just resell the mac -- macs have crazy resale value! You don't need to upgrade anything, just buy new and ebay the old model-- it'll cost you less, if you value your time-- I've had times where it only cost $250 to upgrade to the newer mac. Also, the benefits of going from a $1500 GPU to the next $1500 every year are not usually worth it... (but selling the old card it likely going to cost you as much as if you just did the whole mac at the same time.)

    • GPU cards for OpenCL (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:16PM (#45777269)

      Dual video cards, despite this not being a gaming system. Granted, some media editing applications can utilize multiple GPUs for computing - like Adobe Premiere Pro CC - but many cannot

      On the other hand if there are a lot of professional systems that have a ton of power available to those that program in OpenCL, might not we see a new class of accelerated applications?

      If nothing else it will probably get Blender to support OpenCL.

      Apple has historically tried to promote a more advanced standard to make possible applications that are not written yet, but can be with new technologies.

      And while currently not everything uses OpenCL, now there is powerful motivation to do so. But Photoshop, Aperture and Final Cut all make use of this hardware so there's lots of people that will benefit.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:52PM (#45777579)

      Since they aren't upgradable. The thing is video cards get obsolete quicker than the rest of a system. This looks like it may be starting to change, but so far, they are the component that benefits from the most frequent updates. You want to buy less video card more often for optimal performance. This is true for gaming, 3D visualization, CUDA, whatever.

      Well here you've two high end cards, which would imply high end tasks... and no way to replace them when the time comes. That is not a good situation. I mean I suppose you can replace the whole system, but that is rather wasteful. It is also predicated on a new replacement being available and Apple has shown a lack of interest in keeping the Mac Pro line up to date.

      To me, this looks more like a shiny toy that people want to show off. "Oh look, I have the most powerful system EVAR! It is amazing!" rather than any consideration of usefulness for a workset, which is what a workstation should be.

      Also what the people who are playing the price comparison minuta game miss is that yes, it isn't a bad price provided you need precisely what it is providing, but as the parent pointed out that is rare. The idea with an expensive workstation should be you get the components you need, not the ones you don't. Two GPUs might be great for videogames, they are useless for 3D EM simulation. Conversely 64GB is more than you can use for any game, but is entry level for 3D EM work, you could use 256GB or more for many simulations.

      When you are spending multi-thousands on a workstation, it really should be custom to order. The money should go where it is useful to your application set. Trying to have an "everything and the kitchen sink" approach and then saying everyone should meet that is silly.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:24PM (#45776883) Journal

    ...coming from someone with a 2012 Mac Pro dual hex core.

    I know it's been said before, but for God's sake people - paying Apple's RIDICULOUS prices for SSD, RAM, processors, is just insane.

    I like OSX, and Apple's laptops are sometimes the best choice, but as a desktop or dev box? Last choice by a wide margin. I only had to buy one for very specific (unhappy about it) reason and hopefully will never need to buy one again.

    Just an example of the obscene pricing from Apple, 24GB of RAM from Apple was going to cost me almost $2000 at the time. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. I bought better RAM, ending up with 26GB, with better performance and all the same trimmings (ECC et cetera), and it cost me $400.

    I wonder if their SSDs are made out of solid gold as well... Oh, and good luck with upgrading your graphics card in a year.

  • by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:29PM (#45776921) Homepage Journal
    ...and produce a new 17"+ MacBook Pro with Retina display quality
  • $3k for a quad core, 3.7GHz processor, 12G of RAM, a decent SSD and other gubbins.

    I know that raw specs aren't everything (noise, is important), but hells bells that is not a lot of bang for the buck. Amazon says an i7 3.2GHz 16GB mac mini costs $1200. So, the Pro has substantially better graphics. But even so. This seems to be aimed at the niche of people who need a portable desktop. Which makes sense since Apple don't make a luggable, but it looks like they're still missing a workstation.

    From other vendor

  • talking about $800+ over the cost of buying the chip on it's own and that is not counting the cost of the build in base cpu.

    Memory seem to be not that bad but the base is only 3 of 4 channels.

  • Come on apple do you really to save the $50 (high end estimate) on an 3K+ system?

  • Everybody has made fun of the garbage-can-like appearance. It does look pretty silly, but the design is innovative when you look at the innards. I guess if you want a really small desktop and you don't know about hard drive failure rates, then it could be an attractive choice.

    Personally I don't like anything about it except for the dual-gpu support. I love the old Mac Pro / PowerMac G5 chassis series. Because I'm always like "fuck it, I've got room" when it comes to desktops and their largitude. I h

    • If you know about hard drive failure rates, the new design is an even better idea - putting large hard drives in external cases where it's easier to swap them out.

      The internal storage is all very fast SSD, and doesn't really have the same level of failure rate as a spinning disk.

  • ....Will look like a certain well-known Black Cube [netdna-cdn.com], and come with a Magneto-Optical drive.
  • I mean, we're Apple!

  • by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:42PM (#45777017) Homepage
    He was quite explicit - if he had the money, he'd rather spend it on something else.

    Looks gimmicky, seems massively over-priced. I'm sure there's a market for it...

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