back to article Apple Mac Pro: It's a death star, not a nappy bin, OK?

We all got a sneak preview last summer and many were miffed when the scheduled arrival time at the close of 2013 came and went. However, it appears that the new Mac Pro did ship in small numbers in January of this year. But the dispatch of new orders quickly slipped to March, and Apple’s UK and US websites are currently listing …

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Gimp

Final Cut Pro X?

I thought this was now a dead-in-the-water amateurs-only "app"? There's SO many youtube vids deriding it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Final Cut Pro X?

I know some Pros who are using it for certain types of fast turnaround work. But it is esoteric in the extreme.

Adobe shot themselves in the foot with "Cloud" which has stopped some people from switching from older FCP setups.

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Re: Final Cut Pro X?

Wrong. Warner Bros have a $100M film being edited in FCP X right now. And from what I've been reading in various video-related postings, some of those who abandoned the FCP ship after the intiial launch have been revisiting and are finding that the new version is so easy to use and so slick (and capable) that many are adusting to the new workflow and returning to the fold (as it were).

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/83441833" width="500" height="281" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Final Cut Pro X?

Adobe shot themselves in the foot with "Cloud" which has stopped some people from switching from older FCP setups.

Is this even true? Most complaints about creative cloud tend to be related to its price (something a video-production professional wouldn't have an issue with).

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Silver badge

Re: Final Cut Pro X?

Isn't there an issue with it having to phone home regularly, which might be a problem if for example you are shooting a nature documentary in Antarctica.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Final Cut Pro X?

It's very true. The phoning home problem is very real. A colleague had his copy lock him out whilst abroad due to Adobe trying to take money from an expired credit card (he'd updated it months before). Trying to get that fixed from a remote location was impossible and he ended up doing a cut on FCP-X instead.

People are also scared of the lock-in (which suits Adobe but not the end user). Stop paying and you won't be able to access your old projects.

I'll probably end up biting the bullet myself. For now CS6 is fine. But once you take out the sweetener discounts "cloud" is more expensive and locks you in to the Adobe ecosystem forever whilst it slowly bleeds money from your credit card.

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Bronze badge

Re: Final Cut Pro X?

Ivan, that's one video. There are dozens of top professional movie industry editors who have complained about Final Cut Pro X being a betrayal of professional editors.

Many are sticking with earlier versions of Final Cut.

"After Final Cut Pro debacle, does Apple still care about creative pros?

Apple's contentious Final Cut Pro X release has created uneasy feelings among …"

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/07/does-apple-still-care-about-creative-pros/

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Re WatAWorld

That was then. Look at the date of the link you cited - two and a half years ago! A lot has changed since then.

The Film is being edited by 6 editors working on the latest version of FCP X working together as a distributed job working with 4K video and 40TB or raw footage.

Here's a quote from an editor of 37+years experiencel

"We have been using FCPX on a professional level for a long time now, so the fact that a Hollywood studio feature is being cut on it neither surprises me, nor does it make any difference to us. But I hope it will finally stop some people from still posting idiotic statements as "FCPX is not ready for professional use" on various forums. "

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Bronze badge

The answer to the universe is 99?

There might just have been a grand total of 99 pre-orders.

So rather than admit no one is will to pay even sillier money, maybe that wait is just artificial one.

Of course far more likely it is still Beta like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The answer to the universe is 99?

At the time of posting 10 downvotes, 1 upvote.

You know you're problem? You asked this fairly reasonable question about an Apple product, had you asked it about an MS Surface, or Windows Phone, I very much suspect the voting would have been in the other direction.

Not that there are double standards round here, or anything, you understand?

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Tel

Re: The answer to the universe is 99?

Because Apple doesn't have any real recent history of putting on sale products nobody wants, unlike the MS Surface or Windows Phone...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The answer to the universe is 99?

Apple, however, do have a long track record of manufacturing hype for products and then undermanufacturing them. See every iPhone and iPod release.

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Re: Apple doesn't have any recent history of putting on sale products nobody wants

What about the iPhone 5c?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The answer to the universe is 99?

>Apple, however, do have a long track record of manufacturing hype for products and then undermanufacturing them. See every iPhone and iPod release.

In what world does having 9+ million devices ready to go on launch day qualify as "undermanufacturing"?

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Re: The answer to the universe is 99?

In the rabid anti-Apple world.

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Anonymous Coward

Huge relief

Huge relief that you can add your own memory and SSD card (assuming some get released). My current Mac Pro dates from 2008 but has had various upgrades so that it can still cut the mustard today. Buying a base spec and then getting RAM from Crucial saved a small fortune!

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Re: Huge relief

It's certainly a step in the right direction. Cannot for the life of me understand why the author was miffed at the lack of SD card slot. Don't think that's really the target demographic.

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Facepalm

Re: Cannot for the life of me understand why the author was miffed at the lack of SD card slot.

Because he's got something on an SD card that he wants to copy to the mac?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huge relief

The target demographic doesn't include people with hi-res digital cameras who use Photoshop?

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Anonymous Coward

Nappy bin

Love it.

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Oooo, the shiny!

But you still pay the Apple tax - an equivalent spec from Dell is about £1600.

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

Sorry but you are flat out incorrect. There is no "Apple Tax" on the new Mac Pro.

It's cheaper than anything in the PC world; it's not even possible to build an equivalent machine.

http://bgr.com/2013/12/26/mac-pro-windows-diy-cost/

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/12/31/entry-level-mac-pro-offers-comparable-pricing-versus-oem-pcs-diy-systems-more-affordable/

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Silver badge

Re: an equivalent spec from Dell is about £1600.

Evidence?

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jai
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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

Really? cos i'm looking at the Dell.co.uk website right now, and there's only three options with the same processor, and only the £1600 takes the same speed memory.

But it also only comes with one graphics card. I can't find a uk price for the AMD FirePros that come with the MacPro, but lets assume you'll get equivalent performance from the card Dell supplies. So you'll need to buy a second one. Scan.co.uk are selling those for £750.

And a SATA hard drive, not a SSD.

There's no option to swap the HD for a SSD, so to get the "equivalent spec" you'll need to buy a 3rd party one and then swap it over yourself. Crucial sell one for this Dell Precision for 400 quid.

Plus Dell insist on giving you a pointless optical drive - and it's not configured horizontally so you can't even use it as a coffee cup stand!

So that's the 1600 you said, plus 750 for a 2nd graphics card, plus 400 for the SSD, and THEN you get close to the "equivalent spec" that you stated.

I believe that totals to £2750, which is £250 MORE than the "equivalent spec" MacPro.

yep, gotta hate that Apple Tax that gives money back to you

(oh, and i forgot about the six Thunderbolt 2 ports. So you'll need to add a six-port PCI-e card I guess? I google'd and found one for £350, but there was also a refubished one on ebay for only 200 notes)

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Silver badge

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

It's been assumed by many pundits that AMD have given Apple a very big discount on the FirePro cards... Seeing as how 3rd party software for OSX is now supporting OpenCL and not just nVidia's CUDA as a result of the new Mac Pro, it could be worth it for AMD.

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

It is very hard to compare the new Mac Pro to Windows Workstations because the "FirePro" cards supplied with it are unique to it and under Windows are closer to being consumer cards in terms of drivers and lacking ECC. They are good for compute but then so are the AMD high end consumer cards. But they also have more memory and perhaps are more robust.

There has been a lot of discussion, and benchmarking, on macrumors.com.

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

Apple tax, or just the price you pay for the ability to run Final Cut Pro?

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

You have to congratulate them, Apple have done an amazing job getting this beast of a machine in a good looking form factor - if I had the money to waste I'd definitely buy one.

The rather ungainly equivalent spec, but vastly cheaper, boxes from HP and Dell do make one realise that this box will be purchased only by those who are willing and able to pay a lot just for looks.

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Devil

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

> It's cheaper than anything in the PC world; it's not even possible to build an equivalent machine.

The problem with the bleeding edge is that you end up with diminishing returns. Once you get past a certain sweet spot with hardware, marginal improvements become drastically more expensive. The advantage of all other PCs is that you aren't playing an all or nothing game of trying to clone Apple's bad decisions.

The value of the marginal improvements is disputable despite fanboy attempts to mischaracterize corporate culture when it comes to spending money.

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Silver badge

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

2nd commenter to mention cheaper equivalent boxes from Dell. Links please.

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jai
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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

The rather ungainly equivalent spec, but vastly cheaper, boxes from HP and Dell

Care to elaborate? As previously described, the equivalent spec from Dell costs at least 250 quid more than the MacPro.

On the HP UKStore website, the equivalent product with the same processor is the HP Z420

The cheapest of these is £1322 inc vat

The be equivalent, you'll need to get a SSD to replace the SATA hard drive. The Crucial website doesn't list any compatible SSDs with this HP, but lets assume the one they recommended for the Dell above will work. So that's 400 quid you need to spend.

It doesn't come with any graphics cards. They do include a NVIDIA Quadro K2000 with the really expensive model, so we'll assume that is equivalent to the AMD FirePros that the MacPro comes with. So you'll need to buy two of those. All the non-ebay prices i found were over 400 each, so to be equivalent spec you'll need two: £800+

So you're "equivalent spec, but vastly cheaper" solution from HP will be £1322 + 400 for disk + 800 for graphics cards = £2522

So you are absolutely correct sir, for a value of "vastly cheaper" = "spend £23 more"

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

" i forgot about the six Thunderbolt 2 ports."

Who needs them if you have room for internal upgrades. Just plug in a card instead of some stupidly expensive external apple specific box.

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

>Who needs them if you have room for internal upgrades. Just plug in a card instead of some stupidly expensive external apple specific box.

Maybe, but if you're using an external Thunderbolt box to house a $5000 RED Rocket accelerator card and swap it between users and machines, it doesn't seem so stupidly expensive.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Gimp

Apple Tax

The c't Magazin has reviewed the box. It will cost over Eur. 8000 for a fully equipped box. However the new garbage can has no PCIe expansion slots and no disc and just 1 processor. However, a third party offers an external RAID box (for the Thunderbolt connector) for about Eur. 3500, for a total price equal to the old MacPro, which offers about the same performance. This makes about twice the price of an HP workstation .

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

There's always one. Spec it out properly. I'm sure you can build a faster machine for less money, but you can't build an equivalent machine for the same, Apple always make sure of that.

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Re: Oooo, the shiny!

Jai What size/type SSD are you specing to get a price of £400? The going rate for a SATA SSD in the 240 - 256GB range seems to be somewhere between £100 - £140.

My top tip for the crucial website is use it to find out what ram your machine takes and how many sticks/ max amount etc then go and buy it from somewhere else that isnt so stupidly expensive :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

"The value of the marginal improvements is disputable despite fanboy attempts to mischaracterize corporate culture when it comes to spending money."

Fully agree about diminishing returns. If you can get the previous-gen processor for $400 cheaper than the current one and there's basically no practical difference between the two (0.1 GHz and a few watts) then why spend the money? I do think that forcing these apples-to-apples (sigh) comparisons is biased and unfair.

So, let's look at a "ballpark similar" system to the base-model Mac Pro. You can get a Dell with a similar (but last-gen) processor for $1045 on Newegg. Never mind that it has slower, non-ECC RAM. (Again, little practical difference.) Upgrade the RAM to 12GB--$65. Now add two of the cheapest FirePro cards you can buy with a similar number of processing units--$630 each. Now add the cheapest PCIe SSD that's over 200GB--$350. Total price: $2720. So in the end, the Apple tax IS around 10% but they do give you the best current-generation components in a neat form factor that's nearly silent. (That Dell is going to sound like a vacuum cleaner, BTW.)

Frankly, I think paying the $300 extra is a no-brainer and actually a pretty good deal. Especially considering that if you want to sell the computer in a few years, you'll be lucky to get a couple hundred dollars on Craigslist for your cheap Dell with its grab bag of Newegg ugprades, whereas you'll likely get a couple grand for the Mac Pro.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

"Jai What size/type SSD are you specing to get a price of £400? The going rate for a SATA SSD in the 240 - 256GB range seems to be somewhere between £100 - £140."

Not the OP, but where you're going wrong is "SATA." SATA drives top out at around 500 MB/s. The drive in a Mac Pro is PCIe and roughly twice as fast. You can get a 240GB PCIe SSD on Newegg in the US for around $400, and that's a good price. There are a lot that are more expensive.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Oooo, the shiny!

I just priced it, with everything the same except for twice the memory (system and graphics) and a 240GB ssd instead of 256, the price was $2980. Notice, this was retail, so about 20% marked up from what I could get it from tech data or ma labs.

Apple Tax; Check.

Try actually checking instead of ingesting and regurgitating the electronic excrement that frequently spews from macrumors.

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Pity about the cover

Without the cover it looks excellent.

With the cover it's a case of Oh well!

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Happy

death star

Complete with exhaust port.

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Terminator

R2D2 - the Sith Years

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Terminator

The would be Artoo Darthtoo, then.

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The Ultimate Steam Box?

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Possibly.. If you stick a kettle on top.

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Anonymous Coward

If it goes wrong will I have to take it to the Apple store and wait in line with the consumer users, or will Apple send someone to my place of work and fix/swap out the same day? I think I know which the answer is, so I don't think it really justifies its "pro" moniker, it's just another workstation, albeit one which is pretty seriously kick-ass.

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Anonymous Coward

Last time I had a fault I had it repaired under warranty at a local authorised repair shop. Drove it there, they repaired it, collected it next day. Just like the good old days of going to the Acorn/Amstrad/whoever dealer.

As a bonus you don't have to deal with some brainwashed prat dressed in black and fight your way past the people freeloading on the wi-fi.

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Anonymous Coward

If you were to buy a business machine from a retail store then you deserve that service. If you buy it through one of the authorised re-sellers and service centers that supply businesses then their support package will give you the service you need. You have to pay extra for that package, but that's the same as you do with Dell.

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