Friday, December 20, 2013

Apple Mac Pro: This is not a TrashCan

At last the Apple Mac Pro has arrived.  Well it is orderable.

I made a quick config to match a server that I hand-built about 2 years ago and came up with a price of about 7.4K GBP i.e. about 10K USD.   

Expensive even for Apple.

Summary Points

  1. + I am quite sure that the new Mac Pro is beautifully made
  2. + Very small and Physically compact
  3. +/- Best processor is Intel E5-2697, 2.97GHz & 30MB Cache

    [Counterpoint: But this is not a Dual Processor machine, and as such other motherboard designs over 12 months old will leave this machine for dust.  Sorry Apple.]
  4. - Not expandable, save for replaceable SSD/ memory.  But Apple is a past and present master wrt to don't expand, just buy the new model please sir methodology.  No change here.
  5. - No manuals online yet, of course!
  6. - No indication of Remote Managment facilities or 10Gb Ethernet
  7. --- Less CPU powerful than comparable servers over 1 year old (Single processor, memory capacity ...etc)
  8. - Apple has not yet released their own 4K display so the Apple configurator allows you to add a Sharp display. 
  9. =1TB SSD, 64GB Memory are current limits
  10. + Thunderbolt 2, connects upto 3x4K monitors. 
    [Counterpoint: But custom workstations have been able to connect 4xHigh Res screens for years now.  As you know I've had over 15 Million Pixels on my desk since 2011]
  11. = The Firepro D700 matches the AMD W9000 and is indeed a very powerful GPU.  If your target use is video editing and and and your application makes good use of the GPU and not just CPU then the Mac Pro begins to look useful. But this is far from my use case and many power users scenarios.

Overall then, this machine is typically Apple. Whilst beautifully small it does not have the performance or expandability of other ultra, non cost conscious, single user Intel Workstations in this arena.