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2013 Apple Mac Pro: The Good Parts

First of all, that old “outdated” sturdy aluminum case can be put to good use (good thing Apple never chose to use magnesium).

The new 2013 Mac Pro has positives that deserve praise, though with each point there are caveats as to applicability:

  • The CPU should be substantially faster, assuming that Apple offers the fastest clock speed chips (and doesn’t go the slow-clock high-core route). This is not a given; traditionally Apple has never offered the highest performance CPUs.
  • For some users (not the majority) the high speed dual GPUs ought to offer a real improvement. For most photography uses, they are irrelevant.
  • Gamers who prefer a Mac will likely find some joy in the dual GPUs, though this might wait on software support by game vendors.
  • For users just looking for high computational power with no particular need for large storage, the built-in high-speed SSD will make this a very compact Super Mini workstation (the absence of 10-gigabit ethernet is a bummer here).
  • USB3 and Thunderbolt support are very welcome additions (but a paltry 4 USB3 ports is a joke for any machine, let alone a “pro” model).

Good things often require tradeoffs, so those with existing hardware investments like me will find the flour is mixed with a lot of grit.

Over time as an ecosystem evolves, things will become much “friendlier” but it’s the conversion *this year* that will cause the pain, not so much what might happen in late 2014 or 2015. Which is one way to handle it, because for many users, there is no real hurry to upgrade right away; the current model does a very fine job for my photography work (for example).


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