How fast will the new Mac Pro be? As background—
My workhorse Mac Pro for three years now is a 12-core 3.33 GHz model, specially upgraded by OWC. CPU speeds up to 3.46 GHz are possible for a 12-core.
Make a fast Mac Pro purr when configured as a robust MPG Pro Workstation.
Unsure? Consult with me for your own specific needs, which has value regardless of which Mac Pro or other Mac you might use.
First, a point of fact: 3.46 GHz is 13% faster than 3.06 GHz, 3.06 GHz being Apple’s fastest current Mac Pro offering. Apple simply does not offer the 3.33 GHz and 3.46 GHz CPU speeds.
For the 2013 Mac Pro, we can expect Apple to make its “faster” claims relative to a model that is at best 13% slower than is possible right now. And 8.8% slower than the 12-core Mac Pro that I’ve been running for three years now. Those numbers should be held in mind when reviewing any speed claims from Apple.
Over at MacRumors.com has appeared a new post Apple's New 8-Core Mac Pro Shows Up in Benchmarks. If true, shows yawn-inspiring performance for the new Mac Pro relative to what is possible right now today with the current model.
So one can fairly ask for giggles: what if performance were even 20% better? Is it still worth losing all the expansion options built-in for the current Mac Pro? Yes for some users and definitely not for others.
If one does not need the expansion capabilities, other Macs already have Thunderbolt and USB3 and fast CPUs. The whole idea with a Mac Pro is to have more, more, more (memory, drives, expansion).
Elegance internally or a pile of boxes and rat’s nest of cables?
Losing 5 internal drive bays, losing relatively inexpensive memory exansion to 48GB or 64GB or 128GB, losing three PCIe slots, losing the internal optical drive, and adding the associated rat’s nest of pile of cables and boxes should give pause to anyone considering a Mac Pro.
I don’t expect to see the new 2013 Mac Pro show up until January 2014. So anyone whose work is being affected now might consider the value of waiting versus getting a proven machine now (consulting is one route). The particulars are what matter, not general assertions by anyone (or me).
All a new Mac Pro needs is a current motherboard with Thunderbolt and USB3 and SATA 6Gbps, keeping all the internal expansion options. Problem solved, low R&D costs, and advanced users like me can make an easy and clean transition. But that is not what’s coming.
A Mac Pro is not a MacMini and it’s not an iMac, but Apple seems to think that’s all it is, because even a MacMini is more upgradeable internally. The 2013 Mac Pro design approach is a big turn off: usable and practical are what I want in a workhorse machine. Not a trashcan with a rat’s nest of nine or nineteen cables plugged into it and between each other.
I would be somewhat mollified if Apple were to offer an expansion chassis similar to the current Mac Pro that allowed plugging in hard drives and SSDs and with eight USB ports and eSATA (for compatibility). But Thunderbolt 2 would likely be a bottleneck, unless perhaps all four ports were cabled to it. And it seems to be a non-solution for specialty video cards which require high bandwidth.
Form before function might be one early warning sign of the long term decline of Apple. It’s not just the Mac Pro. All great companies eventually decline, victims of their own hubris sooner or later, and a failure to Serve their users. I see Apple on that path. The 2013 Mac Pro is just one manifestation which follows ill-conceived changes with no substantive improvements in OS X, and the stick in the eye to Final Cut Pro users which forced them away from Apple. And many other things that most won’t notice, but are like small lesions here and there.