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Switched to the 2013 Mac pro

The 12-core 3.33 GHz 2010 Mac Pro is now for sale.

I’ve made the leap to the 2013 Mac Pro for my primary “production” workstation (intensive photography is the primary use). Currently that means the 4-core 3.7 GHz with 64GB memory and D300 GPUs, on loan from B&H Photo, which is an authorized Apple dealer (30 day loan period, so I’m testing it well!).

See the MPG buying links to B&H photo for the 2013 Mac Pro. Thank you for using those links.

The MPG Mac Pro still reads “February” for delivery, now 32 days since ordered. It will have its CPU upgraded to a 3.3 GHz 8-core by OWC (announcement of that upgrade program is not yet official, but it is coming).

The switch over process was no trivial exercise to think through for the conversion, make the backups, incorporate some forward planning etc. And with all the hard drives and SSDs and a need to stay operable with very little downtime and the Thunderbolt considerations

As yet, four 480GB SSDs are idled (no home for them yet), and one Accelsior PCIe SSD sits idle, though I hope to resolve both of those handicaps soon.

I had a terrible time with the Promise Pegasus J4, but OWC has graciously agreed to take it back for a refund. It is highly unlikely that MPG will ever consider Promise Technology products again, in good measure because of an infuriating support experience. Moreover, varied sources have filtered my my way on quality issues, and this all “clicks” for me with the J4 experience and in more ways than I’ve documented.

Results

Performance seems at least as good as the prior 3.33 GHz 12-core Mac Pro, which is remarkable for a 4-core system.

UPDATE: the Promise Pegasus J4 is giving me fits. Taking 4 proven OWC 6G SSDs, the J4 will disappear 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 of them each time I reboot the system, or power cycle the J4. Totally flaky. Yet the same SSDs work perfectly in my old Mac Pro and have done so for 18 months. And it’s a configuration I previously tested. So at the least I suspect a bad Pegasus J4.

But OMG what a tangle of power cables and USB cables and Thunderbolt cables, and I still could use several more USB3 ports even with the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station attached. No one can say this is elegant; it’s a mess. It’s like owning a car consisting of an engine, but to drive it one must attach a trailer for the driver and another trailer for passengers and the tire modules... elegant it is not, not when actually configured to be useful. But it is highly expandable, and when Thunderbolt 2 devices arrive and more variety too, it will start feeling its oats.

Nor are the power savings there when one looks at the total system power draw: the Mac Pro itself saves 120 watts or so, but that is all eaten up by all the many required add-ons. So many dilettante reviewers just don’t “get” the reality of a working system and regurgitate the official PR on power usage; it’s like testing for gas mileage driving down a 10° slope.

But I do like the end result: once cabled and stowed out of the way under the desk (a big plus of Thunderbolt), things are working great. Except for Apple OS X Mavericks bugs, which infest the system by the dozens.

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