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Will the next Apple Mac Pro (if any) be the Final Straw that Puts the Nail in the 'Pro' Coffin?

Pro users need pro machines:

  • An option for at least 128GB memory.
  • Ability to use the latest and greatest PCIe video cards.
  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.
  • Rock solid reliability.

Of the above, the PCIe slot issue is the #1 issue that makes the 2013 Apple Mac Pro an overpriced laughingstock for video professionals. This has been building as an issue for years now.

Quotes below from Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media in NVIDIA’s GTX 1080: The Tip Of The Iceberg?. The NVIDIA announcement referred to was May 2016; video cards are only going to become more powerful, already vastly outpacing the CPU for many tasks, at least when the GPU works properly (Apple’s GPU choice of AMD is hugely unpopular among pros). Emphasis added.

The announcement of the GTX 1080 is so big, that this card alone will most likely cause a shift in computer workstation ownership. Last year I wrote an article about how I upgraded our Mac Pro Tower with new CPUs, RAM, flash-based boot drives, and of course, the Titan X. The system still churns through heavy tasks, including working with 4.6K RAW footage, edited in real-time in DaVinci Resolve in 4K UHD timelines (even basic node structures play in real-time without the need for rendering).

But as good as that juiced up Mac Pro Tower is today, I know at some point, the time will have to come to an end, simply because Apple hasn’t built a PCIe-based system in many years now. As my article described, the alternative Mac Pro trashcan is simply not a solution for our needs, imposing too many limitations combined with a very high price tag.

The NVidia GTX 1080 might be the final nail in the coffin. I can guarantee at this point, we will have to move to a Windows-based workstation for our main edit suite and one that supports multiple PCIe slots specifically for the GTX 1080 (I’ll most likely get two 1080s that that new price-point).

I’m no stranger to working on Windows systems (I’ve built my own Windows boxes since Windows 3/NT) and have Windows systems running now in our facility. But with that said, I do prefer Apple OS X when possible. But with no support of a modern PCIe-based workstation from Apple, our hands are tied to move to Windows (we may get an HP Z840 system, something similar, or a custom build we’ll do in-house). Even if the GTX 1080 could be flashed for OSX, we wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of what the 1080 has to offer, due to The Mac Pro Tower’s older PCIe bus technology.

... With all that said, I see (and have already seen) a huge migration of longtime Apple users (such as me) going to Windows systems for their main workstation needs. The sheer power and lower cost is just too huge at this point. The NVidia GTX 1080 just compounded that point exponentially stronger.

...

The “juiced up Mac Pro” referred to is not a 2013 Mac Pro, but its predecessor. That is why used 2010/2012 Mac Pros are still strong sellers at OWC / MacSales.com.

The choice to embed non-upgradeable video cards in the 2013 Mac Pro and to omit PCIe slots spells the death knell for pro users looking to work with 4K/6K/8K video, 3D modeling and rendering, etc. A future Mac Pro (if any) that takes that same approach means that Apple has abandoned any pretense of offering pro machines.

Does Apple (Tim Cook) even “get” that the entire high-end pro market is going to abandon Apple over the next year because of a failure to meet the fundamental needs of professionals? His public statement that “great desktops” are coming must be seen as coming from the CEO of a phone and gadget company. MPG doubts that there is any 'pro' left in Apple, but hopes to be proven wrong.

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