Tag: Mac Pro

Late 2013 Mac Pro Real World Usage

By now you’ve likely heard of the new Mac Pro — whether you’ve heard to it referred to as a trash can or Darth Vader, you’ve likely heard of it.  If not, it looks like this:

Late 2013 Mac Pro

Late 2013 Mac Pro

That’s actually mine, from the unboxing photos that were taken.

According to Apple’s original specs — and many of the reviews you may read online — it’s a powerhouse of a machine.  The specs on this outdo my previous generation (from late 2009) Mac Pro by oodles and oodles. Yes, that’s a technical term.

Here’s the model I went with:

  • 3.5 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon X5 (the upgraded model)
  • 16 GB 1867 DDR3 ECC RAM
  • Dual AMD FirePro D500 3072MB graphics cards
  • 256GB Flash Storage (I added a 2TB external drive, via Thunderbolt, as well.)

Leaps and bounds above and beyond the last generation’s computer.

Many of the reviews I’ve been seeing online focus on how quickly the new Mac Pro can output, compress, or process video — which is kind of what it’s intended for.  I don’t do any real video work — mostly web development, web browsing, email, etc — so this machine is complete overkill for my needs.  But, if you know me, I always like to have the biggest, best, newest and shiniest.

Here are some of the things that you may be interested in, in a real world environment for the new Mac Pro.  Every day tasks that can be done faster with a machine of this caliber.

  • Startup time: 5.1 seconds.  That’s the amount of time between pressing the power button, all of my start up applications opening, and being able to do stuff.
  • Opening Photoshop CC: 3.1 seconds.  In fact, here’s a video I made this morning of me opening Photoshop CC
  • Reading and writing data:
    • Reading data to the internal Flash drive is pretty fast.  According to Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test (a widely used application to benchmark drive speeds), the write speed averages 775 MB/s and the read speed averages 950 MB/s
    • For the external drive (over Thunderbolt), it’s a bit slower, but still pretty quick: Write: 335 MB/s. Read: 390 MB/s (averages)
  • That means that you could copy a 4.7 gig movie file from the internal drive to the external drive in about 12 seconds. Give or take.  Impressive.

I picked my machine (named Pennyworth, as its predecessor was named Alfred.  I like Batman, sue me) on January 3rd after a bit of a snafu at the Apple Store I had it shipped to.  From what I’ve been seeing on Twitter, I’m one of the few every day people that has one of these.  Most of the other people I’ve seen with them are either people who work for tech companies who wanted to review them, video production companies, recording studios, or other industry professionals.  I’m just some guy with good taste, so I guess that’s good for me.

You’ve likely seen (or heard) people complaining about how expensive the machine is.  And you’re right, it is costly.  But if you’re complaining that $4000 is a lot of money, you’re not the target audience for this computer.  This isn’t a $400 Dell that you can keep for a year and not care if it dies.  This is a high end, professional, and extremely powerful machine.  It’s not for the faint of heart, nor the faint of wallet.  That said, you get every penny’s worth of your money.  I haven’t had a single issue in the 3 weeks I’ve had this machine (not that I had any issues with the previous Mac Pro, either), and have been very glad that I spent the money.

I haven’t upgraded my monitors yet for two reasons:

  1. Apple hasn’t released a new monitor in a while and their current monitor doesn’t support 4K, UltraHD or Retina resolutions.  Nor does it support USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt 2, both of which are important to me.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with the screens I have now.  I’m still working with a 30″ Apple Cinema Display (from 2009) and a 24″ Dell display as my secondary (in portrait mode) to my left.

Once a newer display becomes available from Apple, I’ll likely upgrade to get the new toys.  But for now, I’m a-okay with what I’ve got.

Why does this post exist? No real reason.  I love my new computer and wanted to help answer any questions about the performance of a machine so high end that anyone considering buying one may have had.  Hopefully this helps in some way.

Mac Pro – day 6

I love my Mac. His name’s Alfred, in case you were wondering.  You know, like Bruce Wayne’s butler.  And he’s just as awesome, and helpful.

I’ve done quiet a bit in the last six days of having a Mac, including doing my first bit of design work on it.  I also learned what applications I need to rip and burn DVDs, which is so fast I have a hard time believing that this is actually working. Amazing, right?

I’m still in awe that I’m able to do all the things I can, and so far.

I was scared to make the switch full time. I even bought Parallels, just in case there was something I needed to do on Windows. I haven’t even opened it aside from when I installed it, to make sure it worked.  It’s amazing.

Who knew that I’d convert after all these years?  Did I go to the “dark side?”, no. I think quite the opposite, actually.  I went from years of being frustrated with Windows, and not being able to do the things I wanted to, to having the simplicity of a Mac, and the ease that comes with it.

I’ve got a lot of web-related stuff to do this weekend, so I’ll finally put it to the test.  I’ll also be upgrading the last two drives in it (the one it came with, and the secondary one that will be for Time Machine backups), and possibly getting a new mouse.

Why didn’t any of my Mac friends make me switch years ago? Thanks, jerks.

Mac Pro Day!

First, thanks to Nick at the Apple store in the Rockingham Mall (Salem, New Hampshire).  Dude knows his stuff, that’s for sure.  I know what you’re thinking, all the dudes and dudettes at the Apple stores know their stuff.  True, but none that I’ve encountered like this guy.  He had an answer to every question I had, and got me everything I wanted.  Kudos to you, sir.

So, how’s the Mac? Glad you asked. Let’s put it this way: I’ve used a lot of high end PCs in my lifetime. A lot. And not one of them has ever come close to this thing.  Here’s the final specs:

  • Dual Quad Core 2.26 Processors (I would have upgraded the processors, but a) I didn’t think I needed to, and b) the prices are a bit crazy)
  • 8Gigs of Ram
  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 (The upgrade with 512MB of DDR5 on-board  video memory.)
  • 640 GB main drive.
  • 30″ Cinema display.

I’m about 80% done installing all the software I need, and it’s so easy because this thing’s a freakin’ beast.  I’ve been installing handfuls of apps at a time.  My PC would have thrown up and died an hour ago.  So awesome.

As you may know, my PC had two external hard drives, each a terabyte in site, that I had planned on connecting to this beast. However, they used Firewire 400 and the new Mac Pros only have Firewire 800 (only, like it’s a bad thing, heh.)

So my solution was rather destructive.  I ripped open the cases, and dropped them into the available slots on the Mac Pro.  I know what you’re thinking; it’s day one and I’m ripping the thing open already to put more stuff in it?  With a PC that may be complicated, but fret not, it takes less than 10 seconds to install a new drive into a Mac Pro. Literally.

So I dropped in the two terabyte drives, and the secondary 320gb drive from my PC, for a total of 2.94TB in the Mac Pro.

The hardest part was opening the freakin’ cases of the drives, which I learned is more complicated than it needs to be. The first was easy, the second I ended up smashing to bits to get the drive out.  It worked though.

One of the drives is formatted in a way that OS X can’t erase stuff from it. (I assume this is a formatting issue), so I’m going to copy everything off of it, format it, and put the stuff back.  It’ll take a while, but it’ll get done eventually.

The biggest question people are going to ask, is about the 30″ Cinema display.  Is it as good as it should be for $1800?  You bet your sweet ass it is.  I can fit the whole freakin’ internet on this thing, on one screen. It’s huge, and the resolution is enormous.

It truly is a work of art. Given, it should be for what I paid for it, but I’m not complaining.

Overall, my Mac experience thus far, has been nothing but excellent.  My PC is sitting next to me (as a reminder of what applications I need to install) and begging me not to through it away.  With those beady Windows eyes of it.  Evil! Evil I say!

Photos of the new set up below (Warning, I didn’t re size them, so they’re going to make your monitor explode.  Mine, on the other hand, loves them this large):

Thanks again to Nick at the Apple store. You are awesome, and my new computer thanks you for selling it to me.