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MacPro Reactions

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This year’s WWDC as expected is overflowing with things to talk about. For now, let’s scope this to just the MacPro (and its monitor).

From a purely technical perspective, there isn’t much missing. We got:

  • Expandable RAM (12 physical DIMM slots)
  • Expandable SSDs (2 slots; I hear the T2 encryption will work with this even if it’s non-Apple supplied.)
  • Expandable IO via 8 PCI express slot
  • A neat modular system that seemingly can also fall back to more generic cards.
  • The CPU even seems socket-able.

I’m not sure I love the aesthetics but I do enjoy how they use both sides of the motherboard and the whole shell slides up to reveal the internals.

I’m am a little concerned that there is no direct fan on the CPU or video card, though I am relieved that if they need to add fans in future revisions, at least there is plenty of room.

The pricing for the base SKU is $6000. Before WWDC I thought it would be $5000 so $6000 by itself isn’t crazy however it does start to sting when you realize the base model only comes with 256 GB SSD and a pretty old video card. That is plain cheap and greedy on Apple. The base CPU does have a rough street value of $1300 but I’m left wondering where the rest of this money is going? Apple’s margins I assume.

The monitor is technical perfection.

I’ve been shopping for a new monitor and Apple was right that there are about 8 modern features one looks for in a monitor and no one today checks off all boxes. Lots of monitors focus on price or gaming. Some offer retina but then shoddy Thunderbolt 3 support. This new Apple monitor looks amazing, but oh man that price.

$5000 for the monitor, or $6000 if you want the matte option – and then the stand, an extra $1000.

This is what broke me. This is the point in which I question why Apple is showing me this?

I truly believe they should have revealed this MacPro and monitor at a proper video / media conference. Revealing it in front of developers who can’t afford it nor whom the product is marketed at just feel very out of context. We were begging them to built us a tower and display, but they built them for someone else, and it’s kind of depressing.

What I wanted:

I wanted a $5000 tower where I could update the graphics cards a few years in. I don’t need 8 PCI slots, maybe 4 or 2 would work. I wanted to have easy access to RAM to add more in the future (I don’t need 12 slots I’m sure 4-6 would be fine). I want multiple SSD slots on the board (2 is fine). I want to be able to open it up and clean out the dust every few months (this is why an iMac will never work for me).

I wanted a $1000 self-contained version of the 5K iMac display. Maybe an ultrawide version? I like Apple monitors historically. They work great out of the box and have great color. Surely there is room in the market for a sub-$6000 Apple monitor for the “rest of us”?

What’s Next?

Well with this new knowledge I finally pulled the trigger on my new monitor. It’s not an Apple monitor. I’ll go more into that one next time.

As for the MacPro itself – time will tell. I for sure am not buying one day one. I want to see people review this. I want to see iFixIt rip it apart. We need time to see how this thing fairs in the real world. The recent laptops have turned me off to buying untested Mac hardware.

I will also continue to update and prune my dream hackintosh part list (which right now hovers around $2000) as I think that might be a more viable option.