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Today, Apple launched their new Mac Pro (aka the trashbin, bazooka tube, water boiler, etc.). And while it's impressive how Apple's "highly modded PC" is able to meet thermal and power requirements in such a tiny size, all of this normally comes at a price, which is traditionally known as the "Apple Tax". We set out to find out just how much of a "tax" there is this time around by pitting their highest spec'd machine against what we could build with industry standard, off the shelf parts, available today. Here's what we came up with.

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  • rvail317

    Might be interesting to include another system comparison option: Dell, Lenovo or HP offer pre-built workstation class machines that with 8 memory slots could allow the full 64 Gb of ECC memory. SuperMicro also offers equivalent workstation class boards for build-it-yourselfers. Would make an interesting article if someone were to actually build a SuperMicro workstation system using the Intel Xeon E5-2697 CPU, and then go on to describe installation of a dual-boot installation of OSX Mavericks & Windows 8.1 64-bit.

    • The first thing I did was go out and find something equivalent from HP or DELL. But it either looks like they haven't updated their site, or it's custom order, for anything resembling the spec of the top spec Mac Pro. So I decided to try to build it virtually and tried to follow the spirit of the Mac Pro which is something smaller. But as we found out, there are issues with going small, but anything else would simply make that price gap we've already discovered from DIY to prebuilt Apple even larger for this spec. As for the board, I'd probably pick the ASUS WS X79 series. Not that there's anything wrong with Supermicro. It'd just be more comforting to have a more consumer user experience on top of the high end hardware, which would be more similar to what the Mac Pro sets out to be. And there might be a bit more support in the Hackintosh community for it.

      • yeahboi

        Supermicro would piss all over Asus.

        • Supermicro's are very stable. But I would put that thing away or point it at a urinal. You can still overclock an ASUS WS board plus a host of other little things they can do that are useful. Choices.

      • Kramerica

        All Thunderbolt motherboards only go to 32GB of RAM. There have already been people trying to match this MacPro and it either can't be done, or it's still way more expensive and it's still missing certain things this MacPro has. The thing about DIY computers is they aren't stress tested so you might get something that might have a higher failure rate. I would never try to build a DIY machine and compare it to a Mac, you can't run OS X legally and get support from anyone, so it's just not something real professionals even bother with.

  • das

    lol @ using better spec PC parts to match a mac pro ,please ,the memory in the macs GPUs are halved and are underclocked ,has no hdd or optical bays and blahhh ,mac pro is not a workstation its a apple show off station

    • I wish that was the case, but the GPUs are spec for spec identical in memory (6GB and 6GB. Only the entry level D300s are halved compared to the PC counterpart), although we do agree that based on the performance, the D700's (W7000 equivalents), they do seem underclocked as we had already made note of.

      Whether it is a show off system or not, it's an OS X user's ONLY choice for a high end Apple certified system despite the shortcomings.

      However, as enthusiasts and DIY'ers, we have infinite choices to optimize for specific apps. We can even install OS X (if we want) and we don't need to use AMD GPUs if we don't want to. We can go NVIDIA and take advantage of the performance in the apps that use them the best.

      Today, for this SPECIFIC build at the top end, Apple did a good job bundling to get a competitive value. And for OS X users, that's a good thing in some ways, But bad in others such as the need to find Thunderbolt expensive alternatives for capture cards, sound cards, expansion cards, that they've enjoyed in their Mac Pros.

      • das

        apple manages to cut down the OEM prices by only buying the chip and the PCB from AMD ,saving money from cooling solutions by using 1 big heatsinkfan ,but since its so proprietary ,in a years time a PC will beat the mac with eASE in pricing and performance due to being more flexible indeed

        • krizspec

          You seam to forget that Macs usually don't need to be upgradable as they hold resale value insanely well, with a little google searching you will see multiple posts/articles where instead of upgrading their mac pros/ MacBooks people have opted for sell the old machine and buying new at close to or less then upgrade cost. and with chip makers changing sockets all the time you won't really be doing much chip upgrading anyway.
          The only thing really missing from this new Mac Pro solution is an external PCI case and possibly a Nvidia gfx option although with more OpenCL optimising I don't see cuda being needed.

          • Upgrades can allow a machine you have to stay at the top end of the performance line longer. If that means changing out graphics cards every 2 years, which is the standard (meaningful) upgrade cycle for graphics cards it seems, you'd only be out the replacement of that part (maybe some cash in your pocket for selling the old one). You don't have to replace the entire machine, to keep your workflow as quick as possible. That makes dollars and cents obviously. I'd rather pay that than pay to replace everything. And those minutes saved, every day, for a year, can nullify that upgrade cost pretty quick if your projects are time sensitive.

            In terms of sockets, the LGA2011 socket, which accompanies Intel's top end X79 chipset, came out in 2011 (I know huh?). But that socket is not due for an update for at least another year or longer. So basically, you're getting 4 years and at least one major chip revision out of a socket. A new chip at the end of 4 years (before retirement) can make a meaningful upgrade that saves money on a new system. Many people who bought Intel X58 based systems are still using them (including myself) with an inexpensive upgrade at the end of the LGA1366 socket life cycle. I use it for video editing and along with a GPU upgrade for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, it was less than $1000. I sold the old parts for $500. A new system, which I would have loved to have built, would have cost $2500. But performance is within 10% so not really worth it. Just an example.

            Mainstream chipsets like P67/Z77 update every couple of years, for comparison, making them not the choice for long term upgradeable systems, in my opinion, and for the reason you pointed out.

            The landscape is a little different for Notebooks though. But there is a segment of the market that allows for upgradeable graphics and CPUs. I have one such machine and an update to the graphics card (GTX 460M to GTX 670M) made it too fast for it to be retired. I've had my notebook for almost 2.5 years now and I'll probably hang on to it till next year. Even though I REALLY wanted to upgrade, it made little to no sense after I did this mid-life upgrade, which put performance back to within striking distance of the replacement model.

            In terms of external PCI Express Thunberbolt casings, we've seen them around. And at around $500 for some of the better ones, to house each card, it becomes cost prohibitive quite quickly. Not to mention, there are still documented random "disconnection" issues which can't happen with an expansion card in such an enclosure. They are much more reliable plugged into a slot and you could see how frustrating that would be if that was your scratch drive, or your audio/video interface. Though the technology will mature, even USB still suffers these issues occasionally.

            Just a few thoughts 🙂

          • rhetoric.assassin

            most pros making REAL professional money are not going to take a stable system, and risk it with untested parts, especially with drivers on OSX being as it is. A professional 4K NLE is going to recoup his Mac Pro investment in a very short time, possibly in a week. They are not going to take a chance hosing their workflow to save a few bucks, when they can literally afford to pay for another mac pro the next month if needed. Only hobbyists care about upgrading, unless you are talking about storage or new 4K monitors which pro color grade 4K monitors can cost as much as new cars. Even maxed out, this is a deal no professional will pass up.

          • JamalLocke

            Just more proof that Mac users are morons...they choose to buy overpriced outdated hardware from the previous year then a state of the art PC for the same price

          • JamalLocke

            Downvoted by a moron that spent way too much for outdated hardware

          • Kramerica

            You are a joke. Apple did a damn good job on this system. You are just jealous because you can't afford it. Go troll elsewhere. In fact, I think i hear your mother calling you. Don't you need to clean your room?

          • LittleTreasure

            Whether he can afford it or not, its more that he just does not appreciate the advantages of OSX. JamalLocke is a PC guy. He has an inferiority complex and has to try to mock mac users out of Jealousy. Mac users could care less about his trolling. You should stop responding to him.

          • sixmemos

            even if what you say were true, wouldn't you be a moron for not taking advantage of it?

          • You clearly don't understand how product development cycles work. Previous year's hardware? State of the art PC? Did you miss the comment by this story's author that stated that he tried to configure a BTO PC from Dell, Lenovo, etc?

          • das

            your comment is valid ,and while valid is proof that while the machine is not GREAT specs for the price ,fans of apple wont care because they think " resale value " justifies the premium cost in the first place , only places i seen a mac ever used is in media due to lot of media editors being sucked in by the apple myth of " being perfect "

          • Kramerica

            It costs $2600 or less to get a RAID chassis/PCI chassis. NetStor has a Thunderbolt 2 24 Drive Bay Hot Swappable RAID with PCI slots for around $2600. Or you can spend less for just PCI slots or RAID array chassis.

        • b9bot

          Yes in years it will but by then a newer Mac Pro will be there. All of the pros have done a lot of testing already and have said nothing on the PC side can touch the Mac Pro in this new design. Those are the facts boys. The specs on the Mac Pro are top notch. Making excuses and calling Mac users names isn't going to change the facts.

          • das

            lol @ no PC beats mac pro ,for a start a mac is a PC ,a mac is a BRAND of a PC ,secondly ,u think a £2500 mac pro beats a £1200 Pc ? youre an idiot

        • In a year's time...repeat that back to yourself. Right now, nobody else can tough this design at this price. What is so difficult about that to understand?

    • Has no HDD? It's all faster flash-based storage rather than platter disks. Optical bays? Newsflash. NONE of the new Macs are coming with optical bays. This thing has 4 USB 3 & 6 Thunderbolt 2. You can connect all the peripheral devices and storage you need with that kind of connectivity.

      • das

        yh so your neat and tidy workstation looks like a fucking spagetti monster !!!

  • willo

    K5000 does not come close to dual W9000 - Check tomhardware for reference. You left that part out when building it.

    I´m buying 6core Xeon,dual D700 with 32TB ram and 512GB disk.

    You are comparing Apples to Oranges, RAID0? No thanks, I like my single drive 1000MB/s read/write very much.

    I end up paying around $5299USD for my setup. A small and quiet system with thunderbolt 2 ports, dual gigabit, 802.11AC, and it comes with free software.

    Now build me a custom hackint0sh crashmachine, and show me the price. You won´t even come close without spending $8000USD.

    Sorry but this troll article does not even come close to reality.

    • First of all, we deal in facts. And the W9000 and the K5000 are close in the apps we specifically talk about, which are Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Here's some rendering benchmarks...

      See how close they are? No BS. They could save you money. They are close enough to pocket the savings and not worry.

      Regarding RAID, if you look at PCI-e SSDs, they are RAID 0 internally (a little generalization and implementation is a little more robust). That's how they get the throughput. RAID 0 with the two EVO 840s would give you 1000 MB/s read/write. So equal in practice.

      A triple antenna AC adapter is $99. Better range. Better performance.

      Intel is offering Thunderbolt updates to boards right now through their own internal program...

      You want Thunderbolt? You got it! Most workstation boards (we like the ASUS P9X79 WS) get two good gigabit ethernet ports.

      Instead of using external drives/components, which have been documented to "disconnect by themselves" periodically, one has access to all expansion cards made within the last couple years and in the future via PCI Express. So there are those costs to consider.

      Although I may have alluded to some Hackintosh possibilities, this is a Windows answer to the Mac Pro.

      So in reality, this stands. But thanks for your comments anyway. It sounds like you are an OS X user and we did say, this is the best you're going to get. But the rest of us like our options just the same 🙂

      Note: Edited to address the RAID/Ethernet/AC etc.

      • Matt W

        It may be reality, but it is Adobe's reality because they have focused on CUDA over OpenCL in most areas. That will change soon.

        • I hope they provide more GPU choices (as in well optimized OpenCL and CUDA). I was using AMD GPUs at the time and I thought it was pretty unfair that this kind of advantage was limited to only one vendor.

      • Kramerica

        OS X users don't look at PCs, just like PC users may not look at a Mac. But there are more Windows users switching to Macs than there are Mac users switching to Windows. One K6000 card is $5000, and can it compare to 2 D700's with 6GB each? I don't think so. High speed SSD is very expensive and you simply can't get a XEON motherboard that has 64GB of ECC memory that has Thunderbolt 2 ports on it. So it simply can't be done where it's an honest and far comparison.

      • Kramerica

        Those ASUS Thunderbolt 2 motherboards don't get 64GB of RAM, didn't you READ?

      • rhetoric.assassin

        so gigabit is as fast TB2? in what universe? and you can bond the streams for 20GB/s in TB2. Also its powered and can be daisy chained. How many POE adapters would you need to accomplish what one TB2 does. Also this board seems to be only for i7s, this is not a solution for professionals, but wannabes and gamers who think i7s are the best because they can run BF4 at ultra. big deal, let them waste time and money on a fruitless effort while the rest of pros comment on forums while racking up render time fees.

    • Kramerica

      Real Pros don't do Hackintosh systems.

  • waltc3

    Come on, guy...;) You admit upfront that you don't actually *know* what is really in this Mac monstrosity (spittoon comes to mind) and you also admit to the horrifying reality that it's a one-shot purchase that will not be able to grow along with its owner because it is a Mac and Apple doesn't believe in users upgrading their own hardware. I see you also didn't mention anything about product warranties: most of the individual, retail PC components you can buy today are warrantied by the manufacturer for 36-60 months, depending on the component. Let me guess since you didn't mention it: this monstrosity is guaranteed by Apple for a measly one year, like every other Apple computer product? Last but not least, I'd be willing to wager that a machine specked like your imaginary box running Windows would be possibly as much as ~40% more powerful/speedier than The Spittoon. I think you should have waited until The Spittoon is shipping and the reviews are published that tell us exactly how much Apple has cut down the retail specs of these components in order to deliberately stuff them all into a non-upgradable, custom enclosure.

      • waltc3

        OK, that *was* funny...:D

    • Andy

      You sound utterly butt-hurt just because you can't resort to the lazy
      mud-slinging that accompanies every single Apple launch - that they're
      over-priced. So instead you refer to it as a Spittoon (have you ever actually seen a spittoon?) and call it monstrosity? Seriously? I mean, if you're wading in here because you're at the vanguard of the PC defence league then you're going to have to take responsibility for the millions and millions of beige boxes that still sit underneath the desks of offices around the planet and which are so mind-bogglingly dull they've been known to cause brain haemorrhages in anyone unfortunate enough to actually have to look at them.

      Also - if you're going to accuse the author of this article of guess-work then (look out - guess-work ahead!) saying "I'd be willing to wager that a machine specked like your imaginary box running Windows would be as much as 40% more powerful/speedier," just makes you look like the clueless, angry little man that you so obviously are.

      • Guest

        STFU...this article is garbage. Anyone who thinks an Apple product is a good value is too fucking stupid to be taken seriously and clearly knows JACKSHIT about computing history.

        • Kramerica

          I think I hear your mother calling you, she wants you to shave her back again.

        • Kramerica

          What does knowing about computer history have to do with a MacPro? You sound like some jealous loser gamer that can't read. They don't have Thunderbolt 2 equipped XEON motherboards that will handle 64GB of ECC memory, 1250MBps SSD in the same price range, so you can't even come close. Go troll elsewhere.

    • Kramerica

      Most people that are going to buy these things wouldn't NEED to upgrade it. It can handle just about anything you can throw at it for 4K video editing and most other applications people are going to use these things for. You can get a 3 Year Support contract for only $250, so give it a rest. A lot of people don't like these big tower boxes. They get too cumbersome to move around and screw around with. This is an elegant box, plenty powerful enough for MOST users and it's attractively priced. You can't get anything that's comparably equipped for less money. Go ahead buy one and run the benchmarks. This isn't the only article that tried to spec out an equivalent box and it just can't be done. Go troll somewhere else. I think I hear your mother calling you so you can shave her back.

    • Applecare: $259. Two extra years, 24/7 phone tech support (from US) and local repairs if you're near an Apple Store. $199 for education.

  • trajan2448

    Lack of Quadro cards is a big negative for many users. Inexcusable in a $10,000 machine.

    • It's unfortunate because there are cases where an NVIDIA solution is faster (and somewhat cheaper) than an AMD solution. A good example is Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. I'm sure a lot of last gen Mac Pro users are using NVIDIA cards and they chose them for their performance in specific apps.

    • waltc3

      It's good to hear Mac owners complaining about a lack of hardware choice (assuming you are such a person.) Most Mac customers are content to let Apple make those decisions for them. Generally speaking, all Macs are far more Apple profit-friendly than they are customer-friendly. I would guess that it might be something akin to nVidia's Quadro thermal & power characteristics that are responsible for its exclusion here--or else the Quadro design doesn't customize and reduce as easily as AMD's. When you're trying to design a functional computer compressed into the form of a 12" Spittoon, practical and customer-friendly options cannot be accommodated. With every Mac Apple makes, it must choose between exterior styling and customer convenience, and the record will clearly show that Apple chooses style over substance every time. It's that "I wanna' be different" inferiority complex, don't 'ya know...;)

      • Matt W

        Maybe NVidia did not want to build a new form factor to work with the thermal core so they were not part of the initial run. They might change their name, they might not.

      • sixmemos

        That's funny, to me it almost sounds that somebody else may be exhibiting the inferiority complex...

        • wingedgenius

          Exactly... I use Mac because I prefer the UX over Windows or even Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

          Mac is now more commonly supported, the hardware *seems* to (IMO) have gotten more durable over time...

          I just like Mac. Not really interested in "being different"... I do love seeing the hotrods of PC boxes I see out in the gaming world, though. 🙂

    • AmericanLP

      I don't see anything disappointing about compositing 15x 4K video streams at 60fps while applying layered effects in realtime without dropping a single frame. I can't say that about our AVID stations.

      • das

        i can do that with consumer bought graphics cards for lot less than the mac pro costs

        • b9bot

          Yea sure you can, in your dreams maybe.

          • das

            yes i can ,performance is measured in flops ,via .this method i can build cheaper

          • rhetoric.assassin

            then please post the video of this, otherwise is pure fantasy. And certainly not multiple 4K streams with multiple effects. But go ahead continue with you fantasy.

          • das

            why would i want to spend money on a PC build to prove that to you ? give me the money and i will

          • AmericanLP

            Then show someone who did

          • das

            you show a mac that does first

          • Bob

            You're welcome. Now, show us this mythical beast you speak of.

          • das

            AS I said ,give me the money and ill do it 🙂

          • das

            like i said ,give me the money and i will 🙂

        • Kramerica

          You can't add as many effects to 4K video on a consumer graphics card. There was a video of someone with the lesser 8 core MacPro running 4K video with 18 effects running and it didn't drop any frames and they could have added more but didn't have the time. They weren't even running a Red Rocket card. And that's on the 8 core model. Trust me, this system for 4K video is as much as anyone could possibly need.

          • das

            yes i can ,nvidia cards uses CUDA cores which are much faster than AMDs offerings and their gaming cards have them which not only rapes the d300 GPU in flops but also in driver and software efficiency

          • AmericanLP

            Dude, you don't know what you're talking about.

    • Kramerica

      And what XEON boxes have two Quadro cards for $10K?

    • Kramerica

      So you think a Quadro K6000 w/12GB of GDDR3 memory is faster than two D700 with 6GB each? It's less money the way Apple did it. Go ahead and build a Thunderbolt 2 equipped motherboard with 64GB ECC memory, with the same CPU, and the K6000 and the super fast SSD. First off, it can't be built, so why bother.

      • trajan2448

        Since Apple comprises less than 1% of this market, failing to offer the most popular pro GPUs won't do them any favors. BTW the vast majority of pros will take a Quadro K6000 all day long over any FirePro today. I work in post and that's the way it is at this time.

  • Matt W

    You really don't know if the GPUs will be upgradeable or not. No one sells any today, I will give you that. That does not mean no one ever will..

    • It's a completely non-industry standard implementation. The likelihood is next to zero. You might be able to get upgrades in Thunderbolt enclosures in the future. But that's just not the same thing.

      • das

        this cost discussion from apple fans tend to think its very good value because you cannot get same parts from self build PC ,thing is on the base model of the mac pro ,the GPU is stripped down w7000's ,so apple does not have to pay AMD for the heatsinks and shrouding and other extras that a GPU PCB needs ,plus the actual CPU isnt that expensive at all ,( and TBH xeons are no better than a consumer i7 ,they are just handpicked silicon lottery winners ) ,so end of the day apple can sell this better value than their older mac pro lines have been due to having one cooling solution for all the processors inside the machine, End of the day ,if performance matters ,id match the specs of the mac pro to a self bult Pc by using REAL LIFE performance tests not by trying to match custom allocated parts from AMD to apple

        • rhetoric.assassin

          do what? i7s are not workstation cpus, I have 3 macs with i7s, but I would not want them inside a WORKSTATION. i7s are great for gaming and office computing, not for true workstation workloads. I haven't bought a mac pro since the PowerMac G5s when they have PowerPc processors. Cause I chance having client work trusted with consumer grade parts, when literally time is money and errors during renders or artifacts in final renders. Something that is not a big deal when you are playing games at 60fps, it is a huge issue if a client is paying 10s of thousands of dollars to meet deadlines and you find you that your precious i7 processor is dropping frame rates and trashing frames with bad codec compressions. i7s are not meant from professional 4K work.

          • das

            you really do not know what a xeon is ..... and even the xeon in the mac pro is only like £250 anyway ,does not justify the expensive of the trashcan design

    • Kramerica

      Most people buy a system and rarely upgrade during the life of that system. Some people will, but most won't. This box screams when doing 4K video, it's pretty much all you actually need for MOST Professional Users.

    • GPUs are user-upgradable.

  • RayZ

    Given apples creative user base i don't know why they didn't go nvidia for the cuda.

    • AmericanLP

      A single AMD FirePro costs $3,400 (Amazon $3,158) EACH! So just the video cards are worth $6,800.
      Who would've thought, Apple dishing-out such an amazing value.

      The D700 has exact spec as the FirePro W9000:
      - 2048 Stream Processors (texture mapping units/unified shaders)
      - 384-bit memory bus width
      - 264 GB/s memory bandwidth
      - 6 GB Vram GDDR5

      • Paul

        buying one card from a retailer must cost much more than buying them in the thousands as a manufacturer would do. this exercise must necessarily yield a higher price than the same machine would have if built by a lenovo or hp. DIY vs manufacturer loses.

        • AmericanLP

          True, but one of the main reasons why people build a DIY system is that they end up paying a lot less. If you build your own PC with components that match a specific PC, it'll cost a lot less.

          So for Apple to sell a system which costs thousands less than a DIY is obviously a kind gesture to the pro market who have been neglected by Apple for years.

      • Hellscreamgold

        If you called up AMD, said "hey, I wanna pay cash for 100,000 FirePro W9000 cards, what price can you get me" I GUARANTEE you that you won't be paying anywhere near retail.

        Then, when that price is cut, significantly, the comparison becomes much more interesting.

      • CaptainFabulous

        Do we even know these custom cards have the exact same specs and performance as the retail versions? Cause I can totally see Apple using slower/cheaper parts.

    • JamalLocke

      Apple's base consists of hipsters who think paying 50% more for a laptop somehow makes checking their Gmail a better experience while sitting in a starbucks

      • Kramerica

        Shows you how little you know about laptops. Apple's user base consists of professionals in many different industries that want something they can't get from the PC mfg. You obviously don't know how to analyze specs of a computer. Troll somewhere else.

        • julez

          You may need to explain that one a little more. What professionals, what industries and what is it they cannot get from a PC mfg? There is very little in my macbook pro that I don't have in my Dell Precision here in the office. I could use either and be perfectly happy as a systems engineer.

          • rhetoric.assassin

            how about for starters...Expose, Time Machine, Spaces, multiple OS boots in coherence, FCPX workflow, Aperture (even though badly needed updates, professional workflow), Messages, Notification center, migration assistant...Hardware wise, if you have an Apple TV mirroring, extended desktops wirelessly, and if you have a Time Capsule effortless backups and unparalleled ability to amend new files with data from backups. And Time Machine, nothing compares or is even in the same league as TM TC. Those are just a few of my favorites. I go could on, easy login switching, airdrop, full screen apps, multiple multitouch gestures without needing to touch your screen....yada yada...

            As a creative professional, there is no equal comparison to a MBP and OSX. That was easy.

          • julez

            Ok debunk time woohoo!

            Expose (Mission Control) isn't exactly a deal breaker. Time Machine can be easily replaced by alternative backup solutions such as Acronis or WD SmartWare, although I'm not going to say those are as an elegant of a solution. The same could be said about Spaces with a 3rd party solution or if you weren't a Windows user Linux has had that as a standard feature for years. Parallels, coherence mode or whatever would be a moot point running a PC as you'd be using what you were wanting to use anyway, but if you must VMware Workstation has Unity support for a PC as well (downside is iOS being a problem to virtualize if you wanted to go that route). Camtasia Studio or Adobe Premier Pro instead of Final Cut Pro. Aperture can be easily displaced by photoshop and lightroom for a true professional... and at this point I'm getting bored.

            Anyway you get my point...

          • slp

            All of those things you are paying to add onto Windows, come with OS X, which is free (well, included in the cost of a Mac, and upgrades are no charge).

            When I bought my latest MacBook Pro, I tried to do some comparison shopping, but no PC laptop could be configured to match it. None had Thunderbolt 2, none had 1 TB of PCIe flash storage, and few had an equivalent processor or display. Even so, when configured as close as possible, the price difference is not that much. Sure, one can easily get a Windows laptop a lot cheaper than a Mac, because Apple does not cater to that market.

            I work with several operating systems. Windows is fine if it suits your needs. I happen to prefer OS X because I am a fan of Unix and it is a better desktop experience than the various Linux distributions I tried. I even used FreeBSD as my primary desktop OS for years, but constantly ran into compatibility problems.

          • Paul Wright

            'I happen to prefer OS X because I am a fan of Unix and it is a better
            desktop experience than the various Linux distributions I tried.'

            I agree... I need a Unix based computer for my job (I am an Astrophysicist). I had the choice of either Linux (Red Hat) or Mac OS X. Guess which one is better supported, and more user friendly. I don't have the time to be tinkering and debugging. I want something that works and allows me to do my job. Many people don't understand this.

          • LazyCanuck

            Your point is that Apple-supplied solutions that are integrated into the OS need to be kludged together in some half-ass way that may or may not work on Windows or in some sort of half-frankenstein virtual machine system?

            Then yeah, I get your point.

          • Natalia

            Yep, but you don't. Professionals don't have time to waste tinkering.

          • rhetoric.assassin

            "Time Machine can be easily replaced by alternative backup solutions such as Acronis or WD SmartWare, although I'm not going to say those are as an elegant of a solution."

            Those solutions are far from elegant, and can not even approach the robustness of TM. That's hilarious. Windows can not even get something even approaching Migration Assistant. Windows still uses a nearly 20 y/o NTFS, what a joke. You know how many client machines we basically can't fix with the myriad of data recovery tools we have?. Only to tell the client, that you can just have a new HDD Please, that reason alone negates using a Windows OS on a professional workstation. And one of primary reasons I completely moved over to OSX. As a professional, if you lose data you can't recover then your tool is useless when it is needed the most. I still rock a few PCs at my house, one is merely for video cap from my TV, and the other is a gaming rig and for testing IE (another abysmal tragedy for nearly 20 year and going on strong) on a Windows OS. Anything important and makes me money for photo, video, or motion graphics content creation goes only on OSX.

            "The same could be said about Spaces with a 3rd party solution or if you weren't a Windows user Linux has had that as a standard feature for years."

            A third party solution on Win OS, that breaks everytime there is a driver update all at a cost of $30 and upgrade costs. Yea sounds like a lot of fun coming down to sit to work on something and my virtual desktops have disappeared and I have to check for another driver. Once again, flaky and untrustworthy app that doesn't compare to Spaces or Expose.

            "Camtasia Studio or Adobe Premier Pro instead of Final Cut Pro. Aperture can be easily displaced by photoshop and lightroom for a true professional"

            You clearly have never used Premier Pro instead of FCP or FCPX. Otherwise you would not have Camtasia for one, yea "professional" workflow. /s You should have compared Camtasia to iMovie it would have been more relevant. lol. I have not even used Adobe PP in the last ten years. Pretty much the only Adobe apps I use now are PS, AI, and AE.

            Aperture is do for an update, Aperture 4.0 is around the corner and I not sure how Photoshop could "easily" displace Aperture. PS doesn't have vaulting feature and the ability to real-time preview camera effects across a library without opening and killing all your resources to your PC and reaching your ram cap killing your actions or whatever dumb way you would be suggesting.

            And the fact you decided to omit my other reasons just proves that most of them are in fact junk or not possible...

          • Right, systems engineers can get along with minimally power-hungry software. Photographers, video editors and audio engineers would not choose a PC if they can get a Mac.

            Just two examples of what you can't have on your choice.

            OS X. For many of us, that's critical.

            Applescript (see #1, only comes on OS X).

            Your perspective would possibly be justified for a narrow group of people. But for creative professionals, you are clearly unable to understand their needs. I hope you're not an IT professional who has power over the choices of creatives. You would be restricting their choices for uninformed reasons.

          • julez

            I don't know much about video editor or audio engineering needs, but I know photographers who are perfectly happy with PCs. Case in point my step-mother who does sports photography for a large college in IL and has been published by Sports Illustrated. I feel there is a lot of unnecessary bias in all of these fields mentioned mainly because it's what someone is used to. I'm not saying there isn't better software in one or the other, my point is the viability of either platform for any one of those is probably justifiable.

          • Dabs

            Yes, plenty of photogs will be fine with a pc with any vanilla dedicated video card... But does your mother in-law work with 6-7gig multilayered, stitched images? Does she process files from 80 megapixel leaf cameras? There are serious pros who don't want to putter around with tweaking specs and checking compatibility on new egg and tiger. They want to get to work on their big kid stuff.

          • I also know photographers who use Windows. But having been a Windows user myself (and OS/2) I know the difference. And for workflow for photographers, the Mac has many things to commend itself that PCs simply don't have. AppleScript and other automation tools for example. There are scripting languages available for the PC too, but none as easy to use as AppleScript. And none as capable of using multiple applications like meta applications (Photoshop, Bridge, FileMaker Pro, Numbers (or Excel), and Extensis Portfolio for example).

            What I'm talking about is a power user who has to process lots of photos. (A recent trip to China for three weeks yielded just under 400 gigs of images. My Macs make it easier to manage than PCs would. But they are also simply more pleasant to use, but that's a subjective assessment that one has to answer for themselves. There is a reason Macs have such a devoted following. And no, it's not Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. That's the amateurs. I'm talking about pros.

          • SomeGuy

            I work at one of the largest non-profit biotech research facility in the world. Most of the software developers work on macbook pros, very few work on windows laptops. It's true that a fair number of people also have windows desktops, but the mobile compute is all macbook pro's. One of the reasons is that running bash underneath lets me set up an environment that's the same as our 15,000 node compute cluster - if my software works on my laptop, it's going to work on the big compute.

            On top of that, the hardware is reasonably nice.

          • Paul

            I saw this many times. Linux on servers is selling OS X on clients because of similar userland apPplications. I personally prefer Linux on the client too but many people tell me they are fine accepting Apple's decisions on the user interface and don't care about upgradability.

          • Paul Wright

            Astrophysicists for one...

        • Natalia

          Must be why all of Google's computer fleet are Macs.

        • But they won't get a warranty that's worth something.

        • Neo Forever

          Shows how little you know about hipsters.

    • Kramerica

      Which Chips would Apple use? Remember, Apple designed their own GPU cards instead of buying off the shelf GPU cards. So, Nvidia would have to sell them the GPU processor chips.

    • Kramerica

      Most people don't need a $5000 K8000 card. They can do the same amount or more processing with 2 D700 w/ 6GB each for less money, less cooling required.

    • AndreX

      Because Apple is pushing OpenCL. OpenCL is to CUDA what OpenGL is to 3DFX, meaning in a few years it will make more sense to be using OpenCL

      • RayZ

        Apple can push openCL all they want. If its not in Photoshop or or the rest of adobe creative suite it doesn't do any good. Not to mention openCL runs just find on nvidia.

  • Kramerica

    As the article says, you can't get a Thunderbolt 2 motherboard that will even go to 64GB of ECC memory. Once you see that, the comparison stops abruptly. You can't even build a system that will compare. MASSIVE FAIL for the hobbyist DIYers. Oh well.

    • Hellscreamgold

      Thunderbolt 2 has even less of an influence on the market right now than Macs do....

  • -hh

    Overall, ~60% of the DIY's expense is tied up in the dual GPUs...and Apple's choice of configuration (dual GPUs) results in a great solution for forthcoming 4K video editors, but abandons several customer use cases, such as the Photoshop still images (w/big libraries).

    This 'non-video' use case simply doesn't benefit from even one of these monster GPUs, let alone two, so the reality is that the DIY configuration can be cut by $3400-$5100 without any significant loss of performance...and that dramatically changes the conclusions.

    So while "Same-vs-Same" comparisons are useful, the real issue here is that Apple's product decision to have nothing less than dual GPUs in even the nMP's base configuration has created a huge product hole which is much eaiser to justify filling with a DIY instead of any nMP configuration.


    • Right, when you mistakenly assume GPU doesn't influence Photoshop (including Lightroom and/or Aperture) performance. You would be mistaken.

      • -hh

        Well, if you're going to be a pedantic nit, yes there's a few PS filters which now (finally!) are starting to employ multiple cores/GPUs. However, the Mac has had multiple CPUs/cores for a decade and as recently as CS3, the "Save" function still shut down the entire machine because it was both single-threaded as well as modal.
        The bottom line is that for Photoshop users, having two 'killer' GPUs does no real good.


        • Wow, using CS3 as your example. You know there's been FIVE updates to Photoshop since then? CS3 wasn't even 64 bit! Let alone use multiple cores well, or off-load processing to the GPU. Get with the times.

          • -hh

            Sorry, but you're missing the point, which is that Adobe has been chronically delinquent in being proactively engaged to roll out performance enhancements in Photoshop.

            My mentioning of CS3 illustrates how this has been a chronic, longstanding behavior, not anything new. CS3 came out in 2007, yet it did not bother to employ a hardware enhancement which had been added to the then-PowerMac lineup starting in 2000. Yes, that's a seven (7) year delay which persisted despite five (5) updates.

            Similarly, you point out the 64 bit fiasco. Everyone tries to blame it all on Apple, but Adobe was who chose to ignore guidance on depreciated code.
            Bringing it forward to today, CS6 in Photoshop **still** doesn't light up all of my cores in any PS routine. Once again, Adobe is failing to be proactive in modernizing to bring value to their customers.

            Looking forward, time will tell when (and "IF") Adobe ever really updates Photoshop to fully exploit OpenGL across the board to leverage the GPU capabilities of this new Mac Pro. Be as much of a naive optimist as you wish, but given their past performance andthat I'm a realist, I'm obligated to bet against them.


    • Rick in China

      Um. This is the high end of their product line intended for a specific customer. If you don't need dual badass GPUs get a mac mini and all your porn collecting and youtube trolling needs will be perfectly sufficed. Win.

      • -hh

        Yes, the nMP is aimed at a **specific** Power User customer - - Video. And for those of us who aren't that specific Power User class, we simply do not really benefit from those dual expensive GPUs.

        Case in point: Adobe Photoshop (see below): PS is a decade late in really exploiting multiple cores. Leveraging GPUs (especially non-CUDA ones) has also been on the back burner for years.

        If you want to actually _learn_ something today instead of throwing very lame insults try reading Digital Lloyd's blog at for how the general optimization priorities for the Photoshop use case.

        Once you get into the weeds, you'll find that the mini and iMac designs are thermally limited. Not an issue for a brief benchmark test, but when you start to load up the machine with work - and you're working for a few hours - the thermal constraints (which don't exist on the Mac Pro) means that it has to scale back its turbo boost to self-protect. Also FYI - higher internal temperatures also shorten the hardware's lifetime.

        Similarly, your data repositories can't be internal, so you also learn quickly about the "Thunderbolt Tax" for storage. Figure $150 per HDD spindle.

        Now sure, you can save money by _trying_ to use USB3 externals - - but getting them to wake from sleep without crashing your machine (especially Seagate) is hit-or-miss. Been there, done that...

        Personally, my camera bag has 200+GB worth of CF Memory Cards, as the one system eats through over 50MB per shutter click, and some shoots include up to two weeks off the Grid. What it works out to is that I need to plan for 0.5-1.5 TB/year worth of growth in data storage for just my own works (depending on how busy I am), which once we include redundent and off-site backups means 2-6TB worth of new drives each year above and beyond simple "maintenance" replacements.
        But if you don't want to believe me, simply seek out a local photo pro and ask him yourself what his data consumption rates and data management plans are. If he's not using triple redundency, his plan is inadequate.


  • rhetoric.assassin

    You should have just stopped when you realized there are no xeon mobos with TB2 or can handle 64GB of ECC ram (which is crucial if you are a professional, if you a gamer or an office monkey then ECC is frivolous).

    The rest is just an exercise in futility. seriously trying to compare samsung SSDs to PCI-e? You do realize this Mac Pro is for work not fun.

    • Finite .Kosmos

      There aren't many applications that require a PCI SSD, but its not like they aren't available we have many options on PC and that is kinda the point. As a matter of FACT, If you are using storage that isn't assigned from a SAN you are a joke. After all its work not fun right?
      The last I checked most Dual CPU socket systems have 16 slots for RAM, My own desktop has 128GB. At some point I might even add more since the maximum on this board is 256GB.

      • lcw

        PCIe unchains the full performance of flash storage. SSD hamstrings flash with the added cost and speed limit of RAID controllers and the SAS/SATA protocols. PCIe bus supports 64 Gbps per socket -- why not use it?

  • Tom Foolery

    Even if the hardware came out to be less expensive, you'd still be stuck with Windows 8. No thanks, and I'm not even an Apple fanboy.

    • RippyTheRazor

      only stuck with windows 8 if that's what you bought to put on it. personally i'd be using a free linux distro like Ubuntu or Fedora -- on Either machine!

    • Hellscreamgold

      Windows 8 is great. 8.1 fixed a lot of things and you get the desktop back. If you're a start button addict, Start8, $5, done.

      Win 8/8.1 is faster than Win 7 - and I have a system that is 5 years old (Q9450 proc).

    • CaptainFabulous

      I guess you've never heard of a Hackintosh. You can build a custom PC and put OS X on it, so no, you're not stuck with Windows if you don't want it.

  • LarryCohen2014

    tl;dr: no, you can't build a cheeper system for the price. Very interesting article.

  • Vioetr

    You went for an expensive case, expensive motherboard.. expensive all around...
    Yet those contribute nothing to the actual performances. A $125 motherboard that support the Xeon would've been plenty.
    That said, even I understand that Apple computers are good value ON RELEASE, but one or two year down the line, with Apple NEVER lowering their prices, then it's no longer a good value as you can get the same or better for cheaper.

    • Neo Forever

      Not to mention they will you you "Free upgrade" OS so that you can cripple your current system and feel like you need to buy the newer Mac Pro.

    • Barbarisch

      I agree. While OP tried to present a reason for picking the components he deemed "equivalent", in the end it seemed very obvious that he was just making his assumption about top-of-line based on price. It almost seems like OP was intentionally lazy with very specific parts of the build, while being very specific with less crucial pieces of the system i.e case and power supply.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    Note: The D500 is based on Tahiti chip, from the specifications (memory bandwith and stream count) quoted on the Mac Pro page, it is unaltered. So this is basically a W9000 sitting on a custom PCB and connected to the main board in a different way (probably soldered on - not sure didn't see the internals). For consumers this is basically a R9 280X aka 7970 (not the Ghz edition).

    Not sure how they are measuring the TF in the spec page. CL maybe. If they state fill rate of the D500 then we can tell if the clock speeds are the same or they cut it down for thermal reasons.

  • Peter Johnson

    Look at all the lovely apple fanboys. I dont care if building a PC to match the components is more money, at least its not in a freaking garbage can that cant be upgraded.. Everything is soldered on. When I build PC's i like to be able to replace or upgrade components, not just have a 10,000$ garbage can that i cant even change a single RAM stick in... The new mac pro is a POS. But you apple fanboys must love being bent over and raped hard.

    • vFunct

      Yah but nobody upgrades.

      Businesses always buys systems based on their need.

      • Finite .Kosmos

        That is an incorrect statement. My design house has already upgraded existing machines with improved CPU's and we've been through three generations of GPU's in the past 12 months. Do NOT underestimate the ability to upgrade, if a company isn't upgrading they are reducing their efficiency, end of story. As such our dual CPU systems would run Apple out the building and down the street.
        As always the joy of an LGA2011 CPU is that the 3960X and up have 40 PCIe data lanes, very handy for unlocking render and bandwidth performance in GPU's.

        • Jetze Schaafsma

          Your statistically irrelevant little anecdote proves nothing.

          • Hellscreamgold

            Sorta like the number of Mac computers used worldwide. Pretty statistically irrelevant.

        • John Trumph

          Yah, but these are not budget machines.

          You are either upgrading to old hardware that you did not want to buy at the time, or you are putting new hardware in an old machine that doesn't support all of the features and bottle necking it. Yah, it is faster, just not getting the biggest bang for your buck. If you are buying a PC with topped out hardware, then you aren't going to upgrade it. You are just going to buy a whole new machine when the next series comes out.

          • Finite .Kosmos

            Again not correct. I have a work computer, the only part of it more than 6 months old is the PSU, probably the case too. The motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM have all been changed and are upgraded on a 6 month cycle. I can assure you that when new hardware comes out there is no bottlenecking, at least not for very long.
            The important thing is that not everyone operates or can operate in this way. We can because the storage mechanism is a SAN, making project storage as independent as we practically can. Upgrade cycles can be disruptive, we do them on weekends after a two week build phase that allows us to script the installs for driver support and iron out any issues with hardware. Not perfect but issues are usually minimal and everyone runs on top end stuff and its possible because PC makes it possible. Traditionally I personally have a dislike for the proprietary approach to hardware, it's not always avoidable but it is largely un-necessary.

    • Jetze Schaafsma

      You! don't care. Which is fine, and you should stick with building your own rigs. But other people have different skills, interests, needs, desires. And I don't know if you can imagine, but there are a lot of people to whom a few $1000 is not a whole lot of money, and certainly worth the better user experience. I cringe at the thought of what your home, car and clothes must look like with your attitude.

      • Hellscreamgold

        "better user experience" in YOUR opinion.

    • salient1

      Technically, the only thing that cannot be upgraded on the Mac Pro is the CPU (because it's soldered in). Perhaps you should research before making arguments that make you look like an idiot.

  • Rick in China

    The argument of "Yah it's more expensive if you get the top stuff, but you may be able to use X Y Z and save money!" -- is worthless. If you want to water down and get less expensive PC components, you should also compare a similar performance/level/quality of hardware mac, not neglect to mention anything beyond the top model and use "but you could save x y z" on the PC as a crutch.

    I don't even know the results of such a comparison, nor do I have a dog in the fight, but this method of 'analysis' is disengenuine and misleading.

  • Dave

    Having built my own computers for the better part of 20 years, I always have a laugh when a primary point of apple vs pc contention is "upgradeable!".

    I have never upgraded anything. There has never been a run on compatible motherboards with next-gen CPU's that I've been able to take advantage of. Never. Socket to slot to new slot to new socket to a totally different socket and swapping back and forth from AMD to Intel (totally incompatible!) has always left that avenue of upgrade to be a silly point of discussion. Motherboards come out with so many new features from year to year, you'd be screwing yourself to just drop in a new processor to an old crappy board. Not to mention the price difference (and performance!) from a same-architecture upgrade is never really worth it in the first place.

    RAM? I'm still not convinced my 16GB of ram isn't significant overkill, but I've always maxed my ram out when building a machine so I've never upgraded it. My semi-crappy media center even has 16gb of ram. Why? Ram has been cheap. Whee.

    Video cards too, you can barely upgrade them in the same machine since you're going to bottleneck them if you bought all last-gen parts. For me every time a new video card comes out thats got a performance curve worth paying for, it's a new bus architecture and I can't upgrade to it without a new motherboard anyway and hey we're in Microcenter and we're throwing together a whole new system.

    I have upgraded hard drives. The one shining piece of tech that seems to lag behind everything else long enough to make buying new ones a sane purchase. Turns out you can do that on a Mac just as easy since except for the Air hard drives they're all standard shelf models forever. Yay!

    So, people need to really just give up on that tired sad dog of an argument. Upgradeable is meaningless, since it's almost never practical and throwing bad money after good.

    • vFunct

      Totally agree.

      When you upgrade, you upgrade the whole system in 2-3 years. You never upgrade individual parts. That's just a waste of time and money. It's far cheaper and more efficient to upgrade everything at once.

      Buy the system you need for 2-3 years, then buy the system you need again in 2-3 years.

    • btc909

      Ram WAS cheap.

    • Natalia

      There was a whole discussion about this on the Low End Mac Facebook group when the announcement of the new Mac Pro came out and that it pretty much the conclusion that everyone came to.

    • Chris Hunter

      Your entire premise of not upgrading is completely wrong..Period. Slowly upgrading parts one at a time is THE best way to maintain a system. You buy with the future in mind... and maybe if you stuck with AMD you wouldn't be switching back and fourth. I can put my newest processor in my wife's hand me down system that hardware that is over 5 years old. Intel changes sockets so often for a reason.

      • Jetze Schaafsma

        Your statistically irrelevant anecdote does not invalidate his general point. A large majority of us click together a new machine every 5 years or so. The times of skimping on the ram waiting for it to get cheaper in a few months are over. And never has buying a cheap, small HDD now waiting for the per GB price to drop been worth spending a day transferring the system to the new disk with the additional risk of failure and loss of data. And no, we don't want to spend a week researching and learning backup/migration software too.

        • Uncle Mikey

          You've hit the nail on the head. My time is worth a lot to me--both in strict economical terms and emotionally. If I really, really enjoyed tinkering with hardware, as many do, then I wouldn't mind spending that time figuring out the best way to upgrade piecemeal. I've even tried it that way. What I found was that it was more time than I was willing to spend to get it right.

          Now, I would rather over-spec and over-buy my hardware knowing that it will last me that much longer before it starts to feel "too slow" or "too small" for what I'm doing on a regular basis. When that point comes, I find someone whose demands for hardware are less than mine, "sell" them the old machine (usually in barter) so that it will continue to be useful to someone, and replace it.

          That said: I do stress that people who genuinely ENJOY building machines and tinkering with them should go right on doing so. But don't criticize Apple for not catering to your hobby!

    • disqususer2


      I have an HP Z210-I3. So I want to add a newer I5 or I7. No can do. The Sandy Bridge version costs almost as much as the original computer. The Ivy Bridge is of course not compatible.
      I did put in 16Gb and with Vmplayer ... it can use it up.

    • Salpula

      Pretty amazing claims there bud. So, if I buy a system today, and in 9 months "usb 4" or "sata 4" (just roll with it), I should not bother buying an add on card to beef that up? PCIE3.0 Video cards don't require a new motherboard. if you know how computing works and your games are not stressing your processor but your old grapbhics card suks and you "only" have PCIE2.0, you will get all the benefits of updating your card. Read up on the actual affects of the PCIE revision you have your gpu connected on. The differences are negligible. If Im not sure I want to budget the 16GBs of RAM in my build but know I could do 8GB now and add 8GB later if I feel its necessary, it would be a waste of my time to buy only 8GB now?

      Well, it DOES take 30 seconds to undo the thumbscrew and slide open m case.

      Not everyone purchases their hardware the same way you do. a 5 year old computer today without USB 3.0 can still make full use of it through a $20 add-on card. In addition Any computer with PCI-E 2.0 slots can take an SATA3 card with an SSD for massive performance increases - card and 128GB drive for under $100 total. Not every situation requires a whole new PC for an upgrade to be worthwhile.

      • kingbob

        Thank you, someone with some actual knowledge.

    • Kingbob

      Really? Personally I got in on the AM2 socket and did a few upgrades from there. Got an old 9950, then a P2-955. Did the motherboard at one point, moving from ddr to DDR2. Went from an old gforce 7950 (I think) to a 4870.. then another 4870 at the end of life saleoff for practically nothing to crossfire. Recently, went to a 7790 for lower power/noise/heat. All the while upgrading HDD and SSD, optical to BRD. Changed cases at one point, using antec 900 now. At no point (overlooking initial purchase) did I have to spend more than $200 bucks for a substantial upgrade. All this has been down in under 8 years, sounds like in your 20 years you have been doing it wrong.

    • Barbarisch

      The point is flexibility. You are the first person I have ever heard say that building your own computer is just as inflexible as buying a pre-made machine. Sounds like you are just doing it wrong.

    • CaptainFabulous

      Funny, I do just the opposite and never seem to have any issues. I reuse optical drives, cases, power supplies, RAM, and hard drives. I replace video cards as needed and CPUs as needed because they typically do not follow the same upgrade path -- I rarely get more than 2 years out of a GPU but can easily get 3-4 from a CPU. And what "new features" is a mobo going to have that's worth tossing out a perfectly good one of the same socket? SATA IV? USB 4? I can just add those via a cheap PCI/PCIe card if necessary. I certainly do not need to buy a whole new motherboard just for one or two new features of dubious worth.

      It's like saying go and buy a brand new car every two years because the tires need replacing and new models come with built in GPS, instead of, y'know, just replacing the tires and buying a $75 GPS unit.

  • Liv-Eræv Mynona

    The whole comparison is solely based on the size of the case, which is so damn irrelevant that it makes the article into a joke.

    • John Trumph

      If your aim is to have something extremely powerful that is small and easily portable, then it becomes the main focus and one of the most relevant things to compare and produce.

      That is what this was about. Now you can rest easy.

    • salient1

      If you want to do an apples to apples comparison, it's extremely relevant. Either way, the case was hardly a major component of the price for the futurelooks build, so what the hell is your point?

  • FrankyBoy1234

    checking prices at least in the EU you get away waaaay cheaper with components than a mac pro (as apple has the bad habit of replacing the $ with a € without further conversions)

  • alexp700

    The biggest advantage of the Mac Pro seems to have been missed - it is a core apple product, so will have 1st class drivers and support, from the ground up. For pros this is probably more valuable than any number of discrete components shoved in a box. Look at the way consoles work outperforming more beefy PCs because the code was written to the metal. The argument for Nvidia vs ATI is irrelevant on Mac as they produce the drivers. Running windows as a target is probably silly though. Unfortunately Apple are running rings around the Frankenstein PC manufacturers and their cost cutting ways. Dell/Lenovo/Hp etc have been so busy undercutting themselves they are now left with no credible market in the high end, as they each compete to throw together another 400 pound box of plastic, running a directionless windows operating system. The PC is a causalty of the commons.


    • Natalia

      There is also the fact that with AppleCare, if something fails, you get very good support for all the components included, which is not the case if you build your own rig unless you pay for additional warranty on each part. There is also the possibility that in the unfortunate event that your computer has an issue, they will replace it for free, which might mean a free upgrade.

    • -hh

      I'd love to agree with you, but my 2012 Mac Pro didn't even include the _option_ for buying an Apple OEM USB3 card, even though every other Mac being sold by Apple had long since been udpated to USB3. AFAIC, if Apple really was treating it as a 'core product', a USB3 option really should have also been an option on the 2010 Mac Pro too...

      • alexp700

        But that's the core (new) nature of Apple - we sell you a product, and it is what it is - no options, no expansion. Even in Pro world. They look to you as a customer for the next product, not a constant drip drip of income, but big hit, whole new system. They have obviously done the sum and said we'll wait until people have to upgrade through lack of choice. Something like no USB 3 (or AC networking in 2012 MacBook Pro, or thunderbolt 2...) is a driver for new business. However they do a pretty good job of ensuring the old hardware is fully functional for its whole lifespan.

        Its amusingly alien to this type of hardware site that plays by PC rules ;-)! Actually discrete components have been more expensive than complete packages for years. You don't buy anything from parts and expect to make a saving in the modern world. Of course if you don't get what you want, its a problem. Looks like that's not the case with the bits Apple have put together.

        • salient1

          Supporting USB 3 would require a motherboard upgrade. Does that seem reasonable to you??

          • -hh

            On the (legacy) Mac Pro, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Just as how Apple used to offer PCIe RAID card, they could have offered an optional PCIe based U3 card.

            As it stands (and as @alexp700 points out), today's Apple wants to only sell disposable ('fire and forget') products when it comes to servicing their customers across all of their product line. True, it dose streamline supply, but it doesn't make for endearing customer service relationships, which means an erosion of the 'faithful' who will stick by your business when you're no longer a mainstream popular (fad) or to continue to provide business eve during economc downturns.

          • salient1

            The don't need to offer a PCIe U3 card as at least one already exists by a third party manufacturer. While I generally agree with your comment about "disposable products", I don't think that's entirely fair for the Mac Pro line.

          • -hh

            Yes, there are 3rd Party USB3 PCIe boards … but if one goes to do the research on which of them (if any) actually are compatible, what one finds is a regular nightmare. Because none of them are Apple OEM, the "It Just Works" paradigm fails to apply, which is frustrating.

            For example, over on MacRumors Forums, there's been many such USB3 discussion threads on the Mac Pro pages…here's the most recent one:

            (Yup, 21 pages and over 63K page views)


      • Gary Deezy

        Its been my experience that by the time Apple ships a hardware product, internally they have already moved on to the next iteration or next new product, and could not care much about what they just sold you. They will only do the minimal security updates and OS enhancements to keep you satisfied.

        I have older Mac Pros around the office that are fine machines, but could be killer if Apple would offer solutions for supporting USB 3, ThunderBolt, Video Card upgrades, or even officially supported SATA RAID cards.

        They have our money, now they are moving on to the next customer. Like it or not, they have been financially very successful at this model.

    • Wihelm Berrocal

      Consoles outperforming gaming PC's? Lol! you must be joking

      • alexp700

        I can buy a PS4 for 350 pounds. Yes this will outperform a PC costing double in games written for it. Over its life span the lead will fall, but seeing how PS3's and Xbox 360's still hold their own 7 years later (mainly in quick and easy access to frame buffer for post processing effects) - because code is tuned to them, in user terms "outperform" is correct for price parity hardware.

        • Wihelm Berrocal

          If you say so...

  • Jetze Schaafsma

    Such delicious butthurt from Apple haters. Now, I don't own Apple hardware, never have, and probably never will; I've always built my own FrankenPCs. The whole Mac vs PC argument, however, is moot; they are different industries, with different target markets, and very different users.

    Car analogy? Ok, then. I'm sure we can mod a Dodge Ram 4x4 to meet the specs of a Porsche 911, and probably at a lot less money, but really, when money is not so much of an object, and you don't intend to go off-roading, upgrading your windshield and what-not anyway, would you not rather just have a Porsche?

    Or how about a fashion analogy. Now hold on, did I say fashion? Yes, an Apple product is a fashion item, damn right. And what's wrong with that? Or do all you people just wear the cheapest, functional-only clothes bought for a nickle and a dime at last-year's wallmart sale? And we're not ever talking about a 10-fold price difference here either!

    Thing is, to most people, a computer is a tool. And a tool should just work like you expect it to out of the box. Do you people realize how little money a few 100 bucks is for a personal computer you'll be using on a daily basis for the next couple of years if it comes with even a slightly better user experience? And for businesses, are you aware of how little money a few thousand dollars per workstation means if there's even a slightly higher chance of failure at a crucial time?

    Anyway, I know most people don't care, and that there's always a few fanbois who will swarm comment threads like these, making the issue look bigger than it actually is, but, really, I think you should just stop trying to judge either industry by the standards of the other.

    • Gary Deezy

      Stop using logic and make your statements based on raw emotion only, please. How else can we keep this silly argument going?

      /snark from a Mac user/

  • Hellscreamgold

    So just buy one of the new Mac pros and install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it. Have a cheaper Windows machine that can do everything the MP can do, and more.

  • Hellscreamgold

    The issue with doing comparisons like this is that you can't really compare directly. If you were to price out each component in the Mac Pro as a single purchase (to the best of your ability),. you would see that the price would be higher than what Apple is selling for too.

    Reason? because Apple is buying hundreds of thousands/millions of each component to put into the system, thus, getting MASSIVE discounts.

    The OP's point isn't valid - had he called up each component manufacturer and asked how much say, 100,000 of each component would cost, I promise you that it would be a LOT cheaper than the cost of buying a single one from an online retailer.

    ONLY THEN would the comparison have any sort of relevance. OP is comparing apples (lol) to oranges - because he's not using the economies of scale. Thus, Apple has an unfair advantage in a comparison as this.

    • John Trumph

      Are you going to purchase 100k of each component yourself? Is that something you would do just for 1 machine? The point was to see if YOU could get one cheaper than Apple sells theirs for, not if you can mass produce and sell them cheaper. You are the one comparing apples to oranges, because what you are comparing to isn't even an option for consumers. People always say that you can build a similar PC cheaper than what apple sells them for. Well, in this case they are probably wrong.

      The answer was no, now stop making excuses about how this is a bad comparison. If you want a machine with similar power, you will pay more and will still be forced to deal with every manufacturer for individual product support, instead of just 1 company. You are not going to go through the whole manufacturing process and pay to make your own.

      • Tom

        Actually, the answer was a big yes. Since you are building the machine. Why would you want to use the same brand Apple is using? You want to use something cheaper and might give you even better performance. Like how it said the NVIDIA instead of AMD. If you look around, there'll be a lot more choice then trying to use the same product. Of course if you build something that any part can change anytime with the exact same product will cost more then something not changeable or soldered in. So, you should build something changeable, cheaper and better at the same time.

        • "Since you are building the machine." What's the cost of your labor? Surely labor is part of the cost of building the Mac Pro. So ... what's your "FREE" time really worth? If you were building this on order for someone else how much would you charge for your time? Will you also provide tech support?

    • shayneo

      Irrelevant. This isnt about if Dell or Asus can build it, its if you or I can. Thee answer is "Not really"

      • Of course you can build it. Build a Cray, if you like and have the money. The point is (if not just Apple fanboy fodder), manufacturers just aren't making a comparable PC, thus the price difference. Maybe people with high demands and lots of disposable income gravitate to Apple? In the interest of fairness, we could figure out the cost of building the PC equivalent of the lowest-end Mac. Another silly comparison that doesn't make one inherently superior in every way to the other.

        • mbadude

          Maybe people with high demands and lots of disposable income gravitate to Apple?

          Yes, yes they do.

    • Shirley Márquez Dúlcey

      I doubt that Apple is buying hundreds of thousands or millions of the components for the new Mac Pro. They aren't going to sell that many of them. It's a high end system for a small number of high end customers.

  • tynitty516

    I still want the Old Mac Pro. I'm waiting for the price of the old style to go down. I have never been burned buying Apple's old products when the price drops significantly. The support for the old hardware is still plentiful.

  • Henrik Vallgren

    What's the FirePro equivalent of a D500? There's no such chip! There's a consumer grade equivalent, the 7870 XT. If the D500 is a consumer grade chip, why not the D300 and the D700? If the D700 is a plain 7970 chip (which supports 6GB RAM), the price of an equivalent PC falls to about half.

    • Proteus777

      They're all consumer grade chips. AMD and. Intel just upcharge massively for driver/App certification on the workstation versions. No real HW differences, although workstation cards are clocked lower, run cooler, and have optional ECC VRAM.

      • Proteus777

        Just to be clear, no real difference on the AMD graphics ASICs. Intel Xeon CPUs do indeed have some noticeable differences and enhancements vs desktop processors.

  • Jeff Ilgen

    This comparison seems to make the assumption that the performance characteristics of Windows 8 and Mac OSX are identical. I can understand the omission, however since the comparison could become extremely involved. In my experience, windows consumes a great deal more resources than OSX (in general). In addition, it's likely that Apple has built in some optimizations for the processor and GPU's that would not be feasible for Windows given the wider range of possible hardware.

    • Proteus777

      More BS. Please go run comparative benchmarks between Win 8.1 and Mavericks, and get a reality check. Try Geekbench for starters.

      • Jeff Ilgen

        First off, drop the childish attitude, it doesn't do much for your credibility. I was suggesting some commentary on the operating systems in the article so that I don't have to go look stuff up. I also don't care which OS performs better, But it does seems fair to take it into consideration.

        I did check out Geekbench and there's plenty of data but not much analysis. Of course, Geekbench isn't about in depth analysis which is fine. However, it would have been nice to see some in the article since the article is indepth analysis.

        I'd also like to see the comparison done by someone who clearly has demonstrated some credibility such as the author of the article.

        • Proteus777

          Sorry Jeff! just tired of all the fanboy nonsense! with folks comparing their experience with obsolete crap like XP, and assuming that modern Windows 8.1 has the same issues. It doesn't. Win 8+ is far more efficient and secure, and compares very nicely to OSX on performance. The numbers are there for all to google. You don't need much analysis to compare numbers on a similar benchmark running on identical hardware. I worked on server performance for a major OEM for years, so I do have some experience here.
          Note that optimization occur at both the OS and driver layer, but I can assure you that Microsoft works very closely with Intel, AMD, and other key OEMs. But, to be fair, sure, OSX is always going have a slight edge as it can be tuned out of box for specific hardware, where MS tuning would need to be done after purchase. It's a very slight edge though, and offset by the fact that Windows is designed out of box to scale much higher than OSX, up to 256 cores, with support for over 640 cores and 4TB ram.

          • Jeff Ilgen

            I hear ya. The fanboy crap is pretty annoying. I try to keep my personal preferences out of these sorts of discussions. Sorry if I came across that way. Thanks for the additional input that's exactly the sort of thing that I had in mind in terms of the differences in OS comparison.

          • nicknormal


          • Madd the Sane

            Only 640 cores? With how processors are developing, I wouldn't be surprised if a multi-threaded (3 or more threads) Intel-based CPU has been tossed around internally at both AMD and Intel.

            And yes, other CPUs do have multi-thread support like that. They just weren't popular due to whatever reason, most likely due to them being before their time.

  • thesaj you compared ALL those components at the jacked up "retail" prices? To a machine built at wholesale? I'm wagering if you do the costs at wholesale the PC wins, let's say 0.7 the cost. You get an $8,000 machine, saving you $1,500 over the Mac.

    • Mikkel

      And where do you find this machine? BTW: Last time (2010) when Apple came with a new MacPro, their price/performance were better than HP, DELL and any DIY alternative. This is not news, it's their pricing strategy in this segment, and has remaind so for at least a decade.

  • Daryl Rybotycki

    Cant read every post during lunch break, but Swap out the Video cards for a nice GTX 780 ti or two for very decent performance at half the video cost costs...

    And seriously, buying a computer in Parts vs assembled by a manufacturer is ALWAYS more expensive; you know that, right?

    • EliteGeek

      Excellent point. But remember how we got here-- Apple hasn't updated it's MacPro line for a long time; and it will likely be the design Apple uses for a decade.

      I read another review, that stated the Adobe Suite isn't optimized for the new Intel hardware, or GPU technology. If your buying this computer, your likely working with video or movie software. So, with the lack of software applications, that review actually recommended last year's Mac Pro for a few reasons-

      They didn't likethe way the cables and wires come out of the Mac Pro; it makes a desk messy, and your going to have to turn it around all the time to connect external drives with video on them, or a camera. Also, the reviewed Mac didn't have DVD or BluRay drive, (useful for a finished product). Nor did it have a bluetooth keyboard, or speakers. These were all extra.

      The reviewers said it was best to get last year's model, save thousands, place it securely under under a desk or in a rack. With an older macpro, you DO have the internal expandability for a DVD or BluRay drive, which is external on the Trash Can Machine. The review said you can get just as much work done, have an expandable mac, and also save thousands.

      So, it was a real disappointment because the new Mac doesn't have applications that would take full advantage of the hardware. (Translated: Get ready to pay more to upgrade or buy new software!)

      Because HP or Dell haven't had serious inquiries from customers for these types of specs, the prices were retail prices. I wonder what a similarly-spec'ed Dell machine would cost...

      Finally, it's very likely the components Apple used will come down in price; because Apple is likely buying all the AMD chips. But if you build one yourself, I would use PriceWatch for finding the best components prices.

    • Mikkel

      GTX780 are not workstation class. Their OpenCL performance and precision floating point performance are poor, so are the drivers for serious work in Maya and other high-end software.

      • Build-IT-Right

        It depends on what software you're using. For painting and texturing, you'll want to go with the fastest consumer grade card you can find which is a GTX780 TI.

        As for OpenCL, AMD's support for it has been virtually non-existent for years so you'll definitely want to go with Nvidia.

        • Mikkel

          The foundry looks upon the MacPro as the best computer for Mari. However, I think you confuse OpenCL with CUDA. CUDA is a propritary nVidia system, and OpenCL is an open architecture. OpenCL on the nVidia cards are not well implemented.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Not at all.

            OpenCL on AMD has been very poor for ages now which a simple google search will confirm.

            OpenCL on Nvidia in comparison to AMD is a 100x faster, quite literally, since their drivers support true function calls.

          • Build-IT-Right

            "The foundry looks upon the MacPro as the best computer for Mari. "

            That easily amounts to nothing more than marketing hype which Apple payed them to say since they do spend billions in marketing over R&D

            I mean afterall, manufactured workstations (whether it's Apple, Boxx, Dell, or what have you) are designed for the general audience and not specific software titles.

          • Mikkel

            Why do you think that a workstation build for double GPUs and with 12GB of video-memory by the most powerful workstations graphic cards on the marked won't be an exceptional computer for a high resolution texture painter? Do you think Apple needs to bribe the Mari developers to make them excited about such a turnkey system?

          • Build-IT-Right

            Why do you think that a workstation build for double GPUs and with 12GB of video-memory by the most powerful workstations graphic cards on the marked won't be an exceptional computer for a high resolution texture painter?

            Because Mari only supports one GPU.

          • Mikkel

            "We really enjoyed working with AMD to maximize MARI’s performance on the new Mac Pro. We've seen some of the best performance out of the box from MARI with the dual FirePro GPUs in the Mac Pro," said Jack Greasley, MARI Product Manager at The Foundry.

            We currently only have one GPU on our Mari system, but it seems like either the newest version or a version in their development pipeline use both.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Also, having more vram doesn't equate to better performance. In fact, you'll get better performance by dedicating an entire SSD as a scratch disk.

            The same goes for Photoshop.

          • Mikkel

            The actual shaded textures rendered on screen can't be on the scratch disk, they need to be in the video memory.

          • Build-IT-Right

            What is it obvious day?

            What do you think happens when you hide layers? They go to the scratch disk...You would be a fool to have them all exposed while painting.

            Dude, you have no idea what you're talking about do you?

          • Mikkel

            A layer you hide can be buffered in the video memory, so you don't have to reload it to video memory from the scratch disk later. To have a larger buffer pool on you graphics card is not a bad thing for a texture painter.

            If you are working in high resolutions (both screen and texture), having limited video memory can severely hamper performance. Using 4k monitors and building content for 4k projections demands a lot of video memory.

          • Build-IT-Right

            You wouldn't use multiple monitors while painting let alone a 4k monitor.

            Do you even own a Cintiq?

          • Mikkel

            I've not mentioned multiple monitors, where do you get that idea from? With the new MacPro, you'll be damn sure that people will move to paint on 4k monitors.

            Cintiq, why would I use that for 3d painting in Mari? It's great for 2d painting though.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Omg dude, you are so full of it...

            Please ban this shill admins.

    • Build-IT-Right

      "And seriously, buying a computer in Parts vs assembled by a manufacturer is ALWAYS more expensive; you know that, right?"

      That is just flat out FALSE since buying in parts not only give you more flexibility but you can buy exactly what's needed in order to make the most use of which ever software title you are building it for since they all have their own hardware requirements.

      All in all, you will 'ALWAYS' end up spending more and getting 'LESS' when purchasing a manufactured workstation.

  • Wendell Anderson

    Stephen Fung needed to remind the Windows centric readers once again when quoting the final tab on the Windows 8.1 unit that "supposedly" competes with the new Apple Mac Pro, that (a) the Windows unit "only has” 32GB RAM that is "not" ECC RAM, (b) that he has no idea of the BUS I/O on the Apple for high performance and therefore could not make a "monetary" comparison on any competitive hardware, (c) has not stated whether the Windows unit is anywhere near as "whisper quiet" as Mac in reports by several Mac Pro evaluators, and (d) has not said whether the ASUS or other choice Windows unit has qty (2) gigabit ethernet adapters, an HDMI-ultraHD connector, or supports
    qty (3) 4K displays, and lastly (e) (from my reading) - the "software" factor - where Mac OS X s "true" 64bit operating system with CRC integrity checking File system as compared to Windows 8 professional that is not true (complete) 64bit OS with outdated NTFS file system nd absolute requirement for significant investment in malware protection software purchase and subscription services, versus the Apple Mac Pro that is shipped (included) with high end graphics/Multimedia software that would be the equivalent of approximate $500 - $600 ollars additional minimum costs on Windows unit, and the Mac has no need for bloatware malware software essential on the Windows unit.

    To clarify my OS software comments, Oracle, IBM, Cisco and several others of the largest technology companies in USA and Internationally, have shown repeatedly in last four to five years that Windows 64bit OS (desktop and server) requires several additional libraries and applications to run IBM DB2, Oracle 11g 64bit RDBMS, and the NTFS file system is totally inadequate (needs frequent defragging and no CRC) to support clustering, Cloud computing, high end graphics manipulations and supercomputing. Windows ResFS, implemented "only" in Windows Server 2012 is substantially better than NTFS but still inferior to the ZFS, btrfs, XFS and even HFS+ and other robust file systems. Overall the comparison is deceitful in arriving at a "similar" $dollar value for the Windows unit, which in reality is approximately 1/3 the computing specifications/ performance of the Apple unit, probably with much less component guarantee. A spec/performance to spec/performance comparison would have been more honest.

    • Proteus777

      Nonsense. 2009 called, and they want their misconceptions about Windows vs *nix back! With 2012/Win 8, NTFS has been significant enhanced, ReFs support was added, Storage Spaces was added. All very competitive. If you want a TRUE cluster file system, you can always buy GPFS, which runs on Windows and blows the doors off anything you mentioned above. Defragging? Please! You've heard of SSDs? TRIM? Just goes to show how stuck in the past you are. The only point you mention with any merit is ECC ram..yes, not available on the ASUS matx board, but their regular size workstation board supports it just fine. What Apple did accomplish here is a magnificent feat of hardware engineering, fitting about 750w of TDP into such a small, and quiet form factor. THAT is truly impressive. Mavericks? Meh...

      • Wendell Anderson

        Proteus77 is obviously technically ignorant. ResFS is a completely different OS from Win8, and what is meaning of "adding ResFS support"?". Win8 still required bloated AntiMalware protection, and still does not have CRC

        NTFS (enhanced?), GPFS lack most of the high end functionality of ZFS and other file systems mentioned, in every area of technology critical to data mining, clustering and all the latest networking capabilities of entities like NASDAQ and other Stock Exchanges, Super computers, Search engines, etc.

        Windows OS FAILED Netflix tests for their networking appliances for streaming millions of movies to customers each week. It failed security testing for Verisign certificate authentication protection. It failed evaluations for NASA Mars rover mission tests, and failed the early and all subsequent testing for use in Large Hadron Collider tests at CERN in Switzerland, and failed in tests for consideration for use IBM Watson Supercomputer. I would be pleased to provide dozens more stories of Windows failure and weaknesses from statements by Oracle, Cisco, Amazon, NASDAQ and every other Stock Exchange on this planet. How much pain of "reality" can you accept to stop you from fabricating nonsence?

        Your blind loyalty to Microsoft does not change facts on the ground. Windows has never been competitive technically or functionally to the *NIX based OS - UNIX, Linux and BSD UNIX-likes. Period. Full Stop. no more crap.

        • Proteus777

          Not even sure where to begin with such blatant nonsense. Let's take it from the top, shall we?
          ReFS is a file system, included in Windows Server 2012 and above. Windows Server 2012 is nothing more than the server sku of Win 8. Same kernel, same features. In fact, it's very simple to run all your Win 8 desktop apps on WS2012, and many high end workstation users do exactly that.
          Now, regarding capabilities? A large number of Fortune 50 companies use Windows Server for critical enterprise workloads. Is it the ideal OS for cloud? No, but that's why Microsoft introduced Azure, which is currently running #2 or #3 in the cloud industry. Supercomputers? Funny you mention that. In a previous job, I personally architected and deployed a number of Windows HPC clusters, including 3 that made it to the TOP 500 list. It's not popular, due to cost, but the OS is certainly capable. The other examples you mention? "Mars rover testing", CERN? Both require totally different OSs and requirements. They're not exactly running OSX or Ubuntu now, are they. IBM Watson uses Power 7 processors, not x86, thus your argument is invalid. Those can ONLY run AIX or PowerLinux

          • InsGadget


  • Nikolay Ivanov

    The cost of the PC system is terribly overestimated because:

    How is AMD FirePro W9000 the closest match to Mac PRO video cards? According to AMD specs FirePro has 6GB of RAM and delivers 4TFLOPs whereas the more expensive Mac PRO card has 4GB of RAM and delivers 2.2 TFLOPs. Even FirePro W7000 is doing better than Apple with 4GB and 2.4 TFLOPs. And FirePro W7000 costs $700.

    • Yep

      Exactly. This article is either written with extreme ignorance or extreme bias. He should have absolutely used AMD w7000's and this PC would have been about $5k cheaper, making the overall PC only cost about $6k, which is about $3k less than the Mac Pro version. Nice try though.

      • das

        he should of matched real performance benchmarks to use the components that match the performances or close enough to the mac performance ,a single GTX 780 beats a d300 ( w7000 ) for example and costs a lot less ,there is no special drivers to make it render videos faster ,its just marketing nonsense and an excuse for apple to " boast " when they get the year old GPU chipsets much cheaper due to sharing a single heatsink design in the mac case ,plus buying in bulk

        • Mikkel


          • das

            yes i can ,weird how even an alienware laptop with a gaming GPU often beat a mac pro desktop in performance isnt it ? 🙂

          • Mikkel

            derp... a gaming GPU is optimised for games, not calculations. A notable exception being the GTX580 that is still faster than a GTX780 and almost double as fast as the GTX680 in CUDA calculations in the software I most often use. However, the D700 is comparable to a Quadro version of Titan. Further, a 2010 Mac Pro might be slower than a modern high-performance laptop in SOME single core operations, but then you are only using 1/12 of it's CPU power. I upgraded my 8-core 2010 to a 12-core 3.33 GHz (same motherboard), paired with 96GB of ram (tri-channel) and a GTX580. In raw calculations it's probably 2-4 times faster than the Alienware system you mention. And maybe even more importantly, a stable horse.

          • das

            but u went on about updating ,im on about at the time ,there is always a time when a cheaper PC or even laptop beats the top end mac pros ,such as that YouTube apple fan " apple soldier/emeek " used to get pwnd all the time when people use their gaming PC's to outpower his 8 core mac

          • Mikkel

            The 8-core model was slower than the 6-core model for tasks not multi-threaded. I could have decided not to mention upgrading, but pc-people think it's not possible, however, Apple also sold stock 12-core version of the Mac Pro, not upgraded from another model, so I'm not sure what your point is...

          • das

            my point is people overhyped the power of macs when cheaper PCs do the same

          • Mikkel

            How are you going to build a cheaper PC with 12 cores and with the same OpenCL power and memory bandwith as this one (nMB)? Please, show me and I could save some bucks.

          • das

            u go to a shop buy the parts and built it ,DERP

          • Joseph

            okay, show us what parts and their price!

          • das

            Xeon E5-2697v2 £1864
            Asus P9X79 £227
            GTX 780Ti £562 x2
            Corsair 64GB DDR3 2133 MHz £707
            Crucial M500 960GB £396 x2
            CASE + PSU £300
            windoze £70
            a saving of over £2500

          • das

            Xeon E5-2697v2 £1864
            Asus P9X79 £227
            GTX 780Ti £562 x2
            Corsair 64GB DDR3 2133 MHz £707
            Crucial M500 960GB £396 x2
            CASE + SPU £300
            windoze £70

          • das

            or to be cheaper a 7970 is around £180 cheaper and outperforms a w9000 in openCL benchmarks !!! lolz so yh ,gaming card or not ,does not matter ,memory bandwidth and cores matter ,and w9000 is OLD tech and benchmarks shows it ,apple just basically done a deal with AMD to shift last years hardware on the cheap also by skipping down on parts such as scrapping some of the memory modules and heatsink parts

          • Joseph

            The 7970 is a double GPU card, it makes a lot of extra heat and uses much more power, just like a 690 compared to Titan. Further, it's only slightly faster than a W9000 at some tasks. The W9000 has 6 GB of ram and will perform significantly faster when working on high resolution cinema-grade video. Being a workstation card it will also have drivers written in another way, as you can see from Quadro benchmarks, they perform almost double and triple as fast as their gaming siblings in CAD and 3D software. Despite what you seems to believe, the W9000 is still AMDs top model card.

          • das

            now youre just being selective
            and youre concerned about heat ? at least a PROPER PC case exhausts heat out the case ! the mac pro is a gimmicky design and reviewers say the top is like a jet engine blowing out extreme heat wont be long beofe the macs overheat and warp and the soldering fucks up like the xboxes did

          • Joseph

            Are you an engineer with experience of hardware design - since you speak with such knowledge, or are you just another gamer and masturbator who by mistake took the wrong door and ended up reading this article?

            BTW: Learn to read, or at what absurd review did you find?

          • das

            i go by numbers 🙂 youre all over this forum lol ,butthurt apple fanboy ,the mac pro is badly designed and looks like a bin 😀

          • Joseph

            you don't know how to read numbers.

          • das

            i seen many benchmarks that shows a gtx 780ti thrashing a w9000 and the d700 in the mac isnt even a w9000 ANYWAY ! thats numbers for ya ,only difference is that workstation cards run slower to keep cooler ,apples version is obviously underclocked more to stop the ugly POS from overheating LMAO

          • Joseph

            ...thrashing the W9000 in Masturbation Simulator 2014? Come on.

          • das

            thrashing in the likes of solidworks ,openCL, openGL ,3dmax ,adobe premier ,avid

          • Joseph

            show it... btw. Adobe Premier??? Adobe Premiere is CUDA only at this point, and Avid? Well they are horrible late to the table not using GPU acceleration at all. just stop it now, it's quite clear that your just a nice kid with absolutely no idea about workstations or professional works flows. but you seem interested in learning though, thats a good thing, bye

          • das

            PC wins ,apple always overpriced 🙂 lol even my gtx 670 beats a w9000 in many 3d rendering and physics simulation applications

          • Joseph


          • das

            cuda 🙂

          • das

            then u just proved the mac pro isnt all that and lacks features 😀 😀 😀 😀 ,sure mac pro might be ok for a TINY limited market of people that ONLY use apps that make good use of AMD drivers and hardware ,but for the more varied workstation user ,the macs too limited and pathetic 🙂 wow id even rather use HP or Dell ! fk me even rather have a steam machine and link them together for farming and itll be better performance to cost ratio

          • Joseph

            I don't understand why I continue, but since you clearly know nothing about this, it's perhaps appreciated that i throw some knowledge in your direction.
            "TINY limited market of people that ONLY use apps that make good use of AMD drivers and hardware..."

            The reason to go with AMD for Apple is political. Apple does it to break the dependence on the proprietary nVidia CUDA standard. ALL the software houses are forced to implement OpenCL to stay competitive, and they do, Adobe has already released OpenCL betas, and the whole landscape shows the same thing.

            As a PC wanker, you should be glad that Apple is doing this, it will make it easier for AMD to compete, pushing performance up and prices down for both nVidia and AMD.

          • das

            down ? lol its AMD selling apple all their leftover processors since they are based off 2 year old tech ,people are just idiots buying them in the w9000 card form ,if YOU l ike the mac pro ,then good for you ,but id prefer a REAL workstation

          • Joseph

            senseless idiot.

          • das

            autocad 2013
            gtx 680: 1535
            w9000: 1386
            open CL folding@home
            gtx 580 :22.50
            w9000 : 21.77

            and dont forget ,the mac pro does not use a w9000 ,its a modified cheaper version based off it ,like 85% of its flops

          • Joseph

            trashing? you've found some exceptions, there are always exceptions.

            "and dont forget ,the mac pro does not use a w9000 ,its a modified cheaper version based off it ,like 85% of its flops"

            first, you know nothing about that, the only thing you know, that also the rest of us know is that AMD specs it at 4.0 TFLOPs, or more precisely:

            4.0 TFLOPs single precision and 1.0 TFLOP double precision floating point performance

            ...and Apple basically says 3.5 TFLOPs. Maybe it's a median between the numbers based on real-world scenarios, conservative specification or just a slight down clock to make the Mac Pro more silent. Nobody knows yet. Bye

          • das

            yes they do ,the d700 is about 3.7tflops ,so its not even a w9000 ,so cant say " build me a PC of same spec " when there is no d700 on the market lol ,so im allowed to use any cards i like that matches power regardless if its gaming or workstation

          • Joseph

            the d700 is the w9000.

            where did you find that it performs at 3.7tflops in practice, and what are the actual number for the w9000 on pc (not by AMD but actual tests)?

            use what ever card you like, but a 780 lacks functionality and has only 3gb of vram, the k5000 however is a good match, but it has only 4gb. then you have the k6000, quite a machine, but it costs the same as a MacPro...

          • das

            but k6000 has cuda and so is better 🙂

          • Joseph

            butthurt on behalf of apple after getting overwhelming praise by every tech journalist and most power users on earth? i'm just surprised by all these idiots who think they know something, when in fact they don't have a clue about anything, in this case hardware and what a workstation is. damned fools. society has become too benign when every idiot, even if they are ignorant masturbators, believe they have the same right to raise their voice. yes, I'm butthurt - on behalf of society and human stupidity. somebody needs to clean up.

            btw. may you try to put together a half decent machine cheaper than the MacPro with specs in the same ballpark, as you claimed you could earlier?

          • das

            but i did and for £2500 cheaper 🙂

          • Joseph

            ...then we have a quite different idea about what the same ballpark is.

            However, i think you calculated tax on the MacPro, and not for your shitty homemade computer, as i turns out more expensive than the MacPro using NewEgg.

            It's not only a shitty motherboard not supporting the XEON, with gamer GPUs, but it's also more expensive. Great job!

          • das

            for a start im not american ,using GBP made that obvious ,all VAT is added by law ,xeons do work in 2011 socket motherboards with BIOS updates and that shitty homemade PC is £2500 cheaper than the useless mac 🙂

          • Joseph

            well, then you've done something wrong (you can't configure 3GB GPUs against 6GB, you don't buy memory from Apple,HP, Dell,etc), both in my home country and in the US your shitty and noisy set-up (the MB does not support the Xeon fully, you lack features all over the place, and GPUperformance, etc, etc.), is not cheaper than the MacPro, and even if it would cost one quarter, it would still be a shitty alternative in a professional setting... bye.

          • das

            lol YOU RAGE QUIT , ahahha ,but wait ,lack features? er ,the ugly overpriced mac lacks a optical drive ( still no bluray LOOL no ones gonna use that for video editing without the definite storage medium for movies being supported ) ,no where to put a hard drive or extra drives whatsoever !!! the thing looks like itll overheat ,it only has a 450watt power supply lol ,i wonder how many will fail 🙂 everytime a new mac pro comes out ,a windows PC always outperforms it !

          • Joseph

            Well, even with the old P9X79 that does not fully support Xeon (would be fun to read how it performs, as I'm curious), and without ECC ram. You are above the price level of the 12-core MacPro with D700. Add a real Xeon motherboard, Thunderbolt and workstation class GPU's (the W9000 or K5000), and your price will increase dramatically.

      • Mikkel

        Sorry, you are misinformed, the W9000 is the D700 GPU, not the W7000. Nice try though...

    • Christian Heidarson

      The graphics cards used in this comparison are D700s (not the D500 that you are quoting in your comment), which have exactly the same specs as the W9000. Apple reports 3.5 TFLOPS, which is less than the 4.0 TFLOPS that ATI reports for W9000, likely a hit Apple had to take for the form factor.

    • What do you estimate the cost would be if you had to hire someone to research and build the PC equivalent? What's the costs of "FREE" time?

    • Mikkel

      Derp. The W9000 is the D700. Derp.

    • JJFFEE

      >How is AMD FirePro W9000 the closest match to Mac PRO video cards? According to AMD specs FirePro has 6GB of RAM and delivers 4TFLOPs whereas the more expensive Mac PRO card has 4GB of RAM and delivers 2.2 TFLOPs. Even FirePro W7000 is doing better than Apple with 4GB and 2.4 TFLOPs. And FirePro W7000 costs $700.

      Additionally the W9000 uses ECC ram and the D700 uses regular ram. The D700 is clearly an underclocked 7970/280x

  • jbelkin

    Also note, a mac Pro can run all the major OSes concurrently or boot into one.

  • zincsaucier

    An important thing to remember is that the Mac Pro is meant for businesses. For many people here, researching and shopping for components and building a pc is a hobby, so they don't mind spending time on it. For companies, time is money. Reliability is also really important, since a broken pc not only means you have to research and fix broken components, but you're also not making any money. So you want machines that are well tested and have good technical support.

    Companies love saving money and I have yet to see one that built their own pc's and I don't think there are many of them.

    • das

      "Reliability is also really important "
      thats why i wouldnt buy anything from apple , just look at the mess with the imac lines with display problems , ican build a better spec machine for the same RRP of the baseline mac pro ,with 2x GTX 780s ( even a single one outperforms a d300 )
      and with 16gb of RAM not 12 and with an extra terabyte HDD added

      • zincsaucier

        And there are never problems with home build computers? Apple is ordering hardware from the same manufactures you are buying from. You run the same risk of hardware defects as Apple.

        But with Apple you have warranty and technical support not only on the hardware, but also the OS. If there are problems with your home build computer, you can figure out everything yourself. Which is fine if fiddling with computers is your hobby and you consider your time to be free, but it doesn't work that way at a company.

        • das

          home built machines have far superior warranty ,my PC components often range between 3 year and lifetime warranty.
          and no ,apple is NOT ordering same hardware from same factorys as me ,a gigabye GPU and motherboard im using is NOT made by foxconn that apple most probably uses ,and apple isnt the only company to buy a complete system from either, scan 3xs systems sell systems that rape the performance of the mac pro for the same price

          • zincsaucier

            But you still have to identify the problem. Is it a driver problem, a software problem, a hardware problem? Is it your motherboard, cpu, gpu, psu, memory, hdd? How much would it cost to hire someone to figure this out?

          • das

            the same cost itll cost if it was a mac ...

    • NotAChance

      Evidently you have never really been involved with implementing Apple solutions. I've spent the last 15 years as an IT manager (across two seperate companies) and, due to experience, have always advised against Apple products... whenever that advice has been ignored by the senior management (there is always one who wants a 'shiny' toy) it has ended up costing far more in support time and grief than an equivalent PC (and that's not user support). The Mac 'server' we have failed within seven months and it took Apple over a week to get it back in service. I've got fifteen Windows-based servers (and a couple of Linux-based), some of which have been reliably working for the last seven or eight years with minimal need for downtime (the odd few minutes for a RAM upgrade maybe).

      That said, nothing beats my old Unix servers... but that's a different story.

      Apple products are now consumer devices for those that wish to have a certain image. They haven't really been a contender since the Apple II.

      • It seems the problem here is that you have very little experience with Macs and are using your lack of knowledge as a justification to NOT recommend them.

        "The Mac 'server' we have failed within seven months and it took Apple over a week to get it back in service"

        Why didn't you do the repair yourself? You said, you "spent the last 15 years as an IT manager".

      • Mikkel

        I have the opposite experience. We run a half and half windows boxes and Macs, the Macs are more reliable and integrate extremely well with out Linux servers using Netatalk, with automated back-up systems and integrated Apple workflows. Since the last piece of windows exclusive software we licence has got an OS X port, we'll probably be throwing out the Windows-boxes (replacing them with the old MacPro's, when we get the new ones delivered), due to reability and workflow...

  • Shirley Márquez Dúlcey

    Matching the small will be difficult. DIY is all about flexibility, and flexibility means room in the case. Miniaturization means purpose-built parts and that's not going to happen for DIYers.

    If I were doing this article I would have sacrificed the small form factor thing and instead gone for a better match with the other specifications. I would have used a full size ATX motherboard that takes ECC memory, has Thunderbolt ports, and has enough slots so a PCIe SSD could be installed.

    • Then it would not have been a similar to similar comparison.

      • Shirley Márquez Dúlcey

        Then it would have been a DIFFERENT similar to similar comparison - similar technical specs rather than similar size. It would have been one that I would have been more interested in seeing.

        • Transmaniacon

          Agreed, to allow people to choose a smaller form factor computer at a higher cost, or the cheaper PC version with equal/better performance.

  • Proteus777

    Any confirmation that the Rampage IV Gene mobo actually supports the Xeon IvB? My understanding is it doesn't...

  • jacalder

    A lot of post production companies and video editors are hoarding the old Mac Pros while they can get them. The new one might be a 'bargain' but companies tend to stick with what works and they can fix on their own.

  • Milos Paripovic

    You math seams OK, but you can build more powerful PC workstation for less. Being a 3d artist this is even weak! My 2 XEON
    CPU workstation has total 16 cores, 3 years ago did not cost that much
    and is more powerful than this. Today I believe you can have 32 core
    workstations from BOXX for just a bit more $$. So, professionals want
    more than this, want upgrade-ability, want to have 6+ drive RAID to fit
    inside, and this it just not it. Professionals do not care about the size of the workstation but the power.

    • Mikkel

      The new MacPro is not perfect for rendering, but if you have a farm like me, then this is perfect for running Mari, Nuke, Lightwave and Maya. The foundry went as far as to say the new Mac Pro is a perfect turnkey solution for Mari...

      • Milosp

        It might be good for those, I don't know tech requirements your software but being a 3ds max user for 13 years I could never switch for several reasons:
        1. OSX does not run MAX,
        2. Every 3d software I used ran better with DirectX instead of OpenGL,
        3. CUDA realtime rendering is not available on MacPro (Love VRay RT),
        4. Other software uses CUDA to improve perfomance and I also prefer Quadro GPUs

        • Mikkel

          True, Max is a Windows program only, but I've never liked 3dsmax anyways, I'm more into Maya, Modo and LightWave. DirectX did not used to be a professional API, quite the conterary, so I've never used it as one either. And not many 3d programs offer DirectX support, but there is no reason for it working better than OpenGL. CUDA is no longer available on the 2013 MacPro, but on my current MacPro I use CUDA. Apple moving away from propritary CUDA will result in most apps moving to OpenCL. This can be benificary for all of us, as it will drive competition between AMD and nVidia in the workstation GPU segment. Currently, the W9000/D700 are the best performing workstation GPUs available. The OpenCL implementation on the nVidia cards are currently quite poor, so a lot of OpenCL based software will run significantly faster on the AMD cards.

  • David Rough

    The ROG board is not a good choice for this comparison and doesn't support Xeon processor. Instead the Asrock Extreme 4-M would be a better choice for the E5 and ECC RAM support....

    • Totally agree. That was my first choice. But couldn't find anywhere to buy it. All parts needed to be available for anyone to buy today.

      • dolkensp

        Regardless, the board you chose doesn't support TRIM on raided SSDs, meaning your raided SSD array is a waste.

        You could install hacked intel firmware to support it, but there goes your reliability.

        I'm still waiting for intel to release an official firmware update for the 2011 chipset so my machine can utilise it's multiple SSDs in raid.

        Also, I wouldn't bother with this review just yet, as like you said, no TB2, and no official support lists for the new Xeons that the macs will be using. By the time the Xeons hit the market, I'm sure there'll be much cheaper MOBOs on the market than a ROG model, hopefully with proper RAID support this time!

  • The Reign

    Stupid Article. You DONT have to pay $2700 for a CPU to get the same Power. Nor do you have to pay $7000 for the GPU's. I've built PC's that would match this Piece of Crap pound for pound for less than $1500. This article was obviously and undeniably written by an Apple Fanboy.

    • Alex


    • Mikkel

      Oh boy, you really don't understand what a professional workstation is. Xeon and workstation-class GPU's are a must. For $1500 you can get a nice gaming computer, not a professional workstation.

  • John Doe

    with $9600 anyone can build a real DIY workstation that's stronger than this iTrash pro.. (with 2 Xeon and firepro/quadro cards), and for professional, they would prefer BIGGER case for upgrading in the future, such adding multiple GPUs, 6+ RAID, other expansion cards, etc. The writer of this article either clueless or apple worshipper, if I were editor for this site, I would replace this article writer for sure

  • Daniel DeMerchant

    As a guy that never used an off-the-shelf PC, and never owned a Mac, you would need to do some real work and spend some cash to match the value in the Mac Pro 2013 (wish that the gave it a new name as it's confusing with last years model). One of the biggest pieces of work you would need to handle is the PCIe flash drive bandwidth. You would have to have four SSDs in RAID 0, and that may not even match the benchmarks in real world tests depending on how the setup was optimized. You really would have to wait for a faster (future) drive model running SATA 3.2 interface, which is currently not available. The base Xeon processors in the Mac can be beat on performance for sure with a high-end i7, but if you wanted to use the ECC memory and Xeon processors, your motherboard selection is quite limited (SuperMicro, Asus, perhaps Gigabyte if you can find one) and Xeons are not cheap. There is nothing faster right now than the high end Xeons if you spend the cash on them in the Mac. USB 3.0 is pretty sweet, but Thunderbolt 2 smokes it and carries other types of information. Thunderbolt 2 is not available in a PC. Memory is on par with high end PC memory. have to spend some bucks on that in the PC setup to best what is in the Mac pro, even though the software is not yet optimized to use the video on the Mac. At $2999 for the base model Mac, you are actually looking a bargain at this current point in time, and until PCs catch up for the moment (and they will quickly) this Mac is unrivaled in a lot of areas and will last a few years on the desk. The problems that I see with it are 1. Obviously limited internal expansion, not "pro" to me. What is with the trash can setup, I guess it makes sense heat-wise. 2. The thing is so small and only weighs 11 lbs, it's easy to swipe one off of your desk no problem...theft! They should have put a lock connection on it. My current machines are in rack and it takes some time to unscrew and unlock everything in the rack. 3. Really sucks that I would have a bunch of cords going everywhere to external devices that are probably going to be square in shape, like a RAID array. I just don't trust a bunch of memory chips as the only place to put my data no matter how fast they are. What is this going back to Commodore 64 with the wiring? All in all though, anyone that says they can build a better PC for $1500 has rocks in their head and this mix of server grade components in the Mac Pro is a pretty compelling piece of hardware for a high end Windows user despite the problems.

  • Andre Hemker

    Typical mac user nonsense. 1st of all.. why do you spend 360$ for a case and power supply? TOO MUCH. 2. Pc guys know how slow the k5000 is. Even a cheap 660ti is faster, let alone a gtx780. A gtx770 retails for about 300 euros. You can even put four of these bad boys in your system for around 1200 Euros. We use GTX cards with great succes with premiere, after effects, C4D and Avid. The system described here, is nothing anyone would build. It's trying to mimic a Mac Pro. You can build a system with 2 of the latest gen 12 core xeons, 4 gtx770 plus a 1TB Revo drive for less than 9000 dollars. Pros put their mashines in rack enclosures anyways and put them in a maschine room. As a matter of fact, you don't even need all this power. Get a fast i7, with 16gigs of ram, any nvidia gtx and a revo drive. You don't need more. Final high quality rendering is done on CPUs anyways and "Pros" use render networks for this.

    I really get, you guys love macs, yet you have a weird idea of "bang for the buck"

    • Mikkel

      Dude, the K5000 is much faster with precision floating point operations and much, much faster in 3d-programs such as Maya. You need to understand that this is a workstation, not a gaming computer, and that there are good reasons for paying extra for Xeon and workstation-class GPU's, both in terms of reliability and performance... An i7 computer without registrated memory and without a workstation-class GPU is not a contender to a heavy-duty workstation. If you don't understand this, you have no space in this debate.

      • Andre Hemker

        Dude, I'm the IT guy of a mid sized production company and I can tell you, that both the k5000 and the nvidia 6 range use the same kepler gpu. Both are just as precise as the other. If you really want the feel, you even get hacked drivers, which make a quadro out of any gtx. Also, there is no diffrernce between a Xeon, and a equally clocked i7. They use the very same core infrastructures. The only difference at the minute is, that xeons, sometimes have more 3rd level cache, which your software needs to support and the support error corrected ram. We have many many I7s here as well as many xeons. Funny enough, ECC isn't even more reliable in real life. If you think, there is still no place for me in this debate, then buy your freaking ashtray and live your life happily ever after. I won't stop you.

        • Mikkel

          It's almost a decade since nVidia used the same hardware in their Quadro line and you could simply hack the driver. Double precision floating point operations are limited on the gaming cards, this has nothing to do with their precisions, but performance in professional applications that depend on these kinds of calculations. Further, another huge difference between XEONs and equally clocked i7 you neglect, is that the former come in 8,10 and 12 core versions, and can be run on dual and quadruple configurations...

          • Andre Hemker

            The Chip is a kepler chip. Period. The Xeons, can be run in 16 configurations. Yet, not in the new mac. Pc only. Sorry

          • Mikkel

            The chip is the same architecture, but the double precision floating point is hampered in the gamer cards, as well as drivers not specialised for pro applications, and for the past decade a software hack won't fix the problem as the cards are different in hardware. Further, I mentioned the two most notable exceptions to the i7 that you had not mentioned, well aware that one of them does not apply to the Mac pro, that you use it as an argument with a 'sorry' comment is just vulgar and cheap. But wether you like it or not, the new Mac Pro comes in 8 and 12 core configurations, comparing it to an i7 is just foolish and NOT a REAL alternative for a professional workstation. Sorry.

          • Andre Hemker

            KK, do as you please. We do a quite a bit of 4k cinema advertinsing and also television work. On top of that 3d Animation with cinema 4d and after effects. All this is done on our foolish i7 workstations. I really don't care what you think is pro, since we can work on them just fine. If you can justify the extra cost, cool. To me, buying 5 workstations instead of one makes a hell of a lot of economical sense.

          • Joseph

            Sure, it depends on what kind of work you do, and how much you value your time. For an online-suite, I would never even consider an i7 workstation. For After-effect work and 3d, sure. However, I can't stand Windows. So after Mari came to OS X, I'll be throwing out the last one. Or rather bring it home as a gaming console... :p

            The most powerful iMac is also pretty good value, really great screen and turbo-boost i7 to 3.9 GHz and GTX 780 4GB. If you need to replace your screen - a similar spec'ed pc-workstation would be in the same ballpark. If you already have an iMac, you'll probably be able to sell it for 60% or more of the investment cost, so it's really not that bad at all compared to a pc solution, maybe even quite the opposite depending on resell value.

            However, that does not mean that I would not like Apple to come with a decent i7 machine without a screen attached and with replaceable GPU's. Built like the Mac Pro, it would be a killer Steam-box and nice daddy console.

          • Andre Hemker

            We highly value our time 😉 Yet also our money. The 3d and video workstations get passed down to Photoshop suites, as virtual VCR's and so on. Finally they end up in the office. I'm currently writing from an old xw8400 workstation, which now resides at my office desk. This way we keep mashines working for well over 7 to 8 years, I also used OSX for some time. I owned a dual g4 Power Mac, Imac g4, and core2 macbooks. I just wasn't happy with the quality. Power supplies were the biggest issue. The g4PM needed three, the Imac two and the Macbook again three replacents. The macbook completely broke a few days after my Apple care ran out. On top of Apple always beeing resiliant to fix things, I also started hating Apples policies. Especially towards professionals. We use quite a bit of expensive DSP equipment. Apple switched from PCI, to PCI-X, to PCI-E, to Thunderbold (which basically is PCI-E x1). At first we went alsong and replaced the hardware each time Apple made a move, But after a while, we decided to completely switch to PC. We haven't looked back since. Win XP might not be as beautiful to look at, but sure as hell is as stable. Win7 is up to par in every respect. Often better. We still use 10 year old audio DSP cards, in brand new systems. Unthinkable in the mac world. I just don't want to replace working equipment, just because Apple decides to change the world again. Compatibility between different OSX versions is a nightmare, Yet ANY program written for Windows 95 works on Win7. We still use an old taker system designed for Win95 in our audio department. It does what it's supposed to do. Relentlessly and without crashes. Also the networking capabilities are so much better. Windows Server is not a rejected step-child like OSX Server, but a full blown enterprise product. Our Windows domain servers haven't been switched-off in years. Also, for later office use, OSX is useless, since you get no professional software for it. I'm not talking Microsoft Office, but things like EZTitles, SDL Trados and the likes. Versatility is king, At least for me. As far as monitors go.. have a look at the Dell 2711. We just bought a whole bunch used for 300 Euros a pop.

          • Joseph

            "We highly value our time ;)"

            Sure, but you can't compete if you run an online suite on consumer grade hardware. Right now I'm woking long form in realtime on 5k .r3d on a 12 core.

            "I just wasn't happy with the quality. Power supplies were the biggest issue."

            Oh, I've had my fair share of failing pc-hardware. If you were not happy with the quality, you were unlucky, as build quality and quality of components are always top notch on Apple product. I remember two times there was an ongoing issue with a certain hard-drive from Hitachi with more than usual failure rates. They always send mails and offer replacements. After 3 years my MacBooks battery was not as good as it was supposed to under 1000 charges, I had 850 or something, perfectly working laptop. Turned it in and got the battery replaced, new one. It's about 5 years old and my primary laptop, upgraded to SSD and runs even better now (on OS X 10.9), then when it was new.

            "Apple switched from PCI, to PCI-X, to PCI-E, to Thunderbold."

            I don't disagree, they are quite eager to push forward and cutting legacy support, that can be expensive some times...

            "Win7 is up to par in every respect. Often better."

            No it's not, actually far from it. I can go on for several pages, but mention what is most relevant to me. User friendliness, Windows is cluttered and lacks a fundamental logic. Often you need to know how to solve a problem, to solve it. OS X on the other hand is built on a consistent logic. API Layout, the font rendering system in Windows 7 (perhaps 8 as well) sucks, all the text has pixelerated edges and look like shit, actually - their anti-alising on the text, if any, are shit. Further, power management (laptop use), OS X has the most advanced power saving functionality of any operating system. Features, the integration of the different features in OS X is above anything else. iCloud keychain, unified workflows across the operating system and across workstations, laptops and iOS devices. The 'walled-garden'.

            "Compatibility between different OSX versions is a nightmare."

            Never had a problem.

            "Also the networking capabilities are so much better."

            Here we really disagree. NExT was built up from the start to be an interpersonal networked computer. Networking on Windows is a pain in my opinion, a complete pain.

            "Windows Server is not a rejected step-child like OSX Server, but a full blown enterprise product."

            Full blown enterprise license, for sure. OSX Server was also sold like that before. (how many different licences of Windows do they sell, 12 or 13?) - However, we use fully compatible Linux servers running Netatalk, integrating all the advanced file system features of OS X, even TimeMachine automated back-ups. Quite elegant.

            "Also, for later office use, OSX is useless, since you get no professional software for it."

            Ouch. How long has a decent colour grader excited for Windows, 3 or 4 years? Don't come and tell me you won't get decent software for OS X. You get everything from full blown ERP-systems to basic Office tools like OpenOffice, iWork and the over-prized MS-shit.

          • Andre Hemker

            That's in the eye of the beholder. Having worked with both, to me Win is a lot more logical. if PC hardware fails, it's easy to pin the problem and easy and cheap to get a replacement. Apple charged me 400 Euros for a new imac g4 power supply. The second time it broke, i figured, it's a simple 12v supply and soldered a cheap ass 12v power supply onto the logic board. Needless to say, that one still works today. It's a little odd, you always talk about pro applications and then name stuff like open office, or even Iwork. Like I said, I wasn't talking about office packages, but specialized applications like Trados, MemoQ, EzTitles, All play integral parts in our production process. Btw. I just found a Xeon E5 2695v2 for 875 Euros on Ebay. New. A CPU, Apple charges 3k $ just for the upgrade. Since all this is getting religious now. Let's agree to disagree,

          • Joseph

            "It's a little odd, you always talk about pro applications and then name stuff like open office, or even iWork."

            I wrote:
            "You get everything from full blown ERP-systems to basic Office tools like OpenOffice, iWork and the over-prized MS-shit."

            That pretty much covers the administrative side of things, for the rest I've mentioned Nuke, Mari, Maya, LightWave, Resolve, Avid... etc...

            "Let's agree to disagree,"

            For sure, but the basis of this article and discussion was if the new Mac Pro is good value for what it offers, thats pretty much an objective truth. Whether or not you need what it offers is another question.

            Feel free to use what you like, but don't think that people who are spending this amount on a workstation are just misinformed hipsters.

        • AmericanLP

          This machine is targeted towards graphic designers and video editors. This MacPro managed to stream 15x composited 4K videos with layered effects at a whopping 60fps without dropping a single frame!

          Now, I've been in video editing for well over a decade, this has never been heard of on ANY workstation, including our AVID system which sits in 2 full-sized racks and costs close to a million US dollars.

      • Build-IT-Right

        You have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

        The developer of Maya is just one person and has almost exclusively shown support for consumer grade graphics cards over the years. Not only that, he only works with Nvidia cards.

        The only reason you'd use a workstation grade graphics card, in the past, is for cad applications or for rendering.

        Nowadays you have rendering farms which are either gpu or cpu driven.

        • Mikkel

          Maya is not developed by one person, are you on acid?

          On workstation cards and Maya, take a look at this real world test and it's obvious how absurdly misinformed you are:


          • Nailli Gee

            The chief programmer of Maya was just one person for over two decades until he, Bill Kovacs, died in 2006. However, many othertechnologies were integrated into it by others such as Nparticles, Mental Ray, et cetera.

          • Joseph

            Bill Kovacs was the founder of one of the merged companies that developed Maya. Maya has never been the effort of one programmer, not even it's foundations. Absurd.

          • Gabo

            Why everybody concern about the price? In a professional use, the equipment pays for itself with 2 or 3 animation projects.

          • Clinton

            Is or was? So you jerk the truth to make a point?

        • das

          its daft when a AMD 7970 beats its own w9000 in openCL benchmarks lol a £280 card beating a £5000+ card

  • applesux

    typical mac BS. nothing to see here.

  • Darren Bell

    Not really sure how important TB2 is. Our workstations have 4 port broadcom 10Gbit Ethernet cards connected to 8 lane PCIe slots (these are about £200 I think). This provides 4GByte/second transfers using a suitable port trunking switch. These are then connected to the SANs which have countless 10Gbit trunked ports. The maximum bandwidth Lacie managed to get over TB2 connections using massive daisy chained arrays was 1.4GB/sec. The real reason for this setup is that all the storage is in a cooled room. The workstations can be situated up to 100m away using CAT6a (CAT6a is 37m). Workstation to workstation transfers happen blindingly fast.

  • Build-IT-Right

    This entire article is bogus since every software has it's own hardware requirements which ultimately determines what you need to buy in order for your system to reach its maximal potential.

    For example lets take a look at building a system that's made for running Mari:

    AMD FX-9590 Vishera 4.7GHz (8 core)




    CORSAIR Vengeance Pro 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 2400


    ASUS GTX780TI-3GD5 GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB 384-bit GDDR5


    SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW (OS/Mari Drive)


    SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD512BW (Scratch/Cache Disk)


    iStarUSA dAGE420-ES-RED 4 3.5" Drive Bays 4 eSATA (I-Type) Tower 4-bay SATA eSATA Enclosure with 300w (Textures and other resources)


    4x WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB (for external drive bay)


    Cintiq 24HD touch Interactive Pen Display


    Subtotal: $5,889.89

    (Things like the chassis and the PSU is really a matter of personal preferences and other needs that are beyond what's needed for a Mari Workstation. But it will probably add anywhere for $200 to $500 to the subtotal...)

    The thing to bare in mind here is that Mari is made for painting at extremely high resolutions and thus you will want to go with the fastest hardware you can find. However, it can only make use of one GPU and since workstation grade GPUs generally run slower (for the sake of running cool for long rendering times), you'll want to go with consumer grade since those are generally faster.

    As for the Drives:

    - 1 for the OS and Mari

    - 1 for the cache

    - 1 External estata drive bay for all your resources

    Another rule of thumb when building any kind of system is to go with last years' latest-and-greatest hardware as not only will you pay less, but most if not all of the bugs will have been ironed out once they hit their 2nd revision...

    • Build-IT-Right

      FYI, the reason for the external drive bay is that not only do you need the fastest connection possible to all of your textures while painting but you need ample space for all of your personal textures/texture packs which can number in the 10s of thousands.

      Accessing them over a network would make little to no sense...

      • Andre Hemker

        We still use 4GB FC for this purpose and it works great. We also don't have to have several copies, but averything can be stored in a central location and backed-up raids. It also means, that the render clients always and automatically have the latest files to work with. You'd be surprised how much stuff you can push over a network.

        • Build-IT-Right

          That is so hawt!

          How big is your studio?

          I understand the elimination of redundancy within a studio network, but what i'm referring to is for more personal reasons lol...

          Can't give all of your secrets away to the interns! XD

          • Andre Hemker

            15-20 people, depending on amount of projects. We run a Windows domain. So you can precisely say what's allowed for what user. The interns only get access, to what they have to get access to. I still allow Facebook, so they can't complain 😉

    • Newbie

      Hi, my comment maybe off the topic, but, could you give me any advice what kind of graphic card should I buy for $500 budget? Recently one of my best friend asking me for any advice regarding hardware, and she is a freelance 3d artist (3d max). Is R9 290 non-x is a good choice? I think she need the best bang of the buck with just $500.. Thanks!

      • Joseph

        The GTX 580 still performs close to Titan and 780 in most high-end software. Get a used 3gb GTX580 and you'll land under 500 and get close to top notch performance. Btw: I think there is only one manufacturer who made DisplayPorts on the GTX580, so if she needs that, you have to spend some time searching...

        • newbie

          @ joseph
          Thank you for your response Joseph, that's what came first in my mind.. but apparently she prefer with AMD based on her previous (bad) experience she had when working with nVidia 🙁

          • Joseph

            7970 6GB then, or 7970 3GB if she can't afford the 6GB model.

          • newbie

            yes, I think that will be the card for her to pick. Thank you for your advice, Joseph, I really appreciate it 🙂

    • There is no disagreement about hardware being specialized for software. But it in no way invalidates the question posed and the answer given in this article. In fact, it opens discussion on options that only PC DIY can provide. Like hardware being specialized for software.

      It will take software developers quite some time to write/rewrite software to take advantage of the locked down configuration of the new Mac Pro. But for PC DIY, hardware can be specialized for software at any time.

      Purchasing last year's top end is a very sound way to save a lot of money 🙂

  • Build-IT-Right

    You fail to understand that these benchmarks are biased in that it's not measuring the performance of OpenCL in production software.

    Not only that, every software title will show very different results depending on the amount of driver support which greatly differs from version to version whether it's AMD or Nvidia.

    In other words, these benchmarks are meaningless in terms of determining which graphics card/driver is best for whatever software you specialize in.

    • Mikkel

      You fail to understand that I know what I'm talking about, and you don't. The benchmark used in the first link is an OpenCL raytraicing, not an abstract exercise. OpenCL on AMD cards are faster, as their focus lies with OpenCL, whether as nVidia has been pushing their own properitary CUDA-system. I use mostly CUDA myself by the way. Cheers.

      • Build-IT-Right

        Dude, you're flat out full of shit.

        Which production software are you using that utilizes OpenCL and is tailored towards making the most use of AMD drivers/hardware?

        As far as I know, they're are NONE!

        I'm done with you kid.

        • Mikkel

          RedCine-X (OpenCL only), Final Cut X (OpenCL only), Davinci Resolve (OpenCL & CUDA). Work is going on to implement OpenCL in Nuke and the Adobe CC suites. CUDA has been dominating in the pro application segment, giving nVidia almost a monopoly in workstation graphics. Like 3DFX glide in the 90's, Apples push for AMD and OpenCL will be good for PC and Mac users. BTW: I've never said that OpenCL will be faster than CUDA, I've said that AMD's perform better in OpenCL than the nVidia cards.

          • Build-IT-Right

            I'm not even talking about CUDA so I have no idea why you keep bring it up?

            I'm talking about the performance of OpenCL using Nvidia and AMD drivers in production software.


            RedCine-X only recently added OpenCL support yet they've stated that they have gained better perfromance from CUDA then from OpenCL which leads me to believe that they'll continue on the path of showing more support for Nvidia which in turn means OpenCL will perform on Nvidia using their software as so many others have done.

            Final Cut X has been proven to run faster on Nvidia.

            The bottom line is that AMD fell behind in supporting OpenCL for production software and I can sit here all day and prove it to you.

            However, I would LOVE to see AMD show more love for OpenCL because I am in fact against CUDA.

          • Mikkel

            Every single well known OpenCL benchmark on the net show superior OpenCL performance on AMD cards compared to nVidia. Every single one. I'm not doing one myself, but maybe you could point me to one, at least one source that backs your claim of nVidia having better performing OpenCL implementation than nVidia?

          • Build-IT-Right

            I am now convinced that you're a paid shill.

            I hope the admins of this site ban you.

          • Mikkel

            Hard to find something to back up your personal little believies or imagined facts?

          • Build-IT-Right

            Here's a real benchmark shill:


            Even it's a bit dated, at least I've provided something that isn't bogus or is unrelated as far as benchmarks go.

            You can do your own damn research since this type of knowledge takes years of experience to obtain which no benchmark can quantify. Most especially since every production title has it's own system requirements.

          • Mikkel

            Besides being dated, it's mostly viewport oriented and does not back up your claim. Btw: OpenCL are used for calculations and number crunching, a benchmark like Luxmark is not irrelevant in such a regard, as it judge raw performance quite well.

          • Build-IT-Right

            "Besides being dated, it's mostly viewport oriented and does not back up your claim."

            You're clearly an idiot and do you even remember what my claim is?

            Hint: Workstations should be built according to the hardware requirements of software developers.

            Anybody in their right mind knows that!

            "OpenCL are used for calculations and number crunching"

            Lol really need to grow the fuck up.

          • Mikkel

            Lols, lols, lols... idiot here and idiot there. Your claim, and what this sub-thread is about, is you imaginary belief that OpenCL is better implemented in nVidia cards, than AMD cards. Every little worm with a shred of knowledge in this area knows that such a claim is an absurd one...

            I'm starting to wonder if you confuse OpenCL with OpenGL?

            ""OpenCL are used for calculations and number crunching"

            Lol really need to grow the fuck up."

            OpenCL is an API for non-graphical computing.

            Maybe you should shut the fuck up, apologise for being in error and go to bed.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Or maybe you should just admit that you're a fucking lying paid shill that will say anything to make it look like you're right?

            Using a mouse for painting in Mari on a workstation grade setup?

            What are you fucking moron?

            "OpenCL is an API for non-graphical computing."

            No shit since it's almost exclusively used for "parallel programming of heterogeneous systems" in various 3D applications.

            Like seriously dude, what the fuck are you trying to prove?

          • Mikkel

            Mouse for painting??? Heard about a paint tablet before? It's sooo funny that all Apple and Mac Pro haters are just a bunch of ignorant fools.

            Btw: Congratulations about your googling of OpenCL, "parallel programming of heterogeneous systems", also called calculations and number crunching. But a few posts ago, that triggered your response: "Lol really need to grow the fuck up." Seems like you've learned something already, and speaking of learning, take a look at this real world OpenCL benchmark, nVida are doing great in OpenCL as we can see:


            ...real great.

            Now, sodd off!

          • Build-IT-Right

            "Mouse for painting??? Heard about a paint tablet before? "

            //Begin sarcasm

            Yup, you certainly know what you're talking about...

            //End sarcasm

            "It's sooo funny that all Apple and Mac Pro haters are just a bunch of ignorant fools."

            I'm not just bashing on Apple, I'm bashing on all manufactures of workstations.

            "Congratulations about your googling of OpenCL, "parallel programming of heterogeneous systems", also called calculations and number crunching. "

            All of this coming from somebody who has googled everything they've said.

            Unlike you, I'm not pretending to be a programmer. I'm an end user and thus far, you've done nothing prove that you are either.

            "Seems like you've learned something already,"

            If you're such a leet programmer and know everything there is to know about OpenCL. Why don't you name a few programs that you've contributed to instead *gasp* googling it all...

            "and speaking of learning, take a look at this real world OpenCL benchmark, nVida are doing great in OpenCL as we can see:"



          • Mikkel


            Okay, so you rather sit and wait while your workstations is calculating, than continue working? Strange way of working... I would fire you if I had a shitty worker like that on my team.

            Besides, I have nothing to prove to you. I've already made my point about nVidia, AMD and OpenCL. If you're going write on discussion boards in the future, I would recommend that you show some humility if you insist on debating subjects where you lack knowledge.

            Btw: How is it possible to be sarcastic about something as blunt and common as a paint tablet that about 98% of us use?

          • Build-IT-Right

            "Okay, so you rather sit and wait while your workstations is calculating, than continue working?"

            What the fuck are you talking about?

            Calculating what exactly?

            Asset loading?
            Viewport performance?

            Which EXACT operation are you referring to?

            "Besides, I have nothing to prove to you. I've already made my point about nVidia, AMD and OpenCL. I"

            The only points you've made is that you're clearly not an artist nor a programmer and that you'er nothing more than a hardware enthusiast who relies purely on the results of others.

            "Btw: How is it possible to be sarcastic about something as blunt and common as a paint tablet that about 98% of us use?"

            I'm talking about a 'mari workstation' and not something for the general populace nub cake.

          • Mikkel


          • Build-IT-Right

            Blah blah blah, you're fucking tool.

            I wasn't even talking about the superiority of OpenCL. In fact, I support OpenCL more than I support CUDA. But you seem to keep ignoring that fact.

            You also fail to understand that what I was trying to explain is that every application has it's own varying support for OpenCL and that it's IMPOSSIBLE to quantify the performance of OpenCL in production applications using standardized benchmarks.

            Dude, you are just beyond dense...

          • Joseph

            "'s own varying support for OpenCL and that it's IMPOSSIBLE to quantify the performance of OpenCL in production applications using standardized benchmarks."

            What an idiot.

          • Build-IT-Right

            "paint tablet"

            Fyi, it's called a drawing tablet by most if not all and has been for decades which is a dead giveaway that you don't know what you're talking about.

          • Mikkel

            Lol, actually the correct term is a graphic tablet.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Oh did you look that up?

            Guess what poser...

            No, that's what they initially called the Bamboo 6 years ago but before that, it was called a drawing tablet and was often mistakenly called a digitizer.

          • Mikkel

            Why the fuck did you even start to discuss what a tablet should be called? When you lose a discussion, you won't lose it any less by trying to find an ending note that is totally irrelevant... You just make a sad ass of yourself.

          • Build-IT-Right

            You're the one that lost this shit you fucking fagget lying shill.

            Go fuck yourself loser!

            You're nothing but a hardware enthusiast and a fucking lying piece of shit.

          • Mikkel

            Hmm, ho ho ho ho... good, I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

          • Build-IT-Right

            Well I have a problem with bullshitters, and for some reason you just keep on trying to bullshit everyone. I admit, I can't handle bullshit and I have a short fuse for it. And I'll be damned if I'll let anyone get away with it...I will stay here until the end of time if it means to prove that you're nothing but a shill and a liar so that others are not fooled by your bullshit.

          • Mikkel

            Well, why don't you just admit you own bullshit? The only thing I've been trying to point out to you is that OpenCL is not well implemented in nVidias offerings. Although you try to insist it is, but it's not. The AMD cards are better at OpenCL operations, and the reason is simply because nVidia are putting their priority on CUDA. You are the one lying or are misinformed. Not me. I'm not going to disclose my work or projects. But if you think I'm an unqualified 'googler' or a guy merely interested in hardware. You are wrong. Besides, I think this is enough.

          • Build-IT-Right

            You base ALL of your conclusions on benchmarks which is COMPLETELY contradicting the reality of its support in production software.

            Like you just won't fucking understand that FACT and instead keep on bringing up more benchmarks which are completely fucking subjective.

            OK OK

            Yeah, AMD runs OpenCL better than Nvidia using BENCHMARK SOFTWARE.


            Fuck dude.

          • Build-IT-Right

            And even before you try to bullshit me again, take a second look at your last link:


            The only TEST that AMD dominates is encryption and decryption other than that, it falls short in the rest of the tests, so fuck off because I know you didn't read through all of that.

          • Mikkel

            Do you have an extra chromosome? All the OpenCL test in that link are dominated by AMD.

          • Mikkel

            You are quite dense. The analytic software was not a benchmark application, but a real world app, real was also the ray trace algorithm in LuxMark. But how do you debate with someone who insists that the world is flat, besides showing them pictures from space? They may not be 100% representative of what a flat earth believer sees everyday, but it should give an indication...

          • Build-IT-Right

            A very small group of people use the lux renderer and has been designed to work with ATI cards almost exclusively.

            But you're an idiot if you think that proves anything since the Lux render isn't even used as a production renderer by anyone.

            Show me a renderer written to work with OpenCL and can use OSL shaders and I'll be convinced that you actually know what you're talking about.

          • Mikkel

            Dude... you know that it's quite common knowledge that OpenCL performance on nVidia cards are quite poor? That EVERY FUCKING test we can find shows it. That this is not a discussion about OpenCL renderers? That OpenCL is not OpenGL, that it's not particularly used in 3d programs, but rather calculations in a more general sense. You are just beating a dead horse.

          • Build-IT-Right

            "Dude... you know that it's quite common knowledge that OpenCL performance on nVidia cards are quite poor?"

            Prove it in production software...Oh yeah, you failed at that.

            "hat EVERY FUCKING test we can find shows it."

            Every 'benchmark software' shows it.

            "hat this is not a discussion about OpenCL renderers?"

            Oh then what is it about?

            "That OpenCL is not OpenGL"

            No shit Sherlock.

            "that it's not particularly used in 3d programs"

            Well actually it is you dumb fuck.

            "but rather calculations in a more general sense."

            Oh yeah?

            Where is this general purpose software that you speak of that utilizes OpenCL?

            "You are just beating a dead horse."

            And you are just a fucking paid Apple shill.

            Are you ever going to answer my question about index colors and complex materials or anything of relevance to OpenCL in the production software?

            Probably not since you're clearly a fucking poser bitch. HAH XD

          • Build-IT-Right

            I see you typing...shut fuck up you Apple Shill.

            Everyone knows by now that you're being payed to blow this forum up with your lies.

          • Mikkel

            You are an insane and disturbed individual.

          • Build-IT-Right

            And you are a shill from Apple...

            How much do they pay you?

          • Build-IT-Right

            Oh wow, there's more than one of you typing at the same time?


            That proves that there's multiple Apple shills on here.

          • Mikkel

            "Prove it in production software...Oh yeah, you failed at that."

            And you did not, you are the one trying to bullshit against common knowledge, and insist that ALL THE BENCHMARKS ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET ARE IRRELVANT.

            "Where is this general purpose software that you speak of that utilizes OpenCL?"

            I already gave you a link to one. OpenCL is an API for parallel calculations.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Shut the fuck up you lying shill and get the fuck out of here.

            Dude it is so obvious that you're being payed by apple to sit here and lie by the hour.

            Just admit it that you're a shill you fucking loser.

          • Build-IT-Right

            If you knew anything about building a workstation that's built to run one type of software or another. You'd know that the first thing you do is get the hardware specs of the software developers and duplicate. That is the only way you'll gain the greatest amount of support.

            Which is why you don't go with manufactured workstations from Apple, Boxx, or any of the others!

            For some reason, you just REFUSE to get that?

          • Mikkel

            Building your own workstation is not a good idea, at least not if you are going to use real workstation components. Too rare, and complications often arise. In the world of post-production, turnkey systems or certified workstations are common. It's quite helpful that software are built to work with a particular system. The new Mac Pro has already aspired an OS X version of Mari, and Red would probably not have made their OpenCL implementation without the Apple announcement this summer (hampering their custom hardware). The Mac Pro is such a big product that software houses will develop for it, and since I believe the balance of it's GPUs and CPUs are both fantastic and revolutionary (you can't buy this machine without two OpenCL calculators); I believe this machine will inspire a lot of great software that will benefit non-mac users as well.

          • Build-IT-Right

            You're a fucking idiot.

            In a production environment, you mimic the hardware specs of the software developers most especially if you're paying for direct support...

            Lying piece of shit.

          • Mikkel

            Judging by your aggression level based on not agreeing with me, I'm pretty sure I've stumbled upon someone with an anti-social personality disorder. This is actually quite entertaining.

          • Build-IT-Right

            Like I would agree with somebody who is neither an artist nor a programmer?

            Go fuck yourself liar.

            If you know so much about Mari and digital painting, then explain to me how index colors work and what they can be used to do with complex materials?

            It's not very well documented and more than likely, you'll find that I'm the only one that has 'partially' revealed that secrete.

    • Mikkel

      And maybe you should admit being in error over OpenCL and AMD, it would be the adult thing to do...

      • Build-IT-Right

        Listen kid,

        You need to back up your argument with software that production artists use.

        Show me which production title performs better with AMD and I'll bow down to you...

  • hohopig

    This article forgot something ... most workstation do NOT need to be small. IT is only because they try to go with such a small form factor using modular and non customised (and thus generic and non proprietary .. a plus in any IT dept's eye) parts that the prices raised so much. IF they have gone with a bigger box with even better air flow, big MB form factors, many of these would have been cheaper AND they will be able to connect PCIe SSDs.

    • Joseph

      Well, move to workstation class size, MBs and ECC memory and it will be even more expensive... although a closer mach performance-wise.

      • Nailli Gee

        Dude, it's a generic manufactured workstation just like any other.

        ECC memory drops performance by 2% and is much more expensive in comparison to non-paired and is pretty much completely useless to a digital artist unless you're worried about 'cosmic ray strikes.'

        A closer match performance wise?

        lol XD

        • Joseph

          Dude, workstation MB's, take a look at what HP offers on theirs. ECC is cool for an artist when she/he can go on vacation with family while rendering, without having to check the solar wind reports...

          • Nailli Gee

            Uh, not every artists sits there and renders out finals all day while taking a stroll on the beach with the family. Most especially those who have over 10k to burn on a system.

            With that kind of money, I'd put it towards increasing the render times of drafts before sending it off to a farm.

            Besides, the price of render farms are so cheap these days that it's pretty much pointless to do a final render on your own machine when you can just pay a few bucks to have it done in under 5mins as opposed to 12 hours.

          • Joseph

            Uh, okay, uh!

            (I have my own farm btw, uh!)

          • Nailli Gee

            Oh really?

            I doubt it...

            What kind of render farm do you have and do you have any legit examples? lol

          • Joseph

            Uh, lol, uh... oh really? Legit examples? rofl. Why the **** should I give you examples of my render farm to you? Stupid ****. You could have asked what we use it for, what it consists of, etc... and I might would considered giving you an answer. Now: forget it.

            BTW: It's quite some long time ago that ECC memory run 2-3% slower, today there are only benefits to ECC. Do your homework.

        • Joseph

          And some more lol for you is of coarse the throughput, as has been discussed earlier, you need a workstation motherboard to get the same performance:

    • The question asked was could we DIY the new Mac Pro with the same parts and potentially make it better/cheaper, and make it small. Once that's understood, there is no argument to be had. Instead, the floor opens to discussion on how to build one better.

      There is no doubt industry standard parts in an open PC platform are much cheaper/easier to replace. Much of this recognized in the follow up entry level PC DIY vs new Mac Pro article.

      PCIe storage is fantastically fast. And based on our CES 2014 coverage, it looks like PCs are getting some VERY FAST options in 2014. Kingston and ADATA have units that are pushing 1800MB/s read (MUCH faster than the new Mac Pro) and will be priced much more affordably than what is on the market today. Good times 🙂

  • Giggitygoebbels

    Bla bla bla,the entire Xeon E5 series is not in the Rampage Iv Gene CPU Support list,sorry but this article is BS.It might work but so what?No reliability at all.

    • Keven Brochu

      Agreed. Something like an ASUS P9X79-E WS would be more suitable, and would also supports ECC memory.

      • See the follow up "Entry Level" Mac article. That was the exact board selected going forward.

    • We did find the Asrock X79 board that supports this chip in mATX form factor later. But it would only subtract dollars from the price. If one can find one to purchase in North America. In terms of cost, it would merely be a swap of parts, and would impact cost by dollars.

  • I may not understand very much German, but I can see from that link that the price you are quoting is of a USED product in an active eBay auction that has not yet ended. Which means the price can still go way up. Also, it's a used product compared to a retail, brand new in box with warranty product. We got our prices from NewEgg and other retailers that stock new products. The links are in the article.

    • Andre Hemker

      Nope. It's new and you can "buy it now" for that price.

      • Joseph


      • Pretty sure that in the description, it says "Gebraucht" which, unless I'm totally off, means "used","second hand" and any other number of similar meanings.

        I'm not saying that it's wrong to use used parts for your own personal builds or for your own business. This can save a lot of money. And because Intel's CPU warranty is cool enough to go by date of manufacture for warranty, you'll still get "some" warranty.

        However, when you are comparing "new things" with "new things", you can't compare them against used products. I'm sure if you wanted to purchase a new product, and they substituted a "used" product in its place, and you weren't told that, you would be quite upset. That's also illegal in many countries.

    • Andre Hemker

      Sorry, you're right. It's used but tested and in working order. Still 875 buy now. This is how we usually build our workstations. Would you pay 3 times the amount for the same CPU if it was new?

  • AGx

    There are so many things wrong with this article it's ridiculous. However, I'll leave you all with the fact that you cant compare the price of a unit sold as a whole by a billion dollar company like Apple verses a cobbled together unit made by us regular folk. $2700+ CPU and $3500+ GPU? Do you think that's what Apple actually paid for these components? Of course not. The average person simply cannot rival manufacturer deals. Show me an internal expense report for one of these and then we'll talk.

    • Joseph

      Is that not the point of this article? To compare the price between Apple's solution and a DIY solution?

      I fail to understand what your objection is about, please, enlighten us...

  • Build-IT-Right

    I wouldn't go with any card from the Rx 200 series since it's not really a good idea to buy hardware that has just been released most especially if stability and price are your two main concerns.

    She should be fine with a ATI Radeon HD 7870 or 7970. She can download the exact working drivers they used by clicking the link to any of those cards from that list you gave me.

    • newbie

      hmm, you got the point, the Rx series are still new.. I guess HD 7870 or 7970 would be fine with her. Thank you for your valuable advice, I really appreciate it, good day 🙂

  • Flemming__Hansen

    *** The new iPad price-monster for braindead wana-be non-prosumers.
    *** No high-performance sportscar sucking energy of performance - just Apple sucking juice from your wallet

    There a lot of "incompetent" mistakes here ...

    Remember performance = max. capability of ENERGY consumption.
    I.e. the more energy it sucks the faster the ride. The less energy or rpms its capable of, the slower you go.
    Never mind specs of cylinders etc etc etc ... a fast sports car has to suck a lot of juice. We are in the universe mates. Physics.

    And remember, for saving energy you will want good idle performance - meaning at least Haswell.
    The Apple machine apparently saved some bucks and did not go with Haswell.
    Oh, just kidding. Because the Apple is really a PERFORMANCE MONSTER ... no need for Haswell because only sucking juice at 115W. Slow Joe, eh?

    There you go. That is what Apple is about. Pay big - and get a slower computer.
    Like the iPad. This is the iPad of prosumer machines ... 115 watts ... he he he he ha ha ha

    First, the Mac Pro uses a Xeon-based chipset. The ASUS Rampage is just a prosumer board using an Lightweight chipset.
    Additionally, the CPU used by Apple is just a bumped up chip. The socket 2011 high performance socket is not really ready for this.
    Take a look at Haswell-E coming out in 2014 Q3. Here the socket 2011 will be switched to changed pin layout just to support effective use of 8 cores.

    Finally the Xeon is constructed for servers. They perform very differently - i.e. not a valuable offer for a top-workstation considering the price.

    To examine the cost of bulding the same machine you would have to go a select a socket 2011 board and then one of the Intel C6.. chipsets.
    Additionally, since the E5-2695v2 CPU is just a modified CPU with a few more cores - but only able to spin at around 115 Watts ... at MAX (Max. TDP ... i.e. max engine performance)
    ... then you should look at real workstation CPU's rather than using a "mobile" CPU i.e. a 12 core CPU at only 115 Watts ... i.e. this CPU has been constructed for virtualization ... i.e. switching ... not workstation performance.

    Take a look at a setup of i.e. 2 quad cores with a bigger

  • Jens Melgaard

    I honestly don't see much point of the comparison, it's merely academical as a whole other set of constraints enters the picture:
    - if you like to fiddle with hardware you wouldn't care if it was a bargain or not, your missing half the fun if you buy the apple...
    - if you don't like hardware you couldn't care less that it could be done cheaper, you would rather have others do it for you...

    So to me it would make more sense to compare it to other pre-built systems, they doesn't exist in any close resemblance as of yet though. It might be that they will never exist.

    So if I was going for a workstation with that price tag and it wasn't to be a DIY and should do a comparison, I would probably go for the Dell T7600 with 2x512GB SSD (No PCIx SSD option from dell yet it seems :S, although they do sell VisionTek PCI SSD's as assesories, so might be possible to achieve by contact), 64GB Mem, 2 x NVidia Quadro K5000, and then test out the combinations of CPU's at:
    - 2x Intel E5-2665 (8 Core, 2.4 GHz etc): ~$9.800
    - 2x Intel E5-2680 (8 Core, 2.7 GHz etc): ~$10.500
    - 2x Intel E5-2687W (8 Core, 3.1 GHz etc): ~$10.800

    Would be interesting to see where the strengths and/or weaknesses was between those systems as they are quite different kinds of systems, one is dated the other is rather new, nVidia vs AMD, Dual vs. Single Socket, 12 vs 16 cores etc...

    However all this would be strictly in order to compare the to, in my line of work (Application development) neither of these machines makes any sense on any levels... But that is a whole other story...

  • a troll

    pie is good

  • Card

    First and foremost, the D700 is not exactly equivalent to the W9000. It performs half a Terraflop slower on single-precision numbers. My guess is that there is significant hardware savings in the chip differences.

    Secondly, you present us with what could be a strawman argument. PC Builders don't necessarily want to match hardware-for-hardware comparisons when looking at pre-built cost. What PC builders are looking for is equal or superior performance for less cost. Show us some benchmarks of the new computer and then we'll see how it stacks up with a "comparable" (performance-wise) Custom built in terms of cost.

    • hohopig

      Precisely! That is something along the line of what I have in my mind as well. Thanks for putting it down so succinctly.

    • Already recognizing this difference, it's fairly certain that the part is underclocked. But the GPU is still the same. Just like we can purchase overclocked and superclocked GPUs off the shelf, the GPU itself is not different. We can only speculate that maybe AMD was able to offload GPUs that they could not bin as full W9000s to Apple at a substantial discount.

      To your second point, there really is no argument. But there is a question. And the question is, whether we can/cannot build it DIY style the same/similar for the same or better cost. We've answered that question.

      I agree that PC DIY provides the flexibility of creating other hardware configurations that may perform equal to or better for a lesser cost. This is one of the cornerstones of PC DIY. And there are many roads to get there. What we do know is following the "Apple Way" as laid out, is not the best road for cost on the PC DIY side.

  • Be Ge

    I still have a bit of a hard time imagining a workload whereby a quad-SLI or quad-xFire top of the line "consumer-type" card setup (~1000$/piece) with the same Xeon E5 and 64GB RAM would fall behind this macPro. Not to mention the PC would have RAID arrays for more reliability, superior upgrade capability and, yes, higher power consumption and larger size. I am writing this off a MacBookPro, for the record, but I really don't see the "apple tax" thing gone away here.

    Quick USD 0.02$:

    A really huge case, psu, cooling/shmooling -- 500$.
    64GB UDIMM DDR3 ~ 500$
    Asus Z9PE-D8 ~ 1k$
    4 top-of-the-line graphics cards ~ 4k$

    2xE5-2660 ~ 3k$

    The remaining 1k$ can go for whatever local storage and other toys.

    I yet have to see a reasonable parallel application, bet it CPU or GPU-eating kind, whereby this 16-core, 32-threaded quad SLI or xFire monster is outperformed by the macpro in the article.

  • Seriously

    For the lazy non DIYer another option to get specs like the Mac Pro would be to buy
    an HP Z620 workstation with the same CPU and a W9000 graphics card. Don't see
    any reason to install two gfx cards and produce more heat, noise and pull more juice
    from the wall outlet. Would be super easy to upgrade the ram and storage drives to
    levels needed for whatever purpose.

    • MattEgansHairLine

      If you want to pay a lot more, including a constant 20% discount HP & Dell offer.

  • hohopig

    And another thing ... why stick to the W9000 when you admit that you are building a PC and there is a choice of Nvidia at almost half the price with BETTER performance?

    • As you've mentioned,we've already recognized that NVIDIA could potentially provide a better solution for certain apps. It could also be cheaper. But the question asked was whether we could match the hardware and have it be cheaper/better. Today, we can't match it. But based on our CES 2014 coverage, tomorrow is an entirely different story. Especially in storage.

  • "is there a scenario where a PC DIY system could be constructed as a better value than the New Mac Pro? Definitely. With the choice of components and hardware, we don’t need to buy $3400 AMD FirePro graphics cards. In fact, as we mentioned, NVIDIA’s Quadro options may be a better fit for Windows applications (at nearly half the price). And if you’re using applications that can be accelerated using consumer GPUs (like Adobe Creative Suite), then you save even more with high end cards costing less than a $1000 each (the GTX 780Ti comes to mind). You also don’t need to have more expensive ECC memory or Xeon CPUs. A six core Core i7 with an overclock might very well be faster and easy to achieve with great software that comes with motherboards these days. We can even have Thunderbolt 2 on the latest boards."

    But if you are downgrading the PC components, then you can also just buy a lower model Mac Pro and maybe will still save. Let's not forget that there are cheaper models to choose.

    • MattEgansHairLine one sentance:
      Yes, the writer of the article is correct, the Mac pro is cheaper (including windows) than the same hardware home built with no warranty, huge noise issues and ugly to boot.

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  • Dilan Adler

    how shell i place 2 firepros in this peaces of robot-crap. i'm big pc-fan and hte mac but in this cases is no space for two arfx-cards like in the mac pro

  • Sonu

    how much you got paid from apple for this article?

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