Mac Pro: A computer for those who understand why they need it. And only for them

    When I was asked to write about Mac Pro, I initially refused. Not because the new Apple miracle computer is not interesting, far from it. It is simply not very correct to evaluate professional tools if you are not a professional of this kind yourself. Roughly speaking, if a fifth-grade student of a music school is given the Stradivarius violin for classes, he is unlikely to be able to appreciate it and demonstrate all the advantages.



    In response to the refusal, I heard that many thousands of people around the world are waiting for my Mac Pro evaluation. Brute flattery is an effective persuasion tool, and within a couple of days this almost the most unusual desktop computer in the world arrived at the editorial office of Mira PC.

    I already wrote a little about him in a report from the October Apple press conference, where the Mac Pro was first shown livewithout a glass cover. Nowadays, when stationary computers are of little interest to anyone, Apple has managed to attract serious attention to its brainchild, even against the backdrop of the new iPad and MacBook Pro. Still, because it’s never been so powerful, I would even say that the uncompromising computer was not so compact and quiet. Yes, and the exterior to match, which has nothing to do with traditional system units.

    But, as they say, there is a nuance. When we see the Pro next to the MacBook, we understand - it's written for fun. In fact, not only a seasoned designer or video editor can use such a laptop to its full potential, but also an amateur who can upload photos of food and cats on social networks. A screen, speed, a powerful battery, a comfortable keyboard - all this is good for solving absolutely any problem. And here is the Mac Pro - it is really imprisoned for professionals working with complex 2D and 3D graphics, processing videos with the highest resolution, recording multi-channel audio, etc. etc. A cat lover may not notice at all any difference, for example, with the Mac mini. That with at least a fivefold difference in price can cause conflicting emotions.


    Official portrait

    I'm just a Mac mini user. The senior version of this wonderful little computer has been standing on my desk for about a year now and, despite the processor of the previous generation, satisfies my home needs completely and completely. Typing, processing RAW files from a Sony DSC-RX100 camera, occasionally - editing video in Full HD. And, of course, fierce, indomitable Internet surfing. There was an idea to replace the classic hard drive with an SSD, but after increasing the amount of RAM from 4 to 6 GB, small brakes disappeared completely, and I decided to just wait for the new version on Haswell.

    And now - Mac Pro. It is sold in a very compact box, which can be put in a corporate package and carried home in your hands. Weight - about five kilograms, you will not get tired very much. Inside, we are suddenly met ... with pieces of polystyrene. They, of course, are quite elegant against the background of the brothers from under the boxes with TVs and monitors, but personally I did not come across the foam in Apple packaging before at all. Perhaps it was worth using a cork to come into contact with such an exquisite device, since the task of severe savings in this case was clearly not worth it. But - as it is. In the box are only the computer itself and the power cable. Everything else is proposed to be purchased independently, based on your own needs and capabilities.


    Six Thunderbolt connectors are, of course, very cool. But USB, I personally would like more.

    And you can buy a lot of things. Keyboard, mouse, trackpad - this is understandable. And a decent speaker system (with or without wires), a monitor (up to three standard ones with a resolution of up to 4K, or as many as six using the Thunderbolt interface), external drives (USB or Thunderbolt, as you see fit) and others, etc. . By the way, if you, like me, have a new-fangled monitor with a resolution higher than Full HD, to connect the Mac Pro to it you will not need special, expensive adapters, just a normal HDMI cable. Thanks to Apple for introducing support for HDMI 1.4.

    I ordered a younger version of the Mac Pro for study, although even its specifications are impressive. Quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with a base frequency of 3.7 GHz (under load up to 3.9 GHz), 16 GB of RAM, two AMD FirePro D300 graphic cores with two gigabytes of GDDR5 VRAM each (for those who do not like big names, I’ll clarify this Radeon HD 7850 analogues). Only the volume of SSD (256 GB) hinted that we have before us the basic model. But, given the six Thunderbolt slots, there is no problem connecting an external drive and using it at the same speed as a regular internal HDD or SSD. I emphasize that it’s ordinary, because your Mac Pro SSD is simply prohibitively fast, and catching it with something external is not possible. 900 megabytes when reading and writing is not a joke.


    With the cover removed, the Mac Pro looks almost more impressive than with it. It’s just some kind of orgasm of engineering. Everything is not only thought out to the smallest detail, but simply beautiful.


    Even textolite memory modules - and that is in tone!


    And they could put the usual Hynix, like everyone else.

    If the capabilities of the listed iron are not enough for you, and the money is still full, Apple offers many interesting opportunities to spend them. First, pay attention to the second standard configuration of the Mac Pro with a 6-core Xeon E5 and two AMD FirePro D500 (3 GB of video memory per chip). Finally, for the most demanding and wealthy people, it is possible to create their own configuration with a 12-core Xeon E5, 64 GB of RAM, a terabyte SSD and two AMD FirePro D700 with 6 GB of GDDR5 video memory each. The size of the computer will not change.

    Impressive? Personally, I’m right to shiver. Especially since the Mac Pro is virtually silent. It’s full of heat under load, so I would not recommend putting chocolate on it. But making noise is not noisy. For those who work a lot (it works, rather than just sitting) at the computer, this is a very important argument in favor of the new Apple product. Because to make a powerful system is not difficult, but to make it behave unnoticed is still a task. And before there was an opinion that in such compact dimensions it was simply unsolvable. It also uses one large turbine-type propeller, which is mounted on top and draws air through the entire body. Probably, this imposes certain obligations on cleaning the table and the room as a whole. Because extracting dust from a vacuum cleaner bag is much simpler and cheaper, than getting it from the bowels of the Mac Pro. By the way, the system turns on with a sound reminiscent of the starting rattling of the heads of the hard drive. Funny feeling.

    Setting up a new Apple computer is traditionally simple - just connect to your home network and feed it a saved Time Machine image. After about an hour, the Mac Pro already had all the settings and applications with the Mac mini. I sat down for him and began to do my usual business, listening to my sensations. The sensations were silent. There was no difference with the Mac mini at all. More precisely, the presence of an SSD significantly reduced the boot time, and applications opened more quickly, but in general - exactly the same picture.

    Launched Photoshop SS, began to impose favorite effects on photos. And again he felt nothing. As everything was swiftly - it remained. Knowledgeable guys advised to open something 40-megapixel and create twenty layers. Then, they say, you will penetrate. But my career as a designer ended 14 years ago and most likely will not resume. Therefore, I did not experiment with layers. But I have no doubt about the performance of the Mac Pro.



    When processing video in Final Cut Pro X uses not only the processor, but also the graphics core. Therefore, it is impossible not to notice acceleration here. Creating a finished video clip takes about four times less than on a Mac mini with its mobile Core i7 and integrated Ivy Bridge graphics. But if in the case of Full HD we have just a pleasant acceleration of work, then when switching to 4K resolution, Mac Pro becomes the only truly effective working tool in the current Apple clip. In the end, the difference between 10 minutes and half an hour is good, but not critical. But when you have a choice between half an hour and two hours ...

    As for the advantages for editing high-quality sound, I confess I don’t understand anything at all, and if so, I won’t even try to portray an expert. But knowledgeable guys say - sensible thing.

    What is my conclusion from learning about Mac Pro?

    If you are a very wealthy person and at the same time your tasks on a computer do not include continuous video editing in 4K, compiling albums of domestic pop stars of the first echelon and tightening his bust after photo shoots for glossy magazines, you should not buy a Mac Pro. If money burns your pocket, buy an iPad, iPhone, a couple of MacBook Pros, Mac mini for each room in your country house, and a 27-inch iMac in your office. Seriously, there will be much more sense. Because in typical home-office applications, the benefits of the Mac Pro cannot be felt. Even in games, he fights on equal terms with the new generation 27-inch iMac, especially if you are not greedy for the latest GPU (by the way, my Mac mini overtook the studied model in the new Tomb Raider as much as seven times). To simplify it, putting the Mac Pro at home is just as logical and convenient, how to cut bread with a medical scalpel. Someone will be impressed by your daring, but most will turn a finger at the temple.

    Mac Pro is a product for professionals. For those who shovel serious amounts of data every day, and it doesn’t matter what kind - graphic, multimedia or scientific. Here for them (more precisely, for those of them who feel at ease in the OS X environment) this computer will become an extremely useful acquisition and - as a bonus - a solid desktop decoration. Given the fact that there are simply no analogues on the market (I'm talking about a combination of performance and form factor), the price does not look too high.

    Speaking of price.

    In the official online store of Applethe basic configuration of the Mac Pro costs 124,990 rubles. As a bonus, you will receive free delivery to major cities of Russia. Improved configuration will cost 167 990 rubles. Well, if you walk around and use the configurator to set all the parameters to the maximum, Mac Pro will cost 413 thousand 270 rubles and one penny. This, I note, without any accessories and additional software, and with them (and with monitors) the price is easy to catch up to seven hundred thousand.

    Well, how budget? Not really? So I also say that it’s strange to buy this as fun. But if the projects carried out on a computer bring you at least a thousand dollars, and if productivity grows, their number can at least double - why not? Or, say, it will be possible to finish work at seven in the evening, and not twelve ...

    In general, we are faced with one of the few devices where a reference to professionals in the name is not marketing games, but a statement of fact. And if the unique design turns out to be reliable, as well as much more bulky analogs - Apple’s honor and praise.

    But I still wait for the Mac mini update. Because my primary data center cannot yet be moved outside the skull.

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