This is a late 2013 early 2014 Mac Pro and yes it is very very small! See, this is a weird little desktop from Apple. So for the past decade or so, Apple has been slowly moving away from the pro-market. From there software, all the way through their hardware. PC sales have been slowing down, their iPad and iPhones have become way more popular and money-making and there’s just really not that much money in professional workstation grade machines anymore and for a while Apple just straight up ignored the whole pro-market and for years never updated the Mac Pro until now!
So this review is actually coming from a bit different perspective versus the typical Mac Pro buyer. The Normal Mac Pro buyer, from maybe 2007 up to the latest generation before this one, we have the Mac Pro sitting dormant in a corner of a studio somewhere and they would use it to power their displays for music production or video production or whatever they do. The typical MAC PRO buyer doesn’t use it as a full-time work horse and everyday machine so that’s where review’s coming in as someone who’s actually going to be using this for every day stuff like, you know, web browsing the typical everyday light load stuff and I also happen to do some production as well so that’s the way this reviews sort of framed!
So the main thing about this new Mac Pro is its size obviously, it’s much smaller than not only the previous generation Mac Pro but really any other desktop computer let alone a high end one. It is really the only desktop that can be held in the palm of your hand at least I’m pretty sure it is anyway. But the thing is that doesn’t really matter much I mean it’s a 10 inch tall 11 pound cylinder that in theory you could put in a backpack in bring where everyone as sort of a portable studio with you but that is a very very small group of people actually doing that plus you’d need a monitor anyway but Apple is still very proud of how small they have made this machine talk.
They talk about it all over their site and all their promo material and you know that is pretty impressive still its smaller then some full-size graphics card, the kind that forces itself on your desk with that shape and reflective aluminum shell of course because it is this small, it makes the cooling situation pretty interesting.
Now as far as heat and noise and thermals go, Apple in general has a long history of cooling things as little as possible mainly because Apple hates moving parts. I mean you don’t have to look very far in other Apple products to see that! So as far as fans go, there is just one single fan cooling every component in this workstation grade desktop. I’ll say it again-there is ONE fan cooling this whole desktop! Now it is small and there is a lot of hype about it but it’s what they call the thermal core and it actually does a surprisingly good job. So the way the thermal core works is this. It actually has all the components in the Mac Pro in this case that’s the graphics cards, the terabyte flash storage, the 8-core zeon processor and all the RAM, the motherboard and everything all up against the three sides of the prism on the inside. It looks like a triangle from above and at the center it’s empty and this is where the air flows from the bottom to top cooling all the parts with the same airflow so the vents you see on the bottom of the Mac Pro, you do not want to block those because that is all of the intake.
That’s worth in taking all the cool air and the single fan we talked about is up top sucking air through the whole system and because it’s such a large fan actually doesn’t have to spin very fast to move a lot of air and actually found a thermal core to be really effective. It kept the system at a reasonable temperature pretty much no matter how hard I pushed it and video editing with Adobe Premiere and aftereffects. I really got this fan to spin up, i mean the thing is pretty much silent. Strangely the only time I could actually get the fan to spin loud enough to even hear it and its 3 feet away at my desk was when I was watching a bunch YouTube videos in a row so thanks Adobe Flash!
Anyway this thermal core is such a boss at cooling it works so well, that performance on this Mac Pro is also fantastic! It just flies through Mac OS 10 mavericks as you would expect them it would cost a pretty penny you expect it to fly through its native OS and it does.
I’ve had absolutely no hiccups. It outperforms and it flies to apps like no other machine I’ve ever owned and its absolute breeze to use during every day single for a task so that’s good news! Now personally when I get to the more heavy stuff, take advantage of all the cores I mentioned. I used Adobe Premiere and a bit of aftereffects like I said for video editing and these Apps are clearly NOT optimized for this new hardware because I actually don’t really see a difference in performance between the Mac Pro and the previous version I used for so long.
Some of this has to do with the fact that it’s a beast of a workstation GPU not a regular gaming graphics card. So, Adobe just doesn’t know how to talk to them yet and really adds up to Adobe at this point to get this system in their hands test it, optimize it for this new hardware and push out the updates for Mac Pro users because I would love to see the improvements in Apple’s Final Cut users are seeing on this Mac with the Adobe Suite.
Another thing we have to talk about is the i/o on the Mac Pro because it’s a little bit different from the old Mac Pro but it’s also a very different from most other desktops. As a workstation you’re getting four USB 3.0 ports you’re getting 6 Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, you’re getting two ethernet jacks and you’re getting HDMI 1.4. That is it! Now actually I have a USB 3.0 hub that I used and I don’t think USB expandability is a problem but that brings us to the biggest difference between this Mac Pro and the old Mac Pro. Not just the size but that’s the difference between the words “upgradeability” and “expandability”.
The new Mac Pro is a hundred percent upgradeable which you can’t actually even say about the old Mac Pro but it is not internally expandable. You have to expand through Thunderbolt 2.0 and if you can’t get what you want to be done through Thunderbolt 2.0, this machine is not for you. So it’s going to affect a lot of people who are using PCI solutions like they were in the old Mac Pro but there are no open PCI ports in the new Mac Pro. So if you want to have something like a red rocket or a new video card or
something like that it has to be done through Thunderbolt. Right now, that situation doesn’t look as promising or as friendly as we might want it to be but hopefully in the near future there’s gonna be way more Thunderbolt accessories that were previously PCI accessories.
Worth the buy?
So, at the end of the day-Is the Mac Pro a good buy? Right now it’s not gonna seem like a good buy because you know the Adobe apps are not optimized, there’s a whole bunch of things missing in terms of expansion and it doesn’t really look like a complete package and people aren’t exactly throwing away their old Mac Pros are IMAX who are working on production just yet. Those will still have their place in the studio but for me as a person who’s using as a full time machine, as a person who uses it every single day and also does production, I feel like it’s been a really great investment and of course as a whole bunch of different Mac Pros- The four core, the six core, the 8-core and the 12 core. I feel like I did actually make the right choices as I explained in the performance video with the 8-core Mac Pro as a sort of a balance between single-threaded and multi-threaded apps.
So basically there’s going to be at ton of overpriced trash can jokes we already know that. People who haven’t made it this far in the video probably have already left a comment below but the idea here is it’s got a future ahead of it. There is not going to be another new Mac Pro for probably 10 more years as we’ve seen with the old Mac Pro and the history the way Apple has updated it. So you know come back to me in 2018 and maybe we’ll have a totally different story tell about this new interesting innovative small compact Darth Wader looking machine that we call the Mac Pro!
Either way that’s been it! Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this review. Peace!