Pro Power

I've been meaning to write about Apple's new Mac Pro since it was announced at WWDC. I'm not sure why I haven't.

I've been thinking about getting a Mac Pro for a couple of years now, mostly because of memory issues (my iMac tops out at 16GB, and while the upgrade to 16GB was substantial, I still find myself wishing for more). A lot of that is driven by keeping lots of things open at once, for sure, but especially by photo editing.

So, anyway, because of that, I've been checking the tea leaves for what to expect, and the new model still caught me off-guard.

Here are two reviews worth perusing (especially for all the pictures):
Ars Technica
Apple Insider

Having a rack in my house, I wouldn't've minded the thing being rack-mountable. Not needed, but would have been welcome. So a bit of a loss there.

Also only has four RAM slots. This is actually a bigger problem, as it seems likely to top out (for the next year or two, anyway) at 64GB. Not shabby, of course, but was hoping it would be expandable to more. We'll see what happens here. One thing I definitely wouldn't want to see is an inability to add larger DIMMs as they become available (assuming no additional pins needed, of course; if they are, then of course that wouldn't be possible); I've been screwed by that a couple of times.

The last potential problem I see is that it wouldn't be happy being stuck under a desk. Not only because the striking design would be wasted for lack of visibility, but also because it'll be pumping out a lot of hot air, and you need that air to get far away.

Beyond that, though, I think it's brilliant. It was, of course, entirely predictable, doing away with the optical drive, although I didn't think it'd be gone quite this soon. And I like the forward-thinking nature of doing all the expansion via thunderbolt (although there are definitely cost issues there). But I think the cooling design will work for a very long time, and they even claim that it'll share the cooling when one or more of the main processors is working at less than full load. I'm not sure about the latter part, but it looks very promising anyway.

This is definitely a forward-thinking machine, and I expect that other companies will put out copies pretty soon. Although I'm thinking Apple will have huge advantages of scale with it (especially if they come out with cheaper versions than the probably-$10k model shown at WWDC); it should be able to go from a fairly small processor up to the heavy workhorses in the model shown.

The one thing I worry about is if they'll have a model in my price range; I don't need two stupidly-powerful GPUs for my use and wouldn't pay for them. But, this architecture, if done right, could still put something into the sweet spot for purchase for me.

And the one bit of complete speculation. They made such a big deal about being able to drive three 4k displays with it. Will they announce an affordable 4k monitor upon release? That would REALLY get me stoked; I'd love to get one of those for photo editing.  In fact, that would be a bigger deal for me than anything they could do within the computer.  There are even intimations (screen backgrounds within 10.9 Mavericks) of a double-resolution 27" display; that would be even better.

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