Mac Pro

Neil Parfitt – Someone who is actually using a Mac Pro correctly

There has been a lot of talk about the Mac Pro since it came out. Most of it drivel. There's been admonishment that it's too expensive, it's too powerful, no one has a need for a machine like that. Meanwhile, people like Linus and Jay, build $20k computers, who's sole purpose is to play games, with (multiple) $3000+ video cards and declare what they've done is awesome.

Despite this, the Mac Pro is an amazing machine, and several companies have already rushed to make Windows based systems that compete. Linus is practically screaming with joy as he snaps 2TB of ram into a machine so he can open tabs in Google Chrome. A stupid experiment, but the hardware shows other companies are taking the technology of the Mac Pro very seriously.

Ironically, it was Linus that pointed me to Neil Parfitt, who actually uses a Mac Pro for work. Real work. Not just someone on YouTube who happened to get one so they could unbox it on camera and swoon over the black keyboard.

Neil is an audio professional, who works on Hollywood movies and television (not YouTube videos), and the Mac Pro isn't the most expensive piece of gear in his audio setup.

It starts with the unboxing of the rack mount edition, and why he chose that config. He then goes into the multiple pieces of hardware that need to fit inside the Mac Pro. His goal is to replace two Mac Pro 2013s with 12 cores and 128GB ram, with a Mac Pro of 28 cores and 384GB ram.

This isn't about playing games. It has nothing to do with frame rate. There are no Cinebench scores.

What he documents is a fascinating journey of putting the machine together, installing a massive amount of hardware, getting the Mac Pro into the rack cabinet, and hooking it into the system with all the other audio hardware. He comments on both the good and bad things of the process.

Neil uses a Mac for sure, but he's not being a fan boy. He points out several places where Apple's setup for audio professionals is not set up for audio professionals. There are obstacles to be overcome and this machine needs to be set up and working for his real business and putting together a score for a real television show, not some 10 minute video on YouTube.

Honestly, this is some of the best tech documentary I have seen in a long time. He's not running around with a Red camera, or using a robotic arm, or waxing poetic about how shiny something is. Although he does make a few comments about the case clicking into place. I can't fault him though, it does sound cool.

When you see the rest of his studio gear, you will quickly realize, this Mac isn't about vanity, but performance. And it's merely one tool, in a very expensive collection of tools, that make up his workflow.

If you want to see a Mac Pro used correctly, by someone who knows what they're doing, and see a high powered machine used for something other than games and frame rate, check out what Neil Parfitt has going on.

I can't wait to see the full workflow in action.

Neil Parfitt – Unbox and commenting on the Mac Pro rack mount edition

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Upgrading the apparatus

It’s no secret that I use a Mac Pro for my development work. I have 2010 model with 12 cores that still works wonders today. But even with that, there is room for improvement.

For my home machine, I just upgraded to a full 128GB of ram, and upgraded to the Mojave approved, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 with 8192 MB. Both of these are readily available and very affordable. There are plenty of videos on the process and it requires no tools.

The total upgrade time took about 10 minutes. I would recommend getting the Dual Mini 6 Pin to 8 Pin PCI Express Video Card Power Adapter Cable for the video card so that it can be powered from the mother board.

No video drivers were required. It was immediately recognized and each of the 4 monitors was detected. This is not a gaming machine, so I can’t speak to the high end gaming prowess, but I’ve played several things without issue, and applications work fine. Everything is crisp and bright.

Those looking at the Mac Pro from 2010 will find it still has plenty of life. This is a 12 core machine, with 128GB of ram, and 8GB video card with 4 simultaneous video out. It’s my home development machine and there hasn’t been a task it can’t handle.

Sapphire 11265-05-20G Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB GDDR5 Dual HDMI/ DVI-D/ Dual DP OC

COMeap Dual Mini 6 Pin to 8 Pin PCI Express Video Card Power Adapter Cable for Mac Pro Tower/Power Mac G5 15-inch(38cm)

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The beautiful and powerful Mac Pro 2019

Yes, it has been several weeks since the announcement of the new Mac Pro 2019 with all sorts of comments, especially about that silly $1000 monitor stand. But aside from that, I’m really excited by the new Mac Pro, even though I have no plans or financial means to get one. At least not for several years when they go on sale on eBay.

I love what Apple has done for a variety of reasons. It’s an incredibly powerful machine that basically has no equal. There isn’t a “desktop” on the market by another vendor that even comes close to the processing power or memory capabilities of this machine. You need to look at a server class machine to compete with the cores and ram. But that machine is more expensive and certainly won’t fit on or under your desk. And what sort of software will it run? Servers aren’t known for their graphics capabilities either.

We first have to stop thinking of it as a desktop. It’s a workstation. It’s a culmination and extension of the Silicon Graphics workstation, the Pixar workstation, and the NeXT workstation all rolled into one. With that in mind, you know exactly who’s going to get them.

Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic, both owned by Disney, who is also allied with Apple, will snap up these machines for CGI work.

Pure speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if parts of Toy Story 4 were rendered on prototype Mac Pros. What better way to test it’s video and audio capabilities?

That aside, the possibilities of this machine seem endless. There isn’t a processing task that it won’t be able to handle.

While I’m not a fan of VR in most respects, think of the possibilities of advancement this machine offers. Additionally, the development capabilities of the Mac Pro know no bounds. It’s a supercomputer for your desk.

And now that Apple has thrown down the gauntlet, I can’t wait to see what other vendors put together. Will the union of HP and Cray be the closest competitor?

A lot has been said about the cost. Without a doubt, it’s expensive. But it’s not for everyone. You don’t buy this to read email and look for cat videos. This is big league hardware for big league tasks. If you don’t already need one, then you don’t need one.

It’s also neat to see that the “standard” macOS will be used to power this machine. It won’t require a “server” or “datacenter” version to take advantage of all the power.

I would love to have one of these machines, but it’s specs and price are out of my league. Perhaps in 5-7 years, I will pick up a used one from eBay. Even then, with it fully loaded, it will outclass new machines. It will take a lot to overpower 28 cores and 1.5TB of ram.

This is an amazing new benchmark for computers. Apple should be applauded for the work they’ve put into it and the boundaries they have completely eliminated.

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