In 2006, work purchased a Mac Pro for me. At the time, and for years after, it was a great machine. Since its purchase, I had upgraded the CPUs, the GPU, and done everything I could to keep it chugging along for as long as possible, partly because of the ever present rumors for the last several years that Apple was just about to release a new Mac Pro. Then, finally, late last year, they finally did, and obviously it was a pretty large change from the previous Mac Pro. So, as my Mac Pro approached 8 years old, my boss ordered me a new Mac Pro, with the price understanding that a fully tricked out iMac every 3 years would amount to about the same cost as this machine. Hopefully that proves to be true. =)
So, after ordering the machine in January, and being promised the machine would ship by the end of February… I finally got the machine early April. =) Specs are pretty damn amazing, considering. 8-Core 3.0ghz Xeon E5, Dual ATI D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM each, 32GB of system RAM, 1TB SSD. Compared to my previous Mac Pro, which after upgrading for years was a 2x 4-core 2.67ghz Xeon, ATI 5770 with 1GB of VRAM, 10GB of System RAM, and 2x 750GB 7200RPM drives. Like I said, not bad given it’s age, but certainly not current. Especially since I couldn’t upgrade past 10.7.5 as the machine only had a 32bit EFI. Lack of VX-T sucked too, for running virtualization.
Anyway, the new machine, is pretty damn kick ass. While it lacks an optical drive (easy enough to fix with an USB3 blu-ray drive I already had), and storage is expensive/not expandable (easy enough to fix with the Drobo 5D I already had), I really can’t see a much better machine if you’re looking for a Mac, and have the money to drop. Read/Write to the SSD is quite literally 950MB/sec. So, damn fast (twice as fast as I’ve seen from any SATA based SSDs). While I’ve been unable to fully test the graphics cards, I can say the game plays both Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 on full quality, with zero dropped frames (60fps). Obviously neither of these are great tests from a performance point of view, but they’re the games that I occasionally play, so they’re what I have. I have no doubt that it would also play most of the Valve games (Portal 2, Team Fortress, CS, etc) at full quality as well.
The machine, really, is pretty amazing. Apple have done a wonderful job of creating a computer that should make almost any professional very happy. If you need expandability, you should be able to just purchase an external PCIe enclosure, connect over Thunderbolt, and have a great setup. I’m pretty sure this machine should last me just as long as my previous Mac Pro, which means it’ll certainly deserve the name “Mac Pro”.