The Mac-Pro fetish

Having and using an Apple Mac computer is one of the top objects of desire on my wish-list. I simply love the feeling, the stability, the looks of the interface and their sleek design. Compared to a pc, a Mac is light years ahead! It’s not the i-pod, i-tunes connectivity and all the gimmicks that go with it, it’s the fact that a Mac is a reliable machine and a real pleasure to work with, pure QUALITY, period! And for the amount of time I’m spending in front of a computer screen, I demand that quality.

Fairly recently Apple has released a new model in their Pro series. And that machine is a real monster! On the outside, the design haven’t changed much, but inside things just got hotter. First of all the powerplant of this workstation is 8 powerplants really! Using 2 X Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors up to 3.2GHz you can vaguely begin to imagine the capabilities of this machine! Larger powerplant means that you also need a larger storeroom to support the production volume 🙂 So the new MacPro can have RAM up to a whopping 32GB!!! It comes with only 2GB as a retail standard, but don’t tell me you’re not intrigued with such capacity to order a machine with more RAM!

On the Graphics card front you can either have the default ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0, and two dual-link DVI ports, the card provides great performance for typical creative applications. And you get dual 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display support out of the box. Your second option and for an extra 160€ is the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 memory and latest-generation NVIDIA GPU technology. Closing the package of options comes the real moster of 3D, the one and only NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics card, which is the ultimate workstation-class graphics card available, with a massive 1.5GB of GDDR3 memory and a 3D stereo port for stereo-in-a-window applications. Pure power overkill, with only one flaw: it costs around 2,500€ more 😦

The cherry on the top is that the interior design of the box is laid out in such a modular way that you can easily access and install / uninstall hardware pieces without having to battle with wires and other electronic components, nor you have to dismantle 3/4 of the machine for a simple installation! Every hard disk comes on it’s own bay, that you simply have to put the HD inside, slide it in and that’s it! It becomes operational on the spot! Same goes for the memory chips, you can pull out 4 bridges with memory chip slots on them, snap the RAM chips on and push back inside! True beauty that comes from those futuristic comic books and movies!

Now all this power needs a good visual output and Apple has gone one step beyond the rest in this section too! A 30inch wide screen is available for your visual joy! Of course you can have more than one screen per single MacPro, in fact you can go up to 8 X 30inch screens per machine!!!…

Are you graphics hungry? I know I am! ANd I’m dying to get one of these in my hands!

So here’s the bad news to cool your hunger down: The MacPro basic model retails at around 2,631€ without a display screen. For that base value you get these specs:

  • Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors
  • 2GB (two 1GB) of 800MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (two dual-link DVI ports)
  • 320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache
  • 16x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

Which, allow my humble opinion here, if you’re going to have the Mac Pro these specs are way too poor for a machine of such calibre.

Now in order to have a good (but not the top of the range) Mac Pro you would need 4,387€ which would include 8 GB of RAM, an Nvidia 8800GT video card, 2 X 3GhZ Quad Core Intel Xeons and a second HD of 500GB for saving your work files (I always use a two HD configuration on my machines: one for OS and software and another one for saving my files).

Adding up the price of the Apple Cinema HD Display 30” screen which is 1,592€ the total sums up to 5,979€!

And adding up the V.A.T. to that, it brings us up to a grand total of 7115 !!!!

Well, according to that price, it’s not a fetish anymore, it’s a total rip-off!!!

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6 Responses to The Mac-Pro fetish

  1. polyzygote says:

    it’s not a rip off at all. just do some google research and you will quickly see that comparably spec’d machines from other OEMs are more expensive, or at best the same price. make sure the people doing the comparison know what they are talking about. ram speed and ecc, fsb speed, cache per core, etc need to be taken into account.

    even if you find a comparable price, you will probably not get the great design (both aesthetic and functional) and excellent thermal design with extremely quiet operation of the tower, and you will not be able to run all of linux, os x, and windoze (something which apple should actually be ashamed of).

    this is w/o a doubt and completely objectively one of the best deals if not the best deal for a workstation on the market today, and is a shift from previous apple offerings. no i don’t work for apple, and am presently on a linux box so am no fan boy either. can’t wait to get one.

  2. polyzygote says:

    p.s. of course you don’t buy ram, or hard-drives from apple, they have heavy mark ups on those items. i would also look at other options for the display, depending on what you need it for, you may be able to cut some costs there too.

  3. vagpod says:

    great input there my friend! thanks!

    actually the HDs are not expensive, it’s the RAM that’s doing the most damage 🙂
    But of course you can buy RAM from other vendors for half the price. I was referring to Apple prices.

    I was referring to the machine as ‘rip-off’ as a joke! It’s a superb workstation, no question about it.
    I can’t wait to get one too, which will probably be in a year or so.

    The compatibility with (retarded)Windows is due to the fact that a lot of professionals need it for transferring file to and from clients. For example, there’s no Corel Draw for Macs. So if your client sends you a .cdr file (Corel extension) you won’t be able to read it otherwise.

    The 30″screen is beautiful for graphics work. Imagine that the next best thing is the Samsung 244T (24″ wide) and that retails for about 950euros at the moment.

    Thanks again for your comments and input!

  4. polyzygote says:

    > great input there my friend! thanks!

    no worries!

    > The compatibility with (retarded)Windows is due to the fact…

    i think the compatibility is great, even if i hate windoze. i was saying they should be ashamed of limiting their own software to only run on their own hardware. especially considering the core software components of an apple system are open source. but that’s a rant is for another day.

  5. polyzygote says:

    > The 30″screen is beautiful …

    agreed, and i’ll have a look at the samsung for sure.

    i need to do high end graphics for print, and so unfortunately have to leave linux which just does not compete on that front.

    i’m presently leaning towards the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXiSV as an alternative to the 30″ ACD:

    http://www.necdisplay.com/Products/Product/?product=9bd245b5-7b0f-4f52-9ac3-37506ddc9775

    but need to hit the bulletin boards hard to see what people in the trenches are actually saying before deciding. it includes a well integrated color calibration system which is a plus.

  6. vagpod says:

    oh yeah linux doesn’t compete so well on the graphics front. I’m working on the same field as you do and I was looking on linux as an alternative to windows some months ago.

    I dunno about the NEC screen you’re mentioning, but surely the color calibration is a plus! You definately need to dig the forums for what peoples opinions.

    Prior to buying the 244T I did a serach and the only complaints were that it was too expensive (1150 euros one year ago), and still is.

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