The new Mac Pro is the workstation you’ve been looking for

New-Mac-Pro.-2013-kewcreativeThere is a sea of people endlessly nitpicking the recently unveiled Mac Pro overhaul but far fewer praising it beyond it’s aesthetics. Deep down it is the Mac Pro video professionals want you just have to change the concept of a pro machine. I’m speaking solely from a video editing professional perspective so you can probably rip my argument apart should you be a 3D artist (you’re on Linux or Windows anyway) or something more conventional like an Autodesk product user.

It sheds PCIe slots and that’s a good thing, especially for field production where you need to be mobile. A DIT using one of these could tear through footage dumps and grading like phyllo pastry. “Only AMD GPUs? No nVidia? What about upgrades? CUDA?” Just let it go, Premiere Pro CC will support OpenCL, Media Composer needs to get on it to take back market share and Final Cut X is obviously the poster child of OpenCL. Even Resolve is raving about it’s test results. Yes most of us use CUDA now because it works but when the software evolves we’ll forget we ever held CUDA so tightly. As for other PCIe expansion, what you need a RedRocket? Thunderbolt 2 will give you the bandwidth… Oh right you need to dump RED/ALEXA/Blackmagic footage? Get a dock with FW800, or get an adapter and wait for a thunderbolt update (or plug it right in if it’s Blackmagic). Most of the high end and prosumer cameras have a solution already. Broadcast monitoring? Last time I checked a Kona or Blackmagic card are well within the thunderbolt bandwidth limits. Yes the external enclosures are expensive but it’s still early. If you adapt now you’re crazy, wait a year for the peripherals and software to catch up. “I’ll have a rats nest of cables!” I’m sorry but show me an editors desk that’s pristine 24/7. You’ve always got client drives stacked on your desk, card readers, scripts and Red Bull, so stop whining. If you hate it that much then go to Ikea.

Processors
“No dual processors? No deal,” that’s BS. Video editing apps take advantage many cores and what they’re offering will be more than enough to run AE and PP at the same time. I have a Sandybridge hexa-core that outperforms dual Xeon’s and yes they have the same specs outside of processor and OS. You aren’t going to miss the extra CPU because GPUs and RED Rockets do a lot of the heavy lifting anyway.

Storage
Yes it doesn’t have a lot but if you edit professionally then you have a scratch raid, storage and a backup solution. PCIe flash storage is ridiculously fast and nobody will miss bouncing app icons and spinning beach balls. storage has been heading in this direction for a while.

Memory
It has 4 slots which is enough to get your ram up to 32GB+. If you aren’t using at leasts 32GB you might as well stick to editing your =3 style response videos.

Connectivity
Yes it only has Gigabit Ethernet but that more than enough to shuttle files to a server. You can always throw a fibre channel card in an enclosure and keep your blazing fast network alive. Outside of that it’s nice to have Bluetooth standard and USB 3 ports are way overdue. “It doesn’t have enough USB3 ports,” I’m sorry but do you really use 4 devices connections simultaneously? I do… Rarely. If that’s the case buy a hub.

“It’s all about 4K”
Yes Phil Schiller touted the 4K display capabilities and here’s a place I’ll actually argue against and tell you to calm down. 4K is awesome but unless you’re buying an ungodly expensive monitor (maybe a new Cinema Display?) you’re not going to take advantage of it. You are going to use that GPU performance for rendering and that Thunderbolt 2 bandwidth for peripherals. For monitoring you will end up sending a signal out of a 3rd party card. Call me closed minded but the 4K hype is a little overrated. We already edit in 4K and outside of a theatre the argument against displays that great in your home is pretty sound.

Cooling
“It will overheat under heavy load,” wait for v2.

Price
If it’s expensive that’s obviously a contentious point for a lot of people but you’re writing it off over at least 3 years in a small shop. Yes for the freelancers it’s could be a bit of a squeeze but it comes with that unrivalled customer support should it have problems.

Looks
Excellent and coming full circle to the way graphics machines were designed before. Silicone Graphics machines were powerhouses in eye catching housings.

The best thing about this computer especially for people that pay their own hydro bill is power consumption. I can bet that Apple redesigned the entire PSU to complement the power conscious Ivy Bridge/Haswell chip. Even at 700W estimates that’s better than 950-1000W.

I’m only looking at this from a video editors perspective and I’ve already made the switch to a PC after waiting far too long for an update. When the software catches up this will definitely be my next machine.