A look at the new Apple Mac Pro 2013/2014!


A look at the new Apple Mac Pro 2014

I love Apple products. I know many who read these pages do, but I also know many readers here do not use Apple products. In any case, yesterday I received a brand spankin’ new Mac Pro powerhouse from B&H Photo in THIS exact configuration. (Happens to be in stock right now). I have been using Apple computers since the 90’s going back to the G3 tower, G4 tower, G4 cube, and everything in between from the bubble colored iMacs to the folding clam shell iBooks.

I switched to Apple after many frustrating years of using Windows  – drivers, viruses, crashes were not my thing and ever since switching to Apple I have had none of those issues…ever. Call me lucky but whenever I upgrade my Mac I have no issues..it just works. Lately though it seems some of have been complaining with issues related to the latest version of OSX, Mavericks. So I hope Apple scan stay on track and continue to deliver the user experience we Apple lovers have come to expect.

In any case, this Mac Pro came in to  my house and I actually waited 24 hours to open it because I wanted to do a video of the opening and 1st look..and I just did not have the time yesterday. So finally..just today, Jan 23rd I cracked it open, took a look, hooked it up to my display for a quick spin and gave my 1st look report in the video below:

 My unboxing and very 1st look at the new Mac Pro. This one is for power users for sure!

 For those who crave speed..

I really do not review computers..ever. But this is not really a “review”. Instead it is a first impression report and overall look at the new machine just to share my enthusiasm for this product. Just as I do not do tech reviews of cameras I do not do tech reviews of computers. I feel too many people take too much time worrying and stressing over little details when they should be using the equipment and getting the most from it. With that said, the new Mac Pro is the fastest mac ever when used with Pro apps such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, etc.

If you need speed, the new Mac Pro is the beast you want. Editing 4K video? The Mac Pro is the one you NEED. Editing huge 37Mp RAW files? The new Mac Pro will shave some time and frustration off of your day. Yes, it is all about the user experience and from unboxing this piece of art to hooking it up, it was up and running within 2 minutes. Easy Squeezy.  The boot up time is insanely fast due to the PCIe flash-based storage that is said to be 10X faster than a 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive. Yes, that is FAST.


The Design 

The new Mac Pro is really indeed a work of art. The Aluminum shell fits over the guts and easily slides off with a flick of the unlock switch. The back lights up when you touch or move the computer so you can see what you are doing. I found this to be a nice little touch and it can really help if you are in a dark office and needing connection ports.

Speaking of ports..how about 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports? 4 USB 3 ports? HDMI? Speaker and Headphone? It’s all here, in one convenient location on the back.


Take off the shell and you see the guts and the brains of the Mac Pro…




But Beware..you may be seeing a speed DOWNGRADE!

HOW SO? How could this be? The fastest Mac ever built..no way there could be a speed decrease!

My main office machine is a loaded up iMac 27″ (latest). It has a 3.5 Ghz i7 QUAD-CORE processor and 32Gb ram (there are times when my system is using 28 of that 32 at one time) and I have 13 Terrabyte of external storage hooked up with a 3TB fusion drive inside the computer. It is fast. VERY fast. I mainly do three things on my computer. The 1st is Photoshop and Lightroom. I use Photoshop quite a bit for my reviews and Lightroom for my personal photo collection. My iMac is very fast when doing photo work. The Mac Pro was even faster. Secondly, I use plain old basic iMovie on a weekly basis for Youtube videos and personal projects. I love it. Simple, easy, and plenty for my needs. It blazes on my iMac. When I imported a video and edited it on the Mac Pro (the video above at the top) – exporting the video took about 3-4X longer than it does on my iMac. When I researched this I found other reviews say that if you use PRO apps/softare then the Mac Pro will be blazingly fast..beating any iMac that challenges it. Use apps like Ilife apps (iMovie, iPhoto, etc0 and it will be SLOWER!

Since my iMac is pimped out the Mac Pro is 100% overkill for my needs. Will it come in handy for Photo work? YES, and it will last a long time. If I upgrade to Final Cut for video editing then I will see a speed and performance boost, so this would be the thing to do to take advantage of this power.

The bottom line is that this is one hell of a computer. It look futuristic, sleek, comes in at 11lbs and is quiet, cool and nothing I threw at it even made it warm up. Putting your hand over the top will let you feel the gentle breeze of the silent fan that cools the machine down. It is a genius design and also TINY when compared to the huge and hulking old Mac Pro. It is the best and most powerful Mac ever. If you are in to power then you will not be disappointed.

The one I show here comes in at $4k. Add a display and you can be yup to $5k in a hurry. If that is too much then I also highly recommend the iMac I use. You can see that one HERE. 

Where to Buy

To order or check out more specs on this Mac Pro, click over to B&H Photo HERE.  ALSO REMEMBER that this one is pretty low in specs. You can spend almost $10k for one of these bad boys if you want it super pimped out and ready to rock and roll for many many years down the road! If you did not see the video at the top of the page be sure to take a look!

More Mac Pro!



This Mac Pro: Details…

Six-Core Intel Xeon E5 Performance

This Mac Pro features a 3.5 GHz Intel Xeon E5 processor with six cores of processing power on a single die. The processor can also be overclocked up to 3.9 GHz. And with 12MB of L3 cache, 40 GB/s of PCI Express Gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions, you’ll never be at a loss for speed

Dual AMD FirePro D500 Graphics Cards

Traditionally, professional computers have relied primarily on the CPU for their computing power. But as GPU performance has dramatically increased, software developers have begun to leverage that power in their apps. With the Mac Pro, Apple engineered an even more powerful GPU architecture. Not only does it feature a state-of-the-art AMD FirePro workstation-class GPU – it features two of them. And each is available with 3GB of dedicated VRAM and 1526 stream processors. With 4.4 teraflops of computing power between the two, you’ll be able to do things like seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background – and still have enough power to connect up to three high-resolution 4K displays


Every component in the Mac Pro is optimized for performance. That includes a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866 MHz. It supports 16GB of memory and delivers up to 60 GB/s of memory bandwidth, which means you can fly through even the most computer-intensive tasks in no time. And since it’s ECC memory, your render job, video export, or simulation won’t be stopped by transient memory errors


Apple reorganized the architecture of the internal components as well as the entire enclosure of the Mac Pro. Its unique cylinder design is made with refined impact extrusion technologies for effective material use and a polished aluminum enclosure. It stands at just 9.9 inches tall with a diameter of just 6.6 inches, allowing you to place it on your desk


The Mac Pro has next-generation PCIe-based flash storage, which is up to 2.4 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive. Most flash storage systems connect via SATA buses designed for slower spinning hard drives. But Apple designed the Mac Pro around new PCIe-based flash controller technology to deliver the fastest solid-state drives available standard in a desktop computer. So you’ll have 256GB of storage that will let you boot up, launch apps, and even open massive files almost instantly

Thermal Core

Rather than using multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the processor and graphics cards, Apple built everything around a single piece of extruded aluminum designed to maximize airflow as well as thermal capacity. It works by conducting heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributing that heat uniformly across the core. That way, if one processor isn’t working as hard as the others, the extra thermal capacity can be shared efficiently among them


Instead of adding extra fans, Apple engineered a single, larger fan that pulls air upward through a bottom intake. As air passes vertically through the center of the device, it absorbs heat and carries it out the top. By minimizing air resistance throughout the system, Apple was able to design a fan with backward-curved impeller blades that runs at fewer revolutions per minute, draws air more efficiently as it spins, and creates considerably less noise


Designed with built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports, the Mac Pro provides flexible, high-performance expansion. And it has everything you need to build a workstation completely customized to what you need and how you work

Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into one high-speed, versatile I/O technology. Thunderbolt 2 delivers twice the throughput, providing up to 20 Gb/s of bandwidth to each external device. So you’re more than ready for the next generation of high-performance peripherals, without being limited by the number of expansion slots inside your computer. You can connect massive amounts of storage, add a PCI expansion chassis, and work with the latest external displays – including 4K desktop displays and peripheral devices capable of broadcast monitoring in 4K. And since each Thunderbolt 2 port allows you to daisy-chain up to six peripherals, you can go all out by plugging in up to 36 external devices via Thunderbolt 2 alone

I/O Connections

The Mac Pro equips you with all kinds of connections for all kinds of peripherals. USB 3.0 gives you the versatility to hook up dozens of different types of external devices. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports let you connect to multiple networks. And an HDMI 1.4 port provides support for the high-definition televisions, projectors, and displays, including Ultra HD TVs. As you rotate Mac Pro to plug in a device, it senses the movement and automatically illuminates the I/O panel. So you can easily see the ports you need when you need them


Access your network over three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi for high-speed wireless connectivity. For all your other wireless connections, the Mac Pro includes Bluetooth 4.0. It’s the easiest way to connect your keyboard, mouse, and other wireless devices without having to physically attach anything


  1. Thank you for this wonderful review! I’m about to order a new MacPro now and I wonder if you might be able to advice on the graphics card. I will only do video for private use like you but do professional work in ADOBE CS. Will Dual AMD FirePro D500 Graphics Cards be enough or should I go for D700? What is your opinion, please?

  2. thanks for your article.
    I recently bought the same and am loving it.
    However, I am struggling to come to right decision regarding a monitor.
    I have read that Dell are bringing out a 4k monitor well under 1000 pounds in Jan 14, but can’t find it on their web site
    what is on their site is a monitor with 30 hz refresh rate HDMI and 60 Hz refresh rate with DP 1.2. I do not know what DP1.2 is and whether this can be employed with the new mac

    so my options are
    1. buy a cheap monitor ( don’t know what will be good) that will give me good performance and wait
    2. spend more on a ultra sharp monitor now
    3. buy an apple monitor

    ultimately my top end budget for a monitor is 1000 pounds

    Any ideas?


    • I was facing the same dilemma and decide to buy an Apple thunderbolt (refurbished by Apple, $800) monitor for now. I figured that once there are more 4K options available I can always get a second monitor too. But the only 4K monitors available with 60hz refresh rate on mac are the Sharp and Asus monitors, which seem very overpriced.

  3. Hmmm. I can’t say I’m not entirely free of enviousness (is that a word?) 😉
    I’m just using a (by now) pedestrian dual core machine running Linux (OpenSuse) and that thing really flies to anything I do with it – which is probably peanuts compared to your 4k video stuff and monstrous RAW files. But it does the job nicely for me. No Windows for me either. After losing data a decade ago I switched to Linux and never looked back. I have Windows for occasional things like testing, of course, but running in a “bottle” (virtual machine) where it can do no harm even if it crashes or contracts viruses.

    • AlpCns,

      To answer your question, “No” it is not a word, your choices would be envy or envious. But if you spell colour as “color” then a nice try. 🙂

  4. At the end of the day, one question remains… what’s this workhorse for? Steve, your macs still work right? They are powerful enough? Did you become a pro video maker???

    • I do 1-2 other things now besides this blog including lots of video work with more on the way (not related to this site) but this is not “needed” – not many people need a MacPro. It’s just ultra fast for pro apps and a pretty damn cool product. For the cost of a 50 Lux one can get a computer to last many many years.

  5. Indeed Dez, it is far from a “Pro” machine but they are appealing to the vanity of the buyers – like many other companies, marketing is King 🙂 I have a Fuji X-Pro1 camera and it’s great (especially with three XF lenses, Fuji hard leather case, Fuji grip and spare Fuji battery all for under £1k ) but I would not call it a Pro model either ha ha…. but the new Fuji X certainly looks like it might be..

  6. Wonderful computer Steve! Wish I could get one but I am going to go for the max specced Macbook Pro 15 inch. I have been a Mac user for nine years and it’s been great. Before that I used Windows machines for ten years and I still have to use them at work. Just a terrible user experience compared to Mac in my opinion.

    I highly recommend you take a look at the Mac Pro review at the Anandtech review of the Mac Pro. He explains very well how and why this is a very different machine from the previous machines. You will gain a full understanding of the multi thread vs single thread process and how the GPU power in your new machine is just incredible.


  7. On the RAM usage, please do realise that OS X or the underlying Unix is lazy for freeing up memory that was allocated to applications. It only does so, when applications require (more) memory than can be provided out of the readily available memory pool. So, it hard to say that the system is close to running out of RAM when it has been running for some time during which various applications have been launched and closed.

  8. They should drop “Pro” from the moniker, a “Pro” needs to install expansion cards in their machines to add or improve functionality for the work they do. The new Mac Pro doesn’t allow for this.

    • You can install expansion cards via TB2 external PCIe chassis. What’s the problem? It’s the most expandable Mac ever, since it is possible to connect up to 36 PCIe cards.

  9. The new Mac Pro is Science Fiction like in execution, but it looks like a air cleaner or something. That’s the problem with Macs, you walk into one of their stores, and all you see are these thin, little white things all over the place. Too metrosexual for me. The power supply on my desktop is bigger than that Mac Pro. With a PC you can easily go into the case and swap parts to your hearts content. Try that with a Mac. PC’s have been running as fast as that Mac Pro for years, and for a lot less money. I run windows 7 on my home built, and haven’t had a hiccup, a crash or a virus in years. Gosh, it sounds like I have penis envy!

    PS. Got my Olympus E-M1 with the 12-40 2.8 Pro lens today. I cry because I’m happy.

    • 1. The new Mac Pro costs less than a similar PC build.
      2. You can upgrade everything inside that machine: RAM, CPU, GPU, SSD. Moreover, you’ve got 6 TB 2 ports for external PCIe extensions.

  10. I’d love to have one of these! Amazing machine as like others here I’m chugging along with an old 13″ MacBook Pro. I had a funny thought as I was reading through your article and the comments – Apple designs Mac Pro that only Bill Gates can afford!!!

    • The Mac Pro is significantly cheaper than a similarly-equipped DIY PC. Very few people build such powerful machines.

  11. I have an early 2008 Mac Pro, now running Maverics, that still works flawlessly. A six year old computer; that is far longer than I have ever used a computer previously.

    in another year or so I may spring for the new Mac Pro. While the new Mac Pro is tiny for such a powerhouse and quite stunning to look at I do wish Apple would have made it just lightly larger to accommodate an extra drive or two inside.

    • for those of use with older mac pro towers who are sitting here full of envy (including myself in that category) – there are a few things you can do to get some more pace out of your aging tower. switch all the hard drives to SSDs and dedicate at least one of them as a scratch disc. that hybrid drive apple offers is nice in theory – but it still has moving parts and is still pretty slow. there are sites (steve – chime in if you have a favorite vendor) that sell SSDs for about $1 per gig. the 480 3G drive you would get for an older tower is around $400 now. not a bargain, but getting cheaper every day. also – find the radeon 5770 and 5870 graphics cards and swap out the old one. By doing this (and getting paired ram) my geekbench score on a 2008 2.8 8 core mac pro is around 13500. steve’s new toy should be around 18000. that’s clearly faster, but not “i-have-to-run-out-right-this-second-and-buy-a-new-mac-pro” faster. my system also boots up to a splash screen in 11 seconds.

  12. Very nice Steve! Thanks for posting your impressions. Would love to own one of these one day but still soldiering on with a 6 year old iMac…. Still very hard times here financially….

  13. Hi Steve — Just wondering, do you have any recommendations on displays? Have you checked out any of the new 4K options?

    • I am using the Dell 24″ 4K display successfully with the Mac Pro. The text is TINY, but it’s my secondary display that I use when video editing.

  14. Don said “Cor blimey” as we say in England. For those of you who are not familiar with Cockney English slang, it is an exclamation of surprise, derived from the original “God blind me”.

  15. I stopped reading after the virusses, bad drivers and other bullshit windows issues. You really think there are no mac virusses? I have both systems and both are working the same, because it has the same hardware! And the latest windows are also very stable! You can build a more powerful workhorse for less with windows!

    • Of course there are viruses for Mac’s but A: I have never ever experienced one and B: There are not even close to as many as Windows is still the most targeted. In my few years of Windows use I had a virus every few weeks. Since going Apple in the 9i0’s I have had no viruses. None. Period. I dabbled with Windows again in mid 2000’s. Had issues with crashes and other problems. Never again..ever 🙂 Why would I ditch something that has not given me one issue in 17 years+ to go back to something that gave me numerous issues over a few years? I am aware there are fans of both Apple and Windows/Microsoft/Others but for me it is Apple from my experience with both. Build, design, stability, performance..those are things I will happily pay for.

      • All those years im virus free too, what did you do back then? Surfing and downloading from dodgy sites? 😉 I dont understand im affraid… Dont get me wrong, i love apple too because i have a macbook pro retina and it works like a charm. But my windows system works like that also… I also dont want to say you have to go back. I just want to say that you can build your own workhorse, for less, and the hardware is just the same last years… I also dont have crashes because i buy good hardware from asus nvidia etc etc… Just want to say that you can have a very stable system with microsoft software. Greetings!

      • I have some automated workflows on my Mac and I find that after each OS upgrade something gets broken or left out which interrupts those workflows. It can take over a day to resolve, so much so that I’ve stopped updating the workflows and they slowly decay away.

        Definitely the best thing on the market IMO, overall, but not without its hangups and problems.

  16. Steve you should get an Eizo screen to go with it (CG276 4K2K for example)…
    I have two CG276 and they rock (with self calibration/sensor) !

    As for the macpro, i think i’m personnaly done with towers that stay home… and the lastest retina macbooks are just enough powerfull to do whatever you want (got 2 of them):-)

  17. Love to hear you’ve become a mac head too steve. I’ve been using mac since ’89. Never cheat, never change side, even through the big storm in the 90’s. My ’87 mac plus, ’91 powerbook 100 are still working. I just retired my 2001 powerbook titanium after 10 years of service. Reliable, dependable, stress free, and so much fun, that’s why I love macs

  18. The amazing this is that in about 7 years, you will probably be able to get a laptop that is more powerful than Steve’s new Mac Pro. And at that time there will be a newer Mac Pro which is even faster than that laptop! 🙂

  19. I loved the design of this Mac Pro at first sight and still do it doesn’t look much bigger than my cube which I will never give up another beautiful design and it still runs well I also have a suped up 27 inch iMac and will certainly be getting one of these in the spring or early summer ! Love the danish sideboard also you have great taste in design Steve thanks for sharing

  20. Apple is the best! I have MacBook Pro, Retina. 2.7G Intel Core i7 (Qaud Core vs your Six core). 16G of ram and a 240 Flash drive. From input of password to up is about one minute. Even my little laptop screams. Your iMac looks nice too. Mac Pro is a thing of beauty.
    I just hope some guest does not mistake it for an ashtray, silver, open on top. I really hope not!

    • Sorry, Karl, but input of password and up to go at one minute is pedestrian. On this comparison alone, and I’m posting in jest, I trust you understand, my laptop is Usain Bolt to your Neanderthal.

      My 17″ laptop running W7 64 bit OS on an SSD and with a quad core i7 and 16GB of RAM is ready to go in just 20 seconds, and this includes my internet security programme downloading the latest virus definitions, and which it does before it will let me have wireless access to the internet. It is then that I consider my laptop up and running.

      • Oh maybe your right, my computer seems so much faster the my old Mac daul core and 7200 rpm HD. I have the I7 SSD and 16GB of ram, it my just be faster. I have never realy time it, just seems so fast.

  21. Hi Steve,

    Are you using your 27″ iMac as a monitor or will you be getting a new dedicated monitor? When I bring my work macbook air home, I use the 27″ iMac as the monitor all the time. Very cool feature.

    • I will eventually get a dedicated monitor once I take a look at what is out there. For now it will be the iMac monitor. (I have two iMacs, one 8+ years old and still going strong, one almost 1 year old)

  22. HI Steve… I must say, between photo gear, audio gear and computer gear, I’m getting SteveGearEnvy 😉 . I really appreciate your taste and sensibilities in all these areas. So what monitor are you using with the new MacPro ? have you thought about the new Dell 4K monitor (under $700 !) .

  23. Great stuff, Steve. But I’m gonna ask a slightly unrelated question — where did you get that gorgeous headphone stand on your desk? Mind sharing with us its manufacture and model names? :p

  24. Steve, to be fair you’d need 32GB RAM in the Mac Pro to compare to your 32GB iMac. I think it’s just a matter of time until the i-apps are full 64-bit and take advantage of the cores and GPUs in the Mac Pro.

  25. I did read some controversial opinions about this new Mac Pro. Certainly not the most bang for the buck (that was never the case with Apple), but it is hell of a machine no doubly. I myself use the first unibody aluminium MacBook 13″ with core 2 duo CPU from 2008. The only component that HAD to be replaced after 3.5 years was the battery. I also upgraded the RAM to 8GB and just a few weeks ago swapped the original 160GB HDD for 250GB SSD. Works great even with 400MB+ 4×5″ scans. So yeah, there is something to Apple products (at least the computers) 🙂

    Enjoy your new Mac and do not worry – you can NEVER have too much computing power. I know – I did data analysis on 10k+ CPUs as a student 😉

    • I’ve got the same computer! My battery is actually still going strong, but I’ve mostly left it plugged in during the 5+ years I’ve owned it.

      • A few days ago I used a company pool laptop – a 2008 aluminium Unibody Macbook (pimped by the IT support with SSD, 8 GB RAM and Lion in 2011).

        The thing must have been dropped a few times in its life, and showed signs of heavy use (dents and scratches all over, one keycap missing), but display and handling were just fine. Out of curiosity I checked the number of battery cycles this battered warhorse had on its back – it was 1067… reported capacity just above 4000 mAh – true autonomy still over four hours with my use.

        I admit I found that quite remarkable, and hope that the battery of my own 2011 Macbook Pro 17″ will last that may cycles…

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