Update and more thoughts on my “I bought a Mac Pro in 2017” Post…

Update and more thoughts on my “I bought a Mac Pro in 2017” Post…

It never fails! Post something about buying a Mac to the public and you are sure to get those who say “You could have built a PC with better specs for half the cost”!! Well, that is all well and good but I do not want a PC, and never will. While I respect those who love their PC’s I am just too invested in Mac that I could never switch back. I have been a dedicated MAC user since 1997, yep…20 years. I am in the Mac ecosystem hardcore with my iPhone, Apple TV, iPad mini, etc. I have android devices as well but I am a Mac guy, and even though I also own a Surface Pro 4, I am a Mac guy.

Over the last 20 years I have used and owned the Powermac G3, G4, Cube G4, iMac Snow DV Edition, iMac Blueberry, iMac with the swivel arm and probably 20 other Mac computers in general from Macbook’s to Power Mac’s to iMacs to Mac Pro’s.

I have had them all over 20 years…The G4 Cube, the Powermac G4, and the Swivel arm iMac.

Over the last 8 years though it was all iMac. My last two computers for daily and work use were fully maxed out for the time iMacs, and my last one, from 3-4 years ago was a fully maxed out version (model or two before the 5K) and it rocked..hard.

Now again, I have no interest in Windows or PC’s. Many reasons for me but most are large (if you want power), most are noisy due to fan noise and most run hot, and it heats up my room. Yep, even though I have been a Mac guy for 20 years now I have bought PC’s just to see how the experience has grown every 6 years or so. My last one was bought and returned within 2 days after it was an instant headache, and noisy as all get out from fans blazing when working. I also am not a Windows fan…not a fan of driver updates or constant software or virus updates. In 20 years I have never once had a virus on my Mac, and I do not use any anti virus software. With Windows I had to have anti virus software and I was still getting them, somehow, someway. Or just having issues or constant  updates needed. Was not a pleasing experience. The more time messing with the machine equals less time working.

The Snow iMac DV, Powermac G5 and the Powermac G3

So to be clear, I have no interest in Windows even though they seem to be more Mac like than Mac these days 😉 With the new Surface series and new Windows 10, they have upped the game for PC’s and I can even see Windows and PC’s gaining more steam over Apple in the coming years as Apple, IMO, is slipping a bit with their audience. Ever since Steve Jobs left this earth, it just seems different for Apple.

In any case, I recently wrote a post about why I just now, in 2017 bought an Aging Mac Pro computer. Yep, the one Apple has not updated since launch. With aging processors and tech, why would I do such a thing? Why not get the latest iMac or MacBook Pro? Well, I thought about this and even tossed and turned for three nights about it.

I needed a new Mac. I use Adobe Photoshop (old school) and Final Cut Pro almost DAILY. I edit videos DAILY. My last two iMacs could not handle the load it seems as both acquired issues within 3 years, with my last iMac 27″ just popping and having the stand break while working one day! A HUGE CRACK!!! Then the screen faces downwards… It only points down now. But other than that, with the last two iMacs I have had one with the screen go 100% out after 3 years and the last one I have had issues with the screen, the stand and when editing anything longer in Final Cut Pro than 15 minutes, freezes, crashes and problems. I lost two projects completely after editing for hours, and that was not acceptable. The iMacs get hot and when the fans go full bore, you know you are stressing it out.

I said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The more I read, the more I realized that the iMacs are really designed to work well for 3-4 years and then..TIME FOR A NEW ONE. They can not handle heavy workload as the design…well, they can run hot if pushed and when this happens the fans go full bore. My iMac before this last one, the fans stopped working after 2 1/2 years and it was all downhill from there and these are full specced iMacs I paid $$2900- 3500 for at the time.

So this time I decided..Mac Pro. Sure, a full maxed out iMac 5K at $4000 will beat the 4 core $3k base Mac Pro for some things but one area where it will not beat it is reliability. A new Mac Pro can run 24/7 without failure or overheating or without even being audible. It runs silent, it runs cool and the chips inside are server grade, meant to run without fail. The ram is ECC ram, meaning less of a chance for a crash when working. The size is tiny, the ram upgradeable to 64GB and takes 5 minutes to do. The SSD is even easily upgradeable inside.

I started with the base model. The Quad Core, Dual D300 GPU’s, 12 MB ram, etc. Then I said “I will be keeping this for 6-7 years MINIMUM…so maybe I should get the 6 core due to the D500 GPU’s with more ram” After all FCP relies more on the GPU than anything else. After editing a project with the quad, and having it work great (though it maxed out the 12GB ram during the edit) I decided to jump up to the 6 Core model with Dual D500 GPU’s and 16GB ram stock. I will upgrade the RAM to 32 or even 64GB and be set for many years. All I need for what I do for quite a while.

All I want is a machine to run Final Cut Pro and Photoshop with speed and reliability. I do not want fan noise, I do not want a huge box and I do not want it to burn out or fail in 3 years. With my last two iMacs acquiring issues after 3 years I felt spending $700 more for a 6 Core Mac Pro and display over a maxed out 5K iMac was well worth it for the long run.

As I said before, it is like using a Leica M vs a Canon 5D. The Leica is more enjoyable, smaller, easier to use, and simple. The Leica costs more, much more than a Canon, but it delivers a joy of use and satisfaction that the Canon could not give me. This is why I chose a Mac Pro. It does what I need it to do, and it will do it without issues. Sure, the exporting of video will take longer than the latest iMac but that I do not care about as exports are done while I sleep anyway.

So today I swapped my quad core base for the six core base and I feel good knowing I can stop worrying about losing my projects and just concentrating on my work. For the long haul, it is worth it as it will run FCP just as it does today for me in 4 or 5 years. I can also have three 4 K displays hooked up or 3 5K displays. Say what you will about the Mac Pro, but for the applications it was designed to work with, it is an amazing computer and while you can get a PC for less that has the same power, one thing a PC will not do is run a program I have used since inception and one I am fond of, FINAL CUT PRO. ; )

So I am thrilled as can be with my new Mac Pro. Sure, it cost a lot but $2500 less than a Leica M10 and $3500 less than a Leica SL and it will serve me for many years to come. Will Apple ever update this model or will they let it wither away into dust? No one knows but I feel the Mac Pro will be updated soon, because I bought one NOW instead of later ; ) But even if Apple never updates it, I can sleep knowing I bought the made in the USA Apple super computer that does what I need it to do, without fail, day after day.

With prices ranging from $3000 to $9800, the Mac Pro can be configured to be a beast to a superbeast. Even with outdated chips, it’s still an amazing computer that delivers the goods while being small, silent and running cool. I have no regrets 😉 Its truly amazing to be working on a huge file or huge edit and not hear ANY noise at all. No heat. Just smooth as butter performance. If I did not need FCP I would have gotten the base iMac 5K  though, as it is a beautiful machine and has a gorgeous display.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Steve

29 Comments

  1. Ayoille! The PC/Mac thing never dies!

    Better to use & buy what suits you,
    don’t bother to justify it to anybody – it’s personal – and
    worry about photography! :^)

    Imagine if we tried to justify our choice of mate/spouse??

  2. today’s PC at 699 $ would do the job you looking for and would last long …. what do you do? pictures and movies? and you believe a normal PC cant’ handle that? are you seing yourself as steven Spielberg?

    My true guess, is that you are never happy and feel more is better …

    been reading articles here, some very interesting but most from Steve are actually boring and out of interest … watching pics of bins or walls or others with no talent … no thanks

    I quit, i’m a little bored of reading fantastic, better, amazing, whoua, ho my god …. be simply happy with what you have

    • My guess is you know nothing of what you speak. First of all, as I said, I use FCP and you can not use it on Windows. Fact. I have used it since inception and edit DAILY for others projects I do, some as long as 60 minutes and the fact is, Adobe Premiere takes 3-4C as long for renders on ANY PC due to the way the software works. I do not want, nor am I interested in a PC, period. Maybe I should lecture you on the car you drive or house you live in or clothes you wear and tell you that other options would have been better for you. Lol. A $699 Windows PC would not do the job I need for speed, for being quiet, for stability, and for a no stress life during ITS life. I have explained why I do not use PC’s anymore, and it is for many reasons. I have also stated I want longevity, stability, and to be able to use the software I use where it is optimized. SO my choice was the right one for me but you must not have a clue about video editing but you seem to think you know about my life, and how I should live it. Too odd. I am always happy with what I have BTW. Always. When it works. Maybe you should be happy with your life 😉

  3. Good buy. I have had my Mac Pro tower for nearly 8 years. Works as well today as when it was new May 2009. Easy to add RAM and hard drives. Never hear the fans run wildly. Just a great workhorse. The only issue now is Apple has designated my machine as obsolete so no more Mac OS updates. Whatever. When you buy the best, you only cry once.

  4. Hey Steve. What kind of storage are you using for the Mac Pro? Do you have an external RAID system like the Pegasus or Drobo?

    I’m currently running a 2011 iMac that was maxed out at the time. Had to have the logic board replaced at just over 3 years because the graphics died. Luckily, Apple replaced it for free. I’m definitely looking at replacing it this year with either a new iMac or a Mac Pro.

    Thank you for buying the Mac Pro. Now I know they will have a new one out this summer!

  5. Steve, I have been having the same MAC crisis as you. I want something with the power of an iMac with reliability and without the display. Apple’s packaging has moved to “form over function” across the whole line. I think I will follow your lead.

    Thanks for the excellent article.

  6. puh, I don’t get it. When your last IMacs failed that consistently, why invest again and even more and be especially proud that you had history with it?

    I would be one of those who would opt for pc. Put a overclocked and water-cooled system together for that amount of money with superb, superb parts (5k builts you a dream machine where I would have to ask why you need something this powerful?).

    but it would not be: open box then plug&play… that only apple can get you. and they even make you feel good about this.

    • Lol, I have used Macs for 20 years and would never go to windows again. In fact, any Windows PC I have ever owned died within a year. Nothing but hassle. So no thank you. This one will be with me for 6 years until I upgrade next, saving me around $3500 or so.

  7. Excellent read Steve thanks for posting. I agree it was a good buy over the imac. Most of the people that complain about macs havn’t even ever owned one just trolling for the sake of trolling. I have my macbook pro and imac to fit a specific need for my professional work and my PC for Gaming.

    Chris

  8. It is strange to me that you would not endeavor to build a silent-build hackintosh. Your biggest issues with PCs seem to be fans, windows, and size, all of which you can solve for much cheaper than an aging Mac pro at full price. If you keep buying large and loud desktops every few years, no one is going to be surprised when you are still unhappy.

    • Why would I want to spend time I do not have, to research and buy parts and build a “mackintosh” when I have zero interest in that? I want warranty, I want stability and I do not have time to build or maintain anything like you speak of. That interests me in no way, shape or form. It boggle my main why some would even mess with that but I guess they have lots of time on their hands and money to risk. Not me. Thank you.

  9. Hi Steve, Nice article. I do love your writing very much. I use PC to do my photoshop till last year when I bought my MacBook. I found that there is a huge difference in display between Mac and PC. With the same picture, it looks very pleasing but dull and uninteresting in PC. Could you please tell me what monitor to you used to pair with your Mac Pro. Thank you.

  10. The design team really knocked themselves out on that one. Looks like a air cleaner. Waiting for the second installment of the Oly mark 2 review.

  11. 23 years ago I paid a lot for 2 very large and heavy hand wired monoblock tube amplifiers. Those same 23 year old amplifiers are still running and now powering new speakers and sounding great (not just good, great). At the time of purchase, I expected they might only last maybe 5 years before problems developed or something significantly better came along. There is satisfaction in quality that lasts a long long time and way past your expectations. I would guess your Mac Pro will turn out to be a similar beast.

  12. If you still have your imac, my understanding is Apple will replace the hinge for five years free-of-charge and regardless of warranty status. May also be worth seeing if they can clean the inside, in case it’s dust that’s causing problems?

    • Yea I can get it fixed, that’s not a worry at all. It runs, it runs well for most tasks but all iMacs, even the new 5K will bog down and even crashes when stressing it out with large FCP projects longer than 20-25 minutes. The design makes it prone to heat when stressed, which is why they are not considered “pro”…they can not be stressed for hours on end, not built for it. So for my needs I realized an iMac is not what will do the job. For everything else, photo editing, internet, whatever..they are amazing. But stress them with a 45-90 minute FCP project with 3D titles, effects, filters and forget it. They can not handle it. 10 minute youtube videos, sure but real editing, no. After 3 iMacs in 9 years costing me $11,000 I decided to spend $4000 for something that will do what I need for 6-8 years without fail 😉

  13. There is something about using a piece of equipment that is well made that makes you better at doing the job on hand. Whether it is a camera, computer, test equipment, down to a screwdriver.You have to be comfortable with the tools that you choose to get the job done. I gave up arguing about computers and operating systems a decade ago. Let your results speak for your choices. 40 years of working with computers, 35 years with digital imaging. If people are willing to pay you for your work, your decisions were the right ones for you.

    • On the running hot problem…

      Think “Thermo-Electric Coolers” in the right place.

      I once had a $130K FPS-120b computer catch on fire while running my code. Overloaded the switching power-supplies, made the Halon fire in the computer room. So I always tell people the worst thing that can happen while testing their code is the computer will catch on fire.

      These days: I think computer vendors use inadequate cooling to increase sales.

  14. Oh….the Cube. The best Design ever made by Apple. Was way ahead of its time! Fully deserves to be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art NY.

    B

  15. Steve, I’m 100% with you on this, and in fact the only doubt I had was, “well, I would have thought he’d be better off with a 6-core”. Personally I don’t do video, so maybe a 4-core would be enough. But in all the history of Macs, the best buy has always been the mid-level model.

    One question though – did you ever consider an i7 4 core Mac Mini? With 16Gg RAM and 1Tb SSD it does seem like a contender.

    I use a high end Eizo 27 inch monitor, and a (now) secondary Quatto 24 inch – an iMac monitor, however good, is something I just don’t have any requirement, or indeed desktop space for.

    Have fun with your Pro!

  16. Congrats on the purchase Steve

    It’s a real shame you’ve had to justify your purchase, it’s money you earned after all.

  17. I purchased a Mac Pro in 2010 (mid 2010 version) when it first came out. 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon. That was 7 years ago. I skipped the 2013 Pro when it came out, why? This thing that I have is running with no problems. Other than the fact that it is big, but I just tuck it under the desk…and yes, its quiet. I’m driving two 27inch displays, I use primarily for photo editing, lightroom and photoshop. Also email, browsing, banking – I run a Drobo raid backing-up all of my digital assets like music, photos and videos etc from almost 20 years of use. The original graphics card failed, but that was just late last year and getting a used one with more capabilities was relatively cheap and saved me from having to purchase a brand new machine.

    My previous experiences with Windows is that they get slow to the point where you just have to replace it.

    I do want to replace my 6 year old MacBook Air. I used it for travel and would edit photos back in the hotel room etc. but the pixels I’m working with now are far larger than what I was working with back then, otherwise, it still runs the same. I hear Apple will introduce a better spec’d out MacBook Pro this year at which point I will take the bite (pun intended).

    As much as I wanted a new computer, I’v really had no need. It’s not like camera’s where I’ve had GAS and purchased at least one new camera every year or over the last 13 years or so.

    I guess I’m a fanboy? But it just works, sorry.

    Steve that MacPro will easily last you into 2020 and beyond. Enjoy!

  18. I was a PC guy for years until just two years ago I bought a MacBook Pro specifically for editing video. Despite having built countless desktop PCs myself, I knew I needed a mobile platform that would edit both photo and video.

    Having spent a lot on money on an HP solution that really didn’t work, I did exactly the same thing as you did Steve.

    I purchased a marked down Mac – a MacbookPro 2013 edition. I maxed out the RAM and have an idea to run an SSD drive – but it’s done everything I’ve asked of it pretty much flawlessly pretty much out of the box.

    The Mac solution worked so well for me that I tossed out every PC in our office and replaced them with MacMinis. And those too have worked just flawlessly and have done everything we have thrown at them.

    Now the money rub – it cost us less to land the MacMinis in Africa purchased from an American seller via Ebay than we could have built PC computers ourselves with component parts that would have done the same job!

    To repeat that – even the purchases cost us less, not more.

    With the PCs in our office, I was constantly fixing and repairing the stupid things. I can’t tell you how many motherboards and power supplies I’ve replaced in the 14 odd years we were a PC house. Even more, the number of times I’ve wasted hours and hours adding fresh installs of Windows because the stupid OS has fallen over.

    To say nothing of those PC machines being browser hijacked every few months. Again, the damn things had to be rebuilt every time since that seemed to be the only way to get rid of all the rubbish. Then a few months later, I was doing that all over again.

    We have never, not once, reinstalled the Apple OS on any of our machines to date! New update? Just click that update process and there is a new OS that runs perfectly. Well, that’s my experience anyway.

    Looking back, I now see Macs and PCs like this. A PC is like a dragster that can be pimped to go down a straight track in perfect conditions really quickly. It’s loud, it has brash signage and glows eerie green lights under the bonnet. It can be pimped to put huge power to the rubber on the road.

    But the ride is awful, it can’t turn a corner and it’s completely unreliable.

    The Mac is more like a decently balanced car – like a Merc or a BMW. No it’s not as quick on straight as a dragster, but if you want to drive across state and know you are going to get the job done, it’s far better driving decision.

    Flame away 😉

    • Exactly, which is why it boggles my mind when so many act as if they own my money, or know what I need, or try to dictate what I should do. It’s really a little….crazy. How some think. I will spend my money on what gets the job done with the least hassle. That’s what I have always done and always will 😉 Been there done that with PC’s, and never again. Twenty years with Mac and I am very happy. Twenty years virus free, twenty years of productivity with the only issues being my last three iMacs going down every three years due to me stressing them with things they were not built for 😉

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