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Capitulation

So, this happened:

Yes, I bought a new Mac Pro. For certain values of “new”. Hear me out, though, after the jump.

Why?

So, my last post was about my angst about replacing my 2008 Mac Pro tower, the best Mac I’ve ever owned. So what happened? Well, upon further reflection:

  • The idea of a 2012 Mac Pro, even the CPU-upgraded Ramjet aftermarket ones, fell off the radar because with Apple’s definition of obsolescence, that hardware will become unmaintainable as soon as 2018.
  • Similarly, someone pointed out that with the very idea of a third-party graphics card no longer in any of Apple’s shipping Macs, it could become difficult for the Hackintosh community to keep going. No idea if this is true, but it makes sense, I guess?
  • If I wanted a year-old iMac, or the new MacBook Pro, I could have bought either of those ages ago and wouldn’t be in this position.
  • Waiting isn’t really an option, with my 2008 machine not supported by Sierra.

I think my needs, for development and especially for video work (Motion and Wirecast, mainly) are best served by the Mac Pro. Even the pathetic, three-year-old Mac Pro, because what I want is lots of cores, silent operation, and expandability of RAM and storage, something the iMac and MacBook Pro can’t offer.

I’d been catching up financially for a while, and finally had a $4,000-5,000 budget to work with. What made finally pull the trigger, ironically, was Tim Cook’s ham-fisted, half-assed claim that desktop Macs remain strategically important to Apple. Marco Arment parsed this as suggesting the Mac Pro is likely dead within Apple, given the fact that Cook explicitly equated the concept of the desktop with the iMac and only with the iMac.

If Marco’s right, then the choice is either today’s Mac Pro, or no Mac Pro.

How

So, I ordered. I’d kept my custom configuration page open for a couple days while I figured out monitors and external storage, and one morning found the estimated ship date had slipped almost a week. In the end, I ordered on December 22, and the custom-built machine didn’t even ship until a week later on the 29th. There’s likely a holiday break involved here, but it’s a safe bet the delay was not caused by excessive demand for the model. Indeed, I have to wonder if they only run the Austin factory one or two days a week at this point.

I got a six-core computer… I really wish I could have afforded eight, but I just couldn’t come up with another thousand bucks. That money went into my peripherals. I got an OWC ThunderBay 4 to hold my big 3.5″ HDDs.

I know what you’re thinking, spinning disks are quaint and wrong here in 2017. Well, not when you can get 4TB for $300, they’re not. I use my big disks for video, where the drive head moving around is the least of your bottlenecks: for playback, you’re reading slowly in one direction (audio and video samples in QuickTime files are interleaved for the expressed purpose of making file I/O easier), and for editing or compressing, the CPU/GPU is more of a bottleneck. Putting your iTunes collection and your iOS device backups on SSDs is kind of a waste (to say nothing of Time Machine backups). Only downside here is that the ThunderBay is louder than I would have liked, although I have it on the floor behind the desk… it kind of sounds like the HVAC or the wind outside, and isn’t so loud that I think I’ll pick it up on my mic (maybe if it were an omni, but it’s a cardioid).

For the screen, I bought a 28″ 4K monitor from NewEgg (I often shop there as a form of thanks for them fighting the good fight against patent trolls). I’m not actually running it in 3840 x 2160, of course; I’m doing the HiDPI thing and basically getting a 1920 x 1080 Retina monitor out of the deal.

I freaking love finally having Retina on my desktop. It looks so great to have the Mac UI in high resolution at a size where I can really appreciate it (as opposed to staring at my work laptop all day). Only problem at the moment is the HDMI connection seems only able to drive the display at 30Hz; I’m told I have to go Thunderbolt to get 60Hz. Fortunately, the monitor has both HDMI and DisplayPort (full-size) inputs, so I’ve ordered a suitable cable and hopefully that fixes it.

I haven’t pushed the computer too hard yet, having only had it for a few days, and having too much work to do on the iOS 10 SDK Development book to afford to take a night off to livestream stuff. I did take the opportunity to reshoot about a third of the images in the book to get them up to Retina resolution, focusing on small elements like icons and inline error messages that get scaled up in the book. They should be a lot less blocky for everyone who just got the beta 3 release that went out today. Just before blogging, I took one of my Motion projects with a couple layers of composited effects and scrubbed around it and exported the file, and it was unsurprisingly much faster than the 2008 Mac Pro.

When

I made one other Apple-related financial decision last week, and it was a big one.

That’s a sell order for AAPL stock in my IRA. I’ve blurred some specifics, but the number of shares is in the low four-digits. At over $100/share, you do the math.

Also, this was my entire position in AAPL. For the first time since 1998, I do not hold any Apple stock.

I bought AAPL after rolling my 401k over into an IRA after leaving Turner (I worked at Headline News for three years). This was 1998, and everyone thought that I was nuts to invest in Apple in such dark days. My belief was that computers that people could actually use and enjoy was an important value, and something that Apple could deliver on. Obviously, they did. I bought more after rolling over another 401k in the early 2000s. I did sell some of my position in a panic during the Apple stock backdating scandal, but held a lot of stock throughout the entire rise of the iPhone, with dividends reinvested into more shares.

That’s kind of what prompted my decision. Looking at my IRA, the incredible growth in Apple made me badly overweight in the company. Your IRA shouldn’t be 70% all one company, no matter what company it is.

So I needed to sell some of it to diversify. But honestly, I look at what Apple’s doing nowadays and ask myself if this is still what I believed in back in 1998. I’m not a fan of the new MacBook Pro, with what seems like a gimmicky Touch Bar (let’s give it a year and see if it’s any more salient a feature than Force Touch) and a de facto $500 price hike. In the Mac line, at least, 2017 Apple seems a lot like 1994 Apple: misguided products, propped up by gouging the loyalists. The difference is that today’s Apple isn’t dependent on computers, and indeed barely cares about them thanks to the timespace-warping enormity of the iPhone. It’s like being in an alternate timeline where the Newton was a smash success, so the Sculley/Spindler era went on indefinitely.

One piece that caught my eye after putting through my sell order was Apple survived a horrible 2016 and the end of its golden age. Now what? by Chris O’Brien in Venture Beat. He notes that Apple posted year-over-year revenue declines in every quarter last year, joking “naturally, the stock is up about 10 percent so far this year.” Which would be a good joke, but if you run a comparison financial chart, that’s barely keeping pace with NASDAQ for the year, and well behind the Dow Jones Industrials.

So, why put 70% of my retirement in Tim Cook and Jony Ive, when they don’t outperform a nice, boring, safe index fund?

I’m honestly not sure Apple is even a consumer electronics company anymore. I’m starting to think they’re more a fashion and luxury goods company instead. When they make the devices thinner just for aesthetics, at a genuine cost to their performance or utility, the old “form over function” slam rings a little more true than it used to. As does the idea of charging high prices because they can; it’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone rebut the “Apple Tax” by configuring equivalent hardware in the PC or Android space… maybe because us Apple fans wouldn’t like the results?

And if they are a luxury goods company, why would I invest in that? The whole reason I bought AAPL in the first place was from reading Motley Fool back in the day (on AOL even! yes, I’m old!), whose emphasis on buying single stocks came from knowing what a company did and how it could be profitable doing that. I understood Apple in the 90s and believed that if they kept doing the right thing, they would succeed. They did, and I was rewarded handsomely for believing in them. But now, what the heck am I supposed to think when they’re maybe making a car, or making $300 coffee table books to celebrate how great they are? This makes no damn sense to me, so it’s time for me to be out.

The Mac Pro, I understand. I wish it had been updated, and I surely overpaid wildly for what I got. But I can be pretty confident it’ll give me about five years of solid productivity in Xcode, Motion, Wirecast and the other apps I depend on for my work. That’s an investment I can still get behind.

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Comments (50)

  1. Funky Kong

    > Waiting isn’t really an option, with my 2008 machine not supported by Sierra.

    I’ve heard this a few times in discussions of the Mac Pro. Why is Sierra so important? El Capitan will still receive security updates for almost two years. Is it that Apple’s first-party software often requires the latest macOS version? (I’ve ran into this problem with Xcode.)

    • Chris Adamson

      Yeah, it’s Apple forcing my hand that I’m afraid of. IIRC, Xcode sometimes goes one-OS-only in mid-cycle, so Xcode 8.3 could well be Sierra-only. And certainly by WWDC, the next version of Xcode will be Sierra and macOS 13, assuming they keep their usual schedule. So any developer with an obsoleted system has, at most, 6 months to move on.

      • Jim

        So why not wait till WWDC? The next Skylake based Xeon E5 v5 that goes into this type of machine is supposed to be launching in April, which means that if the Mac Pro as a product line is still around, you would probably be hearing about updates at WWDC.

        • Chris Adamson

          A. If Xcode does go Sierra-only in 8.3, then my development is hobbled until WWDC.
          B. If Apple *doesn’t* introduce a Mac Pro at WWDC, then that’s six months I’ve been stuck on an obsolete computer. And while your reasoning seems entirely logical, the same could have been said many times in the past few years when it would have made sense to update the Mac Pro. Surely some of the angst comes from people who’ve held off on purchases because a new model seemed like it must be coming. (I propose we call these hypothetical people “Vladimir and Estragon”)

  2. Adam

    Mac – reasonable reasons. Monitor? What were you thinking! Better to go 5k and get retina 2560×1440. 4k is a big compromise no matter how it is configured.

    • Chris Adamson

      I got real cold feet looking at the Apple Support page for 4K/5K monitors, particularly the multiple stream hokiness for 5K. And when there’s like four blessed model numbers on an Apple support page, and it talks about maybe needing firmware updates from third-party manufacturers, I get real scared about plunking down a bunch of money and hoping it works out.

      • Tycho

        I get it, for the most part. But then to top it off with a TN panel? You can never really know what you’re creating with a TN panel anywhere near a video/photographic workflow, IMHO. And it’s an assault on your very own retinas, frankly… 😉

      • John

        I have the 5k Dell UP2715K connected to a 6 core 2013 Mac Pro. Works perfectly @ 60Hz. Best screen I’ve ever used bar none.

        I also have a 4k 24″ Dell as a second monitor. It’s ok, but I find 1980×1200 too restrictive, so have it scaled 2304×1296. This gives me roughly the same “logical” dpi as the 5k screen, but not as sharp. Which is fine for a second screen.

  3. Aren’t the Mac Pro CPUs user replaceable?

    • Chris Adamson

      On the 2013? The little fold-out card that shows you how to lift the cover says that only the memory and storage are user-serviceable. That said, I’d be delighted to see a send-out service for CPU and GPU upgrades in the future, but I didn’t see any when I looked (not sure if too soon, too small a market, or not technically feasible).

      As for older models, I did link to where Ramjet sells massively upgraded 2012’s with new CPUs, but I think there’s still a risk there with that hardware going into vintage mode after 5 years.

      • Noah

        This is technically possible and I’ve been running an upgraded MacPro cylinder for several years now without any problems: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/mac-pro-cylinder-faq/how-to-upgrade-mac-pro-cylinder-cpu-processor.html. It looks like OWC offers this, so I’m guessing that’s how we did it (I didn’t actually place the order myself): https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/MacPro2013/2013_Xeon_Processor/Apple_Mac_Pro_2013/faq.

        • Chris Adamson

          Wow, that is fascinating, and a relief to know that there’s a CPU upgrade option going forward.

          Thanks for this!

          • Jeff

            Heya Chris – just to add to this – I did 3 mac pro cpu upgrades myself here – it is really much easier than most think. I bought the cheapest 4 core trash cans (with the upgraded vid cards), and 12 core chips from new egg. First one took 30 minutes because I was being extra careful, the next 2 were 10 minutes. So keep your mind open to the possibility! (and if you do decide to do it yourself, you’re more than welcome to contact me if you have questions)
            I’ve finally gone to the dark side and I’m building a dual cpu, 7 gpu water cooled PC for octane rendering… the whole thing comes out cheaper than the 12 core upgraded macs. I hate going this route, but windows 10 seems ok enough, and mac can only run octane via egpu…
            I guess it was inevitable that Apple would lose it’s footing at some point.

        • has

          iFixit guides are also good, e.g. https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Pro_Late_2013

          Main things to remember when DIY-ing it are 1. you’ll void any warranty you have, and 2. if you wreck it, tough.

          I’ve repaired/upgraded most of my out-of-warranty Macs over the years e.g. using eBayed parts, when a professional service would’ve cost more than it was worth. (Protip: Before you start disassembly, tape a large sheet of white paper across your desk, and every time you remove a screw, tape it to the paper and draw/write its location next to it.) However, those were older personal/second machines, not my main work machine, so didn’t interrupt the day job or couldn’t be tossed if I botched it.

          For business-critical machines where the initial hardware cost are covered by a few days’ revenue the economics are rather different. The professionalism of using 8-year-old hardware as primary/sole work machine is dubious at best. Aside from accumulated wear-and-tear and MTF, if your job requires maximum processing power then why aren’t you upgrading to a new top-end box every 2-3 years? And if you don’t require more power than an 8-year old box provides, why aren’t you upgrading to a mid-range box every 2-3 years?

          Given the loudness of unhappy “pro Mac users” who share your decade-long upgrade cycle, I can’t help thinking more Mac Pros were bought for vanity more than business reasons, and cannot blame Apple for losing all interest in their high-maintenance low-revenue asses.

          And Mac Pros are an embarrassing architectural dinosaur anyway: these days Apple should be flogging top-end iMacs as front-ends with big fat data pipes to bog-standard local/hosted servers for farming off CPU-intensive stuff. Unfortunately, Apple’s never grokked networks or distributed computing, so I’m not going to hold my breath for that, doubly-so given that post-Jobs Apple has once again forgotten how to innovate new markets, not merely flog proven products to existing ones.

          Frankly the only reason Apple still keeps Macs around is to secure the App development platform that ensures millions of App developers keep their billion AppStore users fully fed. If the other pro customers choose to flounce off to Windows on their own schedule, Apple will be happy to hand them their coats.

          Then Microsoft can go be the next IBM, happily catering to millions of professional customers in a myriad vertical niche markets at the appropriate price point, and Apple and Google can get on with the serious business of selling their consumer products to their *billions* of customers at another. Just good business.

          p.s. Congrats on cashing in your APPL investment; brilliantly played. Wish I’d bought crap 90s APPL instead of crap 90s Apples… Any ideas where you’re putting it next? (With Trumpscendency upon us canned goods and shotguns might be a good thing.;)

          • Chris Adamson

            AAPL sale proceeds are in a IRA; plan is to get into one of Schwab’s auto-rebalancing target funds and forget about it for 15 years.

            Also worth noting: shares of AMZN I bought in the mid-2000s performed slightly better than the AAPL I picked up over the decades. Both up seven-fold, so why nitpick?

  4. Gibtech

    I believe the highest spec Mac Pro is still a great machine for serious FCPX users, Kind of unfortunately.

  5. @seuck

    That’s courage!
    Keeping your feet on the ground and buy the best option for your needs, considering reality. Tool for the work, that’s what a Mac Pro should be.
    Even paying more than an honest, real value, you’re saving maintaining your old tools and workflow. I understand it.

    Lastly, your story would not be complete without the stock part. How much money could be evaluated the shared and growing loss of confidence we are all feeling?

  6. Crazy Bob

    I have a Mac Pro that I bought last year and have just side loaded Windows via Boot Camp. It’s a great boot of kit. Powerful enough to play games on Windows Steam using both graphics cards to full effect. It looks great and is compact. The option to boot quickly into OSX or Windows means I there is very little it can’t do.
    I’m really surprised that people have such a downer on it.

  7. Bob

    I made the same decision last month and bought the same machine, albeit refurbished. It was painful paying the Apple premium for an outdated (but still very fast and capable desktop), but Hackintosh was the only other option I saw given that the Mac Pro was not (even back to the last years of the cheese grater) ever going to be allowed to have incremental, regular upgrades.

    • theinhibitor

      I went the Hackintosh route, bought a dual Xeon cpu motherboard from EVGA, put is 2 Xeon Westmere’s (this was around 3 years ago), 2 Nvidia Quadros, liquid cooling, etc.

      When it was all said and done ($10k later…:( ), I finally got Mac OS running…problem was the amount of time spent trying to get certain programs (Maya, Zbrush, etc) working was a MASSIVE pain in the ass. And the issues cropped up randomly, sometimes would even go away to come back after fixing them. Audio would drop occasionally. Rendering was OK, but the UI would sometimes have various componens disappear or turn grey. I got so fed up, I switched to windows 7 pro (most stable modern OS IMO that still allows you to use programs – sorry Linux) and never looked back.

      Hackintosh sounds great, but I never saw a stable build with my own eyes (many claimed to have one, but I never quite believed them). Friend built one, same issues – freezing, UI, audio, etc. Apple really knows how to lock their system to their hardware.

      Never could justify buying a Mac “trash can”. For the 4-5k spent, you could build yourself a 12 core, liquid cooled monster. Wont look as snazzy, but I don’t even see my desktop anymore (rack mounted in cooled room), so for me that wasn’t a problem. Plus, the issues with upgrading, though manageable, seemed a pain for no reason.

      Just my 2 cents…

  8. Joshua

    “It’s like being in an alternate timeline where the Newton was a smash success, so the Sculley/Spindler era went on indefinitely.”

    This actually made me “oh god” out loud, put my phone down and walk around for a minute. I enjoyed reading this but I sincerely hope that part is wrong!

  9. Brian

    Sometimes you can’t wait for an upgrade, I get that, but I just hope they have a new pro machine at WWDC, can’t imagine they will not. I get along pretty well with the iMac 5k, but I am not processing video.

    • theinhibitor

      I doubt it. Apple has been going toward what I call the “soccer mom/coed” market: nice screen, great portability, passable performance (probably to extend battery life as much as possible). I just don’t see any Apple product that illustrates a willingness to go after the modeling/animation/rendering market.

      I walked into a convention some months ago – Pixar which had been, for as long as I remember, a sort of joint advertiser for the Mac Pro, did not mention it at all during their presentation which I found odd, but considering the specs, I seriously doubt they will be using them much longer unless Apple will build a custom rig or update.

  10. Seth

    Wow, those RamJet prices are outrageous. A hex-core (or even dual hex-core) Mac Pro 5,1 can be had for quite a bit less than what they’re asking. However, it is getting hard to justify buying a 2009-2012 Mac Pro and upgrading it heavily, even if you flash the firmware install the new CPU yourself to save money. If you own one already, it makes a bit more sense to do so, but there are bottlenecks and limitations that won’t go away. I think you bought the right machine for your purposes.

    I run both nMPs and heavily upgraded cMPs — both have their uses, and their own strengths and weaknesses. And I do expect a new nMP will come out this year at some point. The delays in my view stem from various failures by both Intel and AMD, and Apple boxed themselves in too much with the cylinder form factor, and its comparatively small power supply. I also expect its cooling system isn’t robust enough, judging by the number of GPU failures people have reported over the years.

  11. John

    I am in the same spot with a 2008 Mac Pro, but opted to use this hack to upgrade to Sierra. http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/install-macos-sierra-older-macs

    So far, so good. Seriously considering a Hackintosh build.

  12. I bought a Mac Pro as soon as it was announced. Best damn machine I’ve ever had.

    • Chris Adamson

      Wish I’d had the money to have bought one in 2014… would have been nice to have had it for the last three years.

  13. Mark G

    Great Article. I too am in this horrible upgrade conundrum with both of my work machines, 1. A 2013 Mac Pro 12 core and 2. a Mid 2012 McBook Pro. Both were due to be upgraded over the past while but for the first time since owning a Mac IIsi I don’t really ‘want’ any of the current options.

    I head a small digital agency and still do a lot of design work.

    I’ve been holding my breath for a new MP for years now…like many. My desktop Mac still does everything I need it to but we have a 4 year upgrade cycle and my machine will be fed down the line and keep producing (heck, we have 3 2008’s still going strong thanks to Flash Drives). I recently advised my Illustrator brother to get a beefed up 2013 box and he’s delighted with it. I just cannot bring myself to invest a ton of cash into 4 year old tech so I’ll keep holding….. I’m just so disillusioned with Apple recently and I don’t blame you for selling your stock.

    As for the MBP? I can’t belive that, for the first time ever, I’m not looking forward to getting an update! Whatever about the form factor, it’s the stupidity at the lack of usable ports and a maximum of 16GBs RAM that really bugs me. The RAM issue seems to stem from the choice of CPU and not battery life as is being touted… So FIX IT I say and stop feeding us rubbish. 16GBs ram is simply pathetic. I have 32GBs in my current MBP and it’s great to have. As for the ports? Good grief… I just do not get this logic whatsoever. 4 USB C ports…. thanks, now I need to buy a hub (thankfully someone on Kickstarter has come up with a good one but it ads bulk). I use my standard USB ports all of the time, charging iphone, card readers etc… I use the HDMI port quite a bit when making presentations or just watching a movie somewhere that doesn’t have an ATV or Cast… and the MagSafe has saved my computer more than once.

    As for the touch strip? Great idea badly executed. I have always felt that adding touch screen capability to the keyboard area on a MBP was a great idea and I also understand the need for a real Keyboard but for me the obvious solutions was to make the entire area in front of the keyboard a touch screen. With some clever activation trickery resting your wrist on it wouldn’t be a challenge… but that aside it’s really the RAM and ports that have me so angry.

    Where does this leave me? Not sure.. If I get a new MBP I’m worried that they might respond to the backlash in a few months time and release a MBP with more ram and ports!

    Rant over and thanks for your article 🙂

  14. Jeff B.

    Thank you Chris. This is almost word for word what I would say about Apple and my own experience. I’ll add one thing: A key tip-off for me that Apple is not going where I think it should be going is the Apple Watch. I noticed when it came out that it was the first Apple product in a long while that I did not immediately want to go out and buy to be an early adopter of a new cutting edge technology. (I bought my USB iMac in 1998, iPod in 2001, iPhone on day one in June 2007 ) The key realization for me was that I noticed that all the people I knew who had purchased the Apple Watch did so as a status symbol and not for functional reasons. Most of these people are non-tech. It is sad that Apple can release a product as a hobby/ status symbol and still outsell sincere efforts to move the technology needle like Pebble.

    I want great computers and devices with great specs at prices reflective of their value and with a nod more towards technology, function, battery life, usability, performance and less towards industrial design and luxury branding. I don’t want a box of dongles and compromises. (And BTW, my iPhone 7 has much worse cellular performance than my iPhone 6s due to the Intel chipset. I wish I had figured that out before the initial 30 day return)

    I sincerely hope someone is reading at Apple.

    • Brian

      Apple watch is amazing, actually. I didn’t rush to buy one, but I have the first sport model. My experience is you don’t necessarily love it for the same reason you bought it, but it’s an indispensable device for many many things, and it kind of multiplies the effectiveness of your iPhone.

      The Pebble is a ‘sincere effort to move the needle’? Well, I guess it was good enough to get you to buy one. I’ll sell you my original sport model for cheap and you can see how pathetic the pebble is in comparison. I need a series II…

      • Chris Adamson

        As frustrated as I am with the Mac line, I gotta say I really like the Apple Watch. Mostly that I hit enough of its uses — workout monitoring, social networking, messaging, weather, travel apps — that it ends up being really useful for me. It’s not for everyone (my wife is better served by a Fitbit Alta, for example), but that’s one case where they really scratched my itch.

  15. You made two mistakes, the first being you should have waited til june, second you sold apple stock…obviously apple has detected dissatisfaction in the market place by people like me and you and taking advantage of the media attention its getting for free, similar to what trump does. The old mac towers are 1/5 the cost and do the same thing along with being able to run latest graphics cards on the market. In any case enjoy because your jaw will drop when apple upgrades the machine.

    • Art Hackett

      Hope you’re right, but I’m getting a bad feeling, especially after the new laptops and the Tube itself. Nice design, but not great for actual work, never mind the prices.

    • Richard

      Actually, the old Pro towers will not run any Nvidia GTX10x0 cards, including the Titan X. Nvidia has not released any Mac OS drivers for the Pascal cards.

  16. Lyle M.

    My tale of woe is somewhat similar. I have a 2012 MacBook Air and unlike you guys, I want battery life. My hope was for a Kaby Lake MBA that would last 15-18 hours. My current MBA is still good but it would be nice to not have to top off the battery and be able to get on a plane, without worrying about battery life.

    For now I’m sticking with my 2012 and hoping Tim Cook will come to his senses. If it turns out that the Air gets canned, then I’ll probably look at a Dell XPS-13.

  17. Douglas Simpson

    Hi Guys

    Apple just refunded in full the cost of a MacPro with D700 graphics. Mind you it took 6 months of pressure to achieve the refund.

    Stop pissing about with this Crap company and demand your money back, its not fit for its purpose.

    • Brian

      If it took six months, that was because you didn’t ask early enough. Good luck getting that level of service (or practically any service at all) elsewhere. How much you want to bet there is a new Mac Pro coming in May? They have literally upgraded everything else. I think we will see upgrades more frequently when they get into the spaceship.

  18. Barry

    I got a six-core computer… I really wish I could have afforded eight, but I just couldn’t come up with another thousand bucks. …..I’m just a random visitor to your site who doesn’t understand why you would be selling about a quarter million dollars of Apple stock and not invest $1000 into yourself and your productivity by rewarding yourself with tthe eight core machine.

    • Chris Adamson

      Ha. Good point. Thing is, the money is in an IRA, so I can’t take it out, not without a substantial early-withdrawal penalty and a tax bite.

  19. has

    Wait, you’re a niche high-end professional computer user who only buys a new machine *once every eight years*, and yet you *still can’t figure out* why Apple doesn’t wish to serve your market any more?

    Remarkable.

    • Jason D.

      Exactly, this is probably one of the reasons why the whole Mac line sees less frequent updates, with some even coming almost to a standstill.

      Only having to upgrade once every +-8 years is in some way a good thing though. Unfortunately this negatively affects the power-hungry users.

      With Macs becoming less and less user-upgradable I wonder where everything is going to. No user upgrades and no vendor upgrades is unworkable, and I prefer user upgrades.

    • Martin Baker

      Spot on. That made me laugh!

  20. Sasparilla

    Great article, thank you. I feel your angst. Driving a 2012 Pro Tower (bought it after I saw the trash can) with an upgraded 6 core high clocked CPU. Runs great, however as you have said – they’ll stop getting OS updates eventually and the price you can get for them before that is alot higher than afterwards….so I can feel the clock starting to tick as I look at my AirPort (another product line that is apparently abandoned but still sold).

    Am deeply depressed at Apple’s state in the Mac. Am expecting the Pro and mini to quietly die – leaving the iMac and the 2 ongoing versions of the Air (the Macbook and the Macbook Pro) as their entire PC line. I use a good amount of storage (those 4GB desktop drives are great) so the iMac doesn’t fit well, let alone the laptops. Its all forcing me to consider going back to Windows (and reprehensible Microsoft) for the replacements on alot of levels – but mainly for actual machines that meet my needs and the much better pricing doesn’t hurt (the no drop in pricing for the 2013 Pro is truly a ripoff).

    I still fantasize about Apple creating a super user cheese grater with an i7 and nVidia options, regular RAM but the niceties of the Pro case (lots of drive bays, memory slots and external ports) and a lower price – goodness those would sell. Oh well.

    • Richard

      After 11 years with a Mac Pro, starting with a G5 Power Mac and going through a quad-core, eight-core and now a dual-six core unit, I’m leaving Apple behind and moving back to windows.

      Why? Complete lack of CUDA support in their current lineup. My rendering software is all going CUDA and Apple has no machine I can put a new Nvidia card in. Hell, the surgery I had to perform on my 2012 unit to get it to run my GTX980ti without the PSU exploding was bad enough.

      My needs have diverged from what Apple has decided they are willing to sell me and I don’t see them every changing back. It’s too bad. I much prefer Mac OS to Windows, but what am I to do? How long do I cripple my productivity in order to stay loyal to a brand that is not loyal to me, or any other power user?

  21. GG

    Our studio bought 6 x 6 Core 2013 Mac Pro’s with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSDs shortly after they were finally released – we have had every flavour of PowerMac/MacPro over the last decade or more and I have to say these have been the fastest most reliable Pro Macs we have purchased – Quiet, Powerful and somewhat upgradeable for what matters for us i.e. RAM and Disk Space. They chew through video work and photoshop work like clockwork. I second one of the earlier comments of not understanding why they get such a bad wrap, for our application in a creative studio environment they have been awesome.

    • Mark G

      I would agree with your comment about Macs being great up until 2013…..then WTF happened? They looked like they were going full steam ahead then the breaks hit. This leaves us in 2017 with zero upgrade options and no reason whatsoever to spend a ton of cash on 4 year old tech.

      • GG

        Yep, understand your predicament Mark, I think everyone was thinking with the new Macs in 2013 that we would have a nice new era of MacPro hardware progression as for many of us they met our expectations at the time and exceeded them in some areas, we are happy we got in when we did as we will use them for a good 6 years before we start rolling them over to new models – lets hope those new models come through for you and all of us. . .lets hope.

  22. Precisely what I did. Except that I went out and bought one 2nd hand, knowing that buying new is really over 3x overpriced with regards to what it is composed of (minus the Apple tax).

    As long as this thing https://gist.github.com/julik/38683df47ccf80f5b5b09e533a7b821f does not happen to you, it is the best machine I’ve ever owned bar none. It was Jobs’ swan song.

    • Eddie

      This. The Window Server hang reports (and the Kernel panic reports) are exactly why I returned a brand new nMP that I received on 12/27/16 just twelve days later… Too many GPU restarts for a brand new machine sporting the D300 GPU (which isn’t supposed to be affected by these issues. The fact that Apple has not resolved the GPU issues with these machines, and that they haven’t released a public repair program for affected machines is disheartening.

  23. Love my Mac Pro towers (old but still potent machines). Hate the Mac Pro trashcan and have never been sold on the iMac. You’re right, it’s like Sculley/Spindler all over again. Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave.

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