Apple’s New Mac Pro; Do You Need One? Probably Not. Do You Want One? Hell Yeah!

mac_pro_new.jpgNothing epitomizes tech lust like Apple’s new Mac Pro. This sleek new computer stands as the culmination of all of Apple’s design chops of recent years. It’s got a distinctive look, and inside it’s fast, furious, and well laid out. Gone is the cheese grater look of the previous Mac Pro (and Power Mac G5 before it; a design first used in 2003, and only recently retired); the new Mac Pro is round, smooth, subtly sexy, and features all the latest technologies in a small package.

As its predecessor, it is certainly “the fastest Mac ever,” but aren’t they all? Each new model of the high-end Mac gets that description, and the all only stay that way for a couple of years. So there’s no point raving about performance; sure, it’ll beat other Macs when rendering videos, but only a handful of users want it for that.

Admit it: if you’re a Mac fan, you probably want one for the cool factor. It’s the kind of Mac you want to show off. Where you may have had the old Mac Pro under your desk, because of its size, this one will sit on your desk.[1] It’s small and unobtrusive, and Apple claims that it’s really quiet.

I bought a Mac Pro back in 2006, when the first model came out. I didn’t need it then, but it was useful. It allowed me to have four hard drives in one computer – so I didn’t need wired external drives and power supplies – and I put a second optical drive in it, a faster one for ripping CDs. It was a good computer for a while, but it was hot, and, while it was quiet in the beginning, the noise became noticeable (but not annoying) when I had four hard drives in it.

I kept that Mac Pro for about two and a half years, then traded it in for an iMac, which I kept for a short period of time, when I bought a Mac mini, which is my current desktop Mac.[2] As a writer, I don’t need more than that; any Mac laptop would do the trick, as long as I connect a large display to it. But the new Mac Pro may find a place on my desk. While I don’t need the speed, it would be nice to have this cool new Mac; just because.

If you’re planning on getting one, think carefully about whether you need the base model ($3000) or one of the models with faster CPUs and more cores. Marco Arment wrote an article about Turbo Boost and the New Mac Pro’s CPUs explaining why you almost definitely do not need a CPU upgrade.

So, stay tuned to this channel for more Mac Pro news. I’ll be deciding soon whether I take the plunge. What about you? Who’s planning on getting a new Mac Pro?

Update: when I wrote this post an hour ago, the Apple Store was showing a ship date of December 30 for the Mac Pro (to meet Tim Cook’s promise, early this year, of shipping it before the end of the year). It nows shows a ship date of “January,” so early orders have depleted the initial stock.

  1. I’m expecting to see the new Mac Pro on desks in many movies and TV shows.

  2. I wonder if Apple has plans for a similarly designed Mac mini in the future. It’s due for an upgrade, notably with new Haswell processors. However, the Mac mini is used widely as a server, so making something that looks like the Mac Pro is unlikely; it’s more efficient as a small, easily stackable computer.