First thing you need to know about Mac Pro is that it’s extremely fast. Not only that, but it’s smooth, tube-shaped look, makes it almost a masterpiece. It is Apple’s most expensive computer and it’s not for all. You must think carefully, before you buy this kind of machine, especially considering what you will be using it for. Professional photographers, creative designers, computer animators and artists will profit most from it.
That being said, let us take a look at the different models, with an emphasis on performance.
Here is our guide on which Mac Pro to buy.
Based on price there are two basic configurations:
Mac Pro (basic price of $2,999):
Intel Xeon E5 processor, 3.7GHz Quad-Core
Dual 2GB AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards
12GB DDR3 ECC memory at 1866MHz
256GB flash storage (PCI)
Mac Pro (basic price $3,999):
Intel Xeon E5 processor, 3.5GHz 6-Core
Dual 3GB AMD FirePro D500 graphics cards
16GB DDR3 ECC memory at 1866MHz
256GB flash storage (PCI)
Apple also provides customizations and upgrades depending on your desire. It can get a little pricey, a high-end Mac Pro can add up over $9,000:
3.0GHz 8-core processor or 2.7GHz 12-core processor (ranging from $500 to $3,500)
Dual 6GB AMD FirePro D700 graphics cards (with an extra $1,000)
16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of RAM (from $100 to $1,300)
512GB or 1TB of flash storage (from $300 to $800)
Unlike the Mac Pro tower, the Mac Pro doesn’t have space for extra cards or drives, so you exclusively rely on the external ports. Thankfully, Apple incorporates a bunch of them:
Dual Gigabit Ethernet
An HDMI port
Four USB 3 ports
Six Thunderbolt 2 ports
The Mac Pro is the fastest Mac out there, as long as you take advantage of its multi-core processor by using professional software.
Numerous benchmarks, such as Geekbench 3, concluded (using 64 bit tests) that the Mac Pro, with a 12 core Intel Xeon E5-2697, is the best performer. The Intel Xeon E5-1680 (8 cores) came in second, shortly followed by the Intel Xeon X5650 (12 cores). Looking at these tests you can clearly see that upgrading your processor is very useful.
If you plan to use your Mac solely as a general computer, utilizing basic software, such as web browser, e-mail or basic audio or video editors then you are better off buying an iMac. The Mac Pro just doesn’t perform as well when it comes to single core apps. The 27 inch Retina iMac, with an Intel Core i7-4790K, is probably your best buy.
Another important component when it comes to performance is your graphics card. Tests have shown that a bunch of applications respond better when using the double graphics GPUs. Games (not all) however, as well as some apps, are not built to benefit from two graphic processors, so keep that in mind and inform yourself before making your purchase.
Following the release of the Retina Display, back in 2014, many pro users thought that the 5K, 27 inch display will be better suited for them, but the Mac Pro remains superior. Tests conducted by the same Geekbench, on multi-core processing, shows that the 12-core processor is nearly twice as fast as the Retina iMac. In addition to this, the 8-core is 55% faster, while the 6-core is 27% faster. The only Mac Pro to be beaten by the Retina iMac is the quad-core, and only by 15%.
Another downside of the Mac Pro compared to the Retina iMac is that it does not support 5K displays, but you can use three displays with 4K resolutions.
However, don’t think for one second that you can trick fate and use the Retina 5K as an external display on your Mac Pro, because the Pro can’t support the target display mode.
Which one should you get?
Simply put, if you use top of the line professional software, that benefits from multi-core processing, get a Mac Pro. As we established earlier, the Mac Pro is the fastest, most reliable for this type of work and in the long term your investment will eventually pay off.
As many other users, you may just like the Mac Pro for its design and if you happen to have enough money you should consider getting one. It is the smallest desktop after all.
After deciding to buy a Mac Pro you must consider what model to get. This is entirely up to you and what you are willing to spend. The 12-core processor is clearly the best, but you can get things done with a 6-core, or even with a quad-core depending on your line of work. But don’t forget that the Retina iMac ($2,499) outperforms the quad-core ($3,999) in 3-core benchmarks.
As in all computers more RAM is always better. It is ideally to have 32GB or more. You may be able to save some money when it comes to the HDD, seeing how the Mac Pro cannot go over 1TB. Do not worry; you can still use external RAID drives to boost your capacity.
Images source: apple.com, 9to5mac.com