For several years now, Apple has been harshly criticized for not upgrading their Mac Pro line more quickly. This has caused a lot of their customers to move away from using a Mac product to other workstations that fall into the same classification from competitors like HP and Dell. As you’re likely aware, Apple announced a new Mac Pro that essentially responded to this criticism, but now everyone is up in arms about the price. And before I go too much farther, to the average person like me, a $12,000 system is a bit steep. But to someone whose entire business hinges upon having the latest and greatest technology, this might be a drop in the bucket.
So what does this new Mac Pro offer? To start it has a new XEON processor from Intel, as well as an extremely powerful graphics card from AMD through their VEGA line of graphics processors and boards. The new Mac Pro features powerful Xeon processors up to 28 cores, with 64 PCI Express lanes for exceptional performance and massive bandwidth. It also provides over 300W of power along with a state-of-the-art thermal architecture to allow the processor to run entirely unconstrained all the time. This particular Mac Pro has been in the works for almost three years, and Apple is looking forward to its debut.
Apple chose AMD’s Radeon Pro 580X for the base model graphics card and an option for AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which features two Vega GPUs that delivers up to 28 teraflops of graphics performance and 64 gigabytes of memory. From a technical standpoint, the Mac Pro is one of the most powerful workstations on the market and sets Apple up to be more than competitive with the current offering from competitors.
So what’s the big deal? To start, many believe that this product is for someone like me. Who, for example, does a lot of writing, some audio/video work, and some very minimal design work. Is the new Mac Pro something that I would need? Absolutely not, but as a fan of all things Apple, this is definitely something I want. Many of us (myself included) have a hard time balancing our wants and our needs, so it makes sense that the media and the general public are confusing the two in this case. The average consumer doesn’t need this fancy new cheese grater-esque piece of hardware, but we all want it and therefore think we have to have it.
Where does Apple go from here? This particular piece of hardware emphasizes that the Mac is still an essential product for Apple, and they can still innovate at the highest levels. But they need to do a better job of updating the product so it doesn’t get stale and cause the same kind of negative hype they’ve been getting from the media.
There are a lot of people who could benefit from the Mac Pro, as well as many industries, so Apple could use this as an opportunity to shift some of their product offerings away from service-based back to providing hardware as a main-stay of their business. I’d also hazard a guess that this kind of product would actually get Apple back into the hearts of those who originally started off with Apple, but have had to change out of necessity.