The Apple Mac Pro has been getting lots of hype. I wrote lots of what we’ve been told. Great specs! But you never know how cold the water is until you get in…
I was in Palo Alto, CA recently where the flagship Apple store is located. I was in the area and thought I would drop in to fantasize my next purchase. A Macbook Pro. As good as my Mac Mini has done, it’s seriously slow when bulk-exporting images from Lightroom. And God forbid I have video playing while Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are open! Ha! Love that little guy though.
So as I was walking into the Apple store, I scanned the room. It’s a huge showroom. And there in the corner, by itself, was the Mac Pro. By itself? Yes! I thought there would be a line of people waiting to look at it. Nope. Nada. So hey, I thought I would go introduce myself.
I’ll say this: the Mac Pro is incredibly small! And sleek! Pictures don’t do it justice. Really, it’s 2″ taller than my WiFi router on it’s end. I can even palm the top of the Mac Pro with my hand. It even takes less desk space than my Mac Mini! The Mac Pro has a circumference of 6″. My Mac Mini measures 7.5″ x 7.5″! I usually have my Wacom tablet standing on end in-between my router and external drive. I could place the Mac Pro on the far side of my tablet and would only see the far end of the Mac Pro top!
Have I told you how small the Mac Pro is? Here’s a video done by Tony Northrup showing you how he made the Mac Pro portable. Just so you know… It will easily fit into the thinkTANK Airport International v2.0 rolling camera bag. Folks, think about it. You can take this bag onto your average airline! Though not sure where you’d put the external monitor…
The Mac Pro was connected to the SHARP PN-K321 4k LCD Monitor. Like I said. It’s a big monitor, but not overwhelming. That monitor is damn pretty. I fired up the loaded Photoshop CS6 and other apps that were installed. The model on display was the base 4-core, 12GB model.
My initial impression was that it was very snappy. It wasn’t crazy-faster than a top Macbook Pro. Geekbench scores confirm that. But definitely a notch faster. Probably due to the PCIe mSATA drive. Every app opened and closed quickly with no delay. The bigger images and documents installed on the Mac Pro opened quickly as well. But still, they were only 80MB in size. Short order even on my Mac Mini. I’d love to take a couple of 1 – 2GB Photoshop files and see how fast those open and save on that machine. Right now, it takes 20 seconds for a 1GB PSD file to open on my Mac Mini’s new 250GB Samsung EVO drive. On my Western Digital 3TB Red External drive connected via USB 3.0, it takes twice as long at 35 seconds. I doubt my system setup is not too unlike others.
What blew me away was the SHARP monitor attached to the Mac Pro. Like I said, big but not overwhelming. Pictures I brought up on it were vibrant and sharp. Amazing monitor! I just kept thinking “I can edit photos on this all day. No problem!” Mind you, it’s a $3,500 monitor! It should look great. I’m totally spoiled now. The good thing is that technology rarely stays expensive. SHARP, Asus, Dell and Lenovo have all stated at CES 2014 that they will all have 4k displays available for less than $800 in 2014. That’s still a chunk of money. But these are also 28″ monitors. And a good 27″ monitor will run you at least $600 anyway.
Okay, so the 4k monitor certainly helped make a great first impression. But the Mac Pro looks to be some damn fine piece of tech. I think this is the kind of machine that will have the same longevity as the previous Mac Pro models enjoyed. If not longer. A piece of tech that has real investment value.
In the end. Would I buy this? Is it worthwhile for the work I do? How might it work for other photographers?
Come back next week and find out for part 3 of this series!