Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design

June 3, 2019 - By 

The new Mac Pro has finally been revealed. Is it powerful enough to get us to switch back to Mac?

Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design - Featured

All images via Apple.

It’s been 6 years since the last Mac Pro redesign, and the “trash can” mac left much to be desired.  You couldn’t upgrade the machine, it was under-powered, and it was overpriced.

We just learned about all the new laptops NVIDIA has planned for the year, but the big question remaining was if Apple would finally announce a new Mac Pro in 2019.

So where do we stand now? Well, the new Mac Pro returns to classic from and has overly embraced the cheese grater design of old. You are once again able to expand and upgrade the machine, but there is a big downside. Still no NVIDIA support. Let’s dive into the details.

The New Mac Pro

Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design - Case

Mac Pro Specs:

As far as the processor goes, you’ll have several Intel Xeon W to choose from.

  • 8-Core
    • 3.5GHz Intel Xeon W
    • 8 cores, 16 threads
    • Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
    • 24.5MB cache
    • Support for up to 1TB 2666MHz memory
  • 12-Core
    • 3.3GHz Intel Xeon W
    • 12 cores, 24 threads
    • Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    • 31.25MB cache
    • Support for up to 1TB 2933MHz memory
  •  16-Core
    • 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W
    • 16 cores, 32 threads
    • Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    • 38MB cache
    • Support for up to 1TB 2933MHz memory
  • 24-Core
    • 2.7GHz Intel Xeon W
    • 24 cores, 48 threads
    • Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    • 57MB cache
    • Support for up to 2TB 2933MHz memory
  • 28-Core
    • 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W
    • 28 cores, 56 threads
    • Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    • 66.5MB cache
    • Support for up to 2TB 2933MHz memory

Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design - Profile

But here’s where the real points to note are. The new Mac Pro will only run AMD graphics cards.

AMD Radeon Pro 580X

  • 36 compute units, 2304 stream processors
  • 8GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Up to 5.6 teraflops single precision
  • Two HDMI 2.0 ports on card
  • Four DisplayPort connections routed to system to support internal Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Support for up to six 4K displays, two 5K displays, or two Pro Display XDRs
  • Half-height MPX Module fits in an MPX bay and enables PCIe slot 2 for additional expansion

AMD Radeon Pro Vega II

  • 64 compute units, 4096 stream processors
  • 32GB of HBM2 memory with 1TB/s memory bandwidth
  • Up to 14.1 teraflops single precision or 28.2 teraflops half precision
  • Infinity Fabric Link connection enables two Vega II GPUs to connect at up to 84GB/s
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port on card
  • Two DisplayPort connections routed to system to support internal Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Support for up to six 4K displays, three 5K displays, or two Pro Display XDRs
  • Full-height MPX Module fills an MPX bay and uses extra power and PCIe bandwidth

AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo

  • Two Vega II GPUs, each with 64 compute units and 4096 stream processors
  • 64GB of HBM2 memory (32GB per GPU), each with 1TB/s memory bandwidth
  • Up to 28.2 teraflops single precision or 56.4 teraflops half precision
  • Onboard Infinity Fabric Link connection connects the two Vega II GPUs at up to 84GB/s
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port on card
  • Four DisplayPort connections routed to system to support internal Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Support for up to eight 4K displays, four 5K displays, or four Pro Display XDRs
  • Full-height MPX module fills an MPX bay and uses extra power and PCIe bandwidth

Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design - Machine

For the rest of the specs:

Memory can be configured up to 1.5TB of DDR4 ECC memory in 12 user-accessible DIMM slots

Storage Configure up to 4TB of SSD storage

I/O card installed in the half-length x4 PCI Express slot with:

  • Two USB 3 ports
    • Support for USB-A (up to 5Gb/s)
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
    • Support for Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s)
    • Support for USB-C (up to 10Gb/s)
    • Support for DisplayPort
  • Two 10Gb Ethernet ports

Our Thoughts on the Mac Pro

Resident computer guru Chad Ashley shared his thoughts with us during the event,

The design is terrible. From an industrial design point of view, it’s a disappointment. They really leaned into the cheese grater design so much, that I actually have anxiety of scraping my knuckles on this machine.

From a hardware perspective, it’s exactly what I feared it would be. Underwhelming and overpriced. With no NVIDIA support, which everyone feared, it is not really going to win over anyone in the professional 3D space. But hey, it comes with wheels.

As for Cinema 4D users, and those using third-party renderers, we did gain some insight from Apple.

For those ProRender users, Apple is claiming 4.8x the speed with the Mac Pro Dual Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. As for performance, Apple claims 3.4x faster real-time 3D.

Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design - C4D

During the presentation, Apple stated that the new Mac Pro would be compatible with Redshift. As Chad Ashley points out,

It is exciting that there may be some competition in the GPU space as it relates to rendering. Redshift is actively being developed for Metal. For those expecting NVIDIA type of performance speed, it’s too early to guess how well Redshift will work on this machine or any of the other Macs.

Even Otoy has come out to announce the Octane X will also be on Metal and support Intel and Apple (iPad) GPUs on the Mac and mobile devices later this year.

I am looking forward to testing Octane and Redshift under METAL, we’ll see how close they can get to CUDA level performance.

The new Mac Pro will be available this Fall at a starting price of $5999. The company also announced a new Pro Display that will set you back another $4999, plus an extra $999 if you want a stand.

*Update with new pricing details released.

A maxed out Mac Pro will cost you $52,000, just as expensive as a Tesla Cybertruck. But are the lower tier models worth the investment while we wait for news on the release of Redshift for Mac?

The team talks about the new Mac Pro in this podcast.

Our Switch from Mac to PC

The first question Nick had before the presentation, was if this was the machine that would get him to switch back. If you missed his previous journey, check out his switch from Mac to PC last year.

You can also read about the specs of his machine on our resources page.

Posted In:  Motion Design News Tech
  • New Mac Pro = Yawn with a bit of a head scratch.

    I’m actually a little disappointed for all the reasons outlined in the article. I was kind of wishing they’d hit it out of the park, but they just kind of caught up if we over look the glaring lack of Nvidia support. For video editing I’m sure this will please a few people with money to throw around, but for 3D artists it’s a bit meh.

    Design is ugly too which is kind of surprising. Never thought I’d see the day when PC cases (some) look better than a mac pro.

    Every day I see more and more Mac 3D folks abandon ship and I don’t see this changing that trend anytime soon. This will keep a few die-hard 3D users on board, but this is probably going to become another over paid art directors paper weight vs. a production work horse.

  • Well stated. To wait this long to see them go back in the right direction and still stay in their closed ecosystem with special cards and adapters and so forth is one thing. Lack of nVidia support is huge as like it or not that’s the professional DCC standard.

    Redshift Metal support is intriguing and despite being underwhelmed by the design I was still kinda on board saying to myself if they come in at a $3500 starting at and it’s abailable today they might get me.

    $6,000 starting is too rich for my blood as the foundation of a closed ecosystem. I’m better off putting that money into a PC and putting up with Windows. MacOS will always have my heart, and I’m glad Apple listened. It just took them too long and I don’t think they listened hard enough at the root cause of what made the trash can unsuccessful. It wasn’t just the bad bet on external expansion, but on the closed ecosystem. Content creators are on the cutting edge, pushing boundaries. They’re not waiting for anyone.

    The chuckle and gasp at the $999 monitor stand underlined it all.

  • I recently switched to Windows. Got tired of waiting for Apple. Glad I went ahead and got my new Windows machine for sure. Apple has lost touch with the pro user.

  • How far off are we from seeing a stable redshift or octane running in cinema 4d on this workstation? By launch? Probably not. People want to compare bench scores hardware costs. Otherwise it’s just an elite edit machine and 2D machine.

  • Personally I think the design is okay, but really are any desktop machines attractive…? I don’t think so. Anyhow, to me performance is what matters. It may not be the ultimate machine for people using C4D with redshift… However a lot of us do compositing, (I read that they are working with Autodesk… Can’t wait to see a Flame running on this machine) — editing as well as 3d and as an all around machine, it looks pretty good. I have to buy a new machine this year, I haven’t decided if I switch to PC or stay with apple: I will be waiting to start seeing reviews on people actually using it. I would say the price of the monitor is a little ridiculous, especially since it doesn’t include the stand??? That’s a little greedy if feel…

  • I think it’s too early to pass judgement. As far as I know they haven’t stated that it won’t support Nvidia graphics they’re just not shipping with them. In the keynote it was mentioned that it would accept “standard” PCIe cards which is potentially a good sign for all sorts of use cases.

    There aren’t that many PC cases that can easily accept 4 dual height gfx cards and even fewer that do that plus the 4 additional PCIe slots the Mac has.

    I don’t think I’ve ever dragged my knuckles along a computer case but I’ve cut myself bloody on the inside of several PC cases – something that won’t happen with this from the looks of it.

    Personally, I think the design would look better if the aluminum parts were black and the Apple logo was a 5th the size – kind of channeling Mies van der Rohe…

    I’m concerned about the price once it’s built out but Xeon PC’s aren’t cheap either once you’ve added a beefy Power supply, lots of PCIe lanes/slots for expansion, dual-10gig ethernet and multiple GPUs.

    If it pans out and Redshift and Octane, etc. work well on it I’ll happily ebay the PC’s I built over the last couple years so I don’t have to deal with Windows anymore. I for one hope Apple supports pro users for years to come and don’t leave us hanging again – sadly that can’t be guaranteed with their track record.

  • The new Mac (not so) Pro. I don’t hate the industrial design, on the contrary, I’ve always admired Mr. Ive for the clean minimal look he is known for but damn what a total miss on the inside. Don’t Apple listen to their customers? Why do I even bother asking, it’s simple. NO THE DO NOT! I recently, 2 weeks ago actually, dropped a fairly big chunk of my hard earned cash on a Threadripper and RTX combo pc with a bucket load of ram for good measure. My Windows PC is a dream, Octane laughs at my indolent attempts to make it work. For many living in the developing world (SA) with draconian import taxes the new Mac (not so) Pro will simply be out of reach. For a third of the price I can build a custom PC with upgradeability that will run circles around this attempt from Apple. What a shame. Looks like the second mouse does not get the cheese after all.

  • Guys! Do not rush to conclusions, if you read the press release carefully, the phrase “Maxon’s Cinema 4D is seeing 20 percent faster GPU render performance when compared to a Windows workstation maxed out with three NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards” tells us that nvidia will make its mpx modules for this workstation!
    Link: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/06/apple-unveils-powerful-all-new-mac-pro-and-groundbreaking-pro-display-xdr/

    Sorry for my English, I’m from Russia

  • Pice is kind of what I was expecting. It is high, but it is comparable to a pro Boxx machine, or even the iMac Pro. I know that I can build a cheaper machine myself, but what can I say, I want something to work out of the box and if anything goes wrong my business suffers if it is not fixed/replaced straight away.

    Glad to hear (that some time in the future) we can even enjoy the benefits of GPU render engines…other that ProRender on GPU’s other than Nvidia.

    Working in a mixed creative studio where we doing everything from XD (with sketch) and traditional graphic design, to CGI and projection mapping, we are probably the exception to the rule where we are still 100% mac. So although the new Mac Pro doesn’t tick all of the boxes on our wish list, it is heading in the right direction again.

  • I’ve been a loyal mac user for nearly 30 years. But when I got into 3D 4 years ago, I nearly got the door shut on me at work because of the atrocious lookdev and render times using Physical. So I shut the door on Apple and built a PC that actually cost more than this entry level price Mac Pro, but rendered 25x faster than a 50-core Mac Pro team render setup (I actually did a comparison on a car render – Redshift vs Physical). That was enough to convince the overlords at work to get me a PC there and I’ve been the resident “3D expert” since.

    This new Mac Pro is yet another slap in the face to the 3D community who prefer the Mac OS over Wind-blows. It’s also a ridiculously stupid move if they were actually serious about bringing back the many defectors. I still have my trash can that I use as a secondary computer / Facebook machine. Once that dies, so will my status as a mac user.

  • At the end of the day, you’ve got Maxon announcing Redshift development for Metal, setting up a much-needed competition in the GPU space. As much as I’d like the opportunity to throw whatever card I want into a system, I’d also like there to be more than one OS and more than one GPU manufacturer for the future of 3D artists. This provides a glimmer of hope that we may one day not be stuck using Windows and Nvidia – even if that’s still the case today. If we are to claim we want options, we should be glad this is happening, because the alternative would be pretty bleak.

  • On a good note. Finally, Octane is being able to work on AMD cards using the optimized Apple Metal. Which means anyone out there with an eGPU can plug and play.

  • My old G5 carries since 8 Weeks this Xeon and the Vega56 ,256 gbt ddr ram
    and 10 tbt ssd. the newer Pro twin-x-2012 will go to the same..

    I would take a Threadripper 2990 wx but osx is on this a bit of a hackintoshdesaster… if you coppy that a cpu is about 700-800$ and
    not + 2400 nuts for the INTEL-koakine-gangbang-party in OFSHORE-$$$-ass.

    SORRY but this is a BLINKI BLINKI.:) in german we say schwulenbobocomputi

  • Redshift and Octane on Metal were most important announcements yesterday, as they bring Mac back to the game for 3D lookdev – with eGPU, of course. Hopefully, both will be available in fall for R21.

    Mac Pro is beautiful machine, technically and visually (at least to me). It’s workstation-class hardware for workstation-class market. I guess that really usable Mac Pro will start around $9000. As I remember, Nick’s PC build was close to $8000. Both machines would be competitive for at least 3-4 years (and both are upgradeable), so for artists that just can’t do Windows, difference in price evens in that time. Age of $3500 workstations is, unfortunately, long gone for both Windows and MacOS.

    I’m more into higher frequency then number of cores, so I’m happy with my i9 iMac. Even when I add eGPU or two, I’m still below $6000. Just need that Octane on Metal.

    Btw, those are standard PCIe slots in new Mac Pro. You can use regular AMD cards in them. Apple MPX modules are just Apple Store configurable parts and clever way to get more graphics power in available space.

  • Great article. My thoughts are that the machine is way too overpriced for most 3D users. Waiting for a GPU render engine to move to metal is also not helpful if you need 3D workstation with GPU rendering now. You would expect a 6K machine to be fast and open to using Nvidia GPUs.

    Threadripper and Nvidia are a really good combo 🙂

    …6K for an 8 core machine is just madness! The motherboard alone will be outdated in a few years (think PCI-E 4.0) and imagine the cost of any repairs to that machine.

  • Did I miss where it said Nvidia cards will never be available for this machine?

    All I saw was the CEO from Maxon saying “we’re excited to develop Redshift for Metal, and we’re working with Apple to bring an optimized version to the Mac Pro for the first time by the end of the year”

    End of the year is probably when the damn thing will actually ship anyway. Call me an optimist, but that doesn’t sound like the end of the world. If you want a cheap option, as always, buy a windows PC with Nvidia (and keep doing that every 3 years cause the OS is designed to eat itself over time). But hey, at least you’ll be on the cutting edge.

  • So This is my take.

    The whole Nvidia thing is will less of an issue. The Vega pro 2 is faster than a 2080ti with 3x the VRAM. The coming metal2 App support is amazing:

    Cinema 4D – Redshift – OctaneX will all have proper support as well as Houdini – Maya – Autocad – Nuke and many others – Cuda is becoming less o a problem.

    It got and INSANE 84GBs Specialist Fibre link for dual or even quad linked GPUs
    8 PCIE slots – so could have shed loads of extra PCIE / m2 Storage.
    12 Dimm slots in 6 channel
    300w to the CPU alone
    1.5Kw PSU – that’s $900 right there.

    The monitor is amazing too and half the price of the the 4K 27” Ref monitors we use. $999 for a stand though is utterly taking the….

    I’ll be getting a mid spec one I am sure at about $12K. Worth it just to not have to use windoze,

  • This nonsense with Apple not supporting Nvidia needs to end if they ever want the pro-level 3D users to come back from Windows to Mac. It’s as simple as that. Now I will say, that despite the comments on the exterior design, the interior has SO much potential. All those single and double-width PCIE slots, the ability to add up to 1.5TB (!!!) of DDR4 RAM, this is all pretty incredible in theory. But if I can’t put Nvidia cards into those PCIE slots, then what’s the point? Production houses which are using Octane and Redshift on a regular basis can’t afford to switch over to Arnold or wait for Metal support.

    So either Apple needs to figure out this Nvidia nonsense prior to release, or someone in the hacker community needs to come out with drivers which will allow Nvidia cards to be used. My bet is on the latter.

  • $35,000 is estimated the start to a fully tricked out one of these systems BEFORE GPUS, displays etc!


    Some of the prices seem a little high, but still, if you’re not doing comp or recolor work that requires it and have serious cash to drop…this MP is looking less and less feasible as a real business solution for 3D graphics pros. If I had a small studio, there is no way I’d green light buying one of these vs. 5-8 PC work stations.

    The bandwidth on the graphics cards is great, as is the amount of Vram, but bandwidth on GPUs isn’t really the bottle neck with GPU rendering, and with lots of GPU render engines going out of core and things like Nvlink and cloud GPU rendering on the horizon I don’t see the cost benefit panning out. This is why I say, pending you have crazy cash to drop on it, this is a great comp work station probably, but otherwise…

  • Ill just start out by saying I am a mac user. So, let my colors show. The NVIDIA support is a shame, but they showed Octane & Redshift being a part of the workflow. Possibly getting better performance than going the NVIDIA route. They also created a link between two video cards (MPX Module) that is an industry first. When I read Chad’s assessment that is overpriced and underwhelming….I question that sentiment. True, you could build one for a third of the cost…but in terms of someone going to Dell or HPZ workstations…this price is competitive.

  • Abraham Barrera June 4, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    What is your opinion Nick?

  • I’m not a graphics pro, but was hoping Apple would include Nvidia support for CUDA development. I would like an engineering and scientific workstation using macOS. That will require that Pro means the OS will be flexible to support HPC software and hardware that are actually used by researchers.

    Not unlike other creative professional, the power of the NVidia platform and the existing code base makes it impossible to choose this system. Apple wants creative professionals adopt their platform, but they are swimming up the Amazon by trying to constrain their technology choices. It ain’t going to work. I’d pay the exorbitant prices if I could get the flexibility I need. They are just offering the exorbitant prices.

  • I kinda expected the redshift for metal support which for me underlines the no cuda/nvidia going forward.
    Which is a pitty.
    Unless redshift really really kick butt with metal/vega II it just lands hard as an sgi specialty machine without purpose save a few apps.
    The screen looks awesome and great. But it is just is entering a niche space for color grading where it first of all will have to prove itself compared to flanders scientific, etc. Can it compete with oled? Certainly not a monitor for every seat since it cost more than most common average workstations.
    3,5x the price of a technicolor certified benq screen( which only is UHD…)
    well. I do really like mac. A lot. But the nvidia/cuda/apple feud just really isn’t great for anybody. with no mention of metal raytracing libraries they will still play catchup with directX and cuda.

    My Mac Pro (late 2013) still work great for AE and some 3D work but my pc/hackintosh runs circles around it for brute force rendering.
    However. Lately I use renderfarms more.
    That said. I have been getting quotes on 2-4 gpu pcs for cinema4d/gpu rendering. Albeit pricy I wonder how the new mac pro compares with vega II duo *2 will compare to 4x 2080 ti in redshift?

  • “The design is terrible. From an industrial design point of view, it’s a disappointment.”

    -No, no it isn’t. It’s really nice.

    “They really leaned into the cheese grater design so much, that I actually have anxiety of scraping my knuckles on this machine.”

    -You should probably give your computer a little more personal space! How you would ever scrape your knuckles on the front of a computer actually baffles me

    Gotta love that piping hot take though, I’m sure it felt good to get that out!

  • I watched the keynote. I think editors and colorists are going to be thrilled to have this machine particularly with that display and how many streams of 4k or 8k content you can run without proxies.

    When they listed the base specs, I almost did a fell out of my chair laughing when they mentioned the price.

    For the 3d market, it’s price prohibitive compared to PCs.

    On a side note, I think the single socket architecture is a waste with that processor. Should have been a dual socket. This would have brought the base specs up dramatically, and then on the high end it would be a freakin’ death star.

  • Octane 3 was supposedly going to work with AMD OpenCL. I waited and the industry moved on and I almost got lost in the dust with regards to getting work. I was a Mac Pro user for over 10 years! And honestly, I prefer my PC to any Mac. Once you get it going, the flexibility, speed and choice of hardware just make sense for freelancers and motion design studios.

    The new Mac Pro, it makes me feel 100% positive I made the right move by switching over to a PC workstation.

  • For me, the design doesn’t really matter. Performance is key here.
    And I think The answer is pretty simple:
    The Mac has starting price is 6k. I would suggest to check what specs exactly you get for this price and compare with what u can buy for 6k by building your own pc. I have builded one maybe a year and a half ago for around 6k – 7k and it still can pretty much compete with this.

  • Firepro / Quadro GPU’s have no real benefit in this or most other industries anymore, they’re only useful for the stability in super computers.

    ECC memory is the same story, you won’t notice the benefit in day to day use on a workstation, it only becomes relevant at large scales in data centers or render farms.

    The Intel CPU’s are just being destroyed by Threadripper and Ryzen currently, the 32 core Threadripper is a lot cheaper than Intel’s 28 core and performs better.

    So with those things in mind, a 32 core threadripper, a couple of 2080Ti’s and 128gb of normal RAM, along with all the other components you need, will cost about the same as Apples lowest end option and outperform their highest end.

  • I think at the moment its very difficult to judge this machine. We don’t know the cost of the upgrades (Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Module Kit for example) and we also don’t know how the benchmarks of Redshift and Octane on AMD are going to compare to PC+Nvidia.

    If for example the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Module Kit was as fast at rendering as a 2080ti and wasn’t much more expensive then I’d like to buy this Mac Pro.

    It also feels like a whole lot of work for Redshift & Octane to re-write their code base to work with Metal as well as CUDA. I’m not a programmer, but I have the feeling its a massive task.

    On the plus side I noticed this Otoy press release saying…
    “The final and full commercial release of Octane X Enterprise Edition will be offered as a free license to customers purchasing the new Mac Pro.”

  • Most important for me is the announcement that there will finally be metal versions of Octane and Redshift. Even if it still takes some time. But that means you don’t have to buy the expensive Mac Pro, you can also use eGPUs on your current Mac. It’s nice that Otoy does his Octane X Enterprise Render for free when buying a MacPro, but the few Euro (Attention German phrase translated) would not have made the roast fatter.

  • I think it’s way too early to say for sure there will be no NVIDIA support. I just listened to a podcast with the Head of Product for the Mac and he said there will be support for 3rd part GPU’s. Not specifically NVIDIA, but I guess we’ll have to watch this space. I do agree, I find the design pretty ugly, the holes too give my OCD palpitations. If it’s function over form, why make the thing out of super shiny aluminium (brit here), rather than make it discreet, matt black or something, just a little low(er) key. I agree I think it’s pricey, but then I bought the trash can and that was also pricey. And a fully configured custom PC here would cost about the same as the base model – which without benchmarks it’s hard to see how it’ll perform in the real world.

  • From a need for a good all round system , after effects and C4d, I’m interested to also see how Adobe plan to utilise Metal given they favour CUDA and OpenGL

  • For the last few years I have been watching Mac users who work in 3D make the leap to Windows since GPU rendering became all the rage.

    And it seems that the entire conversation has been nothing but – “Price to Horsepower ratio.”

    What does the machine cost?

    And up until this recent announcement, it really was pretty much ludicrous to stay in the Mac ecosystem for 3D. GPU is king of the hill. Mac had really drawn the short stick in that arena. It truly was cost prohibitive to try and win the race in a Mac.

    And then this announcement came out. And why I’m excited is because I am looking at the whole picture.

    So let me back up for a sec…

    I have a small, but growing shop and we’re facing down purchasing our first “big” machine that could be justified in the $10K range. We have so many areas we’d like to invest in, but our machine is always going to be #1.

    We’re also not just 3D. We’re very wholistic. We’re very design forward creatives who do a lot. We shoot live action on Arri, Red and every DSLR below the line. We do 2D, compositing, coloring, and we score music.

    And we love 3D. We believe it’s 3D and music that separates us in our region.

    We’re also very much roll up our sleeves DIY’rs as well – who isnt!?

    And so we’ve been really exploring hard about making the leap of faith to Windows.

    So fantastic – when it comes down to just basic math, the numbers and specs on PC machines are just incredible, right?

    But reading all the threads on this hot button issue, I really want to hear some dead-honest answers from people on what the whole picture actually looks like. The day to day, week to week and year to year on PC.

    I think it was almost every other thread above said something to the effect of, “I’d rather put up with Windows.”

    And that scares me. Seriously. It’s why we haven’t pulled the trigger yet. And I’m not ranting here or being some apple fanboy.

    I really want to know – how real is that statement?

    Because I REALLY don’t want to add any more distractions or bottlenecks to our day to day at the shop. We’ve got plenty enough already.

    I don’t want to have to perform maintenance every 6 months on our machines. And I don’t wanna pay someone else to do so either.

    I don’t want to have to stress about constantly updating drivers and worrying that I’m gonna experience a blue screen because one little thing was updated at the wrong time or some other IT problem.

    I don’t want to have to worry about settings, control panel, and the command prompt amongst other things.

    I don’t want to add a full time IT job to my workload!

    I don’t want to have a machine that wears out in 3 years. Do PC’s last that long without upgrading hardware? Is updating software a nail-biting experience?

    Seriously, we have a machine in our shop that is late 2012 iMac. It was beefed up at the time and it’s still producing 2D, 3D, music, compositing, coloring, and rendering Red and Arri footage. And we’ve obviously never had to upgrade hardware and have performed minimal maintenance through the last 7 years. 7 years and it’s still producing in our shop!

    We didn’t have to be in tune with our inner IT to make that happen.

    Seriously I want to be busy creating. That’s what we’re good at. That’s what our clients love about our shop. That’s what makes us money and that’s what I want to focus on as much as possible.

    I dread that our throughput is going to suffer from OS bottlenecks and long term stability.

    So guys, please correct me here if I’m way out of line. But to throw a few extra thousand bucks to have years of clean performance… that I don’t have to add the extra workload of “putting up with Windows”….

    I don’t think I’m throwing extra cash at a logo. I feel like I am buying a massive chunk of peace of mind. I’m purchasing something that will not take up more head space… giving me more capacity to throw at what we’re actually good at – creating.

    I really wouldn’t have brought this up prior to the announcement from Apple. We really need GPU rendering. That bottleneck is a headache and limiting our potential.

    But we also really need stability and a hassle free environment to work in. The closer we can get to both of those…

    Am I wrong that Apple seems to have come out with an option that is comparable, ESPECIALLY when you look at the whole picture like this?

    Or does Windows truly provide SEAMLESS stability that will last for years to come like apple? And I do mean virtually headache free?

    Cause if I can save our hard earned dollars AND buy peace of mind… well then no problem.

    I’m truly not being an apple fanboy here. I’ve worked on PC plenty.

    This entire conversation has all been “horsepower – who’s getting more bang for their buck.”

    I have to run a shop on more than just horsepower. I need as much stability as I can get in my day to day. Just ask my wife and kids when I get home from work.

    Should I make the switch to PC? Will I be saving money but gaining a part time job in maintenance? Or has Apple given us something that can compete, and for a few extra thousand dollars, not have to “put up with Windows.”

    Maybe I’m just being dramatic? Thanks for any enlightenment on the matter.

  • There’s no need to be a die hard of either Mac or PC. Like many people I switched to PC because of the lack of GPU support, but I think Redshift and octane supporting Metal is great news, the more competition the better. And like most people who did the switch I’d love to go back to Mac one day (the experience is just much better) so let’s keep an open mind, no need to be so angry 😉

  • No Nvidia and way, way, way too expensive particularly for a small studio. Keep on rocking and rolling with Windows, the migration is on!

  • The main gripe with Nvidia is that they don’t want to support metal. So it’s no longer that Apple is angry about the old MacBook with Nvidia GPU that Nvidia took no responsibility for.

    But I understand that it’s cheeper if you don’t need the reliability of Xeon, 64 PCI-lanes and error corrected ram. Feels like it’s more for those who use need high throughput and many expansion cards. Avid has confirmed it supports up to 8 HPX cards.

    The Mac Pro supports Nvidia in Windows. And is cheeper than similar spec HP Z8, but it’s not cheep.

  • This article is so negative….Chad, redshift and octane are being ported to Metal and will be released this fall. This alone is a game changer and puts apple back in the game, not just Mac pros. I can now consider buying an iMac pro and use Egpu, or even a cheap Mac book pro for modeling, with an Egpu enclosure for rendering.
    Nvidia’s Monopoly is finally coming to an end and it couldn’t make me happier.

  • I think for a noticable trallala, this is by far a doo doo shallalla. given the price of an unnoticeable ding dong of 35k starting price, we shice on cloud computing or render farms. No NVIDIA support? That’s a brutal Dong in the face of most 2D specialists. When I was forced to be the 2.5D workhorse at my studio we immediately ordered 5 of the 50.000$ machines and 10 extra stands for 999$ each, just to impress clients. But as an editor or flame artist it might be worth the money given that Gpu support is a standard in 5 years from now. Will definitely switch back to Mac now.

  • I switched to PC a few months ago with a goal to build a super fast working machine. It took a few weeks to get used to Windows but overall it’s been a great experience. I love it so much now I just gave my wife my Macbook Pro and now just waiting for the new Dell XPS 15 to come out. I also just ditched the iphone for an S10 and again just blown away. The shackles are gone but I am still nostalgic for my macs, thus my comment here.

  • I feel like a key point is being missed here.

    Let us imagine that:

    1) This machine met every technical and performance requirement of the professional and dedicated enthusiast communities.
    2) The ‘bang per buck’ was roughly equivalent to what you would pay for a pc.
    3) The only tangible differences were in OS preference and trivialities like aesthetics and ‘loyalty’.

    EVEN THEN, by choosing to remain in (or switch to) the Apple ecosystem is essentially making yourself a slave to any future whims of the company once again.
    This machine isn’t the ideal given in the above points, but even if it were, how long have we had to wait for it? How long would we have to wait again? How long before every article and blog is about Apple not caring about pro users?

    Let’s learn a critical lesson here. Closed ecosystems are dying; sensible choices are ones that do not rely on the whims or stability of just one company.

  • My 2000 G4…now Hackintosh works fine 🙂

    We are users and we want to work. Okay. And this ugly primitve
    ” pro” “pro” “pro”-blink i-marketing is a big taste of nonsense.
    Apple is same shithole like Tesla.
    A marketing-shithole.

    And i have same specs in my machine. so the QUESTION IS-i have taken
    some 2790,-usd$ for the xeon 8-core 64 gbt ram ddr( 32 more!) 2 tbt ssd
    and in case of GPU i use intern Vega-56 ( wk) so take 300 for the design
    of making bigger cheesenoodels..ore so.
    So WHERE ARE THE OTHER 3000 USD,-$ in the starter Mac pro?
    Do i get 300 fucks with the CEO?

    second combutarr…
    – amd thread-ripper 16 core ( ser2)+ board- wk
    -64 gbt ddr ram ( C4d says nice.more, resolve says haaa? a.e dont find)
    – gtx 2080 wk
    – 6 tbt ssd
    old G5-house new in black metal paint. matte glossy glow
    LORD OF THE LOST dark – if.. you like this art of music heavy porn…

    6000 BUCKS for ?? is a big big dope show.
    reminds me to Far West+- 1879 Sunday.
    ” and here my deaaar Folks harrr you kan seee the inglourious health wata that will bring back your mega hard mastodooon of fuck! So just
    take 100 Dollars and you get this 120 ml of pure astohnishing absloute..
    and bla bal bla…” MARKETING 🙂

  • No NVIDIA cards, ridiculous prices and promises of maybe some day being able to run Octane.

    The same exact reasons why I was forced to switch to Windows three years ago.

    Great job, Apple.

  • so I mainly edit video and do motion graphics 2d after effects occassionally dipping my toe into 3d where required, and the lack of Nvidia support has been a thorn.

    I freelance and work at multiple studios as well as having my own setup (2013 mac pro trashcan which is still serving me well as general editing and AE workhorse)

    I have scenarios where I’m bringing a project (in AE using 3d/C4D) home from a studio running hackintoshes with Nvidia cards (unsupported CUDA GPU option) and suddenly the project slows to a crawl on my home system for all the 3d scenes, as they switch back to software or OPEN CL rendering.

    It’s just a pain in the ass and I wish that the environment on both platforms (PC/Hackintosh and Mac) was near identical to negate this issue.

  • So riduculous…I am glad I have switched to PC 6 months ago.
    Apple pricing is total nonsense. Design looks like a clumpsy all terrain outdoor rig. Is this CAT or Apple?
    Sure the screens is also 4 times the price of a decent Benq or Dell screen…
    I run my 3D jobs on a 4.2 ghz intel chip PC with 2 x1070ti nvidias and Redshift and a nice BenQ 32″ screen.
    Cost me 3000 $. And I am totally happy.

  • I know the 3D world is obsessed with GPU rendering right now, but I recommend giving the Corona engine a try. It’s 100% CPU and very fast. The C4D version is almost up to date with the Max version which has been out for a couple of years. I’ve seen Corona C4D running on a Threadripper and it looks as fast as any Octane or Redshift demo I’ve seen, and since it’s 100% CPU raytracing and 100% physically accurate, can render certain effects GPUs cannot.

    Anyway, I can’t argue against any of these price and only one CPU and no GPU options posts. I will say my Trashcan™ has been cranking out work continuously since April 2014. Maybe not as fast as other systems, but has never seen the inside of a repair show or had it’s cover removed. That is worth something to me.

    Still, we have to wait until some real tests come out. My fantasy would be to see a major product reveal like this, get fire up, AND be able to buy it that day! Drives me nuts I have to wait 4-5 months until I can order one, then see when it will actually ship. I get a headache thinking about that.

  • Ugh I hate titles like this. Seriously, it’s not even a consideration to go back to Mac ever, for one reason alone: Mac OS X.

    Why would anyone even bother? Your PC can be upgraded seamlessly at any time. Why would you blow all this money on some social status machine?

    So frustrating to even see this article. Sorry.

  • Jeremy Solterbeck June 12, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Could someone speak to the Nvidia/AMD issue? It seems like this is the main bone people are picking – aside from price – and I still don’t understand the difference. Sometimes it seems like a case of people wanting every possible option on their machine whether they use them or not. If it supported Nvidia, would people be screaming about AMD? Why would Apple continuously do the wrong thing? I remember reading an article last year on this subject, and the upshot was, “AMD is better at some things, Nvidia is better at some things, it sort of depends on what you’re doing and how.” Which means to me, it doesn’t matter that much because you can’t get everything. Sorry if this is covered above, but I couldn’t bare to read through every single comment. Thanks –

  • Wow! I’m shocked to Nick switch to PC!

    That’s the last thing I was expecting …. welcome to the club!!!

  • I love macs and have 3 mac pros sitting near me. They are no longer used in any 3d capacity, except the occasional network rendering.

    The entire industry is PC (visit any post house), not to mention games industry etc. For freelancing you are greatly limiting your work options and if you’re looking to get into a company like MPC etc., most likely the same thing.

    This new Mac Pro is a strange design, and as much as I like Mac OS this is probably the first Mac Pro I will not purchase.

    They can keep talking about metal etc., I figure it’s unlikely – heard that same story for many many years! But even if they got that one rendering option down perfect, there’s still endless products which simply won’t be ported and you will have limited yourself if you stay on Mac OS / outside Nvidia.

    Nvidia is doing tonnes of great things and the industry is on board, Apple is simply ignoring the reality. Personally, I hate windows as an OS, but it is what it is. If you are scared of the switch from MacOS to windows, it’s easy, just be prepared for a whole lot more bugs.

  • Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article over on FXGuide:

    The headline of the event was that there is no NVIDIA cards in the Mac Pro, however we spoke to the hardware team after the keynote. The Mac Pro has eight PCIe expansion slots. For the Mac Pro to use the graphics cards they would only need be fitted and the Apple provide the drivers. The machine can easily take the NVIDIA cards in terms of power, cabling and slots. Apple confirmed that, short of a legal or other non-technical reason, the only issue stopping the use of NVIDIA cards is the drivers. Apple is not confirming that they will release drivers, but there is nothing physically stopping them. The NVIDIA would have to dovetail with Apple’s Metal as Apple no longer supports OpenGL.

    Why do we even care about NVIDIA? At the moment NVIDIA is critical to many people as NVIDIA has been leading the field in real time raytracing combined with Machine Learning support. Until yesterday, Nvidia’s CUDA-compatible cards are required to run apps like Redshift, Octane (v7.5 is NVIDIA RTX only) and Thea Render.

    At the keynote, Apple announced both Redshift and Octane are moving to support Apple and Metal. These are implementations that are already advanced. We spoke to Jules Urbach, Founder & CEO of Otoy after the event and he showed fxguide 8K test images rendered from their new Metal prototype of Octane.

    Metal is the key to GPU accelerated graphics in the Mac Pro. It is the computational framework that allows developers build everything from Pro apps to games. Metal includes deferred and tiled forward-rendering, it is an advanced and modern piece of software. The Metal is key as it schedules GPU work, manages workflows and does so with little CPU interaction. Apple fully controls drivers for Mac OS. Unfortunately, NVIDIA currently cannot release a driver unless it is approved by Apple. There’s certainly no reason Apple’s Metal 2 UI can’t run on Nvidia hardware.

    Software applications
    Apple also announced extensive support for the new Mac Pro from Adobe, Autodesk, BlackMagic and Unreal. Additionally, RED, SideFX, AVID, Pixar, Unity, The Foundry, Maxon and others all signing on to support and work with the new Mac Pro system.

    A long list of companies have come out in saying they will support the new Mac Pro and fxguide saw various demos after the keynote. For example, we got to see the extremely impressive render speed from Arnold rendering in Maya on the Mac Pro (see above). Autodesk is fully embracing the all-new Mac Pro and we are already working on optimized updates to AutoCAD, Maya, Fusion and Flame. “This level of innovation, combined with next-generation graphics APIs, such as Metal, bring extremely high graphics performance and visual fidelity to our Design, Manufacturing and Creation products and enable us to bring greater value to our customers,” stated Amy Bunszel, senior vice president, Autodesk Design and Creation Products.

    Here’s the link to the full article: https://www.fxguide.com/featured/behind-apples-mac-pro-editing-grading-and-hdr/

  • My overview:

    1: The stand is a status symbol and nothing more.

    2: The monitor is cool, but the competition out there makes it nothing special.

    3. It’s at least upgradable (something I’ve rinsed apple about for a very long time).

    I’ve used macs during college & university during the 00’s and when freelancing in studios over the years, way more hassles than people lead on with OS and app freezes.

    I got a base PC rig last year as the start of a long slog to build a studio capable of CAD, 3D, photogrammetry, simulations and all manner of UI inputs. The cost was a lot (£4200) but with a view to building it out with hardware over the coming years taking it up to around the £15000 mark. In absolutely no way is windows as bad as people fear, it’s versatility beats Mac hands down and obviously having NVidia in this industry is a must (currently). Whatever options there are currently or in the future, I’m more than happy with the machine I currently have let alone what it will he and knowing I can swap out 100% of the hardware, while also building a separate rig using any old parts is the reason I won’t consider this Mac even at its higher spec. Nothing on it at the sub £10k price is better than I either already I’ve or could have, nothing over over that 10k mark in this Mac is better than I could get with a simple swap of the motherboard (currently capable of holding 512GB ECC RAM) and additional hardware, all of which come in much cheaper than the Mac equivalent meaning additional funds for cameras, 3rd party assets & licenses and so on.

    Final conclusion:

    1: This is a status symbol machine at the lower Price end due to its poor specs.

    2: This is an over priced machine at the higher spec end leaving no cash spare for other studio hardware or growth opportunities.

    3: It is still going to be limited to the Mac eco system which unless you’ve been stuck in it for the last 10 years you won’t realise how limiting that is.

  • senekercmsn-com June 12, 2019 at 3:01 pm


    I definitely understand what you’re saying with regards to users of one platform transitioning to another and the general sentiment of “putting up with…(x)”. It’s not uncommon for any user of any system to be reluctant to transition into something they are unfamiliar with, whether it be your phone OS preference, browser preference, streaming music or video platform preference, etc… We are creatures of habit and its natural to be trepidatious about making a switch.

    Not to get into my background much, but I’ve used and built PC’s all of my adult life, I’ve used OSX most of my adult life as well, both are fantastic systems and tools, I honestly see far fewer differences between them year over year than one would think. Largely the issue isn’t with the software itself but the hardware decisions and overall architecture of Apple that bother me. As artists/professionals we all need to optimize our workflows and tools to maximize productivity. Now it would be awesome to be able to say “oh this brand is the best and makes products exactly as professionals need them” the problem though is that all users have different needs and priorities meaning there isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all solution for that. Computing in general is diverse and ever-changing and so the platform itself needs to be nimble and versatile and most importantly open to embrace that change. Apple unfortunately is about as closed as any platform can be, there also appears to be some sort of internal personal beef between them and Nvidia which has caused a sizable rift in the community.

    Now, it’s impossible to say how well this new Mac Pro will fare in the creative space until we have more details closer to launch and use cases of real world application. I can only speak from experience and understanding of my needs as an artist and professional that based on what I’m seeing, this doesn’t appear to be a situation where Apple has looked at the issues that plagued the last Mac Pro and learned to avoid those same mistakes. But if there’s one thing I’m sure of its that there will absolutely be users who adopt this and will rave about how amazing they are. The larger question you need to ask yourself is how important is it for you to be able to stay on the cusp of tech and workflow? For some, its far less important so they can afford to make decisions based on personal preference, for others, they’d rather be flexible and more cost conscious wanting to maximize every hardware decision. Neither are wrong, but from a dollar-to-performance ratio some trade-offs do exist, Apple being entirely closed does have the benefit of vetting the entire hardware chain and usage so as to avoid as many hiccups as possible, this comes at the cost of being limited only to the hardware of their choosing. PC manufacturers have similar methods if you purchase from a brand that will build your machine, they choose the parts and offer service plans to maintain coverage over your device if you so choose, but that can cost extra. Alternatively you can DIY it all, but that forces you to be involved in maintaining your own hardware/software and general upkeep, its by far the cheapest method but the requires a sizable emotional investment.

    Updates are pretty seamless on PC, typically happens behind the scenes or asks you to restart or restarts itself during off-hours on its own. When it comes to the scenarios of updates and errors people often refer too, comes primarily from 3rd party hardware/software and less often from the OS itself. And this is where I stress to any new adopters that they need to be mindful of their pathway into the PC space because if you decide to DIY this and you aren’t prepared for the driver and software management then you will absolutely experience something that will sour your experience. Because Windows has an unfathomable number of 3rd party hardware/software partners, you have to imagine that there exists an un-quantifiable combination of configurations meaning there are that many more ways for things to go sideways on you. 9 times out of 10 you are simply going to install your hardware and their supplied drivers/tools and then maybe upgrade those once they prompt you to do so, and 9 times out of 10 that will be fine and you’ll never experience anything problematic. Sometimes users can get into trouble with experimental drivers or beta versions or untested/unsigned drivers that can make your hardware unstable, alternatively with as many security measures that Windows employs, each third party tool is responsible for shoring up its side of things so malicious users or software doesn’t make its way into your system and occasionally that isn’t always as rigorous as Microsofts approach (even recently Nvidia had an application with this issue) I think with the nature of being on the bleeding edge of tech and performance its not uncommon for DIY users to operate in that “wild-west” manner but just know that in doing so, you put your hardware at risk for crashing and potentially losing data so just like any device you keep important information on, back up! that is all, otherwise you honestly shouldn’t have any significant hurdles learning or using Windows, its a great experience with fantastic benefits and an entire ecosystem of impressive tools and variety that would be hard to come by in OSX. Do your research and soul-searching to figure out what works for you and just do that, there is no right answer so think about it from the perspective of “how do I like to work?” and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.

  • Seems to me we should embrace the opportunity for competition once again. This opens up a new (once closed) door for pros. It’s not perfect, and is so “Apple” in the way it is done, but at least it is a step forward. How sad would it have been if they stopped developing pro stations and just announced another trashcan or PHONE?

    I too love my noisy Windows PC that looks like a space station from a 90s sci fi movie. Threadripper and Nvidia is a fast combo for Redshift, but let’s face it, if we all loved our Windows machines, we wouldn’t have even tuned in. The Win OS is designed to eat itself and crawl to a halt within 3 years – no matter what you put in it. So of course Windows options will always be cheaper and ahead of the curve. You have to keep getting new ones!

  • William Ackerman June 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I expect other shoes to drop by the time this machine is available. The main PC makers have already signaled a strong interest in visual and audio pros with the RTX Studio laptops. Seem possible to me that one or more PC maker might try to fill the enormous price and performance gap between the iMac Pro and this new Mac Pro.

  • @ David:
    I’m so with you on this. I have no idea what all the Octane/Redshift/nVidia users are doing, whether they are hobbyists or actually do real work with their setups. Maybe the new Mac Pro hasn’t got this or that, or you could buy and build a PC for the same that would be ‘faster’ in some sense. But, as someone who relies on the hardware for earning real-world money to pay real-world bills, I know which ‘locked in ecosystem’ I can rely on to get the job done. I’m still using my old, original ‘cheese grater’ Mac Pro. Over the years I’ve upgraded it with graphics cards, SSD’s, new this and that and it still does everything I ask of it, every day, reliably. My clients don’t care what I use to get the job done. They ask me to do this job, to this standard by this date, and I know that I can meet their needs every time, and because I can do that, they come back, over and over again, and that’s priceless. I never have to worry about the hardware letting me down, because it never does. Not ever. I never have to explain that I need more time, or I’m going to miss a deadline because of some failure or incompatibility, I just get it done, always.
    Don’t misunderstand – I’m no Apple fanboy, by any means. I’ve seriously looked at the PC option from time to time and rejected it. Maybe that makes me short-sighted or unrealistic, but I’ve been doing what I do, successfully, for over 20 years. Whenever I’ve looked at the PC option – and I mean physically looked at it and not just specced machines from websites, I’ve been shocked at how poor the build quality is compared to Apple.

    Let me put it this way: Many, many years ago, I worked for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at their main manufacturing facility in the UK. You absolutely would not believe the attention to detail and the relentless desire for perfection and quality they had. One of the first to Implement Total Quality Management. As part of their continual improvement process they’d buy cars from whoever they perceived as their competitors so they could compare them. Ferraris were the favourite back then. Imagine a huge building full of top-end Ferraris being remorselessly picked apart by engineers and designers. And what they found, and also what I saw, was consistent – yes, they were faster, had better figures and would appeal to a certain market share, but the build quality and finish wasn’t a patch on RR. Ditto with engineering. If you wanted a car that was as close to perfect as you could get and would not let you down, ever, it was RR. If you wanted to spend the same amount to go faster and make a noise, Ferrari.
    Apple build like RR, and if my livelihood depends on it, I want that. I can sleep easier at night. I can plan ahead, make promises I know I can keep and have a list of happy, returning clients who can rely on me and will turn to me if they’re in a fix. Who wants to jeopardise that? It’s just a pure business decision.
    NB: PC cases – I’ve heard this a lot since the new MP was announced – it looks like a cheese grater, PC cases are better/cooler/have 16 million colours of internal lighting etc., etc. Hands up if you’ve ever scraped your knuckles on the front of a Mac. No? What a shocker. PC cases started off cheap, nasty and ugly and have gone downhill since them, to the point they’ve become caricatures of themselves. Please, don’t tell me about Fractal, Phanteks and the others – they look like they were designed by spotty teenagers in their bedrooms! If you think that’s cool design and what Mr. Ive does is crap, then you don’t know about industrial design and would better serve the world if you went into accountancy or quantity surveying. Or hairdressing. Pick whatever course is available on your trailer park.

    So – rant mode off – I’ll get back to doing illustrations of a Mongolian Ger (yurt), a volumetric concrete mixer, the Apollo mission profile, an animated aerospace engine test facility and a cutaway of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which will all be delivered on time, to spec and budget, and I can pay my bills next month and sleep soundly at night. Good evening!

  • Classic backfire effect being demonstrated here. PC users doubling down on a bad decision in the face of mounting evidence. If you live a digital life beyond C4D, a PC is an incredibly poor choice. If you’re an I.T. hobbiest, a PC is your best choice to keep your broken computer deduction skills sharp. If you’re a professional creative, the Mac is like an additional extremity of your body.

  • Freelancer here. I was looking forward to Apple’s Mac Pro announcement. The specs are intriguing, but the price tag was sticker shock for sure.

    I’ve been running a FrankenMac for years now. That is a 2012 Mac Pro (Cheese Grater box) with 2x 6-core 3.46 GB Xeons (24 threads), 64 GB RAM, and two Nvidia 1080 cards. I use an 800 W external power supply to run the GPUs. I get all the benefits of stable Mac OS while using Nvidia GPUs to run Octane and C4D, but it’s not pretty to look at.

    3D is only a part of my workload as I spend equal time in other design apps. This system has worked for me for a while waiting for this announcement. Didn’t care much for the Trash Can Mac as I saw limitations with that design.

    But sadly I don’t think I will be making the leap to this new Mac Pro. At least based on what I’ve seen so far. I’ve been buying Macs for many years and am getting tired of their proprietary way of thinking. They tend to arrogantly dictate what they think we should have. If you have older gear (think Firewire, or DVI monitors) you’ll need to try to cobble with adapters (or send to the landfill) once they determine you don’t need that old tech. They believe their way forward is the best and only way.

    Call me old fashioned, but I like to choose for myself.

    There is a real appeal to build any system you want with off-the-shelf parts. And it’s tempting. But in PC Land there is MS Windows to contend with. I’ve had too many horror episodes with that OS so it’s hard for me to go there full time.

    What would be ideal is for Maxon to release C4D on Linux. I wouldn’t hesitate to jump the Apple ship then. I’ve been looking at Modo, which does have a Linux version. Might be something to consider depending on how things go down the road.

    Looking forward someday to an open-source, non proprietary, low cost, completely customizable, incredibly powerful, yet reliably stable system. Sigh… one can dream.

  • I was planning to switch to PC if Apple didn’t come through with something to make me stay, and this announcement didn’t change my mind. Then I started looking at the other options at the Apple store and found out that the new iMac 5K’s are pretty decent, and even get better Cinebench results than the iMac Pro (if maxed out). And now I’m thinking of getting one of those, plus a dedicated render machine that’s a Windows PC so I can offload large renders and continue working. Best of both worlds.

  • But it’s got handles, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to drag my PC around the studio, oh wait….

  • What are Nick’s thoughts? It seems that software developers will make new stuff for this Mac (also within the 3D community). So is he tempted to switch back….. I think he is.

  • Threadripper 64 core (realease said to be estimated Q4 2019) will cost me less to upgrade to than buying an 8 core Mac “pro”… just let that sink in…

    …and NVIDIA “super cards”…

    What a great time to be into 3D ?.
    As a pc user I have so much more to be excited about.

  • I’ve been thinking of switching from Mac to PC a long time ago to test Octane, Redshift and to have more render power, after Nick switched to PC, I had the courage to sell my Mac Pro D300 the “trash can” and buy a new PC, the PC is extremely strong, 5x faster than my old Mac, but I’ve regretted it a bit, I hate the Windows OS, the system is horrible, I miss the OSX system and my old Mac, I’m seriously thinking of switching back to Mac and buying a new Mac Pro D700, but unfortunately in my country Apple computers are VERY EXPENSIVE.

  • Just to bring a bit of balance to this rabid anti-Apple rant, I’m going to buy a Mac Pro. I’ll happily pay to stay on macOS, and I’m looking forward to using Octane again when it comes to Metal. This machine clearly isn’t for everyone but it doesn’t deserve the venom being targeted at it. And as far as GSG is concerned, it’s no surprise that Chad Ashely weighed into it with his snarky , pathetic comments (“I actually have anxiety of scraping my knuckles on this machine”). Oh please.

  • Yawn (to this article and the comments).
    Apple gave everyone exactly what they were asking for for years but it’s never enough.
    It’s a beautiful design (which is entirely subjective) and it is ridiculously fast and expandable.
    You can put almost any card in it, no it doesn’t require special Apple cards… there just happen to be cards that do some interesting things made by Apple and their partners.

  • So I’m really on the fence as far as the design goes – will withhold judgement until I see one. Seems like Marc Newson has had a big hand in it though..

    My 2 cents on the ‘Pro’ debate would be to see where they take this platform in the next few years. As many have pointed out, Pro users require systems that they can customise (tick to the plethora of PCIe support) but they also often need the bleeding edge in performance. The real test will be how quickly they can keep this system abreast of tech development going forward. This really is the big issue for me – in order for a closed ecosystem to have any hope, it needs to be developed at a pace that we simply aren’t seeing from Apple across the board. 6 years is not an acceptable timeframe but to see any different Apple would need to be fundamentally changing the way they do things.

  • pros:
    less set up time investment / headaches than pc
    better os

    high cost
    lack of gpu rendering
    lack of vr
    bit slower
    various apps dont prioritise mac development

    Anything im missing?

    For me the decision is based on a trade off between quicker tech adoption (pc) vs reliability (mac)

  • I think people are coming to conclusions way too quickly on the new Mac Pro and totally ignoring the potential upside (even indirectly). First off, I will acknowledge that you can’t get the most cores or use Nvidia cards (at least in the short term).

    On the plus side and a point that I think this is very under appreciated. This computer is providing the real potential for competition in the GPU world. Right now people in the 3D world equate “Performance = Nvidia” just because there hasn’t been a viable alternative to CUDA. This computer because it is backed by a huge company like Apple is gaining industry commitment to port GPU support to Metal which could really be a game changer for our industry at large and provide more options and consequently choice for tools, operating system, and hardware. So let’s see what happens.

  • My prediction:
    On launch every high end editing house that has been patiently waiting for Apple to do this will buy quite a few machines, causing manufacturing delays and putting the machine on back order, giving the public and Apple the false impression of a success.

    However after the initial rush the sales will stagnate and the following year Apple will be forced to release a “budget model” at around $2500. Also the monitor will have issues and the stand will inevitably come included because of backlash.

    Slowly over the next decade Apple will work with Media/graphics software developers to arm the MacPro with everything it needs for success. It will take time but Apple is in this for the long-haul. They have finally realized that if you lose the hearts and minds of the content creators, you’ve lost everything.

    Some might say too little too late, but if you were an Apple person from way back when everyone was predicting the death of Apple, you know to never count Apple out they always have something up their sleeve.

  • Also, This article seemed very snarky, negative and not very unbiased. I expect more from this site and from Nick.

  • So an Nvdia fanboy blasts the most powerful and capable desktop workstation to come out in years because it won’t support the video card brand he likes or is paid to endorse and he’s afraid he’s going to skin his knuckles on the enclosure. = No bias there.

    The Vega II cards will open a whole new realm in rendering. But alas, change is something many are opposed to. I for one, will be abandoning my PC (with Nvidia) the day the Vega II equipped Mac Pro is released. I only wish it was available now.

  • After waiting for 9 years for a refresh this became more of a rant than I intended.

    At this point, we’re kind of past GPU rendering and on to AI denoising. It’s not just about (eventually) getting metal support, that ship sailed years ago. It’s now about getting Optix support. Mantra offers Optix already, Redshift has Optix integration. Autodesk went HARD Nvidia rolling out GPU acceleration AND Optix in Arnold. I don’t care, at all, how fast AMD’s cards are in Pro-Render. That’s like winning in a race against someone with one leg, then taking out an ad telling everyone the results because nobody cared enough to watch in the first place. Nvidia’s Optix paper was published in 2017. At this point, unless AMD can ray trace in real time, right now, they’re at least 3 years behind.

    The kinds of things you can do right now in Unity and Unreal at real time, without ray tracing, on a consumer card, are beyond impressive. Add real time ray tracing to the mix and real-time photo-realism on Nvidia is a far safer bet than Metal support catching up. Any machine without Nvidia in 2019 is a limitation and regardless what Apple promises about Metal, it’s only going to become more of a limitation as interactive and video get closer together.

    Apple made all the same mistakes of 2013. Then they focused hard on 4K just in time for the interactive market to overtake movies, VR to come out and GPU rendering to take advantage of all the suddenly super-powered GPU’s. Now, 6 years later 4K video still has limited adoption and is hampered by ISP data caps and a lost net neutrality battle beyond any one company’s control. VR has ironed out the kinks and become more mainstream and even Apple itself is looking to release an AR device in 2020. So Apple made a machine for… 8k video and 8k video only. I’m sure that will be nice for a few big studios that use it in production before downscaling to 4K and HD on export. How about you also give everyone else the CHOICE we’ve been asking for. Standard pcie slots and a “choice” of AMD cards wasn’t it. All Apple needs to do is just *not* block Nvidia drivers in macOS. There’s even a lazy, method in which Apple could continue to be snarky assholes: let people downgrade to El Capitain.

    Apple is clearly more interested in maintaining their petty feud with Nvidia than they are in making a flexible, truly professional machine that can meet changing needs over a 5-10 year period. And while we’re at it, if Apple’s so gung ho about AMD, why the hell didn’t they offer a Threadripper option? 32 cores, support for 2 TB of ECC RAM, 12nm process.. $1800. AMD is behind Nvidia on AI but well ahead of Intel in the CPU space. Even the Xeon W is still a 14 nm process. The only justification for the price of the Mac Pro is the Xeon and yet, a lower cost option is available now with a 3000 series due in q4. They could offer both, an AMD machine as a foot-in-the door to regain market share and still offer the Xeon option too. They don’t appear to be offering a tandem Xeon setup like you can get in HP, which would really be the biggest advantage over Threadripper. I guess cooling a single 250 watt chip, is just more than a cheese grater can handle and dual 205 watt chips are out of the question. Maybe they’ll figure that out for the next refresh in 2025. Surely the legendary Jony Ive can…oh wait.

  • guys i will switch from mac to Windows, i need good configuration to be use with Autodesk Maya, Zbrush , Ae, PS, Ai , keyshot and other

  • I’m not going to lie, I’m extremely disappointed in the lack of perspective, scope, or vision in considering what a monster this new Mac Pro actually is. This is CLEARLY an EXTREMELY biased opinion, and it’s a sh*t one at that.

    Now that we are a few months removed of the reveal, MANY industry professionals have pointed out how and why this thing is an absolute monster, and Nick…I’m beyond disappointed that you didn’t bother to look into and share your own opinion and instead let the PC biased people completely disregard actual Mac experience and even further, THIS NEW MAC’s promise and just crap out this nonsensical article.

    I genuinely couldn’t be more disappointed in this article, and it’s even to a point that it effects my feelings about your company.

    I’m just a nobody so I’m sure you all don’t care, but I have spread your website to dozens of artists over the years and this article really makes me not even want to be here in your camp anymore.

    If you guys can’t respect your Mac user base and take us as seriously as your PC base, then I kind of don’t know what to do here, because I feel awkward bothering with your site anymore knowing how smug and crappy you all are just sitting there in your office being this nonchalant about important buying decisions. Some of us have businesses with multiple artists, tools, and systems already in place and have no plans of switching over, and it would be nice to get something ACTUALLY HELPFUL from one of my favorite sites instead of this BS.

  • @Michael

    Yeah I agree it would have been good to have Nick’s perspective on the Modular Mac Pro on GSG. On twitter he said

    “For those wondering, I am definitely interested in seeing what this new Mac Pro can do. If it is even close to the performance of my PC, I will get one. ”

    I really hope he buys one, mainly so I can feel less stupid planning to buy one for AE + C4D + Octane + Redshift use.

  • Speaking from the point of view of a Maya professional who works with technical animations involving complex fluid scenes – I’ve been a lifelong Mac guy (owned all the Mac Pros starting from the G4 series). In all my years I’ve never had to worry about driver issues, spyware, bottlenecks, etc. Recently I got my hands on a two-year old PC and decided to test drive Maya rendering on it. Initially it was crashing and the keyboard wasn’t working. Then it wouldn’t power up anymore. I took it to a guy who downplayed its problems, almost as if it’s just routine PC ownership issues. About 10 reboots and troubleshooting (took 40 minutes) solved it. I sped back to my office and started the rendering to meet an insanely tight client deadline. Good thing I had my 2013 Mac Pro already pushing some frames out. The final project made it to the client’s hand 30 minutes before he had to do a major presentation with my piece.

    I’m willing to keep myself open to the possibility that this was just an anomaly. Perhaps PCs are stable. Regardless, Maya on the current PC is still glitchy. To me, touting PC advantage over Macs is like saying a McDonald’s cheeseburger is so much cheaper, more filling, and tastier than an organic quinoa salad. I break down the cost of a cheeseburger as $2.99 + 1 hour on the treadmill + bigger pants to fill your waist size + higher life insurance premium.

  • I agree with y’all about the price of the monitor…If the system (with upgrades) can make snuff, then I will consider it with a nice touch enabled monitor… I also agree with Edison about MacOS stability, when I DO have Mac issues… it almost always seems to be related to Windoze on Bootcamp, Parallels, or the NTFS disk format… just sayin’

  • I’m still chugging along on a 2012 cheese grater MacPro. A client sent us a good dual Xeon HP workstation in 2018 for a big project and never asked for it back. It’s at least twice as fast as my Mac, but I only use it occasionally, mainly for certain renders, as I really dislike Windows. I don’t like the look, the font, the organization. The inability to sort a mixture of folders AND files by date is a deal breaker for me. I’ll gladly pay a $5000 premium on the new Mac Pro and take a bit of a performance hit to stay with the Mac OS.

  • Macs are generally wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy overpriced. I worked on both macs and PCs, hands down PCs have been better. Especially for the money.

  • Install Catalina and then come back on how stupid Windows is…

  • Apple has a lot of people in their trap. If you need a heavier WS then an iMac Pro and want to work on MacOS, this is your choice, point…

  • hello hackintosh

  • You can trick out a Chevy Corvette and it will outperform a Tesla at a fraction of the price. Downside is that Chevy’s engine is going to need a lot more maintenance and care, and you’ll probably have to buy a new one every 3 years cause the crappy engine is designed to choke on itself over time. You’ll also kind of look like white trash when you drive it around. Or you could get the Tesla, which also runs pretty damn fast, has some style to it, and is fun to drive. But now you look like a douche who spent waaay too much for what you’re getting. I wish there was a happy medium here. Not all of us are kids who spent too long playing video games in our parent’s basement and have the time to tinker around with driver issues and crap components to get their stuff running smoothly. And not all of us are elitist d-bag business owners trying to show off how much money we can spend on sub-optimum technology. Unfortunately, those are the only two demographics computer manufacturers seem to go after right now. I think a lot of us are stuck somewhere in-between. Hoping for a reliable tool made by a reliable company that knows its user base and wants to provide a solid tool for content creators on a content creator budget. We’re not there yet.

  • So … any news or real test of the MAC PRO with Cinema 4d or any 3D application?

    I’m not speaking about the benchmarks you can find on youtube that are nonsense.
    I want to see how this machine perform under real workload with C4D, Prorender, Eventually Redshift ( for now on Bootcamp with an Nvidia card ) etc etc.

    Go get one and do all the tests in 14 days then eventually send it back if you don’t find good 😀

  • I’m not a graphics pro, but was hoping Apple would include Nvidia support for CUDA development.

  • In other news, pizza delivery guy complains Porsche are too expensive.

  • I don’t understand all the rage against this Mac Pro. One could buy the 16 core CPU version with 32go of ram, a 1To SSD and the cheapest AMD card until octane/redshift get ported to metal. This config would cost about 7K$ and can easily be upgraded with better GPU’s later on. Don’t forget also that AMD is finally back in the GPU game with powerful cards that hold the comparison with RTX’s (ray tracing aside).

    When redshift and octane get finally ported, I’m pretty sure the rants against this machine will vanish.

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