arstechnica by Dave Girard
To call Apple's Mac Pro "anticipated" definitely qualifies as an understatement. It's been over three years since we reviewed the last Mac Pro. For an idea of how much has changed since then:
- It was USB 2.0
- It was PCI Express 2.0
- It had only SATA II internal drive connections
- It had no Thunderbolt ports
- I could go to the drive-in with Mary-Sue and get a bottle of Coke for five cents
I might be a little fuzzy on the last one, but the others are definitely good indicators of how badly this machine needed a refresh. The buzz around a new Mac Pro would have been high even if Apple only updated the core of this machine with the newer tech like the Xeon E5 v2 CPUs, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, PCI Express 3.0, etc. But the contentious "Darth Pro" redesign has done what Apple wanted: created a fever-pitched chatter and air of excitement around the machine that their workstation competitors are surely envying. It's been over three years since Apple updated the guts with anything other than a CPU speed bump, and I (and plenty of others) have been yelling "shut up and take my money" at the Apple site for a while now. On one of the nights before the Mac Pro went live on the Apple store, my girlfriend said that I was configuring build-to-order parts for the machine aloud in my sleep. I wish that was a joke.
Latest features and anticipation aside, many feared an update would never come to the Mac Pro. As Apple shifted focus to consumer-oriented products, a notoriously unsentimental and forward-looking Steve Jobs killed off high-end projects like the Shake video compositor and Xserve. Software like Final Cut Pro X launched without support for legacy projects or other much-needed features. Many feared that Apple simply lost interest in a computer that made up increasingly little of the company's profit pie and demanded a lot of engineering resources. It seemed like Apple just didn't care about the pros anymore and would be content to lose that blip of barely profitable market to HP, Dell, or smaller workstation makers like BOXX. read more...