Digital Arts UK by Neil Bennet
Like many of Apple’s products, the new Mac Pro 2013 is an incredible feat of product design and engineering. That so much power can sit inside such as small package is amazing; it’s truly tiny, much smaller than we first expected when Apple launched it back in May. It’s not going to be for everyone – some of you are going to wish that Apple had stuck with the old design – and many of us are going to have to wait for our software to be updated before we think about buying one, but we can’t help but be impressed.
I’ll come on to the benchmarks in a sec, but first let’s cover the design – as this may make as much difference to whether you’d seriously consider buying one. First off, the aesthetics are beautiful. From Apple’s marketing shots you might have thought it was black, but as you can see from our shoot, it’s more like the back of the ‘Space Gray’ iPhone 5s – and under bright lighting it offers soft, bright reflections of its environment. In the low-light of an edit suite, it fades to black – only mutedly reflecting points of light to remind you it’s there, like a well-behaved client.
The unmarked exterior – apart from the ports hidden round the back – is stylish in a sci-fi-from-a-decade ago kinda way (think AI or I Robot). Personally, I love the look, even though it collects fingerprints quicker than the combined teams of CSIs Vegas, Miami and New York.
The Mac Pro’s design is about much more than its aesthetics though. Apple has placed limitations on how you can configure it than mean that the Mac Pro can neither be accessible for most creatives nor a standalone powerhouse.
The capabilities of the Mac Pro only make sense if you have the performance needs and budget of a video editor, motion graphics or VFX artist working with 2K or 4K (or perhaps very high-sheen HD) – and use external storage and rendering. Unlike the original Mac Pro, this is not a workstation for the vast majority of graphic designers or photographers – which is a shame as many would like access to a screenless Mac that they could connect to a monitor capable of 10-bit colour (which it appears the Mac Pro can output from our initial tests with an NEC SpectraView Reference 242 monitor). read more...