The Mac Pro Review (Late 2013)

Anandtech by Anand Lal Shimpi

The year was 2004. I was enrolled in ECE 466 at NCSU, a compiler optimization/scheduling class. I remember walking into the lecture hall and seeing far too many PowerBooks and white iBooks. This was the computer engineering department right? It wasn’t much later that I started my month with a Mac experiment. I spent most of my life at that point staying away from Apple hardware. I wanted to give the platform a fair shake so I bought the fastest thing Apple offered back then: a 2GHz PowerMac G5.

More recently, in 2012, I was talking to my friend Lyle who was setting out to build a new gaming PC. Without any coercion on my part, he opted for a mini-ITX build. I’d been on a mini-ITX kick for a while, but motherboard and case vendors kept reiterating as exciting as mini-ITX was, the sales volumes just weren’t there. I was surprised when my gamer friend settled on building a new desktop that was seriously small. He used a BitFenix Prodigy case, a great choice.

The last Mac Pro I reviewed was in 2010. Little had changed externally since the PowerMac G5 I bought years ago. I lamented the chassis’ lack of support for 2.5” drives. A year later I abandoned the Mac Pro entirely for a Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro. I was a late adopter for the notebook as a desktop usage model, but a lack of progress on the Mac Pro drove me away from the design.

Apple tends to be pretty early to form factor revolution, but given the company’s obsession with mobile it’s understandable that the same didn’t hold true for the Mac Pro. When it finally came time to redesign the system, I’m reminded of the same realization Lyle came to when building his most recent desktop: why does a modern desktop need to be big? read more...

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