“Small, fast and in a league of its own” – the early Mac Pro verdicts are in


Audiovisual professionals may have had a very long wait for a new Mac Pro, and that wait may not be quite over, but from the early hands-on reviews it seems they’re unlikely to be disappointed.

The real performance of the machine is currently only being seen with Final Cut Pro, which Apple optimized to take full advantage of the dual GPUs, but it’s a near certainty that Adobe and others will follow this example.

With a price tag of anything up to $14,000 if you completely max it out, this is not a machine that will be seen gracing too many living-rooms, but for those earning their living from audio and video and where time is money, the early hands-on reviews suggest that the Mac Pro lives up to its promise … 

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Engadget summed up its verdict in the headline of its review:

Small, fast and in a league of its own […]

The new Mac Pro is a serious improvement over the old model in every way, and is likely worth the upgrade. So, while $2,999 (let alone $10,000) is indeed a big investment, it’s well worth it for people who live and die by their workstation, and for whom (rendering) time is money.

There isn’t another computer we know of that’s this powerful and also this compact. With a starting price of $2,999, going all the way up to nearly $10,000, it’s quite pricey, but for videographers, photographers, animators and other creative professionals, it could be well worth the investment.


The Verge, which has a great photo contrasting the size with the old Mac Pro, says the machine is not a must-buy until other software developers take full advantage of its power, but it will be then:

At long last, the pros get some love […]

Since FCP X was specifically optimized for the new Mac Pro, we tested our RED [4k] footage with the app and it handled native footage from the Epic shockingly well. For this test, I turned off auto-render and set the playback quality to “better performance.” I was able to layer four streams, resized and composed on top of each other with color correction on each clip, and FCP X played the composite back without stuttering or dropping frames […]  If you enjoy using FCP X (which I truly, truly don’t), the Mac Pro is a fantastically responsive machine to edit on.

Addressing both GPUs makes for a huge improvement […] If you’re a Final Cut user, it’s remarkable […]

[If Adobe and other developers follow the FCP example,] the Pro could quickly turn from subtle speed bump to an actual rethinking of what desktop PCs do and what we can do with them.


TechRadar called it “a powerhouse workstation for professional use”:

If you’re thinking this Mac is too expensive, you’re thinking about it in the wrong way. It’s a completely different proposition than an iMac or Mac mini. This is a high end workstation for serious power computing and applications such as media processing and editng. It’s one of the reasons why the future of the Mac is a safe one. It’s superbly designed and has all the panache you expect from Apple. What a machine.


CNET used the same term, and was also impressed by the way Apple made such a powerful machine as quiet as a Mac Mini:

Apple’s radically reimagined Mac Pro is a powerhouse performer.

The Mac Pro’s hardware is incredibly powerful, especially if you’re using it for pro-level graphics and video tasks. It can output to up to three 4K displays simultaneously, thanks to six Thunderbolt 2 ports plus HDMI. The system is whisper-quiet, with a clever three-sided motherboard for efficient cooling and space savings […]

Apple radically re-imagines the professional desktop with the new Mac Pro, featuring a design looks fantastic and offers genuine breakthrough advantages. But, consumer-level Apple enthusiasts should note that this product isn’t specifically targeted at them and DIY upgraders will lament the loss of traditional desktop tower flexibility […]

It’s a stretch to say this is a computer for casual consumers, but the starting price isn’t more than you’d pay for a similarly configured Windows PC and the radically different look and feel is cool enough to appeal to any design enthusiast who wants nothing but the best-looking, best-performing products.


T3 said that the Mac Pro’s instantaneous response when adding real-time effects meant that its “video team’s rendering woes are remedied”:

This hugely ambitious overhaul of Apple’s high-end professional workstation comes armed with not just the expected seriously impressive specs but with an all-new exterior aesthetic that’s hard to ignore […]

The new Mac Pro is the kind of product that’s invented to wow. Exceptionally powerful technology, an almost eye-watering price and a strikingly bold design that looks a bit like Darth Vader – it’s what tech fetishists live for. Not since our first “eyes on” experience with Google Glass earlier this year has the entire T3 office crowded round just to catch sight of a piece of technology. People were gawping before we’d even turned it on.

Yet while we reckon the Mac Pro will attract some mainstream interest among the not-unwealthy due to its eye-catching looks, compact build and ease of use, this is not a Mac Mini – it’s a professional machine, the pinnacle of Apple’s computing powers, built for creative businesses and demanding tasks […]

[We plan] extended pro user testing with our video and graphics team to see if it earns its technical stripes over prolonged use, so expect a definitive review in the new year. But for now, first impressions are strong with this one.


Stuff described the machine as “a monster of a machine packed into one of the most unique designs we’ve ever seen”:

There’s a point to the Mac Pro’s new look – instead of using multiple fans and heat sinks to keep the Pro cool, Apple’s used a single fan and positioned the components around a single thermal core that distributes heat evenly. That means that the Mac Pro runs quiet – astonishingly so – though we did notice that it gets quite warm. The cooling system must be working overtime to keep those high-end components in check […]

We’ve put the computer through its paces with some real time 3D rendering, and the results are astonishing; complex scenes are rendered almost instantly, many of which would take several minutes on current high-end kits […]

For those who need the extra power, there’s nothing quite like the Mac Pro […] it feels like a glimpse at the future of the desktop PC – with a design so radical it’s hard to think of any other firm that would come up with it.

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  1. anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on anthonyvenable110 and commented:
    Hmm. Looks like Darth Vaders trashcan to me. LOL!!!

    • scumbolt2012 - 9 years ago

      HAHAHAH!!! so funny!!!

      You’d know about trash cans with that garbage blog of yours.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        LOL! Takes one to know one. I got one question: Can the video card be replaced with a newer one if so desired?

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Oh! Timmy 2-year-old! I know you are but what am I!!!

        Depends on who you ask. Apple says it is but I’ve read it has a proprietary socket so a lot of people are whining that you can’t when you can. All the cheese-grater Mac Pro’s I’ve worked on never had anything changed in them besides adding ram anyway or the occasional hard drive so people just bitch because they can.

        People that compare the new MacPro are ‘tards. It is so old and played. This is the baddest-ass Mac ever made and costs the same as my Bondi Blue G3 did in the late 90’s and that didn’t even come with a modem in it and people still whine and complain about this or that. People complain that Apple is all about aesthetics instead of function but when they make a computer that is form and function they are to short-sighted to see it as anything of value and have to make stupid trash can jokes when they know they really want one.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Apparently the two-year old forgot to take his nap. Aww!! so anyway you say that this MacPro is so great, well then what makes it so in your personal opinion? What makes this Mac so much better than the behemoth that came before it?

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        I’m not the one that had to make a smarmy comment on their own blog then had to tell about their sharp ‘wit’ on another site. I like the new Mac Pro. If you don’t that is your choice to make. I don’t need to justify anything to you.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Were that the case you wouldnt have responded in the first place

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Yes. It is the case loser. The new Mac Pro is better than the previous on in my opinion. You think it looks like a trash can. The previous one can be just as good or better after some mods that can’t be done on the new. Go shove some shark teeth up your ass.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Lol! I commented on how it looks and not on its appearance. I also had enough class to not call u a loser even though at this point it would be deserved. I also didnt use profanity towards you so being that the Mac Pro looks like a trashcan you guys are quite the pair

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Yeah. You are the best! Lol! Lol!
        I’m just cut to the bone by your wit and the way you keep twisting what you’ve said. How do you get to say that looks and appearance are two different things in this case when I’ve been talking about it’s internal merits? Because you’re the all knowing I guess. When you said it looks like and not appears to look like…If I’m a loser I sure do have a lot for being one. Only drawback in my life is reading idiotic comparisons by self righteous zealots like you. I await your half-baked response. Lol!

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        I commented on its looks. Not its preformance

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Yes. That is true. So you judge a book by it’s cover then? Calling it a Mac Pro Mini is a better description of the aesthetics of it. You never mentioned performance but I did when you asked me if the video cards could be changed. If you need a computer that enables you to do that then get it and enjoy it. Don’t belittle it because it won’t fill your needs.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Hmm Mac Pro mini I like that. I still think that once you add external peripherals it ends up being an octopus

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Only if you lack the basic ability to route cables. Most users will be connected to servers, not a bunch of desktop peripherals.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        If I went to an Apple store and asked for a mac that looks like a trashcan they would take me to the new mac pro.

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Sure they would. More like they would say: “I don’t know what you are referring to.” Then tell you where the local Microsoft or Dell store is.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Lol fine im gonna actually do it

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Go for it. Closest computer I’ve seen that resembles a trash can is the garbage can next to the IT department pros desk full of Wintel junk that has failed. Lol

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago


      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Take care. I apologize for my abusive comments towards you. And if you do go to an Apple store to ask your trash can question remember: no video of it and it didn’t happen.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Apology accepted and youve got a deal. That means your gonna have to check out my blog lol

      • I absolutely love how this particular reply thread consists consistently of “childish insult followed by reasoned discussion”

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        Go fuck yourself. Grown up enough for you?

      • scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

        And I apologize to you for my F-Bomb directed at you. Unless the mods didn’t post it. The never mind – nothing to see here.

    • sally (@FedGoat) - 9 years ago

      What a grown up response… LOL!! /s

      The trash can responses are getting really old already…

      Yes, you can upgrade graphics cards via the multiple Thunderbolt ports if needed.

      • videoguy72 - 9 years ago

        No. The thunderbolt ports are not the way to upgrade the video cards. The video cards are user replaceable, as is the SSD and RAM.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        It was a light-hearted response Sally, and to be honest, the trash can joke is not old. I have a brother that is definately a Machead and yet he feels the same way. The funny thing is that I saw a PC that looked very similar at the Microsoft store the summer of 2012.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        It was a light-hearted response Sally, and to be honest, the trash can joke is not old. I have a brother that is definately a Machead and yet he feels the same way. The funny thing is that I saw a PC that looked very similar at the Microsoft store the summer of 2012.

    • Jasper Molina - 9 years ago

      No, it looks more like R2D2. The Robo Cop version. lol

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      Hey, remember back in aught three when the PowerMac G5 was released and people called it a cheese grater, to their own detriment, as the thing was the most powerful computer on the market and set the standard for the next decade?

      Ah, no, probably not; you weren’t born then.

      • anthonyvenable110 - 9 years ago

        Lol! Frankly I prefer my “cheese grater” to that trash can thing

  2. Howard Butler - 9 years ago

    And there still is NO Quicken for it. Mindboggling.

    • sally (@FedGoat) - 9 years ago

      And this is Apple’s fault I’m sure even though Apple doesn’t own intuit…

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago


      If you need a Mac Pro for Quicken, you understand neither the Mac Pro nor Quicken. Go away.

  3. Laughing_Boy48 - 9 years ago

    Most of the Windows PC lovers feel that the tiny Mac Pro doesn’t have manly enough proportions to be a real business computer. The Windows boys like giant behemoth cases to show how big and bad they are. In other words, size matters to them. The bigger, the better.

  4. Maury Markowitz - 9 years ago

    Would have it hurt too much to put in room for a single drive bay? It would have changed the dimensions by about one inch.

    Then I wouldn’t have to buy an external cage for my single 2TB drive, and I’m willing to put up with everything else about this machine. But $300 for some storage? That’s more than the drive.

    • Pierre Calixte - 9 years ago

      It’s like buying an Aston Martin DB9 the car is already over 200k and air conditioning is a mere $2500 option. I just figure that if you got that type of money for this machine then ponying up the extra cash for an enclosure is no big deal.

      • Maury Markowitz - 9 years ago

        “ponying up the extra cash for an enclosure is no big deal”

        It’s not the cash, it’s the ugly. I simply don’t want dongles on my trashcan.

        $3000 isn’t all that much money in the grand scheme of things. It’s the same price as the original MP, inflation adjusted. My current MP1,1 lasted me 7 years so that’s much less than I spend on coffee every day. I suspect the new design will be (assuming I get one) the last desktop machine I ever buy, so why not demand perfection?

    • Probably because “drive bay” suggests non-solid-state memory, which would be almost inevitably too much of a performance drain from the designers’ perspective. Besides, the SSDs are user-replaceable, if proprietary.

      • Maury Markowitz - 9 years ago

        But all they’ve done is force everyone to buy an external cage and run it over TB. I strongly suspect that an internal SATA would run faster, due to a lack of protocol conversion.

        The “issue” is that the new design is strongly aimed at video workflows. They don’t care about internal storage, because it’s always external. But those aren’t the only people who buy Pros, developers, engineers, scientists and so on buy them as well. For many of these users, myself included, a TB is all we need (note that I went through a series of drives before reaching 1TB, but since then my storage needs have stopped growing due to the rise of cloud storage and similar).

        So for all those other users, which I suspect represents no small number of Pro owners, myself included, the new machine is annoying. A single drive bay would have served perhaps 80% of those users, maybe more.

  5. Michael Wright - 9 years ago

    Love the haters. Less competition. Pure idiocracy. Ugh-Hem “rule by idiots”

  6. drtyrell969 - 9 years ago

    The price tag of replacing 12TB of internal storage is enough to hold off until you win the lottery.

  7. Christopher Minor - 9 years ago

    I just got mine! FCP X and C4D load in about 1.2 seconds. Very happy with it. Also, can’t hear it at all.

  8. jacobgann - 9 years ago

    yeah, not surprisingly, the trashcan analogy is already old because the design has been revealed for 6 months now. I don’t care who agrees with you or what their respective apple credentials are. It is a child-like response attached to fundamental imagery association. american’s/humans immediately think a cylinder (small or large) most commonly relates to a trashcan in our society. only thing that tells me is we throw too much $#!^ away. thanks for your youthful insight on american iconography. now since the functional design of the thermal core and the structure is anchored by a triangular prism form, tell me, how would you shell it? remember to optimize the manufacturing process so as to make it efficient to produce (carbon consumption vs output volume) and don’t forget the basics of aluminum extrusion, can’t break any of those rules either… turns out most people have no idea what goes into these designs, or the processes that make them a reality. but if the shallow association to a trashcan is all you can come up with don’t expect anyone to have any respect for it, a three year old could do that.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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