Category: Hardware

Review of the New Mac Pro Tower

Hey All,

I am using the new 2014 Mac Pro Tower, the “black trashcan” with the default low-end configuration and IOS X Mavericks.

Here are my first impressions after a month of daily use, install, etc.

We all have different opinions and things and these are mine, so don’t flame me if you disagree.  I understand that you are right and I am wrong. 🙂

Positive

  1. Very fast processor.
  2. Workflow is streamlined because wait states are almost zero.
  3. Compatibility is good, but I am using the latest software for 90% of what I’m doing.
  4. Multiple monitor support built in, with annoying issues.
  5. Faster RAM, with cost constraints on upgrading.
  6. 4 Thunderbolt ports.
  7. Built in HDMI
  8. Support for USB 3.0

Cons

  1. Immediately had a problem:  The built in SSD couldn’t handle using Migration Assistant to move to the machine, since the drive was 250GB compared to my old one that was 1TB.  Managed to resolve it through lots of strategic reinstalling, etc.
  2. This machine has no drive space besides the SSD boot drive and if you didn’t buy an external HD to go with it, you’ll be at the store right after you get it it or ordering one on-line.
  3. Low end machine is under powered in terms of RAM.  Base is 12GB in a machine used for power users?  The system uses 4GB so it really has 8 of available memory for everything else.
  4. Should ship with more RAM and cut that profit margin a bit to do it, since adding RAM is extremely expensive and I believe still proprietary only.
  5. The last iMac supported 3 monitors out of the box in HDMI resolution. To resolve this on this machine if you’re moving to it like I was from a iMac, you have to buy a $100 adapter to go past 2 monitors.
  6. Weird issues with the monitor identification.  Have had to reset this many times so it knows which is the primary screen.
  7. A wiring mess! The back has all the cables on the cylinder, so it a tangled cluster after you add few things.
  8. The start-up button is on the bottom/back of the machine under the wiring disaster.  I have to lower my monitor to reach it in back of my screens, push the button and then raise the monitor again to start it each day.  Yes, I could put it where it’s easy to reach and see the octopus of cables in my face all day. I know this sounds trivial, but it’s these little things that take away from it’s overall charm.
  9. Other little items.

Would I buy it with my own money?

No.  I think some of the older Mac Pro multiprocessors with RAID arrays, maxed out RAM and an SSD boot, would be as fast or better because of their options and allow all the expansion bays, etc.  This machine requires to much to be added to the base model to be really great for me.  I’d wait a couple years.

I don’t care I want it!

I suggest if you want to enjoy it’s benefits:

  1. Be prepared that Migration Assistant can’t use the little default 250 SSD to move your stuff.  Get a larger boot drive if you’re upgrading.
  2. Remember to buy external hard drives that use thunderbolt to get the benefits of the speed.
  3. Get the cables off the new Mac Pro box by buying hubs for the cabling and work through those instead.
  4. Be aware some of your older software is going to be like the dinosaurs after the upgrade.
  5. Expect some weird bugs as time passes, the software/hardware ins’t completely bug free.
  6. Accept that you probably won’t be working on the inside of this machine as much as you could on the old Mac pros.
  7. Be prepared to pay for a bigger SSD and more RAM.

The machine is fast and powerful, but not the amazing thing I expected before I used one.

Enjoy the Fall you people in the upper USA and Canada!

Mike

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