I Bought A New Mac Pro… An Old One And Here's Why

02-27-2014 02:00 PM

Some weeks ago we ran an article about the possible Pros and Cons of the new Mac Pro versus the old Mac Pro. You can read it here New Mac Pro Or Old Mac Pro - How Do The Numbers Work For Pro Tools Systems?
To recap, I’m a Mac fan… big time. I queued for at least 3 of my iPhones, the iPad and really do own everything that Apple made, I normally get them as soon as they hit the market, one may describe that as an early early adopter.
If you are a Facebook fan you may recall a picture of me holding the new Mac Pro, I had it on my hand, I’ve used one and tested the performance.
However on this occasion the New Mac Pro just did not win for my Pro Tools system, so I have bought a new Mac Pro… an old one, here’s why.

  1. Cost v performance for what I do. The new Mac Pro is fast, but not for the things I do. All the tests are proving again and again that to really exploit the power of the new Mac Pro you need the apps that will do this. Pro Tools isn’t one such application. In their recent review of the new Mac Pro Macworld said “Single-core performance not substantially better (and sometimes worse) than that of other current Macs”
  2. Pro Tools 11 is giving older machines a new lease of life. This is true for the old Mac Pro and so you can buy a last generation high spec 6 or 12 core Mac Pro fuly loaded with RAM and Pro Tools flies.
  3. I’m lazy. One other benefit was setting up the new Mac Pro and the sheer speed I could do that. From start to finish I had 1 SSD, 4 hard drives, my HDX and my UAD card swapped across and running on the new Mac in around 5 minutes. Note to self, make sure you deactivate any software that uses machine-dependant licensing, such as Waves, otherwise you have to do that the hard way later.

The downside is that I can’t use Thunderbolt, but I have a Mac Mini and a Macbook Air for that and as I’ve already said Pro Tools 11 really does make a big difference to performance on less powerful machines. I also don’t have the powerful GPUs found in the new Mac Pro, but I don’t need them, so I’m not paying for them.
That means for about half the cost of what the new Mac Pro was going to cost me I have a machine that is (according to most tests) about 9% less powerful with the applications I’m running.
I used Scrumpy Macs for my pre-owned purchase who are always excellent, they even gave me a good price for my old Mac Pro and collected it. Check out Mike’s buying guide for those considering taking the same root.
I’m still trying to think of a reason to buy the new Mac Pro, it just seems plain rude not to, but for this Pro Tools set-up I’m still happy to own a trusty silver tower. I have friends who have the new Mac Pro and love it, but their needs are different to mine.
Perhaps the old Apple mind-tricks are not as strong as they used to be on this fan? I hope not, I miss not having the latest Apple toy, even if there are good reasons not to own it. Discuss.