New mac pro 2013 review

Brian Westover is an Analyst for the Hardware Team, reviewing laptops, desktops, and storage devices. As a child, Brian was frequently asked "What do you want to be when you grow up? This was cute when he was five, but worrisome at seventeen. Naturally, he is now a journalist, writing about tec See Full Bio. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

PCMag reviews products independently , but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Terms of use. Pros Dramatic departure from boring, boxy designs.

Apple’s latest Mac Pro is powerful, but it isn’t always a clear upgrade.

Cons Expensive, even for an Apple product. Bottom Line The Apple Mac Pro is a powerhouse in a surprisingly small package, leveraging innovative design and extreme connectivity to completely re-imagine the professional desktop workstation. If you want something that will last, buy something like it that's meant for hardcore gaming. Ultimately, Apple saved me some drawer space, and my slick black-grey input devices match the Mac Pro's stealthy aluminum enclosure better than an Apple keyboard and mouse would anyway:.

With the new Mac Pro, Apple is clearly looking to change what you think a workstation looks like. I have two of them between the screen and my keyboard, and they aren't really getting in the way. People don't buy Mac Pros because they are cheap or because they are marginally nicer looking than a Dell or HP workstation, they buy them because they are fast, they run OS X, and they are stable. Every time I review a Mac Pro, I have to remind the trolls that a video editing suite cannot go down and that the money lost in a day of down time would far outweigh the money you would save by nickel-and-diming your way to a cheaper machine.

Therefore, custom hardware with tailored software is far more valuable because it's guaranteed to work better. As much as I like my home-built Linux workstation and its Windows 7 gaming partition, it has little issues. In Linux, if it wakes up properly, the Wacom tablet has to be plugged in again. In Windows, the fans spin up and down like a guy catching his breath—all day long. That's still better than what you get with a Hackintosh, in my experience. It's for the same reason that Autodesk's Smoke high-end video application used to be sold only with a custom HP workstation—you get better stability with a system designed to run a particular set of software with reduced variables.


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Apple has effectively doubled down on creating objects of desire that, ostensibly, work exceptionally well and let you work uninterrupted on extremely demanding work. And the new design is definitely still desirable. Much has been said already about the shiny graphite case and perfectly cylindrical tube design. The cylindrical design doesn't come without tradeoffs, however. The uninterrupted metal enclosure has no visual indicators that it's on or sleeping unless the backlit rear panel faces you, which is unlikely.

Also, given the small footprint, it's surprising that Apple hasn't included a physical hardware lock on the machine. As nice as the portability of the new Mac Pro is, it would be comically easy to walk out with a school's animation lab in a big backpack.

You must login or create an account to comment. Skip to main content Apple. This core is the most costly Xeon that Intel has made in a long time. My D's truly epic amount of empty drive bays and nasty wire layout is advertising enough for the new Mac Pro's design philosophy: The top lip of the new Mac Pro makes a very good handle for carrying it, and it's a hell of a lot lighter than old Stonehenge here. As I'll discuss later in the review, the machine is indeed as quiet as advertised, though that may or may not come at the expense of some warm operating temperatures.

With the newest version of Final Cut Pro X, which has been specifically optimized to take advantage of the Mac Pro's dual GPUs, I saw the machine play back 16 picture-in-picture 4K streams simultaneously.

Apple Mac Pro review: Apple's radically reimagined Mac Pro is a powerhouse performer - CNET

Editing is a seamless affair too -- you can apply a filter to a video and see it go into effect immediately. Zero rendering time here. Ditto for previews: You can instantly see how an effect will look without having to wait for the machine to catch up. Last example: Retiming a four-and-a-half-minute clip to just a few seconds was also instantaneous -- I could immediately play back a much shorter version of that same footage.

I'm no videographer, as you all know, but if I were, it would be nice not to have to wait while I had a director or client looking over my shoulder, asking me to make changes.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) review: Apple's new Mac Pro really is for pros

Because in my fantasy life as a videographer, I'm always on location. Even on the more modestly specced machine, I was able to preview and apply effects and transitions with zero waiting time. As on the higher-end model, I could play back multiple 4K streams at once. Additionally, I was able to add effects to clips while playing back my project, and could immediately jump to that clip to see the effect in action. At one point, I went a little overboard and added 15 filters and the footage still ran flawlessly. There's an option in settings that causes playback to stop as soon as a frame drops, but that never happened during my testing.

Not once.

Truth be told, I probably could have applied even more than 15 effects, but by that time, I had conceded defeat, and was starting to feel bored with my little game. Other stats: Importing a 9. MOV files from the desktop took less than two seconds -- I had barely pressed the start button on my stopwatch and the import was already over.

When it came time to export, exporting that 9. As a side note, when I timed the export, I made sure I wasn't doing anything else in Final Cut Pro, since the program is designed to slow background processes if there's something going on in the foreground.

That said, I found that I could play other 4K clips while exporting a project, though at one point I hit a clip that included a 4K picture-in-picture overlay, which caused a brief slowdown. I won't dwell too much on benchmark scores here, for the simple reason that most tests have not yet been optimized to take advantage of dual GPUs.

As you can see in the above table, for instance, the numbers are on par with a recent iMac, even though the real-world performance here is far superior, especially in apps like Final Cut Pro X, which have been designed to leverage both graphics cards. Meanwhile, our test system ran the Cinebench R15 Open GL test at 74 frames per second -- that, too, is a good showing, but still not as fast as you'd expect of a dual-GPU machine.

It's a similar story with gaming: I ran Batman: With resolution set to 2, x 1,, details on high and anti-aliasing at its highest setting 8x , the Mac Pro managed an average of 56 frames per second, with frame rates running the gamut from 28 to 83 fps. It wasn't until I dropped the anti-aliasing and detail levels to medium that I saw rates climb to 60 frames per second, with a peak of 88 fps. Even then, that was only a modest improvement. In the Mac Pro's defense, though, gameplay is smooth, especially if you disable V Sync, which caps frame rates.

The performance just isn't quite as robust as you'd expect on a machine this powerful. Without belaboring the point, this brings me to one of my few concerns about the Mac Pro, which is that right now, at least, most programs won't fully harness its graphics capabilities. One of the reasons I spent so much time in Final Cut Pro is that it's one of the few programs designed specifically to run well on a new Mac Pro. It reminds me a bit of how Retina display MacBook Pros were initially short on compatible software.

If that analogy holds true, we should see more apps retooled to play nice with the Mac Pro's dual-GPU setup. Just be prepared for some slim pickings if you buy one this week. As for tasks that aren't GPU-intensive, start-up consistently took around 46 seconds -- a moot point if you're one of those people who never shuts down before leaving the office. If you do shut down regularly, you might find the boot-up sequence slightly tedious, though you'll of course make up for it in rendering time.

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Copying a nearly 10GB file from the downloads folder to the desktop was basically instantaneous. Most apps launched with virtually zero wait time. Even Final Cut Pro, a fairly heavy-duty program, was up and running in under three seconds. Throughout, the Mac Pro gets a bit warm, but it's rarely hot, and it's always quiet. For lack of a better word, you'd have to provoke the machine to really be bothered by the heat: The warmest area is at the top of the chassis, and even then, you'd have to be sticking your hand near the vents to feel it.

Otherwise, the chassis does get a tad warm -- and can take a while to cool down -- but it's much cooler than the air blowing out of the top. Avoid sticking your fist into the opening at the top and you'll be fine.