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Putting a $31,199 Mac Pro Through Its Paces

Have you ever played with configuring a new Mac Pro and wondered who would need a 28-core processor, 384 GB of RAM, and dual AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphic cards, a config that would cost nearly $32,000? Craig Hunter of Hunter Research & Technology, that’s who. Apple lent him such a machine, and he put it through its paces with LINPACK (a linear algebra software library originally intended for supercomputers) and NASA’s USM3D computational fluid dynamics solver.

Hunter found that not only was the Mac Pro 42% faster than his iMac Pro, but it was able to complete computations that would cost thousands of dollars per solution on a supercomputer. Despite running all 28 cores at 100% usage for 42 straight minutes, the machine didn’t get loud or hot. “A $20K–$30K Mac Pro doesn’t make sense for very many computer users, but an engineering firm would get their money’s worth out of the machine in short order,” Hunter said.

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Comments About Putting a $31,199 Mac Pro Through Its Paces

Notable Replies

  1. A good article, but I don’t think it answers the question about whether a maxed-out Mac Pro is worth the price.

    Sure, there are compute-intensive problems that can justify needing a computer with this much horsepower, but the Mac Pro isn’t unique in this regard. Other computer makers also offer desktop/rack server systems with similar capabilities for similar prices (and some that offer a lot more via multiple CPU sockets and other related features).

    If you’re doing your numerical analysis on Mac-specific software, then yes, the Mac Pro is going to be necessary. But if your software can run on Windows or Linux (as is the case for many open source packages) then you’ve got a very large set of options to choose from.

    It would be very interesting to see how these LINPACK computations perform on a $32,000 server from Dell or HP. Or how a similarly-equipped Dell/HP system (28 core Xeon, 384 GB RAM, quad GPU) costs and how its performance compares.

  2. I fail to understand the logic here.

    The $32,000 Mac Pro is 42% faster than his ~$13k iMac Pro. In other words if he simply spent another $13k on a second iMac he’d be running his tasks faster overall and still have $19,000 to blow on a Hawaii vacation.

  3. I don’t care how fast it is. That’s more than what I would pay for a car and what my first house cost in 1974.

  4. I think you answered your own question in the rest of your post: whether it’s worth it is very dependent on the individual situations.

  5. I think some folks are looking for reasons not to like the new Mac Pro. But I imagine James Cameron could use a few of these machines making the next version of his movie Avatar—and probably will.

  6. I used to work with a premedia house that did high end work for print and video. In addition to traditional magazine, packaging, TV and signage, they expanded to do stadium video, building and interior wall wraps, vehicle wraps, digital outdoor signage and video billboards. A lot of their stuff was done in Adobe apps and Final Cut Pro as well. I’ll bet the latest owners of the company are getting an earful from their production people about how much they need the new Mac Pros. It addition to speed and power, color management is critical; PCs don’t cut the mustard as effectively in this regard.

  7. Yeah, that really makes no sense to me. If you can use it, great. If not, just buy another Mac. Or another computer entirely.

    That said, I do find the slant on several Mac-centric sites I visit interesting. This thing is such a niche product but nobody ever calls it that. Lots of people will go out of their way to defend it beyond any doubt. But when in the past people pointed out how they’d like a headless iMac or the return of the Xserve or some other kind of Mac Apple stubbornly refuses to make, there’s endless posts about how niche that is and how Apple only caters to wider demand. Yet now comes the nichest of niche products. Go figure, :smiley:

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