Apple Mac Pro Review for Photography Needs

I never thought that I would be reviewing an Apple Mac Pro, since I have never owned a Mac and was always a PC user. In fact, the last time I really handled a Mac was about 14 years ago, when I worked as an IT tech at the University of Colorado, servicing campus computers. Since then, aside from occasional encounters at local stores or friend’s houses, I have been keeping myself away from Macs. Although I have nothing against Apple in general, there were a number of reasons why I kept myself on the PC platform. The first and the biggest reason was personal preference – having been “PC-savvy” for many years, building computers and providing support for them (whether it was for my family, friends or work), I was pretty content with what I had and never really had much interest in Macs. Second, having spent the majority of my adult life working for various companies and organizations, I took part in building PC and server networks based on the Microsoft OS platform, as Macs have just not been very popular in the corporate world. Lastly, cost was also an issue – for the price of a Mac, I could easily build a PC or buy one at half the cost.

Apple Mac Pro

The Apple announcement for the new generation Mac Pro back in December of 2013, however, sparked my interest in Apple. For the first time, I watched the keynote presentation, checked out the promo videos and thought that if I ever decided to upgrade my PC, I should take a very close look at the Mac Pro. Why? Because considering the small size and the weight of the Mac Pro, the thing is a performance monster. And it looks absolutely stunning. World’s most beautiful PCs look ancient, obsolete and plain ugly in comparison. And performance? Boy, will I be repeating this word over and over again in this review… A workstation class Xeon CPU with up to 12 cores: check. Dual AMD workstation-class FirePro GPUs (up to 6GB of VRAM each) with Thunderbolt 2.0 + DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4 and up to three 4K display support: check. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac wireless: check. Bluetooth 4.0: check. Up to 64 GB of 1866Mhz ECC RAM and up to 1 TB of PCIe-based flash storage: check. For you this might all sound too gibberish and technical, but for a tech junkie like me, it is like music to my ears. I found it hard to believe that one could put all the latest technology in a small, portable, workstation class setup. Yes, “portable” is the key word here, because any workstation that I have ever built or bought with a Xeon processor was something I would never want to move anywhere. My current PC, with the Fourth Generation Intel i7-4770K CPU based on the Haswell architecture weighs a ton and takes up space roughly equivalent to five of these Mac Pros! Even the biggest Mac haters were honestly admitting that Apple just totally killed everything on the market with the Mac Pro.

So when I found out that I could test drive the latest generation Apple Mac Pro (courtesy of our good friends at B&H), I got super excited. So excited, that I wanted to quench my thirst by getting one of the more expensive Mac Pros on the market. Sitting in the middle of the price range of the Mac Pro at $5,799 (Mac Pro starts at $3K and the most expensive configuration will make a $10K hole in your wallet), the model I received featured a 3.0 Ghz Intel Xeon E5 with 8 cores, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of PCIe Flash Storage and Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3 GB of VRAM each:

About This Mac - Mac Pro

With the processor itself retailing around $2,200, this is a no-joke setup. You could literally throw anything you want at it, whether it is video editing, 3D modeling, etc., and the Mac would run it without any issues. Heck, this guy could even run many enterprise server applications!

The biggest challenge for someone like me, however, is getting used to the Apple’s Mac OS. Despite the fact that I have used pretty much every Microsoft OS since Windows 2.0 and many flavors of Linux, Mac OS has its own user interface, shortcuts, utilities and tools that are proprietary to Apple. Although I do have some favorite software tools that I frequently use, whether it is ACDSee Pro (the Mac version has not been updated for over a year) or my good old Far Manager (yes, my old habit from the DOS days) or other PC-specific software, there are plenty of alternatives out there now. So it is not the end of the world and I would just have to get used to different software tools.

1) Set Up

Setting up the Mac Pro was super easy. Once I removed it from the nice-looking Apple box, it was a matter of connecting the power cable and the monitor cable. After I pressed the power switch, the initial setup screen guided me through bluetooth keyboard and trackpad configuration, as well as the initial connection to my home WiFi network. When they say that Macs are built for ease of use, I now understand what that means. It truly was a hassle-free process and I was up and running in a matter of minutes.

2) The One Button Mouse / Trackpad

For a PC user like me, the one button mouse / trackpad configuration is a total disaster. I kept on trying to right click, only to realize that the button was not there. After just a few hours of trying to use the combination of the mouse and the control button on the keyboard, I ended up switching to my Logitech solar keyboard + wireless mouse. To my surprise, simply unplugging the Logitech Unified USB adapter and plugging it into one of the four USB ports was enough – both the keyboard and the mouse were immediately recognized and working. What wasn’t working were all the Windows buttons and various functions keys, so I reconfigured the setup for only the mouse, and went back to the Apple keyboard. Now that I had the two button mouse, I was in business! And yes, I did try to reconfigure the trackpad for the “bottom right click” method and still had a hard time getting used to it. Years of working with a regular mouse slowed me down with the trackpad, so I was glad to jump back to my favorite mouse.

Apple Magic Trackpad

3) The User Interface and Apps

For a Mac newbie like me, getting used to a new user interface was quite important. After many years of using a PC, I wondered if it would be too painful to get used to the Mac Pro. Once again, that was certainly not the case – configuring the Mac through the System Preferences screen was super easy and the Apple Dock with one-click access to the most frequently used software applications actually turned out to be much easier and better to use than Microsoft’s cluttered Start menu in Windows 8.1. I fired up Google Chrome, synced up my Google account and everything ported over to the Mac Pro, including my extensions and bookmarks, which was nice!

Mac Pro Desktop Screenshot

Setting up Apple’s email client “Mail” was also very simple. I connected my Gmail and Yahoo accounts and once signed in, the client synced up all the emails. The setup process also allowed me to sync my contacts, calendar and notes from my Gmail account, so my initial set up already gave me more tools to use than vanilla Windows environment. For my Windows box, the “Mail” app has no contacts, calendar or notes features, and if you try to connect those to Gmail, you have to connect your Gmail account with a Microsoft account! With Microsoft’s practice to pretty much mandate an MS account on Windows 8.1, that’s too much pain and hassle just to get simple things going. Thanks, but no thanks!

Aside from the above and main apps such as iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iTunes and iBooks, I did not do a lot of exploring with the Mac OS’s native apps, but there was quite a bit of stuff available. My interest was sparked by the “Boot Camp Assistant” software, which allows creating a partition on the Mac Pro to actually allow booting Windows 8 OS! Although I did not go through the process, reading up on the Boot Camp help document revealed that I could actually run Windows 8.1 from this Mac Pro natively, without any software layers on top. So unlike Microsoft, which wants nothing to do with Mac, Apple gives the possibility to utilize all that latest hardware to run Windows on its hardware. This was a big surprise for me, as I always thought that Apple was all about pushing their OS to their hardware platforms. So if you do not want to lose the ability to work on Windows, buying a Mac allows you to use both on the same computer and that’s a built-in, native feature of Mac OS. With a PC / Windows, you would have to use a bunch of third party tools and hack your way into building a dual boot “Hackintosh”. And even then, if your hardware is incompatible, you risk not being able to use that hardware in Mac OS…

4) Dual Screen Setup

Although everything so far looked good, not everything turned out to be problem-free. My first negative experience came across on the second week of using the Mac Pro, when I decided to hook up both of my Dell U2413 monitors with two Thunderbolt to DisplayPort cables. Although the first monitor came up perfectly fine, the second screen gave me all sorts of trouble. It looked over-sharpened and plain ugly. My research online yielded nothing, although some people apparently did come across such issues with non-Apple screens and were told to use Apple screens instead. The solution turned out to be rather simple – I went to my monitor settings and reduced sharpness down to zero and it then looked similar to the first screen. A better solution turned out to be even simpler. I hooked up the first monitor with a single DP cable, then daisy-chained the second screen with another DP cable. I had to enable DisplayPort 1.2 on both screens to make it work, but it did work pretty well in this configuration. Once setup, the dual screen configuration worked fine and I was able to make changes to the configuration in System Preferences under “Displays”, if needed. Lightroom worked perfectly fine in a dual screen setup (which I always use) and I did not notice any performance degradation with the second screen.

Apple Mac Pro Dual GPU

5) Thunderbolt and WiFi Conflict

I came across another rather serious problem when hooking up my displays, which is most likely a hardware issue. Cramming all that hardware into very small space has its implications and this one let itself know rather quickly. After I connected the first screen on the top Thunderbolt port, my WiFi stopped working. I tried everything, from turning off WiFi and turning it back on, to setting up access to the wireless access point manually. Nothing worked. Whenever I tried to connect, Mac OS complained with a “Connection Timeout” error. When I tried to reconnect, the OS would complain with a “could not be joined error” as shown below:

WiFi network could not be joined

I tried restarting and shutting down – all to no avail. I wondered why it worked before and it did not this time, trying to figure out what happened in between. When I looked at the back of the Mac Pro, I realized that the monitor cable was hooked up to the top left Thunderbolt port, whereas it was on the bottom right port before. I switched it out and as soon as I rebooted the Mac, WiFi started working. To make sure that it was not some temporary glitch, I switched the ports again and the Mac did exactly the same thing – WiFi would not work. That’s how I figured out that there were some proximity issues coming in play here, most likely something to do with the wireless antenna being too close to the top left port. I don’t know if this happens only on my model, or perhaps only with third party screens. I have no way to verify what’s actually going on, but it is definitely a hardware issue.

6) Expandability, Upgrades and USB Ports

While the new compact design is a define strength for those that need the extra space, expandability, upgrade possibilities and lack of enough USB ports can be a problem. With my current PC setup, expanding components is easy. I have a full tower case and I can add a bunch of hard drives, DVD/Blu-Ray drives and other components any time I want. If I need to upgrade, I can upgrade separate parts without having to purchase a brand new system. Although my motherboard ships with a bunch of USB 3.0 ports, I can always install an add-on card and add more USB ports. With the new Mac Pro, your options are very limited. First, considering how small and compact this unit is, adding more hardware is impossible. If you run out of disk space, you cannot just add another hard drive to the case – you have to use an external USB/Thunderbolt or network storage. Second, you cannot replace the video cards with the latest models, because the are custom-built by AMD for the Mac Pro. Third, the insanely fast PCIe storage is great, as pointed out below, but until third party parts become available, it won’t be a cheap part to upgrade as you can only buy it from Apple and it will cost you. Fourth, there are no memory card readers or DVD/Blu-Ray drives built-in, so if you want any of those, you will have to designate more space on your desktop and keep on plugging more external devices. Lastly, with only 4 USB slots available, you might find yourself looking for USB hubs fairly soon, unless you balance it out with more Thunderbolt devices. Although this list might seem like a huge drawback, that’s the cost of having a small and portable Mac Pro.

Apple Mac Pro Back

So if you own an older Mac Pro and like having all those options, you might want to evaluate your needs and the connected external devices before jumping on one of these new machines. For me personally, I doubt I would need to expand or upgrade for another 3-4 years and there are only three external components that I would connect to the Mac Pro – a USB memory card reader, a USB adapter for my mouse and external storage, so the number of ports on the Mac Pro would suffice for my needs.

7) Lightroom and Photoshop Performance

Adobe does an excellent job with keeping their software up to date on both Mac and Windows platforms. Because of this, installing and running Lightroom and Photoshop was both fast and easy. Although the performance differences in Lightroom with a large database were already noticeable between my high-end PC and this Mac Pro, I could not quantify these differences easily. Plus, the Mac Pro takes over in processor-intensive scenarios and applications, since it has twice more cores and threads than my PC. Still, I made a simple test, stitching a 5 image Panorama in Photoshop (36 MP images from the D800E) and it certainly performed faster. My PC stitched the panorama in roughly 50 seconds, while the Mac Pro did it in about 40 seconds. I knew that such tests would not necessarily represent real performance differences between the two machines, as there were a number of different variables involved, so I started scouting for cross-platform testing software to perform actual benchmarks and measure the performance of both. I came across a number of different software packages to accomplish this task, which I will go over in the below section #9 of the review.

8) Gaming and Overheating Issues

With my boys occasionally playing games like Starcraft II, I wanted to check how some games would perform on the Mac Pro. I installed both Starcraft II and Diablo III on the Mac Pro and let the kids handle it from there. With games maxed out on video settings, both games ran very well, although Diablo III did crash a couple of times (most likely software issues). The ultra-quiet chassis continued to be quiet during gaming, so after about an hour of gameplay, I touched the exterior of the case and it burning hot! Not sure how thermal control works in the Mac Pro, but the single fan inside was clearly not doing its job. I then decided to see if I can manually speed up the fan for better cooling and temperature control, so I downloaded a tool called “smcFanControl“. Although the tool could not read the temperature of the Mac Pro, it did allow me to change the RPM speed of the fan:


Once I moved the speed to 1900 RPM, the Mac Pro was not so quiet anymore. But the faster RPM speed of the fan cooled off the whole unit in a matter of minutes. From there, when kids wanted to play their games, I would use smcFanControl to set good fan speed, then even if they played for a couple of hours, the Mac Pro stayed cool. The best RPM speed for the fan that handled heat from games well was at around the 1100-1200 RPM mark. At medium speeds, the fan was not as loud either.

Again, I don’t know how thermal management is handled by the OS, but in my opinion, the default setting is not enough to keep the machine from overheating. Apple should set the thresholds correctly, so that the fan revs up to faster RPM to properly handle all that heat coming from the CPU and video cards.

9) Performance Benchmarks

Let’s move on to the good stuff – performance benchmarks. After evaluating a number of different tools, I stopped at three different tools: Geekbench 3, Cinebench and NovaBench. All three have their strengths and weaknesses, but the most important part for me was cross-platform compatibility, so that I could run tests and compare the Mac Pro to my PC. NoveBench is the only tool out of the three that was able to measure SSD / PCIe flash disk performance. Let’s first take a look at Geekbench results. Here is the result from the Mac Pro and comparison to my PC in 32-bit mode (demo version limitation):

Geekbench 32-bit Mac Pro vs PC

Although a single core on my PC is faster for a 32-bit environment, the 8 core Xeon E5 processor obviously slaughters my PC in the Multi-Core benchmark. Since a 32-bit test is not really valuable in a 64-bit application environment, let’s see how the two compared in Cinebench:

CineBench Mac Pro vs PC

Although the workstation-class AMD Radeon HD FirePro D500 scored less than my GeForce GTX 660, if gaming is not your thing, I would not take the OpenGL graphics performance differences seriously. First of all, workstation-class video cards are not optimized for gaming and hence typically score less and second, in application-specific environments such as 3D modeling, they tend to score higher than gaming video cards anyway. But do take a look at the second “CPU” line, which clearly shows that the Intel Xeon E5 with 8 cores just kills the desktop class i7-4770k processor in benchmarks. Twice as many cores, twice as many threads certainly do their part in such benchmarks.

Lastly, let’s take a look at what NovaBench measured:

NovaBench Mac Pro vs PC

Overall, the Mac Pro scored higher than my system and you can see why. The CPU alone scored 1414 vs 796, almost twice the speed. Although my RAM is not workstation-class ECC-type, it is pretty darn fast and it outperformed Mac Pro’s memory. The same goes with the Graphics Tests, where my PC scored higher (although 3D frames per second stat on the Mac Pro shows better performance), as expected. However, the difference in speed between PCIe storage and my SamSung 840 Pro Series SSD drives (which are the best in class) is pretty dramatic – Mac Pro measured 338 MB/s, while my SSD drive measured 214 MB/s. Having taken part in testing EMC’s XtremSF hardware in my past life in the IT field (you can check out this crazy video from EMC’s Chad’s World, where I appear as a guest), I know quite well what PCIe storage is capable of. It is a big step above SSD storage, to say the least, especially in the enterprise world. Now that PCIe flash is getting more popular and prices are coming down, the technology is making its way into our desktops and workstations, so I must applaud Apple for introducing this technology to its Mac Pro line.

What does this all mean for us photographers? Faster image editing time in both Lightroom and Photoshop, faster export time in Lightroom, faster backup/restore times (when using fast directly attached (DAS) or network attached (NAS) storage, and more running applications in the background while the machine is busy doing the work. For videographers, it is faster editing time, especially when working with large 4K videos. For graphic artists, designers and building architects, it is faster rendering times of their 3D projects. With a fast CPU, GPU and storage, there is a lot you can achieve in shorter timeframe.

10) Summary

Although time went really fast when playing with the new Mac Pro, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this incredible machine. Although the Mac Pro does have its list of issues such as WiFi / Thunderbolt proximity issues, potential overheating problems when using CPU/GPU intensive applications and games and lack of expandability with limited upgrade options as pointed out above, Apple did an amazing job with designing the new line. The Mac Pro is like no other Mac Pro from the past, boasting the latest and greatest technologies, fast workstation-class CPU, GPU and PCIe storage that set a new standard in workstation performance. Although at a starting price of $3K, it is not a cheap option, a similarly sized configuration from HP, Lenovo or Dell would cost more and would never be able to measure 9.9” x 6.6” in size or weigh 11 pounds. Lenovo’s Thinkstation S30 is a beast in comparison, measuring 6.9″ x 18.8″ x 19.0″ and weighing as much as 35 pounds! In a similar configuration, the Lenovo S30 comes out almost $2K pricier and does not even have PCIe storage. While in the past, Apple products were always considered to be much pricier when compared to PCs, the new Mac Pro sets a new chapter in history, actually being cheaper than comparable workstations from the biggest PC manufacturers. I don’t know where Apple is planning to take the new Mac Pro line in the future, but if they update these machines more frequently than in the past with better CPU/GPU and storage options that become available, these Mac Pros might be taking a big chunk of the market share away from PCs.

Overall, I am very impressed by the new Mac Pro and what it has to offer to photographers. Although I personally do not need a machine right now (as I have a fast enough PC that I built less than 6 months ago), before thinking about building my next dream machine, I will most likely be buying the Mac Pro for my future needs. If you cannot decide if the new Mac Pro is worth upgrading to, I would recommend to take a close look at one. Visit your local Apple store or a friend that bought one and certainly check it out. And if you decide to buy one and found our review to be helpful, we would appreciate your support if you use the purchase links below.

11) Where to Buy

B&H Photo Video is one of the largest resellers of Apple products. Their selection of Mac Pros includes the cheapest base model that you can purchase for $2,984.99 all the way up to the most expensive twelve core model that retails for $9,599. To see a selection of all current configurations offered by B&H, check out this page.

Apple Mac Pro for Photography Needs
  • Features
  • Build Quality
  • Handling
  • Value
  • Size and Weight
  • Packaging and Manual
  • Ease of Use
  • Speed and Performance
  • Stability

Photography Life Overall Rating



  1. 1) Neil
    June 10, 2014 at 6:11 am

    For what it’s worth, if you’re using the Apple single button mouse you can configure it in System Configuration to work like a two button mouse.

    • 1.1) Jake
      June 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      This is true, however, as a long time windows user and recent (2011) mac convert, I would strongly recommend using, and becoming comfortable with, the trackpad. Not only is it a joy to use in terms of scrolling and zooming, but the flexibility and power of the multi-touch gestures cannot be understated (not to mention mission control/multiple desktops). In addition to this, if you would like to optimize your experience and increase the capabilities of your trackpad I would recommend installing the application BetterTouchTool. This application allows you to create custom gestures for common actions or keyboard shortcuts (I use three finger swipes to navigate next/previous browser and finder tabs, open new tabs, refresh/close tabs, etc.). This is an extremely powerful tool and can greatly increase productivity. BTT also incorporates “Windows” style snapping of application windows, which is a nice touch for those of us who are accustom to that sort of thing!

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      Neil, yes, I am aware of that, but I only had a trackpad to work with. I find a traditional mouse to be comfortable compared to a trackpad, but after reading feedback from others, I will have to try working with the trackpad again!

      • 1.2.1) AMusingFool
        June 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

        The trackpad is great if you use the gestures. If not, a mouse is far better. If you’re stuck with a single button mouse, you can hold down the button (or ctrl-click) to simulate a right click.

  2. 2) Neill
    June 10, 2014 at 6:16 am


    Get the Magic Mouse, I come from 20 years of windows PC IT world and when I switched, I used the magic mouse and what a difference, the Apple mouse improves the experince to OS X.

    I still struggle with the standalone track pad, but the trackpad on my macbook feel right.

    And in setting set it to right-click is on the right side, it will feel like your logitech (natural )

    • 2.1) Neil
      June 10, 2014 at 7:41 am

      I use the two finger tap for right click. A lot easier on the trackpads.

      • 2.1.1) Neill
        June 10, 2014 at 7:46 am

        wasn’t so much the clicking, but the way the trackpad worked, for little fine work in Lightroom and PS I found it frustrating

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Neil, thanks for the feedback – will have to try out the Magic Mouse!

  3. 3) Pierre Lecerf
    June 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

    I don’t want to defend this MacPro but, concerning two points :

    Stability/Temperature : the issue you noted is a bit surprising since the new MacPro has been praised for its thermal control, with temperature never going too high even with hours of intense processing. Are you sure the fans aren’t defective or something ?

    Not particularly the MacPro but Macs in general : the mac trackpad is marvelous, but indeed, the absence of a “right-click” can cripple your productivity… that’s precisely why they implemented a way to right-click by tapping with two fingers instead of one.
    In the Preferences panel > Trackpad > Point & Click, choose “Touch to click” and “Secondary click (with 2 fingers)”. And tadaaa, your productivity is back on tracks. You still need a mouse for everything that needs to be precise, but the trackpad is far more efficient for everything else !

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Pierre, I am not sure if there is a malfunction in the temperature reader, but my fan was definitely not spinning enough when gaming. As I’ve pointed out in the review, I had to use a third party app to cool the system down.

      I tried the two finger right clicking and even tried to move the right click to the bottom right corner of the trackpad – it was hard to get used to after many years of using a mouse. I admit that I definitely need more time with the trackpad though!

  4. 4) VinnyB
    June 10, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I’m kind of suprised about the right-click thing. I switched to Mac years ago and I can right-click with my trackpad and my magic mouse without problem. You just have to enable it on the syspref.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Vinny, please read that paragraph again – I pointed out that I tried the right click setting and was just not comfortable with the trackpad in general. I know you can set it to right click either with two fingers, or you can move that function to the bottom right of the trackpad. Trackpads in general are not something I like to be honest, which is why I always carry a small mouse when working on a laptop.

  5. 5) Patrick O'Connor
    June 10, 2014 at 7:48 am

    While I’m not interested in owning a Mac, for most of the same reasons you listed (and the less logical aversion to those in the Mac community who can’t enjoy their computer without trashing yours – hmm… kinda like the way some photographers feel about their camera system!?), your review was really interesting. Maybe someday…

    • 5.1) Neil
      June 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

      It’s true, there are some people out there who feel good about their purchase only by trashing alternatives. Android, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, etc. all have their rabid element that can’t acknowledge merit of other systems without immediately comparing it to their own choices. Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji. Same thing. Same for almost any other hobby or professional tool. I think it’s just human nature.

      • 5.1.1) Patrick O'Connor
        June 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm

        I agree. But on the other hand, so is taking things you want. But, through parental guidance, societal influence, etc. most people are able to resist taking things that belong to others. I don’t view “human nature” as an excuse for poor behavior. When I act poorly (and I do too often), I try to acknowledge my mistake and apologize.

        I apologize a lot! ;-)

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Patrick, that’s so true – too many fanboys on both sides! I have always been a PC user, but I won’t defend my choice to death. There are pros and cons to each and at the end of the day, it is a matter of personal preference, similar to the never-ending Nikon vs Canon debate.

      • 5.2.1) Patrick O'Connor
        June 11, 2014 at 5:31 am

        Actually, I think the Nikon vs Canon debate may end, or at least slacken, soon. Fuji users are becoming our common enemy! ;-)
        Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :-)

  6. 6) Mark
    June 10, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Like Pringles – “once you pop you can’t stop”!! I could never ever go back to Windoze.

    • 6.1) Patrick O'Connor
      June 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thank you for illustrating the obnoxious attitude of Mac users (“Windoze”) that I was talking about. :-)

      • 6.1.1) Mark
        June 10, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Yeah well as a faithfull user of it from Win 95 all the way through to Vista Business I feel qualified to make the remark. Forget the hardware, the Mac OS is infinitely simpler and better – no more BSOD’s, and I certainly have no regrets since making the switch!

        • Patrick O'Connor
          June 10, 2014 at 11:22 am

          Whether or not you’re qualified (I honestly don’t know), you don’t have to be a jerk. It’s fun at times but only among friends.

          Not that it means anything but I’ve been using Windows from the runtime versions of the late 80’s up ’til today. I have very little experience with Macs so I can’t compare them. Even on those issues where I can make valid comparisons, I wouldn’t insult the choices of others.

          • Mark
            June 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm

            I think you’re being rather defensive – calling me a jerk is a little unnecessary since you don’t know me, and my initial comment was hardly insulting the choice of others rather just a harmless little poke and, wow, did you bite!

            For many years I always built my own PC’s and, as I said, used all the incarnations of MS from Win95-Vista but when a desktop was no longer practical I wanted a decent laptop and bought a used MBP (mainly because of the quality of the photographers type matte screen). Now being fully adapted to MAC OS, in my opinion, it’s a far better and simpler OS so I reiterate my original statement that I could never go back to Windows (notice the “PC” version of that and also note that at no time have I actually criticised MS!). Do I think Apple is a great company – no, far from it and neither would I say MS is a great company either!!

            • Patrick O'Connor
              June 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm

              I have a history of over-reacting so… no surprise there. I don’t care about why you don’t want to go back to Windows. You don’t need a reason just like everyone else. It’s just that, like you said, ‘I don’t know you,’ which goes back to your comment being harmless, and even funny, among friends but not so much among strangers. Sorry for making a big deal about it. :-)

            • Terje
              June 11, 2014 at 12:49 am

              @Mark >> For many years I always built my own PC’s and

              Perhaps that explains your troubles. I too have always built my own stuff, and I have only seen crashes when the hardware (usually memory chips) was bad. Once with an nVidia driver. Honestly, it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools. You must be a poor craftsman.

              Oh, and as for stability. When Apple built its iCloud, they did it on Windows (and perhaps Linux). All of the iCloud is on Azure (which is Windows) and Amazon (Windows or Linux). If Windows is stable and performant enough to run iCloud with millions of users, I would expect it to be stable and performant enough for a single user. But hey, if you can’t put together a PC, then perhaps you should rather have bought it from someone who can.

            • Patrick O'Connor
              June 11, 2014 at 5:36 am

              I don’t think he said he had any troubles. He just prefers Macs, which is okay.

        • AP
          June 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm

          No BSOD for sure. But how about the message telling you to restart your Mac?

          Oh sorry, that is a feature.

          How about the myth of it being virus-proof as well?

        • Terje
          June 11, 2014 at 12:45 am

          Mark, you keep showing how immature you are. Windows is no less stable than OSX, and your “blue screen of death” comment shows you have never touched Windows. There has been no blue screen for more than a decade.

          • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
            June 11, 2014 at 2:05 am

            Terje, talking about being immature, now you are launching personal attacks against others? Come on man, just respect other people’s opinions and choice. I love my PCs running Windows, but if someone doesn’t, I don’t go about launching personal attacks against them.

            Everyone, please be respective of each other. It does not matter if it is an Apple or a PC. If it works for you, good for you! Let’s focus on the topic instead – the new Mac Pro!

            • Terje
              June 11, 2014 at 4:55 am

              >> now you are launching personal attacks against others?

              I am? I was not aware of that. In my world, it is not a personal attack to point out a fact. Using name-calling like “poopoo-head”, “Crapple” and “Windoze” is immature per definition. Stating that a (presumably more or less) grown person using such characterizations is immature is not a personal attack. By that very definition.

              I enjoy my Mac Pro, I have issues with it, extensibility for one. II’d love it to be slightly larger and have room for two 5 1/4″ hard disks, but that’s just me, I hate stuff that is external, with their own power supplies, extra wires etc. Not to mention, it is Unix! BSD no less. I grew up on SunOS which was BSD and lamented the switch to Solaris and the AT&T monstrosity it was built on. I love that Apple today is, by far, the largest Unix desktop vendor (but Samsung has them beat as a general “Unix” vendor since Android is based on Linux which is “Unix” too).

              I also have a big-axx PC with water cooling (quiet), six internal hard disks etc. It runs Windows and a bunch of VMWare VMs with various Linux versions on them. I am biased against none and have no extra love for neither. They all have pluses and minuses, though Linux on the desktop is still a cruel joke.

              My tolerance for fan-boyism, “crapple”, “windoze” and “poopoo-head” is relatively low on the other hand.

          • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
            June 11, 2014 at 5:42 am

            Terje, if “you keep showing how immature you are” is not a personal attack, then I must be living in a different world :) I see nothing wrong with calling Windows “Windoze”, as back in the day we used to call Microsoft “Windovoz” and “Must Die” in Russian. There were times when Microsoft made some pretty bad software (remember Windows ME?), so those associations often remain with some people. It does not apply today, just like lies about Apple not getting any viruses or having better stability.

            Either way, let’s do our best to refrain from personal attacks in any shape or form. Instead, let’s focus on the Mac Pro. So let me ask you a question, what do you think about it? :)

            • Terje
              June 11, 2014 at 6:16 am

              OK, Nasim, so what you are saying is that adults calling each other “poopoo-heads” is not considered immature in Russia. This makes it a matter of a cultural difference and misunderstanding, and for that I am sorry. I am not very well versed in the Russian culture.

              FYI – in the English speaking world, adults using words like “poopoo-head”, “Crapple” and “Windoze” *is* considered immature by the entire adult population. So, no, I was not engaging in a personal attack, not by the cultural norm of people in the English speaking world. I was just stating a documented and demonstrated (by Mark) fact.

            • Mark "Poopoo-head"
              June 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

              Hi Nasim,

              Good grief!! Honestly I don’t know what to say other than thanks for an excellent blog as always.


          • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
            June 12, 2014 at 2:15 am

            Terje, maybe I missed on something, but I did a search on “poopoo-head” and “crapple” and I cannot find any place where Mark used such words. He only said “Windoze” once. You repeated both “poopoo-heads” and “crapple” so many times, but the only references in messages are coming from you. When I talked about jargon back in the day, I only referenced “Windoze” in Russian, I never said anything about other verbiage…

            Either way, I apologize if I misunderstood anything.

  7. 7) Sergio
    June 10, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I bought into all the Mac hype and finally got a MBP a few months ago, and I have to say it’s just that, hype. Mac OS offers absolutely no advantages over Windows, and it actually has a few disadvantages, not least of which is the vast amount of software that won’t run on a Mac (yes, I know you can run it on Windows emulators like Parallels, but that’s a workaround). Yes, the screen is nice and not as glossy as what you’ll find in today’s touch-enabled Windows 8 PCs, but everything else you can find just as good on a PC. In fact my main work PC is an Asus.
    So if you’re used to Apple by all means stick with it. But if you’re a lifelong Windows user, there’s no compelling reason to switch.

    • 7.1) Mark
      June 10, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Actually there’s very little software that’s not available or there’s not a Mac equivalent for these days, and you can always install Windows onto a separate partition and boot into it using Bootcamp – best of both worlds then eh!!

      • 7.1.1) Sergio
        June 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Gamers would disagree with that. And it’s not just software. Want to connect an Android phone to your Mac and copy over some files? Sorry, there’s no native support for that. Want to connect a camera and browse through pictures like you would with Windows Photo Viewer? Can’t do it, gotta load the photos one at a time with Preview. And the MBP doesn’t even let me view the pictures directly on my Nikon cameras, I have to connect through a card reader. A few days ago I bought a 2 TB external drive that I have absolutely no problem using on a PC. On the Mac? Well, since I formatted the drive using NTFS to be able to work with files bigger than 4 GB, I needed an external program to be able to copy movies to and from the external drive. So what you have is a lot of workarounds and for what? Certainly not so you can enjoy the privilege of IOS. So again, there’s no reason whatsoever to make the switch.

        • Martin Mahoney
          June 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm


          Not being an Android user I cannot comment on your issues with an android phone.

          However, in regards to your external drive, The problem you had is because you formatted it for NTFS. If you had formatted it for HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) You would not have had an issue. Just like one wouldn’t format a drive for HFS+ for use on a Windows machine, One shouldn’t format a Drive for NTFS for use on a Mac, though third party tools do exists for both system to read the other formats.

          I am also not sure what issue you have with your Nikon and your mac since I am able to use a usb cable to connect my Nikon to my mac and browse the images stored on the nikon with lightroom before importing them.

          • Sergio
            June 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm

            But the thing is that the “it just works” mantra doesn’t apply to Apple anymore. It may have at one point. Fortunately I’m computer savvy enough to have found workarounds for all these issues, except for the picture browser. And no, having to buy and install Lightroom is not what I would consider a solution to that particular problem. But anyway, as I said before, if you like Mac and Apple in general, more power to you. But if you like Windows, stick with it. You’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary hassle.

            • Mark
              June 10, 2014 at 7:27 pm

              Hitting the space bar then using the up and down keys is a very simple way to quickly view and browse files – or use cover flow view and drag the window to enlarge it!

            • Mark
              June 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm

              Or another method is open preview and hit the little icon at top left under the close button and choose the option thumbnails. Then selecting all the pictures you want and choosing to open with Preview shows a thumb on the left which again can be scrolled through using up and down keys. Going to the toolbar and selecting slideshow gives a full screen autoplay or manual forward and back. It’s actually not that much different from Windows picture viewer once you know how to do it.

            • Terje
              June 11, 2014 at 5:06 am

              >> the thing is that the “it just works” mantra doesn’t apply to Apple anymore

              Just for the record, you can not blame that on Apple. Microsoft owns, and generally protects, NTFS. I’m not sure there is a way Apple could legally add NTFS support to OSX, Microsoft doesn’t generally license NTFS to anyone.

              I guess they could license Tuxera or similar, but since that would be a clean-room reverse-engineering of NTFS, you always risk having an update from Microsoft rendering that unusable.

        • Roshan Vijay
          July 16, 2014 at 12:56 am

          I’m sorry, sir but I beg to differ.

          I agree with you on the games part, but Android File Transfer, a Google application has been available since the days of Android 3.0 and it is available for Mac.

          As for hard drives, with an external hard drive, you can always format it for the newer exFAT file system, which has been supported on Windows PCs running Windows 7 or later. This supports files greater than 4 GB and ensures full compatibility between OSes.

          For copying and viewing files, you may use ‘Image Capture’ and application that Apple ships by default on every Mac. I have been using the same to transfer images from my Nikon D7000 by connecting it through the USB cable.

  8. 8) Scott M
    June 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I find iStat Menus to be a useful for at-a-glance monitoring a lot of information about my MacBookPro including the several temperature sensors, RAM availability, and CPU usage. If it’s just for a test, you can use the 14-day trial, otherwise I think it’s worth the $16.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks for letting us know Scott, will have to check that out next time!

  9. 9) Ertan
    June 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I still think that Apple’s are expensive. I’m not moving my PC anyway, so I don’t see any reason to pay a premium for nice looks. I’d buy this instead:
    30% less expensive, more RAM and storage, more expansion capacity etc..
    I don’t want to start a Win-Mac discussion, I respect people who like/choose Apple. It’s a “choice” thing.

    • 9.1) Dylan Colon
      June 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

      I’ve yet to find an affordable solution in pre-made workstations. I’d much rather build my own and save hundreds of dollars in the end.

      I highly recommend doing your own builds. It’s much simpler than what people play it out to be, and it gives you a new appreciation for the components that rest inside of that metal shell. Try it out.

      • 9.1.1) Neil
        June 10, 2014 at 11:14 am

        I’ve built several and it’s a pain in the rear end unless you really like tinkering. I have used Mac and Windows extensively as a software developer for 20 years. Fanboyism on all sides is silly. Everyone’s needs are different and how much someone’s willing to go through for a DIY solution is different.

      • June 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

        Dylan, once you put the price of parts needed for a workstation (ECC memory, Xeon CPU, motherboard and other components), you will be amazed to see how close your custom build will be to a commercial product from Dell, HP and Lenovo. The Xeon E5 CPU in this particular Mac Pro that I tested retails for $2,200 – check out the prices at or Amazon if you do not believe me. I doubt you will save a lot of money by building it yourself, if you use similar class components.

        I have always built my own PCs, built a few workstations and servers in the past and when I see the price of a Dell PC on Christmas sales, I wonder if my time and effort was even worth it. Nowadays, it is often cheaper to just buy a PC rather than build your own, if you find a good deal.

    • 9.2) Pierre Lecerf
      June 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Like many people, your error is to compare a Core and a Xeon platform.
      Completely different beasts.

      Everytime I see people saying things along the lines of “I can build something much more powerful for X less”, they throw in Core i7 processors, consumer-grade CGs, non-ECC memory and whatnot.
      The performance and reliability in a working environment is completely different, as is the pricetag.

      For as much as I dislike the direction Apple is heading at now, one can’t deny this machine is quite reasonably priced for what it offers.

      • June 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

        Pierre, exactly my point, thanks for re-iterating it.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Ertan, comparing a Dell XPS with a Core processor to Xeon is apples and oranges my friend! If you want to do an apples to apples comparison, check out the prices on Dell Precision series with the same processor – you will be amazed to find that the PC workstation is actually much more expensive. In the case of Lenovo, it is almost $2K more expensive. The difference between Core and Xeon? Desktop vs Workstation. In a working environment with graphic artists, 3d modelers and architects, a fast, reliable workstation is often a must. This Mac Pro does not compete with an average PC – it is a high-end device specifically tailored for high-end needs. And in this niche, the Mac Pro beats all other options on the market price-wise…

  10. 10) WW
    June 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

    “So unlike Microsoft, which wants nothing to do with Mac, Apple gives the possibility to utilize all that latest hardware to run Windows on its hardware.”

    This is as false a statement as can be. Microsoft is one of the top software suppliers for OS X and have always been supporting MacOS – on my OS X 10.3 iBook, Internet Explorer was the default browser as Safari did not exist yet.
    Second, it is Apple who does not allow to anyone else to run OS X on their system properly licensed. Windows 8 includes a Hypervisor which probably could be made to work with OS X. But there is no licensed way to make that work.

    I am sure it is a gorgeous piece of hardware. But it did not kill off any market. It is a niche machine for a niche market where Apple already had a clear presence.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      WW, appreciate the feedback, but could you please clarify when was the last time you saw Microsoft provide drivers for Mac-specific machines? I am yet to see Microsoft create a driver in MS Windows that allows natively using an iMac, Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, etc. If you look at the driver support, Apple is the one that is doing the job – the Boot Camp drivers are written by Apple engineers for Windows, not the other way around.

      Yes, Microsoft has been doing what it can to keep Windows products in Mac OS, whether it was their Internet Explorer browser or their Office Suite, but I have never heard of Microsoft officially supporting the Mac hardware platform. That’s exactly what I meant when I said that Microsoft wants nothing to do with Mac…

      As for Apple not allowing anyone to run OS X on other hardware, yes, that’s certainly the case and I won’t defend Apple on that. As I have pointed out above in one of the comments, there are pros and cons for both and neither party is “clean” when it comes to the way they do business.

      Lastly, my comment on potentially capturing more market share was targeted purely for workstation class machines. In this niche, the new Mac Pro beats everything on the market price and feature-wise…

      • 10.1.1) Terje
        June 11, 2014 at 12:57 am

        @Nasim Mansurov >> when was the last time you saw Microsoft provide drivers for Mac-specific machines

        Considering the fact that Microsoft doesn’t develop hardware for the Mac, why on earth would they build drivers? What drivers is it that you feel Microsoft should build for the Mac? Your comment makes no sense. Microsoft fully supports Apple, in fact, if it was not for Microsoft and the anti-trust suite, Apple would probably have gone belly-up quite some time ago (in the pre-iXXXXX age). Microsoft, and the fact that they agreed to keep Office on Apple current, plus a very large cash infusion, is the reason Apple didn’t die back then.

        Microsoft supports Apple fully and completely, and there is only ONE reason running OSX on a PC is not possible, and that is because Apple will not allow it. It works. It is easy to do, but Microsoft can’t do it because of Apple. Blaming Microsoft for this situation is absurd.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          June 11, 2014 at 1:46 am

          Terje, just like they support drivers for companies like Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo and a myriad of other hardware that they have nothing to do with. They don’t produce any of that, but they do support it in the Windows OS environment natively, because they are in the business of selling the OS. You do not see the same thing for Apple hardware – that’s all I am trying to say here. I don’t blame Microsoft for it, I simply stated that they do not want to deal with Apple, or it could be the other way around – perhaps Apple does not collaborate with Microsoft enough. At the same time, the Boot Camp drivers are actually built by Apple engineers for the Microsoft OS, so there is a difference there…

          I am not here to argue about what is better or worse, or who saved who. That does not matter. We all remember that speech by Steve Jobs back in late 90s, introducing Bill Gates to the booing crowd. So people know who Apple was saved by then and nobody would argue against that. Again, I am not here to try to defend or take either side. I dislike Apple fanboys as much as I dislike Apple haters. We are here to talk about the Mac Pro, which is just excellent hardware and truly groundbreaking, in terms of design, pricing and performance.

          Being a PC-only user for years, I would disagree with your statement about Microsoft supporting Apple fully and completely. If Microsoft sells the Office Suite to Mac users, that does not mean that Microsoft is providing full support for the Apple hardware. You know that’s not the case.

          As for OS X not running on a PC, it actually does work perfectly fine on compatible hardware that Mac OS has built-in driver support for. However, their licensing model prohibits using the OS on any other hardware. That’s dirty business on behalf of Apple, but keep in mind that Apple gives away its OS for free, whereas Microsoft is mostly in the business for selling software. Two completely different models.

          I find it idiotic that people always bring up Microsoft vs Apple. In reality, Microsoft is not a hardware manufacturer, so it is not a battle between the two. PC is a hardware platform and Windows is an OS. Apple does both, but they are not interested in software licensing for their OS. They want people to buy their hardware. The new Mac Pro is a superb hardware platform. If I wanted to only use Windows on it, I now know that I can and it is a very appealing option to me personally. Rather than spending $1-2K more on a comparable system from Dell, HP and Lenovo, which is much larger, weighs 3-4 times more and looks ugly in comparison, the idea of getting a Mac Pro and having the option to run any OS I want on it is great.

          • Terje
            June 11, 2014 at 4:40 am

            For the record, I have nothing against Apple, in fact, I own a Mac pro. I use it to develop enterprise software for iOS as I use my PCs for development on Android (and one app for Windows Phone). I am merely correcting erroneous information. Remember, everybody has the right to their own *opinion*, but not the right to their own *facts*.

            @Nasim Mansurov >> like they support drivers for companies like Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo

            Do you think that Microsoft *develops* those drivers? They do not. They are developed by Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo etc. Once Apple wants to be part of the experience, they can have their stuff included in Windows as well, but they do not. Microsoft doesn’t, and under their deal with the US Justice Department can not discriminate. Also, it is not in their interest to discriminate since they are not a HW company and care not about what hardware their OS runs on. Apple on the other hand is a *systems* vendor, they care deeply about what operating systems run on their hardware and they have at times gone to great lengths to limit that. If Apple wants their HW drivers included in Windows Microsoft is (or was at least until recently, I’d have to check) required to include them in the package. Microsoft also has a reasonably cordial relationship with Apple, there is no reason they would not include said drivers. The ball is, and will always be, on Apples side of the court.

            >> I simply stated that they do not want to deal with Apple

            Yes, and your statement is nonsense. It’s the other way around. Microsoft has always supported Apple above and beyond, particularly when the DOJ basically forced them to do so. In 1996 Apple’s back was broken and they were about to go the way of the Dodo. Jobs came on board and turned NeXT into OSX, but he did one more thing, he secured $150 million in investment from Microsoft. That money was what made OSX and the new Apple possible.

            >> that does not mean that Microsoft is providing full support for the Apple hardware

            What does that mean? Its nonsensical. What support for HW should Microsoft support? Microsoft *fully* supports *all* Apple hardware except from the bits and parts Apple do not want them to support. As I said, Microsoft, after the DOJ debacle, doesn’t have any other options. If there is HW Apple has that Microsoft does not support, that is the responsibility of Apple. They need to certify it. They need to ship it to Microsoft so that Microsoft can include it in the OS with the likes of HP, Lenovo and Dell.

            Follow the money. As a complete systems vendor, it’s in Apples interest to control what runs on their HW. If people start buying Mac Pros only to run Windows on them, the system aspect of Apples story goes under, and they become another Dell. That is not in Apples interest. Microsoft doesn’t give much of a damn about hardware, if they can have their OS run on a bucket with rocks in it, it’s a win.

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              June 11, 2014 at 5:23 am

              Terje, I never said that Microsoft develops drivers – I used the word “support”. Please go back and re-read my comment, especially the part where I said “perhaps Apple does not collaborate with Microsoft enough”. You brought up points that I already made, that Microsoft is in the business of selling OS, while Mac’s business model is hardware + proprietary software. Microsoft makes money selling OS, Apple does not. So this whole Mac vs Microsoft debate is meaningless, as we are talking about apples and oranges here.

              Your statement “Microsoft *fully* supports *all* Apple hardware” is also nonsensical. Microsoft does not provide full support for Apple as you’ve stated. Apple uses hardware platform based on the Intel chipset and it works just because the drivers for that chipset are already included. Anything that is not standard in the PC industry / proprietary to Apple does not work, because the hardware is incompatible with the existing set of drivers. That’s where Apple comes in, providing Boot Camp drivers to make those unrecognized devices work. So Microsoft is not doing anything special for Apple here. If Apple never certifies drivers and never ships them to Microsoft, it is not like Microsoft is going to do anything about it. And I don’t blame Microsoft for that.

              Lastly, while I do agree that Apple would not want to become another Dell, Apple does provide native driver support for its hardware to run Windows. It was not always the case, but it is certainly true now. So despite the effort to keep control of their systems, Apple is giving the option to choose, knowing that a person buying their hardware would want to use their OS. And the way I look at the new Mac Pro is from a PC user perspective – if the hardware can run Windows without any emulation, that’s a great option considering that all PC alternatives are bulkier, heavier and more expensive.

            • db
              June 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

              “… he secured $150 million in investment from Microsoft…”

              Um…no. It was the result of a copyright infringement suit that Apple won.


            • Terje
              June 12, 2014 at 3:37 am

              Seems I can not reply to “db”, so I am replying to my self. I have seen the article, but I also have read Jobs’ own account of the events. Here is what Jobs had to say about that matter:

              I called up Bill and said, “I’m going to turn this thing around.” Bill always had a soft spot for Apple. We got him into the application software business. The first Microsoft apps were Excel and Word for the Mac. So I called him and said, “I need help.” Microsoft was walking over Apple’s patents. I said, “If we kept up our lawsuits, a few years from now we could win a billion-dollar patent suit. You know it, and I know it. But Apple’s not going to survive that long if we’re at war. I know that. So let’s figure out how to settle this right away. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.

              Seems like Jobs disagrees with Morgenstern, and I am quite sure I know who has the correct information. Even Jobs agrees that there was little chance that Apple was going to survive long enough to cash in from Microsoft.

              The main thing that saved Apple at that point in time was not the $150M cash infusion as such, Apple still had a couple of billions in the bank at that point in time (but bleeding about one of those a year). The investment was symbolic, and that together with a Microsoft pledge for full support for Apple for at least five years turned Apple around. Prior to that announcement Apple was hemorrhaging cash and was on the brink of bankruptcy. Immediately following the announcement Apple stock turned around and the lived to fight another day.

              Bill Gates was booed on stage that day, but if he hadn’t done what he did and hadn’t said what he said, there never would have been an iPhone. This millennium would have commenced with the bankruptcy proceedings of Apple.

      • 10.1.2) WW
        June 12, 2014 at 6:55 am

        Hi Nasim,

        Sorry for the delays in reply; and I haven’t read Terje’s replies yet so maybe I double up… my apologies if I do.

        Quote [I have never heard of Microsoft officially supporting the Mac hardware platform. That’s exactly what I meant when I said that Microsoft wants nothing to do with Mac…]

        OK, can’t argue with that, though I feel this only comes down to point of view. Microsoft isn’t essentially doing any hardware support for anyone ever. They also do not supply the drivers for other OEM brands such as HP, Dell, Acer and so on (the drivers included in Windows are either very basic drivers, or hardware-supplier made). MS does qualification only on systems that ship with Windows preloaded, which obviously exclude any Apple product.
        In this respect, you cannot really compare the business model of Apple and MS, and this comparison goes flawed there.
        Second, should MS be the one to deliver drivers to make Windows work on Apple products, that ship without Windows? Apple is not that big a vendor (globally), so the pressure is more with Apple to make Windows work than the other way around… Yes, it’s 900-pound gorilla tactics, but it is how it works.

        The comparison to Bootcamp is funny though: MS has been one of the major contributors to Linux over the last few years – all code (drivers/kernel enhancements) to make Linux run better on HyperV. In this virtualisation scenarios, the “who does what” becomes even fuzzier than it already was.

        Sorry if I sounded to harsh on your article; I think you bring a number of good points to the table for those considering a system this class, especially from the perspective of a Windows user moving to OS X. Unfortunately it’ll attract the fanboys claiming there OS is better, using nicknames for the other brand. I’ve used a lot of different OSes. They all have their advantages and disadvantages; it’s just a matter of find the one that does what you want. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t cloud the discussion on a review of a piece of hardware.

  11. Profile photo of Daniel Michael 11) Daniel Michael
    June 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I moved from my top of the range PC ( a Gateway!) back in 2003 to an iMac. What prompted me to move was I had just got my first digital camera a (Sony Cybershot) and on coming back from holiday had such difficulty loading the shots on to the PC, and then using Sony’s proprietary software to try to make albums. It took hours of trial and error back then for many reasons, mostly software. I then saw an iMac dealing with photo’s at my dad’s house. It was bliss! Photos moved across the screen so smoothly instead of the jerky movements on my PC, slideshows were a dream! After buying one, it made life so much easier. I spent less time dealing with the computer and more time using it to do what I wanted.

    Expensive? Yes it was at the time, compared to the PC, but it took far less space, it came with loads of software already so I didn’t have to buy anything. It even came with software to burn movies /slideshows into DVD format, software that I was going to buy for my PC at a cost of £2000.
    Shortly after I bought an Apple laptop, which is still with me today working fine. OK, it doesn’t do the games and high end stuff, but 11 years on and still deals with the everyday menial work. To me it means it was worth every penny, so yes, expensive outlay but I’ve not had to change the hardware or spend loads on software in the long run.

    I think where Apple excels is the simplicity of the filing system. Files are where you put them, apps are all in the same place and don’t have parts of them in different folders all over the computer. For me it makes my work faster and smoother. I don’t have to spend hours trying to do something, I just get on with my work, not messing around with the PC. I have needed to be far less tech savvy than when I built my first PC all those years ago!

    p.s. Blizzard games tend to be far more processor intensive than Gfx-card intensive, and I find they increase the core temp far more than other software, hence the fans on my iMac really kick in.



    • June 10, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Daniel, thank you for your feedback and your opinion!

  12. 12) Jim
    June 10, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I find it ironic that one of the features that almost any Mac user touts is how easy it is to use. But your description is riddled with tech work arounds that you as trained and experience computer technician had to struggle with. The average person (maybe I’m below average?) would not be able to do most of what you did with out outside expertise.

    No doubt setting up and using existing programs is easy. My PC took about 10 minutes to do the same, it’s all plug and play now. And unlike what happened to you, I experienced no “conflicts”.

    I’m not for or against either system, if I had started with Apple, I’d be using Apple. People should switch “tools” because they help meet a specific need. Your review underscores the fact that the reasons for switching that are typically put forth no longer exist, if they ever did.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Jim, I apologize if I was a bit too technical in my review. The review is targeted mostly for tech junkies like me that understand hardware, so I probably used too much of the unfamiliar jargon. My main point was that the Mac Pro in this case is not as expensive as others might think once you put it side by side with the workstation-class PCs offered today. For those that need all the power, the Mac Pro has a lot to offer!

      As for PCs, no, I am not switching yet. The Mac Pro was a pleasure to use and proved to be an excellent alternative, but I have two PC builds, one of which is less than 6 months old, so I will be using those for my work. But next time when I decide to upgrade, I might end up purchasing one of these, especially if Apple releases an update that addresses the above-mentioned issues.

  13. 13) JFB
    June 11, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Hi, I value your blog very much, you do an excellent work here. In this case I wonder:
    Did you check 30-bit workflow support? How can you ignore it/leave it out?
    Anyway, thanks a lot and keep up the excellent site.

    • June 11, 2014 at 5:55 am

      JFB, I didn’t know that 30-bit would spark a lot of interest among our readers, so I didn’t write about it. The new Mac Pro does have native 10-bit support through ATI FirePro video cards. As far as I know, both Photoshop CS6 / CC and Lightroom 5.4 have 10-bit support, so if you buy a newer professional monitor with 10-bit support, you will be good to go!

  14. Profile photo of John Missing 14) John Missing
    June 11, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Nasim: this is a very useful article. Unless I missed it, I would be very interested in seeing the specs on the PC that you use for working on your photos. I will be in the market in the near future for a desktop system, including monitor, and am sure that I (and others) who are PC users would benefit from your experience in this area. Thanks.

    • June 12, 2014 at 2:35 am

      John, no problem at all, here are my full specs:

      Motherboard: Asus Z87-Pro
      CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.50 Ghz
      RAM: 32 GB @ DDR 1866
      Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
      Monitors: 2x Dell U2413 (IPS Panels)
      Hard Disk #1: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256 GB (Primary OS partition)
      Hard Disk #2: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256 GB (Lightroom Catalog Partition)
      Hard Disk #3, #4: 2 TB WD Black Series Enterprise drives in RAID 1 / Mirror configuration (Photos Partition)
      Optical Drive: BD-RE Blu-Ray recordable drive.
      Chassis: Cooler Master HAF 922

      It is a pretty fast machine for a photo workflow. Built it for around $1500 during Christmas time last year.

      • Profile photo of John Missing 14.1.1) John Missing
        June 12, 2014 at 4:46 am

        Thanks, Nasim. Did you consider any of the fancier monitors that are out there or do you think the cost outweighs the marginal improvement in performace? What sort of printer do you use?

  15. 15) Edmund
    June 11, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Thank you for your report. The overheating is something I never had with my new MacPro but if the temperature in the room gets too high the computer will react to it as well, not only to the inner temperature. My New MacPro never gets more than light warm when you put your hand over the top. You then get some warm air flowing upwards. The body itself never became warm.
    I believe that there might be a kind of hardware problem in the computer you received. After all it is a first generation product. No computer line is free of any fault affecting some machines.
    If you go through forums or blogs you will not find complaints of a nMP overheating.
    It is also a very silent machine, you must stress it with a benchmark to hear it.
    Although it is a relative new product and Apple is now finally delivering enough machines to cover the orders, I have not found yet any owner saying he is disappointed with it and intends to resell it.
    This is in my opinion a proof of satisfaction.
    Again thank you for your report.

    • June 12, 2014 at 3:00 am

      Edmund, you might be right – perhaps I had a unit with a malfunctioning fan… And you are right, the Mac Pro was dead silent when compared to a desktop!

  16. 16) Rory
    June 11, 2014 at 9:51 am

    It is true that Apple supplies drivers in bootcamp for windows, but you should try them. They are not nearly as smooth as the OSX drivers, with trackpad issues and keyboard mapping problems.

    • June 12, 2014 at 2:36 am

      Rory, have you tried using a PC keyboard and mouse though? I understand there would be mapping issues for Apple input devices, but PC devices work quite well!

  17. 17) Edward Liu
    June 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Nice look at the new Mac Pro from a digital photography standpoint. The one thing I’d add is that if you’re looking for a Mac primarily for photography and general use, the latest iMacs may edge out the Mac Pros on a cost/benefit level. You lose cores and processor speeds, but my understanding is that Lightroom doesn’t take much advantage of multiple cores anyway. I’m beginning to think about upgrading my current Mac Pro tower (vintage 2008, I think) and am almost certainly going to go with a 27″ iMac (unless I hit the lottery or something). The new Mac Pro design means you’re going to have to go with external boxes for HD or optical drive support anyway, so the old benefit of the tower case is gone.

    If you do video professionally (or seriously enough to be spending lots of time on it) then everything I’ve seen says the Mac Pro is a no-brainer. The benefit you get in speed will more than pay for itself assuming your time is money.

    • June 12, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Edward, for pure photography editing, you are right, a high-end iMac would surely suffice. There is plenty of software out there that cannot utilize all the CPU cores and Lightroom has a lot of problems with that + memory leaks. The only thing is, can you use a dual screen setup with an iMac? I cannot live with just one monitor, no matter how big it is!

      • 17.1.1) Rory
        June 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

        No, and that is a good point Nasin. I used the Apple drivers on a MBP to run Win 7 natively. Not as smooth as running OSX. The cynic in me wonders why.

      • 17.1.2) Edward Liu
        June 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

        Yes, you can hook up an external monitor to an iMac through the Thunderbolt ports on the back. Thunderbolt is also backward compatible with the older mini Display port output so you can hook up compatible monitors that way too. I’d go for the top of the line machine and upgrade the video card but you should be able to do it even with the baseline iMacs.

        • Profile photo of shawn shawn
          June 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm

          Correct. And it’s pretty easy.

  18. 18) Flores
    June 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hello Nasim. Yes, there is a lot to like on the “Apple side”, but also a few problems, like in every other platform. At my home I have a “good” mix of hardware and operating systems… Mac OS is always one of the most difficult to troubleshoot when problems with Wi-Fi arise. I admit, it may have something to do with my relative lack of experience with Mac OS compared to Windows and Linux, but sometimes it gets really frustrating!

    I also have to comment about BootCamp. From my experience it’s not as transparent as it should, most of the times (depending on the specific Apple hardware used) one needs to use Apple drivers (normal, each hardware manufacturer is responsible for creating drivers for its hardware in “Windows world”) and sometimes there are some very nasty compatibility problems. Also, the problem of running Mac OS on a machine designed to run Windows (aka Hackintosh) has nothing to do with Microsoft (WW and Terje have already stated the same above), its Apple that restricts the use of Mac OS to Apple hardware (in this aspect Apple is more closed than Microsoft, but that’s to be expected because Apple is an hardware manufacturer while Microsoft is basically, albeit not entirely, a software company).

    My last point: I don’t agree with you when you say this Mac Pro is like no other Mac Pro from the past, in the sense this one is really “state of the art” and the previous weren’t. It gives the impression that previous Mac Pros where not competitive, but that was not always the case. I do remember some generations with very good performance compared to PC workstations from the same period. I would even say this Mac Pro is somewhat less appealing, at least to me, because it seems more proprietary than previous generations

    Please do not interpret my commentary as a statement of preference for either company (Apple or Microsoft), I do have my opinion about strengths and weaknesses of each one for particular tasks, but I’m only trying to share my experience as someone that needs to manage, at home, a mixed environment. And thank you for your unbiased review, it’s something very difficult to find when comparing Macs to PCs.

    Best regards,


    • June 12, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Flores, thank you for your feedback and commentary!

      When I said that the new Mac Pro is unlike anything in the past, I put heavy weight on its design, ergonomics, weight, size and price. The older Mac Pros were nice, but they are large and heavy, while this guy is only 11 pounds!

  19. 19) Ralph
    June 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    It is always fun to read the “mine is better” rants when this subject comes up. Having guided computer purchases for major corporations and governments for many years I’ve heard most of them. I was a PC and workstation user before IBM DOS and have been through all the MS iterations as well as others. I’ve always used IBM/MS software since most of my work was analytical and communications oriented. I’ve also used Xerox and unix workstations over the years.

    Last fall my workstation died and I wanted to move back to using a laptop. I decided to purchase the top-end MacBook Pro due to the state of MS current OS trends. I was somewhat surprised that the learning curve was not as big as expected. I also agree with Nasim that the price difference between Apple and similarly configured workstations are close. If Nasim had the Magic Mouse I think his experience would have been more enjoyable. I don’t care which platform you use none do everything. There are always compromises. I run Parallels and Tuxera which is able fully access NTFS drives. When at my desk I use 3 displays. My Macbook’s along with 2 LG displays. The Retina display on the MacBook is noticeably better, but the LGs work fine for text displays.The only problem is the small number of Thunderbolt ports. Need a Thunderbolt port expander! I have a USB3 port expander with 7 drives and a dual hot swap unit containing about 12 TB of data. In most cases I haven’t noticed any problems with throughput. As for software after years of using MS software some of the base Apple software seems underwhelming. But then again so is the basic MS software.

    One thing that many get wrong is they select the tool (PC or Apple) rather than define the objective.

    • June 12, 2014 at 2:59 am

      Ralph, thank you for your feedback!

      My personal experience with computers dates back to Bulgarian Pravetz machines. My first PC was an IBM 286 PC with 5.25″ floppy drives and no hard drive. From there, I’ve used pretty much every iteration of Intel and AMD architecture PCs and used very early versions of DOS. The Far Manager that I still use and talked about above is just like the original Norton Commander, which I loved using back in the DOS days. My experience with Windows dates back to the original the very early releases, followed by the popular Windows 3.1, which I used for a number of years. Since then I have worked with a number of different PC OS, including Linux/Unix and BeOS. Aside from supporting Macs at the University of Colorado back in late 90’s, I never owned a Mac, so my real use was somewhat limited.

      I am happy to see Apple offering great products at competitive prices. Since working with the new Mac Pro, I am now looking at the platform with a different set of eyes now. If I had not recently built a PC and needed a replacement, I would most likely be buying a lower-end Mac Pro or a high-end iMac…

      • 19.1.1) MartinG
        June 21, 2014 at 9:18 am

        Thanks so much for your article on the MacPro. It is an interesting machine. A bit out of my price range. I would however love such a machine. The iMac is a nice machine if you plan your ram and drive needs in advance. I await a 27″ iMac with a hi res (Apple calls it retina) display. In the meantime I enjoy the screen on my MacbookPro. (i7 16gb 500gb SSD)
        I was not at all surprised to see the Apple vs PC stuff come out. It is similar to (but worse than) the Canon vs Nikon shouting match we also see on the internet. I use Nikon, as do most of my family, but I have used Canon and have friends with Canon cameras. To me they are strange cameras, but apart from minor menu and button set up, they just as much fun to use. Isn’t that what counts. Last Tim I looked photography was about taking pictures, not which brand of camera you have.
        I believe it is a mistake to make claims about companies. Not everything Nikon has made is great (D600) The same applies to all companies. Some models fail to live up to expectations. That said, I find I can get more done more easily on my Mac computers and I will continue to use them as long as the quality is worth the price.
        The MacPro is an interesting concept and it is good to see you consider it and review it.

  20. Profile photo of shawn 20) shawn
    June 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Why not build a Mac from scratch? They call them “mackintoshes”.
    Apple computers use many of the same parts as other computers.

  21. 21) Jay
    June 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I bet Nasim is sorry he ever started this thread! I too go back to the IBM 286 days and even owned one of the crappy Apple desktops produced when Steve Jobs left the company after his fallout. It is amazing to me, that 90% of the people I see teaching Photoshop, uses MacPro laptops. You don’t hear much about the MacPro desktop. I have a window 8.1 homegrown machine that blazes its way through Photoshop and lightroom. But if I ever want to get a new laptop, it might just be a Mac. Especially now that the $9.99 a month charge for CC is agnostic to the platform. In other words, you can have PS on a 8.1 desktop and PS on a Mac laptop. Quite possibly the best combination!

    • 21.1) sceptical1
      June 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Agree – I use Windows desktops (very fast) and MB Pro’s and have for awhile.

  22. 22) Carrie
    June 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Before you buy a Mac Pro you may want to look into the integrity of Apple’s response when there is a mass failure of their hardware that renders laptops dead in 2-3 years. When I went up the ladder of customer support I was told that my expectations were too high to think that a laptop should last more than three years. Here are links, not just regarding disgruntled Apple consumers, but Apple’s refusal to even acknowledge a problem that is being discussed worldwide. Yes, these are about the 2011 MacBook Pro, but the point is the response of Apple repeatedly telling thousands of consumers that they have an “isolated case.” I only feel this is relevant to you before you jump into being an Apple customer and I wish someone would do the same kindness to me.

    You can read this 411 page thread (as of June 14, 1014) on the Apple Support Community

    You may also like to see the (5324 signatures as of June 14, 2014) petition toward Apple regarding the mass failure of their hardware.

    You may also want to Google “2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card Issue”

    • 22.1) Felipe
      June 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      I second this. My Macbook Pro also failed after 2 years, in a time when I relied completely upon it for my work. Not a very good lifetime for a premium product.

    • 22.2) sceptical1
      June 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      I have always found Apple’s laptops to be more reliable than Windows laptops. I am glad I don’t own this model! I do have 2009 and 2013 MB Pros with discrete graphics cards and they both still work perfectly. My only real complaints with current Apple laptops is lack of a removable battery (a major issue IMO) and lack of memory expansion. I was able to update my 2009 MB Pro with a new SSD drive (Samsung works perfectly) and expand the memory from 4 to 8 GB. It has a removable battery and I have an extra. The new one is of course much faster, but ram memory is fixed (you can still get a bigger SSD if necessary) and you have to send the machine to Apple for a battery replacement.
      I still think the benefits of Apple laptops outweigh the issues (high price, battery) but if reliability dropped substantially I would re-evaluate.

  23. 23) Abhijit K
    June 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Nasim – did you check out the latest 27 inch iMacs with SSDs as opposed to the Mac Pro?

    The following article seems to imply not all tasks the Mac Pro will do better:

    From the above article:

    “The Mac Pro was a bit slower at importing our photos into Lightroom. Mr. Shimpi observed similar sluggishness in some of his photo tests.

    How could that be? While iMacs might not have as many cores, the ones they have work faster, individually, than those in the Mac Pro. For older software, which wasn’t written to take advantage of multiple cores, processor speed matters more than the number of cores. So unless you are buying very specific professional software, you may be unimpressed with the Mac Pro’s performance.”

  24. 24) sceptical1
    June 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I have been using both Macs and PC’s forever (Mac’s from the 2nd one on). I spent an awful lot of time networking PC’s with Macs in a newspaper environment (I spent a few years in IT before moving on to full time photography….) and have much respect for the Mac / System X. I don’t use their desktops anymore for a lot of reasons, but seem to always have one or two Apple laptops. Their laptops have several advantages like the best trackpads and power management.
    I have only one complaint about the Apples OS – the Finder. It is lame vs Windows Explorer. Other than that, it is a smoother and easier to use OS in general. It also has a ton of useful scheduling and getting things done programs that aren’t available on the PC. Programs like The Hit List and Vitamin -R are great productivity enhancers. You also have access to Apples excellent photo management software, Aperture (though for several reasons I have switched to Lightroom…) On the other hand, the best slideshow software, Proshow Producer, is Windows only, forcing you to use virtual machine software like Parallels (works great) and purchase a version of Windows.
    Regardless, Macs are great and if you eventually purchased one you would be very happy.

  25. 25) Jay
    June 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Very few laptops either Windows or Apple, are able to be worked on or modified anymore. As we enter the “ultra book” and “air” period, there just isn’t enough room in the machine. You will see video on the chip get better and better too. And indeed, laptops are only good for about 3 years now , not necessarily because of the breakdowns, but because of the advancing technology.

  26. 26) edgar betancourt
    July 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Should have tried an Dell XPS 27 all in one. It pretty much fries the Mac pro in all parameters, costs less, has fabulous graphics for photo work and has oodles of 3.0 ports. I bought mine to work with the D800 RAW mega files and it chews trough them like they were JPEGS, the big i7 horsepower is also nice for converting the big RAW files into sharable JPEGs. On the dell NX2 becomes a workhorse. Never gets hot either.

  27. 27) KSPGM
    July 23, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Hi Nasim,

    made a quick scan of the replies and one I could not find (apologies if you have covered it)#

    Did you consider booting you Mac with Windows 8 operating system? i.e use it as a Windows laptop entire?

    I am considering just this move, with a MacBook pro, so as to have the Mac for some of the reason you listed in the review.

    In particular I would like to know if the Retina display running under Windows is as effective, say as that on an iPad under iOS? Does it require mac software to make use of its graphic abilities?

    Hope this makes some sense!

  28. 28) Bulu
    October 19, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I was brought up in an apple environment. Now that I have to buy my own computer, I had to migrate to pc as it is cheaper to upgrade in every aspect.

    But the love for apple’s simplicity and beauty is still deep instilled in me.

    So how long do you think this macpro can last before new technology comes and the macpro feels slow just like the super fast iMac’s and macpro’s which are super slow now?

  29. 29) Sam Cunningham
    November 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I have been using Macs since 1998, Linux on a semi-regular basis since 2003, and Windows since 1992 (although since 1998 my Windows usage has been on an as-needed basis). I am a Mac guy through-and-through but would hardly call myself a fanboi. It makes absolutely no difference to me what you use, let alone like, and it totally baffles my brain that some people feel the need to tell others why what they use is garbage. Or how they are stupid for using it. Or how they are stupid for wasting money when it is their money to waste in the first place.

    Anyways, great review overall. I have a few things to point out, however:

    1: A Mac Pro would be a waste if your main prosumer function is only photography. Of course that is only my opinion. If you were to purchase a Mac you more than likely would be better served with the new Retina iMac, and save $1500, too. However, if you do not want to purchase a new computer in the next few years the Mac Pro could be a solid investment. The iMac has even less upgradeability and ports, though.

    2: As to upgradeability: this argument is as old as dirt. I would like to ask; honestly, how often do you upgrade your components? In all of my years of using and owning computers I have only managed to upgrade a CPU once (in an old PowerMac), install a new graphics card (same PowerMac), install a larger drive (yup, that same PowerMac and in a 2007 Macbook), and install more RAM (same PowerMac and same 2007 Macbook).

    The idea of being able to swap out components and upgrade is a nice feature, but one that consumers rarely do. In my mind, just because I can do it does not increase value when I know I won’t be doing it. Besides, unless you are swapping a GPU every single time a new and improved one is released you will end up wasting a lot of money to begin with. Typically, if your graphics card is that old, or your CPU that slow, it’s probably time for a new computer, anyways. You can only swap components so many times before the benefit starts to become a hindrance.

    As to lack of ports, just as you can install a USB card into a PC, you can always use a USB hub with…well, any computer.

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