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Mac Pro's future in doubt?

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To the surprise of no one and the disappointment of many, Apple may be considering nixing, or severely dumbing down (fcpx style!), its Mac Pro line of desktops.

 

Looking at recent trends (remember when Macbook Pros had pro I/O's?) this doesn't seem too far fetched. I use a Mac Pro at work but I've heard good things about Windows 7 and won't be too disheartened to pay less money for better spec'd hardware. If this turns into a reality, my attitude: fuck 'em.

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Their customers are not the working professionals anymore—

Apple's own iMacs/Macbooks are getting killed off by the iPad..

 

I really hope someone at the company can stand up and really push for it to be continued, it'd be a damn shame to lose.

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Their customers are not the working professionals anymore— Apple's own iMacs/Macbooks are getting killed off by the iPad.. I really hope someone at the company can stand up and really push for it to be continued, it'd be a damn shame to lose.

 

Why? You can get equivalent PCs for much cheaper. The only reasons I like the Mac Pros are the sexy cases and the fact that it's Unix under the hood.

 

Honestly, our company would have switched to PC a long time ago had we not already been so invested in Apple hardware. It's screwed us over a couple times, both in upgrade costs and stuff like the Xserves being discontinued, but it's still too expensive to wipe the slate clean and go PC.

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I think the writing is on the wall. I can only guess that their tower sales have shriveled up to almost nothing. Designers don't need towers any more, and there just aren't enough production and motion graphics people out there to keep it alive. If other industries used Mac Pro towers for something they might stick around, but all the other high-performance industries use PCs running linux, unix or windows.

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This will definitely be a big disappointment if it actually happens but doesn't come as much of a surprise. Hell, I think it was on this board that someone posted an article within the year that Apple's prosumer revenue only accounted for something crazy like under 5% of their total profits (I don't have the article on hand but I do remember it was drastically low). It will be a shame but this has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now and much of Apple's decisions in the last year seem to support it. Seems like the only thing we can do is cross our fingers and pray and or learn to use the control key again.

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Whats really important now that we will soon be all PC based is what the hell Microsoft is about unleash in Windows 8. Looks really dandy, but ditching the desktop for a metro-styled interface freaks me out a bit.

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If and when my home 27" iMac dies I will have to think long and hard at what to replace it with. Using Adobe apps the temptation to just get a fast PC with a NVidia card is pretty big. The HP tower I use at work is faster than the fastest Mac Pro at 60% of the price.

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I can't say this comes as a surprise (if it's true), but it is a bit infuriating to those of us who have stayed with Apple even during the times where they arguably didn't deserve our business. Back in the days when the Mac OS was languishing and Windows took over the high end production part of our industry, it also seemed like the writing was on the wall, but a lot of us stuck it out since we simply liked the mac better. I once had a job where I had both a Power Mac and a Windows NT system at my disposal, and despite the superior performance specs of the Windows box (not to mention far superior multitasking) I still got twice the work done on the Mac simply because I was used to it and therefore a lot more efficient working in that OS. Now, I'm sitting here with a massive investment in Mac OS software, and I haven't worked on a Windows machine in well over a decade. I'm all for using the best tool for the job, but the thought of switching over to the PC right now is about as appealing as a root canal. I've had a long lasting, naive hope that Apple would some day throw the pro users a bone and release the high performance pro workstation we've always hoped for, but that's looking more naive by the minute.

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Whats really important now that we will soon be all PC based is what the hell Microsoft is about unleash in Windows 8. Looks really dandy, but ditching the desktop for a metro-styled interface freaks me out a bit.

I'm pretty sure they give you the choice to switch between traditional desktop and the metro interface ie. If you never want to use the new style, you don't have to.

 

My main workstation is a Win7 PC, I use a Macbook Pro when I travel. Honestly once you get used to Windows 7 the differences are really negligible. It'll be an adjustment for you guys for sure, but most of our time is spent in using Adobe products and Cinema 4D which look and feel the exact same regardless of OS.

 

I have a feeling freelancers especially are going to like the switch once they see how much cheaper everything is. I've documented it on mograph before, but to reiterate: earlier this year I priced out a top of the line Mac Pro that came to over $10,000 (Canadian). I spent maybe 4 hours learning about hardware/asking around online and wound up getting a custom built PC instead with pretty much all the same parts as the Mac Pro for less than half that price. That's twelve cores, 32GB RAM, and more HD space than I will ever use. And this beast has room for 96GB of RAM if I decide to bump it up later. (24GB of RAM is a measly $240 CAD these days!)

 

For guys like me that live and die by how quickly we can deliver quality work - getting a top of the line machine is absolutely necessary. As a freelancer, getting it for as little cash as possible is equally as important. There are lots of positives to the switch.

Edited by beau+++

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On a semi-related note, Pixologic doesn't offer mult-OS options for ZBrush, nor do they let you transfer your license. If you have the OSX version and want to switch to Windows (or vice versa) you have to pay 50% of the cost of a new license ($350). Having said that, anybody wanna buy my OSX license? $600, plus I'll pay the transfer fee.

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For guys like me that live and die by how quickly we can deliver quality work - getting a top of the line machine is absolutely necessary. As a freelancer, getting it for as little cash as possible is equally as important. There are lots of positives to the switch.

 

What worries me really, far more than the cost and relative speed, is that I'm never left high and dry with a machine that decides it doesn't want to work today. You can say a lot about the Mac Pro in terms of value, performance, bang for buck etc but the upside is that in the last three/four years as a freelancer running on a multiple MacPro's, both my own and at other studios, I've lost maybe a day max in machine maintenance, and that includes OS upgrades, installing graphics cards, RAM etc. And I always know that in a real pinch I could drive to a Mac supplier a few miles from my house, grab a new box and get it to work that afternoon.

 

The fear I have about switching is that I'll suddenly come up against a driver error or OS update or any incompatibility and be totally stuffed. This is obviously down to unfamiliarity, and maybe ignorance on my part, but the nightmare of the weeks I lost trying to coax a Windows NT machine into seeing a DV playback box have left a deep scar. I'd happily pay way over the odds for a setup as reliable and effortless as these Macs have been.

 

Of course if the rumours are true then I'd have no choice - and if I'm buying PC hardware then I'd probably stop buying Apple laptops too - I've got four in the house at the moment, are you listening Apple? And it's true that Lion is intrusive and often painful. Windows8 would have to be pretty bad to rival that.

 

The other shocker of course is that if I'm running a PC then all of a sudden getting into XSI becomes a realistic choice. Eeek! :blink:

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What worries me really, far more than the cost and relative speed, is that I'm never left high and dry with a machine that decides it doesn't want to work today.

 

I hear that a lot and understand your concern, though if it gives you peace of mind - I've never lost a single day of work* due to hardware/driver/software issues in 5 years of doing motion graphics work on PCs. You'll need a decent anti-virus, just install AVG, set it to auto-update the virus definitions and scan every night when you're sleeping and you'll never have an issue. My experience has been that turning off Windows Auto-Updates is a good idea - just install the updates manually after you've read up on what they actually do. Most are useless anyway for day to day stuff. That way no weird auto-update is going to suddenly make things not work anymore (though honestly I don't think that even happens to anyone).

 

Stick to an Intel processor (don't overclock it. Just don't.), an Nvidia graphics card, and whatever RAM is recommended for your system and you'll be fine.

 

I mean, I understand that the idea of losing a day of work is scary and all, but realistically aren't a lot of you guys who are running lower-end Macs "losing" a lot more work by using hardware that doesn't allow you to work at top speed? Not trying to start a flame war, just trying to put things in perspective.

 

For the cost of the top-end Mac Pro I could be running 36 cores (that's 64 render buckets in C4D) with 96GB of RAM. I say good riddance ;)

 

 

*EDIT - Almost forgot. I did lose half a day of work one time when a hard drive failed. RAID saved the day and the RAID card didn't cost me $800. I should also note that I've never once worked with DV equipment/drivers so I dunno, maybe you'll have issues there but I doubt it.

Edited by beau+++

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Hell, if any of you guys want the same convenience you get from Apple when ordering a new machine, simply send me $5500 and I'll hook you up with a rock solid top of the line PC you won't have to worry about. ;)

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i've expected this was going to happen whether the rumors are true or not. have 3 pro towers now, and my next will be a PC I had already decided. Sad in a way, but for 3d, Mac's just can't barely hold their own anymore.

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Anyone worried that they might be forced to use a horror OS can relax. WINDOWS 7 isn't an OS to fall in love with, but it's not an OS to hate either.

 

On the whole it just does what it needs to and stays outta the way.

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seeing some talk about NVidia. Is ATI less favorable on PC for gfx work?

Honestly I don't really know the answer, but I do know that NVidia will "just work". Their cards work with all the Adobe stuff, and you won't have any issues with any 3D apps that I know of. The prices are the same anyway from what I could tell so if you just want to keep it simple, grab an NVidia.

 

It should be noted that I recently "upgraded" from a 3 year old Nvidia card to a rather expensive new one in hopes of improving my viewport speed in C4D. After some Cinebench tests I went from 33fps on my old card to only 37fps on my new one. The cause of this less-than-stellar improvement is because your CPU can bottleneck your video card. In my case, even though I have 12 cores, the speed of each individual one is only 2.9Ghz which is the determining factor. It should also be noted this isn't a PC vs. Mac issue, the same thing would've happened on a Mac too. Expensive cards (especially Quadros etc.) aren't worth it at all for motion graphics, so don't bother.

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Too bad not one makes apps for Linux. Adobe, Autodesk and C4D would be rock solid on linux. For home and pocket I love Apple. I just hate having to use my pinky for Windows.

 

Well I guess you can say if it wasn't for Apple pushing the UI. Windows wouldn't be so usable today.

 

I live in Adobe/Maxon all day. I just use the finders to move files.

 

We'll see what happens.

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