I Hate It, Part 2
by Gary Woods
Last week I told you about some of the things that make me crazy about Apple. This week I'll continue my diatribe on the new Mac Pro.
The central processing unit is a Xeon E5 processor with configurations up to 12 cores available. It will have dual AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs and it will be able to run three 4K displays at one time. If you're not up to speed on 4K it has a resolution of 3840 X 2160 for an 8.3 megapixel aspect ratio of 16:9. 4K was displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and it is visually stunning. What Apple says on this point is that the new Mac Pro is 2.5 times faster than its predecessor in graphics performance.
Okay, this is starting to sound like a computer. A blazing fast CPU coupled with spectacular graphics works for me. So, what about the RAM for all those memory hungry tasks like video and audio editing? The Mac Pro includes a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866MHz and delivers up to 60GB/s memory bandwidth which means you shouldn't be seeing your video stuttering to a stop any time soon.
Alright, a fast processor, great graphics and zippy RAM is cool, so what about storage? The new Mac Pro instead of using traditional SATA hard drives or even the newer solid-state drives will use the next generation PCI Express flash storage. This technology will move data up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA based solid state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200 rpm SATA drive.
With all this data flying around you know that a lot of heat is going to be generated particularly in that small space. So, instead of using multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the processor and graphics cards they constructed a single piece of extruded aluminum to maximize airflow. The system works by pulling heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributing the heat uniformly across the core.
I knew that the new Mac Pro would be a beast but for me the real question is what about all those expansion cards in which people have invested big time money? There are no expansion slots on this computer, so now what? To accommodate this issue the unit has built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI 1.4 ports and almost as an afterthought for those addicted to trying to keep their studio as wire free as possible Apple included 802.11AC wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0 in the package.
If you haven't looked at Thunderbolt 2 it is the latest iteration of Intel's Thunderbolt technology and supports data rates of 20 gbps. Each of these Thunderbolt 2 ports supports up to six daisy chained devices so with 6 ports the Mac Pro can handle up to 36 peripherals. What this means however is that in order for the user to employ those spiffy and pricey legacy cards they will have to invest in an eternal Thunderbolt external expansion chassis which will house the cards. It's pretty obvious to me that we're moving in the direction of Thunderbolt sooner rather than later so investing in this technology should make sense for the foreseeable future.
Okay, there are my thoughts on the new Mac Pro and like most of what Apple puts out after I originally hate it I think this it's a great step forward and I love it. Also, just for the record I got over missing the Floppy Disk drive and haven't used a floppy disk in about 10 years. As for the iPad I've got an iPad 3 and when I'm home it's never more than an arm's length away. In addition I just bought an iPad Mini for when I'm on the road. On the missing CD/DVD player on the MacBook I bought a MacBook Air and use it when I teach and for some speaking engagements. I also bought an external CD/DVD player but after the original set up I never use it and I definitely love the small size of the Air without the drive.
The one thing I'm still grumpy about is the missing "Save As" command in Mountain Lion. Ah well, 3 out of 4 is good in anybody's game.
If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at email@example.com or see my column on the Internet at http://www.santabarbaraproperties.com or call me at (805) 729-0910
Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc