Who Would Buy a Maxed Out 2019 Mac Pro? And For How Much?

2019 Mac Pro

The base model of the 2019 Mac Pro is US$5999. It’s a very basic model. How much would a fully configured system cost? Who would buy that? Let’s take a look.

The entry level model of the 2019 Mac Pro was defined in the WWDC keynote (1h:41m) and is found in the tech specs page.

  • 8-Core 3.5 GHz Intel Xeon W. (Perhaps W-3275M)
  • 32 GB RAM – Four 8 GB DIMMs
  • AMD Radeon Pro 580X
  • 256 GB SSD

According to Apple’s press release, that model is priced at US$5,999.00 “…and will be available to order in the fall.”

However, that model isn’t likely to sell well into the intended audiences. It’s too costly for the prosumer and too anemic for the scientists at, say, our D.O.E. National Laboratories, the military, and movie production. In fact, The Verge took a look at how much a fully loaded unit would cost. “Apple’s top spec Mac Pro will likely cost at least $35,000.

$35,000 is small potatoes for big organizations that need this kind of computational power.

That maxed out Mac Pro consists of:

… a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, an almost-impossible-to-comprehend 1.5 TB of RAM, 4 TB of SSD storage, and four AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs…

Apple probably doesn’t want us thinking about those kinds of prices at this early stage. Not until it ships in the fall. It’s already a case of major sticker shock. However, this is reality in Hollywood as well as advanced computing circles.

It’s hard to do exactly, but with these kinds of Mac Pro specs, it’s very easy to ramp up an HP Z8/G4 workstation to similar pricing levels: in the US$30,000 to $50,000 range. So Apple isn’t doing anything outrageous. Except competing.

The pros have known numbers like these all along. But with the advent of the 2019 Mac Pro, our (Apple) consumer consciousness is forcibly cast into the world of high performance computing in which there are major initiatives in simulations, encryption, and visualization.

Like what the men and women at ORNL do.

6 thoughts on “Who Would Buy a Maxed Out 2019 Mac Pro? And For How Much?

  • I do wish there was an entry level $1999 for the whiners, but on the other hand this is definitely a Pro system. To get a maxed out system with 6x 6k displays to match, you’re looking at $70k or so. I’m assuming Infiniband interconnect for multiple systems.

  • John:

    This is about what you would expect for a fully fitted machine, plus monitor(s). Given the setup, I was hoping to see at least one science-related demonstration (3D embryogenesis beginning at the subcellular level, colliding galaxies with black holes of unequal mass, 10 year projection of climate change impact on the Sahel, graphical plotting of secular trends comparing 2 national census – to name but a few). In any case, I can see these machines in more than a few labs, particularly molecular pharma. Given my background, I did not have a professional – level appreciation of their demonstration, but gathered from the audience response, many in attendance did.

    @[email protected]:
    Good to see you back. Wishing you good health. As for the Mac Pro, if memory serves, they displayed a rack-mounted option for large arrays. I had a similar thought watching the presentation and was pleased to see this option.

  • One More Thing:
    Forgot to mention, the Mac Pro as presented thus far is a single user office setup.
    Where is the rack setup for a server farm room? Ganged by the dozen? Or hundreds?
    And how about a backplane network for ganging groups?

  • John,
    Many people that do desktop computing these days do not seem to know the difference between personal computing and professional computing.
    I have been involved with supercomputers since the 1960s, minicomputers since the 1970s and personal computers since the 1980s.

    Complaints about Mac Pros usually rotate around price.
    Ordinary PCs are personal computers and amazingly cheap.
    Professional computers are larger and cost many thousands to millions of dollars.
    Personal computing usually consists of small, short activities: email, browsing and documents.

    But professional computing consists of large scale image and mathematical scientific processing or database operations, including large data sets with math transforms, etc.
    These loads sometimes involve dozens of computers with many cores each plus GPUS to do FFTs, and massive storage, running wide open aound the clock for days at a time.
    These machines consume lots of power and put out lots of heat, so a major concern is how to supply power and cooling to the internal parts.
    In scientific projects, I used to measure such machines in terms of how many 18 wheeler truckloads of exabyte tapes they would consume per day.

    The new Mac Pro is not a large scale supercomputer, but it is certainly not a personal computer for doing your email. I would consider it a professional computer for small to medium continuous workloads. It is definitely a PRO computer, not a PC.

    Sorry to be out of touch so much with health probs and getting settled in ABQ.
    I am working on two websites these days: SentimentalStargazer.com and ThinkingTalkingComputing.com .

    1. Gareth, it’s great to hear from you again. Welcome back!

      I worked with supercomputing projects at Apple, and I know where you’re coming from. Thanks for sharing.

  • 100 years ago (at least it feels like it), when I was working for the little division of General Electric named the National Broadcasting Company, we rendered 60 seconds of video with sound for the opening to the NBA show using 14 Sun and SGI computers running simultaneously for over 14 hours. The last half hour was the creation of a preview video that could be edited to remix the full production components. When that was approved, it took about four hours and 8 computers to mix the final version.

    In 1992, SGI came out with a 16 processor system that rendered the entire opening in 6 hours and 2 hours for the post-production process. We lost the two SGI boxes when they were shipped to Barcelona for the Olympics and had to do the NFL graphics on our 14 Sun and older SGI systems.

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