The ‘New’ Mac Pro Is a Failure

| The Devil's Advocate

I think the "new" Mac Pro ("trashcan Mac") is a joke; and it's not just because calling a, once again, forgotten and near abandoned 2013 model "new" in late 2015 is the kind of air-quote irony loved by techno hipsters.

While its trashcan form factor may work well for some (perhaps, as a new Mac mini pro, or maybe Mac Pro mini), it's inadequate for traditional Mac creatives/professionals. For real pros, it's a plain and simple failure.

Mac Pro, I am your father...

Posted by MacRumors' forum member zephonic:

In fact, a lot of professional Mac users are still clutching to their aluminum tower "classic" Mac Pros ("cMP"). The latest 2010 and (meaninglessly bumped) 2012 cMP models are particularly coveted in forums like Mac Rumor's Mac Pro forums and holding on to their values well if you look around eBay or Other World Computing.

And for good reason. Those machines are just better than the trashcan Mac. Right now, a cMP simply spanks the trashcan Mac's performance. For example, with regard to top end performance, processor-wise, you can get a maxed out 12-core 3.46GHz cMP model that is just as fast as the top end 12-core 2.7GHz trashcan Mac.

In most every other important way, the cMP simply trounces the trashcan Mac. For storage, you can get larger capacities (e.g., 2TB, 4TB, and up) as well as way faster SSDs (e.g., running at near 6GB/sec). Video card options for the cMP obliterate the top end options on the trashcan Mac.

And the cMP also has tons of additional storage space with room for 2 optical drives, additional power supplies, slots for multiple PCI cards (e.g., video), drive bays for four 3.5” drives, etc. All in one nice, tidy, clean box.

Poor trashcan Mac users have been forced to live like animals with rats nests of external drives, cables, PCI cages (because lots of people still need expansion cards)—all of these things are big, clunky, with noisy fans (rendering the quietness and compactness of the trashcan Mac meaningless), all while sucking up more power than the tidy integrated cMP.

Adding insult to injury, all those external connections are relatively slow connections when compared to the cMPs fast PCI slots. Trying to run a high end video card through a Rube Goldberg external PCI cage via a Thunderbolt port is like trying to stuff a hippo in a pair of skinny jeans. It's not likely to work well, and even if it does, it won't be pretty.

Trashcan Mac Pro Mess

This Mac Pro doesn't even have a PCI cage (that gets much uglier, fast). It's just a family Mac in the kitchen.
It's an ugly, noisy, power hungry rats nest compared to the clean singular cMP it replaced.

Here are a couple of more quick examples off the web.

Next: Apple Needs to Reimagine a New and Improved Mac Pro ("iMP")

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Completely correct. I know computer programmers, musicians and other people who use their computers hard for work. What do they want? PCIe slots, lots of them. Then they want drive slots, lots of them. Then they want things they can change themselves when needed, video cards, power supplies, etc. One drops, you run down to your favorite supplier,grab one and drop it in. You can’t afford to take it to the Apple store and wait a week while it goes to Cupertino for repair. What does the current Mac Pro have? None of it. You were dead on in your comparison to the Mac Cube. It’s about that expandible/adaptible/professional.

Unfortunatly I agree with the one poster. Apple has decided that the Pro world is too tiny for them to gove a damn about any more. From the Mac Pro to software, they’re all fading away due to neglect. Apple is all about the consumer any more.


So these people queueing for ever further delivery dates were wrong after all. They can’t have been pros, can they?

Being a wannabe power-user, I considered buying one myself. But I was withheld by the remarks in reviews about how to get all those pixels at that rate through to the monitors. Which is why I eventually settled for a 5k iMac. Not that powerful, but capable of refreshing its screen.


Apple already showed what it thinks of its past Professional users and Graphics Design industry folks.  Didn’t you get the message of disrespect?
The Mac Pro is a giant FU symbol!

This is Jonny Ivy on steroids!

They don’t care about you.  They don’t care about your needs and wants.
Closed architecture = closed mind = closed case!

(I wish Apple was different. Is there anyone at Apple with common sense and enough clout to implement it?)

What are their Sales statistics on Mac Pros?
Better yet, what are their non-sales (refusals) statistics?
(They don’t even want to know.)


My son has a 2013 MacPro and it is pretty cool to look at as long as he doesn’t start hooking everything to it.  It quickly becomes quite the unsightly beast once you start adding peripherals.  The Thunderbolt Display does help with this somewhat, but being just USB2 is unfortunate.  So if he needs USB3 speed, stuff starts hanging on the cylinder.

I have a 2008 2.8Ghz 8 Core Mac Pro with almost as much power as his 2013 and having PCI slots and 4 drive bays sure is nice.  In fact, we were both using HandBrake over the weekend and my 2008 smoked his 2013 in a rip off.  I was encoding at 200FPS and he was at about 120FPS.  He only has 4 cores, but five year newer processors.  I would have expected to lose that battle. 

That being said, I like the 2013.  It just shouldn’t be the only Pro choice.  Give us at least one machine with some internal expansion beyond adding RAM. 


For those of us who need PCI and drive bays, building and maintaining a Hackintosh is a solution.

I do wish Apple would relent and bring back Macs that users can at least change out a hard drive on, or upgrade the RAM on. Shaving a millimetre off here or or a gram off there shouldn’t be the major design criteria that drives each iteration.

Jahil Nelson

The trash an Mac Pro maxes out at 12 cores, but you can get a 24 or even 36 core Xeon based machine in the pc side. The trash can has a pretty high-end video card in its AMD fire pro, but no Nvidia options, which seems like a must have for Adobe software like Premiere Pro and After Effects. The only machines Apple sells right now with Nvidia cards are a few MacBook Pros and the last generation iMac. The trash can Mac Pro taps out at 64 gigs of ram (though I believe there’s a way to 128), but I see hi-end pcs that take 512 gigs of ram. Macs have no sli support either. I’ve been a heavy Mac user for 20 years and I never been more tempted to leave the platform completely for A Windows 10 machine. Right now my best machine is hackintosh with a 5th generation 6 core i7, but hackintoshes require a few days of downtime a year to deal with bugs and upgrades. The i7 processors seem to hang with Xeon in most categories at half the price. I wish apple would make a reasonably priced mid size tower with an i7 and pci slots. I’ve been holding out for 4 years now, hoping that someone at Apple will finally get it, and return to fully supporting professionals. I just don’t know if I can wait much longer.

John Kheit

64cores exist too

Some crazy powerful systems out there…

Gareth Harris

Unlike you media and artsy guys, I am a scientific user, doing CS research and engineering systems for deployment in the field. I have been in computing for over 50 years, from mainframes, supercomputers, to minis and micros, even manufacturing my own.

I need a powerful standalone workstation: 1 - equal to supercomputers in some aspects and
2 - I want access to larger systems - massive data and compute systems when my workstation bogs down.

Like you media and artsy guys, I need:
1 - lots of raw cpu power - not so much to many cores for rendering like you media type, but for larger single stream apps which I write myself
2 - rapid I/O to large local data sets, special processing through offloading onto GPUs etc.
But above all, I need flexibility in attaching and exchanging components:
central memory, secondary storage, network and display peripherals.
All these components should be capable of being closely coupled physically.

The mac pro seems like a consumer, not a professional machine = strikeout.
Despite wishful thinking, the network is NOT the computer,
at least not yet.


The article keep saying ports and ports, speed and ... sorry what else?

You get a 12 Core CPU, is that not enough? Ok, Assuming Apple is not too stingy the next update should bring your a 14nm Xeon E5, I think Apple will allow up to 16 Core.  ( Theoretically the current Xeon E5 allows 18 Core and Next Gen 14nm Xeon E5 should go up to 24 Core, my guess is the Mac Pro TDP is tight )

DDR4 ECC, that should goes up to 128GB in the next update.

SSD, No reason it can’t do 512GB, and btw the Apple’s SSD on Mac Pro is already very fast, and likely to get even faster in the next update. You are very unlikely to be bottlenecked by SSD speed. So i don’t know why the complain.

Graphics - Next Gen may be AMD Fire Pro with HBM?

Thunderbolt with 40Gbps…..

This is properly capable machine. And likely to fit well with even the most demanding 4K video editing or Gaming 3D creating professional.


There’s no doubt that for certain specialty (“niche”) applications, the trash can is a solid hardware solution for these workflows.

However, the first problem it has is that it isn’t as generalizable across a broader spectrum of ‘pro’ level projects ... ie, not just music, not just video, not just photo, etc. 

One of the recurring observations is on data. 

Specifically, how to handle LOTS of data.  While the classic tower Mac Pro could provide high performance data locally (internal bays), the nMP forces one outside of the, tube and to go buy racks of Promise Pegasus R4’s/R6’s/etc .. carries a pretty hefty “tax”, both fiscally as well as aesthetically. 


So what does everyone think the odds of the Mac Pro getting an update?  Will it be just a spec-bump or will it be another complete redesign?  I assume if Apple wanted to do a spec-bump all of the parts are in place by now.

I keep thinking about that manufacturing video Apple released when they announced the new Mac Pro.  Building that factory in Texas was no small project, unless the 30 humans in the video was the entire staff, so I wonder what is that factory doing now?  Are there enough people still buying a nearly 3 year-old computer to keep it running?

Scott 2

First off, Apple pretty much has telegraphed that they’re no longer interested in high-end hardware. They killed the Xserve, they shipped that Mac Pro (killed the Mac Pro), and then have let it rot on the vine (like the Mac mini). So, we all should agree that Apple isn’t interested in high-end –Mac– hardware. And there is a simple solution: Mac OS X Pro. Bundle up Mac OS X + Server and sell it for $250. Given the margins/price on iMacs and Mac minis, Apple can’t be making more than that on OS X. They’d NOT lose money in this; they’d cannibalize a market segment they don’t obviously care about. Big deal. The Hackintosh market has proven how simply this would work, just make it “legit”.

Second, the need for horsepower needs further work from Apple. I lamented when they killed Xgrid. It was a TERRIBLE move. Between Xgrid and Grand Central Dispatch, Apple…nee computing…needs to move towards a distributed local/cloud computing platform paradigm. It is the obvious progression. For the price you pay for a Mac Pro, you’d do better to upgrade your Internet connection and pay for “utility-class” on-demand cluster computing. Instead of monolithic “computer”, we should be looking at a computing “mesh”. Have a cMP? It becomes a headless “computing” node. Your iMac? Computing node. Old iMac? Computing node. 10 Mac minis? Cheap computing nodes. Amazon Web Services…Azure…etc. Computing nodes. Suddenly the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro becomes more powerful than ANY Mac Pro ever made. Universities would be fueled by student computers; businesses by desktop nodes.

Either way, Apple needs to get out of the hardware business they so clearly don’t want to be in, and put some time into the software side that will be invisible to its OS X users yet absolutely game-changing.

Steve Clingan

You know this news story’s a fail when comments/threads from MacRumors are the basis for this article.  MacRumors are just opinions, often not based on facts, most likely not verified by author.

Lots of Multiple CPU cores, in the long run, will not get you enough performance. Amdahl law says the more cores you add, the less rate of return you will get. So in the end the high cost of adding multiple cores, you don’t get much in return. A likely reason why Apple has moved to Dual GPU’s are the future as we are now hitting a wall on performance for multicore processors.


The 2013 Pro works very well for my use case. My old 2008 Pro was very noisy and needed to be retired. What I wanted was an extremely quiet and compact system with decent computing power. I recognize my use case is very different from many other Mac Pro customers, who require more than an overwrought Mac mini. And as the preceding comments show, Apple seems to be increasingly tone deaf on this and many other points.

I considered an iMac, but I already had two high-quality 30-inch displays. Besides, an iMac still leaves me needing high capacity external storage, and I see no way to cure cable spaghetti, which was substantial even with my old Pro thanks to an array of scanning, printing, musical, audio, and backup equipment. Obtaining satisfactorily silent high-capacity storage is still problematic, although Samsung has developed a 16 Tb SSD that is supposed to be introduced at ~$7,000. Accordingly, it is just a question of time until high capacity SSDs become as common as saltines.

The way my system is set up, all one sees are two big monitors and a line of peripherals. The trashcan, UPS, and storage boxes are readily accessed behind the monitors. Servicing the setup is quite simple - certainly better than shutting down and pulling apart the old Pro. Having lived with the setup for two years, I can say that it is very convenient.


As stated in some of the comments it is clear the ‘traditional’ O SX poweruser has been moved out of Apple’s primary market focus.
The Mac Pro is without a doubt one the best products in terms of ‘perfomance per dollar’, or ‘value for money’.
But the professional user will find its lack of expansion options frustrating.

For this, and other reason(s), competition is pulling these - often long term - Apple customers away.

In this respect, this one is noteworthy:

Quote: “Everything just worked right out of the box with my Mac and still does eight weeks later”.
So does my HP L2335 from 2004!, something that cannot be said of my late 2011 Macbook Pro, which had its logicboard replaced.
This Macbook pro with 2675QM i7 was shipped with 4GB Ram and 5400 RPM Toshiba.
My similarly priced HP Elitebook 8560W (Intel Core i5 2540M, AMD FirePro M5950) from the same period is still running strong (and much faster than the Macbook).

This is not to bash Apple and/or promote HP products. I appreciate both brands, but rate HP reliability higher (this applies only to HP’s professional line of products).

Old UNIX Guy

Apple has been demonstrating for over 5 years now that they don’t care about power users other than “creatives” ... i.e. photo / video / music professionals.  If you’re a scientist or UNIX geek of any sort, you’re out of luck.

As an aside, even some creatives (DigiLloyd for one example) now recommend the Retina 5K iMac over the Mac Pro.

The trash can Mac Pro is Jony Ive run amuck.  I’m afraid that, unlike in the past, there is no one at Apple saying to him, “Wow, that’s a really cool design, but from a practicality standpoint you need to throw that thing ... in the trashcan.”

The only person higher up the food chain at Apple than Jony is Tim Cook, and he’s demonstrating very clearly that if it doesn’t run iOS, he doesn’t care, so things are unlikely to get any better any time soon.

I just hope that the iMac and MacBook Pro can remain viable solutions for another 10 years until it’s time for me to retire…


Larry Towers

We have a couple of dozen in our facility which replaced 2008 mac pros. We still have a bunch of 2010-12 units. Slated for replacement this summer, frankly not sure what to do. I wish we could buy PCs We need higher end Nvidia garphics cards, not available for the new mack pro. We’ve run out of connectivity options because so much external storage is being used, We are maxed out. Nexrt we’ll have to figure out how to add usbc while still getting full bandwidth (so hubs are no -go).

The ideal thing for Apple to have done would have been to cut the old mac pro in half standardize on 4 2.5” internal drives at least a couple of PCIe v3 slots (Faster than thunderbolt 3) and more thunderbolt and usb3 connections 4 usb3 is way too little.


June29, 2007, today is May 11th, 2016, and besides getting thinner and dropping salaries for Apple employee’s, profit sharing and such, June 29, (I have a shirt, as I worked at Apple), I mean no offense by what I am about to type so please, if it applies to you, I mean no disrespect.

First off, PRE iPhone, it was hard to get an Apple position, I did, I taught one on one which came with PRO care, also gone with WEB, Photo’s, basically anyone they thought they might step on their toes as iWeb could had been awesome if you could edit (you can but make it easier), Aperture, Color, wait wait, wait….I am getting off topic….

OK, PRE IPHONE I taught, FCP, Logic, Color, Shake, Compressor, Adobe (while we did not support it officially, if we knew it or had a trainer that did and was free, they would gladly do it), the pay was exceptional, hardly any part time, when an OS was released, APPLE also updated.

Then came the iPhone - - and the people that kept Apple Alive (THE ENTERTAINMENT CROWDS, SOME CREATIVE ALSO INCLUDES SCIENCE,  ARCHITECTURE, et-cetera, it depends on how yo look at it.  The iPhone Killed that crowd.

Then the new Mac pro came out, oh wait it was delayed, why, because they were trying to get the GPU to take some of the load like Pro Tools, Apollo or any AUDIO interface that has DSP chips. And the Mac Pro was awesome for a few years, they had some cool ones, the best, the Neelam, 2.93 8 core which, minus thunderbolt, (there has to be TB PCI cards?), and it still rocks, but what I can’t stand is them saying nothing, absolutely nothing.

I’m the one that posted on A.I. and a few others 2 years b4 it came out that FCP looked like iMovie on steroids, but has come a ways now as did Logic and for what you get (well, you do have to buy a mac or build a hack), the thermal design won’t allow Apple to put anything hotter than what’s out unless they are successful on their 32 core CPU, that may or may not rock - -they have been working on it for a few years, so maybe that is what is coming, be that as it may, sure more cores are better, but build a HACK N TOSH and you can overclock some of these guys on AIR to 4.7 and the Faster the SPEED, the HIGHER THE FPU (Floating Point), which is reliant on CPU speed, it even affects DDR speed), so if nothing comes out soon, maybe I will look into or go with WINDOWS one day, only if they get it right which they should seeing how they no longer have to make 100 different drivers and just one like apple, if they came out with a DESKTOP, that might kill or hurt Apple rather as the stock is plummeting big time.

Not only did us PROS/ENTERTAINMENT community get a slap in the face, we went from teaching Color, Logic, et-cetera, to setting up emails, barking dogs and baby strollers, love kids, but am making a point here as you never saw women in the mac store, ever.

SO, a redesign, newer CPU (32 core at a good price), should make iMac with i7 desktop parts not mobile, or go back to the best form factor ever, the silver and we can have 20 cores.


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