Mac Pro Reviews Find Impressive Hardware, But Few Software Titles Take Advantage

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After a weekend of testing, Engadget and The Verge have posted longer pieces on their Mac Pro review units, with mixed results.

As The Verge repeatedly notes, the new Mac Pro really only shines when used with software specifically optimized for its dual-GPU setup. At the moment, Final Cut Pro X is the best demonstration of the Mac Pro's prowess -- when using other software, the Mac Pro is only modestly faster than a new-vintage iMac, though, as Engadget points out, that should change soon.
Without belaboring the point, this brings me to one of my few concerns about the Mac Pro, which is that right now, at least, most programs won't fully harness its graphics capabilities. One of the reasons I spent so much time in Final Cut Pro is that it's one of the few programs designed specifically to run well on a new Mac Pro. It reminds me a bit of how Retina display MacBook Pros were initially short on compatible software. If that analogy holds true, we should see more apps retooled to play nice with the Mac Pro's dual-GPU setup. Just be prepared for some slim pickings if you buy one this week.
When the Mac Pro is running optimized software, however, performance is impressive. Engadget found similar results to those from Friday, reporting that 4K clips could render and display more than a dozen filters in real-time, and that the machine can play back as many as 16 4K streams simultaneously. File transfers are incredibly fast, and most apps launch immediately.

Perhaps the most immediately noticeable change is to the Mac Pro's design. The Verge noted that the location of the Pro's ports -- on the back of the device -- can make connecting and disconnecting plugs a pain, while also grumbling about the lack of an SD card slot. Engadget wasn't perturbed by the lack of a card slot, noting that the professionals that will likely purchase the device use a wide variety of storage cards so including a slot for just one of those formats would be rather arbitrary.

Engadget notes that the Mac Pro can get a bit warm -- unsurprising given the amount of horsepower under the hood -- but it doesn't get particularly hot.
For lack of a better word, you'd have to provoke the machine to really be bothered by the heat: The warmest area is at the top of the chassis, and even then, you'd have to be sticking your hand near the vents to feel it. Otherwise, the chassis does get a tad warm -- and can take a while to cool down -- but it's much cooler than the air blowing out of the top. Avoid sticking your fist into the opening at the top and you'll be fine. As for noise, I tried hard to get the fans spinning, but they stayed quiet. Actually, if you put your ear up to the opening at the top, you will hear a faint purring, but again, you'd have to be the sort of wise guy willing to put your ear next to the hottest part of the machine (not recommended).
While Engadget is largely impressed with the new device, The Verge uses Adobe Premiere for its video editing and found very slight performance improvements because Adobe has not yet updated its software to take advantage of the Mac Pro's dual-GPUs. In fact, Premiere puts most of its processing on the Mac Pro's CPUs, the tower's weakest performance datapoint.

When Adobe -- and other performance-focused applications -- are inevitably upgraded to take advantage of the Pro, it's likely the performance improvements will shine like they do with Final Cut Pro X. Until then, however, the Mac Pro is mostly an incredibly well-designed, and fast, Mac. With new Mac Pro orders currently delayed until at least February, perhaps it will give developers time to upgrade their software.

Article Link: Mac Pro Reviews Find Impressive Hardware, But Few Software Titles Take Advantage
 

AppleScruff1

macrumors G4
Feb 10, 2011
10,026
2,947
How does Premiere run on it compared to a Windows based pc using the same processors, RAM and top of the line video card setup?
 

Klae17

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2011
1,086
1,207
Wow. Just realized what a pain it would be to have everything connected with cables in the back, then wanting to plug another drive or USB in. Not only is it an inconvenience, but ugly.

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The problem is, it's like having a supercar with a speed limiter. Smart purchase? Debatable.
It's like having a supercar in traffic and then hitting the autobahn. Smart purchase? Yep.
 

Nugget

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
1,855
862
Houston Texas USA
I swear, I think my '08 Mac Pro has figured out that its replacement has been ordered. It feels slower somehow, just in the last week.
 

rGiskard

macrumors 68000
Aug 9, 2012
1,798
956
Hard to reach ports seems to be Ive's signature design motif. Reminds me of trying to plug a jump drive into an iMac.

I'd bet good money that the front ports on the Mac Pro tower were NOT Ive's idea.
 

osx11

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2011
825
0
Wow. Just realized what a pain it would be to have everything connected with cables in the back, then wanting to plug another drive or USB in. Not only is it an inconvenience, but ugly.

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It's like having a supercar in traffic and then hitting the autobahn. Smart purchase? Yep.
Yeah their idea that you simply turn the unit around and the ports light up shows that Apple didn't really think this through. Since this unit will require a lot of external accessories, turning it around will not be that easy and it will be really awkward to (un)-plug things into this Mac.
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502
Jan 28, 2011
367
101
Edinburgh, Scotland
The problem is, it's like having a supercar with a speed limiter. Smart purchase? Debatable.
It's been available for a week... can you expect software developers to potentially rewrite large portions of their code to take advantage of this hardware? I hardly think so. Even if they've had it for months in advance (like Adobe or something) it's likely the titles will be available 'soon'.

The same thing happened with the Retina display on the iPhone and MacBook Pro: it took developers a little time to roll out the enhancements.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Yeah their idea that you simply turn the unit around and the ports light up shows that Apple didn't really think this through. Since this unit will require a lot of external accessories, turning it around will not be that easy and it will be really awkward to (un)-plug things into this Mac.
This is gonna seem like a really dumb question, but why don't you all turn it around so the ports are within easy reach?
 

fivedots

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2011
695
3
I see at as no different than Retina / high pixel density displays: the software wasn't ready for the hardware but eventually it caught up.
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,623
243
How does Premiere run on it compared to a Windows based pc using the same processors, RAM and top of the line video card setup?
like the video said, the premiere which doesn't optimize for dual gpu and using mostly cpu ran a bit slower than the 2010 mac pro. which is sad.

while this is intended for video editors, but only FCP flies on this thing.

and the cable port on the back, ugh what a mess really.
i'm in favor of the old form factor.
 

Wiesenlooser

macrumors 6502a
Jul 9, 2010
892
965
From what I have heard from a friend of mine who is heavily invested in CGI (working on hollywood blockbusters) this is not quite the machine many pro users have waited for. They asked for a smaller machine that is massively faster and what they got was a massively smaller machine that is just a bit faster.

As a pro User i dont know if I would really consider this a great buy. Expandability is rather limited (what if I want to change a Gpu? )

But personally - I would totally love having one. It is just a very sexy machine.
that price though.
 

Kissaragi

macrumors 68020
Nov 16, 2006
2,337
364
Seems it does what it was meant to. Very small, extremely fast and almost silent.

Its not the machine for me but it is incredibly impressive.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,901
1,164
Washington DC
I specifically bought a new Mac Pro last year to avoid having to worry about upgrading this year while all of this was going on.

This kind of transition always takes time. It's exciting to watch but I'm happy to sit this one out.

Besides waiting for the software updates, I've been burned before by Apple's ability to drastically improve a 2nd gen product. I'm betting the next version will go back to having a port or two on the front.
 

topmounter

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2009
2,246
422
FEMA Region VIII
Case Mod Idea: Use your old Mac Pro case to house the external drives, capture boxes and all your external peripherals!

Or you can wait for peripheral manufacturers to start aping the New Mac Pro design and you'll have multiple black cylinders covering your desk.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,887
396
Hilo, Hawai'i
This is gonna seem like a really dumb question, but why don't you all turn it around so the ports are within easy reach?
And the cables already plugged in do what? When you spin it? You'll have to horse around several of them, including a power cord.

So let's see now . . . right hand on the cylinder, left hand gathering together all the cables so they don't pull out (because none of them have any form of positive locking) . . . lucky that they're all the same length, otherwise the shortest one would stop the spin . . . .

I've wondering about this since the intro, way back when. I've yet to see anybody explain how to handle the snakes back there.

Am I missing something?
 

thaifood

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2011
310
96
I find it quite silly to say that having software not fully optimised yet is a downfall of the computer. Dwelling on that is counter-productive as it can, and will, change. Effectively making those reviews redundant.
 

linuxcooldude

macrumors 68020
Mar 1, 2010
2,477
5,992
Actually Premiere Pro does support multiple GPU's. But it seems to have limited support for GPU's using OpenCL. But I see that changing fairly quickly and have stated heavy support for this in the future.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,034
24,710
Hard to reach ports seems to be Ive's signature design motif. Reminds me of trying to plug a jump drive into an iMac.

I'd bet good money that the front ports on the Mac Pro tower were NOT Ive's idea.
Um, then turn it around and make the back the front.
 

cmChimera

macrumors 68040
Feb 12, 2010
3,930
2,764
The software criticism doesn't seem too fair. It's a pro computer. It makes sense that only professional software is made to take advantage of the pro features.
 
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