New Old Beginning
I did something today for the first time in a decade. I ordered a Mac desktop. I've been using my Mac Pro 2008 for one decade, a feat I never realized would have been feasible.
What am I replacing my 2008 Mac Pro with? After evaluating the options, the iMac Pro was just too expensive for my blood with shelf life and the regular iMac just not as beefy as I'd like, especially in the GPU department. I ended up ordering a used 2010 Westmere Mac Pro, 12-core 2.93 GHz. I don't expect to get the same use out of it as my 2008. Just a year or two until we see if Apple does replace the Mac Pro with a modular computer.
By the numbers, the 8-year-old Mac Pro 2010 I'll be receiving bests my 2015 2.5 GHz MacBook Retina in most geekbench benchmarks in most scores. It bests even the current round of iMacs (excluding the iMac Pros) CPU performance wise. It'll be performant enough to be a Media PC/server should I choose to replace it in the upcoming years. It still strikes me as absurd that 12 core Mac Pros still hover around the $900-1800 mark depending on configuration. If that doesn't show demand, I don't know what does. Apple needs a modular computer for a certain class of users.
I've spent a fair amount of time blogging about the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro 2006-2012 remain the high water mark of desktops, the most elegantly designed towers, a refined mix of modularity, ease of access and raw power. Opening up the guts to see the (nearly) wire-free world, with an (almost) screwdriver free experience made cracking open a Mac Pro easier than even the era of the G3/G4 tower famed "Folding door" design. It's the painstaking beauty that really makes one appreciate the industrial design chops of Apple at it's best, features that only are touched a few times over the life of the computer are designed to be pleasant if not down right beautiful. The rare PC case today has a locking door that doesn't require screws. Rarer than that are cases that have sleds for storage. Then there's things that remain unique to the Mac Pro. PC cases still do not have handles or raised feet to this day, have chambered cooling, trays for CPU/RAM, or cable free designs. That's not even touching the aesthetics of the garish and utterly unsightly PC cases that still plague (if not make up the entirety of all) the market.
The end of the Mac Pro wasn't a surprise. You could see the tide receding with the rather modest and unimpressive 2012 update that failed to bring USB 3.0, SATA 3 and Thunderbolt to the desktop arena. The last embers of hope could be seen dwindling of the mythical creative professional smolder with the release of Final Cut Pro X. Laptops have crept into even the most hell-or-high-water desktop users lives as they caught up to their aging out-of-date in performance. Perhaps that's what killed the Mac Pro: engineering a computer that could last a decade.