Welcoming the New 2019 Mac Pro
We are a few days away from watching the rumored debut of the 2019 Mac Pro at the WWDC… all of what's left of us 500 Mac Pro fanboys in this country. Since the last release of the trashcan design back in 2013 the once robust target audience faced a crossroads on how best to keep up with industry demands given an increasingly obsolete product. In the quest to redefine what a power computer should physically look and feel like, Apple had left behind one small detail about power users - lack of upgradability. It’s the inability to easily swap out parts that quickly depreciated the investment and left pro users in the dark. Moreover this sent Apple back to the drawing board for a six year hiatus while the Apple pro community faced an existential crisis with the alternative. Windows can’t be all the bad, right? It’s cheaper, supposedly stable now… so as lifelong Mac users we decided to give the PC market a try.
The first and most important thing about our attempt at migrating to PCs is that we’d be arriving with an open mind; to embrace the differences in ecosystems and that all features own their bulleted list of pros and cons. Move Foundry works with a lot of 3D modeling and animation projects, so we commissioned a custom PC build to suit those needs. Launching and using Maya was a no brainer. We just had to get used to new modifier shortcut keys and it was business as usual. However this particular PC had a small glitch with a clock that was moving erratically off by several time zones. It wasn’t consistently off by a set amount of time. That time discrepancy was constantly moving. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but when we needed to check in on render time per given frame, it would show something like a File Created time of 12:00am and Modified time of 8:12pm. Clearly a single frame did not take all those hours to render out but this was a frustrating moment when we needed precise calculations to manage client expectations on delivery date.
ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY
Then one day our PC decided it didn’t want to boot up the operating system anymore. We tried the reset button. The fan blew, it sounded like something was happening underneath the hood, but black screen. After several futile attempts we asked the client for an extension and drove the computer out to a technician on the same day. He was able to power it up successfully but now his keyboard wasn’t registering on the computer. He began with the basics; plugging and unplugging the keyboard, then rebooting the computer himself. About 30 minutes later the keyboard came back to life. He replied with how easy that fix was and sent me back with the computer.
NAIL IN THE COFFIN
Breathe in… breathe out. Perhaps we just got unlucky. About a week ago I decided to call up a fellow lifelong Mac user who’s recently bought a PC to ask his opinion on the user experience. “I’ll let you know once my mouse starts working”, he replied. He’s currently experiencing two unresolved issues. The mouse pointer hops in spasms around the screen causing the workflow for anything a useless waste of time. Moreover, he’s cutting 4K footage on Premiere and the footage is not playing back smoothly. Currently the PC sits by his desk as a glorified email machine while he milks every last dime off his old iMac.
Well that just about did it. Our experiences with PCs albeit anecdotal, has left us camping at the doors of the next Mac Pro unveiling. What about the price? Let’s do the math. Let’s say a $5000 PC build is an $8000 Mac Pro of comparable performance (an age old argument). We use our Mac Pros for roughly 5 years, 8-12 hours a day during the work week. If we spread that $3000 difference across each working day for 5 years, that’s an additional $2.31 we’re paying per day. Paying the equivalent of a cup of coffee per day for peace of mind and happier clients sounds like great value.