This may become a new regular segment on the site. Chris and myself have very long, rant filled discussions and we rarely remember to bring up the things we were so passionate about between episodes while recording the podcast. So now, when he and I or even a friend like special guest Carlos Almonte have a good rant, I’ll post them so that you all can comment on our Facebook page and further the conversation.
(On the New Mac Pro) I actually think it’s a systemic issue. Tim Cook is a bottom line production guy and AMD will always make the better deal so instead of going for the more established and longer working tech they go for “oh this has the specs we want for a cheaper price.” Steve Jobs used to bet long on certain technologies like when he started to bring in Open CL before anyone else. That has completely fallen by the wayside for user facing and cloud based features. Which is fine overall but none of the hardware they are choosing to support these days OTHER than Intel are worth a damn including the longevity of thunderbolt which is still too infantile. It won’t be till Thunderbolt 3 that we get true 4k support and really Thunderbolt 4 will most likely be the first with enough real bandwidth to keep up with multi-stream 4k and beyond. That is of course if 4k is the focus which it really shouldn’t be yet. Anything you try now is going to be overkill for HD and obsolete as soon as the networks or studios create a real deliverable 4k specification.
Current Macs are fine if all you need is a stock computer for straight forward editing, in my opinion. But they are not ideal for any kind of graphics work. The entire point of a Xeon workstation is that Xeon is the only product line that allows 2 chips, dual processor. Why? Because Xeons are not high clocked chips. A single i7 is faster and way less expensive than a single Xeon. That’s why the 5k iMac running with an i7 is faster than the Mac Pro. The only reason to use Xeon is to have dual processor with tons of cores. But I suspect that they didn’t offer that because of heat and space problems. Using AMD graphic cards locks the Mac Pro out of some great software which requires CUDA. And the D700’s they put in are actually under-clocked, and therefore lower performance, W8000 cards. Again they had to under-clock the graphics cards for heat and space reasons. Even AMDs gamer cards outperform the D700s. Then, the lack of expansion is the final straw. Those expansion chassis are $1000 just for the empty chassis! And the customer reviews on B&H are scathing. Most say they don’t work because apps don’t see the cards. “Thunderbolt for everything” sounds great in theory, but it’s really limiting in practice if you need anything beyond a stock computer. Everyone has different computer needs, but Mac Pros used to be versatile enough to accommodate everyone. That’s not true anymore. My personal must have list included a slot for my Decklink 4K card, space for an internal RAID because I don’t like having external boxes all over my desk, upgradable dual graphics cards, dual Xeons. Only Windows computers have those things so switching had to happen. The bonuses to switching were next gen DDR4 RAM, native Nvidia driver, SLI, OVERCLOCKED graphics cards, and access to high-end compositing software like Fusion (Windows only). The setup was a pain, mostly because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but once working its incredible how much better Windows is as a serious workstation platform.
I’m a fan of tech as much as the next guy but some of this is missing the point. There are plenty of PC’s that outperform the nMP’s in benchmarks. I tried to trick out my old tower to squeeze every drop out of it but ultimately it was the same as buying a Lamborghini to drive on streets with potholes, or where the speed limit is 65. What’s the point? Final Cut Pro X and a new Mac Pro, in my opinion, gets the job done faster. Period. What good are all those GPU’s when you can’t find a shot? Or have to click a hundred times just to cut said shot in? I get it for 3D, the PC is the obvious choice but we don’t use computers, we use software. If the PC could run X I’d be all over it. A hackintosh is def on the table if the nMP’s aren’t substantially more powerful. Ultimately what we do is finding shots and arrange them. Which one is fastest? FCPx on a nMP in my opinion (or Retina iMac, I haven’t tested). So while I agree that Apple is way behind in terms of raw power, I could also use a 16lb sledgehammer to drive in a nail when a 1lb hammer will do. That said if either of you want to buy me a Lamborghini I will be glad to sit in traffic in it. Red please.