Audiovisual professionals may have had a very long wait for a new Mac Pro, and that wait may not be quite over, but from the early hands-on reviews it seems they’re unlikely to be disappointed.

The real performance of the machine is currently only being seen with Final Cut Pro, which Apple optimized to take full advantage of the dual GPUs, but it’s a near certainty that Adobe and others will follow this example.

With a price tag of anything up to $14,000 if you completely max it out, this is not a machine that will be seen gracing too many living-rooms, but for those earning their living from audio and video and where time is money, the early hands-on reviews suggest that the Mac Pro lives up to its promise … 


Engadget summed up its verdict in the headline of its review:

Small, fast and in a league of its own […]

The new Mac Pro is a serious improvement over the old model in every way, and is likely worth the upgrade. So, while $2,999 (let alone $10,000) is indeed a big investment, it’s well worth it for people who live and die by their workstation, and for whom (rendering) time is money.

There isn’t another computer we know of that’s this powerful and also this compact. With a starting price of $2,999, going all the way up to nearly $10,000, it’s quite pricey, but for videographers, photographers, animators and other creative professionals, it could be well worth the investment.


The Verge, which has a great photo contrasting the size with the old Mac Pro, says the machine is not a must-buy until other software developers take full advantage of its power, but it will be then:

At long last, the pros get some love […]

Since FCP X was specifically optimized for the new Mac Pro, we tested our RED [4k] footage with the app and it handled native footage from the Epic shockingly well. For this test, I turned off auto-render and set the playback quality to “better performance.” I was able to layer four streams, resized and composed on top of each other with color correction on each clip, and FCP X played the composite back without stuttering or dropping frames […]  If you enjoy using FCP X (which I truly, truly don’t), the Mac Pro is a fantastically responsive machine to edit on.

Addressing both GPUs makes for a huge improvement […] If you’re a Final Cut user, it’s remarkable […]

[If Adobe and other developers follow the FCP example,] the Pro could quickly turn from subtle speed bump to an actual rethinking of what desktop PCs do and what we can do with them.


TechRadar called it “a powerhouse workstation for professional use”:

If you’re thinking this Mac is too expensive, you’re thinking about it in the wrong way. It’s a completely different proposition than an iMac or Mac mini. This is a high end workstation for serious power computing and applications such as media processing and editng. It’s one of the reasons why the future of the Mac is a safe one. It’s superbly designed and has all the panache you expect from Apple. What a machine.


CNET used the same term, and was also impressed by the way Apple made such a powerful machine as quiet as a Mac Mini:

Apple’s radically reimagined Mac Pro is a powerhouse performer.

The Mac Pro’s hardware is incredibly powerful, especially if you’re using it for pro-level graphics and video tasks. It can output to up to three 4K displays simultaneously, thanks to six Thunderbolt 2 ports plus HDMI. The system is whisper-quiet, with a clever three-sided motherboard for efficient cooling and space savings […]

Apple radically re-imagines the professional desktop with the new Mac Pro, featuring a design looks fantastic and offers genuine breakthrough advantages. But, consumer-level Apple enthusiasts should note that this product isn’t specifically targeted at them and DIY upgraders will lament the loss of traditional desktop tower flexibility […]

It’s a stretch to say this is a computer for casual consumers, but the starting price isn’t more than you’d pay for a similarly configured Windows PC and the radically different look and feel is cool enough to appeal to any design enthusiast who wants nothing but the best-looking, best-performing products.


T3 said that the Mac Pro’s instantaneous response when adding real-time effects meant that its “video team’s rendering woes are remedied”:

This hugely ambitious overhaul of Apple’s high-end professional workstation comes armed with not just the expected seriously impressive specs but with an all-new exterior aesthetic that’s hard to ignore […]

The new Mac Pro is the kind of product that’s invented to wow. Exceptionally powerful technology, an almost eye-watering price and a strikingly bold design that looks a bit like Darth Vader – it’s what tech fetishists live for. Not since our first “eyes on” experience with Google Glass earlier this year has the entire T3 office crowded round just to catch sight of a piece of technology. People were gawping before we’d even turned it on.

Yet while we reckon the Mac Pro will attract some mainstream interest among the not-unwealthy due to its eye-catching looks, compact build and ease of use, this is not a Mac Mini – it’s a professional machine, the pinnacle of Apple’s computing powers, built for creative businesses and demanding tasks […]

[We plan] extended pro user testing with our video and graphics team to see if it earns its technical stripes over prolonged use, so expect a definitive review in the new year. But for now, first impressions are strong with this one.


Stuff described the machine as “a monster of a machine packed into one of the most unique designs we’ve ever seen”:

There’s a point to the Mac Pro’s new look – instead of using multiple fans and heat sinks to keep the Pro cool, Apple’s used a single fan and positioned the components around a single thermal core that distributes heat evenly. That means that the Mac Pro runs quiet – astonishingly so – though we did notice that it gets quite warm. The cooling system must be working overtime to keep those high-end components in check […]

We’ve put the computer through its paces with some real time 3D rendering, and the results are astonishing; complex scenes are rendered almost instantly, many of which would take several minutes on current high-end kits […]

For those who need the extra power, there’s nothing quite like the Mac Pro […] it feels like a glimpse at the future of the desktop PC – with a design so radical it’s hard to think of any other firm that would come up with it.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear