MacPro Stories July 2, 2014

Mac Pro

Earlier this week, Apple released OS X 10.9.4 with various enhancements and bug fixes for wake-from-sleep and WiFi connectivity. In addition to those fixes, many professional video editors who use Mac Pros are reporting that graphics rendering and performance issues found in the preceding OS X 10.9.3 have been resolved. Graphics card incompatibility issues with 2013 Mac Pros bundled with AMD D700 and D500 graphics engines resulted in videos stalling during the exporting process, pink and green lines appearing in exported video, and various application crashes and freezes with key video production apps like Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve

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MacPro Stories January 23, 2014

Pixelmator 3.1 Marble

Pixelmator have released the latest version of their app today, version 3.1. As usual, it is available exclusively in the Mac App Store for $29.99. Codenamed Marble, this update brings several enhancements to the image editor including specific Mac Pro optimizations such as 16-bit image support.

Primarily, Pixelmator 3.1 optimises for the new Mac Pro’s hardware. Apple has used Pixelmator before to tout the Mac Pro’s performance benefits, and the developers are clearly keen to push this further still.

The “exclusive” support for the new Mac Pro enables the simultaneous use of both GPU’s  for even faster composition and rendering. In fact, the app can compute the autosave data whilst the image is being rendered. This translates to significant speed improvements across the app.

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MacPro Stories January 22, 2014

U.S. Apple Online Store joins international stores in shipping Mac Pros in March

Repeat of the late-2012 iMac launch, indeed. Joining Apple’s international online stores, Apple’s United States, Canada, and Mexico online stores are now quoting a March shipment timeframe for the “late 2013” Mac Pro. The Mac Pro launched in December to a February shipment quote, and as the month of January nears its end, the new March shipment timeframe indicates little to no improvement in a supply to demand balance for the $3000+ workstation.

MacPro Stories January 20, 2014

mac_pro_uk_ship_march

Shipping estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped from February to March in many countries, suggesting that Apple has made no progress in reducing lead times from around six weeks. U.S. shipping estimates so far remain in February.

Launched last month to rave reviews, the all-new design has been praised for its upgradability, in sharp contrast to the MacBook range. However, it appears that Apple’s desire to keep its promise of a late 2013 launch date, made at WWDC, led to a repetition of the previous year’s iMac shortages …  expand full story

MacPro Stories December 19, 2013

Apple releases software update for new Mac Pro to fix reliability and graphics issues

Only hours after the new Mac Pro became available for order (and months before you’ll be able to get your hands on one), Apple has released an EFI software update for the machine. The update is said to resolve multiple hardware-related issues:

This update is recommended for all Mac Pro (Late 2013) models. This update improves system reliability during reboot, resolves an issue with memory self-test, and improves graphics power management when using Boot Camp.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 15.32.12

On Apple’s website, only a few hours since it went on sale, delivery estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped to February next year.

This morning, the store opened with delivery estimates of December 30th with some variants quoting a January timeframe. Now, it appears the initial allocation has sold out as Apple’s website now reports February shipment for all models.

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Shortly after going live on the Apple Store site, the Mac Pro is starting to appear on third-party reseller sites. While you’re unlikely to get your hands on one any sooner than buying via Apple (which currently lists Dec 30th as shipping dates), it can’t hurt to make a few calls.

You may also be able to save yourself the sales tax. B&H, which has the machines on pre-order, only charges sales tax in NY, and MacMall charges sales tax in just five states (and that’s in addition to the whopping $5 discount off the base price!) …  expand full story

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Alongside the release of the new Mac Pro, Apple has updated Final Cut Pro in the Mac App Store to take advantage of the machine’s immense raw processing power. Specifically, Apple says that playback and rendering has been optimised for the Mac Pro’s dual GPUs.

Final Cut 10.1 also adds 4K support, including monitoring across Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI displays as well as 4K titles, transition and generators. The update also adds a whole slew of other minor features and changes to the modern (if controversial) video editing suite.

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MacPro Stories January 22, 2013

Here’s a Mac Pro concept gallery while we patiently wait for Apple to update the real ones

This is what happens when designers have to look down at the same box they had almost a decade ago.

We showed you a detailed modular Mac Pro design concept in September posted by designer Peter Zigich. Today, Zigich is back with another future Mac Pro concept that imagined Apple ditching Intel for a custom Apple-designed ARM CPU, “A10”. We’re not sure Apple is ready to take the jump to ARM in the first major refresh of its Mac Pro line since 2010, but the prospect of a smaller, possibly Mac mini-like design for a new Mac Pro is definitely intriguing. The PCI slots are probably not necessary thanks to Thunderbolt, and Zigich doesn’t rule Intel out entirely. While these specs are maybe not completely realistic for an upcoming Mac Pro refresh, it certainly gets us thinking about what Apple might have planned for its aging Mac Pro design. More images available on Zigich’s website here.

MacPro Stories June 18, 2012

How to build a Hackintosh with Mac Pro specs for $1,148

We told you about our affection for Hackintoshs before. With the recent Mac Pro spec refresh disappointing many and not taking advantage of modern technology such as Thunderbolt, USB3, SATA3 or just about anything less than three-years-old, maybe it is time to consider building one.

Lifehacker’s Adam Dachis compiled a long list of parts that will allow you to build a Hackintosh that matches or exceeds the new Mac Pro’s specs on the cheap (though we are not sure how a Core i7 3.4GHzis going to do versus a Mac Pro Xeon!). Here are the parts to build the base Mac Pro for only $1,148 instead of $2,499:

Check out Lifehacker’s post for the mid-range and high-range prices.  Or, head over to Tonyx86 and formulate your own Mac PRO.

MacPro Stories June 12, 2012

Apple’s website listed the refreshed Mac Pro as “new” after the opening keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday, but complaints from critics, including an ex-Apple engineer, likely spurred the company to remove the alerting icon.

Former Apple engineer and current Google employee Andy Hertzfeld expressed his disappointment in the new Mac Pro through a Google+ post this morning. He said the high-end desktop “seems like it’s stuck in time in 2010” and only received an “inconsequential processor clock bump.”

Apple unveiled an all-new MacBook Air and Pro lineup during its keynote, but the company did not announce any updates to its Mac Pro. The blogosphere jumped online to gobble up the notebooks, where they finally discovered the Mac Pro’s minor spec-bump listed under the familiar “new” notation. Since then, the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company has been under-fire for displaying the machinery as new when it only boasts a few slight changes.

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Andy Hertzfeld: The only thing that’s still high-end about [Mac Pro] is the bloated price

Update: MacRumors received a tip from a reader who claimed Apple’s CEO Tim Cook responded to his email to confirm new Mac Pros are coming next year. We received a tip last year detailing a similar email exchange between a Pro customer and the late chief Steve Jobs. Cook’s response to the reader is below:

Our pro customers are really important to us…don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year.

We were not too shocked when Apple quietly updated its Mac Pro lineup following its WWDC keynote yesterday. We had previously revealed the spec-bumped Mac Pros, but many were skeptical Apple would release such a minor refresh for the product that otherwise had not received an update in two years.

Was it really an upgrade, or did Intel simply run out of the older CPUs? USB 2 and no Thunderbolt seem like a bad joke to high-end Mac Pro users.

Not surprisingly, many are calling out Apple for its decision to not release a major refresh to the Mac Pros. Perhaps most notably is former Apple engineer and current Google employee Andy Hertzfeld. In a Google+ post, Hertzfeld congratulated Apple on its new Retina MacBook, while expressing disappointment in the new Mac Pros:

The next generation MacBook Pro announced today at WWDC looks fantastic. I ordered one immediately and can’t wait to start using it. Unfortunately, the euphoria was negated by my deep disappointment with the meagre, lame update that was silently bequeathed to the Mac Pro today… The specs for the “new” Mac Pro had hardly changed, except for a tiny, inconsequential processor clock bump. Still no Thunderbolt, still no USB 3.0, no SATA III or RAM speed improvements – it seems like it’s stuck in time in 2010. The only thing that’s still high-end about it is the bloated price… Even though I’m well aware that Apple’s future lies increasingly with mobile iOS-based devices, it still makes no sense to drop the ball on your high end desktop Mac so thoroughly, and to utterly disappoint your most loyal customers like yours truly.

As for complete refreshes for the iMac and Mac Pro lineups, David Pogue for the New York Times claimed an Apple executive confirmed they are in development and likely set for a 2013 release:

Many Apple observers also wonder if Apple thinks that desktop computers are dead, since not a word was said about the iMac and Mac Pro. An executive did assure me, however, that new models and new designs are under way, probably for release in 2013

MacPro Stories June 6, 2012

The image above represents the full pricing matrix for new devices expected to unveil in a few days at the Worldwide Developers Conference. You will notice the Mac Pros, Retina MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and iMacs that we discussed before at length.

We have more notes on the unlabeled parts below—including the newly identified RAM update: expand full story

MacPro Stories June 5, 2012

Yesterday, we reported that Apple has an incredible WWDC surprise: major updates to four of its Mac lines. We were able to affirm that three of these updates would cover the redesigned MacBook Pro with a Retina Display, refreshed 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs, and new iMacs in two screen sizes. Besides those three Mac lines updates, we were unsure if the either the Mac mini or the Mac Pro would make it as the fourth update. We speculated that it could be the Mac mini due to the newly available Ivy Bridge processors, but now, reliable sources are reporting that Apple will, in fact, unveil a new Mac Pro at WWDC next week.

Sources have also been able to provide some part numbers and prices to prove this:

MD770LL/A – K5BPLUS,BETTER, BTR-USA

MD771LL/A – K5BPLUS,BEST,BTR-USA

MD772LL/A – K5BPLUS,ULTIMATE,BTR-USA

The pricing is similar to current Mac Pro models. What’s interesting here is that we’ve seen updates to every other line of Macs that Apple carries….except one…The Mac Mini.

Our sources are currently unsure of the feature-set coming with the new Mac Pro, but these sources say that there will likely now be three configurations. Two standard versions of the Mac Pro and a third version with OS X Server capabilities. In early 2011, we reported on some of the work that Apple engineers had been prototyping up for a future version of Apple’s Pro desktop line. For that report, sources said that Apple had been experimenting with a new Mac Pro design that is rackable and stackable. These prototype machines also included space for more storage drives, an important feature now that the Xserve has been long discontinued. With a year having passed since we heard about these prototype Mac Pros and the ability of Thunderbolt to offload a lot of the expandability, the final new Mac Pro designs could be different than the current designs but we haven’t yet heard definitively either way.

MacRumors reported that Apple has begun pulling Mac Pro stock from some of its retail stores. We’ve heard the same from tipsters, left.

With Apple adding the super-fast USB 3.0 technology to its next-generation MacBook Pro, and with Apple’s latest Macs including the even faster Thunderbolt I/O technology, Apple will likely add these faster connection ports to their latest Pro desktop. Since the Mac Pro is Apple’s most high-end machine for professional workers of all types, the most important features are the internals. Earlier this year, Intel released a series of Xeon E5 chips that would seem like a lock for a new Mac Pro. These new Mac Pros will likely also likely feature the latest graphics chips.

Apple last updated the Mac Pro in July 2010, making this upcoming update significant. It is unclear why Apple had left the Mac Pro in its 2010 form for so long, but a reader email from 2011 might explain that. According to the Apple executive who replied to a 9to5Mac reader inquiring about the Mac Pro’s status, Apple had been “investing heavily” in the professional desktop computer. We are unsure what investing heavily will mean for the final product, but it should surely be an incredible update over the nearly two year old model.

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MacPro Stories September 9, 2011

From 9to5Toys:

MacConnection offers readers an additional 3% off Mac desktops and laptops via coupon code “3%MacDeal”. The coupon applies to MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and iMac computers. It’s the best percent-off coupon we’ve seen from MacConnection in recent months. Even better, free shipping applies to most deals, yielding a trove of lowest-we-could-find prices.

Best Bets: New Core i5 MacBook Airs now start $921 (Amazon is $949).  Mac Minis start at $551.88  (Amazon is$569)

MacConnection also has the lowest price we could find on the new Thunderbolt display at $979 and a 128GB Crucial 6Gb/s SSD for $189.99.  AppleTVs are $94.99 as are Airport Express base stations..  Wireless Magic Mouse – $64.99. expand full story

MacPro Stories July 19, 2011

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We’re getting word from numerous Apple Stores that the Lion transition has begun.  In this photo taken at the 14th St. Apple Store in NYC by a passerby, you can see Apple employees updating Macs as well as some heavy hardware in the foreground.  Those are reportedly the new signage packages.

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MacPro Stories June 27, 2011

Lifehacker has posted a nifty guide to building a Hackintosh, Mini style. This Hackintosh is very similar to Apple’s Mac Mini in price but more burly in specs. Hackintoshes offer a great way to learn about the innards of computers and how they work.

The end product ran up a price tag of $599.65, which is a very fair price for what you’re getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 Motherboard $104.99
  2. Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540 3.06GHz 4MB LGA1156 CPU $110.00
  3. ZOTAC nVidia GeForce GT240 512 MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $84.99
  4. 2x2GB Corsair PC3-10666 1333Mhz Dual Chanel 240-pin DDR3 Desktop RAM $43.99
  5. Western Digital 1TB SATA III 7200 RPM 32MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive $59.99 (2TB: $79)
  6. SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply $119.99
  7. Sony Optiarc 8X SATA DVD+/-RW Slim Drive $34.99
  8. StarTech.com MCSATAADAP Micro SATA to SATA Adapter Cable with Power $11.71
  9. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard $29.00
  10. OPTIONALOCZ Agility 120GB SSD $199.99 (note: this is optional and not included in the total cost of the machine)

The squad over at Lifehacker used tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini tool and a good suite of hardware. While this isn’t as small as a Mac Mini, it is very close and is a lot faster. Check out Lifehacker’s video above on how to set this up and visit their post for a list of hardware. We have to warn you, this isn’t for every computer user, because you need to know how to build your own computer and do a little tinkering.

If a Hackintosh Mini isn’t for you, check out tonymacx86’s guide to making a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh. Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor is rumored to be included in many of the new Macs. Why not go ahead and build one on the cheap? Tonymacx86 has all the answers.

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MacPro Stories June 23, 2011

Following a report from earlier this week that claims that Apple is gearing up to launch a new Mac Pro in late July or early August, a reliable source tells 9to5Mac that Apple has referenced a mid-2011 Mac Pro in multiple internal documents. This, of course, is reference to an unreleased Mac Pro. Apple has not upgraded their professional desktop Mac since July 2010. Additionally, these internal documents are said to tout four new core Mac Pro models: 6 cores, 8 cores, 12 cores, and for the first time, 16 cores. This is likely in addition to some custom configurations.

If these internal documents jibe with what Apple will be soon releasing, Mac customers will be able to get their hands on a super-fast 16-core Mac. In addition to these specifications, we hear that Apple has already begun the process of assembling product manuals for the new Mac Pro, corroborating previous claims of a late July or early August launch. Our sources could not confirm if the new rack mountable design, which we detailed, will make its way into the 2011 model.

On a final note, a certain Apple executive has reportedly said the following in an email we’ve seen:

“Apple is investing heavily into Mac Pro”

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