Should You Get a Mac Pro?
Did a Mac Pro webinar for Moviola last week on The new Mac Pro, and there were some interesting questions that came out of it, I thought.
The biggest ones were people asking whether they should get a Mac Pro or the new powerful machine from (insert random PC vendor).
The answer to that question depends on what’s important to you.
If you value pure horsepower, crazy amounts of speed, and the ability to do things with hardware the like of which no one thought were possible… you probably should get the high end PC.
If you need to get work done… you should buy the Mac Pro.
It’s the fundamental difference in perspective that I feel is prevalent in the industry.
So many places tout the number of features they have in the hardware/software. They never quite mention when those things are half baked, more trouble than their worth, or the fact that the whole system runs on a poorly designed operating system, etc.
For me… the question is… does the thing work? Can I get from point A to point B in a clean, pain free way?
I don’t care if my PCI 3.0 bus is faster than the the Thunderbolt 2 bus if the apps/hardware I’m running everything on are always infected by malware and need constant upkeep/maintenance/drivers to do what I need to do.
If I need ninety different apps/passwords/licenses to replicate the functionality I get across my devices that the App Store/IOS/iCloud/OSX provide… I’m just not interested.
Sure, your tricked out Linux PC with 7 graphics cards (yes, that actually exists) can run Resolve like nothing you’ve ever seen… but what’s the workflow from pre production to post to get you into the finishing room where that matters (good luck with that prores workflow you wanted to use)… and how much time is a machine like that really saving you?
Also… what happens if there’s a problem with one of those GFX cards/Linux/random other things? Who do you call? And what’s easier to diagnose… that or an issue with the Mac Pro?
Plus… the Mac Pro fits on your desk and there’s no PCI cards necessary.
The truth is that it’s no longer a question of… can my App/Computer/Connection/Bus/technical thing do a given task? The question really should be, can my random piece of technical stuff complete the task in a pain free way and allow me to work within my larger ecosystem/not detract from the other aspects of the work I do?
Specs matter a little bit. Workflow matters much more these days as we are asked to do many more different kinds of tasks on our machines.
And really… how fast do you need to go anyway? Most raids can’t even max out the Tbolt 2 spec in the first place… so whether that PCI bus is faster or not doesn’t matter unless you have the associated hardware (and software) that is designed to take advantage of your amazing tech specs.
What practical use case that the average editor runs into (including VFX and Color) can the Mac Pro not accomplish?
If you can’t answer that question… well, then you should probably buy the Mac Pro. You’ll have fewer problems with it.
In terms of the real question you should be asking yourself when you buy something… the question should really be:
Will the piece of gear i’m buying suit my overall lifestyle?
p.s – Yes… we sell the Mac Pro at FCPWORKS (as well as just about any other post gear you’ll ever need)… and if you do run into problems with your gear/workflow… if you buy your gear through us, you’ll have someone to ask if you actually have a problem with something.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This blog post contains the personal musings of FCPWORKS’ Workflow Architect, Sam Mestman. Sam’s also a regular writer for fcp.co and MovieMaker Magazine, teaches post workflow at RED’s REDucation classes, and is the founder and CEO of We Make Movies, a film collective in Los Angeles and Toronto which is dedicated to making the movie industry not suck. If you’ve got any FCP X questions or need some help putting together a system, drop him an email at email@example.com and you can follow him on Facebook or Twitter at @FCPWORKS.