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What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the on-the-cheap dept.

Microsoft 804

zacharye writes "The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created, and it's also extremely expensive — or is it? With a price tag that can climb up around $10,000, Apple's latest enterprise workhorse clearly isn't cheap. For businesses with a need for all that muscle, however, is that steep price justifiable or is there a premium 'Apple tax' that companies will have to pay? Shortly after the new Mac Pro was finally made available for purchase last week, one PC enthusiast set out to answer that question and in order to do so, he asked another one: How much would it cost to build a comparable Windows 8 machine?"

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Hard to believe (0)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 9 months ago | (#45792911)

Why do I think they ordered those parts from the most expensive sources possible?

Re:Hard to believe (5, Insightful)

Chris Dodd (1868704) | about 9 months ago | (#45793093)

Why do I think they ordered those parts from the most expensive sources possible?

Well, if you read the fine article (the original, not the bgr rehash), you'd see that all the proces come from NewEgg -- not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive...

Re:Hard to believe (0, Flamebait)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45793139)

Why do I think they ordered those parts from the most expensive sources possible?

Or it could just be the riced up hipster case.

... $9,599 which includes 64GBs of ECC DDR3 memory, a 1TB PCIe SSD, two AMD D700 (W9000) GPUs, and a twelve core Intel Xeon 2.7GHz processor.

While there is nothing really remarkable about this list of parts, it’s the way that they are integrated that provides both pros and cons. On the pro side, you have all this workstation grade hardware in a cylinder that is less than 10 inches tall and under 7 inches wide, with the power supply inside. This makes it very easy to take it on site or pack with you.

Pack with you? Because that's a concern with desktop workstations? I guess you can discount the dual monitor setup if portability is the key? Oh, right, OSX, so you basically have to bring it with you because everyone else is running a different OS and your programs aren't compatible. I don't give half a crap about the story, or I'd go to build the thing online in a tower configuration. Maybe throw in some LEDs, black-light ground effects, a custom body job with clear side panel and glitter+glue monogram too -- You know, really rice it to the next level.

Re:Hard to believe (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#45793327)

Why do I think they ordered those parts from the most expensive sources possible?

Or it could just be the riced up hipster case.

... $9,599 which includes 64GBs of ECC DDR3 memory, a 1TB PCIe SSD, two AMD D700 (W9000) GPUs, and a twelve core Intel Xeon 2.7GHz processor.

While there is nothing really remarkable about this list of parts, it’s the way that they are integrated that provides both pros and cons. On the pro side, you have all this workstation grade hardware in a cylinder that is less than 10 inches tall and under 7 inches wide, with the power supply inside. This makes it very easy to take it on site or pack with you.

Pack with you? Because that's a concern with desktop workstations? I guess you can discount the dual monitor setup if portability is the key? Oh, right, OSX, so you basically have to bring it with you because everyone else is running a different OS and your programs aren't compatible. I don't give half a crap about the story, or I'd go to build the thing online in a tower configuration. Maybe throw in some LEDs, black-light ground effects, a custom body job with clear side panel and glitter+glue monogram too -- You know, really rice it to the next level.

I'll bet this thing just smokes. I've always aimed high when redoing my desktop, back in January I loaded up 32GB of DDR3 RAM, 6 TB RAID V, 250GB SSD for boot and OS space and a 6 core AMD CPU, which is fairly adequate. It has to be as I'll expect it to run for 5 or 6 years before I upgrade again. I built and even beastlier machine for a friend who's doing a lot of media work. It's an absolute screamer, but again, he is expecting it to be competent for the next 5 or 6 years. I build his last one and it motored along well until he decided it was time to upgrade, too. When you spend money, you don't want to do it often.

Re:Hard to believe (4, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 9 months ago | (#45793361)

i think it's cheaper to have middling computers every 2-3 year cycle than a gargantuon every 6 years

Re:Hard to believe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793175)

The parts aren't the only thing. It would cost millions to hire a team of developers to develop a decent OS and take years.

Re: Hard to believe (4, Informative)

reedk (43097) | about 9 months ago | (#45793257)

They did. It's called Linux.

Re: Hard to believe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793383)

Final Cut Pro and Lightroom work so well in Linux.

Re:Hard to believe (5, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 9 months ago | (#45793431)

The OS I don't care about one way or another. I prefer it to Windows in the sense that it has a functional unix-ish command line, but beyond that the GUI is irritating in different ways. I'd prefer to run Linux on it, for my own reasons, but I'd rather wait until the Haswell-EP (or whatever they're calling their 2P Xeon's these days) is released. Hopefully Mac Pro doesn't miss that generation...

But building a comparable Windows machine with parts available on the market through your favorite sources (ex. newegg) is not possible at any price. You can integrate components with equal or greater functionality, but how much system test is there? Who is going to root cause every blue screen? Trust me, more of those blue screens are hardware related than I would have believed years ago. Who is making sure the PSU can deliver the needed power for the various application loads, and that it is performing with margin? Who is doing thermal measurements, checking airflow and ensuring parts are being kept safely in their operating region? This is what Apple is doing that "justifies" the price. The double quotes are there because no other system's company out there is holding to any quality standard except Apple, and as long as that's the case, Apple can charge whatever it likes.

It's not 1999 anymore. It used to be a computer would be obsolete before anything broke. Who cares about quality in this case? DIY made a lot of sense (and Apple suffered). But now even high end users can miss 3 or more processor generations and not care. It's better to pay a bit more for something that's going to hold together.

tl;dr, as a former motherboard designer and employee of a large OEM that is dying spectacularly, I assure you that Apple's computers are worth more than the sum of their parts. I

10,000 dollars? Seriously? (0)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | about 9 months ago | (#45792923)

Now, suddenly, the 7,500 dollar ASIC Bitcoin Miner seems cheap. You could buy that miner then mine some bitcoin then buy that Mac Book then have both... and not feel like Apple was ripping you off...

Re:10,000 dollars? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793337)

Not a 'Mac Book', not a notebook at all. Try and not be so fail when you wanna be an angry troll.

People forget (2, Insightful)

powerspike (729889) | about 9 months ago | (#45792925)

This is a business level product.

While you can build one cheaper using DYI parts, however the time spent in wages, for souring the hardware, software and doing the software can add up very quickly

.

Then there is also support and maintenance - will having a custom built machine cost more in the long run?

The more you spent on the machine - the bigger the margin for the DYI version - however at the end of the day - is the cost worth it for business?

Re:People forget (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 9 months ago | (#45792963)

This is a business level product.

While you can build one cheaper using DYI parts, however the time spent in wages, for souring the hardware, software and doing the software can add up very quickly

.

Then there is also support and maintenance - will having a custom built machine cost more in the long run?

The more you spent on the machine - the bigger the margin for the DYI version - however at the end of the day - is the cost worth it for business?

That would hold true for a business level product.

... so if apple had a separate company manufacturing their parts, that argument might hold true.

Re:People forget (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45793401)

While you can build one cheaper using DYI parts, however the time spent in wages, for souring the hardware, software and doing the software can add up very quickly

Surprisingly, If you read the article, it wouldn't be cheaper using DYI parts. The main advantage you would get of using DYI parts, in this case, is upgradeability.

Re:People forget (5, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 9 months ago | (#45793403)

This is a business level product.

While you can build one cheaper using DYI parts, however the time spent in wages, for souring the hardware, software and doing the software can add up very quickly

.
Once you've got Windows and drivers installed, you're at a relatively even playing field. Whether you're installing Premiere or Final Cut, you're still stuck doing software installations no matter what you buy.

Then there is also support and maintenance - will having a custom built machine cost more in the long run?

The more you spent on the machine - the bigger the margin for the DYI version - however at the end of the day - is the cost worth it for business?

The crux of the difference - and why the comparison is all but impossible to make - is the fact that you get to truly choose your parts, based on exactly what you need. Entry level Quadro card? $600 or so for one of them. Uncle-Sam-is-picking-up-the-tab model? $5,000 each, I think they support triple SLI.

64GB of ECC RAM? For a handful of use cases, sure. for the vast majority of workstation work? 16 or 32GB can usually suffice, and saves a whole lot of coin.

1TB of SSD? There's that...and then there's a quartet of 256GB SSDs with a spanned partition or RAID-0, possibly with another quartet of 3TByte SATA drives in a RAID5, the latter of which is possible with either no expenditure (depending on the motherboard), or limited expenditure (anywhere from an inexpensive host bus adapter to an IBM or Adaptec RAID controller), which still ends up being less expensive than having to get one of those Thunderbolt drive bay towers that cost twice the price of a half decent SATA RAID controller. Even without that, Thunderbolt drives made by LaCie are nearly double the price of internal Western Digital drives, and you'll still need to shell out $40-$60 for cables.

Super skinny case? Yeah, that's Apple's thing. Cases of every possible shape and size, anywhere from cheap, flimsy aluminum, to completely transparent plexiglass to neon lights to almost fully soundproofed to half a dozen case fans to having room for 13 hard drives or half a dozen Blu-Ray burners? Apple will never have that number of options.

The question of whether it's worth the cost really depends on what the business need is. If the business need is for cubic inches, then the Mac Pro is about the best desktop computing experience you're going to get per square inch. If any higher amount of storage is necessary, the pendulum quickly swings in favor of the PC route. If an optical drive is necessary (yes kids, there are video producers who still give DVDs or Blu-Ray discs to their clients), external drives are invariably more costly and slower than internal drives. If you've got something like a Presonus Firepod or any number of other Firewire peripherals (remember, Firewire was Apple's darling before Thunderbolt, so there's plenty of very expensive add-on gear that uses it), you're adding adapters for those on the Mac side, while plenty of PC motherboards still support it - and if they don't, a PCI(e) card that can support several pieces of hardware costs about the same as a single adapter from Apple.

The way I ultimately figure it is this: If Apple's product, as it ships, fits the bill, get it. No sense in spending time and money for redundant work. If you're looking for even the slightest amount of hardware variation, or you need any meaningful amount of onboard storage, or you can part with just a little bit of performance or the ECCness of its RAM or a nice GeForce card will fit your needs...it's incredibly trivial to avoid parting with that kind of money.

$10199.99 (5, Insightful)

Logger (9214) | about 9 months ago | (#45792931)

Simple, add $199 for a copy of Windows, and you have an equivalent Apple machine, duh.

Re:$10199.99 (1)

Logger (9214) | about 9 months ago | (#45792941)

Err, typo. Simple, add $199 for a copy of Windows, and you have an equivalent Windows machine, duh.

Obvious Question (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45792949)

Why would you put Windows 8 on a work computer?

Re:Obvious Question (2)

lennier1 (264730) | about 9 months ago | (#45792967)

April 1?

Re:Obvious Question (3, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 9 months ago | (#45793425)

April 1?

Win 7 is still available.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45792995)

Hah. When I read it I immediately thought, "Trick question! No one sets out to build a Windows 8 machine!"

Re:Obvious Question (1)

johnsie (1158363) | about 9 months ago | (#45793047)

Install Classic start and it's perfectly usable.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 9 months ago | (#45793153)

A problem occurs when a relative or whoever calls you and you need to walk them through how to do something on their Win 8 machine.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 9 months ago | (#45793065)

Because touch screen?

Re:Obvious Question (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 9 months ago | (#45793163)

Right, who wants to use Windows 8, when there is Windows 8.1! I kid.

In all seriousness though, why is Windows forcing the windows to be a set size and calling this a feature? It is like they wanted to take a step backwards.

I'm all for aps, aps mean you can't get a virus, so I can finally download software off the Internet with a Windows computer. Of course they're 15 years late to the party. A lot of people bought Macs because they're harder to get viruses on. If Microsoft would have simply made software unable to escape their install directory like DOS games, Microsoft would be even more secure than a Mac.

The problem with Aps though is that they'll have a tremedous lag for adoption. People don't want to make Aps because WIndows 8 is such a poor market share, and no one wants Windows 8 because there aren't many Aps. I think if Microsoft was smart, they'd make reverse compatibility for Aps back to XP or Vista. You gotta make the the ap work on as many platforms as possible... It is even arguable that if they were smart you could make a Windows ap, and it'd work on Android and iPhone too.

Re:Obvious Question (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#45793247)

Windows 8 has far more user marketshare than Linux and probably more than MacOSX sadly.

The reason there are not many Windows 8 apps is because corps still use IE 8 for their intranets and Vistual Studio 2013 requires IE 10 which is unacceptable at work.

Software still sold last year requires IE 6 because when the software was written in 2008 their IT department had one CRM app requiring IE 6 and IT refused to upgrad etc. Silly as this sound but XP and IE is killing MS from getting people to leave.

If this were not an issue there would be more Windows 8 apps.

Re:Obvious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793309)

I'm all for aps, aps mean you can't get a virus

...what?

I'm going to forgo all the other reasons why an official ap-store sucks for now, and simply let you know that is not the case. There's been a number of instances where "safe" aps in both Macs/iWhatever and Android have carried a hidden payload.

Turns out, it is just another hoop to jump through. It really is no safer than installing a firewall that only lets you run white-listed software.

I bought my Mom a Mac Pro (5, Funny)

MonkeyDancer (797523) | about 9 months ago | (#45792965)

I bought my Mom a Mac Pro for Christmas.
She says GMail runs so much faster now.

Re:I bought my Mom a Mac Pro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793021)

She says GMail runs so much faster now.

Apparently your mom keeps up with technology more than you do. The amount of badly-coded, ill-performing browser-side bullshittery of modern web design is sad.

Very sad.

$11,530.54 (4, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 9 months ago | (#45792973)

Site is starting to get Slashdotted.

Re:$11,530.54 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793045)

Appleâ(TM)s Top Spec Mac Pro at $9600

64GBs of ECC DDR3 memory, a 1TB PCIe SSD, two AMD D700 (W9000) GPUs, and a twelve core Intel Xeon 2.7GHz processor

As they say

After tabulating all the major component costs (plus another $99.99 US for Windows 8 Pro), we are at a total of around $11,530.54 US using todayâ(TM)s prices at retailers that actually stock the hardware. Iâ(TM)m not afraid to admit that compared to the asking price of $9,599 US, the new Mac Pro seems like one heckuva deal for these components. Everything is tested to work properly together (versus some of our unknown incompatibilities with this potential build), and a highly proprietary design that is small enough to fit into a carry on bag, with twice the amount of registered memory (32GB vs 64GB ECC). You simply canâ(TM)t build a smaller form factor PC that matches the Mac Pro today.

Re:$11,530.54 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793157)

You simply canâ(TM)t build a smaller form factor PC that matches the Mac Pro today.

So this test was never about performance at all, but aesthetics. Worse, not just matching a form factor, but making a better machine, smaller, more cheaply, and without any custom parts.

Clearly a completely fair and equitable comparison.

Re:$11,530.54 (4, Insightful)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 9 months ago | (#45793399)

He spent $360 on just the case and power supply. Doesn't seem like he was trying all that hard.

Why is this a surprise? (5, Insightful)

dirk (87083) | about 9 months ago | (#45792989)

The Mac tax has always been about the actual parts they use and that there are cheaper alternatives. For this comparison, they try to match the parts exactly. That of course is going to cost more because you are paying 3rd party markup prices while Apple is being direct from the manufacturer. The article even admits that you can buy things like a different video card that is equivalent for half the price. The question isn't if you can make the exact same system (or as close as possible) for cheaper but whether you can make an equivalent system for cheaper, and the answer to that is almost always yes.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (2)

djrobxx (1095215) | about 9 months ago | (#45793073)

Yep, the Mac Pro pricing is mostly about the Intel Xeon tax. When the Mac Pro came out in 2006, the pricing was favorable compared to a Dell Precision workstation configured similarly. The problem is, unlike Dell, Apple's next step down is the Mac Mini if you want a standalone computer.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 9 months ago | (#45793407)

According to the article, the Intel Xeon is less than 1/3 of the cost; the dual video cards 2/3 of the cost.

So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... (2, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#45793149)

The Mac tax has always been about the actual parts they use and that there are cheaper alternatives. For this comparison, they try to match the parts exactly. That of course is going to cost more because you are paying 3rd party markup prices while Apple is being direct from the manufacturer. The article even admits that you can buy things like a different video card that is equivalent for half the price. The question isn't if you can make the exact same system (or as close as possible) for cheaper but whether you can make an equivalent system for cheaper, and the answer to that is almost always yes.

So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... why aren't you in business, building cheaper equivalents and getting rich off the fact that it's costing you less to build equivalent hardware?

Re:So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793259)

So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... why aren't you in business, building cheaper equivalents and getting rich off the fact that it's costing you less to build equivalent hardware?

Apple marketing and Apple fanboys.

Re:So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793339)

Ok fanboys, catch this. Didn't apple start out selling separate copies of their operating system. Just build the equivalent rig, and run a legal copy. For less then MAC. Or is that illegal.

Re:So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793423)

The Hackintosh scene is alive and well. Unless you have designs on selling them, that is. [wikipedia.org] Unfortunately, physical copies of their OS are going by the wayside. Apparently if I need to wipe and reload my Mini, it'll have to grab the ISO online in the process. Kind of a bummer.

Re:So if you can build a cheaper equivalent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793281)

Because it is not an actual business? If everyone can do it, they will do it, and you can't sell them it as a service. Seriously, I've yet to see anyone not buying parts and assembling his own machine. Not talking about corporations who buy PCs for their workers, that's a different thing.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 9 months ago | (#45793323)

You didn't read the article.

The windows equivalents were MORE expensive.

4 grand for the entry level box and 11.5k for the high end, versus 3k and 9.5k for the Apple machines.

That's the surprise.

64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare HP (4, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#45793007)

They've speced a machine with half as much RAM, and the Mac has server grade ECC RAM. They've replaced PCIe storage with SATA. It's not a comparable machine. For a fair comparison, compare the Mac to a similarly speced HP server. Alternatively, at least spec the Mac lower to match, rather than maxing out everything.

Also, the Mac includes little niceties, some of which the HP will match better. I have the Macbook Pro, not the newer Pro, but by way of analogy compare Apple's reversible magnetic power cable vs. everyone else's barrel plugs. Apple does a lot of little things better on their computers. (Unlike their iOS iPhone and iPad, which I wouldn't buy.)

Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (4, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | about 9 months ago | (#45793069)

The real comparison comes in how good the machine is at doing what you need it to do. If you're making a movie or doing serious sound editing, video editing, or modeling, this machine and the accompanying software is clearly top-tier, compared to trying to assemble a full workflow yourself that includes the hardware, software, and infrastructure integration. And the fact that you just order it off the shelf and it comes with everything and integrates with everything isn't really priced into this comparison.

Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (5, Insightful)

tk77 (1774336) | about 9 months ago | (#45793287)

The real comparison comes in how good the machine is at doing what you need it to do. If you're making a movie or doing serious sound editing, video editing, or modeling, this machine and the accompanying software is clearly top-tier, compared to trying to assemble a full workflow yourself that includes the hardware, software, and infrastructure integration. And the fact that you just order it off the shelf and it comes with everything and integrates with everything isn't really priced into this comparison.

This is exactly what people seem to not understand. Not to mention trying to get support when your custom built system starts to have issues (blue screening due to drivers, hardware incompatibilities, etc.. ). When you have a project due for a client and some key piece of software starts crashing, or crashing the machine, the last thing you want to have to deal with are the numerous vendors playing the blame game.

Granted, not all software will be fully tweaked off the bat with the new mac pro, but its a system that no doubt the big players (The Foundry, Autodesk, Maxon, Avid, Adobe, etc) will target for testing and make sure their software works and takes advantage of as much of the hardware as is possible. As opposed to testing on randomly built DIY solutions.

For the price, how can you really beat a high end system thats custom built (down to the pcb level), using mostly off the shelf stuff (just assembled in a way thats not convenient to the DIY/tinkerer), supported by a single company, and is / will be used in testing by the actual companies that write the software you want to run on it?

Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (5, Interesting)

broken_chaos (1188549) | about 9 months ago | (#45793169)

Unfortunately Apple has a tendency to do weird, non-standard, undocumented things with their hardware configuration, or else I'd be using an Apple laptop myself (without OSX).

See the stuff surrounding the Thunderbolt connector under Linux for an example -- despite, ostensibly, being a standard Thunderbolt port, the Linux implementation doesn't quite work properly with Apple's hardware (hotplug doesn't work, and the OS doesn't even see the Thunderbolt port unless something was plugged in at boot), but works perfectly with the reference Intel hardware. Not to mention their exclusive use of Broadcom wireless cards, the most difficult cards to work with in general (no supported open source drivers unlike the other big two, Atheros and Intel).

Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (1)

dbraden (214956) | about 9 months ago | (#45793265)

There might be incompatibilities with linux on Mac (I don't know firsthand, I'll take your word for it). On the other hand, they didn't design and test it for that purpose.

It's been my experience that Apple's notebooks work very well when used as intended.

Support costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793009)

Your "apple tax" will come in the form of support costs. Help Desk jockeys and NT admins are a a call to TekSystems away. Admins with experience on a Mac enterprise are a touch more scarce.

Re:Support costs (-1, Flamebait)

kommakazi (610098) | about 9 months ago | (#45793041)

You're a fucking moron, Apple has industry leading support available, even on the enterprise level.

Re:Support costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793087)

You're a fucking moron, Apple has industry leading support available, even on the enterprise level.

Ain't that the truth!

We support just over 5,000 users, around 15% on Mac and the Apple support blows away everyone.

Re:Support costs (4, Informative)

torkus (1133985) | about 9 months ago | (#45793117)

Apple most certainly does NOT have leading support on the enterprise level. I know this from direct, personal experience. "That's how it's meant to work" and "We will probably fix that in the next release (date unknown)" are both considered perfectly acceptable answers by Apple Enterprise Support.

Oh...unless you're a 100% Apple shop and already have in-house Linux/Unix guru's who can do an end-run around the limitations in OSX.

Every other enterprise vendor has a roadmap and beta products/releases they share (at least under NDA) so related vendors can prepare their software/hardware. Apple releases the next OSX and major software vendors (PGP, Symantec, etc.) take months to release compatible software.

This isn't Apple bashing, just the state of things and it sucks. I actually like most of their hardware and OS implementation but some parts make want to pull my hair out...which is awkward since I have none.

Re:Support costs (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45793421)

"That's how it's meant to work" and "We will probably fix that in the next release (date unknown)" are both considered perfectly acceptable answers by Apple Enterprise Support.

Or my favorite, "thanks a ton for letting us know about this bug! We'll put it in our bug tracker. There's no workaround."

Re:Support costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793135)

You're a fucking moron, Apple has industry leading support available, even on the enterprise level.

The quality of support is exceptional. The quantity of support pales in comparison to the Windows world. Hence, scarcity, which translates into higher cost.

Just knowing how to deploy an iOS app in a large enterprise can get your pretty far these days.

Re:Support costs (1)

cduffy (652) | about 9 months ago | (#45793215)

Yeeeah. And you end up with great decisions to make, like moving to Lion and getting sane Xsan licensing, but losing your ability to run as a NT domain controller.

Re:Support costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793111)

What self respecting geek would advocate a call to TekSystems. Christ.

Re:Support costs (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 9 months ago | (#45793187)

NT admins? What is this, 1999?

Re:Support costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793369)

I just finished deploying MS TCP/IP within my workgroup and what's this new NT technology mumbo-jumbo you speak of.

Re:Support costs (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 9 months ago | (#45793349)

In my experience, that isn't the case. If I were recommending a machine to someone who makes their living by what they do on it, I'd point them to Apple and have them get the AppleCare warranty. Apple's CS is just outstanding on the consumer level.

The business side, not so much. Apple isn't interested in the enterprise right now, so for businesses, I'd point them to HP or Dell, and tell them to buy a "gold" level of support.

Nuff said (0)

koan (80826) | about 9 months ago | (#45793023)

"But on the list of cons is the fact that you pretty much have to purchase the system configured the way you plan to use it for its lifetime. This is because of the proprietary nature of the primary components which even include the GPUs and possibly the CPU (which looks like it is soldered in or “decapped” like the previous gen)"

Crapple.

Re:Nuff said (2)

kommakazi (610098) | about 9 months ago | (#45793053)

Yes because a business is going to purchase a Mac Pro tailored for say video editing, then 1 year later switch to high end scientific data processing? not likely.

Re:Nuff said (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 9 months ago | (#45793083)

Being able to upgrade the CPU or the video cards would be quite handy, wouldn't it?

Re:Nuff said (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#45793203)

Corps never do these to workstations.

They replace them instead because depreciation wise it is not worth it to put another $7,000 card in a machine now worth just $2,500 3 years later right?

PCs are different as the workers who use them are treated like crap and cost centers. These are for producers who add value to the bottom line etc.

Re:Nuff said (1)

torkus (1133985) | about 9 months ago | (#45793221)

Maybe not in a large business but in smaller ones? Sure to some degree.

But beyond that...you need a cutting edge workstation like this? Ok. In 12-18 months it's no longer cutting edge and your upgrade path is ... replacement. If your business is that profitable and hardware dependent you don't care...then you'd probably do much better getting some datacenter space and loading up a server or blade farm.

Having no upgrade path is less of a concern when you're talking about a 500-1000$ computer.

Still a nifty but this is definitely aimed at a small niche market.

Re:Nuff said (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793067)

True. If you're one of the folks who get into upgrading or modifying their computer than don't buy anything from Apple. Given that such folks are a huge percent of Slashdot but a staggeringly small portion of the marketplace, Apple's not losing sleep. I'm sure most vendors seek to get cheapest standard configs while gouging the snot out of those who like to click extras.

Y'know, sometimes it's nice to not have to muck with drivers...

Storage, RAM, video cards all replaceable (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#45793179)

We already know you can replace the three major components people generally replace in systems - so it's not like you have to max out any of those three initially. Except for the fact Apple is generally charging you less than you'd have to pay on your own for that part right now...

Re:Storage, RAM, video cards all replaceable (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 9 months ago | (#45793347)

The only issue I take is that you cant get that Mac "right now", so its a bit misleading to say thats how much the Mac can be built for right now. They ship in 2 months...

Re:Nuff said (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#45793185)

The people who buy these ... cough the corps who buy these never upgrade them.

They just replace them when a fan dies etc. They do not give a shit about upgrading. They view it as rapid depreciation and feel their job generates more revenue than the cost of a slower machine even with an upgraded part.

... however from what I have seen (as a cost center) is the exact opposite in corps today. You are a cost and technology never adds value. Only substracts. That Pentium IV with XP that gets infected and hurts productivity works just fine even if you lose an hour every other day booting the slow clunker.

But maybe good employers exist or I needed to major in something else?!

Re:Nuff said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793189)

The video cards are removable. As long as some company designs a replacement card, they can be replaced.

WRONG QUESTION !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793027)

With a Windows (TIF: anything but Apple) machine YOU CAN BUILD WHATEVER YOU WANT not just what Apple try to sell you !! The question is

What machine do you wany for the money you want to spend ??

Re:WRONG QUESTION !! (1)

kommakazi (610098) | about 9 months ago | (#45793059)

You're missing the point - If Apple is building what you want, why pay more to build it yourself?

Re:WRONG QUESTION !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793233)

Uh, first of all, don't believe everything that you read (especially if it supports Apple!). The prices of the components listed in the article are full retail, and the study endeavored to match the exact components. Instead, they should have shopped discount vendors, and, furthermore, priced *comparable* components with similar performance (not the exact same components), No doubt some of such comparable components could be had for up to 1/2 the price of the those found in the Apple machine.

Secondly, by building it yourself (which is about as difficult as connecting a stereo system), you might learn a little about what is actually going on inside your computer, and, thus, be able to solve simple problems (and replace components yourself), instead of being a technically illiterate and helpless mactard who whines at the "genius" bar.

Missed the point completely... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793061)

Whether you can build a Mac Pro equivalent and save even 50% is irrelevant. The costs of the folks that offer the talent necessary to "git 'er done" in a lot of the film and graphics industries (to use popular examples) times the efficacy of the software they harness for their best productivity is all that matters. The fact that the majority of pro-level (compositing/whatever) apps are Mac-aware and optimized - and now more so or soon to be for the new Mac Pro, pretty much close the book. Have built large Linux clusters to crush a number of large computational tasks, and have always argued the "yahbbut... I could build that cheaper" case, but I think this one hits the mark *for its target market*. Buy it and get the job done. ...but damn, those monitors... ;-)

Brand (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 9 months ago | (#45793063)

Of course you pay for the brand, what do you think Apple is, a charity?

And these comparisons are always stupid. You can get incredibly cheap hardware for windows/linux, or you can get really expensive hardware.

A compatible windows machine can be the same price, or even a lot more, or you can always build one for 1/4 the price or less.

Re:Brand (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 9 months ago | (#45793245)

Of course you pay for the brand, what do you think Apple is, a charity?

Are you saying other businesses are charities, or are you misunderstanding what people mean when they talk about "paying for the brand" (i.e. paying more for a machine with the "Apple" logo than you would for an equivalent machine from someone else)?

And these comparisons are always stupid. You can get incredibly cheap hardware for windows/linux, or you can get really expensive hardware.

They have a point. It's often claimed that you're paying extra just for that little Apple logo on the computer, but whenever anyone attempts to justify this, they point to a barebones machine missing half the features and note it's half the price. Well, yes, comparing Apples and oranges... when you actually compare equivalent machines, you get roughly equivalent prices. You're not paying extra for the Apple sticker, you're paying for that particular collection of components, the same as you would if you bought them from someone else. Sure, you could buy something cheaper, but that's not the same thing. You could buy a pen and paper for much cheaper, but also not the same, and equally utterly beside the point.

Re:Brand (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 9 months ago | (#45793395)

"Are you saying other businesses are charities"

No, other brands are worth less, and a computer you put together yourself does not have a brand, so its brand cost is nothing. For an Apple you pay for that collection of parts, plus tech support for senior citizens, plus the millions in ad money they must make back, plus one of the most expansive brands on the market. This is basic economics, branding, and marketing.

Re:Brand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793415)

But does the quality piece of equipment last any longer then a crap piece of equipment that does the same job. Made by the same type of laborer, in the same plant, by the same bosses? And you are willing to pay the "premium" in pocket, out of your pocket? Whose service is done by the same follow the line reasoning as a reader from a foreign call shop? How pitiful.

...for interesting definitions of "flexible" (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 9 months ago | (#45793075)

The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created

Apparently the author hasn't had to service a Mac recently. It might be flexible in some directions, but maintenance friendliness is not one of them.

Now if it was saner like the older Powermacs, then things might be different.

Re:...for interesting definitions of "flexible" (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 9 months ago | (#45793365)

You push the tab, pull open the case and replace the broken component.

Generally components like USB and ethernet ports tend not to break, and if the chipset goes kaput you'll have more than just a broken port or two

The only problem is that the video boards aren't using any sort of real standard. Granted, not many people were making Mac compatible video cards to begin with...

More interested if he did $5k. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 9 months ago | (#45793097)

Spec out a $5k mac. How much does the PC equivalent cost?

Also, I think "as small as we can" is bogus. If this is supposed to be a business product who gives a fig about smallness. Make it functional and normal looking.

Re:More interested if he did $5k. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 9 months ago | (#45793145)

Also, I think "as small as we can" is bogus. If this is supposed to be a business product who gives a fig about smallness. Make it functional and normal looking.

Desk space is often limited in professional environments. There are advantages to having a system that fits into a small cylinder, rather than a giant full tower.

Re:More interested if he did $5k. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 9 months ago | (#45793177)

Then put it on the floor. Is desk space really an issue for anyone? Seriously?

Re:More interested if he did $5k. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 9 months ago | (#45793411)

When your desk has a giant mixing board on it, or 3 4k displays...

Further more, while you can't rack mount these things yet, the space savings are even better because you can fit two or three of these things in the space of one of the old Mac Pro.

why limit to Matx? it's a high end system not an m (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#45793115)

why limit to Matx? it's a high end system not an mini system.

and there low end system has a better CPU.

About as expensive (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#45793129)

It is stated that the $10,000 mac pro has Windows equivalent ATI cards (dual) costs over $7,000!

Also the Mac Pro has an SSD PCI Express card that is insanely big (1 TB) that can delivery gigs per second! That is pricy on the Windows equivalent cards too.

Bare in mind Windows 7 is showing its age. I know its cool here to be conservative and love XP/7 since Vista came out on slashdot, but TRIM is not supported for SSD PCI cards or in raid :-(

I do not think Linux is either. Of course those who are smart like to say it doesn't matter as they run Cron jobs and other hacks to get around this which is nice on a server but a little unpractical for 99% of users.

The real question at the end of the say is not that what it would cost a PC equivalent, but why would you need it?

Yes, some geek here will say (insert fringe case scenario for their mathmatica or engineering assigning or crappy SQL database) but that is becoming more and more fringe. 10 years ago when computers took 30 damn seconds to launch OpenOffice, 8 tabs in Firefox took all your damn ram, autocad would not run very well at all on your gaming card (which was just a 2d card with 3d features and not a real GPU) then workstations were more popular. 20 years ago pcs were expensive and just for light typing and simple spreadsheets where every accountant at wall street just had to have a damn $20,000 sun workstation at his desk, or photo artists needed $4,000 macs for photoshop effects etc.

If I was given a free $9,995 Mac Pro I would think it is cool for a little and maybe get a few more fps in SWTOR but nothing else. ... ok Vmware would be fucking sweet! but with a single ssd on my 3 1/2 your old PC with upgraded 16 gigs of ram they run just fine. Why bother to upgrade?

I do not think these are going to sell well at this price point just like PC workstations do not sell well. They sell in niche markets and that is it.

Fully Loaded? (1)

docmur (813683) | about 9 months ago | (#45793137)

About 4 - 5 thousand, and if you use Linux you can squeeze even more performance out of the hardware. That really means that the Mac Pro at its fully loaded state is marked up about 100% from what is fair, which knowing Apple makes sense.

Re:Fully Loaded? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45793299)

Have you ever priced out professional level Linux video editing and 3D composting software? (Not Blender, as interesting as it is). The kind that major movie production houses use? You can't because you won't find a price on any web site. You call up a sales rep and discuss your potential build. It's one of those things that if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

Yes, that software is out there. But it is for the big boys and girls who don't give a fig about the costs of a particular workstation since their overhead is mostly professional people and professional video and audio gear whose prices often start in the five figure range. The Apple tax is just chump change.

$11K? Another sites says $14K (1, Insightful)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | about 9 months ago | (#45793147)

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/24/apples-new-mac-pro-a-better-value-than-the-sum-of-its-parts [appleinsider.com]

But this has happened before.

Initially Apple gear can boast this kind of disparity; then, in fairly short order, PC hardware which exceeds Apple specs arrives and sells at a cheaper price point due to economies of scale.

Apple then holds onto the original specs for years (the last Mac Pro being a perfect example), until they are forced to retool. I'll even go out on a limb and predict a five year interim before we see another significant revision.

Re:$11K? Another sites says $14K (4, Insightful)

WMD_88 (843388) | about 9 months ago | (#45793307)

Apple then holds onto the original specs for years (the last Mac Pro being a perfect example), until they are forced to retool. I'll even go out on a limb and predict a five year interim before we see another significant revision.

The Mac Pro was updated every year from 2006-2010; it was only the 2010 version that was stuck in place, probably in part due to the development of this new machine.

SGI Flashback (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45793159)

These are like portable SGI machines. What's the point? Nobody is going to walk around with a $10K machine. They'd be appealing if they had functional cases, though. This is the kind of machine that needs to be easily upgradeable and customizeable.

Re:SGI Flashback (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45793391)

Hate to break it to you, but the folks that would want to 'walk around' with their Mac Pros would sneeze at the cost. Those are the people who are dragging around $100,000 Red / Sony / Panasonic / whatever video rigs and assorted (similarly expensive) gizmos. It might even work out better with the trash can's dimensions - easier to stick in a Pelican case. The nice thing about the cheese grater is that the case is so heavy and rugged you don't need much else in the way of protection. But they're damned heavy...

Ivy Bridge? (1)

ebonum (830686) | about 9 months ago | (#45793193)

Does anyone else think it is strange that Broadwell is on the way, and they have an Ivy Bridge processor in this thing (Xeon E5-2697 V2)?

I know. This is what Intel sells, but still. It just feels "old".

Re:Ivy Bridge? (2)

WMD_88 (843388) | about 9 months ago | (#45793291)

Xeon chips are always one generation behind. Ivy Bridge for Xeon is brand-new; 'Broadwell Core' and 'Haswell Xeon' are scheduled for release around the same time (or perhaps a little later for Xeon, if memory serves).

Non-Slashdotted Apple Insider also answered this (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#45793225)

AppleInsider had a similar article [appleinsider.com] a few days ago.

Their conclusion was $14k, somewhat higher than the Slashdotted article... it would be interesting to see when it comes back up how the component choices differ from the real thing and AppleInsider's.

You're paying for the whole package (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 9 months ago | (#45793235)

If you were willing to budge on the form factor, shop for bargains, and substitute various components (such as a Quadro card instead of the FirePro, as suggested in the article), then you probably could build a comparable DIY system cheaper. But people who buy the Mac Pro really don't care about that. Businesses, in case you haven't noticed, tend not to go with DIY systems for the most part. They prefer having them purpose-built by OEMs. This system is aimed squarely at businesses in the creative sector: graphics design, modeling, rendering, and so forth. (Presumably a lot of them will be dual-booting with Windows 7.)

You'd be hard-pressed to build a system that has this much power at the same low noise levels (remember, you've got two graphics cards with about a 200W TDP each, plus a powerful Xeon CPU). You might be able to pull it off with the right case (most likely a Silverstone FT02 or FT04) and some careful use of fan controllers, but this would be a lot bigger than the Mac Pro, and you'd likely need to keep it under your desk instead of on top. No DIY system is going to match the Mac Pro's combination of high power, very low noise, tiny footprint, and excellent fit-and-finish. It just isn't possible within the limitations of the standard form factors of DIY parts.

Gather 'round children ... (5, Insightful)

wannabe (90895) | about 9 months ago | (#45793249)

Let's let grandpa tell you kids a story since the Apple bashing has reached a bit of a frenzy lately with the introduction of a professional-grade computer.

First things first. This is not a computer that little Billy is buying so he can run the latest warez torrent of today's game du jour. This is also not a computer that dad is buying for the family to sit in the living room and run quickbooks on. No, your average neck beard is probably not looking to max one of these out so he can whip up the the latest build of the development branch of his custom linux kernel.

This computer is a business computer. It is designed and offered at a price range that will appeal to a customer who uses the computer to make money. No, not some bit coin mining operation, but real tangible money. These are designed for professionals who bill out to real paying customers for between $200 and $800 per hour. Yes, you heard that right. In the grown up world, highly productive and effective professionals bill their clients real money. When people grow up and begin to afford products like this, they are not wearing skinny jeans and sitting in Starbucks trying to look cool on a financed Macbook.

So, this is a $10,000 computer. So what? For a business purchase, let's evaluate this whole thing.

This is a computer that based on its speed and performance may allow that professional mentioned above to be 1.5 - 3 times more productive. That means more money. At $200 per hour, that's only 50 hours to recoup the cost. That's one billable week. It's a drop in the bucket. One client engagement. But wait, there's more

You see, in the business world, there's also this neat thing called depreciation of assets. It's an accounting thing. I know, I know, they aren't elite computer dudes, but the accountants do stuff with numbers and things like that. Anyway, in a basic system, the business that buys the computer gets to take the money spent off their taxes based on certain formulas. One way they do this is taking the acquisition price minus the residual value at the end of the effective lifespan (5 years) and then take the total left and divide it across the total period. Say the company buys a $10,000 computer and estimates it will be worth $1000 in 5 years time, it then takes the remaining $9000 and divides it by 5 years, which gives $1800 per year. The company can then take $1800 each year as depreciation expense on the asset. (Disclaimer for those with some accounting background, this is straight-line depreciation and there are other allowable forms that handle things different)

This means that not only does the company get to reap the rewards of more productivity but they also get to reduce their tax liability on the money they earn from it. I know, evil capitalists are keeping the man down by denying tax money. However, this is how the world works.

That is why a company will happily spend $10,000 on a high end Apple computer that some of you can't wrap your head around.

But, can't it be done cheaper by building it themselves? Probably yes. Although TFA was a non starter in that regard. Here's a hint for you just beginning your career. Business does not care that you can twist a screwdriver and put something together off newegg. Apple, for the money, provides someone that will happily offer mature support and a one-stop shop to handle repairs and other needs. Yes, the genius bar is not perfect nor is it what is usually considered enterprise level support (believe me, I do know the difference). But, it's a good option.

Move past the point that things are upgradeable or hackable or DIY or whatever. These things are productivity appliances. They are like the big screen televisions in the conference rooms or the phone systems. If something breaks, it gets fixed or swapped out by the vendor. It's cost effective and gives management someone to yell at when things go south.

So, y'all can continue to bash the product. You can happily laugh with derision at Apple while the stock price climbs and they win awards for design and their product. And you can continue to scratch your head wondering why anyone would buy this while you try to figure out why you are an unemployed IT guy who thought he knew what worked better. While you do that, real professionals will be making real money with real hardware.

Now, get off my lawn!

Re:Gather 'round children ... (0)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#45793413)

I respect your opinion and a number of observations you have made and they are true.

However, the real target market is for the Mac Pro to be a magnet for the rich --- a fashion item that screams your status in the pecking order --- and Apple to take that to the bank.

It is a luxury item, plain and simple. Most people do not buy computers that rival the price of a car.

[But that doesn't mean the Mac Pro isn't really, really cool ...]

The Mac tax is not just cost, it's expandability (0)

Calibax (151875) | about 9 months ago | (#45793253)

I recently specced a system quite similar to the Mac Pro. I used a SuperMicro motherboard, a similar Xeon 6-core CPU, 128 GB of ECC RAM, two Samsung 512 GB Pro SSDs (primary and a local backup), and an NVIDIA Quadro GPU. All the other components (case, power supply, CPU cooler, fans) are top quality. My supplier ordered the parts and charged $100 to assemble and test it. The user is running Linux and he's happy with the system - happy enough that he's demoed it around his department and says it has generated much interest. In any case, a new Mac Pro wasn't an option for him as he's using CUDA rather than OpenCL.

The total cost was $4,150. The system has twice as much RAM as the Mac Pro supports, an upgradeable GPU, space for many more drives in the box, and a savings of about $1,500 over an equivalent Mac Pro with 64GB RAM. OK, the box doesn't look as nice, but since it's under the user's desk that's not so terrible.

The cost saving is not the biggest improvement over the Mac Pro. The big items are having an upgradeable GPU and expandability inside the box - Thunderbolt just doesn't have the product base yet. I'm beginning to doubt it ever will with higher speed USB in the pipeline.

Very Doubtful (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#45793325)

There is no way that system is the same, or even close to the same as a Mac Pro. Either the storage is slower (very likely), the GPU is slower (very likely), or some other aspects are also not really the same (you say "similar" Xeon CPU).

The Mac Pro *does* have an upgradable GPU. It's proprietary but that doesn't mean Apple will not be offering an upgrade later, or that third parties may do so (they have with Apple's custom storage chip interface in the past).

It's great you can build a powerful and flexible system, but it does no-one any good to claim it is really comparable. And would it really be nearly as good as even the cheapest Mac Pro configuration?

Power Cost (1)

JoshRoss (88988) | about 9 months ago | (#45793389)

Apple spent much effort in making the Mac Pro power efficient, drawing at most 450W. And, I would guess far less on average. If you're paying about 11 cents, per kWh and using it 8 hours a day, at most it's going to cost you about $144. With all the fans and other things in a typical PC, I have to imagine that it would be possible to double or triple the annual power consumption costs of the Mac Pro.

Betteridge (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | about 9 months ago | (#45793427)

Betteridge's law says the answer to this question is, 'no'.

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