Big Promises

The Verge did a great piece where they gave a bunch of professional creators access to their $17k 16 core 3.2ghz Xeon, Dual Radeon Vega GPU, 95GB ram, with Afterburner card Mac Pro. The goal of the video is to see if the Mac Pro would benefit Vox Media Groups gigantic creative staff on their projects which include everything from print design, to Netflix show products. The results, were quite surprising.

Many of the creative professionals found the Mac Pro to be a nice computer, with many already working from Mac computers (the iMac seemed the most popular). But most noticed the speed of the Pro was not much different when compared to their personal rigs (most notably the 2019 iMac). When it came to Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Logic, speed improvements were minimal if any at all. The in-house Motion Designer which came from a 2015 iMac probably found the biggest improvements.

Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel then goes on to address one serious implication in Apple’s latest release. Adobe support is extremely limited, with barely any focus on GPU support. This means, throughout all the Creative Cloud Suite products, Adobe has very limited use of those two Radeon Vega GPU’s. Me personally, have had nothing but issues with Adobe’s latest release on my Windows PC’s, and it’s gotten to a point where I’m looking for alternatives any chance I get. This of course isn’t a problem with Apple’s hardware, but it’s timing and integration of the product line in the current market. If the Mac Pro, in the state it’s in know, would’ve been released 5 years ago, I’m sure we would’ve seen much better optimization (one would hope at least, but you never know with Adobe). What this means, Final Cut, Logic, the Affinity Suite, and other Mac optimized products, will work far, far, better with this new hardware. But because so much of industry has left Mac over the years for ignoring pro-support, their integrations have already been made in the bloated Adobe Suite.

Finally, the video goes on to discuss the Pro Display XDR. Users noticed terrible fall-off on the edges in respect to viewing angles, which can certainly damper any experience if you need to remain perfect straight in line with the viewing monitor. This video by the great HDTVTest channel, discuss just how far the XDR display is from being named “reference”

Overall, it seems the Mac Pro has been poorly timed. Unfortunately, because Apple’s reluctance to focus on Pro’s in the recent years, any pro-machine from them would’ve had a rough start. But this is especially pained because of its price-point. For now, it seems if you want a great Apple computer to do all your creative work on, the 2019 iMac is the clear choice, even running many of the Adobe products FASTER than what the Mac Pro can do. In the next 5 years, we will see what becomes of Apple’s pro hardware division. But for now, it seems it’s not worth the asking price unless getting into specifically niche CPU intensive workflows, or anyone who works in Logic and Final Cut (which isn’t a bad thing since Final Cut is pretty damn good these days).