RIP Mac Pro?
Apologies if this is the wrong forum for this...couldn't find a Mac Pro forum.
I need to upgrade my system (currently an old G5) in the next few months. Many articles I've read, including from contributors here at the Cow suggest that Apple will discontinue it's high-end boxes like the MacPro. So.......I'm a little dazed & confused....like the Matrix just revealed itself to me!
I need a solid machine to do FCP/Avid editing and basic AE and Photoshop work. Is it a dumb idea to buy a MacPro at this time? MacRumors seems to be at a loss with the MacPro line. Is it drastic to be considering a move to the incredibly-foreign-to-me PC? I don't even know where to start with buying a PC.
I think there's at least one if not two generations of mac pro yet to come. I don't think thunderbolt chips are widely available enough to drop PCIE based platforms yet.
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All the speculators think Apple is dropping out of the pro market completely. So does that mean all future editing/motion graphics/compositing work will be completed on PCs?
Maybe even Apple doesn't know what they want. Why did they announce that FCP X was a fully professional app when it isn't? FCP X might well fill the needs of the prosumer level market, which could be considered pro and is a group that needs an easier work flow and one geared to mostly smaller budgets.
Why did they drop Color and DVDSP? DVD-s, they believe, is a dead distribution system. And Color? Well, if video is going to be distributed through the Internet and viewed on computer monitors and Ipads and Phones than what should an editor color correct on, an analog signal and a broadcast monitor?
My guess is Apple plans to improve color correction within FCP X. They will add the ability to communicate with other programs because they won’t own 100% of the market and will need to import and export – but they don’t care about the past and about the current workflows.
Do they want to redefine what pro means? They certainly had no problem redefining long standing industry vocabulary like project and storyline. I’ve been telling people in the education market that video production is becoming another form of literacy, a valuable skill set for all professionals, not just Hollywood and high end production pros. People will produce videos at all price points and post them on-line as a means of distribution. This will be a huge growing business with many types of producers. They will be able to do this with Imacs and thunderbolt raids. They will be able to use Ipads as part of the process both for production and distribution.
Think about FCP X’s media management system. All your clips and media available to any project/storyline? Well that might be perfect for an in-house or DIY producer who owns all his/her clips. It is not perfect for a pro who has many different clients.
But I think that dropping the high-end is a mistake. Most of the great image creators are in the high-end. The DIY producers will soon discover that, democratic or not, video production is time consuming and difficult.
You can’t zoom a mike. When their audio sucks, they’ll turn to pros for a fix and advice. Image is still about capturing light and when their images don’t pop or sets a drab mood, they’ll turn to pros to fix it.
It’s not that easy to tell a story and when theirs doesn’t communicate the intended message, they’ll turn to pros to rewrite it or reshoot it or reedit it. And next time out, they’ll turn to pros period.
The Apple brand is sold as being the best, like BMW being the “ultimate” driving machine. That might be a harder sell if it were clearly not true. And if what they are left with is style and ease of use, things could change fast.
I agree with Apple that sometimes you have to move on. Yet, if all the pros move to Adobe, and Avid and whatever else other than Apple, then so too will the educators and production schools and classes. If the schools move away from Apple for production … then that’s your future producers. Not all of them but many of them. Apple has tremendous resources and experience in this field. They’ll go where the market takes them if they can’t take the market with them. They’ve been on quite a run lately, but this too shall pass.
As for the Mac Pro: If Thunderbolt gives them an effective way of creating a modular and powerful computer system, its days might be numbered. Does Apple want to give up both the software and hardware market for high-end production professionals? I doubt it. But who knows.
OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.
Very valid points. Where a lot of folks are looking today is alternatives to Mac Pro's. I have long abhorred dealing with PC's due to questionable OS's and horrid support. Given the level of satisfaction that I hear from many Win7 users and users of configured boxes (like HP and Dell) I think it would be, at the very least, worth the time to consider them. What makes it a hard decision is the fact that no matter where Apple's hardware is going, anything purchased today will likely get you at least 2-3 years of solid service. More than enough time to see how it all shakes out. Yeah, we're trying to make the same decision at the moment. Either way you go, you'll be replacing it in a few years anyway.
At the end of the day, it is clearly apparent that if you are in a form of this business that deals with a wide variety of media (such as projects from freelancers) you really need a mix of both hardware and software. If you're a small shop that mostly just provides finished deliverables, less of a concern.
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[Marvin Holdman] "anything purchased today will likely get you at least 2-3 years of solid service"
Mac or PC and how solid? HP has already said no to Thunderbolt. Blackmagic has said no to Dell. Granted neither Thunderbolt or Blackmagic cards are pivotal but a MacPro (or whatever comes next) may be very compelling as a hardware purchase. Even two years can be a long time and if Thunderbolt takes off, Apple computers will be very compelling.
[Craig Alan] "Why did they announce that FCP X was a fully professional app when it isn't?"
Bad marketing. It's a foundation and that's how they should have marketed it. Just as OSX 10.0 was a foundation for a new OS not yet in fully usable state.
[Craig Alan] "Why did they drop Color and DVDSP? DVD-s,"
They dropped everything based on out of house codebase. They were all purchased apps and probably would all have to be re-written so they scrapped them and went in a different direction.
[Craig Alan] " but they don’t care about the past and about the current workflows. "
This makes no sense at all. It's not about "caring" it's about development and it just isn't complete yet. The author seems very much aware of that.
[Craig Alan] "Do they want to redefine what pro means?"
Apple wants to make money and that can certainly include expensive computers and facilities who will buy 50 computers at a time. I don't think that takes redefinition on Apple's part. It does take marketing though.
[Craig Alan] "But I think that dropping the high-end is a mistake."
They're not dropping the "high-end." They needed (wanted) to start over to increase sales long range. They're a big enough company that they can afford to take a hit in a market for a couple of years while they rebuild. Consider it sort of like a "Chapter 11" to reorganize, not a Chapter 7 closing shop.
[Craig Alan] "Yet, if all the pros move to Adobe, and Avid and whatever else other than Apple, then so too will the educators and production schools and classes. If the schools move away from Apple for production … then that’s your future producers."
Yes, but they may feel having something far more compelling in two years, something they felt they couldn't do with the old code base and product design, will bring them back in droves especially if the cost of conversion is low and ROI for the Pros making the move is high. Who knows if they'll succeed but I suspect that may be the plan. The article does a good job at dropping those hints IMHO.
[Craig Alan] "As for the Mac Pro: If Thunderbolt gives them an effective way of creating a modular and powerful computer system, its days might be numbered. Does Apple want to give up both the software and hardware market for high-end production professionals? I doubt it. But who knows."
And what replaces the MacPro may be far more Pro, not less. I can certainly envision what that box might be and how it ties into other boxes. Modular can be extremely high end. Apple likes making money and that usually means selling hardware. They certainly need something more compelling than what they have now. A high end workstation feeding into a powerful server and storage network and faster speeds and lower cost than the competition may be very compelling.
From what I can see the new fully loaded iMac's are powerful enough to do editing and graphics work...give it look see.
before you laugh, check out the new mac mini with thunderbolt...now imagine chaining 3 monitors to that little thing....one of them a fully calibrated hi def display and i think anyone can see where the future of the mac is going. obviously you would need a fast internal hard drive and a whole ton of very fast thunderbolt equipped external drives, but if you really really think about it......in the latest benchmark tests the new mac mini blew away even the fastest pro tower of just 2 years ago. who knows what next year will bring....my ideal would be a mc mini tower with 3 drive bays and at least on slot for a hot graphics card......i remember the first time i showed a client fcp version 2 running on an old white ibook with firewire. they could not believe that it was just as quick and more compact than their old avid running on a macpro. looks like apple may be once again stirring up the so called "professional" industry people!
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It's been a few months and Apple still hasn't made a peep. The iMac and Mac Mini options are interesting, but they aren't very expandable. Plus the iMac comes with a monitor which I don't need (already have 2 new monitors). A switch to a PC would be a major pain (all my music, mail, contacts, projects, etc are Apple-based, plus I just can't stand the PC's organization and unreliability) but it's beginning to look inevitable.
If you are a freelance graphics/editing pro, what would you turn to?
I would wait until the new Ivy Bridge Xeon chips are ready. There's no reason Apple would update or replace the MacPro until then.