Tech Blog

The new Mac Pro, overpriced or actually fair?

The Mac Pro

Yesterday Apple announced a new Mac Pro, for the starting price of 6k. With the maxed out configuration going up to 13k and let's not forget a screen that will ding you an additional 5k with, wait for it, andother 1k for the stand. So if you got the best of the best it would cost you 19k before taxes, with that monior and stand. However, for the purposes of cost comparison I want to start out with the base model, how much are the components raw, as best comparable that I can find, what pc can I get off the shelf for the same perforamnce and what would you get if you gave me 6k and some freedom to build what I wanted to from a custom pc building vendor.

How much are the components worth, actually, $6k?

CPU

Mac Pro: Intel Xeon W 8 Cores, 3.5GHz
Comparison: Intel Xeon W 8 Cores, 3.5GHz
Price: $749
Notes: This hasn't been released yet but details have been. I have to trust my guy and go with what the people over at Fusechip are saying. Intel Chip Prices


RAM

Mac Pro: 32gb (4x8) 2933 Ram
Comparison: Corsair Vengance (4 x 8 GB) DDR4-2933 Memory
Price: $225
Notes: Very comprable, also great ram.


Memory

Mac Pro: 256gb SSD
Comparison: Samsung 850 Pro Series 256gb SSD
Price: $205
Notes: The new Mac Pro will handle from 32GB to 1.5TB of DDR4 ECC memory and will be “completely user-configurable.”


Power Supply

Mac Pro: 1400 w PSU
Comparison: Corsair AX1500i 80+ Titanium
Price: $499
Notes: Just got the best on the market for that wattage. They probable don't even throw this in the base model, and this is actually 100 more watts then they were including


CPU Cooler

Mac Pro: slim form factor CPU cooler
Comparison: Noctua NH-D15
Price: $89
Notes: Noctua is one of, if not, the best CPU fan based coolers on the market so they would probably use something equivilent


GPU

Mac Pro: AMD Radeon Pro 580x
Comparison: MSI - Radeon VII 16 GB
Price: $785 - better card $400 assumed for Pro 580x
Notes: The Mac Pro will let you configure two of Apple’s new MPX Modules with up to four GPUs. You will have the choice of the AMD Radeon Pro 580X (8GB of GDDR5 memory), the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II (32GB of HBM2 memory) or the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. I was uncertain of what the Pro 580x would cost so I figured I would go with their better one, realistically


Motherboard

Mac Pro: Something custom?
Comparison: ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme
Price: $1800 on amazon currently on sale for $1677
Notes: While they don't disclose what motherboard they are using we do know how much RAM and what Processor they are using so by doing that we can extrapolate what board they would need. The ASUS Rog Dominus Extreme is currently the only motherboard on the market that is comparable, it can host the new Xeon chipset, has 4 PCIE slots, but cna only have 194gb ram, nowhere close to the 1.5tb of ram Apple claimed to be able to have, this is one of the only areas I am lacking in terms of finding the exact price of the parts.


Case

Mac Pro: Custom Machined Cheese grater Case
Comparison: XFORMA MKII
Price: $1299
Notes: This is one of the most expensive computer cases I can find out there, and I am just rolling with it. It also has a lot of fans, something which Apple seemed to have liked?


Parts only build Total: $5276

Notes: This is with some wild assumptions, specifically on the motherboard, which I find to be wildly overpriced. Also on the case which I chose the most expensive case on the market, but it doesn’t wheels so I don’t know.


What about an off the shelf solution?

Enter Digital Storm and their custom PC building. I was able to build a PC, that would be very comparable to the Mac Pro. Let’s take a look at the components I was able to throw in,

CPU: Intel Xeon W-2145 (8-Core) 3.70 GHz (Up to 4.50 GHz)
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz (LP ECC Registered)
Memory: 1x SSD (500GB Digital Storm Performance Series)
Power Supply: 850W Corsair RM850x (Fully Modular)
Cooler: Digital Storm Vortex Liquid CPU Cooler
GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Motherboard: ASUS WS C422 PRO/SE (Dual 1GB LAN) (ThunderboltEX 3 Compatible) (Up to 3x PCI-E Devices)
Case: Their custom Mid Tower case

So just about everything is either the same or comparable. The GPU is different, same price point but better performance and there is a bit more memory, it only cost $17 more than having 250gb. The only real difference is the motherboard which can only hold up to 512gb of ram not the 1536 gb of ram that Apple is claiming to be able to hold and being able to only slot 3 GPUs instead of 4, I could upgrade to have that capability for $200 more dollars though but I wanted to keep the thunderbolt 3 features. Also the GPU I put in is faster just saying.

Digital Storm Comparable PC Price: $4011


Price Thoughts:

The only real difference I can see for the Mac to hold such a high price point is within that motherboard, other than that I actually found the parts to be a lot and I mean a lot cheaper than I had expected. The Digital Storm PC that I customized on their site was $2000 less! That means there is some sort of 33% markup on an already high end PC. Once again this could either stem from the cost of the motherboard or maybe their cheese grater machined PC cases. Either way it is a bit ridiculous. We will see a full cost comparison when more parts come out but until then we cannot know for sure.


What would I build for 6k?

Again using Digital Storm as my vendor

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K (5.0 GHz Turbo) (16-Thread) (8-Core) 3.6 GHz
RAM: 64GB DDR4 3200MHz Corsair Dominator Platinum DHX
Memory: 1 SSD M.2 (500GB Samsung 970 EVO) & 1 2TB Segate HDD
Power Supply: 850W Corsair RM850x (Fully Modular)
Cooler: Custom Liquid Cooling
GPU: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z390-H Gaming (Intel Z390 Chipset) (Up to 3x PCI-E Devices)
Case: Their custom Mid Tower case

All in all I get a better processor, double the ram, a huge amount of faster storage than they were providing, a power supply that is great, custom liquid cooling so I can get even more power out of the CPU, the best GPU on the market, and a great ASUS motherboard to hold everything.

Price: $6047

Verdict: Apple is selling an overpriced cheese grater and for 6k you can get a lot more power

dan flan