The wireless whips that tame the octocore beast on my wooden office desk.
On a calm afternoon of working with my intern in the office, I got a call from my girlfriend; my Mac Pro was finally coming home. I had ordered one of these workstations when they were updated, and I was delighted to move up from my first real Mac workstation, my dated, damaged and dented rev. A Macbook Pro. It’s fast, it’s blazing, and it locks up at occasions. Read on for the verdict.
I posted a few hastily snapped images on flickr of the rabid unboxing (it’s a huge box), and naturally the first day was all about speed tests. Coming from a Core 1 Duo Macbook Pro, it was a frightening experience. After having set it up, I launched all the applications in the Dock and then some. I wasn’t able to produce a beachball or a small wait time (note; my Mac Pro is a BTO, with 2 GB RAM, 500 GB hard drive, dual superdrive, Airport N and Geforce 8800GT) at all.
After this minor test, I fired up some Cinema4D scenes and rendered them with various complex render settings. Combining the results from some renders and Photoshop filter and operation times, I can safely conclude this machine is about a tenfold faster than my Core 1 Duo, first-gen Macbook Pro. A render that took half an hour on my Macbook Pro is done in less than two minutes on my Mac Pro; a Photoshop radial blur operation that lasted almost an hour on my Macbook Pro was done in less than ten minutes on my Mac Pro. Overall, everything is a lot more snappy™ and it’s quite hard to reach the machine’s operational limit with something else than multi-threaded rendering engines.
Chees- er, Photoshop Grater of Flaming Doom.
I chose a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse to go with the rig, and I’m really enjoying the new slim-factor wireless Apple keyboard. I’ve bought the wired version previously, and having a very small and lightweight keyboard to carry around is pretty awesome. I hope the Mighty Mouse won’t be as bad as I’ve heard it will be, but so far, I think it’s an okay mouse, compared to my Logitech MX and Intellimouse Explorer (from 2001 or something). Besides, wireless really saves on cables, which I have plenty of.
Wrapping up, it’s a pretty hardcore machine, and quite silent to boot. The only issue I’ve had in these last few days were two total GPU lockups, where the system is in a frozen state and a hard reset is your only option. Very bothersome. I hope I won’t see it anymore, as I haven’t lost work on it so far and I’d really hate it if I did. I can recommend a Mac Pro to most professionals for sheer speed, but the price is quite hefty – I consider it an investment in my work, seeing I’m doing a lot less waiting on progress bars now – but if you’re serious about performance, don’t let that deter you. I hope to scrape together more savings for a Cinema Display from projects in the next month so I’ll be able to post some nicer setup pictures. For now, just keep an eye on my flickr.