Is the Mac Pro Overpriced Compared to a PC?
- March 18, 2023
You Could Build a PC With Similar Hardware for Less
No surprise: By our calculations, you could get the job accomplished for a great deal much less, though it’ll nevertheless fee you. We weren’t able to make a carbon replica of the Mac Pro, but we did get a few benefits that the bottom version Mac Pro doesn’t have. We also had to give up some functions in the procedure.
For this newsletter, we’re focusing on the bottom model because it’s the only one with a known charge at this writing. We don’t have any idea what the upper fashions will price, so there’s nothing to evaluate it to, fee-clever. If you want to see a pleasing example of a killer Windows device that goes head-to-head with the best Mac Pro, test out this video by Linus Tech Tips.
Before we get into our base model, one remaining notice, we did now not build this gadget ourselves. So this isn’t always a construct manual. It’s extra of a thought experiment. Enough preamble—allow’s dive in.
The CPU and Motherboard
Apple doesn’t specify which Xeon W CPU it’s the usage of in the base model of the Mac Pro, but we do understand it has 8 cores, 16 threads, and a rapid increase of 4GHz. Looking at Intel’s ark listings, that is similar to the Xeon W-3223—even though the cache is a touch large at the Mac Pro CPU. The W-3223 has an MSRP of $749 however is not available on most important sites like Newegg or Amazon.
So we swapped it out with something near its specs, the Xeon W-2145. That’s a Skylake part from past due 2017. It has eight cores, 16 threads, but a better improve at four.5GHz. Nevertheless, it has the benefit of being available, although simply slightly, and as an OEM component. That way it comes without a cooler and the warranty is shorter. That’s no longer excellent for an actual purchase, however for a notion experiment, it’ll do.
Here is where we hit problem variety two: Apple’s Mac Pro motherboard is a pretty sweet custom construct with enough ability for eight PCIe lanes, two Thunderbolt three ports inside the again, and 10G LAN ports.
To try to get close to all this, we’re going with the Asus WS C422 Sage/10G. This is an unmarried-CPU motherboard with seven huge PCIe slots, twin 10G LAN ports, and an M.2 slot.
Based on the satisfactory charges we will locate we’ve spent $1,290 at B&H Photo on the CPU. We can discover lower charges on Amazon, but they’re through 0.33-birthday party dealers without Amazon fulfilment. That approach if there are any troubles you’re relying on the seller’s customer support policy, now not Amazon’s. It’s higher to go with a recognised amount when buying online, in our opinion.
Finally, we need a CPU cooler given that we didn’t get one with our Xeon. So we’ll select-up the Noctua NH-D15 for
Already, we will see the fees are adding up. We could’ve long past cheaper with the aid of swapping out for a distinct Intel Xeon, but the factor is to attempt to match the Mac Pro as first-rate we can. For that motive we can go with an Intel Core I element because those are purchaser- and enthusiast-grade CPUs that don’t guide the boatload of PCIe lanes which you get with Xeon chips—a key requirement for a laptop.
This part is straightforward. The base model is rocking an AMD Radeon Pro 580X with 36 compute devices, 2304 circulate processors, 8GB of GDDR5 memory. We’ll throw caution to the wind right here and select up the non-seasoned Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 for $216. This card has 8GB of GDDR5, 2304 flow processors, and 36 compute gadgets. The Mac Pro has six inputs ( HDMI, and four DisplayPort), whilst the Nitro+ has HDMI, DisplayPort, and one DVI. You’re brief via one port (two if you hate DVI), but it’s close enough.
You recognise what? Let’s double up on the GPUs. Apple’s Mac Pro has this magic Afterburner Pro Res card, so permits use that as an excuse to double up and use a number of those PCIe slots.
Total so far: $2,561.71
Thunderbolt 3 Ugh. Thunderbolt three. Here’s the deal. Apple is in love with Thunderbolt and broadly supports it. Outside the world of the Mac, but, Thunderbolt three on computers isn’t always as large. The C422 Sage only has one Thunderbolt 3 header on the motherboard. So we’re constrained to a single Asus ThunderboltEX 3 add-in card, and of a path, it only has one Thunderbolt port. You can use a couple of devices of that unmarried port, mind you, but the dream of even just Thunderbolt three ports is not taking place.
We may want to strive a distinctive card, but Thunderbolt is, to borrow a word, a bag of hurt, so we received’t threat it. That card expenses $79.04 and comes with a Thunderbolt port, a USB 3.1 port, and one DisplayPort.
RAM, Power deliver, Storage, Cooling and Case
Now we’re getting toward home. Crucial has 8GB 2666MHz ECC RAM that works with the C422. The 8GB modules are priced at $62, bringing our overall RAM price to $248.
For storage, the Mac Pro has a 250GB SSD. We’ve got a bit wiggle room with pricing, and we need a without a doubt desirable SSD for this device. Let’s go together with the NVMe 512GB Samsung 970 Pro, which became on sale for $one hundred fifty at this writing at Newegg.
Apple puts a 1.4 Kilowatt PSU inside the Mac Pro so we’ll go with the absolutely modular EVGA Supernova 1600 T2 eighty+ Titanium energy supply for $400. That’s a far larger PSU than the Mac Pro has. However, we have a few respiration rooms on expenses, so let’s positioned it in.
Finally, we want a case. The C422 is a CEB form factor, which has the identical mount points as an ATX motherboard. So so long as the case suits E-ATX and ATX, we ought to be first-class. We won’t be able to get something that looks like the Mac Pro “cheese grater” of direction, however, if there’s one issue the PC landscape doesn’t go through for its choice in instances.
Our choice was the Corsair Crystal Series 680X RGB High Airflow case for $260. It’s a nice-looking, massive case with 4 fanatics. The RGB enthusiasts may not be to all of us’s flavour, but you may flip off the LEDs if you want. The Mac Pro doesn’t have a unique CPU cooler counting on the 3 enthusiasts and airflow cooling. So for this idea experiment, we’ll anticipate the high airflow case, and its fans might be sufficient (they probably won’t be).
So after the whole thing we’re spending close to $three,700, far much less than the $6,000 price of the bottom version of the Mac Pro. So is that this a clear instance of the Apple Tax? Well, yes but permit’s added some caveats. First, you’re usually going to get it less expensive when you construct it your self. We also don’t have to factor within the charges of custom design that Apple needed to with its motherboard, the proprietary connectors, and people MPX modules.
We also are missing a few functions including the extra Thunderbolt three ports, and a “pro” designation on our GPUs. But we do have a few advantages together with doubling up on GPUs, adding more storage for almost nothing, and a pretty candy case.
Back to the Apple Tax, does it count? To normal customers, it surely does. However, this isn’t a consumer PC. To the laptop marketplace, it doesn’t matter as an awful lot. If you’re a Mac keep, then Macs are what you want. That might be due to the fact the software program you’re using runs higher on Macs, or your workflow is installation to accommodate the Apple surroundings. And in case you’ve been looking ahead to the Mac Pro “trash can” to go away before updating your machines, then the new Mac Pros are a welcome sight.
Still, there’s absolute confidence that the Mac Pro is very high-priced, and only Apple could get away with this sort of pricing.