Wanting to Upgrading to a Mac Pro

In my tests, 10GBe with (8) 5400 rpm spinners does serve data fast as measured speeds of Promise Pegasus R4i internal RAID MPX Module:

Writing is another matter; only 33% as fast, as measured today (tomorrow, who knows?)

You and me both; you and me both.

Yummy. Only thing I might add is how/where to back up that 24TB Pegasus goodness … a tricky thing to do quietly, and I am sure you don’t want data sets on it of any size to be backed up only to Time Machine or Backblaze.

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Good point – I have a replacement NAS planned in the works as well : a fat Drobo hooked up to a 2018 Mac mini I already have. All libraries will be neatly archived there (as they already are on my NAS). :slight_smile: This will the media and backup server.

(Also – thanks @ismh for sharing your setup!)

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Cool to see this breakdown.

When I had my old 2009 Mac Pro, one of the last things I bought for it was a used PCi SSD-on-a-card. For something like $200 I had a new, fast boot drive without using one of those precious SATA connectors. Really liked the bang for buck ratio with it.

When we talk about keeping a MacPro for say a 10 year time span, one factor that might make many of the now-storage-questions moot is if SSDs really do scale up in storage size. A MacPro at year +5, in addition to whatever larger/cheaper SSDs are then available might be really smart.

But for now, all SSD storage is difficult to do when a data set to manage is more than 8 TB.

Wise words. The Mac Pro is…eeeh… a Mac Pro. Meant for people who need such a machine for their job or hobby. And perhaps a few people who are willing to spend their money on something they really don’t need.

It’s like buying a Mack truck (pun somewhat intended) for your daily commute. Of course that vehicle will get you there. And you can sleep in it in case you need to one day. And you have plenty of room for your luggage. But if it’s money well spent remains to be seen.

So unless you need the horsepower, want to show-off, or would like to get Apple’s profits even higher, you’d be better off with another machine.

Just my 2 cents of course.

Interesting thread. I can’t say I don’t have MacLust in wanting a shiny new MacPro heating up my home office, but I’m not doing anything to warrant the expense…Although the idea of spending 75K (plus tax) for the fully decked out MacPro (with, of course, 1.5TB of RAM) and two XDR displays with stands (matte finish, of course, for the extra $1000 each!) just so I can say that I have a computer that costs more than some people’s house…

Anyway, the point of this post was actually just to question how quiet the MacPro is with the 4-drive Promise unit installed. That’s still 4 spinning drives… I have heard that the other drive cage from Promise that holds 1 or 2 drives is noisy…in fact I think that was on the MPU episode discussing @ismh’s MacPro, so I wonder how the raid unit will fare in terms of noise.

[quote=“Wolfie, post:3, topic:16813, full:true”]
Keeping this machine for a decade will be a bit like keeping a broom for a decade. Once you’ve replaced the handle and the head is it even the same broom? :laughing:[/quote]

I bought a PC in late 1990 or early 1991 that I used until 2002. Absolutely everything was replaced but the keyboard and the case. I had to replace so many parts to get Windows 2000 running on it that I vowed to never go that route again and just buy a new machine instead of all those iffy component upgrade.

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Love where this thread is going. I’m so excited that @ismh chimed in because I based my configuration of the Mac Pro (See screenshot in opening post) I want from what he has posted about his Mac Pro.

Let me clarify a few things:

  • I don’t need a Mac Pro. I simply would like one, and so far, I think I can wait until I’ve saved enough money.

  • I do absolutely everything on the computer but I’m sure everybody says that.

  • Besides my day job as a marketing manager, I do mac automation videos that I post on YouTube

  • Love running AppleScripts and Hombrew Terminal commands

  • I’ve created a custom app bash script installer for my new Mac that I can’t wait to try on video (automation)

  • Rendering the video is a real drag even when I’m only using ScreenFlow

  • I do some photoshop work for my job, personal Advertising commentary blog, and YT videos

  • There is slowly more and more software that will no longer run on my mac because of its age

You guys should know how I’ve upgraded this late 2009 iMac from my original post.

I want to upgrade/change macs because:

  1. it’s now 11years old
  2. Spinning beach ball for every little thing is frustrating
  3. Hate the Hard drives hanging off the sides
  4. The noise of the fans when doing just about anything is obnoxious
  5. Because of a physical disability, upgrading a Mac myself is not possible - to upgrade the iMac, I paid someone to do it. (2tb SSD and Max ram)
  6. Love speed - ram and processing power are key

Any other questions feel free to ask. Oh, fans are loud right now but I have the following running right now:

  1. iMessages
  2. Drafts
  3. Word
  4. Chrome
  5. Spotify
  6. Firefox - Work testing
  7. Skype
  8. Word
  9. Excel
  10. Preview
  11. Keyboard Maestro
  12. Chatmate for Whatapp

I’ve looked at many reviews and videos of the Promise arrays. From what I gathered, the R4i is silent, the J2i is really not.

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I would have thrown it out a window long ago

Another thought: I like the idea of aspirational tools. Things you get not because you can fully use them yet, but because you want to eventually.

My iPad Pro purchases were like that. I got it with the intention of using more hand drawings in talks. I’ve since done a bunch of talks with just sketches.

It’s nice to grow into the possibilities a thing grants you.


That’s what keeps Leica in business. Aspirational dentists.

Me too. I’d rather have a useful tool I could happily, fully use now and afford now.


Good to hear the Promise R4i is “silent.” I would not have expected that for an array with 4 spinning drives, but maybe the case does some noise damping? Anyway, adding that array inside the case is a killer accessory.

@bocciaman: I hear you. I too do not need a MacPro, but I also want one…if I could justify the expense I suppose I would get one. I have an iMacPro (base model purchased from the refurb store) and while I didn’t need it, and still don’t, I wanted it specifically because it’s thermals are better than the iMac and I too love a quiet machine. Go for it when you have the money saved up, and enjoy!

Sure. But unless you want to start a career as a movie editor for feature films, or plan to be the next Hans Zimmer there’s really no way you could grow into what a Mac Pro has to offer over, let’s say, an iMac Pro.

It’s like buying a 10 bedroom mansion as a single person. Just because you have the aspiration to have a big family one day. Totally possible, but not sure if it’s a smart decision.

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Strongly disagree with that. Not all workflows – even not Hollywood-level – cannot be accommodated comfortably by an iMac Pro.

  • The integrated screen is beautiful but I’ve always been bothered by that waste of money (I’d rather use an external screen I’m going to keep longer). More than that, when the screen has a problem (which happened on my regular iMac) you find yourself without your main machine during the repairs and it’s not acceptable
  • Internal, fast storage is a big pain point for many workflows: in the case of music, you don’t only have transient project files but you need fast, big storage for all your libraries. We’re talking 10 Tb minimum. The iMac Pro does not do that. (And let’s not talk about all those additional PCIe cards you need)

Even as a semi-pro musician, I’d rather get an entry level Mac Pro than a souped up iMac Pro. I can’t do anything on an iMac Pro that I would do better on a regular iMac or Mac mini. The expansibility is a BIG differentiator, it’s not only a question of power at the moment Vs. what you do with it. The Mac Pro is currently the only machine for such workflows. It’s simply not only about power.

That’s overstating the case; you can’t throw a rock over at Gearslutz or KVR without hitting semi-pro (and pro) musicians regularly making, recording and mixing music with laptops, and internal storage isn’t necessarily a pain point when you’ve got Thunderbolt 3 speeds on external, Sure, if your monitor needs repairing your machine goes away too - but that happens so incredibly rarely it certainly isn’t an issue for the vast majority of people, and that argument has been contradicted by every single person who’s bought something other than a Mac mini since 1998. And in the US laptops first outsold all desktops starting in 2003.

It’s not just been Apple making the case for external expandability vs internal; it’s the way the overwhelming majority of computer users over nearly two decades have decided. The Mac Pro is designed as a pro machine for niche cases, and is priced accordingly.


Do you have personal experience with those workflows?

you can’t throw a rock over at Gearslutz or KVR without hitting semi-pro (and pro) musicians regularly making, recording and mixing music with laptops,

Yeah, as it happens, I do know: I have done so myself on Windows (shock) laptops. I have produced and composed soundtracks that have been released for money (gasp), so I kind of know what what workflow entails and what the pain points are (and I have done so with nothing but a small portable keyboard and a sound interface).

Of course it can be done on a laptop. It can even be done on iOS to some extent at this point (if you’re patient and stick to some genres where this is easier). I am not saying a Mac Pro is necessary – I’m saying it solves a number of frictions even for not Hollywood-level professionals.

and internal storage isn’t necessarily a pain point when you’ve got Thunderbolt 3 speeds on external

I’m doing so at the moment with a Thunderbolt TWO drive on a regular 2015 iMac and I manage to get stuff done so yeah, again, I know. But I’m getting near the ceiling of what I can comfortably do.

What you’re saying in essence is, you don’t need a dual screen setup to get work done. Yeah, but that’s not the point of this whole discussion. These are tools and we are power users – so we can think of what these machines allow us to push for, the same way we can use two screens, use automation, rely on syncing instead of thumb drives, etc. What’s the point of a machine (any kind of machine) for a creative professional if not to push the envelope of what s/he can do?

It’s not just been Apple making the case for external expandability vs internal; it’s the way the overwhelming majority of computer users over nearly two decades have decided. The Mac Pro is designed as a pro machine for niche cases, and is priced accordingly.

Then I would like to know why

  • Many reviewers and Apple commentators are clamouring for a smaller, upgradable Mac Pro in the vein of the bigger one (don’t think it will happen, but a good video about this by Snazzy Labs and how the current Mac Pro is indeed overkill for some workflows, because it has useless features in some cases https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnhiySD5x1Q )
  • Why all my musician colleagues have been building Windows towers and there has been many Windows towers in studios for years following the release of trashcan Mac Pro (deadmau5 being a famous example)
  • Why, to begin with, has Apple spent considerable time and money in researching the Mac Pro?

YES, it is a niche product. Nobody is saying otherwise. Of course my dad is never going to use this, he will be fine with a base iMac (and even an iPad) for office work and email (which is the use case of the majority of users and why MacBook Airs sell in droves).

The expandability does however answer some precise friction points – as has been said very early in this thread – which has nothing to do with raw CPU power and to which the iMac Pro does not answer. (The same way the trashcan Mac Pro did not answer.)

If you want to make a point against the whole case, it’s this: the Mac Pro is very expensive for the privilege of upgradability, modularity and of using macOS. Unless you have a specific need for those features, then yes, you should consider an iMac Pro. But no, the iMac Pro’s power alone does not solve all workflows. It’s not linear – when you need x much power, you switch from an iMac Pro to a Mac Pro. Doesn’t entirely work like this.

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Hey gang, let’s keep it friendly.


Yes you did, when you stated,” The Mac Pro is currently the only machine for such workflows.”

You say that so definitively, as if it hasn’t been possible to run a dual monitor setup with iMacs for at least five years. :see_no_evil:

The Mac Pro is currently the only machine for such workflows.

« Such workflows » was meant here as wanting modularity for big internal storage…

As for the dual screen comment, please notice the words « what you are saying in essence ».

This is running circles now, points have been made, I’m going to leave this discussion. Have a nice day everyone :slightly_smiling_face: