New Mac Pro Starts At $2999 – Is It Worth It For Musicians?

new-mac-proApple today announced pricing and availability for the new Mac Pro line.

The updated Mac Pro features the latest Intel Xeon processors, with up to 12 cores, dual workstation-class GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory.

The new Mac Pro is priced starting at $2,999 (US) and will be available in December.

Check out the specs – and let us know if you think a $2,999 Mac Pro makes sense for musicians. 

The New Mac Pro

The new Mac Pro features 4-core, 6-core, 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processors, running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, that deliver double the floating point performance of the previous generation Mac Pro.

Two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs with up to 12GB of video memory provide up to seven teraflops of compute power and up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous generation Mac Pro. OpenGL and OpenCL are optimized in OS X Mavericks to leverage the full computing power of the Mac Pro CPU and dual GPUs.

The new Mac Pro features PCIe-based flash storage that delivers sequential read speeds up to 1.2GBps and is up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives. ECC DDR3 running at 1866 MHz, with a four-channel memory controller, gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth, twice that of the previous generation Mac Pro. The power and bandwidth of Mac Pro means you can seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video streams and play them in real time.

Thunderbolt 2 ports support up to six daisy-chained devices each, letting you connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals, from external storage devices, to multiple PCI expansion chassis, to audio and video breakout boxes. Thunderbolt 2 uses existing copper or optical Thunderbolt cables and is completely backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals and cables, and also supports the latest 4K displays.

A new self-configuring IP over Thunderbolt software feature in OS X Mavericks provides a fast link between Thunderbolt-enabled Macs.

Final Cut Pro X has been optimized to support dual GPUs for improved real-time playback performance, faster rendering, quicker export, and 4K video monitoring through Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI. Flash storage makes importing and exporting thousands of high-resolution images faster with Aperture.

Logic Pro X takes advantage of flash storage for incredibly fast project load times and Thunderbolt 2 for a high number of channels of ultra-low latency audio I/O without the need for add-on PCI cards.

Pricing & Availability

The new Mac Pro will be available in December through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

The Mac Pro is available with a 3.7 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of VRAM each, 12GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $2,999 (US); and with a 3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of VRAM each, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $3,999 (US).

Configure-to-order options include faster 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of memory, and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/mac-pro.

37 thoughts on “New Mac Pro Starts At $2999 – Is It Worth It For Musicians?

  1. In a word, no. The majority of music producers don’t need that kind of juice unless they are named Zimmer. I suspect this is really aimed at power users in other realms, such as intensive graphics. We’ll see how the software for this demigod plays out over the next few months. If you are a heavy-load pro, okay, but my old iMac still runs Logic well. One of the newer iMacs will reward home-studio types just fine. I’m also not quite ready to trust SSDs completely. I want to see a few more field reports.

    This thing is a bloody starship. All I need is a higher-end shuttlecraft with a wet bar and a good love nest in the back. 😛

    1. I’ve been using SSD for quite long time now and I never had any problem or failure… and from a performance point of view, I wouldn’t use any HDD anymore! My only wish would be a 16TB SSD and 128GB RAM in the new 12-core Mac Pro… Then, I’d be perfectly fine for a long time and I wouldn’t need anything else 😉

    2. I’ve been putting SSDs in enterprise production servers for years now. I’d trust one over a mechanical drive any day of the week, most are rated to last much longer than one as well. Huge upgrade in performance over a standard drive, and prices have come down drastically in recent years. One of the best upgrades you could buy for your studio machine in my opinion.

      1. But it would still be a windows PC… not something all of us really want.
        That’s why the new Mac Pro is a great news for us, mac users, that wouldn’t really use anything else than OS X 😉

        1. “But it would still be a windows PC… not something all of us really want.”

          You mean not something less than 10% of the worlds population really wants 😉

            1. Its not a debate, I know people here are favorable to OSX, I was just responding to the claim “a windows PC… not something all of us really want.” is that not everyone wants to work with OSX, or else truly everyone would be more favorable to OSX, which is clearly not the case statistically.

              BTW, I use both Windows and OSX at home.

        2. True. Still a PC but head over to osx86 and get direction for turning PC into Mac. Trick is, Moho must must, MUST, have on board GPU, after done you can run anything you want and they at osx86, are at a point that a update can now be completed with no editing required of .kext, . Plist file.

          Plus, FWIW, we ain’t seen nothing yet (grammar bad on purpose)— called Cupertino campus. Told woman I worked for apple (as in past tense, she must had thought presently, as she asked, “HOW ARE THE 32 CORES ON 1 DUE COMING ALONG”, said fine, fine and hung up. I’m also the guy who said 3-5 years ago a friend saw the new FCP and said it looked like IMovie on Steroids. Of course every release looked the same, I even counted his normally 100 accurate info. But then it came. So.
          32 cores 1 dye core system.
          64 on duo core system.
          192 on 6 core system.
          256 on 8 core system.
          384 on 12 core system. Ummmmm. I don’t think I can process that and while there are some snags with Samsun, apparently Apple will relalse a 55″ 4k for ~$2000.00 and 65 4 k for ~ $2500-3000.00. That will really shake things up.
          Part of me is thinking about a rehearsal space in Pasadena. Guess it’s quite affordable. No magic getting signed. Good to great song= SOMEONE WILL WANT! ! !

          Play in brothers band when I visit boston. Everyone says is that new Foo Fighters, Wheezer, OffSpring? And I helped Robin Godfrey-Cass get Perfect Storm Music Group of the ground. First single, writer, Ali Tamposi. Artist:Kelly Clarkson. “What doesn’t Kill You( Makes you Stronger”- her mom said that to Ali one night when she didn’t want to record. Plus most stuff we have is corporate rock/pop. Ugg. So my boss want to hear mine. You read friends comments.

          What I have and know I have to treat the room but play mostly anything.
          Yamaha 790 k with 900 head/unit soon. Bigger pads.
          Fender Bass.
          Les Paul. Traditional standard? Was listed at $2499-got for $1400.
          Apollo Quad with thunderbolt.
          10.9.1. Might revert. Not sure as there us a new update outbbbapple doesn’t update thir crucial machines for 6 months.
          Fender Seafoam blue/green with hot rails.
          Martin 12sting. Under $1000’so I don’t have to worry about warping.
          Taylor Grand Auditorium
          One Line 6 brown faces Tube amp. Amazing and hard to find. Was offered a job by Aspen Pittnan LOUD 50 watt head. El384 [same as Vox]
          4 channel. From Paeker/Marshall to Fender Tonemaster to a Screaming Mesa Boogie to Vox. 100 uses EL 34 thus why everyone with them asks how to get the Vox sound. You can’t. Now. Imac
          Soon Mac Pro. All depending on hard drive benches. EWQLSO, Symphobia1&2, Lumista, VSL.
          PEACE. HUGE LENNON FAN TOO.

  2. Probably not if you use the machine just for music production unless you work with big sample libraries or have large track counts with loads and loads of (native) plugins. But from where I stand I wouldn’t buy a computer half the price just for music production. I’ll be looking seriously at getting a Mac Pro next year as my primary workstation. I haved paid more for a single PC when serious computing power was still quite expensive. Not worrying too much about premium prices for a decent workstation. But I don’t just use it for audio …

  3. Well… For me FX4100 with 8Gb ddr3 ram, 250Gb SSD drive is way more than enough, and I paid abut 600$ for that. It never had happened that my PC lacked power, everything runs nice and fast, and quiet too. I doubt that anybody would need such power, unless you make graphics as well, but we talking about music in here….

  4. I believe most professional musicians are getting along with a very good laptop or less these days. But as soon as you start working in post production, or more to the point, have clients in the studio with you who are typically on a tight deadline and will not tolerate glitches or crashes, a person needs a desktop system with a lot of horsepower, RAM, and very fast drives to handle video and multiple tracks of audio and a host of plug-ins.

    Working to a video changes the demands on your system. Composing music takes a lot of RAM and a good processor, but mixing a track and conforming it to video takes a lot more resources. I always wondered why people invested so deeply in ProTools HD when a really fast computer with a lot of RAM could perform equally as well using native plug-ins. But what you end up paying for is stability. And that is all that matters when you’re client is breathing down your neck.

    I believe this new MacPro finally gives a person plenty of horsepower when it comes to complex tasks and will provide a much needed alternative to the pricy and always nearing obsolete PT hardware.

    1. True, but even for composing/producing, if you are doing large and heavy projects (without video), you might still wish to have “more power”. I’m working often on 100+ tracks projects, with 50+ heavy and cpu-hungry project, and a good i5 or i7 is just not sufficient and you have to work around these limitations (which is always time consuming).

      Having a Mac Pro with 12 core would probably help to get through and I think (hope) I wouldn’t need much more in future.
      – 64GB is OK, but I would prefer 128. Being able to keep most of your favorite Kontakt banks always loaded and ready to be use, it’s a real bonus to be able to compose very quickly.
      – 1TB SSD is clearly not enough (I was really expecting more). 4 or 6TB would have be OK, 10TB would have be great, 16TB would have be more than I probably need for the next 5 years.

      I’m currently use a Mac Pro 8 core with four 4TB drives and two SSD. I would loved to replace all HDD by SSD for faster loading time. To me, SSD are the things that bring to Computer the user experience I always had with hardware synth/sound modules. You can select a sound and play it instantly, with virtually no loading time.

      Hopefully, Apple (or a 3rd party) will come with an external Thunberbolt 2 chassis with 10TB SSD. I saw Magma is proposing a chassis with 8 drive spaces. It might be a solution. Maybe that’s the plan and the reason why Apple kept the size to 1TB max (and not increase much the base price of the Mac Pro for the ones that don’t need it). We’ll see…

      1. Absolutely agree, 1TB is ridiculous. Whoever decided that this was going to be suitable needs their head examined. I have 16TB built into my MacPro and now I am being forced to shunt it all onto external drives. All of a sudden the nice neat new MacPro isn’t nice and neat anymore. I certainly did not expect 16TB to be available in Flash but come on give me at least 4TB. I despair at Apple’s strategy.

      2. Hi, I’ve decided to go ahead and get the Mac Pro. Was just wondering if any properly tech savvy people could help me on choosing the configuration for music production. On my current mac book pro my computer is constantly crashing and I often have to wait 10-15 mins to open some of my larger projects. I never want to see the words SYSTEM OVERLOAD again. I need to know which upgrades (I.E. Storage. Memory, CPU, GPU) will maximise performance on Logic Pro. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you

    2. I agree with this. But for me the laptop gets too noisy when working on heavy projects – that tiny fan running at full speed continuously. A desktop-computer can handle this type of situation much better, with larger, less noisy fans.

      I’m waiting for the day when we’ll have powerful fan-less laptops.

    3. Little late comment here. But I have been looking forever and everywhere for a forum for this type of conversations. I’ve been contemplating the new Mac Pro for our Studio. We work with PP mostly, but I wasn’t sure about this. Because it really seems that this new Mac Pro is aimed towards the video and graphic industry. But your comment was very helpful, (we also work in Pro Tools). Everything you said about stability and clients and deadlines was spot on. This is coming from someone who actually works in this specific industry. Thanks!

  5. Connect up to three 4k displays….but Apple didn’t announce any 4k displays….are they going to have another media event before December?

  6. Unless the major DAWs start using OpenCL then there is no point in a production machine having such huge GPUs.

    If you do want to carry on using a Mac, save yourself a fortune – buy a high spec Mac Mini. I believe they have thunderbolt now, so you can use some of the money you save to buy an external TB to PCIe enclosure and get a nice RME interface. Small footprint, same (lack of) noise level, much cheaper.

    1. Not only the DAWs but probably also all those higher end power hungry libraries. Without OpenCL a slave computer running VE Pro 5 looks like a better short term solution.

      I’ll wait for the actual(physical) Mac Pro release and see what Apple says about it’s advantages when it comes to music creation. And I’m not talking about just recording audio and using some verb and effects.

      If there isn’t much utilization of the GPUs even in Apple’s own Logic X then I’ll be shopping for a maxed out Mac Mini and add an OWC 480GB SSD and use my current iMac DAW as the slave.

  7. The problem for me was replacing all my 6 FireWire devices in addition to mapping my cinema and dvi displays. It basically requires a huge redesign of my entire audio path. I’m just not ready for that although I’d love the machine. Most of my work is done OTB so I can live with my setup for at least 5-10 years. Then I’ll pick up a 2012/2013 Mac Pro on the cheap. Finally I’ll die and wonder why I never got the new Mac Pro. It’s really an amazing piece of art. I could write 10 albums in a year with the inspiration that thing brings. Ok, if I make $10K with my music, I’ll redesign the studio!

  8. I got a hackintosh recently, spent 600 euros on it. If I would have bought a MAC from Apple with almost the same specifications it would have costed me at least 2500 euros. I’m saying almost the same specifications because mine has actually more USBs and more hard drive space, card readers, more firewire. Works like a charm for 5 months already. Great news is, I can easily replace or add anything I want to it, I can open the case and put my macbooks harddrive inside to copy files faster. I can upgrade chips easily, really everything. Apple is a great company, i love my macbook pro and my iphone, but tower computers are overpriced for what they do. You pay for the design really…

  9. I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription link or
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  10. My older Mac 8-Core Tower Logic board recently fried, I was really tired of dropping big loads of cash on Apple products. I looked into buying used which i have done in the past until the Mac guy that was helping me out to diagnose my computer told me that i should just build a Hackintosh.

    I built my own Mac from PC parts with equal speed of this new Mac Pro but i have 32GB of ram, same video card and i only paid $1,800 !!!

    If you like to nerd out on projects and don’t mind challenging yourself you guys should consider this, my machine runs insanely fast.

    Go to TonyMacx86 and look up the buyers guides and look through the forum

    good luck 😉

  11. I’ve been buying some of the new virtual instruments.. Diva, Zebra2, SynthMaster, Aalto, Kievo.. These totally bring my 2008 to it’s knee’s begging me to stop.. As always with a new computer, the software will take another giant leap forward. And in a few years, the Mac Pro probably won’t have enough power.

    The 256 SSD totally frightens me.. I have a 240 SSD in my MacPro Intell now.. It is a weekly constant battle to keep 20 – 30 gig free for overhead.. More and more 3rd part software companies are insisting on keeping files on system drive.. which is ridiculous.

    i love the uniqueness of the new Mac Pro, but am going to stop and consider a PC running OSX.. I have 12 hard drives, which I need access too, and do not relish the thought of switching over to get them to run with the new Mac Pro..

    With time, I’m sure, more alternatives, and work arounds will come out.. But I’ll keep saying a ‘Hail Mary’ every time I fire up my 2008 Mac Pro.

  12. I’m looking at a Mac Pro.. I have a 2008 3gig Intell… The current new current generation of software instruments..(Large Libraries, u-he plug-ing Linplug Spectral, Synthmaster,, totally overwhelm the mac now.. And with this much power, plug-ins will get exponentially more demanding.. It’s been happening for 15 years now.. I use a lot of plug-ins, but a reasonable amount of tracks.. I’ll probably jump to printing every effect on a stereo track by itself, to future proof my projects..

    It’s still a bit hard to figure out your future needs, unless, you are very set, in your current music making..
    But always with new hardware, comes new software you will want, and demand a high amount of CPU processing power.

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