Written by: Adam Christianson
Download today’s show here! MC20200216.mp3 [46.5 01:30:22 64kbps]
A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Episode 735. A special episode of the Maccast. I sit down with friend and fellow podcaster Scott Johnson from the Frogpants Network to talk about his transition from a 2013 “trash can” Mac Pro to a 2018 Mac mini as his pro production system. Later we also discuss Apple’s Apple Arcade service and how it fit into Apple’s services and Apple’s place in the emerging games as a service market.
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I was looking to replace my 2013 Mac Pro with the new Mac Pro. Apple had already killed my 2012 Mac Pro which had 12-core 3.x GHz, 128GB RAM, 8GB Video card, dual SSDs on a PCIe card, 4x4TB hard drives with Apple RAID card, USB 3.1 PCIe 4-port cart, PCIe dual port USB-c card, Ultra SCSI III card and eSata card because they said my Mac Pro was not Catalina approved. WTH! So now my 2013 Mac Pro 6-core was to be my primary machine. Nicely loaded but not like the 2012 Pro.
2019 Mac Pro announced. Specs are a little weak but the price was high. Time I spec out how I wanted it, I could buy a low in car. Ridiculous. If I max it, I’m buying a luxury car.
Kelly from Daily Observations said my 2018 6-core i5 Mac Mini might be more powerful than the 2013 Pro. Okay, I’ll test it out. Needless to say, the Pro is for sale. While the Mac Mini is not entry priced, it is a bargain workhorse System.
Next I’ll have to add RAM. I already have the external eGFX box and two PCIe Sonnet PCIe 3-slot chassis boxes.
I don’t know if Apple only now wants prosumers and professional clients or what. The new 16-inch Laptop is my next goal.
Thanks for having Scott on. Reinforces my belief I made the right choice.
Hi Adam. Right on the money with Mac mini. Talk about keeping up the suspense but I knew this had to be where you were heading as I went through the same process about a year ago in preparation for my retirement which strangely enough, today as I listen to this podcast is my last day of work. I am getting back into music( playing, composition, recording) so needed to upgrade my old iMac and eventually came to the same conclusion as Scott. It’s great value for the money. A couple of benefits for me which weren’t really covered. The user upgradability of RAM and the portability of the Mac. I went with the i7 processor as well but kept the base ram knowing I could upgrade later and also go to eGPU if needed. Also, I use this machine to run the Studio One DAW at my church to play multi layered sound live and this has the grunt and portability to do it. Love your show. Keep up the great work. Derek (from New Zealand. )
Just happen to catch this podcast. The one key item it misses are the PCIe slots. Even the 2013 Mac Pro didn’t have them (another big reason why that machine was deemed a failure for “Pros”). It seems as though Apple is now defining “Pro” to mean something akin to having PCIe slots available to the user. Ridiculous, I know.
The previous generations of Mac Pro Towers with PCIe slots were about to be eliminated completely – since they can’t run the new 64 bit Catalina operating system. Apple had no choice but to deliver something with PCIe slots or leave behind a swath of “pro” users since PCIe is still unmatched for speed and implementation. Keep in mind, they got rid of PCIe in all their machines 8 years ago – yet they needed to bring it back because it was that important. Many “Pro’s” have substantial investments in expensive PCIe cards, many of which don’t have an alternative solution. In the Audio arena, external PCIe (eGPU types) are available, but suffer from either speed or quality issues.
Enter the Mac Pro 2019. If you need PCIe, you have no other choice. When there are no other choices, they can charge whatever they want. And they did. Apple knew the “Pros” (as they define it) would buy it. No other choice if you needed to stay inside the Apple eco system.
I am not a “pro”. But I still had to buy a Mac Pro 2019 because of the PCIe slots. Or risk using a 2012 Mac Pro Tower that can not run the current Apple OS.
The guy you interviewed, he never really explained why he couldn’t just run a 16” laptop instead of a Mac Mini. In the end, he didn’t end up needing any high end graphics card (eGPU), so in my mind, a 16” current laptop would surely have handled the workload needed. If you don’t need PCIe, there are a few different routes available. If you need PCIe, you only have 1 choice.
Hi, Adam… The Mac mini as a pro machine? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!
Actually if you watch the keynote where they announced the long-overdue refresh to the mini, it’s pretty clear that this product’s aim has shifted. But you are correct that Apple’s marketing hasn’t followed throughs so people forget about it.
In my job with LuminFire, a consulting firm focused on custom business apps and web sites, we love the Mac mini for small and medium businesses that need an in-house FileMaker Server. Most clients have moved to our cloud FileMaker hosting, but there are still cases where for whatever reason, on-site hosting still makes sense, and this machine is great for that.
People who lament the lack of a mid-range headless Mac I think are overlooking the mini. It’s a powerful little beast! I do hope that they update it more regularly now, so it keeps up as a pro machine. Before this last update, we had stopped recommending it. Now we love it again.
If anything, I think the current hole in Apple’s product line is where the old mini was… the low-end headless space. Friends who have older cheap minis are feeling a little priced-out of that product line. I’d love to see them make a “Mac Stick” computer. It could be just the logic board from a MacBook Air in a tiny enclosure. Built-in HDMI would be handy, but would expect them to go with all USB-C. If the price point were right, think of all the places you could stick one of those! (Pun intended!)