Adventures In Audio

Should I upgrade to the new Mac Pro?

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I've been using a 2010 Mac Pro upgraded to 2012 spec for some time. It's the fastest old-style Mac Pro there is. So would it be worth paying a LOT of money to upgrade to the new Mac Pro? In this video I consider the options.

Automated transcript

So what do we have here we've got an issue of sound and sound and we've got the new Mac Pro on the front doesn't it look nice like the let the traditional cheese grater Mac Pro well the traditional cheese grater Mac Pro is what I have already and I've been using this style of computer for aitana a long long time even before they went to Intel so I've upgraded over the years and now what I've got in my own setup is a 2010 Mac Pro they did make a 2012 model it's purple is pretty much the same and mine has been upgraded to the 2012 specs so it's as fully up-to-date as that model of Mac Pro will go and the next mock Mac Pro after that was the trashcan which nobody likes apparently so I'm not going to risk anything in going in that direction so the question is should I be upgrading my Mac Pro to this new Mac Pro doesn't it look nice so I have to ask yourself a few questions about this firstly is the computer I've got good enough for my needs well I can't say that it isn't I mean it has been supplying all my needs for all this time so yes it is good enough for my needs is it fast enough well it is the fastest Mac Pro of this generation that there is I don't think there's a faster model I've been looking at geek bench geek benches and interesting software that you can download and you can test your own computer and you can compare it with their records of tests of other computers of a similar kind in nature so you can see where your stunts on the leak table so mine stands at the highest of the old-style Mac Pro's it gets a geek bench to score off six thousand one hundred and ninety four it doesn't seem to have any units it's just a number six thousand one hundred and ninety four it sounds impressively large doesn't it but it's the comparison with the other computers that you're checking it out with it's just a table of Mac computers so if you are pc orientated you'd need to skip over to that table and whether the numbers are comparable I don't really know I be inclined to wonder about that but who knows so let me run a little test with Geekbench and just confirm that this is so

okay so I recorded that with my ScreenFlow software running but the 6000 194 is the number with no other software running it except for the antivirus and stuff like that with ScreenFlow running to record the screen surprisingly it only dropped to six thousand and fifty nine so I thought that ScreenFlow will be putting a much greater load on the processor than it is and apparently it's not so that's good news in itself so I'm running the fastest Mac Pro of my generation what would make me upgrade to the new Mac Pro well what I want to see is a significant increase in power and buy power I just mean in general I just want to feel that everything's happening faster well faster faster is better isn't it so it depends on the software's that I'm running and to the things that I depend on mostly I'm running Pro Tools other digital audio workstation software's are available and choose whichever is your preference but I prefer Pro Tools for one reason or another but I'll cover that in another video maybe so starting off with that for my audio then for my video to do the editing with that I'm using Final Cut Pro which I find reasonably convenient it thank goodness it's got its quirks it's got its quirks so it's I'm not gonna say it's perfect but then you try other software's like Premiere Pro and you finally got other issues so sometimes you're just going to stick with the the best option that you can find for at the moment but you know it gets the job done Final Cut Pro yes the job done the other one that I use every now and then is Apple motion which is kind of like it's like a titles generator or FX generator for Final Cut Pro so you can design a lower third or a title in a generic way and then you can import it into Final Cut Pro and each time you use it you can put your own text into it so I do find myself using that rather than the pre-programmed titles and generators but you know I'll just use that once a month maybe and the rest of the stuff that I used is just just normal everyday stuff I run a website so I've got a Dreamweaver I know that's very old fashioned but you know at my age I'm allowed to be a bit old-fashioned am I not I can code from the raw source if I want to so that kind of thing but you know that that doesn't take any strain on the computer Photoshop well I remember when it used to take minutes to do a Gaussian blur minutes you could go away and have a cup of coffee while it Gaussian blur part of your image and how it just streaks across the screen in just seconds so there's no lack of power in Photoshop so all those kinds of things it's just Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro really and I now guess where I'm rendering as well it's a bit tedious waiting for a render so that's the video so if I'm editing something in pro res I'm going to render it to h.264 to upload to youtube and that's going to take a few minutes so it's a bit dreary waiting for it but who knows in 10 years time that will just zip across the screen like Gaussian blur does now so that's where I am I don't really need it but I would just like it I'd like everything just to go fast I'm just gonna scratch my nose so the question I've got is how much faster do I need a new computer to be do I need it to be 10% faster for instance well no I'm gonna say that I'm hardly going to notice the difference at 10% and and okay it will be there it's not going to make my whole working day ten percent more productive that just completely unreasonable so I'm going to say that I need a significant boost so I'm looking at the Geekbench tables and I'm seeing which is the model of the new Mac Pro which is going to give me a boost something that's going to be noticeable so I'm actually looking at the baseline model so looking at my notes here I can see that on the Geekbench score the eight core model with the 3.5 gigahertz processor gets a Geekbench score of eight thousand and forty three so that's going up from mine which is six thousand one hundred ninety four to eight thousand and forty three I should do a calculation with my trusty calculation to eight thousand and forty three divided by six and 194 equals it's nearly 30% faster so I'm going to say this is the point where I possibly could notice an increase so perhaps it's going to be worth investing so what about the specs of my 2010 Mac Pro I'm going to read them off the screen which is just in front of me there so it's got the operating system Mac OS ten point fourteen point six or ten dot 14.6 if you like to put it that way the model is the Mac Pro five comma one don't ask me why it's a comma I've got no idea it's got other stuff other stuff Intel Xeon x5 690 processors it's got two of them with 12 cores and 24 threads and the frequency is three point four six gigahertz so basically in those terms this computer has been upgraded to the max I could have more round perhaps I've got 32 gigabytes of RAM so maybe that should be an upgrade I should consider but the thing is that I could invest some money in that and I don't really know what the outcome is going to be it might be an improvement maybe I've got enough already I really don't know but I've got it stuffed full of hard disk drive so there are four main hard disk drive bays and I've got a disk in each of those but also this space for two optical drives well who uses optical drives these tests hey they are pretty much the past so I've changed both of those for SSD disks and the boot disk is one of those SSDs which lives in the optical drive bay so I know that I haven't quite optimized it in that respect because what I should do is I should get an adapter to run an SSD from the PCIe bus so it's got the fastest communication with the CPU of the computer CPUs the computer in the plural and that could be something that I might look at up in watching it on YouTube and it seems like a plausible upgrade so that's where we are now with this 2010 Mac computer it's pretty much as good as it's going to get a few little upgrades I could do but it's quite close to where it really could maximally be so this base level new Mac Pro with 32 gigabytes of memory same as my current current computer it's performing 30% better and that's a level that I might notice I think I probably will notice that and I think I'll be pleased to be working with a computer of that speed but there is another significant issue that has to be taken into account and that is how much does it cost well this is a good one isn't it so firstly how much did my computer cost I bought it secondhand on eBay and if I remember rightly it was about 1,400 pounds that's like great British pounds which is just a little bit more than a dollar but a pounds it's somewhere around 1.3 dollars something like that so you can do calculation from that so I bought mine for it was somewhere around 1400 to 1500 pounds in a second-hand so that's what I remember and that was in it's already mostly upgraded state and it's just the SSDs that I've done to it so that's kind of like a baseline price and that was a couple of years ago but you'd still pay that much for this model of computer now on eBay so it hasn't lost any value people still still want it as of today which is May the 18th 2020 people still do want in this computer and they're prepared to pay fourteen to fifteen hundred or even more for that model depending on what graphics cards it has and that's another thing so how much are we paying for this base level Mac new Mac Pro which is going to give me a 30% improvement consulting my notes the answer is five thousand four hundred and ninety-nine pounds five thousand four hundred and ninety nine pounds so we've gone up from 1400 pounds to five thousand four hundred and ninety nine pounds calculator time so we've got five four nine nine five four nine nine I can't quite remember how much I paid for mine so I'm going to split the difference and call it 1450 so divided by 40 and 50 and that gives me if I was going to buy this new Mac Pro the increase in price is three hundred and seventy nine percent three hundred seventy nine percent price increase three hundred and seventy nine percent price increase to get a thirty percent increase in performance am I gonna say that's good value no way that doesn't sound right to me at all well it does us out it's it's right those the prices but it just doesn't sound like good common sense to invest let me take a slightly different tack on this thirty percent improvement I'm kind of a bit iffy whether it's gonna be noticeable or valley below or worth worth it what if I made a significant improvement what if I went to a higher level of new Mac Pro and in fact I can give you figures from the Geekbench the highest level they've had to test it so it's not the highest level which is gonna cost you an awful lot of money but it's the highest level I've got figures for going back to my notes my computer is on Geekbench it's six one nine for the lowest level the base level new Mac Pro is 8 0 for 3 30% improvement if I go to the top end that Geekbench has got measurements for its 19,000

one-three-seven ok so this is three times more powerful than my current computer I'm going to say that if I didn't notice that they'd have to be something wrong with me that must be noticeable obviously there are variables to a certain extent you're dependent on the software developers to adapt their software to the new hardware so I would guess that might be a matter over time that you won't get that three times improvement straight away but maybe a year down the line or two years down the line you'll start seeing those improvements so we really do have a significant improvement there but there's going to be a significant hike in the price what do you think I'm a little guest so just have a little guess if the the base level model the lowest level that Geekbench has got results for is five four nine nine what is the highest level that they've got results for just put a figure in your mind okay the price is twelve thousand four hundred and ninety nine pounds so to get that three hundred percent improvement in performance I'm paying eight hundred and sixty two percent extra in price and that's without any upgrade in the memory and that was is with actually a smaller SSD than what I've got already so I'm sure that's not too difficult to upgrade hey there'd be more money to be spent to really get it up to where I want it to be so the question is am I going to buy either of these Mac Pro's or I'm gonna buy something in the middle I could get something like what is that there's 16 core 3.2 gigahertz with a performance of fourteen thousand five hundred and twenty six four seven four nine nine so that's like a a middle ground and I think if I was going to invest in one of these new computers I think that probably would be where I'm going to but am I going to spend that money well seven four nine nine seven thousand four hundred and ninety nine pounds is a significant amount of money so I could spend that on other things I could think of jobs around the house that need during that I could quite easily spend seven and a half thousand pounds on so I have got other stuff to spend seven and a half thousand pounds on before spending on a computer I could spend it on a holiday if we ever get out of this coronavirus locked down I could spend it on how many meals out could I have with friends for that kind of money quite a lot so I could be upping the quality of my leisure lifestyle significantly for that amount of money do I really want to deny myself with those opportunities to upgrade my living standards upgrade my leisure for the sake of upgrading the efficiency of my workflow I haven't really made a decision on that yet but let's suppose that the answer is no so if I say right now that no this new Mac Pro is very tempting it will be nice to have all the extra performance but for the amount of money it's going to cost me to get significant improvement it's not worth it I'd rather spend the money on something else so let's suppose that I've made the decision what happens now I've been working with computers for a long time in fact the first computer I ever worked with was an IBM 1620 so you can look that up on the internet but the first personal computer I had was in about 1988 89 that's how long I've been working with computers just to give a sense of perspective and my perspective is what I've learnt during that time is that sooner or later you have to upgrade there's no getting away from it and unless you want to seal yourself off in a cave and become a fossilized cave then you have to upgrade sooner or later it will just be forced upon you so I can see what kind of scenario is going to happen I can see it perfectly well right now because I said right at the beginning I said that my computer runs the operating system Mac OS I'm reading from the screen Mac OS 10 point fourteen point six or ten dot 14.6 if you prefer so this is the MCOs mo Harve a I think that's a desert or something you know if I was gonna bring out a product would I name it after a desert I don't really know about that but anyway that's what it's that's what it's called Mojave and I've read just recently that this is the last operating system the last makos that's going to be supported on my computer so this fancy new makos catalina or catalina is there a cutter line a desert I I've absolutely no idea my geographies not that good but if I want to run it on my computer I can't apple says so and so this is going to pose a problem at some point it doesn't pose a problem now but he will so what's going to happen is in fact it has happened because there was an app I wanted for some very specific purpose I can't remember what it was but it was on the App Store and the price was about five pounds or something like that so it's just a tiny little thing to do one tiny little job and I thought yeah that'll do that should do that you should do what I wanted to do and so I'll go for the Buy button and guess what it says this app is not compatible with your computer or words to that effect it requires macaws Catalina 10 10.15 to run so there we go it started already the rathaus set in this is the only app I've found so far it won't run but it's not going to stay that way there's going to be more and more apps that don't run on my computer so that little F is really neither here nor there it would have been handy for some purpose which you know if I've forgotten what the purpose was already so it wasn't that important clearly but what about the important apps what about my Pro Tools and what about my Final Cut ten what's going to happen with those well what's going to happen is eventually they be supported they'll come a point where I think it'll happen with Final Cut Pro first I would like to see some improvements in that it's it hasn't reached a state where you could say it's the perfect software any upgrades in Final Cut Pro 10 I'd be very keen to look into them and hopefully get something which is going to be of benefit for me so that's going to be the first point that I can't upgrade to Final Cut Pro 10 then the next thing I think will be Apple motion and then the next thing after that will be Pro Tools and maybe the other ups that I use in the Photoshop to be honest I'm a very light user of Photoshop and I could probably use a ten-year-old version and it would do the things that I wanted to do so that's not the worry so it's the current applications that I rely on that are going to be the issue but I could say let's just seal myself into my cave full of fossils and just hunker down and just work with the equipment that I've got that's actually not a bad thing because to a certain extent if you can't upgrade you never have to think about upgrading so that's one less distraction that you have this there's a certain amount of merit in that idea but the next thing that's coming along is that there will be security updates for Mojave but I think if I remember rightly Apple put a date on this sometime in 2021 so there's only another year after that and then it's like open open season for any hackers that want to hack into my computer but the thing that does kill things in the end is compatibility with other people so you need to be able to export files and give them to other people and you need to take in files that have been created by other people and you're not living alone in your own little bubble universe or ecosystem you have to interact with other people so sooner or later as things move on as the operating system moves on as the apps move on at some point an app will get a new file format and it won't be compatible with your version of the app so this happened with Pro Tools said that so they had the old PT a file format and then they had and it might be remembering this slightly wrong but then they had the PT something for that and now they've got the PT format and to be fair they maintained compatibility for a decent length of time but ultimately they can't be wasting their resources on things that are only relevant to a few people so they have to move on and it just is in the nature of things that certain file formats will fall by the wayside so you won't be compatible anymore you'll get to a situation where somebody wants to send to you a file for some reason and you can't import their files I know that's never going to happen to a wave file but session files definitely that is going to happen so this compatibility issue is going to get you for sure and it's going to make you upgrade or I'm saying you it's gonna make me upgrade so at some point in the future I am going to have to upgrade my computer to stay current within the latest in the operating system and to stay current with the latest in the software that I use and to stay current with the file formats that I'm working with and yes I do think I am going to invest in a new Mac Pro but it's not gonna be just now I don't think it's going to be in 20 21 22 quite possibly when these things start coming on to the second-hand market that's the time that I'm going to put my money where my mouth is so there we go let's just have a look at this lovely picture once more look at that lovely design that's cheese you could you could you could great gorgonzola on that couldn't you so so the new Mac Pro I like one but it's not gonna be today it's not going to be this year I'm David Miller cost-effective audio master class it was a bit of a ramble wasn't it but thank you for listening I'll see you in the next video

Thursday March 10, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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