The Best Mac Apple Isn’t Making…

The Best Mac Apple Isn’t Making…


I think the dust has finally settled on the
celebratory fanfare that was the new Mac Pro’s announcement. Apple fans round the world clamored at this
new, extremely high-end, extremely expensive, modular PC. And it brought a lot of features that Apple
fans have been looking for. Upgradable storage, RAM, a socketed CPU, and
oodles of PCIe slots for either one of Apple’s proprietary MDX GPUs or, if desired, the ability
to use a standard off-the-shelf graphics card. I know PC users will scoff at the proprietary
keying on the PCIe SSD, or the Apple T2 chip that limits upgradability and dual-booting
into Linux, or the theoretically effective but practically questionable cooling design,
but for us battered Mac users that have been dealing with MacBook Pro keyboard issues,
a disappointing MacBook Air refresh and thermal throttling problems, this new Mac Pro finally
feels like a fresh start. A new chapter. Apple seems to be demonstrating that they
still care about the Mac—at least, in some form. But there’s a problem. This new computer starts at $6,000 and with
really… underwhelming specs to boot. There are lot of people that consider themselves
“pros” but either can’t budget or justify the hardware selection Apple has made on the
new Mac Pro. Let’s talk about why Apple’s current lineup
excludes a whole lot of people and what they could do to win us back. This video is sponsored by Dashlane—keep
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in the video description. If you want a headless Mac—without a screen—you
have two options. The 2018 Mac mini (the cheapest Mac) or the
2019 Mac Pro (the most expensive Mac). That’s it. And while an odd number of Apple fans seem
to think the new Mac mini is super great, I don’t. First off, there’s no upgradable or replaceable
components save for the RAM which requires a pretty severe disassembly process to access. There’s no dedicated GPU—and you can’t
blame the tiny footprint as the culprit because Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC is about the same
size and packs a rather powerful AMD RX Vega M. The mini also has pretty severe thermal
throttling issues as I demonstrated in my review and the $800 base model’s specs are
comically bad. I built an Intel NUC hackintosh that not only
performed 20-30% higher in benchmarks and real world tests with significantly better
cooling, but it was less than half the size of the Mac mini and nearly half the price. So many people then say, oh, well if you need
more power than Mac mini, just get one of the 2018 i9 iMac models or the 2017 iMac Pro. Indeed they have a beautiful display, but
they too mostly lack end-user upgradability. The standard iMac can have its RAM upgraded
but that’s it. And on the iMac Pro, it’s not user upgradable. Now, I say that with a bit of a caveat as
I have, in the past, upgraded both the CPU and the RAM on the 5K iMac and iMac Pro. The CPU is socketed as is the RAM …BUT that’s
a massive undertaking and is hardly something I could recommend to any sane individual. Furthermore, the GPU (which more frequently
requires an upgrade than the CPU) is BGA-soldered on all the iMac models. Not upgradable. Apple permits the usage of Thunderbolt 3 eGPUs,
but I’ve tested them and while they work, they’re expensive, noisy, and don’t take
100% advantage of the card’s capabilities. The Mac Pro and the iMac Pro share similar
flaws when it comes to hardware selection. I, as well as other YouTube creators like
LinusTechTips have demonstrated that when considering the gorgeous 5K display that comes
on iMac models, Macs are actually pretty competitively priced for the hardware that’s in them. What PC fans will point out—and they often
have a point—is that no sane individual will choose the same hardware that Apple does
for their machines. They unnecessarily utilize enterprise grade
Intel CPUs as opposed to high-end consumer ones which are substantially more expensive
and offer little to no practical benefit with latest generation hardware—even for the
industries that allegedly require them—they use ECC memory in a world where standard DDR4
has superb error correction, their GPUs are over-engineered and under-perform cards that
cost a fraction of the price, etc. So yeah, their computers are priced pretty
well for the hardware that they use, but normal people wouldn’t choose the hardware that
Apple uses. They’re often willing to spend 3x as much
money for a single digit performance or reliability increase. On the Mac Pro, I think that’s probably
a fair call, but for people that are doing anything other than data science, extreme
3D rendering, or need enterprise certification… for those who just want a modular Mac, it
isn’t. Then we have the ProDisplay XDR. This monitor is in a weird spot because you
have color scientists basically saying the monitor is cool but won’t likely replace
reference monitors that are used in color grading houses which was the competition Apple
compared it to. On the other side, you have people like developers
or non-professional video/photo editors who feel like they need the power of Mac Pro but
don’t need a $6,000 monitor. Sure, there’s the LG 5K UltraFine Apple
sells, but the build quality is crap, it’s ugly, and reliability issues have been pretty
widely reported. Apple straight up doesn’t sell a monitor
under five thousand dollars. You used to be able to use pre-2014 iMacs
in “Target Display Mode” which allowed you to basically use the iMac as a monitor
for another computer. It was great, but that functionality disappeared
in 2014 when the 5K iMac was announced. I described why
in an old video—take it away, sexy young Quinn! The current base-model 27” 5K iMac starts
at $1,800. Even for $1,800, you can’t find a 5K monitor
with similar color accuracy and max panel brightness. There are monitors around $1,100 that have
better color accuracy, but they’re 4K, not 5K, and they’re significantly less dim without
a glass panel. I propose Apple do the following: build a
Mac Pro mini of sorts. Make it look the same as the Mac Pro, but
with a much smaller form factor that provides easy access to the CPU, RAM, and SSDs with
1 or maybe 2 full-size double-width PCIe slots for GPUs and accessories. Don’t use the Xeon line, don’t use ECC
memory. Using current-gen i7 or i9 CPUs intended for
the high-end desktop market could act as a jack-of-all trades. While it will never happen, it’d be cool
to also see Apple offer a desktop with AMD Ryzen support since their price-to-performance
is a current market champ. Allow this newfangled Mac to be sold without
a GPU—internal graphics only—with the option for users to utilize their own macOS
supported GPU. And Apple, stop being a douche and let NVIDIA
drivers work on your latest OS. I think a base-config like this could be offered
at a rather high $1,999 and a lot of people would still opt for it. I certainly would. On the monitor front, take the exact 5K panel
being used in the iMac Pro and put it in a similar enclosure to the ProDisplay XDR. Apple could price it at $1,499 and it’d
still be one of the best priced displays on the market. And who knows? Maybe they could even through in a free stand. Filling this vacancy in the market could allow
Apple to have a line of computers that could cover nearly all use cases for every target
consumer—which would be the first time Apple would be able to make everyone happy in a
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