I have been using a Mac Pro for more than 5 years now, and even though it is a workhorse of a machine, it is getting pretty dated. What frustrates me more than anything about the current computer is the following:
* The machine has only USB 2.0 ports and not USB 3.0. This means that my Lexar Dual-Slot USB 3.0 reader and Drobo 5D are severely slowed down! I have installed a Caldigit USB 3.0 card into my Mac Pro but it is a little flakey and does cause periodic kernal panic errors. Not fun.
* The Mac Pro does not have Thunderbolt ports. This means that my fastest data connection is through Firewire 800, which is outdated and mostly forgotten at this point.
* The processor is now 5 years old, which I like to equate to dog years. It is like having a car that is 35 years old. I want more speed!
* I only have VGA output. No mini display port or HDMI.
* The DRAM expansion is limited to and the memory is not very fast.
* The computer is LARGE and it gets REALLY hot! There are times in the summer when I dread working on my computer since it seems to generate as much heat as my furnace.
Here are my thoughts on the new Mac Pro and how it will work in my workflow:
* I am really looking forward to the having a lot more horsepower! From everything I am reading, it sounds like the new Mac Pro will be at least twice as fast as my current machine. Less time waiting means faster editing and more time shooting!
* I look forward to 4 USB 3.0 ports. Ahhhh, this will be bliss. The fast data transfer of the SuperSpeed USB will make downloading my Lexar 1000x cards and backing up a dream.
* I look forward to connecting my 30TB of hard drives to the Thunderbolt 2 ports. I have two Drobo 5D units waiting for a high speed connection. I plan on using one unit as primary storage and the other as backup.
* Faster graphics processing should help Photoshop move even quicker. I am really tired of watching large files open with the dread beach ball. Need I say more!
* I am happy to recover some desk space. I can replace this monolithic beast with something less than 10" tall and really thin. It will be like having a Mac that just went through a full term at "The Biggest Loser" camp.
* No more heater (hopefully)! This one really gets me. Sure, during the winter, it is nice to cozy up to my Mac Pro and spoon, but during the summer, the heat in my office gets unbearable and I dread editing. I also look forward to saving some energy costs. I believe that my current Mac is dimming the lights in our neighborhood.
* What display will I connect? This is a really big question right now, since I am currently using the Apple 30" Cinema Display and not sure it will connect. I have to do a little more research on this one. It might be time to switch to the Wacom Cintiq 24HD. That would be pretty darned cool!
* Is it time for a new Apple Airport Extreme router with 802.11ac? Since I move so much data between my computers and my Drobo 5N, I am thinking that the new wireless speeds may really benefit me. Add another $200 to the price tag!
* Speaking of price, I am wondering what this little powerhouse is going to cost me. Apple has not announced pricing and options yet, but I am budgeting assuming that this will cost in the range of $3-$4k for what I want.
* I was hoping for a couple of internal drive bays. Since I currently have all 4 drive bays filled in my Mac Pro, I am used to having a lot of onboard storage. The thought of moving all of my data to external devices is a bit troubling. I know that Thunderbolt is REALLY fast, but it still freaks me out having my primary storage outside the box. I am also curious to see how fast Western Digital is going to come out with a large capacity external drive with Thunderbolt 2.
So...for now...it is a waiting game to see when Apple is going to release the new Mac Pro. But I am transferring all my data from my internal drives to one of the Drobo 5D units, investigating the display options, and rearranging desk space in preparation.