🖥️ Say hello to my brand new Mac Pro… from 2013
So, here it is! After several blunders from FedEx, I’ve taken possession of, and set up my brand new, old Mac Pro from 2013! It’s a beefy machine with 12 cores, 128GB ram, 4TB NVMe drive, and the dual D700 video cards. It came in at just north of $1000, which I think is a fantastic deal for a machine that will still be going strong several years from now.
Yes, a new machine from 2013.
I can hear the questions and complaints now:
Why buy a machine from 2013? A machine that already can’t update to the latest OS.
Why buy an Intel machine instead of an M series machine?
What the hell are you going to do with it?
Let’s start at the beginning.
The Mac Pro is a workstation, it’s built to last and tackle heavy load tasks. It’s not the machine you buy for checking mail, web browsing, and writing the occasional recipe. It’s meant to handle hard core tasks, so it being from 2013 doesn’t bother me. My 2010 Mac Pro is still going strong 13 years after it was made. In fact, it’s just as fast and powerful now as it was when I got it in late 2014. You don’t get a Mac Pro, use it for 2 years, then upgrade.
As for getting an M series machine, that presents a dilemma. The Mac mini is a decent machine, but I don’t feel it has anywhere near the longevity of the Mac Pro. Even with all the upgrades, it’s still an entry level machine. It’s not junk by any means, but it comes across as “disposable.” It’s a temporary solution until you decide on a “pro” level solution.
Plus getting the base 8 core, 8GB mini with a 512GB drive isn’t going to cut it. That’s an anemic machine. Sure, it’s a good starter rig, but that’s not what I’m looking for.
A well equipped Mac mini will cost $3200, more than triple of this Mac Pro. Just adding 4TB of drive space is more than the cost of the 2013 Mac Pro.
Yes, that would be insanely fast, but I’m not spending that on a mini. That is Mac Studio territory. But…
The Mac Studio is awesome, but there are three problems. The first is the cost. The Studio I want is over $6k, and I don’t have that put aside yet. The second is the same longevity concern. The Studio hasn’t proven itself yet. Is it up for a decade of use without crumbling? Can it handle the rigors of being used like a Mac Pro? Third, what does the real next gen Mac Pro have to offer? At best that is 6 months away and a starting price of $5999.
Maybe a four, what happens to the 2019 Mac Pro once the new Mac Pro drops? Depending on how things shake out, that 2019 might still be one hell of a deal with its upgradable innards. I don’t see a $50k machine being obsolete until well after 2030, and it will keep running for another decade after that.
Further, it’s not just the cost of the machine. Some native M series apps are a new release, so that’s the upgrade cost. The apps I have run on the Mac Pro with Monterey with no issue. I don’t see the Apple Silicon version of TaskPaper or DevonThink Office Pro running differently than the Intel version.
Not to put it down, but this is an experimental machine. I want to get back into working with photos and video, plus there are a few apps where 10.15 is now the minimum. Sure, they work great on 10.14, but in another year, 10.14 won’t be on the list. I’ll still be using this machine, but I need a backup plan.
That’s where this 2013 Mac Pro comes in. It allows me to work on the projects I’m currently interested in, while giving me a few more years before making a commitment to a new machine.
As it stands, a loaded Mac Studio will be my choice, but that is a heavy investment. I need a little time to get the funds in order. I also want to see what happens with the new Mac Pro, but even after it comes out, it won’t be available for 6 months. That’s the end of the year and not the best time to drop that amount of cash on a machine.
My current Mac Pro is on Mojave, which came out in 2018. Here we are in 2023, and it’s just starting to fall off the minimum requirements list. There’s another year of updates coming, but it will still keep working. This machine isn’t turning off any time soon.
However, video apps are targeting 10.15 or later. The Affinity Suite is 10.15. Tools like Resolve and OpenShot are 10.15 or later. It’s the same for Camera Bag Photo. I simply want to experiment and learn a few things. I’m not exporting video as part of a business, or for an upcoming YouTube channel. The tools I want to work with will run on Monterey, regardless of the underlying architecture. The M series would be better, but not at the same price point.
Additionally, I’m not interested in Machine Learning or AI doodles. I’m sure as hell not interested in ChaGPT. I haven’t seen anything for macOS 13.x or above that interests me.
I have no doubt this Mac Pro 2013, has 5 more years of service for me. Monterey came out in 2021, so the OS should keep up for the same 5 years as the other Mac Pro.
As for the hardware, the 128GB of ram and 4TB drive are brand new. Not only do I have the boxes and receipts, but the 2013 didn’t come in that configuration. The max was 64GB, and 2TB for the drive.
As for the price, $1100 for 5 years of use seems like a solid deal to me. The new parts were $400, the 2013 body and video cards would be $500. That leave a few dollars to the seller for the effort of finding it, cleaning, building, and testing.
Based on my other Mac Pros, this rascal will serve me well. By the time I’m ready to upgrade again, it might be the 2019 Mac Pro I’m looking at and skipping the Studio line all together.
In 5 years now, what will be the price of a used Mac Pro 2019? Yes, the M1 out performs it, but that 2019 can support 1.5TB of memory, you can upgrade the video, and it supports more storage. That will still be a bad ass machine a few years from now.
The M1 and M2 are amazing, and no doubt the M3 and M4 will set your hair on fire, but Apple has muddied the waters with their line up. What are they doing with the Mac Pro? What’s in store for the iMac Pro. And yes, I firmly believe the iMac Pro or iMac Studio will soon be making a comeback.
This 2013 machine might be old, but it’s still overkill even by today’s standards. There are no barriers, and very little it can’t do. The only box it can’t check is machine learning and AI, which isn’t a consideration for me.
My new Mac Pro is faster than my old Mac Pros. It’s whisper quiet and has tons of storage before I need to use an external SSD to keep the speed going. If I had the desk space, I could arrange 6 monitors, which is damn impressive.
I’ve installed my productivity apps, so it works exactly the same as the others. Over the weekend I’m going to load up some 15GB video files and see how it handles trimming and exporting.
I know a lot of people aren’t fans of the 2013 Mac, but I like this fully loaded unit. It doesn’t compete with M1, but that’s not what I’m shooting for. It’s an upgrade from my 2010, and the OS is only one revision behind. Plus, the case from the 2013 is freakin’ cool!