Apple's New Mac Pro Is Incredibly Well Priced, While the New XDR Display Is Not

Apple's New Mac Pro Is Incredibly Well Priced, While the New XDR Display Is Not

Recently, Apple unveiled their new refresh of the Mac Pro and a brand new monitor to go with it! I find it fascinating just how great the Mac Pro is for professionals, especially with how not great their new display is in comparison.

I am a big proponent of using the tool that is right for you. I ran OS X for years with an iMac and then a MacBook Pro, and now, I use a Dell XPS 15, and my next computer could be either. It all depends on a lot of factors. Apple left a lot of pro users without a choice when it came to the trashcan Mac Pro: no ability to upgrade with limited I/O ports. I know studios that are still using the old Mac Pro towers from 2012 and upgrading them, making them limp along until something new came along. And finally, it did with the new Mac Pro, which is like a breath of fresh air and when you consider every factor, is actually a fantastic choice for companies compared to a PC. 

I've seen people online just go ahead and claim they can build a PC for cheaper, but unlike the MacBook, I don't think that's really true in this case. In the bare-bones $5,999 build, the processor alone is $1200. When you couple that with the fact that the motherboard needs to have 8 PCIe slots and Thunderbolt ports directly on it, you are talking strictly high-end, which is who this product is for. High-end users need to be able to upgrade and custom-tailor their experience. So, the closest competitors would be this from Dell at $6,300 or this from HP for about $5,500. There isn't really much of an "Apple Tax" in my opinion, plus the option for a rack-mounted chassis means that the Mac Pro is for pros and priced pretty much in line with the competition. 

On the other hand, the new monitor is confusing for me. Aside from the silence-inducing $999 stand, the brand new monitor that Apple is presenting as a companion with the Mac Pro is interesting. As someone that used to be a colorist in the motion picture industry, I find it very strange that they tout lots and lots of specs, but don't talk about standards or accuracy. A 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio is great! The fact that it can cover DCI P3 is also great, but my only question is: how well calibrated can it get? Can it hold that calibration? What standards does it follow? Is it approved for Dolby Vision? Where the Mac Pro has options galore and the ability to work exactly to your specifications, the new "XDR" Monitor seems to fall into Apple's pitfalls of trying to fix things that aren't broken (which sometimes succeeds, and sometimes doesn't). The lack of SDI or HDMI on this monitor almost instantly makes it non-viable for pro broadcast use. 

While having an 178-degree viewing angle sounds great, it isn't really useful for broadcast use. Apple's new display will be nice for small, vertically integrated production companies, and it definitely does have a market, but it doesn't seem to be the same market that the Mac Pro is targeting.

In conclusion, both the Mac Pro and the XDR monitor are incredible feats of engineering, but I only expect to see one of them in post-production houses and professional work environments on the daily. The XDR I predict will sell, but not as well as Apple seems to think.

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20 Comments

Ryan Cooper's picture

I feel the XDR display is actually really competitively priced. I think Apple's mistake was not also offering a non-HDR display in the same format for the 99.9% of users that don't need an HDR display.

For anyone who needs an HDR display, the new screen is an amazing price.
For anyone who doesn't need an HDR display, the new screen is ridiculous.

I think a better choice would have been to also bring in a nice retina display similar to what is currently in iMacs out as well at like a $600 or $800 price point. Then those who need/want an HDR display would be all tickled pink with that offering while other users would just be like: "wow expensive, but it is not for me, that new retina display looks great!"

That said, the stand is ridiculous. If they felt they needed to charge a grand for that fancy rotating thing, then have a more static option for like $50 or that comes included and if you want the fancy expensive one, you can buy it but to not even offer an alternative is insane to me.

Jon The Baptist's picture

The 23.7 and 27” LG’s are just that.

Rk K's picture

How is it well priced?! An equivalent pc costs less than half (for the entry level model). Yes, they use some expensive components - but they are stupid ones. You don't need 8 pcie slots and you don't need to buy a cpu with one of the worst price/performance ratios out there.

Christopher Eaton's picture

So... YOU don't need 8 PCIe slots. But there are people and companies that DO need them. Why can people not understand how something can be needed by others just because it is more power than they would know what to do with?

Rk K's picture

8pcie slots in a machine with an 8 core midrange cpu that only has enough lanes for 3 of them, and a system/os that's only compatible with a fraction of the available expansion cards?! You make me laugh... You might as well break them up with a bunch of cheap doublers mounted on a basic workstation board. You can get 8 slow ports that way for way less.

michaeljin's picture

You done started a fire. Walking the hell away from this one...

Spy Black's picture

"Apples New Mac Pro Is Incredibly Well Priced..."

Good humor is a great character trait to have in life...

Christopher Eaton's picture

I guess you didn't read this did you?

user-128252's picture

You guys of fstoppers are funny. It just shows what opinions are worth today. One says “mac overpriced, monitor great value”, another says “mac great value, monitor overpriced”. Well, this is why I have no social media because there are way too many experts with strong opinions

Rob G's picture

I'd love to hear a defense of how a three year old GPU is good value. Let alone, to quote Apple, "the most powerful graphics card available".

Leigh Miller's picture

Again...this monitor when compared with others of it's intended market is pretty reasonably priced once you strip out the Apple Tax.

The monitor is for the folks who make the visuals that "we" consume. That falls squarely into the yard of companies with million dollar and higher budgets...or contractors who are billing well into the many thousands for their small percentage of a project.

It makes perfect sense, HOWEVER...Apple botched its launch. They missed an opportunity to clearly redraw their product lines into "Who Is This For" categories.

Basically left it up to we...the "tools" to figure out and explain it all.

Rob G's picture

Hold up. You say "closest competitors would be this from Dell"... and proceed to compare a model that has a:

- Xeon Gold 22 core processor versus the entry level 8 core CPU in the Mac

- a GPU that is nearly 30% faster for nearly half the power consumption - and you spec an Nvidia card rather than an AMD card

- faster 2933MHz memory when this is not available on the entry level Mac

- the Dell comes with 5 years of onsite support

Attempting to remedy these (while nickel and diming, to be sure), results in a Dell that is not $6,300 but $5,100.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Although the Mac Pro motherboard has 8 PCI Express slots, it turns out (per Linus) that you actually cannot use all of them at once because they are too close to each other.

If you already have a sufficient number of USB's, SATA ports, Blue Tooth and a couple of M.2 slots on the MB, except a GPU slot what do you do with 8 slots? I am asking because I really don't know. Maybe videographers need all that, not sure.

Christopher Eaton's picture

Yes, those doing high end graphics, video, effects, and audio can put those to use. For example, here is a quote from AVID about the computer:

“Avid’s Pro Tools team is blown away by the unprecedented processing power of the new Mac Pro, and thanks to its internal expansion capabilities, up to six Pro Tools HDX cards can be installed within the system – a first for Avid’s flagship audio workstation. We’re now able to deliver never-before-seen performance and capabilities for audio production in a single system and deliver a platform that professional users in music and post have been eagerly awaiting.”

Motti Bembaron's picture

I see. So what with the $40 SSD?Also, from what I understand, if you are going for all that power the CPU of the base model is not going to cut it. So you need to invest some serious money after paying some serious money. I am not the only one who is a bit confused.

Wonder Woman's picture

The entry level Mac Pro is a terrible deal and a bad computer for serious work.

Christopher Eaton's picture

The entry level is for those looking to build it out from there on their own.

Wonder Woman's picture

If that were the case, they'd just sell the chassis.

Christopher Eaton's picture

I keep laughing at all the people across the internet arm-chair computer expert sphere that think the computer is overpriced just because they wouldn't have a clue what to do with it. You know who does know what to do with it? High end video, effects, animation, and audio producers. Here's a quote about the computer from Avid:

“Avid’s Pro Tools team is blown away by the unprecedented processing power of the new Mac Pro, and thanks to its internal expansion capabilities, up to six Pro Tools HDX cards can be installed within the system – a first for Avid’s flagship audio workstation. We’re now able to deliver never-before-seen performance and capabilities for audio production in a single system and deliver a platform that professional users in music and post have been eagerly awaiting.”

If you laugh at that, I laugh at you twice.