Previously, I’ve edited most of my footage on a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, which can usually handle full HD (1920×1080) timelines. Although transcoding could be a bit slow and taxed the laptop’s processor, it rarely failed. It wasn’t until I started working with 4K files from RED cameras and the C500 that I started encountering problems with multiple freezes.
With the Mac Pro, I was easily throwing large 4K ProRes clips around the Magnetic Timeline while splitting and detaching multiple audio tracks with ease. I also was incorporating new looks and transcoding H.264 clips to ProRes in the background while cutting. There were no delays or freeze-ups.
The most impressive thing I first noticed while working with the Mac Pro was that a sound never came from the computer. Usually, while editing large files or rendering effects, you typically hear the processor and/or hard drive humming along, which heats up the computer, especially on a MacBook Pro. Apple has created a unique design for the Mac Pro that helps dissipate heat, making the computer quieter. (It was a similar feeling to driving in an electric car for the first time.) Rather than using a number of heat sinks and fans to cool down the system, Apple built a single piece of aluminum that wraps around the body and increases airflow and thermal capacity. In the body, there’s a single large fan that quietly pulls air from the bottom, through the core and then out the top. This makes the computer much smaller and more streamlined. I easily was able to put the Mac Pro on my desk right next to the Thunderbolt display.
Along with the power and lack of noise, the other thing that impressed me was the Mac Pro’s expansion capabilities. There are six Thunderbolt 2 ports that can deliver 20 GB/s of bandwidth, four USB 3 ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. There’s also three-stream 802.11ac WiFi that allows better wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0 to work with wireless input devices. An HDMI 1.4 port can support a 4K display, TV or projector.
The Mac Pro starts at $2,999 for a 3.7 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2 GB GDDR5 graphics. There’s also a more powerful 3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 with Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3 GB GDDR5 graphics for $3,999.
The Mac Pro ships with OS X Mavericks, which also includes iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Not that this makes your computer any better, but it’s nice to know that the Mac Pro was designed and assembled in the U.S.
All in all, if you’re at the 4K starting line, the Mac Pro is the perfect vehicle. Learn more at www.apple.com.