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It was a long wait for a new MacPro. But the result, the 2013 MacPro 'cylinder', is a workhorse and a work of art. It's beautiful. That wait was mostly because there wasn't a CPU design that could handle the upgrade Apple had in mind. So now we have an amazing computer with amazing capabilities and all new buses to connect with. All the differences make it challenging to move into the new from the old.
Let's briefly touch on what options your new MacPro should include. Price widely varies depending on how we choose. And we need every choice to pay off in the long run.
CPU: For the Photographer this is pretty easy, the 6 core is the CPU of choice by a wide margin. Most bang for the buck, it is hard for a photographer to load up more than 6 cores. Videographers should increase processor capability as needed to 8 and 12 cores, depending on how hard they hammer their processors. Those who need more cores already know it, so we don't need to beat that drum much. The rest of us not making a living from photos and video work can most likely benefit from the higher clock speed of the less expensive quad core. And save a bunch of dough for other things.
GPU: This is where the rubber hits the road on the new MacPro. Apple jumped over the rest of their competitors by going standard with high end dual graphic cards. Both photographer and videographer are going to benefit *eventually* from upgrading to the highest GPU you can afford. I say eventually because at the present time only a couple of applications support multiple GPUs. Once flagship developers like Adobe and Avid write support for what will now be common dual GPUs, we will start seeing leaps and bounds performance increases from our new MacPro. Other users will have to revise their defined need to choose which GPU is right. Keep in mind, I've always found the GPU to be the first component to date my computer, leading to an earlier need for upgrading. The new MacPro is built around the GPUs, not the CPU like older computers. So choose as high as you can afford and you will not regret it.
RAM: Get the least memory you can from Apple. Apple sells the most expensive with least warranty RAM you can buy. And when you buy it from MacGurus, the memory you get from us will be the same stuff, cheaper and with lifetime warranty thrown in. This is one of the places Apple doesn't earn their ~40% profit margins.
Flash Drive: The one Apple built in is blazing fast, fully a GB/second. And it is not upgradeable to a larger capacity later on, as far as we know. This is one of those 'choose your need' things. The videographer and photographer aren't going to care much. They typically only store the OS and applications on their boot drive, so they can go with a fairly small drive. The user who does everything on his computer will find that larger space is very convenient. In the end, most of your data storage is going to be external anyway. You'll get along with whatever you choose… you'll have to.
That's it. Not as bad as it at first looks on Apple's long order page. But choosing your MacPro is just the start of your upgrade plan. You also need to hook up all your old peripherals, especially storage. And because we have exactly two buses to choose from on the back of the new MacPro, this can be the tougher part of your plan. Next - part 2, choosing your storage.