macOS Catalina is required for Mac Pro, but I have learned to deal with its vexations.
The 2019 Mac Pro 16-core is the best computer I have ever owned, by far.
So I am returning it.
I just love how the 2019 Mac Pro lets me do everything more efficiently and simultaneously: development, testing, backups, photo processing, etc—most of the frustration of having to wait for the computer is gone and these things can be done together without getting bogged down.
Lately, I’ve been doing intensive* software development of my IntegrityChecker java software, which every professional should be using. The Mac Pro has been extremely useful for that.
- For development of highly-parallelized (multi-threaded) software, more cores mean faster testing but more important is that more cores incite race conditions that sometimes just don’t show up at all on 4 or 8 core systems, except at the rare and wrong time. So when I get some multithreading logic wrong, this is super important and of high value to me.
- Focus stacking and image processing speedups abound. Reductions of 40% or so with programs like Zerene Stacker are a big deal when a stack takes 5-10 minutes and might need repeating (eg different raw conversion settings)—it is awfully hard to evaluate very many image stacks gated that way, and I shoot stacks a great deal.
- Backgrounded backups that chew up several CPU cores don’t matter much in terms of CPU usage. While intensive disk I/O can still make the machine a bit jerky/unresponsive, other tasks never suffer from CPU demand.
- The ultra high speed OWC Mercury Accelsior 4M2 can be used only with one Mac at full speed, the Mac Pro. With such a PCIe SSD, I/O speed just drops out of the equation for most all apps— lags from disk I/O are effectively zero relative to whatever one is doing.
- Mac Pro is amazingly quiet—sits on my desk and yet is less noisy than my 4-bay OWC Thunderbay 4. Even with all CPU cores going full bore for minutes, the fans don’t even change in any way I can notice—stunningly good cooling.
- No more memory limitations with 384GB memory for any apps—always enough so far. (However, the way macOS unified buffer cache cache 340GB of files, which ends up slowing things down—that code needs rethinking).
- Multiple Thunderbolt busses—important for all the above, plus driving a 5K or 6K display.
Tomorrow I’ll explain why the 2019 Mac Pro is going back—don’t make any assumptions.
* “Intensive” is a an understatement: 12 hours a day even over the holidays for 4 weeks straight* is a load I was last able to sustain nearly a decade ago, though I did cut it back somewhat for a few days after having wisdom teeth removed earlier this month. For the past week I’ve piled on more: rigorous 50 mile bike rides each day at 200+ watts along with too little sleep is a recipe for disaster, for sure right? Except that I have nailed down the two-brain formula for as much vigor as I have had in a decade (2-brain = wet computer in skull + gut biome). When if/time allows I will elaborate, but in brief it is possible to reprogram both gut and brain for physical and mental resilience, a process that I began in September and has been breathtakingly successful, consisting of forming new dietary habits along with conscious thought processes designed to reframe my world. While I still have some issues from my concussion that linger, I can manage them and while the concussion came at a cost I would not care to repeat, it was rewarding also.