Back in October was my one year anniversary as a Mac user from when I first bought an iMac as an experiment into the Apple world. For me as for many the iPod was the gateway drug into Apple and Intel Macs made it easy for me to make the transition.
I did love my iMac, but as a one piece computer it had it’s drawbacks. At one point I had three USB harddrives hanging off of it for backup and for Windows programming I do for work. It certainly worked fine, but the lack of upgradeability on the iMac is limiting. Because I love screen real estate I wanted to add another monitor to give me a total of three and the solutions for doing this on the iMac are less than optional.
So in October I took the plunge and bought a Dual Quad Core 2008 Mac Pro. This isn’t just a computer, like most Apple products it is a work of art. I loved how easy it was to add 3 more internal hardrives to it and another video card all without needing any tools. What amazes me is just how quiet this powerful machine is. I wouldn’t even know it was on if it wasn’t for the power LED and of course the signal to the monitors. It has power to spare and even when I have multiple virtual machines running it is hardly taxed at all. I bought 8 gigs of third-part ram and was pleased to find that I could still use the 2 gigs it came with to give me a total of 10 gigs of ram.
It use to be if I was working in Visual Studio in a virtual machine I couldn’t really run another program that was cpu intensive. I love to convert text to audio to create audiobooks using the built in voice Alex, but my iMac to reduce to a crawl when I did so. The Mac Pro does it effortlessly even if I am running Visual Studio and watching a DVD or EyeTV at the same time.
Power to spare which is a good thing because I hope to make this a machine to last 3 or more years. Now I admit to being a hardware junky and I use to build a new Windows machine every year to year and a half to get the most power I could. Plus I love the fact that the Mac Pro is so upgradeable in that I could add a Blu-Ray burner later even if Steve Jobs calls Blu-Ray a bag of hurt. If Apple had made a Tower similar to an iMac I would have been happy with that, but then again as a geek just saying Dual Quad Core makes me smile and the Mac Pro is built to last. One thing I have been suprised about in the Apple world is the number of users that can use older machines and the fact the later OS releases will run just fine on them and in fact can even improve performance. Something that never happened in the Windows world where each new OS ideally needed new hardware.
After three months of using the Mac Pro the honeymoon is over, but I still love the machine. Now I can hardly wait for Snow Leopard to come out which will make its number of cores more efficient and more powerful.