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$400 for wheels! A special cloth to clean the screen! It costs more than a BMW!

The Mac Pro sure isn’t making many friends in the tech world, primarily because it is a machine priced way out of the realm of human possibility. While the base unit starts at $5,999, many of of the add-ons raise the price to stratospheric levels, including the addition of 1.5TB of RAM, a unique treat for the discerning nuclear scientist.

Yes, it’s hilarious you can add 12 128GB memory sticks to the machine. Yes, it’s ridiculous it looks like a Buckyball flattened. Yes, it’s ridiculous that it can cost a little more than your parents’ first house.

But it’s not for you. This machine, at its most pricey, is aimed at animators, designers, and creators who can’t spend even a second watching the wheel of death spin when they add a light to their 3D scene. Pixar uses fairly underpowered machines for roughing out scenes and then sends the real stuff to machine networks like Hydra, a powerful mesh network of hundreds of machines that can churn out video at faster than normal rates.

Given Pixar has all that power, it makes some sense that a smaller outfit might want at least a taste of that computing power. By outfitting a Mac Pro with as much high-end stuff as possible – excluding the $400 wheels – you get access to some of the power the big guys have. Does this mean the Mac Pro is a good deal for the home user? If you can manage to keep it under $10,000 and you really need to open more than one Chrome tab, it might be a solid choice. That said, I don’t think the average user is quite ready for the power and the glory of a fully operational 3D workstation but, no matter how funny it is, someone out there with real work to do will need something like this to make their day a little easier.


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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.