Do Photographers Need the New Mac Pro or Is it Complete Overkill?

mac pro

The new Apple Mac Pro is a serious piece of kit with a serious price tag to boot.

During the recent WWDC (one of Apple’s yearly events) the long-awaited new Mac Pro made its appearance on the stage under the spotlights. There is no doubt; the new Mac Pro is designed with creators in mind. But is this something photographers need? Do we really need the type of power the Mac Pro has to edit photos? Join us after the break for more details.

A recent article at Engadget goes into fine detail about the specifications of the new Apple Mac Pro. Honestly, the spec sheets are enough to bring a tear to the eyes of every tech lover out there. There are, of course, many different versions of the new Mac Pro. The entry-level model will come with macOS Catalina pre-installed, and features an Intel Xeon W processor with clock speeds up to 3.5GHz, 32GB of RAM as standard, 256GB of storage in the form of an SSD, an AMD Radeon Pro 580X GPU, and has two USB 3.0 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an HDMI port. Not bad for an entry level machine, but the price is $5,999. Remember, this is the base model.

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If you want the top of the line Mac Pro with up to 1.5TB of RAM, a 28 core Intel Xeon Processor, a Radeon Pro Vega II GPU, and 4TB of storage, you might be looking at upwards of $50,000 (yes, 50 thousand) for the new rig. Just like we asked yesterday about the new Apple Display that costs $4,999 for the base model, do photographers really need the new Apple Mac Pro? In short, the answer is a resounding heck no. It’s definitely not something needed by photographers. We’re sure there are many who want the new Mac Pro, but it definitely is not needed.

For what we do as photographers we can get on just fine with computers that cost much less than the options listed above. In fact, for much less money you can go and buy (or build) a PC with better specs for far less than the prices listed above. My personal rig, which I built myself, has an 8 core Intel I5, 32GB of RAM, A 500GB SSD, two 2TB internal hard drives, a GTX 1050 TI GPU, a 500w PSU, 5 USB 3.0 ports, a card reader, Wi-Fi, a Blu-Ray drive, and Windows 10. I was able to build this computer for just under $950. Throw in a 21.5 inch IPS display, and you have a set up that can handle RAW files, and 190MB pixel shift files without breaking a sweat.

So, who is the new Mac Pro for? Really, this new Apple computer was designed with video editors in mind. The Mac Pro should be able to rip through 8K video like nobody’s business. If you’re a videographer making some serious bank, and you want to be able to use a computer that will render your 8K footage without huffing and puffing, then this will probably be a solid option for you.

If you’re a photographer with bottomless pits for pockets, and you want the latest and greatest Apple has to offer, then go for it. Otherwise, you’d be better off buying a much lower priced PC, iMac, or MacBook Pro that is more than capable of editing RAW files for thousands less. What do you think about the new Apple Mac Pro? Let us know in the comment section below.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.