First impression of the new Mac Pro

I just finished setting up the machine and will post a little more shortly but I was really impressed with how easy it is to set up and configure the Mac Pro. I needed to add two additional drives and 10GB of extra memory (now totaling 12GB). Having come from the Windows world where I manually built my previous machines the construction and design for the Mac Pro is just excellent. I'll put it into perspective:

Time to install an additional hard drive: less than one minute
Time to install 10 GB of memory (6 DIMMs): less than two minutes
Time to partition and format 2TB of disk space: less than one minute (total)

I grabbed my little Canon SD1100 and shot a really quick video on how to install an additional hard drive in a Mac Pro so you get an idea of how incredibly simple this is:

The machine that I pulled out of the carton looked brand new. I could not detect anything wrong with it at all. The only slight thing I found was a tiny little nick on the edge of the keyboard; and that was because I was looking really closely for any kind of damage at all.

The Mac Pro is extremely quiet - I really can't hear it at all below the desk.

I've already decided that the Mighty Mouse has to go - the Logitech Mx510, one of which I also use on my MacBook, is already attached. I'm going to give the keyboard a little time, though coming from a large Microsoft ergonomic keyboard this may take some getting used to. I may be shopping around for a decent ergonomic keyboard replacement soon.

The other item on my shopping list will be a decent web cam so that I can do video chats and ideally use the microphone for dubbing over videos. I'll throw in another post as soon as I have my key software loaded on the machine but so far so good!

I'll also have some pictures for the next post.


Anonymous said…
Since you said it was refurbished, might I ask where you bought it from?
David Alison said…
@Zac-Wight: sure! Apple. Here is a link to all the refurbished machines.

Here is a link to the specific machine I bought.
Anonymous said…
Matias keyboards are supposedly the cat's whiskers. In particular, their Tactile Pro keyboard is the same mechanism that Apple used in the very early 90's. They had a metal frame, built heavy and SOLID. Concerning the Apple keyboard, I worked for a while at a newspaper, and they had one of those keyboards still in service over 10 years later. It had been used so much there was a very visible dent worn into the right end of the spacebar from the literally millions of times it had been pressed.

Now the Matias Tactile Pro is $150, but for a professional it may be worth it. I cannot say from experience. They also have other, less expensive models.

MacAlly also makes some good Mac specific keyboards, at more reasonable prices. I have been happy with their products.

For 10 years now, Apple's keyboards have been the weakest part of their systems. That new silver Apple keyboard is a toy!

Note: I have no interest in companies mentioned, just interest as a user.
David Alison said…
@Anon: Thanks for the keyboard recommendations! I'm going to give this keyboard a chance but I'm a heavy touch typist and the ergonomic keyboards (the type split in the middle) are just more comfortable for me. I appreciate the links!
Robert said…
Please post when you get your camera and how it compares to your iSight one on the laptop.
Hendrik said…
I am using a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard with my Mac at home. Works just fine. I don't care if the keys have the Apple specific symbols or not, I am not looking at the keys anyway while typing.
At work I am using the Mac flat aluminum keyboard. Which is not nearly as bad to type on as I thought it would be. I still think I like the Microsoft keyboard better.
Anonymous said…
I have to say that I absolutely love my thin aluminum Mac keyboard. I really liked the keyboard that comes with the MacBook notebook computer. I had been using the older clear plastic one and it was a real problem. The keys actually started losing the ability to move properly. I don't understand why, but as soon as Apple released the thin keyboard, I snatched it up. Been loving it ever since.

As to a webcam... Good luck! I have been looking and looking and just haven't really found any decent webcams. At least not as good as the one that comes with my MacBook. I really don't understand why Apple stopped selling the iSight.

I have been watching eBay for an iSight, but the price is just a little too steep for me. I don't want to pay more than $90 for one. At least not for one that is only the camera and a Firewire cable.

The iSight is great since it has "auto-focus". This means I could use it with Delicious Library to scan barcodes in and still use it as a normal webcam without having to adjust the focus each time.

If you do find a webcam that you like, please post about it here so that I can check it out.

Thanks and enjoy your new (and very heavy ;) ) toy!
David Alison said…
I do like the keyboard on the MacBook, which is why I'm willing to give the Mac aluminum keyboard a shot. Moving large chunks of data over to the Mac Pro now. This machine really does scream!
Xcalybur said…
I am wondering if all the buttons on your G5 are working correctly? Specifically the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th? What software are you using to get it to work? I can't get anything but the regular 1, 2, and 3rd buttons to work.
David Alison said…
@Chris S: Sorry man, not sure I understand the question. Do you mean mouse buttons?
Could I recommend the Kinesis ergonomic keyboards? I've got 3 of them; I bought the first one about 6.5 years ago, and it was only just recently that I had a few keys start to act up.
g7whatever said…
If you have a video camera with firewire on it you can always use that as your web cam.
David Alison said…
@Cyclist: Thanks for the tip. The only problem is they are Windows specific keyboards - while they probably work fine with a Mac I'd really like to get something that has the Mac keys even though only a few are different from Windows. As I've been typing on this Apple keyboard it is starting to grow on me.

@G7Whatever: Hmmm - hadn't thought of that. I do have a Sony based HD camera that has firewire. I'll see if that will work. What I think I want is something that simply hangs right on the edge of my monitors though.
Anonymous said…
I also have an Apple MacPro refurb. Not a bad deal. Regarding a cam for the MacPro. I bought a Logitech Vision MP for Mac and I can't say it is all that good, a lot of noise in the picture unless you have a lot of light. I remember the iSight working better on my older Macs that did not have a cam built-in.
g7whatever said…
The firewire camera will work, you should be able to choose it if the camera is on when you open iChat, and the nice thing is that anyone you are chatting with with get a great camera image. But I am sure that you will be able to find an affordable that hangs off the monitor. With your HD cam I think you could use the joby tripods with them and they are also coming out with some cool attachment parts for mounting an ipod or other accessories. Linkage:
Eytan said…
I would recommend against a FireWire camera if you want to use it with a VM. While a FireWire camera will work fine with BootCamp, neither of the VMs out there (Neither Parallels nor Fusion) support FW devices other than standard disk devices. The internal iSight on all new Macs is USB, and therefore supported under the VMs. I am finding this to be an issue with my iSight and my Mac Pro - I wish I also had a USB cam for use under Windows when running the VMs.

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