I’m pretty much over my Mac itch, but I wanted to write this down to really try to convince myself.
The Mac Pro is not a desktop, in the traditional PC sense of the desktop.
It’s easy to fall into this trap… it looks like a desktop, it has desktop-like hardware, it’s by far the most upgradeable Mac.
And yet, when it comes down to it, the upgradability is only skin-deep, and this is why it’s not a real desktop.
Want to add memory or hard drive space? Sure that works, but that also works on laptops and iMacs.
Want to upgrade the CPU? Well… that sorta probably works, but isn’t supported.
Want to upgrade the motherboard + CPU + memory? forget it.
Want to upgrade the graphics card? OK, as long as you pick from the three supported ones, which sometimes cost twice as much as they should.
So really, the Mac Pro is very appliance like. It just happens that you can throw a ton of HDD or RAM into it, and if you buy it right when it comes out, you can have four top-of-the-line video cards. But in two years, you’re stuck with a machine that’s very hard to upgrade.. either by replacing core parts with new ones, or by building a new box and recycling some of the old parts.
Realizing this makes the price seem even more outrageous.
Of course, I’m sure the people who buy these things don’t really care.
Also, if you look at things like Dells and HPs, it’s unclear how much better the situation is there. At least with OEM’ed PC’s you can buy a graphics card every year.