In Defense of the Mac Pro 2023

guest post by neozeed‘s nephew

There are a few reasons to get an M2 Mac Pro and although many will say the Studio is a better buy for value: that’s only true if you’re not after these important considerations:

  • The ability to install your own *bootable* SSD: nearly every major Mac reviewer ignored this insanely important feature.
  • The ability to install internal storage (and go beyond 8 TB), period: do we really want a cocktail of external HDDs attached? I don’t!
  • The ability to install an internal USB A licensing dongle: unless you’re sharing your dongle over the network with 3rd party software from an RPi hiding in a closet (you should try VirtualHere if you want cross-platform dongle sharing it’s great), you don’t want to accidentally shear it off costing thousands of dollars of lost licensing.
  • The Magic Keyboard and (black) Magic Mouse are bundled (this is not the case with the Mac Studio or the MacBook Pro adding a substanstial cost. However, since the AppleCare+ is more expensive for the Mac Pro over the Mac Studio you could argue these costs cancel themselves out… unless you’re Icarus with a wax wallet instead of wax wings and never purchase AppleCare+).

Recently ‘GoFetch’ made the headlines, but it’s irrelevant for a variety of reasons in my opinion: 1) you won’t have WAN-exploitable instances of GoFetch in the real world, 2) it does indeed affect some Intel processors and probably others. The way all processors are designed now with speculative execution, CVE-after-CVE is unavoidable so the sensationalization has worn out its appeal. Even the once-ironclad AMD processors are afflicted with a bunch of nasty CVEs now too. \rant

Mac Pro vs PS/2 Model 95

After an eye-watering $8000: refurbished base model with AppleCare+ 🤮💸💸, we’re greeted with our new friend. The Cheese Grater (2023 Mac Pro) has befriended the Ardent Tool of Capitalism (PS/2 Model 95)! It’s odd how both share silly nicknames and a very similar height sans handles. Both systems symbolize the same sentiment that Louis Ohland shared many years ago: “Think of a business computer being used for purely personal reasons. Fist pump at the man! Isn’t using a corporate tool because you can an expression of free will?”*

*Louis Ohland is the guy who nicknamed the PS/2 Model 95, the Ardent Tool of Capitalism.

Q&A

Q: will I grate cheese on both of them?

A: only if you clean up the cheese residue for me. Are Personal System/2s even food-safe???

Storage

Sonnet M.2 4×4 NVMe PCI-e

The first thing we’ll need to do is install an NVMe PCI-e card. I’m going with the overly-priced “Sonnet M.2 4×4”, because the 2×4 card is nearly the same price making it a horribly valued product and we may as well expand this thing with four NVMes to get our money’s worth. It’s not really clear if the Sonnet M.2 4×4’s controller outperforms the Sonnet M.2 2×4 (they don’t use the same one), but both operate on gen 3 and the NVMes themselves are gen 3 so none of it really matters. There are much cheaper NVMe PCI-e cards but most are not compatible with Macs, you’re paying the tax for the fancy firmware… otherwise buy a much cheaper card if you’re on Windows or Linux. The card only came in a pink ‘static suppressant bag’ instead of a true antistatic bag which is laughable at how much sonnet is charging, and Amazon appears to have taken a bite out of the box.

For the primary boot NVMe we’re going with a 2TB 970 EVO Plus. I know Louis Rossmann decried them as being unreliable after he torched a bunch in some custom gaming rigs with sketchy PSUs, but they’re good drives if you don’t kill them with dirty PSU voltage rails. Always use quality PSUs folks. This is why many Maxtors failed due to the ST SMOOTH chips receiving power from PSUs outputting higher than 12v, and not the drives themselves… same thing applies today when you eclipse 12v on your power rails. I’ve also been running one in a ThinkPad for more than a year and it’s been fine.

For the remaining tertiary storage we’re going with some WD Green SN350s: solely because they’re compatible with macOS — the macOS compatibility with NVMes is very specific unfortunately. Otherwise I would have went with more TeamGroup 4TB drives as they’re one of the best value for money (particularly the TM8FP4004T0C101, it uses better NANDs than the more expensive and inferior 4TB offerings from Crucial and WD). Yeah… the cost of NVMe disks isn’t absolute, sometimes cheaper ones use better NANDs and you can be fleeced by brand recognition and false-positive specs on gen4 which I imagine is what Crucial capitalizes on.

[If you don’t know what I’m talking about: the Crucial and Western Digital NVMe drives always cheap out and use QLC NANDs instead of proper TLC NANDs as TeamGroup and Samsung do; and obviously they’re not going to advertise they’re cheating you and will price their products the same as the competition. Very similar to the whole SMR/CMR debacle, why would Western Digital tell you you’re buying something cheaper at a premium cost??? Caching is an entirely different thing separate to this and usually only the Samsung drives have ‘true’ dedicated cache logic, which is why I’m using the 970 EVO Plus as a boot/OS NVMe]

reinstalling MacOS

Fortunately we don’t need a second mac to perform OS reinstallation so the ‘Apple Configurator’ is not needed. The procedure is as simple as this: Press & hold power button until the recovery menu pops up, choose ‘continue’, choose reinstall OS, choose the new drive (in this case the Samsung drive I just formatted as “OS”). I know a lot of people raise an eyebrow requiring a second mac for when the system does actually need to be completely restored if it can’t boot into the internal recovery mode; just when you haven’t paid Apple enough you also need a second Mac to perform recovery and restoration. Even neozeed himself encountered this problem and with a heavy sigh (a very heavy sigh) and mild disbelief, set up a macOS VM for restoration since he only owns one. 😂

Once this is completed we’ll no longer be using the proprietary SSD that’s present on the Mac Pro. It DOES still need to be present in the system for the computer to POST (Apple marries it against the security IC so it’s intrinsic and serialized to the computer based on configured storage), but presumably as it won’t be written to anymore it’ll never become exhausted from write cycles… and even if it did fail over time, as a result of ordering the bottom-of-the-barrel 1TB model I could just buy another ‘cheap’ 1TB card which would allow the system to resume POSTing once again. If the soldered-in RAM or CPU fails then it’s game over; as much micro-soldering as I do, I refuse to purchase even more tools to swap out underfilled BGA ICs… and then of course you have to hope employees at Foxconn actually managed to sneak out unused genuine ones to be resold on AliExpress or eBay. *sigh*

With us now being able to use our own bootable SSD, the primary failure and annoyance of ARM-based Macs is now mitigated. For the Mac Studio you could buy backup replacement SSDs to constantly replace as they wear out (they would have to match what storage size the system was preconfigured with), but keep in mind I can add 8TB cheaply and have my own bootable SSD. And in the event you need to do data recovery or read the drive on another system, anything — even your grandma’s phonograph — can read NVMes so it’s much less of a hassle. As much as I hate to say it I think the Mac Studio makes less sense over the Mac Pro BECAUSE of the storage… you’re already buying an overpriced computer, may as well go the full distance for proper storage? Everyone’s living in the honeymoon phase right now while all of the NANDs are under warranty and still functioning… but once they start failing it’ll be a nasty money pit at best, or unfixable at worst. And do you know how many people make one computer their whole life and allow it to spontaneously fail with no backups?

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

An ARM-based Mac using internal NVMes, is that not a nice thing? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? And no need to pay ~$2000 for 8TB. I did have to shell out $400 for the stupid SoNNeT card and $400 for the SSDs… buuut if I paid $2000 worth of SSDs I would far eclipse 8TB. In this screenshot you can also see the ‘OS’ Samsung SSD now the primary ‘Startup disk’. Fortunately, Apple’s utility automatically switched it over after I reinstalled the OS to this drive shockingly enough, so nothing more needed even on that.

Internal USB, perfect for Dongles:

Installing the iLok dongle

The iLok licensing dongle installs nicely inside the internal USB A port. Kind of reminds me of those internal VMware USB A ports meant for the ESX installation… and then you know they’d eventually go bad or corrupt themselves and the internal IT of that company never makes a backup so then you need to reconfigure ESX from scratch… good times. What? I’m not salty, not salty at all. The Sonnet NVMe card being installed on the first slot (bottom) does seem to bring more attention to the fact there’s so many unpopulated PCI-e slots.

What should be used as the display option?

1. The Dell UltraSharp U3224KB 6K actually has a few potential compatibility problems with macOS or the hardware (it’s not really well-known as Dell support gave up troubleshooting it), so you’ll get various screen distortions. It’s also possibly one of the most UGLY products I’ve ever seen in my life… the web camera looks like a malignancy, and I absolutely can’t stand silver-painted plastic. Complain about Apple’s prices all you want, at least they use nice materials.

2. The Pro Display XDR is just a little bit too much for my taste and sometimes temperamental as it’s such a complicated display (contrary to popular mythology it does not use OLED technology so it shouldn’t burn out over time). I honestly don’t think I would encounter any problems if I bought a Pro Display XDR but the cost is too much.

It’s Free Real Estate – Tim & Eric

3. That basically leaves us with the Studio Display. A lot of the 3rd party Samsung/ASUS/LG 4K or 5K offerings have dramatically inferior colour or a larger pixel size… and there’s still the potential aspect of compatibility since non-Apple hardware sometimes doesn’t play nicely. While the Studio Display is much-maligned with its high cost and strangely attached power plug, its DPI is the same as the Pro Display XDR you just get less screen real-estate and inferior contrast which I don’t care too much about. It will still look much better than your garden variety LG 27” 4K UHD Ultrafine because the colour is calibrated very well and it gets decently bright… again… I wish YouTube reviewers would point some of these things out instead assume that every display is equivalent to Apple’s offerings when they’re not. And in the event, you do find the 5K 27″ displays from other manufacturers they’re still at 60Hz. The refurbished Studio Display I had my eye on from Apple is no longer available, so I’ll be waiting for a bit until they stock another one… or maybe they’ll get a heavily marked down Pro Display XDR…. in the meantime, I’m stuck using one of my gaming monitors which has 240Hz and strobing to reduce ghosting, which does work on macOS!.. and makes macOS look so different since I’m used to how it looks with all of the ghosting all the time.

Another little something that’s rarely discussed: the nano-texture glass option causes a slight ‘frosting’ which is especially noticeable on text… it’s only meant as a compromise if you’re working in a literal sun room, sometimes more expensive does not mean better. This is exemplified with the M2 MacBook Air situation: if you opted for the superior GPU it ended up running more slowly because of the thermal throttling so the lower-end GPU option is more performant, lol. Of course Apple doesn’t always disclose these caveats or finer details, but their divisions responsible for publishing the products may not be privy to them.

Peripherals:

Onto the peripherals: I will indeed be using the Magic Mouse… before your jaw drops and you grab some tomatoes while calling me a heretic, let me explain. The Magic Mouse is one of the few peripherals with velocity sensitive 360º scrolling AND fully integrated in the UI of the operating system. This is extraordinarily similar and analogous to IBM’s ScrollPoint which also offered dynamic 360º scrolling and to a lesser extent the TrackPoint scrolling but which only offers vertical and horizontal. Needless to say 360º scrolling and horizontal scrolling is something I use all the time and cannot fathom why we still even have (notched!) mouse wheels. It’s bizarrely a mouse Apple seemingly designed specifically for me and nobody else, I imagine average or larger hands would be extremely uncomfortable with it and Apple really should offer a larger version to encompass a better demographic.

Men & Mice

The Magic Mouse and ScrollPoint Pro share very similar design philosophies in the way we scroll. I also made another strange discovery when I was looking for some more flat slick mousepads since the Magic Mice don’t work well on cloth ones at all, and that are these 3M ‘Precise’ mouse pads: AMAZON LINK.

Apparently the 3M mouse pads have a reflective material which allows the lasers to use less strength and thus supposedly saves 50% battery life, some Magic Mouse users affirmed this, so we’ll see how this goes down. It’s kind of surprising I’ve never heard of any tech reviewers mention these because saving 50% of battery life on a wireless mouse is huge.

Keyboards..

There’s a lot of good reasons to NOT use Bluetooth keyboards due to wireless keylogging, there’s not going to be anyone with that talent in rural Canada so I’m in the clear. You could buy a Matias keyboard but they’re actually worse in many aspects than the 1st party Apple keyboards: the legend printing is of dramatically worse quality, the surface of the keycaps don’t have that special velvety texture, and the snappiness of the scissor switches is probably worse. While I have many mechanical keyboards, I don’t care so much about it anymore. The Apple Magic Keyboard is just a little bit too flat for my tastes today so I ordered a “ESC Flip PRO Computer Keyboard Stand”, which can stick on the back and give you different height adjustments if needed.

onboard LEDs everywhere.

Both the iLok and Sonnet NVMe card have so many LEDs on them you can see the lightshow through the rear of the ‘grater’ now.

Now my plans are to use this thing for at least a decade to get my money’s worth: will 64GB of RAM be enough? To that I say: 64GB ought to be enough for anybody. The only major hindrance will be the forced software obsolescence when the Apple overlords declare it will not be receiving anymore updates… and then you know things like the Roland Cloud and other major vendor software will cease to get updates and functionally work. It’s appalling at how all software is heavily DRMed and requires a live account to work against. At the very least when WWIII breaks out I’ll have plenty of premium aluminum to donate to the state, forged by Tim Apple himself!

For the record I was never really an ‘Apple person’, but they’ve finally fixed all of the problems (mice have two buttons and the keyboard layout is restored to be more IBM-like) and made a product that fulfills everything I’ve ever wanted… AND forced developers to program for ARM: so now my Stallman-not-approved-absolutely-proprietary audio software runs incredibly well on a non-x86 platform. Astounding. Yeah there were some 3rd party mice that had two buttons for Macs ‘back in the day’ but a good portion of the *software* and games weren’t programmed for a real right click rendering it useless. I remember watching a ‘making-of’ video of the Myst developers pushing down Ctrl with the mouse to right click EVERY SINGLE TIME in their 3D modelling software and nearly fell off my chair… it’s quite jarring when you need to press a button on the keyboard at the same time with clicking the mouse so I’ve no idea how they tolerated that. Maybe they loved doing it? Who knows.

It’s crazy how much changes, and how much is the same

21 thoughts on “In Defense of the Mac Pro 2023

  1. sorry kid, but what’s your point?
    why did you wrote this, what you wanted to say?
    “i’m a rich kid with a lot of money to spend, look, all!”, that was your point?
    or did we need to read this just because you are neozeed‘s nephew?
    next article will be from neozeed‘s aunt i guess?
    gosh.

    • TIL I’m rich and literally neozeed’s nephew.
      #1 to discuss bootable NVMe storage on Apple Silicon
      #2 to discuss 360º scrolling peripherals
      #3 to cover nuance on Apple displays
      #4 specific attributes of the Mac Pro that make it useful over the Mac Studio

  2. This article is one of the many reasons why I avoid all Apple products. The four bullet points that start off this article come across as absolutely ridiculous to anyone who routinely buys non-Apple hardware. Installing additional RAM, bootable SSDs, USB dongles, black keyboards and mice…..all standard options on 99.9% of non-Apple hardware out there….If you want to keep paying more for less, keep sending Apple your money.

    • I’m actually in favour of the RAM being soldered-in for the M series because it allows better integration and performance with the CPU, but the proprietary SSDs are purely anti-consumer and vindictive.

      The real more is running macOS for the proprietary multimedia software, that is until developers port to other platforms which they won’t. Nothing else available on the market to marry all software cohesively, and the M series are so performant.

      • “I’m actually in favour of the RAM being soldered-in for the M series because it allows better integration and performance with the CPU but the proprietary SSDs are purely anti-consumer and vindictive.”

        That’s an irrelevant point to most performance-oriented PC users who will buy a discrete GPU to meet their needs. RAM soldered to the board is just as proprietary, anti-consumer and vindictive. On M-series systems, it means no RAM upgrades for your CPU nor your GPU. You are locked into a finite amount of RAM with no possibility of upgrading to a better GPU without moving to the next newer system that Apple releases at a boutique price, which is exactly what Apples wants.

        • Well a standard PC user isn’t going to buy a specialized workstation and probably has no need for something like a macbook. M2 Ultra with base 64 GB of RAM already eclipses any feasible upgrades for many years to come and it runs all of my software the fastest I’ve ever seen defying Wirth’s Law for the first time; and even if you could upgrade it, the system would have other deficiencies at that point. If we want to take a 19 year old system like my Pentium 4 as an example: I did upgrade it to an RTX2060, but the CPU has no further upgrades because intel never released anything beyond a 3.8 GHz prescott 2M causing one IC to have 12nm but the other 90nm. So even if a CPU is socketed there’s no guarantee that you can continue upgrading the CPU even though you could in theory upgrade other parts. So you’re always going to be “locked-in” by some component of a system even if it has sockets.

          Soldered-in memory has always been a thing (IBM has been doing it forever i.e. PS/2E, Transnote & 701C) and it’s only going to become more popular.

          • I never said a word about “standard PC users”. You did. I stated, “performance-oriented PC users”. There’s a huge difference and any references I made to “standard” were in regards to “industry standards”, something which Apple will always avoid in order to gouge its customers. And for the record, people who buy M-series Macs are usually just hipsters with too much money and too little common sense who only care about surfing the web, social media and graphic arts or music. This article and the entire thread has devolved into you gaslighting anyone who responds to or criticizes your article and now you’re tossing around a bunch of meaningless specs in order to overwhelm us with your vast knowledge. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that Apple paid you to publish this article. And no, soldered-in memory HASN’T always been a thing. The first PCs and Macs NEVER had soldered-in memory and most PCs even today avoid it for good reason. Soldered-in RAM is usually only found in laptops and budget systems. Computer users interested in performance avoid systems with soldered-in memory for very good reasons for which you seem blissfully unaware of. Or maybe you are aware ,but you’re just unwilling to admit it and will keep gaslighting respondents to protect your fragile ego.

          • Stephen Ferrell: “I never said a word about “standard PC users”. You did. I stated, “performance-oriented PC users”. There’s a huge difference and any references I made to “standard” were in regards to “industry standards”, something which Apple will always avoid in order to gouge its customers.”

            I meant standard PC users as in enthusiasts which all of your arguments are coming from. Someone actually in performance computing (whether private or corporate) will not be concerned with cost or even sockets, most of which doesn’t use standard sockets or memory controllers anyways.

            Stephen Ferrell: “and any references I made to “standard” were in regards to “industry standards”, something which Apple will always avoid in order to gouge its customers.”

            OEMs defy standards all the time, IBM has soldered CPUs to mobos directly, lenovo used proprietary jacks for external dongles, HPE serializes HDDs and RAM against the UEFI so you have to buy their parts etc. A simple Google search would reveal all of this to you.

            Stephen Ferrell: “And for the record, people who buy M-series Macs are usually just hipsters with too much money and too little common sense who only care about surfing the web, social media and graphic arts or music.”

            Conclusory statements like that are dangerous. There’s not enough hispters in the world to warrant Apple’s stock and there are serious users who make usage of macOS’ UNIX functionality.

            Stephen Ferrell: “This article and the entire thread has devolved into you gaslighting anyone who responds to or criticizes your article and now you’re tossing around a bunch of meaningless specs in order to overwhelm us with your vast knowledge.”

            I’m just responding to anyone who’s curious and explaining my rationale as the Mac Pro 2023 does indeed have its niche 🙂

            Stephen Ferrell: “If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that Apple paid you to publish this article.”

            Then you’ve never read it well as many things I’ve mentioned are quite anti-Apple, they also wouldn’t portray their products against vintage IBM ones.

            Stephen Ferrell: “And no, soldered-in memory HASN’T always been a thing. The first PCs and Macs NEVER had soldered-in memory”

            Some of the memory ICs on the original IBM PC 5150 are in fact directly soldered on with no sockets. ZX Spectrum had fully soldered-in memory too. Can’t comment on early Macs as already mentioned, I’m not an Apple person this is the first mac tower I’ve ever purchased.

  3. USB Dongles suck. I assume you’re a musician because I can’t think of any other industry that still tolerates that crap. It’s absolutely justifiable ‘piracy’ to use a dongle emulator.

    • It’s funny, I used to really hate licensing dongles. But now consider the fact things like the Roland Cloud have an online DRM that need an active internet connection to phone home regluarly to keep the product activated.

      In 50 years the licensing dongle will still be working, but that online DRM software may not be (activation servers may go down, OS and versions may no longer be supported etc).

      It’s funny how companies now make products so bad you begin to look at licensing dongles in a positive light……….

  4. The “bundled” (included in price; they’re not free) keyboard and mouse would be a reason *not* to get it IMHO. As far as I’m concerned, Apple haven’t made a usable desktop keyboard since the A1048 (which is what I’m typiing this comment with).

    These days you can’t even buy a full-travel Mac layout keyboard from third parties (I’ve looked) because they’re so obsessed with mindlessly cloning what Apple makes. No, a PC keyboard isn’t a good solution; at best you have to use software kludges to remap the modifier keys and here in the UK Apple uses a non-standard layout (which is pretty unacceptable in itself; Apple respects nearly all other national keyboard standards but hates the UK for some reason, odd since Jony Ive is a Brit; Apple really haven’t made any design changes since he left), so for “best results” you’d have to start with a US-layout PC keyboard…

    Kinda weird that you highlight the bundled peripherals as a selling point, then later go on to comment on how unergonomic they are…

    • I wanted to highlight the curious dichotomy of how polarizing they can be, but simultaneously productive and functional if you’re the 1% of the population who can use them.

      The current Magic Touch keyboards (I think) are the best keyboards Apple has made to date. The keys are simultaneously very light (30~ grams) but very, very crisp. The only complaint I had was the lack of height adjustment and the solution was the “ESC Flip PRO Computer Keyboard Stand”, to anyone who was interested. Compared to the stiffer chiclets that Lenovo makes, the Apple ones blow them completely away. Compared to Apple’s past keyboards as a whole they’re nowhere near as crisp as these new ones.

      Yeah the ISO Magic Keyboard layouts look horrible, I was quite shocked when I seen them. *phew* good thing I prefer ANSI, I guess! Joking aside this all just goes back to the whole problem of Apple really cutting out a huge demographic of users who have different preferences, requirements, physiology and tastes *from mine*.

      TLDR: I love these new Magic series of peripherals and they work well for me but they’re certainly not inclusive for others; you’ve no idea how many people get riled up when I say I both love and use the Magic Mouse.

  5. I moved from Apple when they started to include the T2 chip in their machines (Them were still Intel when it happened).
    Looks like it was a good decision. The M2 stuff isn’t only non-standard all integrated SoC hardware which can’t even bootcamp Windows, but is locked in a way it becomes automatically eTrash when it fails. Everything in the M2 machines is serialized, and tied to an Apple account in their iCloud.

    They may be performant (depending if the chip has a coprocessor for what you want to do) but the price and hassle I have to pay, at least to me, isn’t worth it.

    • You don’t actually need an Apple/iCloud account: I’ve both purchased the machines from Apple directly and configured macOS without ever creating one. Boot Camp’s kind of irrelevant on the ARM systems since Parallels can run Windows faster than baremetal x86, and ARM Windows runs virtually nothing at the moment.

      T2 chip doesn’t matter much when there’s irreplaceable proprietary ICs in everything now, it is a needless achille’s heel though, much like restricting POSTing requiring to see the Apple SSD.

      It’s really dependent on the ecosystem of software you use (right tool for the right job); if no proprietary software is required a moderately priced x86 machine with Linux would make the most sense. Of course because of “developers developers developers” we’re still forced to choose between Windows or macOS whether it’s in business or private.

  6. @ The Nephew. There’s absolutely nothing anti-Apple about your article. In fact, it’s written as if it’s a fan boy article.

    The first PCs and Macs allowed for dedicated RAM slots and sockets because operating systems and software application requirements were constantly growing. Constant upgrades of the CPU, GPU and RAM were a necessity. In regard to operating systems and applications, this is still the case today. PCs back then could even be upgraded with more RAM after the SIMM/DIMM sockets or slots on the mainboard were filled by installing an ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) board populated with more SIMM/DIMM slots or socketed RAM chips. Apple has spent the past 40 years stepping further and further away from industry standards and the only reason for doing so is to keep its customers locked in to expensive Apple proprietary solutions. Apple has gone down this path not only with RAM but with other hardware such as NuBus, Firewire, MagSafe, ADC, etc….always claiming that the reason for these non-standard interfaces were for reasons of performance. That simply wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now. A prime example is how Apple was forcing iPhone users to use more expensive proprietary ports and chargers. Thankfully the EU saw thru Apple’s BS and passed legislation forcing Apple to put “standard” USB-C ports on their phones. With current Apple Macs, you don’t even have the option of running non-Apple operating systems unless you’re into some serious hackery that risks bricking your device, something that was supported on pre M-series Macs. And God forbid you need to repair an Apple product. Most users will be forced to just buy another piece of hardware from Apple if their current system malfunctions or fails whether it’s a Mac, Apple Watch, iPhone, or whatever. Apple doesn’t want you upgrading or repairing anything they produce. They want you to buy new hardware every 18-24 months to maximize their profits.

    Hey, I want to buy a system with a fixed amount of RAM where the RAM, CPU, storage, and GPU are soldered to the board so that I can never expand it. Said no computer user EVER!

    Everywhere else in the world, a budget-built system is one engineered with a fixed amount of RAM soldered to the mainboard with no option for upgrading the CPU, GPU, storage or RAM. But Apple users live in some sort of Bizarro World where they have been brainwashed into thinking that buying a budget-built system produced by Apple and sold at boutique prices is a good thing and somehow chic.

    • Stephen Ferrell: “The first PCs and Macs allowed for dedicated RAM slots and sockets because operating systems and software application requirements were constantly growing. Constant upgrades of the CPU, GPU and RAM were a necessity.”

      As I had already mentioned, the IBM PC 5150 had soldered-in memory ICs which you’ve chosen to ignore, the ZX Spectrum and C64 had fixed memory; you had to use later external expansion devices which nobody really did. RAM slots were not a thing back then (IBM revolutionized the PC by bringing SIMMs to the Personal System/2 series which clone manufacturers followed, and guess what, they used proprietary modules). And we’ve not even gotten into the infamous 640K limitation. Sockets/bus never guarantee endless system memory expansion. GPUs as we know today didn’t exist then and in some instances (many instances) you were limited to whatever onboard 2D acceleration the machine came with (re: PS/2 Model 25, PS2/E), and there were so few graphics cards released for MCA that you almost always had XGA/2. We’ve not even gotten into all of the problems with all of the conflicting graphics standards back then, and yes many boards did have the 2D accelerators and character ICs soldered on to the boards or integrated in something else.

      You’re viewing vintage computers through rose tinted glasses as if there were never any issues or if each system actually could be upgraded without reprimand.

      Stephen Ferrell: “In regard to operating systems and applications, this is still the case today. PCs back then could even be upgraded with more RAM after the SIMM/DIMM sockets or slots on the mainboard were filled by installing an ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) board populated with more SIMM/DIMM slots or socketed RAM chips.”

      You’re conflating computer science history by merging in modern concepts with old… SIMMs and DIMMs did not exist during the original IBM PC. Upgrading a system through an ISA or MCA bus had certain limitations based on if your card was compatible with the motherboard or if the OS could even handle it. Sometimes there were even problems with these external memory cards and they did not always work reliably or with all software. Then you also had things like the infamous Intel cache tag on Pentium 1, if you upgrade most socket 5 or socket 7 systems beyond 64 MB the system cannot cache it and your performance tanks, so you effectively have a system that wastes hundreds of megabytes of potential memory.

      Whiiiich goes back to the whole thing where if everything is integrated in a single solution contoured to what you need, you’re not going to have all of those problems. We take this all for granted now.

      • I never said a single word about the IBM PC. Why do you keep putting words in my mouth. IBM was just as bad as Apple when it came to proprietary, expensive solutions. I keep talking about industry standards and you keep bringing up examples of companies who have/had no interested in standards because it hurt their bottom line. A single solution can in no way be “contoured” to everyone’s needs. You keep using marketing terms to convince everyone that Apple has the solution for every user. If that were that case, Apple’s market share would be much greater than the 20% mark where it stood in 2023. Macs certainly don’t fit into my work flow because my business runs software that isn’t even available to run on M-series Macs such as AutoCAD. And before you start crowing about Rosetta, AutoCAD with any extensions won’t even run properly under Rosetta and AutoDesk doesn’t even offer AutoCAD for M-series Macs. They still offer it for Intel based Macs but even that’s problematic because most of the civil engineering design and CAM extensions for AutoCAD don’t work under MacOS and never will. There are a huge number of users and businesses out there who rely on industry standard hardware and software and Apple has no interest in either. They’ve chosen to stay in a niche market where they sell hardware in a salon at boutique prices for casual, hipster users who are willing to pay steep prices just to stay in fashion. In the engineering field, whenever we think about systems to do our heavy lifting, Apple is not on the list, period. Contour that.

        • Stephen Ferrell: “I never said a single word about the IBM PC. Why do you keep putting words in my mouth.” | “The first PCs and Macs NEVER had soldered-in memory”

          You said “first PCs”: all of the PC’s standards “back in the day” came from IBM and all of the first PCs were IBM, hence IBM PC or IBM PC compatible. You assume I’m putting words in your mouth because you can’t rationalize public knowledge. Computers today are at a plateau unlike the 80’s, so 64GB of RAM is far more remarkable than 640K. Come on.

          Stephen Ferrell: “You keep using marketing terms to convince everyone that Apple has the solution for every user.”
          I said the exact opposite, I’ve no idea why you claim I put words in your mouth when you perform that exactly of what you accuse.

          Stephen Ferrell: “Macs certainly don’t fit into my work flow because my business runs software that isn’t even available to run on M-series Macs such as AutoCAD.”
          Autodesk is notorious for keeping their software on Windows and treating their employees poorly (Gary Yost went in depth with this extensively), you’d have to roll back the clock 25 years if you want proprietary CAD on UNIX (re: CATIA). Or you’d have to switch to FreeCAD.

    • Stephen Ferrell: “Apple has spent the past 40 years stepping further and further away from industry standards and the only reason for doing so is to keep its customers locked in to expensive Apple proprietary solutions.”

      I’ve already mentioned that all OEMs tend to divert from standards when it’s convenient for them, you’ve chosen to ignore this. Tim Apple and Bill Gates never have your best interests in mind. Microsoft have done horrible things to UEFI, and they lie saying GPT requires UEFI… it does not, GPT predates UEFI itself.

      Stephen Ferrell: “Apple has gone down this path not only with RAM but with other hardware such as NuBus, Firewire, MagSafe, ADC, etc….always claiming that the reason for these non-standard interfaces were for reasons of performance.”

      Certainly, and ADB was deliberately wired such that plugging a PS/2 device in there blew up the port. Um… Firewire isn’t exclusive to Apple, IBM co-developed it which is why many IBMs have firewire and it did have better performance over USB and was bidirectional, you should know that? All laptops use proprietary power plugs generally, I don’t see what your argument is there. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a completely proprietary-free device, and quite frankly the proprietary aspects of vintage computers is what interests me the most… hence the PS/2 Model 95.

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