New Addition To My Studio

News / 05 April 2020

So my new Mac Pro just arrived and I am stoked! I purchased the 2013 Mac Pro back in 2015 after I watched The Foundry give a presentation for their new Mari for Mac software on the 2013 Mac Pro and how wonderful it ran. At the time I was struggling to use Mari on my 2011 iMac and I needed something with more power. So when I saw the demo it immediately got my attention. It took me a couple of years but I ended up buying the fully loaded Mac Pro with the expectations that all of my Mari problems would magically go away.

2013 Mac Pro specs

  • 12 Core CPU
  • 64 GB’s ram
  • 1 TB ssd
  • Dual AMD D700’s

Alas, I was disappointed. For modeling and ZBrush sculpting the Pro did just fine for me. But I cringed at the thought of having to open up Mari and texture one of my projects. I even tried Substance Painter hoping it would perform better but in the end, neither did. And I really began to shy away from texturing altogether. Which was unfortunate because I really needed to improve my texturing skills—which I still do.

Anyway, fast forward to 2020 and I made the jump to the new Mac Pro, particularly now that you can upgrade it as needed. I was disappointed that Apple still didn’t work well will Nvidia because I would have loved to have an Nvidia card as it seems most software packages tend to support them better than AMD(Of course that may be changing now that AMD has stepped up their game lately).

So I ordered and received this week my new Mac Pro with:

  • 12 Core CPU
  • 32 GB’s ram(I added an additional 32 GB’s for a total of 64)
  • 256 GB SSD
  • Radeon Pro Vega II

I really looked into getting the Vega Duo but when I read that the system would see two gpu’s rather than a single I opted against it because some software(ex. Substance Painter) won’t play nice with them. And if that’s the case then it’s a waste of money unless you work a lot in Final Cut Pro or maybe Davinci Resolve for video work. Earlier versions of Mari didn’t work well with dual GPU’s and I played it safe and stuck with a single GPU with the option of upgrading later if I needed to. Not sure if The Foundry’s newer version of Mari likes dual GPU’s or not though.

I also purchased the XDR Display as well. I’m not much of a colorist so I don’t need it as a reference monitor but I did want the 6k, the HDR capabilities and the fact that it’s an Apple monitor. I had the Thunderbolt monitors before Apple discontinued them and when they announced the XDR I jumped at the opportunity. It is a beautiful monitor, as is the Mac, and while I will hopefully get years of glorious usage out of it, I’m not entirely sure I’ll get $5000 worth of usage, but we’ll see.

I also added an Amfeltec pci-e nvme card that allows me to install 6 nvme blades. I’ll use them to create a RAID 0 configuration for mind-blowing speeds of hopefully over 12GB/sec read and write which is utterly insane. But when you’re working on files that are gigabytes in size, it sure does help from sitting and watching the spinning pinwheel for 10 seconds+ while ZBrush autosaves.

I also upgraded my Wacom tablet from the Cintiq 24HD Touch to the newer Cintiq Pro 24 but I’ll save that experience for another post.

I’m still in the process of setting my new workstation up so I haven’t truly tested the new Mac with any of my software but I will soon and am anxious to either be pleased or disappointed in what I find.

*Fingers crossed*