Apple has always charged lost of additional taxes. The brand tax. The luxury tax. The "we're Apple so we're cool" tax. However, with one of their newest editions, the Mac Pro, we feel they've really crossed the line. Additionally, at the base configuration (or near that), the Mac Pro is just totally impractical for many reasons. We're going to be doing an in-depth price analysis as well as seeing how much it would cost for you to build one yourself, with similar components.
The Base Configuration
This is where, in my opinion, the Mac Pro's idiocy shines the most. You pay $6000, or around $6400 factoring in an average sales tax. And here's what you get: an 8-core processor (Intel Xeon W), Radeon 580x (8gb GDDR5), 32gb 2933MHz DDR4, 256gb SSD, a great motherboard, a sturdy case, and... uh... you get to flex? These specs, for the price, are absolutely ridiculous. It doesn't even come with wheels (more on that later)! There are three absolutely imbecilic specs here: the processor, storage, and of course, GPU. The processor: yes, 8 cores are good. But for a $6000 computer? An 8-core Ryzen 7 3700x is $300. So, a twentieth of the entire cost of the PC. And, the SSD is 256gb. That is one of the most accursed specs I have ever heard - 256gb of SSD is just $40! In such an incredibly expensive machine, why did Apple cheap out on such a vital component? And the biggest joke of all, the graphics card. A Radeon 580x. That is the kind of GPU you put in a mid-level, 1080p build. It's also $170, or less than 3% of the total cost. So, here's a list we have so far:
Big Heatsink: ???? Durable Case: ????
Total: $1260 + heatsink, case, OS
The "Cheesegrater" style front panel
Yes, the motherboard is great. But if a 580X is all you need, why would you want a server-grade motherboard anyway? To further illustrate how bad of a deal the Mac Pro is, here's a comparison to another PC you could build at $6000:
Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, 32 cores: $1900
Gigabyte X399 TR4 Motherboard: $400
NVIDIA Titan RTX: $2400
Samsung EVO 860 4TB SSD: $480
64gb Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200 MHz: $330
NZXT Kraken X72 360mm water cooler: $200
Corsair Obsidian 750D ATX w/ 140mm fan pre-installed: $165
Windows 10 Home: $100
Total Price: $5975
As you can see, although we have 4 fewer DIMM slots in our motherboard, we have four times as many cores and a GPU that not only packs thrice the amount of GDDR but also GDDR6 instead of GDDR5. We also get 16 times as much SSD and twice the RAM. Now, the three parts you can't buy for any computer: the heatsink, the case, and the OS. As for the heatsink, Apple advertises it as "extremely quiet", which I will believe. However, I think a 360mm radiator with water cooling will more than match that. Now, the case; no doubt an absolute work of art, made completely of stainless steel and with a great design that is multipurpose: it's very durable, it offers great ventilation, and it can grate cheese. There have been many knockoffs of this case, but none of them are very good and have been reported to feel flimsy. Apple definitely rose above competitors with its signature sleek and durable design style for the case. However, I still find it hard to believe that it would make up so much of the cost of the Mac Pro, especially considering that steel is cheaper than the aluminum most high-end cases are made of. In summary, I believe the Mac Pro base configuration is only there because a configuration that took advantage of the motherboard, case, etc, would be too expensive. Although consumers will end up paying a lot of money for those components anyway, Apple can't say their computer starts at $10000 because it's bad press. So, they have this idiotic, impractical, useless configuration to start, just so they can say their computer starts under $10000.
Let's take advantage of the strengths of the Mac Pro: the case, motherboard, and the heatsink. To rise above the performance of what a "normal" PC could do, you'd need a 24-core processor to take advantage of the motherboard. 48gb of RAM will be a proportionate amount for the number of cores. As for graphics, a dual Radeon Pro W5700X configuration will pack a ton of power for your setup that can take full advantage of the 24 core processor. If you're investing so heavily in this computer, at 4TB of SSD will be an appropriate amount. So, now you have a beast of a computer that takes full advantage of all its strengths, and can computer whatever you throw at it. However, you also now have a computer that costs $15300. Or, in other words, the cost of a Chevrolet Spark.
Overall, the Mac Pro is a cataclysm that fails to appeal to really any demographic. With its overinflated prices and much more powerful alternatives, it is really hard to recommend it. We're also comparing it, with full specs, to our astronomical build. The astronomical build is our build which includes some of the best components possible.