The Apple MacPro

Last modified on February 29th, 2008

This morning I had the pleasure of swinging by MacStation in Yaletown on my way to work and picking up a brand new MacPro computer for work. I could sit here and quote technical specs until the cows came home, but I’ll just say that this sucker completely rocks. It basically has two of everything:

  • Two CPUs, each of which has four 2.8 GHz cores
  • A dual-head video card capable of doing 1080p video on each port
  • Two network cards, so in theory you could put one on a private network and one on a public one

I’ve spent the last year sort of bouncing between multiple machines. In fact, looking back over the last year I’d say I did about 50% of my time developing on mobile platforms, 25% on Windows, and maybe 25% on Mac. To that end, I basically had three full development machines on or near my desk, all hooked up to an electric KVM switch to toggle inputs between them. When I’m not developing, I actually prefer to use a Mac, so I usually just hauled my laptop into work.

Apple MacProFrom Apple’s Website

The good news is that I spent most of today destroying my desk at work, and have completed the reduction from three computers down to one. I purchased VMWare and immediately installed XP on a virtual machine (not because I like using Windows, but because I sometimes do development on it). In theory I could throw Linux in another VM, or whatever other OS I wanted. I have to say, it’s pretty cool doing a major Windows build using two cores, and still having six other ones to do whatever I want on the Mac.

In fact, this whole setup ran about $3300, and I can already see that being paid back with dividends due to time not spent waiting for things to build, or switching between machines. With eight cores, it really is possible to be doing development type tasks and still have a usable machine for doing other work. I’d totally recommend anyone setting up a new developer with a machine to think about something like this.

Also, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to remote desktop into a Mac machine from a Mac. Is the only way really with Apple’s commercial Remote Desktop package (Why does this cost money? Remote desktop has been free for years on PCs)? Looks like there’s an open source VNC server I can run on a machine, but I find it strange there’s nothing obvious I can find in Leopard that lets me do something like that remotely.