April 6th 2012
By Mike Flaminio
ProMAX foresees end of the Mac Pro with new Xeon workstation
In a couple weeks at NAB ProMAX will exhibit a new system marketed at Mac Pro users looking to jump to an Apple alliterative. The ProMAX One is a Xeon based workstation shipping with Windows 7. It's designed to work with AVID and appears the company is catering to video professionals uncertain about Apple's commitment to their market.
Two issues... Apple still does sell Final Cut Pro Suite with FCP 7, although it must be ordered over the phone. The company did discontinue it, but brought it back after the initial backlash to Final Cut Pro X. While Apple still sells FCP 7 and appears to be supporting it in a legacy capacity, there is no sign Apple is developing that platform further. Final Cut Pro X does continue to improve, but in its current state it appears to be more of a Pro-sumer alternative to iMovie than a replacement for Final Cut Pro. Only time will tell.
On the topic of the Mac Pro, Intel just started to ship Xeon E5 processors. These Xeons are based on the Sandy Bridge architecture and a follow-up to Westmere processors in the current Mac Pro line up. The long gap between updates probably has more to do with Intel than Apple's unstated intentions. It's also worth noting that the ProMAX One utilizes the same Westmere family of Xeon's as the current Mac Pro line. With E5 processors just heading out the door, investing in a Westmere Xeon workstation probably isn't a great idea regardless of vendor. It wouldn't hurt to wait for a Sandy Bridge workstation at which point the Mac Pro situation may be clearer.
Back to the ProMax One, like the Mac Pro it is a dual CPU Xeon system for up to 12 cores. It will be interesting to see if this system is appropriate to support Mac OS X as essentially an off the shelf hackintosh, unofficially of course. If so, this could be an interesting development.