There was no Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra introduced in March 2023. It never came despite the clamor and the hopes of Apple fans that work in the creative industry and it is no surprise that some of them are planning to move to Windows altogether to ease their transition to newer and faster technology rather than waiting for upgrades that may or may not come. I surveyed the US Windows workstation market, looking at 17 companies, from boutique providers to global brands to find out the best Mac Pro alternative and found one clear winner.
Thinkmate is not a household name (although one might confuse it with Lenovo’s popular Thinkstation brand) but this boutique vendor covers the US, Canada, the UK and the EU. Its VSX R5 760S1 fitted the bill when looking for an alternative to the Mac Pro. What’s more, it is whisper-quiet thanks to a clever choice of components; the chassis is a dual-chamber one which, according to the vendor, “reduces heat and noise by increasing airflow efficiency and isolating the power supply from the rest of the system components”.
Windows vs Mac: The low down
Below is a table that compares the basic specification of Apple’s product versus its ThinkMate new nemesis.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Apple MacPro||ThinkMate VSX R5 760S1|
|Processor||1x Intel Xeon W-3275M||2x Intel Xeon Gold 6230R|
|RAM||1.5TB DDR4 ECC||2TB DDR4 ECC|
|SSD||2 x 4TB (Proprietary)||1x 1TB Micron PCIe 4.0 Gen4 2 x 3.84TB Samsung PCIe 4.0 Gen4|
|GPU||2x AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo (64GB)||2x PNY RTX A6000 Ada Generation (48GB)|
|Warranty||3-year (onsite service via AppleCare+)||3-year warranty with advanced parts replacement, onsite service and RSL|
|Operating system||MacOS||Choice of Linux OS|
On paper, Thinkmate’s workstation should easily trounce Apple’s Mac Pro. It has more compute power, sports a pair of the fastest graphics cards on the market, has better storage and a third more system memory. If that wasn’t enough the onsite warranty should win it by a whisker.
MacOS is where Apple has the upper hand. Its operating system has been fine tuned for the hardware (well perhaps a bit less for the x86-based Xeon) and Linux simply doesn’t compete but, the beauty with ThinkMate’s workstation is that you can always swap OSes (or run them in dual boot).
Could Apple be planning to release a refreshed Mac Pro at the forthcoming WWDC in June 2023? Maybe, but I won’t hold my breath till then. Perhaps a refreshed Mac Studio with an M2 Ultra or an M2 Max CPU will be what will finally put the x86 Mac Pro to rest.
- Also check out our list of the best mobile workstations and best video editing laptops