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There’s no doubt that the Mac Pro is a seriously expensive piece of kit, although it’s also hard to argue that it provides the kind of staggering power that makes it well worth it — for those who need it, of course.
While this is a machine that has the kind of horsepower that is usually only required by serious pros, that doesn’t mean that it’s not something that budding animators and video or audio producers might still want to consider. To be clear, however, in its baseline $5,999 configuration, the Mac Pro surprisingly doesn’t really perform better in most benchmarks than the 2017 iMac Pro or the highest-end 16-inch MacBook Pro, both of which can be had for considerably less.
Still, even if you can’t afford to splurge on a more souped-up Mac Pro, there’s still a good reason to opt for the more expensive baseline machine, especially if you can get it at a bargain price. Most importantly, the fact that it’s really easily upgradeable — especially by Mac standards — is really compelling if you think that you may need to add more power later on.
When you buy a 16-inch MacBook Pro you’re pretty much stuck with the exact configuration you buy, without even the ability to upgrade the memory. The iMac Pro is only slightly better, with the ability to upgrade the RAM, but not much else.
By contrast, with the Mac Pro you can swap out pretty much everything, from the RAM and SSDs to the CPU and GPU. It’s an entirely modular design which means that the sky is the limit in terms of not being locked in, and you can start small and then ramp up from there. This makes it an ideal choice for those who are just getting into serious audio or video production that don’t need a ton of horsepower now, but certainly hope to expand into the kind of money-making projects that will justify a more powerful machine.
In short, the Mac Pro can more effectively grow with your needs than any other computer Apple has ever made.
Still, that comes at a pretty hefty price tag, and if you’re on a budget, like most of those getting started in pro productions are, then every cent is going to count.
So if you’ve been in the market for a Mac Pro but have found yourself balking at the price tag, you’ll be happy to know that Apple has now begun offering Mac Pro models on its Refurbished Mac Store, with savings of up to 15% over the full retail prices, and when dealing with the prices that the Mac Pro sells for, 15 percent works out to a fair chunk of change.
Several models are available in specific configurations, ranging from a base 8-core configuration with a $300 RAM upgrade at $5,349 (a savings of almost $1,000) all the way up to an Afterburner-equipped 16-core version for $22,439, which will save you $4,000 over the equivalent new model, which will get you a good part of the way toward the price of an Apple Pro XDR Display.
It’s easy to understand why “refurbished” might be a word that scares you a bit, but Apple has one of the best refurbished programs in the business. Every refurbished Mac is basically as good as new in every way, but Apple drops the price because they can’t technically sell it as new.
As part of the refurbishment process, Apple thoroughly cleans and inspects and tests each Mac, replacing any necessary components with genuine Apple replacement parts and includes all of the necessary cables and accessories, which are often brand new. All refurbished products also come with the exact same warranty as a brand new product, and are eligible for AppleCare+ in the same way.
In fact, because Apple specifically tests each and every refurbished product that they sell, you’re actually less likely to have problems when buying a refurbished Mac than you would buying a brand new one. Although Apple has high quality control standards, not every product that comes off the assembly line is specifically tested, so defective units can easily slip through. This is why warranties exist, after all. With a refurbished Mac, however, you’re getting a device that Apple’s staff have specifically tested and certified to be working before they offer it up for sale.