Apple's Mac Pro will be Made in the USA with a starting price of $ 6,000. You get a pretty sweet machine for that price, but how close would you get to the power of the Mac Pro if you were trying to create a Windows version yourself?
You could build a PC with similar hardware for less
No surprises: according to our calculations, you can do the job for a lot less, even if it will cost you all the same. We have not been able to make a carbon copy of the Mac Pro, but we have had some advantages that the Mac Pro base model does not have. We also had to give up some features of the process.
For this article, we focus on the basic model as it is the only one with a price known to date. We have no idea of the cost of higher models, so there is no comparable price. If you want to see a nice example of a killer Windows machine that is arguing with the best Mac Pro, watch this video by Linus Technical Tips.
Before entering our basic model, one last note. We did not build this machine ourselves. So, this is not a construction guide. It's more of a thought experience. Enough preamble – let's dive in.
The CPU and the motherboard
The Asus WS C422 Sage / 10G motherboard.
Apple does not specify which Xeon W processor it uses in the Mac Pro base model, but we know that it has eight cores, 16 threads, and a 4 GHz turbo boost. Watch Intel's arch lists, similar to the Xeon W-3223, although the cache is a little bigger on the Mac Pro processor. The W-3223 has an MSRP of $ 749 but is not available at major sites like Newegg or Amazon.
So we traded with something close to its specifications, the Xeon W-2145. This is a Skylake game from late 2017. It has eight cores, 16 wires, but a stronger boost at 4.5 GHz. Nevertheless, it has the advantage of being available, barely, and as a part of origin. This means that it comes without a cooler and that the warranty is shorter. It's not good for a real purchase, but for a thought experiment, it'll be fine.
We face the second problem: Apple's Mac Pro motherboard is a fairly smooth construction, with enough capacity for eight PCIe lanes, two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back and two 10G LAN ports.
To try to get close to all of this, we go with the Asus WS C422 Sage / 10G. It is a single-processor motherboard with seven standard PCIe slots, two dual 10G LAN ports, and an M.2 slot.
Based on the best prices, we found that we had spent $ 1,290 at the B & H Photo Central Unit. We can find lower prices on Amazon, but they go through third party sellers who are not satisfied by Amazon. This means that if you encounter problems, you rely on the seller's customer service policy, not on Amazon's. In our opinion, it is better to use a quantity known when buying online.