Weekend tech reading: The cost of a DIY PC vs. a new Mac Pro, the Oculus Rift gets more love

By on December 29, 2013, 1:50 PM
diy, mac pro, oculus rift

The new Apple Mac Pro is here -- but can we build it better (and cheaper) PC DIY styleToday, Apple launched their new Mac Pro (aka the trashbin, bazooka tube, water boiler, etc.). And while it’s impressive how Apple's "highly modded PC" is able to meet thermal and power requirements in such a tiny size, all of this normally comes at a price, which is traditionally known as the "Apple Tax". We set out to find out just how much of a "tax" there is this time around by pitting their highest spec'd machine against what we could build with industry standard, off the shelf parts, available today. Futurelooks

Shopping for spy gear: catalog advertises NSA toolbox When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world's second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn't skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks' online PR copy, the company's products are "ideal" for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company's special computers is "unmatched" and their firewalls are the "best-in-class." Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off -- the United States' National Security Agency. Spiegel

Goodbye, consoles For more than a decade, an Xbox console has lived under my television. I started with the original and moved on to the 360, and I have to admit that both offered a great couch-gaming experience in their day. The Xbox One isn't in my future, though. Instead, I'm going to build myself a new home-theater PC. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-Xbone or even anti-console. The latest generation of Xbox and PlayStation machines has definite appeal. But, for the first time ever, the PC is comfortable enough in the living room that I don't need a complementary console. The Tech Report

The Oculus Rift: virtual reality is no longer a joke The decade's most exciting development in computer hardware looks a little like a fat black envelope stuck to a pair of ski goggles, and I had one strapped to my face two months ago as I sat at a desk in the Earls Court Exhibition Centre preparing to fly a Spitfire under a bridge. Headphones over my ears replaced the thumping bass of the surrounding trade show with the spluttery growl of a Merlin engine. Looking down, I saw a pair of khakied knees and a gloved hand gripping a control yoke; above and to either side, the sun glittered through the cockpit canopy. Telegraph

The decade-long quest to stop "Spamford" Wallace On a warm April morning in 2007, one of the world’s most notorious spammers walked through the doors of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas. Though the Federal Trade Commission was attempting to collect a $4 million judgment against him, Sanford “Spamford” Wallace showed up to his sworn deposition without a lawyer—and without any of the documents required of him. Wallace, though nominally cooperative, had been nearly impossible to reach. Ars Technica

The great x86 pivot: Intel and AMD break for new markets in 2014 2014 will be a year of tremendous change for both Intel and AMD. Both companies are responding to rapidly shifting market dynamics as the computing market continues its greatest product transition since the PC debuted nearly forty years ago. The two CPU manufacturers are attacking this shift from different directions and with different product strategies; we’ll start with Intel first. ExtremeTech

The mystery of the creepiest television hack Right up until 9:14 PM on November 22nd, 1987, what appeared on Chicago's television sets was somewhat normal: entertainment, news, game shows. That night, as usual, Dan Roan, a popular local sportscaster on Channel 9's Nine O'Clock News, was narrating highlights of the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions. And then, suddenly and without warning, the signal flickered up and out into darkness. Vice

Surge of holiday packages delays UPS shipments A high volume of holiday packages overwhelmed shipping and logistics company UPS, the company said on Wednesday, delaying the arrival of Christmas presents around the globe and sending angry consumers to social media to vent. Amazon.com responded with an email to affected customers offering shipping refunds and $20 gift cards to compensate. Reuters

The year megaplatforms ruled the Internet Here's something you probably didn't read this year. Buried deep in a 179-page SEC filing by a company you probably haven’t heard of is a paragraph about a Gmail change that most people may not have noticed. But this IPO filing for Zulily, a daily deals site for parents, may contain the emblematic passage of this year in tech. BuzzFeed




User Comments: 9

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2 people like this | Guest said:

The article covering the Apple trash can is flawed. Yes to duplicate the Apple trash can would cost more. However, you can build a more powerful system for much less. I will say however, that it is one of the most reasonably priced Apple products. I wouldn't give buyers too much grief over it.

ikesmasher said:

Oculus rift + haptic glives + treadmill/sphere = true virtual reality

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You have to keep in mind, there is a huge markup built into those "Firepro" video cards. You really can't competitively shop them, as you have to be one of an elite few dealers that can afford to stock them. You also have to be an elite customer to need, or be able to afford them.

When you get that far up the line into strictly luxury products, any price pressure dissipates.

It's pretty much a given that you can also buy a low end machine for less than you can build one. Manufacturers get volume discounts an individual can't touch, and they apply price pressure to one another on the final product.

As far as this Apple nonsense goes, I would never, ever, be inclined to purchase a computer in that price range without universal PnP.

If your "trashcan" breaks on you, you might have to send it back to Foxconn for a new "lid" or something.

(BTW, I think those Firepro" video cards have lifetime, call me up anytime of the day or night, phone support. Whatever they have, it's tailored to the needs of a pro who, "needed his project done the day before yesterday" .

tonylukac said:

The problem with all these backdoors (NSA) is that other people get a hold of them. I swear certain little countries have taken an action from reading my facebook page. I make all my posts public, tho. Losers following a loser.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

About the DIY for the new Mac Pro...

It sounds like another article sponsored by Apple... What they are trying to re-create just doesn't make any sense. Why on earth overpay a fortune for specific components when the re is a much cheaper and better-performing alternative?

1. Dual AMD W9000 is the biggest waste of money, it costs 2.5 times more than 2 x NVidia Titans, which is way better in everything. But nVidia 780 Ti is the best all around choice, and about 3.5 times cheaper.

2. A desktop today for which 32GB of RAM isn't enough, is likely not to be saved with just 64GB. In reality, most professionals find 16GB of RAM is quite sufficient today for any work. Just another waste of memory. Remember - this is not a server, for crisake...!

3. A pair of Samsung 840 Pro or Evo in RAID 0 will give you about the same performance, at half the price.

The only expensive thing might be the mobo for Xeons, if you really need so many cores, but very few people do. In fact, it is becoming more and more irrelevant, because the CUDA platform in your dual nVidia 780 or Titan is way more powerful a tool to use.

Guest said:

"trashbin, bazooka tube, water boiler"??? My God, someone is REALLY afraid of Apple. So much trolling.

ikesmasher said:

"trashbin, bazooka tube, water boiler"??? My God, someone is REALLY afraid of Apple. So much trolling.

Welp thats what it looks like. Regardless of whether or not your an apple fan. It looks like a bloody trashcan. What do you think it looks like? A can of axe? A snowglobe? a normal PC?

Gars Gars said:

... because the CUDA platform in your dual nVidia 780 or Titan is way more powerful a tool to use.

CUDA? where you was last 1 year?

didn't OpenCL and GNC rings any bell to you?

read

especially "Setting the Scene" and "Graphics Core Next"

...

DiY MacPro article imo is sponsored and its pure show off - how many years this hardware will last (with everyday pro heavy duty)? If I judge with my G3 Blue & White - it can last forever. But I dont think so

Anyway, it will be obsolete in 3-4 years in every aspect.

and ofc, the Captain said it very well

Camikazi said:

About the DIY for the new Mac Pro...

It sounds like another article sponsored by Apple... What they are trying to re-create just doesn't make any sense. Why on earth overpay a fortune for specific components when the re is a much cheaper and better-performing alternative?

1. Dual AMD W9000 is the biggest waste of money, it costs 2.5 times more than 2 x NVidia Titans, which is way better in everything. But nVidia 780 Ti is the best all around choice, and about 3.5 times cheaper.

2. A desktop today for which 32GB of RAM isn't enough, is likely not to be saved with just 64GB. In reality, most professionals find 16GB of RAM is quite sufficient today for any work. Just another waste of memory. Remember - this is not a server, for crisake...!

3. A pair of Samsung 840 Pro or Evo in RAID 0 will give you about the same performance, at half the price.

The only expensive thing might be the mobo for Xeons, if you really need so many cores, but very few people do. In fact, it is becoming more and more irrelevant, because the CUDA platform in your dual nVidia 780 or Titan is way more powerful a tool to use.

This is a workstation, the FirePros are there for a reason because they can do things that normal cards can't. As for the RAM, well when you are editing HUGE movies or rendering gigantic scenes the RAM will be used. I don't like Apple but these parts are picked with 3D modeling and 4k video editing in mind not gaming or normal things.

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