The Virtuoso - Reimagined for RTX 3090
The Virtuoso is what happened when we set out to see if we could build a system that will outperform a Mac Pro for content creation, video editing, and 3D modeling. Not that we have anything against Apple - we don’t. We just wanted to see if it was really possible for our small shop in suburban Chicago to compete with the giant multinational corporation. Result?
Our system will run you about $11,000 - much more than a “bare bones” Mac Pro. But here’s the context: we start our rig out with an AMD Threadripper 3970 X with 32 native cores and 64 processing threads capable of speeds up to 4.5 GHz. The $5,999 version of Mac Pro weighs in with an 8-core Intel Xeon W that will Turbo Boost up to 4.0 GHz speeds. For an extra grand, Apple will bump you up to a 12-core Xeon that will pull down 4.4 GHz. The most robust option is a 28-core CPU at the same speed - which will run you an extra $7,000 - which puts you at $13,000 right out of the gates with the Mac. We like the way this is starting for us.
Next up: RAM. We opted for 128 GB of beautiful G Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4 at 3600 MHz. You can choose gold or silver. The Mac Pro weighs in with 32 GB of DDR4. We couldn’t tell what speed from Apple’s site. It must be said, Apple will allow you to throw up to 1.5 TB of DDR4 RAM in your Mac Pro (!?!) - it’ll run you $25,000 for the RAM upgrade alone, and you’ll also need to have already shelled out at least an extra $6k to upgrade the CPU to a 24-core model, but the fact that they can even offer that much RAM is bonkers. Hats off for that. Still, we like where we’re at relative to what it costs. And this RAM is gorgeous.
Next: GPU. We opt for a GeForce RTX 3090 unit that carries 24GB of DDR6 VRAM. NVidia driven RTX 3090 based video cards are the fastest commercially available GPUs on the market. Period. Mac Pro brings a Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5. To bump it up to comparable performance with the Mac, you’re going to need to shell out.... well, there isn't anything comparable that's even available with the Mac.
Motherboard: We have no idea what Apple uses and we can’t tell from the website. We went with a Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Extreme XL for our build.
Hard Drive: Mac comes to the party with 256GB of SSD storage. We don’t know the drive speeds or the form factor from Apple’s website. What we do know for sure: our 2TB Gigabyte AORUS M.2-2280 NVMe drives platformed on PCIe Generation 4 are faster. And there's 4 of them. Really. PCIe Gen 4 tech is only available on AMD platformed systems, and you’re not getting that with the Mac. Data transfer speeds of up to 4,950 MB/s for us. Another win.
The rest of the specs on the Mac Pro seem to revolve around things like whether or not you want feet or wheels on your frame, and whether or not you’d like a Magic Mouse 2 or a Magic Trackpad 2. We have to say that the thing is absolutely gorgeous though. Apple always seems to make things that look and feel like absolute quality.
As for us, we round out our challenger with a 1600-watt 80-Plus Titanium-rated power supply, and a completely custom cooling loop featuring EKWB components to keep that Threadripper frosty. Looking amazing counts, too. So we use nothing but chromed brass for the cooling lines on this one, because it deserves it.
We opt for a Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Operating System, and package it all up inside the striking Anidees AI Crystal XL.
We don’t honestly know how our rig would benchmark head to head against a Mac Pro - because we’re not going to shell out the roughly $30,000 for one that would, as best as we can tell, spec comparably to ours. We’re not going to spend the $7,000 for the basic Mac either. Our guess is that our unit would comfortably best the basic Mac Pro in every conceivable application. We’re also 100% certain that Mac Pro will outsell The Virtuoso. But we genuinely believe it’s a viable alternative for serious content creators. It’s sure going to be fun to see!
Alexander PCs All-In Price Including Shipping and Lifetime Warranty: $11,111
Only 5 of these will be made. Each one will be hand engraved and numbered by our master builder. Your name will etched into the glass.