The Writing on Apple's Wall

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My first Apple Macintosh computer I bought was the Performa 600 in 1992. Since then I've gone through at least four newer generations of Macs, and soon I will be forced to finally buy a replacement for my 2006 1st generation MacPro 1.1.

My MacPro has finally come to the end of its upgradable path. I can no longer upgrade the software to a current OS, and even if I could its internal architecture only supports 32-bit rather than 64-bit application software.

I'm trying to hold out until Apple finally announces plans for their latest incarnation of the MacPro line of desktop machines sometime in the late spring. Will the new MacPros (or whatever Apple chooses to call them) still support Firewire? Will they still have a CD drive? How many PCI slots will they have? And for me, one of the most important questions - how quiet will they be? Until I know I can't even begin to figure out what will replace my MacPro.

Of course there are other options besides a MacPro. I could opt for the latest Mac Mini, add a Thunderbolt to PCIe external enclosure, a bunch of external hard drives, and be ready to rock and roll. I'll also have to buy a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter or two, and an external CD/DVD/BluRay reader/writer to make a mini fully functional for my world. But still, a Mac Mini would be doable. I don't expect a Mac Mini to have the useful life of a MacPro, however. Especially when it comes to performance upgrades that would help it keep pace with current software requirements, a Mac Mini is no MacPro..

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I got almost SEVEN FREAKIN' YEARS from my first gen MacPro. With the additions of a solid-state hard drive replacement, a more powerful video card, and 16 gigs of memory, I've been able to keep my MacPro going long after most of the computers that were made at the same time have long gone to that big parts heap in the sky. Given the longevity of my MacPro, I'd like to go that route again, but can I?

It's also pretty obvious that Apple, EMI, Sony, and other "music providers" would prefer that all music be acquired via "the cloud" or downloads. Apple has deemed that new users don't even need a CD/DVD reader/writer any more - none of their latest offerings include a CD drive in their stock configurations. 

Yes, ripping your own CDs into your digital music library is so last century that it may eventually be just as hip as spinning vinyl discs.

So, I'm watching, waiting, and preparing to drop another pile of change into Mac's coffers. After all, what else can a Mac guy do but wait, watch, and hope.

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