current status

I’m currently working on a platform upgrade for the MacInTouch web site, and home page updates may be irregular as I go through that process between now and the end of the year. (Some web hosting changes and additional expense may be required, but that isn’t completely clear yet.) There also will be some scheduling adjustments around the Christmas holiday for family time.

My sincere thanks go once again to the people who have kept this website and community going through yet another year in challenging conditions. I am very grateful for your support!

Ric Ford

OWC 2019 Mac Pro memory upgrades

OWC 2019 Mac Pro RAM upgrades are new from Other World Computing Inc. (macsales.com) at lower prices than what Apple charges for its own memory in the high-end computer. OWC’s memory is available in a wide range of sizes in both LRDIMM (for larger capacities) and RDIMM (better for more limited capacities).
  OWC 2019 Mac Pro RAM is priced according to type and size, e.g. $84.99 for 16 GB vs. $400 at Apple for the same thing, on up to $19,998.99 for 1.5 TB, which is a $25,000 upgrade at Apple. And, unlike Apple’s memory, OWC’s RAM comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

ThunderBay 4 Mini

ThunderBay 4 Mini is a multi-drive storage system from Other World Computing Inc. (macsales.com) that connects to a computer via Thunderbolt — both Thunderbolt 3 models and Thunderbolt 2 models (compatible with Thunderbolt 1) are available.

Features include four 2.5″ drive bays with slide-in trays (for 6Gbps SATA SSDs or hard drives), dual Thunderbolt ports, a compact aluminum enclosure with “32.5dB cooling fan”, and SoftRAID software for combining drives in a variety of RAID configurations for improved performance and reliability (although SoftRAID is not currently compatible with FileVault 2 encryption or Fusion drive configurations).

ThunderBay 4 Mini is priced from $299.99 as a bare enclosure with SoftRAID Lite to $2,069.99 with four 2TB SSDs and the full SoftRAID XT software version, for macOS 10.13 and later.

Promise Pegasus R4i and J2i

Pegasus R4i and Pegasus J2i are internal storage modules for Apple’s expensive new Mac Pro, developed by Promise Technology Inc. (which has a curiously close relationship with Apple) and originally announced back in June but only recently priced and available for ordering.

Pegasus R4i is an MPX module holding four 7200rpm SATA hard drives, preconfigured for hardware RAID 5 and accompanied by a management app.

Pegasus J2i is an unusual, custom enclosure for a unique space at the top of the new computer’s enclosure, bundled with one 8TB, 3.5-inch, 7200rpm SATA hard drive while offering a second bay for another.

Promise Pegasus R4i is priced at $2,299.95 and sold through Apple’s own store (but may be available later from others, such as Amazon). Promise Pegasus J2i is priced at $399.95

HighPoint NVMe SSD PCIe cards

HighPoint SSD7101A-1 is a PCIe card from HighPoint Technologies Inc. that hosts four NVMe SSDs for ultra-fast storage. Features include PCIe 3.0 x16 bus bandwidth and x4 bandwidth for each of the NVMe M.2 SSD slots, plus a built-in RAID controller (for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10) with management software and SMART support and the ability to pair two of the cards for astonishing speeds. (See resources section for more details.)
  HighPoint SSD7101A-1, for macOS 10.13 and later, Windows and Linux, is sold via resellers, including Amazon ($387.99 when checked).
  HighPoint SSD7103 is a bootable version ($449 when checked).

“The latest generation of high-performance CPU’s and motherboards can provide the PCIe 3.0 lanes required to power dual PCIe 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID controllers. Ultra-HD video projects, such as those working with raw 8K footage, require transfer performance exceeding 17,900 MB/s. Media professionals working with such hardware can now link two SSD7101A-1 NVMe RAID controllers to function as a single array, and configure RAID arrays of up to eight M.2 NVMe SSD’s to deliver over 25,000 MB/s of transfer performance!”

Logitech Pro Display XDR webcam preview

4K Pro Magnetic Webcam is a promised accessory from Logitech for Apple’s expensive new Pro Display XDR, due in January, according to the company. Features include a magnetic mount designed specifically for Apple’s display, 4K capture (up to 4096 x 2160 px @ 30 fps), autofocus, dual omni-directional mics with noise cancellation, USB-C cables, “high dynamic range (HDR) technology”, and an app for adjusting brightness and color, as well as digital zoom, pan and tilt.
  4K Pro Magnetic Webcam is currently available for pre-ordering at $199.99.

Discussions

2019 Mac Pro discussion talks about hard drive support, $400 wheels, support documents, PC price comparisons, security locks, CPU families/prices, Thunderbolt Display compatibility, thermal/acoustic engineering, PCIe card support, etc.

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following current topics, among others:

Discussions

Adobe and alternatives discussion continues with lots more about scripting and related issues, plus InDesign document conversion and archiving.

MacInTouch Community updates touch on the following topics, as well:

2019 Mac Pro upgrades/add-ons

Now that Apple’s taking orders for the 2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, we finally have prices for many upgrades and add-ons

A few examples:

2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR debut

Apple’s new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are finally available for ordering today, having been announced way back in June at far more extravagent price levels than prior products. Apple had neglected both its display and modular/expandable computer product lines for years and years prior to these updates.

Stripped to its very barest, lowest minimums, the new computer/display combo costs $10,998 plus tax and shipping. Getting a stand to hold up the display costs another $999, while the screen’s special anti-glare glass treatment adds another $1000 on top of that. Moving from a tiny 256GB SSD to 2TB adds another $800 to the Mac Pro price. Wheels cost an extra $400. A Radeon Pro Vega II graphics card adds $2,400, and Apple’s Afterburner card costs an extra $2000. The top processor adds $7,000, while maximum memory adds $25,000, and a top-level package hits $59,597 plus taxes, etc.

Discussions

SSD (Solid State Drives) are a hot topic with much confusion about USB vs. Thunderbolt, related compatibility issues and performance, plus unexpected Thunderbolt disconnects, the demise of a company providing unique Apple SSD replacement parts, potential Fusion drive failure, and more.

Adobe/alternatives discussion talks about Affinity performance optimizations and scripting issues; IDMarkz/InDesign file conversion, Pagemaker/Quark history, etc.

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following topics, as well:

DriveDX

DriveDx is a hard drive and SSD diagnostic and monitoring utility from BinaryFruit. Features include monitoring of SMART data, temperature and free space with thresholds and algorithms for predicting problems, logging of data over time, email notifications of status updates, the ability to trigger self-tests, save detailed drive health reports, and more. Among other tidbits, the app provides details on sector size, which can play into compatibility issues. (External FireWire/USB monitoring is provided via the third-party SAT SMART Driver for devices that support SMART data transfer.)

DriveDx 1.9.0 is priced at $19.99 for an individual license for Mac OS X 10.6 and up with a 10-day trial period. (A $39.99 Family license supports 5 computers in a household.) The latest release brings support for a raft of new SSDs, among other updates.

Disk Inventory X

Disk Inventory X is a Mac app from Tjark Derlien for analyzing storage usage and displaying folders and files in color-coded treemaps to make it easier to quickly identify and manage files taking up the most space. You can choose volumes or folders to analyze then click on the treemap to see which files/folders are using blocks of space or vice versa.

Disk Inventory X 1.3 is freely downloadable, open-source donationware for macOS 10.13 and up, and Disk Inventory 1.0 is available to support Macs all the way back to Mac OS X 10.3.  The latest version adds support for macOS 10.15 Catalina.