mATX: because I don't need more than 1 PCIE slot. Maya doesn't use SLI/Crossfire. This board has two slots, which is one more than I need.
ECC Ram... specious at best? Does it mean no crashing software? In my experience, my MBP has no stability issues, and it has no ECC. Does your iMac/Mini/Macbook crash all the time? Even if it did, the Ram is likely not the reason, but rather the app coding. So what value does ECC Ram even offer, exactly? Why is my computing life incomplete without it?
Xeon? A marketing gimmick IMHO that only makes sense with multi-processor
machines. The only tangible advantage of Xeon (as opposed to the numerous disadvantages) versus mainstream CPUs is the ability to use more than one; a false limitation created by Intel to increase their profit margins. Why Apple would even think of making a single processor Xeon "workstation" is beyond me. Especially the three generations old
Xeon, as is found in the single CPU Mac pros.
This is so biased it's ridiculous. A comparison to Dell, HP, etc. would be an actual comparison. Comparing the price to a perceived parts breakdown to determine profit margin isn't really accurate, and you didn't build yours with a xeon setup.
I'm not sure what you are getting at, but I can build these machines for $1000USD less than Apple's 'entry' Mac Pro, and they'd truly stomp the Pro. With parts bought at retail prices.
Throw in a 4ghz rock-solid overclock with almost no difference in heat/power consumption ("D0 stepping
"), and it is the Mac Pro Apple might offer in another 500 days. For another
$2500+. Because you can't upgrade.
Me? I'll buy another future 12GB ram for less than today's $360, another CPU for $300+, and have a current machine for my 3D work.
In terms of work accomplished in a set amount of time, this works for me. I'll give Hackintoshing a good effort. While OS X is far from perfect, I prefer it. Hackintoshing doesn't look difficult to me at all, as someone who is intimately familiar with Linux on obscure hardware platforms.
Of course, I could just ditch Mac OS after 15 years and go with Windows 7; then I'll at least have fast, bug-free OpenGL/Direct X 3D. Which is more than OS X can claim.
If you see value in Apple's Mac Pros, great. I don't. It's time I shut up and do something about it. My career isn't going to be held back by Apple's neglect of its Macs.I'm a fringe case.
I recognize that. But Apple does not offer a compelling 3D workstation anymore (if they ever did). And let's face it; they aren't going to.