I'm definitely feeling the death of Moore's Law.
Yes, I know technically that Moore's Law is about component density, not necessarily about speed, but one used to be able to count on a rough correlation.
My current Mac Pro, an early 2008 model, is a month shy of being six years old now. I've never before kept any computer as a primary, active system for so long. It's no longer a powerhouse by today's standards, but surprisingly the performance of this 8-core (dual quad) 2.8 GHz system still compares reasonably well with current model iMacs and MacBooks.
After nearly six years, I'm ready to upgrade. I'm a little surprised, however, that while I can definitely improve on my 2008 Mac Pro, a new Mac Pro at a comparable price to what I'd paid before won't produce a giant leap in performance, but what seems to me like a pretty modest gain considering the passage of time. I'm used to thinking of six years as an eon or two on the technology time scale.
My 2008 Mac Pro cost $3477 with 2 GB RAM. Considering the extra I paid for third party RAM to get up to 16 GB, and inflation over the past few years, the new 6-core at $3999 seems like the most fair comparison.
Based on these Geekbench estimates from here: http://www.primatelabs.com/blog/2013/11/estimating-mac-pro-performance/
...and performance measurements of my model of Mac Pro from here: http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
...I can expect about 2.13 times faster single-core performance, and 1.76 times faster multi-core performance. The smaller number is what's going to matter most to me, since the thing I'd most like to speed up is video encoding.
Maybe I shouldn't complain about a new computer being "only" 76% faster. Being spoiled by previous leaps and bounds of technology, however, I'd have hoped to get twice the performance at half the price after waiting nearly six years to upgrade, and a lot more performance at the same price.
Plus, because of the new Mac Pro's lack of internal optical drives (which are important to me) and lack of internal drive bays (I currently have all four SATA drive bays in my 2008 Mac Pro filled, those drives used as separate volumes, not as members of a RAID set, so that different processes can access different drives with minimal disk-seek contention), I'll be faced with a messy, kludged, and possibly expensive solution getting all my various drives hooked up again.
While I'm still leaning toward buying a new Mac Pro (if "Coming in December" ever comes), my enthusiasm is a bit dulled by the scale of the performance increase that I can expect, and knowing that I'll be buying myself a new problem when it comes to hooking up extra hard drives and optical drives.
Edited by shetline - 12/14/13 at 8:53pm