Thunderbolt Bridge and Target Disk Mode

One of the problems with working with multiple computers is sharing data between them.  With the purchase of my 2013 Mac Pro, I've realized that it's relatively easy to transfer information between two thunderbolt-capable Macs.  First connect the two with a thunderbolt cable.  Next, start the computer from which you want to transfer in "target disk mode".  Hit the power button and hold down the "T" key.  This will start the computer in target disk mode.  The computer which you want to transfer files to should then see this computer as a hard drive and you will have access to all the files.  File transfer can then be done over thunderbolt very quickly.  Pretty awesome.  


For the past year, I have been shooting primarily with a Nikon D800e and a Hasselblad H4D-40.  Both of these cameras are relatively high megapixel cameras (36 and 40 respectively) and allow for large beautiful prints.  The "problem" with making large prints is not only are they expensive, but imperfections in the source image become more apparent.  You also start thinking more critically about brightness and color as you spend more money on larger prints (for yourself of for clients).  

I've always liked the Cinema Displays from Apple.  I have two older 20" Cinema Displays, one 24" LED Cinema display, and one 27" Thunderbolt Display (NOT to be confused with the 27" Cinema display, which connects via mini-display port ant lacks thunderbolt).  The monitors themselves look sharp from a form factor perspective and always display rich, vivid, colors.  There are a couple issues I have with them though.  Lately my issues with them are growing and growing.  First, they are expensive.  Second, they lack modern connectivity.  The Thunderbolt display does in fact have a thunderbolt port which is nice (and I believe at the time of writing is the only thunderbolt monitor on the market....LG announced one at CES back in January but it has not been released yet) and allows for the monitor to function as a dock so to speak, but the inclusion of USB 2.0 ports vs USB 3.0 ports is ridiculous.  Third, I always find that they have a slightly yellow/greenish tint to them.  The 24" Cinema Display I have I even had Apple replace the display because of the tint issue at a cost of >$600 (thankfully it was under Applecare and I didn't pay a dime).  Last, they are very reflective...I find it hard to do some things in lab with my 24" because of how reflective they are.  

For all of the above reasons I looked into different monitors for my new 2013 Mac Pro.  I wanted wide color gamut monitors with a matte display and even backlighting that were amenable to calibration.  I found two that really peaked my interest: the NEC PA272-BK-SV and the Eizo CG277.  In the end I went with the NEC simply because it was cheaper (and on sale when I bought it...the Eizo is BRAND new but I expect prices to come down in the future).  Unlike the Eizo, it has an external calibration sensor (basically an NEC-branded X-Rite i1display pro from what I can tell), but otherwise shares similar specs.  So far I really like the monitor.  It plugs in to the Mac Pro with a [supplied] mini-display port to display port cable (mini-display port plugs in to thunderbolt port on mac, display port plugs in to monitor).  After plugging it in, installing the supplied SpectraView II software, and plugging in the [supplied] colorimeter, I had it up and running and calibrated in about 5 mins.  Very quick and painless.  So far I'm a big fan!  I was hoping I could use the supplied software and colorimeter to also calibrate my other displays, but unfortunately only certain NEC displays are supported (minor bummer).  The only other downside is that I imagine I will have to run a USB cable from the monitor to the computer if I want to use any of the USB ports (also USB 2.0 unfortunately) on the monitor itself.  I will amend my thoughts in the future if I experience any issues.  

I bought my NEC monitor here

Disclaimer:  I'm not endorsed by any companies or websites mentioned herein.  All equipment was purchased by me personally and I received no compensation from anyone for writing this post.  

2013 Mac Pro

Alright now that I have a new computer setup for music and photo production/post-production (not to mention all the lab number crunching), thought I'd blog a little bit about it!  I went with the build-to-order option and went with a 6-core/16 gb RAM/1tb SSD/D700 configuration.  I went with the 6-core option to get higher clock speed instead of more cores.  The downside of adding CPU cores is that there is a tradeoff between clock speed and CPU cores.  Some applications will benefit from higher clock speeds and some applications will benefit more from more CPU cores, so you need to decided what you plan to use the computer for primarily when deciding this.  The good news though is that the CPU is upgradeable!  So you can get everything setup and then upgrade CPU's in the future if you'd like.  Doing so will most likely void the warranty but it's not a difficult upgrade (info here).   I went with the base RAM for the 6-core option because I plan to upgrade the RAM soon.  The RAM is considered a user upgradeable component, and more RAM can easily be ordered and installed after the fact (here is where I plan to order from).  The larger SSD was for more storage.  I don't know if this can be upgraded in the future, but there are currently no 3rd party options for more internal storage.  Even though I may not take full advantage of the dual D700's in the computer for still photos, I like running multiple displays and may start doing some video/3D soon, so wanted to go with the max here.  This is also one option you cannot upgrade in the future.  Almost have my whole workstation set up so I'll be able to give more thoughts in the future but so far I'm a fan of the computer.  It is whisper quiet compared to previous generation Mac Pros and much smaller.  The only thing I dislike is the amount of cables going out of it.  You end up having lots of things plugged in to it and that means...lots of cables.  If you're thinking about ordering one for yourself, you can find lots more in-depth info on the 2013 Mac Pro system over at the Diglloyd Mac Performance Guide.  

I ordered mind on Jan 31st and took delivery March 18th for those curious about build/delivery times.