MSI Prestige P100 vs Apple Mac Pro: Spec Comparison

Credit: MSI

MSI’s new Prestige P100 takes more than a few aesthetic cues from Apple’s latest uber-expensive Mac Pro. It’s got a sleek, vertically-orientated form-factor and it’s firmly-pitched as a powerhouse for content creators. 

The desktop PC also ships with NVIDIA RTX Studio Drivers that promise to provide unlocked performance boosts and new features in select content creation apps. In addition, MSI say they are using an "innovative" thermal module that provides smoother cooling airflows for the CPU, GPU and PSY inside the Prestige 100.

But how does MSI’s content creation compare to Apple’s new Mac Pro when it comes to the nitty-gritty?

Processors

The MSI Prestige P100 is equipped with an Intel Core i9 9900K processor. This CPU has 16-cores and a clock-speed of 5Ghz. 

The baseline Mac Pro features an 8-core 3.5GHz Intel Xeon W CPU. The top-of-the-line model on the other hand gets you a 28-core 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W processor. That’s a lot of cores. More than enough to make it easy to give the edge to Apple’s machine here. At least, in theory.

In reality, these two CPUs serve very different needs and target audiences. If you’re handling a workload where having those extra cores and threads is going to make that much of a difference, then the top-spec Mac Pro is probably going to provide better optimised performance. Of course, you are paying a pretty hefty price for those additional cores - but more on that later.

mac-pro-2019-and-pro-display-xdr-rear-100798326-orig.jpgCredit: Roman Loyola/IDG
mac-pro-2019-and-pro-display-xdr-rear-100798326-orig.jpg

However, at the same time, the 9900K inside the P100 isn’t exactly slouching. Even if this is the area where the difference between the two machines is most felt, whether that difference justifies the pricing feels like another question entirely

RAM

The MSI Prestige P100 can be armed with up to 64GB of 2666MHz RAM.

The baseline Mac Pro is equipped with 32GB of RAM, clocked at 2666MHz. Opting for the pricier top-speced option gets you up to 768GB of 2933MHz memory, which is far beyond what you can get out of MSI’s machine. 

Again, I think there's a case for comparing the 'basic' spec-configuration of the new Mac Pro to the P100 but once you start kitting Apple's beast of a machine out with those upgrades, the difference in potential performance between the two starts to get pretty drastic.

Graphics

The MSI Prestige P100 brings plenty of GPU grunt to the table, courtesy of a MSI NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti desktop graphics card.

In contrast, the baseline Mac Pro comes equipped with a AMD Radeon Pro 580X. Big spenders can bump that up to a pair of AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs. 

Credit: MSI

Regardless of whether you prefer Nvidia or AMD, the fact there are two powerful GPUs here rather than one gives the Mac Pro a pretty definite edge on graphics over MSI’s content creation workhorse. That said, departing from the umbrella-like shade of Nvidia's Studio program does mean that the chances of any software being used in your workflow actually being optimised to take advantage of that hardware drop somewhat. 

Storage

On the inside, the MSI Prestige P100 has room for up to two M.2 SSDs plus another two 2.5-inch drives.  

If you’re looking to cut corners and save a quick buck on your high-end Mac Pro, the cheapest option available gets you a single 256GB SSD. However, if you spend more, you can get up to 8TB of SSD storage split across two 4TB modules. 

Price

In Australia, the MSI Prestige P100 is set to retail for AU$2799. As you may have heard, the new Mac Pro costs a fair bit more than that. 

In Australia, the baseline spec-config for the new Mac Pro will cost you AU$9999. However, going all-in and getting that dual-GPU and high-end Xeon processor brings the price tag up considerably to AU$84,799.

The Bottom Line

The frankly-ludicrous amount of money that building a top-spec Mac Pro involves makes it hard to even think about as a realistic option for most people. This is as consumer-facing as supercomputers get.  

mac-pro-2019-and-pro-display-xdr-100798228-orig.jpgCredit: Roman Loyola/IDG
mac-pro-2019-and-pro-display-xdr-100798228-orig.jpg

Look, I’ll be honest. 

When I started writing this article. I was almost-certainly underrating Apple’s Mac Pro somewhat in my head. Sure, there’s a degree to which the Apple tax is distorting and inflating the price-tag of this particular workhorse PC. 

However, at the same time, you can’t really look at the spec sheet here and not respect how far Apple have swung when it comes to build an impossibly powerful machine. I can’t even imagine a world where I need that much RAM or processing power but you gotta respect the effort regardless. 

MSI’s new Prestige P100 might give the baseline Mac Pro a run for its money but the ceiling for Apple’s priciest PC is so much higher. 

If you’re a one-man-band kind of content creator, you’re probably going to be more than served by MSI’s Prestige P100. The new Apple Mac Pro is a halo product in the most literal sense. You shouldn’t buy it - but it’s nice to know it’s out there somewhere.  

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Tags MSI Prestige P100Apple Mac Pro

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Fergus Halliday
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