Being an ‘old fart’ I’m not super enthusiastic about SaaS models.

I mean, I’ve done things like buy a magazine to get a game I had to type into the computer to run, drive twenty miles to the local Amiga store to purchase applications on floppies that came in a ziplock bag, and even camped out at CompUSA to buy a game on CD the midnight it released…

In each of those instances I was purchasing a thing that I could continue to use as long as I wanted… In some cases I still use them thirty years later. So this “renting” your software thing doesn’t sit well with me. Doubly so when it’s hundreds of dollars per year for an application suite that doesn’t really improve in ways I use – they just move the buttons around on occasion from my point of view.

I’m looking at you, Creative Cloud.

As I’ve mentioned here previously, I’ve purchased copies of Adobe Photoshop (and Illustrator, Premier, Acrobat, etc.) pretty much since they came out. But since 2016 I’ve been on the subscription plan, which is about $600 a year… Or roughly $4200 spent since I bought that $2600 license for CS6 Master Collection in 2013.

My current CC subscription comes due in August, and I think I’ve given Adobe enough money over the years.

Now, while I could just go back to using CS6 (which does everything I need it to do), it won’t run on Apple Silicon machines as it was written in 2012 for the Intel Macs of the day… And Apple Silicon machines won’t emulate the old Intel architectures either – so if I want to use my CS6 license I need an Intel based Mac.

The problem there is Macs tend to hold their value really well, so getting a previous generation machine would cost as much as a year or two of Adobe subscription and that just didn’t make sense financially.

But retro-computing people rarely make sense financially… So maybe something slightly older than the previous generation?

I have a personal rule for my retro-computing habit in that I won’t seriously consider owning anything I’ve not owned in the past… I’m not into old computers for the sake of old computers as much as I like to have bits and pieces of my past accessible in the present – so I collect machines (and parts) for architectures I’ve actually used, mostly to maintain access to the things I’ve created on those systems.

So, being as I owned a “cheese grater” MacPro5,1 back in the early 2010’s (I gave it to my roommate in 2013 after I acquired that year’s 27″ iMac), I was thinking I would simply acquire another one and that would solve the Intel Mac need…

Then I thought about the fact they still go for $500+ in a condition I would be interested in owning, and then there’s the thousand watt power supply in the things that’s needed to run the Xeons that lead to the moniker of ‘iHeater’ – and I live in “Modern Times” with “modern utility bills”, so I shelved that idea.

But, as fate would have it, I was visiting a new (to me) Mac repair place yesterday… It’s over where the Cinderella City Mall used to be back in the 80’s, and I was there to look over their retro collection seeing if there were any parts I could use when I spotted a lonely Mac Pro Trashcan…

Back in 2013 when the MacPro6,1 came out I really wanted one, but they were “Pro” and due to this rather expensive at $4000 for the entry level model. The iMac was the better machine for what I was doing, and cost half as much even though it came with an amazing 27″ screen – so thats the direction I went.

Eyeballing the machine’s identifiers printed on the bottom I determined it was was a BTO 2013 base-model, so it had the 4-core Xeon in it but had the dual D500 video cards – which is perfect for CS6. And the MacPro6,1 can pull off a max of about 500 watts, which is half as much as the 5,1’s peak use and averages about 80watts to the 5,1’s 200watts.

So, two criteria met; a decent intel machine in nice condition, and fairly cheap to feed both electrically and cooling wise… All it needed was to be less than the cost of next year’s Adobe subscription and I was in business.

After talking to the store owner for a bit about old macs and recounting some tales of stone age computing for him, I asked about the Trashcan:

Me: “So, that trashcan over there – what are you asking for it?”

Him: “That? Those were weird; too limited for the professionals they were meant for, and too expensive for general users…”

Me: “Yeah. Apple actually wrote an apology for the mistake they made with those – but I need an Intel mac for my old CS6 license because I’m tired of paying the Adobe Mafia to make art…”

Him: “Oh!? You can actually put it to use? How about $300?”

Me: “Sold!”

And ten minutes later I was on my way home with a new trashcan…

The 2013 MacPro6,1

First things first – wipe it out and reload it… I got it onto my wifi and started the online restore, going with the latest OS it will run: MacOS 12.6.8 “Monterey”.

This took about a half an hour, and then once I hit the desktop I discovered the HDMI on the trashcan is only good for 30Hz @ 4K, so my ginormous LG OLED was flickering… But a quick run over to Microcenter for a $30 mini-displayport / thunderbolt-2 to 4k/60 HDMI cable fixed that right up.

And the rest of the evening was spent moving in; loading apps, configuring things the way I like, etc.

I did get a chance to fire up SecondLife on the trashcan and head over to a popular hangout to see how it fared; a solid 15FPS in the default graphics settings. So, not bad for a collector’s item. 🙂

After work today I will break out the huge box of CS6 and install it all, make sure everything still works as it used to – and then cancel my CC subscription… Which will pay for the trashcan twice over.

Maybe I’ll take some of that CC savings and upgrade the RAM and SSD in the trashcan in the next month or two…

Listening to "Risky Fulfillment" by Neon Nox