Granted, the Mac Pro was too expensive
Definitely, for comparable hardware quality and components, its over priced, but not ridiculously over priced. We're not talking monster cable level of insanity here.
I had calculated that I would have built it for less than half the price
*sigh* No, you didn't.
You calculated building a machine that was close to the same, probably using 'cheap' parts to make it half the price. The problem would be, those random crashes you're getting on your half-the-price machine due to cheap capacitors (or something else) are going to cost you far more in time and productivity than the money you saved using substandard hardware.
But in 2013, it happened. They took their only "classic" workstation with multiple drive bays (I have 2 ssds and 3 hds right now), dual CPUs, PCI slots etc and "transformed" it into a cool looking yet useless to me cylinder.
And this was the fault of laptops. You're expected to replace those missing things with Thunderbolt enclosures. Theres no need for space inside the box, just run a wire outside the box off your desk to where all those ugly PCI cards sit ... No functionality was lost, but it did just become an order of magnitude more expensive, into the monster cable level of expensive :( I can understand why this sucks for a desktop user, but as a laptop only user now (if my laptop isn't fast enough, amazon has a VM that is) it is a benefit to me, now I get access to all the same stuff you have, except I'm still portable.
Also, adding RAM stopped mattering to me when I got kids. I simply don't have the time to bother looking for proper RAM that will not just 'work', but will do so without random odd crashes and issue related to mix and match hardware and driver interactions.
Yes, I'm an apple fan boy
Before ... I had more time than money. I built my PC, shopped for parts, tried to figure out the right pattern for a reliable machine without resorting to a bunch of half assed hacks, and in general waste a lot of time with a half-assed 'PC' because I couldn't afford to buy a Mac. Upgrading RAM was important to me back then, I might only populate half the slots to start with, due to cost, so I could buy more later when I got more money. I built a few hackintosh machines back in the day.
Now ... I have 2 kids and a good job. The time it would take me to find the parts and build the machine multiplied by what I make per hour means that building a machine is an expensive total cost, one that generally will end up costing me more than buying a Mac. So now I just order a fully loaded MBP from the start, knowing that not only will I NOT be screwing around with its components ... I CAN NOT, so it actually prevents me from dicking with it when I shouldn't. I also likely due this about half as often as you should do when buying COTS components and assembling your own. Unless you're paying absolute top dollar, your hardware is going to cost you time due to oddities/crashes well before my over priced MBP is going to bother me, by virtue of nothing more than 'everything is soldered'
My point? That 'cool black sphere' has its place, even if it doesn't exist yet.
I will not, however, buy a new MBP until they go back to nVidia cards. I'm not overpaying for second rate parts. I'll overpay for top of the line parts, but not second rate parts.