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Old Dec 25, 2012, 01:08 AM   #1
apple_iBoy
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Mac Pro Christmas present exchange for iMac?

Hi everyone. I first want to say merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. I have a "nice" problem to pose and hope I can get some feedback.

My parents got me a new Mac this Christmas. Please understand I'm very thankful and grateful (let me get that out of the way first to avoid potential abuse in the thread).

As happened the last time my parents gave me computer, my mom called Apple and sought out (was talked into) the very most extreme thing they had to offer, a 12 core Mac Pro. This is outrageous overkill for my needs. Just like last time, the Apple phone rep apparently sensed my mom's lack of tech knowledge and convinced her that I could use a machine like this "so I don't fill it up with all my photos."

I use my current desktop computer (2006 Mac Pro) to house my iTunes media library, to play with photos and video in a very amateur way, and do other mundane things. I also have a 2011 Macbook Air that I use mostly for work related things (I'm an engineering professor).

I am considering exchanging the Mac Pro for a high-end 27" iMac. Because of the price differential, I could also add an additional Thunderbolt display, Thunderbolt backup drives, Fusion drive, and a few other perks. My current thinking is that I would take this unopened Mac Pro to the Apple store, ask for a gift card for the purchase amount, and place an order for January delivery of a new iMac. There are a few reasons i am thinking about doing this.

I know Apple has something new in store for the Mac Pro in 2013. I feel that major updates might shorten the length of time this machine is eligible for updates and upgrades. I already feel a little burned by Apple with regard to my 2006 Mac Pro, which cannot run Mountain Lion (easily) and which I have had to jump through ridiculous hoops to pair up with a marginally up-to-date graphics card. The fact that this 2012 Mac Pro doesn't have Thunderbolt (cannot even connect to the Thunderbolt display!) makes me feel that it will not be enjoying the Apple love for very long.

Another advantage of the exchange is the nice display options I'd have. Currently my Mac Pro is hooked up to a 20" Cinema Display (from when the aluminum models first came out a number of years ago). I feel an upgrade to two 27" screens would be a more definitive advantage than having a zillion processing cores.

I realize that the iMac is almost un-upgradable and as such is more of a disposable product that might not have the legs of the Mac Pro. However, based on my experience with my current Mac Pro, Apple hobbles the upgrade path to these wonderful machines, which should be so superbly upgradable, and in the process really diminishes what should be the Mac Pro's crowning advantage.


I am basically wondering if anyone can think of a compelling reason why I shouldn't do this — maybe something spectacular about this Mac Pro that I've overlooked? Will I somehow find a use for those 12 cores that I don't currently understand? Does it really have a value for a user like me, given the pricetag?

Your help would be appreciated.

Last edited by apple_iBoy; Dec 25, 2012 at 01:14 AM.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 01:14 AM   #2
Macman45
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It's a shame you are back home in the Staes. The deal-breaker for me and the Pro however is the lack of FULL T/Bolt support....I have a Pegasus R4 for bulk storage.

I went with the Top end BTO Imac ( delivers January ) 32GB RAM 2GB GPU etc. etc. would sut you down to the ground. Your parents have the 14 day return option, so if it won't offend them if swap, why not contact Apple and ask for a return / re-order?
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 01:47 AM   #3
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The pro will do everything the iMac does and more. Keep the pro.

I sorta smell troll.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 01:58 AM   #4
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The pro will do everything the iMac does and more. Keep the pro.

I sorta smell troll.
Your sense of smell's off buddy. Thanks for the useful feedback.
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Last edited by OllyW; Dec 25, 2012 at 02:27 AM. Reason: changed tags on oversized image from IMG to TIMG
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:22 AM   #5
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It's a shame you are back home in the Staes. The deal-breaker for me and the Pro however is the lack of FULL T/Bolt support....I have a Pegasus R4 for bulk storage.

I went with the Top end BTO Imac ( delivers January ) 32GB RAM 2GB GPU etc. etc. would sut you down to the ground. Your parents have the 14 day return option, so if it won't offend them if swap, why not contact Apple and ask for a return / re-order?
Appreciate the meaningful response. I think the lack of thunderbolt is what bothers me the most as well. The iMac you describe is the one I think I'd order too.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:39 AM   #6
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Do you want to swap parents?
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:44 AM   #7
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I don't see it being a problem if you want to swap it for something that you feel would have better value, and suits your needs more.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:50 AM   #8
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I'd keep the Mac Pro. Not only is the VGA card upgradable, but you can easily pop in more hdds or ssds when needed. I'd say support wise, both systems will lose os upgradability around the same time but the mac pro will be worth more for resale. VGA tech changes so fast that it would be a drag to be stuck with the 680mx 3 years fom now when midrange desktop cards will be walking all over it.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:57 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by apple_iBoy View Post
the Apple phone rep apparently sensed my mom's lack of tech knowledge and convinced her that I could use a machine like this "so I don't fill it up with all my photos."
Weird, because I asked about the Mac Mini for my mother-in-law, and the guy tried to convince me that I need to buy the 1TB version because she'll fill the 500GB up with photo's. I wanted to call him a moron but figured I wouldn't embarrass the wife, so I walked off and let him talk to her about it.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:59 AM   #10
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I'd keep the Mac Pro. Not only is the VGA card upgradable, but you can easily pop in more hdds or ssds when needed. I'd say support wise, both systems will lose os upgradability around the same time but the mac pro will be worth more for resale. VGA tech changes so fast that it would be a drag to be stuck with the 680mx 3 years fom now when midrange desktop cards will be walking all over it.
That is a good point. Although I haven't had the best experiences with video card upgrades with my 2006 MP. It came with the GeForce 7300 (actually it came with 3 of them another example of Apple giving my folks a questionable sale pitch). I have a more modern card in there now but it involved kext finangling and blank screens and possibilities of breakage with every point upgrade. I guess Mac Pros have gotten better in that regard huh? Still have a bitter taste about the way the Mac Pro 1,1 has been dealt with.

I do love the MP for ability to add drives but I kind of see thunderbolt on iMac as the way to do that going forward. Legit reasoning? Is there a reason to prefer internal drives?
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 03:46 AM   #11
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That is a good point. Although I haven't had the best experiences with video card upgrades with my 2006 MP. It came with the GeForce 7300 (actually it came with 3 of them another example of Apple giving my folks a questionable sale pitch). I have a more modern card in there now but it involved kext finangling and blank screens and possibilities of breakage with every point upgrade. I guess Mac Pros have gotten better in that regard huh? Still have a bitter taste about the way the Mac Pro 1,1 has been dealt with.

I do love the MP for ability to add drives but I kind of see thunderbolt on iMac as the way to do that going forward. Legit reasoning? Is there a reason to prefer internal drives?
What will you need Thunderbolt for?

And starting with OS X 10.8, there is a lot more support for third-party cards, mostly NVIDIA. I'm running a GTX 560 Ti, and all I did was pop it in. No meddling, although you lose EFI support, so no dual-booting without a card with EFI. But I honestly think that's a small downside to a really awesome computer.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 03:56 AM   #12
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No meddling, although you lose EFI support, so no dual-booting without a card with EFI.
You can use the free app called BootChamp from http://www.kainjow.com to solve your dual-booting issues easily if you have one OSX and one Windows partition.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 04:20 AM   #13
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I am biased to the expandability of the Mac Pro and would no doubt keep that for my personal use. I own three iMacs, one which I bought new in 2006 when the Core 2 Duo was released, and while they are decent machines, I am just not a fan of all-in-one devices that have very limited serviceability and is essentially tossing out the screen when the computer reaches EOL. While this may in fact be a possibility with the LED Cinema Display if a retina version is released, I still like the expansion of the Mac Pro. Either way you slice it, the OEMs have you in a corner on peripherals since they are designed for Apple and are priced accordingly (Thunderbolt peripherals, Mac Pro GPUs), however it isn't as extreme with the Mac Pro as with Thunderbolt technology right now. Thunderbolt technology is great and of course I wish I had it in my Mac Pro, but aside from using it as a display I don't think I would utilize it right now.

Perhaps you should consider an exchange for a hex core model, and one or two 27" displays if you don't need to additional cores? You could use that with your Air and charge it too.

I guess the one thing that turned me off and continues to do so with the iMac is the serviceability. The 2006 was such a pain to service with the exception of adding RAM, especially compared to the iMac G5 without iSight. That G5 is designed well (sans capacitor issues) an could be upgraded and serviced rather easily.

I'll be the first to admit I have not used the new iMac, and with a fusion drive it I probably a very fast machine for nearly every use right now, but the Mac Pro just handles anything you can throw at it, and IMO is the pinnacle of Apple design.

If you are into gaming (I am not particularly) you are pretty much stuck in a few years if you want to run the latest game on the iMac - what it does now is what it will always do. With the Mac Pro, there are options.

I don't think Apple will leave the 2012 users out in the cold with OS X updates in the near future. I do thing the situation with the 1,1 is a bummer, as my 2007 aluminum model runs 10.8 rather well. Graphics are not the best, but with and SSD it still is useful. The 1,1 would be very much the same plus much more if it wasn't for the EFI issue.

Perhaps if you admire the minimalistic nature of the new iMac, it may be the one for you. But you have the best Apple computer made right now IMO.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 04:22 AM   #14
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You can use the free app called BootChamp from http://www.kainjow.com to solve your dual-booting issues easily if you have one OSX and one Windows partition.
He is also a member here
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 05:01 AM   #15
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Sweet mother of christ a 12core mac pro for christmas?! Wow! You lucky so and so.

Personally I'd keep the Pro. My personal reason which wouldn't suit everyone;

- 12 cores of power! Always like to boast about having 8 cores, let alone 12.
- More ram than an iMac (96 top end vs 32?)
- will last longer than an iMac (i'm on a 1,1 which is 5/6 years old - todays Apple stuff seems to be alot more consumer based when it breaks it breaks)
-continue to upgrade the Pro vs iMac, more disks, graphics card and even processor.
- I like real desktops, plus you have a 1,1 so I assume you have all the monitors, keyboard blah blah.. Might as well just replace the 1,1.

Vote with your wallet (or mothers wallet in this case) if you take it back and swap it for an iMac you are basically telling Apple you don't want a real desktop computer, you want an anorexic laptop on a stand..

Yeah you wont have thunderbolt.. but so? You don't with the 1,1 and you didnt expect this pro, its a gift. Plus do you really need thunderbolt?...
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 09:43 AM   #16
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Lots to think about in here. Appreciate the opinions and ideas.

I had been planning on replacing my 2006 MP with an iMac on my own sometime this year. This has kind of accelerated my plans a little.

Those of you who have mentioned the rock-solid longevity of the Mac Pro, yes I agree with you there. My 2006 1,1 is still humming along like a new machine — albeit a new machine that is locked out of the current OS and that is being propped up by a graphics card that it had to be tricked into accepting. But you're right, I'm betting that Mac Pros generally have a longer useful lifetime than the typical iMac, and although I've never sold one, I bet it's true that they retain a lot of resale value over the years.

As far as the question of whether I need Thunderbolt or not, I guess with the Mac Pro, the answer would be no, not immediately. But I think there's potential in that technology for things that right now I can't understand or fully appreciate. I am betting that somewhere down the road in the next few years, there will be something about Thunderbolt that I want or need. I also would not put it past Apple to make Thunderbolt some sort of (arbitrary?) cutoff for some future tech — as in all machines without Thunderbolt are left out in the cold. I imagine early adopters of USB also faced the question of "why do you need that?"

I do little on my Mac Pro that is very processor-intensive. The reason I have it is because I have need for a large amount of storage (several terabytes right now). This is mostly because of my music fetish — my classical collection alone has a dedicated terrabyte drive, and I have crates and crates of CDs that I still am in the process of importing (I am somewhat particular about how the metatagging is done and it takes me a long time). iCloud has made it possible for me to listen to a portion of my music library wherever, but it doesn't hold anywhere near all my tracks, and I still need a home base for the files. Until Thunderbolt rolled along, it seemed like a Mac Pro was the only reasonable solution for me. Now that doesn't seem to be necessarily true.

The other thing about Thunderbolt that really appeals to me is the portability it conveys to massive amounts of my data. There have been times when I've been working over very large projects (mostly HD video), and would have loved to not be constrained to working on my desk computer at home. As I mentioned, I have a Macbook Air that I take to and from work, and there is a Thunderbolt-equipped iMac on my desk at work. I've thought how cool it would be if I could have a super-fast external drive that I could move back and forth easily between all those machines. Right now, without TB on MP, that's not feasible.


Quote:
Vote with your wallet (or mothers wallet in this case) if you take it back and swap it for an iMac you are basically telling Apple you don't want a real desktop computer, you want an anorexic laptop on a stand..
Yeah this is a point I've been thinking about as well. I really wouldn't want to come across to Apple like a customer who wants a toy instead of a professional machine. However, on the flip side, I think Apple kind of made its own bed on this one. With the exception of those incredible number of cores, I think the Mac Pro has languished for years with inconsistent and infrequent updates that never really push it to its full potential. I think Apple knows this. I think there was a big collective sigh each time Apple has released a Mac Pro update the past few years — yes, I know some are thrilled with the current offerings, but I think many of us have been disappointed.

So at the moment, I am still leaning toward my original plan. But I'm still thinking about the points you guys have made.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 09:54 AM   #17
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It sounds like you have pretty much answered your own question.

I detest the lossy music in iTunes and never buy music there. I do have iTunes Match for the convenience to stream to my iPhone and iPad, but in my vehicle and home I only listen to pressed CDs, vinyl, lossless media, or DVD-A.

It bothers me that Apple is funneling people into their agenda offering substandard music by removing the optical drive from their hardware. iTunes used to be a method to enjoy, store, rip, and create CD media. Now its focus has become pretty much a cash cow/store.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:16 AM   #18
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:18 AM   #19
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I have a 2008 Mac Pro my wife has an iMac. I would never give up the expandability of my Mac Pro for as an above poster put it so well, "an anorexic laptop on a stand". I have a Gigabyte GTX570 modified with an EFI by MacVidCards, four internal hard drives, an old USB card and 12 MBs of RAM. You on the other hand, have the world and you want to give it away.

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:37 AM   #20
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So few of us will have the opportunity to get a MP (price) and would love to have one - its the king kong of desktops! Keep it bro! Upgradeable, ultra resaleable...yes Apple forgets the professional, but this is a monster and too cool to part with! Sell it in 2-3 years and then buy the latest iMAC.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:37 AM   #21
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It sounds like you have pretty much answered your own question.

I detest the lossy music in iTunes and never buy music there. I do have iTunes Match for the convenience to stream to my iPhone and iPad, but in my vehicle and home I only listen to pressed CDs, vinyl, lossless media, or DVD-A.

It bothers me that Apple is funneling people into their agenda offering substandard music by removing the optical drive from their hardware. iTunes used to be a method to enjoy, store, rip, and create CD media. Now its focus has become pretty much a cash cow/store.
From what I've read , Apple's 256bps AAC sounds pretty good compared to other formats.

Modern pop recordings have poor dynamic range because of the over use of compression. Also, studios are using so many filters and other enhancements, are we getting honest sound with all it's imperfections or audio photoshopped perfection that produces a distortion of what music really is.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:43 AM   #22
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Something to consider, posted in the iMac section or buying advice section would yield much different responses.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:44 AM   #23
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Sell your MP 1,1 and buy a nice montior to use with your new MP!
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:47 AM   #24
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From what I've read , Apple's 256bps AAC sounds pretty good compared to other formats.

Modern pop recordings have poor dynamic range because of the over use of compression. Also, studios are using so many filters and other enhancements, are we getting honest sound with all it's imperfections or audio photoshopped perfection that produces a distortion of what music really is.
New music is very "over produced" it seems to me as well. I usually try to avoid the new "remastered" releases and hang on to the originals. I have several MFSL 24k gold disc that I greatly enjoy.

Dire Straits Brothers In Arms is a good example where the 1985 release sounds better to me than the new remastered one.

Truth is, most people don't care and iTunes sounds fine to them, but I have not grown to accept it yet as a replacement for CD media and don't expect to anytime soon. There is also something to be said about opening the media and enjoying the liner notes as well. It just isn't the same experience downloading an inferior copy digitally.

I get all movies/concerts on DVD and Blu-ray, too
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 11:09 AM   #25
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Your sense of smell's off buddy. Thanks for the useful feedback.
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how do we know that box is not an empty box?

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