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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:02 PM   #1
bennetthall
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Mac Pro purchase: New, refurb, CL or wait?

I am about to pull the trigger on the Apple store $1819 refurb deal for a 2010 Mac Pro, then load her up with 32 gigs of third party RAM, SSD boot drive and "get on with it". That would be my personal "Beast" for PS, ID, web publishing, and the everything else.

BUT

Instincts tell me there will be a new new Mac Pro with Thunderbolt, a presumed game changer I/O, and gawd knows what else, (insane that TB is not presently shipping with Mac Pro IMO)

How do I make a buying decision?*
Buying B4 end of year would be beneficial for taxes, but if Apple IS announcing a new Mac Pro in early Q1 that weighs.

Therefore the questions is:

Should I:

1) wait for 2013 for the presumed long awaited new Mac Pro, OR
2) move on the Apple store re-furb deal, OR
3) consider the iMac 27"ers as stop gap or what??

I am disinclined to go CL as deals are typically too complicated and involve $100 bills vs normal business accounting.

Apple and the resellers have been unable to provide suitable guidance on this.

I would sincerely appreciate your ideas on this dilemma.



reference:

Use case involves:
1) processing hundreds of 100-1,000MB PS/In Design files for in house output on large format 12-color printers, related DAM system
2) networking: OSX server, presuming Mac mini controller including PC and Mac seats, 24/7 VPN
3) SAN-RAID storage in house
3) secured web integration of content resources
4) Filemaker database for business and clients; multiple locations, web publishing
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennetthall View Post
I am about to pull the trigger on the Apple store $1819 refurb deal for a 2010 Mac Pro, then load her up with 32 gigs of third party RAM, SSD boot drive and "get on with it". That would be my personal "Beast" for PS, ID, web publishing, and the everything else.

BUT

Instincts tell me there will be a new new Mac Pro with Thunderbolt, a presumed game changer I/O, and gawd knows what else, (insane that TB is not presently shipping with Mac Pro IMO)

How do I make a buying decision?*
Buying B4 end of year would be beneficial for taxes, but if Apple IS announcing a new Mac Pro in early Q1 that weighs.

Therefore the questions is:

Should I:

1) wait for 2013 for the presumed long awaited new Mac Pro, OR
2) move on the Apple store re-furb deal, OR
3) consider the iMac 27"ers as stop gap or what??

I am disinclined to go CL as deals are typically too complicated and involve $100 bills vs normal business accounting.

Apple and the resellers have been unable to provide suitable guidance on this.

I would sincerely appreciate your ideas on this dilemma.



reference:

Use case involves:
1) processing hundreds of 100-1,000MB PS/In Design files for in house output on large format 12-color printers, related DAM system
2) networking: OSX server, presuming Mac mini controller including PC and Mac seats, 24/7 VPN
3) SAN-RAID storage in house
3) secured web integration of content resources
4) Filemaker database for business and clients; multiple locations, web publishing
From what you've said about your usage I think that you can sort of rule out the iMac. It is practically none upgradeable, hasn't got much I/O, and just overall not made for that kind of work. Otherwise unless money and time is a big issue for you I would definitely wait a bit longer for new Mac Pros. After all the time they haven't been updated it will be a pretty big change! I mean right now you're paying a large amount of money for parts that are 2+ years old. The new Mac Pro will most definitely have thunderbolt, USB 3, better CPU, GPU and maybe even a new design!
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 12:32 AM   #3
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I was in the same boat and I was thinking of getting the Apple refurb deal. But I chose to find a cheaper CL deal. Just got a 2009 Quad Core 2.66GHz, 16GB, 2 X 640GB HD's and two GT-120 cards for $780. Couldn't be happier and I plan on doing the Hex 3.3 upgrade soon. Much cheaper than a Apple refurb.

Why spend 2G's now and possibly upgrade to a new one next year?
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 01:14 AM   #4
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Honestly

If I were you I would think of the "Quick Mac Pro You Want to Buy" as your PC rig. Get a Mac Pro (2006 1,1) Quad Core $500 + $250 Apple Radeon 5770, if you can live with Lion, or get a Mac Pro (Early 2008) 8-core 3.2 GHz $1200 it should have a GeForce 8800, all eBay prices.

Use these rigs while booted into Mac OS X and if you want Windows 7 too. Then when you are done, get a 2013 Mac Pro around May, June, July WWDC at the latest.

After this, you can get a KVM switcher for your monitors and keyboard, and have one booted into Windows 7 x64 and the other 2013 Mac Pro booted into Mountain Lion+, and destroy...

but you can get those either for $500 and $1200 and then get 32 GB of RAM cheaper, or just get 16 GB cause they can be Window machines in the end.

Why all this? Bootcamp is awesome cause you can "BOOT" into Windows or "BOOT" back into Mac, Parallels and VMWare are all great, but honestly, there is no better setup than a Windows Machine next to a Mac Machine side by side with a KVM to switch back and forth on the fly. EOL
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 09:01 AM   #5
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Do 2009 Mac Pros have HyperThreading?
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennetthall View Post
Instincts tell me there will be a new new Mac Pro with Thunderbolt, a presumed game changer I/O, and gawd knows what else, (insane that TB is not presently shipping with Mac Pro IMO)
Thunderbolt is a "game changer" for Mac without PCI-e expansion slots. The Mac Pro isn't a member of that set. The non-video data oriented Thunderbolt devices are essentially PCI-e cards shoved inside the external device (e.g., a external drive box with a SATA controller inside). Essentially the same thing can typically be done by just buying a PCI-e card (e.g., a SATA controller card with eSATA/SAS connectors ) and inserting into the current (or previous) Mac Pros.


Quote:
How do I make a buying decision?*
Buying B4 end of year would be beneficial for taxes, but if Apple IS announcing a new Mac Pro in early Q1 that weighs.
Tax deductions and future iterations of the Mac Pro are poor criteria to judge making a buy decision on. What computational need do you have now. Is your current computer getting in the way of getting more work done efficiently and effectively? How does the re-furb , iMac , etc compare with the workload constraints that are a problem now.

There are always going to be better computers to buy if wait longer.

Quote:
Apple and the resellers have been unable to provide suitable guidance on this.
What Apple is doing isn't the primary issue. Your workload and constraints should be.

If your current computer works OK , but just isn't newest, flashiest box you could have then the best case would be to wait a bit longer.

Quote:
Use case involves:
1) processing hundreds of 100-1,000MB PS/In Design files for in house output on large format 12-color printers, related DAM system
This isn't outside the realm of an iMac.

Quote:
2) networking: OSX server, presuming Mac mini controller including PC and Mac seats, 24/7 VPN
This appears to be networking to a Mac mini running OS X Server. Again there no Mac Pro driver here. Another mini , iMac , or Mac Pro would pull data off that mini just fine.

If this is suppose to be a personal workstation and a 24/7 server then I'd suggest separating them. Unless the server duties are lame the widely dynamically adjusting workloads of the personal task will typically lead to "not so good" server service levels.

Quote:
3) SAN-RAID storage in house
SAN over 1Gb Ethernet? Nothing there screams Mac Pro.

Quote:
3) secured web integration of content resources
Mac Pro not necessary to secure web content.


Quote:
4) Filemaker database for business and clients; multiple locations, web publishing
Probably not a large ( 100's or 1,000's of GB ) database. A Mac mini could do that.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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Your needs do not scream Mac Pro..

2 Months ago I was in your situation I badly wanted a new MP and had 2k ready to go. I have the MP in my cart and I started looking at ebay and quoka (german craigslist). I started to realize that I could buy a older MP and 30" ACD for less than a new MP. So got and 8 core 1,1 with 4 1TB greens for 600 and 30" ACD for 700 I just added a second 20" ACD and am still under the new MP in price.

With that I have bought a few limitations which I acknowledge and am comfortable with. If next year Apple make a killer MP something I can't live with out I sell my MP kick some funds in and go, if not I'll sell my MP with one HD and buy an 09 swap and flash..
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jvpython View Post
The new Mac Pro will most definitely have thunderbolt, USB 3, better CPU, GPU and maybe even a new design!
The upcoming Mac Pro may not have Thunderbolt.

If it has all of the other updates there is probably only a very small subset of folks who would not buy it. Thunderbolt solves a problem the Mac Pro doesn't have. Mac Pro's have PCI-e expansion. Mac Pro video cards have multiple video output ports. That is about all Thunderbolt provides; non issues in the current system.

Thunderbolt would also likely mean embedded graphics. That likely will lead to increase system costs (e.g., the MBP 15" entry price bumped once Apple had to go with iGPU + discrete GPU on all models ). There may be a decrease in cost if there is a embedded only option, but I suspect most current Mac Pro inclined folks won't want to go that way. [ depending on how 'low end' the embedded graphics were though it may work for this specific set of application workloads. PS, ID, web work isn't high end 3D graphics drivers. ]


There is a corner case for users who want to reuse the same equipment on both mobile and desktop use. (e.g., embed PCI-e sata controller inside HDD box and use on two boxes ). However, that isn't a huge driver to push Thunderbolt adoption on.

There is a good chance Apple will add just for consistency/uniformity sake, but there is no strong market driver for it. None of the other major workstation vendors 'bough into' Thunderbolt on all the updates this year. New GPUs, CPUs, and USB 3.0 are present on all of their offerings though.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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Do 2009 Mac Pros have HyperThreading?
Yes, they do. I bought my 2009 (4,1) as a quad, and Adobe saw 8 cores. The 6-core CPU I put in after updating the firmware to 5,1 shows up as 12 cores in Adobe After Effects.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 02:32 PM   #10
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update on Mac Pro buying decision

thanks everyone for the excellent replies!

I tend to agree l re iMac, I do not like that they are essentially non-upgradable either and figure they may drop a lot in price as supply picks up or they launch a 27" OLED/Retina next year. My partner also needs a new WS - currently on PC and for the first time EVER she is now "willing to consider a Mac" - possibly the iMac would work for her as she tends not to work with large files and ripping.

Reading through these excellent replies, for which I am most appreciative, I am leaning back to yet again, full circle - as whether I need the Mac Pro 5.1 horsepower today or not, 2013 will surely seem a major upgrade of the line and the usual adjustments that follow. A 3.1 or ideally 4.1 MP used which seems to be about $1200-1500 depending on XYZ would resolve the current workflow

BTW - current machine is a total dog as it is a 2.7 dual power PC / 8 gigs RAM- the water cooled one that melts down and fries the CPU., not apples best work

Additional memory is needed especially as when I RIP a 500 meg file to the HPz3200 it creates a file about triple that size in the process, shoots it via the network, and this can easily clog continue to work in PS/ID etc., which has additional 500 meg files open.

though I am amazed this machine can pull this off and I have made hundreds of large prints this way. Processor speeds IMO is not my major stall point, but of course being on Power PC means no CS6 ( assuming I will pay Adobe for the upgrade) and a variety of other software issues

I also checked in with this guy who does custom builds in Davis CA, more PC approach but for OSX - with specs about 50% faster than apple and much less costly - I am not sure I could trust this but he seems to get good reviews

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/syd/3485467636.html

Not as lot of Mac Pros up on CL presently in SF area however -- continuing to look...

cheers and happy holidays

Bennett

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvpython View Post
From what you've said about your usage I think that you can sort of rule out the iMac. It is practically none upgradeable, hasn't got much I/O, and just overall not made for that kind of work. Otherwise unless money and time is a big issue for you I would definitely wait a bit longer for new Mac Pros. After all the time they haven't been updated it will be a pretty big change! I mean right now you're paying a large amount of money for parts that are 2+ years old. The new Mac Pro will most definitely have thunderbolt, USB 3, better CPU, GPU and maybe even a new design!
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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What is a 'hex 3.3 upgrade?

I am starting to lean CL again too - though it is more hassle...if only sellers would clearly list their model ID # etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlazer View Post
I was in the same boat and I was thinking of getting the Apple refurb deal. But I chose to find a cheaper CL deal. Just got a 2009 Quad Core 2.66GHz, 16GB, 2 X 640GB HD's and two GT-120 cards for $780. Couldn't be happier and I plan on doing the Hex 3.3 upgrade soon. Much cheaper than a Apple refurb.

Why spend 2G's now and possibly upgrade to a new one next year?
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennetthall View Post
What is a 'hex 3.3 upgrade?

I am starting to lean CL again too - though it is more hassle...if only sellers would clearly list their model ID # etc...
It's when you buy the cheapest 2009 or 2010 model you can find with a single quad processor, then buy this W3680 6-core CPU for $590 and stick it in yourself for much less money.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:20 PM   #13
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thunderbolt detail

OK - perhaps I have been drinking Apple Koolaid on TB - this idea that it is 10X faster than USBII - my interest being the read write time for larger files or moving things across the network to a TBD server / RAID that is shared among the studios workstations

Time to study PCI-e more ...

thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by deconstruct60 View Post
The upcoming Mac Pro may not have Thunderbolt.

If it has all of the other updates there is probably only a very small subset of folks who would not buy it. Thunderbolt solves a problem the Mac Pro doesn't have. Mac Pro's have PCI-e expansion. Mac Pro video cards have multiple video output ports. That is about all Thunderbolt provides; non issues in the current system.

Thunderbolt would also likely mean embedded graphics. That likely will lead to increase system costs (e.g., the MBP 15" entry price bumped once Apple had to go with iGPU + discrete GPU on all models ). There may be a decrease in cost if there is a embedded only option, but I suspect most current Mac Pro inclined folks won't want to go that way. [ depending on how 'low end' the embedded graphics were though it may work for this specific set of application workloads. PS, ID, web work isn't high end 3D graphics drivers. ]


There is a corner case for users who want to reuse the same equipment on both mobile and desktop use. (e.g., embed PCI-e sata controller inside HDD box and use on two boxes ). However, that isn't a huge driver to push Thunderbolt adoption on.

There is a good chance Apple will add just for consistency/uniformity sake, but there is no strong market driver for it. None of the other major workstation vendors 'bough into' Thunderbolt on all the updates this year. New GPUs, CPUs, and USB 3.0 are present on all of their offerings though.


----------

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819117242

I get your point - lower cost machine becomes beast with this chip assuming no issues with overheating - the reviews from owners seem to like this, though no comments from Mac buyers in that string

Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderspark View Post
It's when you buy the cheapest 2009 or 2010 model you can find with a single quad processor, then buy this W3680 6-core CPU for $590 and stick it in yourself for much less money.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:22 PM   #14
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Look into Areca or Atto RAID cards. I have an Areca 1880ix-12 that services an 8-bay tower of 2TB disks for a 12TB RAID 6.



I think it's still a lot cheaper than a Thunderbolt option of similar size and speed. Plus, I don't think you can do RAID 6 (any two disks can fail) using Pegasus Promise or anything else out on TB yet.

----------

My Mac Pro was a 2009 quad that I put this exact 6-core CPU into. The temps dropped a couple degrees, not increased.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:36 PM   #15
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appears the Areca is discontinued but I see the direction of logic, and RAID 6 which I had not previously been familiar with - I like the idea of your 8bay- tower.

Are you doing this as a server with multiple WSs or just your main WS? Have heard the mini can make a good server, although according to Filmaker tech, they recommend DAS over SAN supposedly for security reasons.

Also as as the studio is in Oakland, and general best practice, I also have the ongoing risk of theft, fire. We started to think of putting all this in a rack/cage. DSL is my fastest option here presently so cloud back up is out of the question when in heavy production of media files;

Sent a few responses to CL posts on MPs but thus far no responses yet

thank you


Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderspark View Post
Look into Areca or Atto RAID cards. I have an Areca 1880ix-12 that services an 8-bay tower of 2TB disks for a 12TB RAID 6.

Image

I think it's still a lot cheaper than a Thunderbolt option of similar size and speed. Plus, I don't think you can do RAID 6 (any two disks can fail) using Pegasus Promise or anything else out on TB yet.

----------

My Mac Pro was a 2009 quad that I put this exact 6-core CPU into. The temps dropped a couple degrees, not increased.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 06:45 PM   #16
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The 1882 series replaced the 1880 series, which I'm sure they still sell.

I use mine for HD video production as a single station, so it's just the Mac Pro and a small 8-bay tower beside it, connected via two mini-SAS cables.

For backups, I have a 4TB internal drive and several external and internal drives that I back up on a regular schedule. The internal drives are easily plugged in via a Newer Tech Voyager Q dock, which is USB3/eSATA/FW800 capable, and connects to the Mac Pro via my Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 PCI card.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 08:18 PM   #17
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Voyager dock

thanks for the link - the voyager dock looks very interesting - never saw this solution b4, but it makes a lot of sense; have getting by doing 'sneaker net' with 1-2T drives that I park at our production shop just in case lightning strikes

I will check into the 1882 -

B


Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderspark View Post
The 1882 series replaced the 1880 series, which I'm sure they still sell.

I use mine for HD video production as a single station, so it's just the Mac Pro and a small 8-bay tower beside it, connected via two mini-SAS cables.

For backups, I have a 4TB internal drive and several external and internal drives that I back up on a regular schedule. The internal drives are easily plugged in via a Newer Tech Voyager Q dock, which is USB3/eSATA/FW800 capable, and connects to the Mac Pro via my Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 PCI card.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 09:50 PM   #18
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Regarding the 2013 Pro, going by the release dates and availability of likely CPU candidates, are we looking at the first or second half of the year?

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Old Dec 22, 2012, 09:56 PM   #19
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release date MP, long awaited

so far the best intel I have heard is August 2013;
I can't wait that long - but at least the field is now narrowed to 4.1 or newer and unlikely new from Apple.


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Regarding the 2013 Pro, going by the release dates and availability of likely CPU candidates, are we looking at the first or second half of the year?

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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:48 AM   #20
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I'm interested in purchasing the base model and upgrading the CPU myself. What are my options CPU-wise? I'd like a 6 or 8 core ideally.

What about the X5690 in a single configuration?

Last edited by Alekto; Dec 23, 2012 at 02:52 AM.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 08:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bennetthall View Post
so far the best intel I have heard is August 2013
eek! I'm in the same boat as a lot of people, but my need may be ramped up even sooner after the new year. I've eliminated the 27" iMac as it just doesn't offer what I really need.

Thunderbolt on a MacPro would be awesome - able to share an AJA ioXT or AJA T-TAP with a MacBook Pro, and even external storage RAID. Waiting for CalDigit to offer RAID5's in Thunderbolt options, but until a MacPro supports it - doubtful it will happen. I know there are other options like PCIe to Thunderbolt adapters, but a native solution is always cheaper.

Still looking at the refurb options for a "new" machine/workstation and will probably just upgrade RAM and SSD. Like so many other people, I can't justify spending the kind of money being asked for a 2 generation old brand new MacPro...
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:50 AM   #22
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OK - perhaps I have been drinking Apple Koolaid on TB - this idea that it is 10X faster than USBII -
Yeah kool-aid.

A USB 2.0 port on a TB device has the same throughput as a USB 2.0 on the PC. There are no 'native' TB devices that end users typically connect to. Thunderbolt is used to connect a USB/Firewire/SATA/etc controller that operates at substantially slower than 10Gbps speeds to the computer. The 10x faster is never delivered to a port the end user actually uses for non-TB peripherals. The 10x speed is solely between TB devices.

For drive systems what can do is move/add the SATA controller outside the computer and provide it with a PCI-e based channel back into the computer. That is the only time going to see higher than the "alternate ports" performance ( eSATA, single SAS port , Firwire, USB ). Typically what would see for disk systems is the same performance as if got a eSATA card and used a eSATA port(s).

At the top end dual/quad SAS port x8 PCI-e RAID cards, then can get higher top end performance than a Thunderbolt solution.
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