Anyone at this point considering a PC Workstation?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Major Reeves, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2009
    If you are, please tell us how do you plan migrating your workflow to another platform.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    i'd consider an expensive, fast hackintosh... reluctantly.

    part of the thing people seem to forget (at least, those using pro apps not on apple's schedule) - even if we get a blazing crazytown amazing 3rd quarter 2013 mac pro... what OS will it be running? I'm still running in SL on my Pro so that everything works.

    it wont be a light-switch solution.
  3. macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2010
    When the time comes to replace my Mac Pro, I will assess the current state of Apple. At this time, I'd do the following:

    1) Build a current tech PC
    2) Swap my Areca 1880ix-12 into it
    3) Call Adobe and have my license for CS6 moved from Mac to PC
    4) ???
    5) Profit

    Since Adobe actually works *better* in PCs than Macs these days, it's actually an improvement. I love Snow Leopard (currently on 10.6.8) and Windows 7, but I'm sure I could also live with Windows 8. Mountain Lion isn't that bad on my MBP. I just had to switch it all back as close to Snow Leopard as possible.

    I never use my FCP X, and there are plenty of choices for PC software to replace all my Mac software. I have no allegiance to Mac, evidenced by my diverse use of Apple and non-Apple devices. I actually like my Android better than my iPhone, and I've had a bit of everything since I was 14 years old.

    It's been fun to make my Mac do everything I need by adding a BD-R burner, eSATA and USB 3.0 card, Areca RAID card and upgrading the CPU and GPU, but it will be just as fun to build a new PC with a lot less money, if it comes to that.
  4. macrumors 68030


    Jun 16, 2007
    If you need a desktop, I would get a refurb Mac Pro....and then get the new one. Or an iMac (if you don't have a display)

    2013 looks bright for the Mac Pro.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Tempe, AZ
    I'm pretty platform agnostic myself, but I have been using mostly Macs since college (about 12 years now).

    My 2008 Mac Pro isn't exactly what I'd consider long in the tooth quite yet, but if I were faced with the position of having to buy something new, I'd probably look into a building a Hackintosh because I more or less need to stay on the OS X platform for a lot of work-related things. And newer Mac Pros are pretty expensive for what you're getting (2-generation old tech, basically). Heck, I wouldn't even have this Mac Pro if it weren't for the EOL and business discounts I got, bringing the machine down to $1899 in 2009.

    Smartphones? Like wonderspark, I'm actually an Android guy. Love my Galaxy Nexus, and I plain like Android better than iOS as a platform. I love being able to plug my phone in and simply drop files on it, into the folder I want to without being shackled by iTunes. And I'm so used to the tight Google apps integration that it would be hard for me to switch. But that's just me, anyway...
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Yes - seriously considering it in terms of long term planning.

    As to how I'd change my workflow? Honestly, one of the strengths of OS X for me is access to a plethora of Unix-type applications while still retaining things like Office.

    A Windows machine running an essentially always on CentOS VM solves that entirely.

    Given my "workflow" at this point is mostly code in R, C or Python, I'd spent a day getting things back to the way I like them, typing a whole lot of "sudo python install", and be back to work the next day.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2012
    I moved to windows 7 with the following hardware:

    My workflow consists of microsoft excel, word and games so the transition was easy. I also have a hardware RAID 1 with 2x 3TB hdds. I've overclocked it to 4.3Ghz without a crash.

    My system is amazingly fast and responsive (coming from a mac pro 3,1 2.8ghz. Best thing is I sold my mac pro for $1000

    When Tim Cook said something special is coming in 2013, my prediction is that it will be along the lines of, you don't need a Mac Pro, because our laptops are faster, so we're not making mac pros anymore.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2005
    If you follow TONYMACs website and build a hackingtosh you will enjoy it.
    I haven't had one problem with mine.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I'm still considering the switch as I'm no longer tied to any OSX specific software. I was about to pull the trigger a couple of months ago on a configuration I put together for an editing/3d rendering workstation but put that on hold temporarily. At this point, I'm still in the market for a new machine but can probably hold off another few months. I'll probably re-evaluate then, but I have a feeling that I'll still be making the jump back to windows.

    What would give you that impression?
  10. macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    I'm also in this boat as I switched from Aperture to Lightroom 4. OS X is no longer mandatory for me. I like OS X a lot and my Mac Pro is still plenty powerful, but I'm also an avid gamer and pushing games on a 30" display with the 5870 is hit or miss if I want to use decent settings. To me, it doesn't make sense to build a gaming PC and use it alongside the Mac Pro. I'd rather have just one workstation that does it all.

    But as for migrating my workflow, I will basically be exporting all of my Aperture masters as well as edited versions which I will eventually bring into Lightroom 4 on the PC side. My existing Lightroom library and photos should migrate without any trouble. I'm not sure, but I think the same license for Lightroom 4 can be used in both OS X and Windows so that shouldn't be a problem.

    I also have some VMware Fusion VMs that I use for tinkering - I should be able to open the virtual disk files in VirtualBox on the Windows side.

    Everything else should migrate without a hitch for me.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2012
    I wanted to buy a HP Workstation this summer but had to realize that still too many current projects depend on Apple Software like FCP and Apple Color.
    But soon all those projects will be finished and I saw to it that my recent projects are all worked on with platform agnostic software.
    In a few month I will switch to a HP Zsomething (probably 600) with Win7 on it. Main reasons:
    - graphics card with gpu support (that is a huge factor for me)
    - 10-bit monitor output through graphics card (also important)
    - faster PCI, faster CPU, faster everything (doesn't seem quite as significant)
    - I don't believe in Pro future with Apple; ML is designed to be sleek, full of gimmicks and easy to use with no regards to functionality, customisibility and access to informations that I need. It is a big step backwards from SL and an indication for the shape of things to come. Even if a real Pro computer is delivered it will still be stuck with a bloated iOS.

    What will I miss?
    - Color for sure. It is so much more intuitive and faster to use than Resolve.
    - Compressor; high quality results, UI and options way superior to Media Encoder
    - Quicktime. QT was a nightmare with the gamma and many codecs were crap, but it had some nice features and was quick to use
    - many little programs that I bought over the years
    - my knowledge of the OS (was never deep but I picked up a few things over the last 15 years)
  12. Spacedust, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    Never, ever... :)

    This year I bought a new Mac Pro 2009 with maxed out configuration and I love it. Graphics can be a little bit faster, but there are still some options like genuine HD5870 1 GB or flashed HD5870 2 GB. There were some reports about flashed working HD6970 so I might give a try :p
  13. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    If you have the extra money, then I'd recommend Telestream Episode for encoding.

    Granted, their new interface is still buggy but it's been pretty solid for me over the past years.
  14. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Lightroom is a better system in my opinion. Adobe has been pretty good about being able to match the look from older versions with newer software via the use of legacy input profiles. It maintains much less extra data. You can just have settings and things embedded in a disk cache that takes up very little space. If that is your primary requirement, OSX isn't a big loss. There were only a couple things I found annoying under Windows 7. Wacom pen tablet animation was one of them, but that can be turned off. If you're using a display that supports 10 bit displayport, assuming you have a compatible gpu, it should work under Windows. I know PS has it. Lightroom might support it too.

    Doh just to get my post back on topic, I have considered a PC workstation. I may switch that way next year depending on a few factors. It's just annoying migrating.
  15. macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2008
    Sleek and easy to use are positive. What functionality, customization options and 'access to information' does Windows have that OS X lacks for professional use?
  16. macrumors 68030


    Jun 16, 2007

    Tim Cook.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    You seem to have a lot of faith based on a rather ambiguous comment.
  18. macrumors 603


    Jun 10, 2006
    I'm considering a Hackintosh for my furute upgrade. My 12 Core 2.93 is still kickin' major ass right now so I won't feel the need to upgrade for several years. But If the line doesn't get an update from Apple or is discontinued I'd get the best available Hacktosh, which will probably be a 16 core or higher for my video editing workflow.
  19. macrumors 68030


    Jun 16, 2007
    Knowing about Apple and it's secrecy, they never allow PR releases about future products. Never. If Tim Cook went out of his way to mention the desktop line, then there is truth to it.

    The original email:

    As always, if you need a machine NOW, figure out a solution by getting a refurb mac pro or build your hackintosh (which I would never do as I don't want to worry about hardware issues.)
  20. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    That email doesn't instill any faith in me at all. What CEO wouldn't claim that they have "great" stuff in the pipeline? Of course Apple never has official press releases regarding future products, but most of the time there are whispers and leaks that guide the consumer in a general direction. There's none of that with the Mac Pro, and we've already seen what the first iteration of "updates" has looked like under Cook's watch. I'm not saying that there isn't a solid update on the horizon, but the information we have is not very much to go on. And considering the direction the company has taken with its other product lines, I'm not so sure that the next version of the Mac Pro is what we've all been waiting for.
  21. Lord Blackadder, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    I've been using Macs for 20 years, and I can tell you that the "next version of the [top end pro line Mac]" has never been what the most vocal crowd has been waiting for. But the "pro" line continues to soldier on in the hands of a pretty large and dedicated community of professional users - in fact the user base has exploded over the last ten years.

    You know what would be weird? It would be weird if Apple released new desktop hardware and there wasn't a very vocal minority condemning it and threatening to migrate to Windows.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2009
    I can't see myself paying the kind of money apple wants for a Mac Pro again. My 2008 machine was great value but more and more, I see it as an anomaly....A blip in apple's otherwise uniformly overpriced strategy. I can stomach the apple tax for phones, ipads, even laptops on occasion but the Mac Pro's are stupid money for not even the best performance anymore.

    For desktops now, I'm a Hackintosh guy and if Apple ever sqiushes that scene, I'll just migrate to Windows for the heavy lifting. None of the appeal from 2008 is still there for a workstation.

    That said, I'd love apple to surprise me but it's a while since their surprises were nice ones.
  23. Major Reeves, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2009
    To tell you the truth, apple's current approach of form over function at the expense of cooling (MBPs reaching 90ºC; "questionable" cooling on the new iMac) and the way they may end up implementing thunderbolt, which really isn't of that much use when you have pci-e slots, on that "something really great coming out in 2013", is really putting me off.

    Now thunderbolt may come in three flavours, you either have it in a 1155 cpu with it's built in gpu coupled with the thunderbolt controller for both thunderbolt+video with a slot for a video card. You can also have it in the form of a LGA2011 board with a soldered gpu (asus has a test board like that). Pci-e slots if there are lanes left and more HDD slots to not make it look like a headless iMac.

    All these options are obvious deal breakers because they go against the reason I picked a Mac Pro and in the past, PowerMacs.

    Now if apple still wants to moronly put thunderbolt in that "something really great coming next year", they could, simply, put a displayport IN connector in the motherboard that is coupled to the thunderbolt controller, should you desire to have video+thunderbolt, for, let's see, the thunderbolt display. Of course such option would come at the expense of pci-e slots, but it'd be using a normal pci-e gpu. All you'd have and that is if you wanted thunderbolt+video, would be a display port cable coming from the gpu connected to that displayport IN connector I mentioned. But i guess this approach is just wishful thinking at this point.

    With this in mind a new Mac Pro revision would just require, besides the obvious up to date xeons, four 8-pin connectors for modern graphics/compute cards and seriously, fan inlet filters. But I see apple neither following this nor what I've mentioned in my previous paragraph. Otherwise a new revision wouldn't have been delayed. And seriously, taking "that" Tim Cook mail as legit, the Mac Pro is EOL and what is coming next year is an entire new product that may not suite the markets the Mac Pro used to target, the pro-video/audio and the scientific-academic markets (well I guess this one died with the xserve and was buried when xgrid got axed).

    To finish my wall of text, on light of what I've mentioned, I'm seriously considering a PC workstation running Fedora, not just because my workflow of Vim, Matlab, Mathematica, TeX, LibreOffice allows me to, but I also have a strong distaste for Micro$oft's quasi-facistic licensing (and Windows Wait).
  24. macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    I've been using Mac's for literally my entire life and I have no plans to migrate to a Windows PC in the foreseeable future. I'm happy with my 4,1 and I plan to make the 5,1 hex-core upgrade soon just to extend it's use for another year or two. The only thing that would make me consider the change would be if Apple either completely nixes the Pro line all together, or the next iteration is so disappointing that I wouldn't want to waste my time.

    Disappointing to me would be: non-upgradable CPU's or GPU's (if they decide to use soldered RAM on a Pro I'd definitely be out), the exclusion of optical drives, and less than 4HD bays. I could really care less about specs as long as I can upgrade and customize the way I can with my current 4,1, and anything that will be current tech in 2013 will be far better than my 2009. Although, I just had a friend build an incredible PC workstation with hex-core i7 and crossfire Radeons for less than $2500 and using that thing has tempted me to switch quite a bit.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    I have been considering a Mac Pro as I need a machine with fast spindles and a lots of RAM. I have a 2010 Mac mini, and although good for home use, I can't do my work stuff on it like I would like. I also have a 2012 MacBook Pro that is pretty much the higher-end (without retina display so I can have ports and ODD) but with the direction Apple is going, I am not so sure they have a customer like me in mind. The new iMac was such a disappointment with the removal of functionality to make it "thin." What a joke.

    I expect them to pull something similar on the Mac Pro replacement and deem that we don't "need" an optical drive because it doesn't fit well in the iTunes ecosystem (after all - no cars have CD players so what should our computers? :confused:) and less drive bays because we don't "need" them.

    Apple has been a breath of fresh air for me since 2006 when I bought my first Intel iMac and it could do the work of both a Windows workstation and OSX (which I love using) but I am afraid they don't have customers like us in mind any longer.

    Microsoft is pulling something similar with their Windows 8 stuff too - telling people what they want instead of giving it to them.

    As a poster said above, if their is one thing that is good about the current Mac Pro's - it's the fact they can run an older OS like 10.6 because some people do depend on that to get their work done and make their living.

    I have a new ThinkPad W520 (i7 Extreme with 32GB of RAM - new as of about four months ago) and can install Windows XP x64 on it if I had to. I love this kind of compatibility when it is needed.

    I hope Apple is talking to some of their good professional customers to see what they can build for them.

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