Looking at a Mac Pro: financial/tech advice needed!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by killmoms, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    Okay, here's my story, I'll try to keep it short and (relatively) painless. I'm currently computing on my 3 year old PowerBook G4, the first rev. Aluminum 15". It's been a great machine for me, but let's face it, it's getting long in the tooth. I used to have a PC tower for gaming, but since I moved to California a month ago, I've been without it, and there's a lot of great titles coming out in the next few months I'm interested in. I also do a fair amount of video work on my own time, and more power there would be ideal. Long story short, I want a mac pro, both for power for PC gaming and as a much needed upgrade from my aging PowerBook.

    Here are my questions. First, technical:

    Will I notice a huge difference between quad 2.0's and the standard quad 2.66's? I guess four cores at +666MHz would make a bit of difference in the number crunching department, wouldn't it? Any benchmarks out there to compare these two options?

    Since I want to game on this piece in Windows (and OS X), I'm getting the X1900XT. I hear good things from most people. I guess that's not a question.

    2GB of RAM right off the bat: necessary, or could I wait a bit?

    With all those goodies + AppleCare, it comes out pretty pricey. Bit of initial sticker shock, that's all.


    Next, financial:

    I have a steady paying job, and I keep my personal costs pretty low, but I haven't been working long enough yet to amass a huge chunk of savings to buy the Mac Pro all at once. I also only JUST got my first credit card, which has a spending limit of $1,000 since I haven't used it at all yet. Basically, the only way for me to purchase this right now (or in the near future) is trying to apply for an Apple Credit account. Has anyone here done this? Do you think it's a good option? Can I pay more than the monthly maximum if I'm able to pay it off more quickly without penalty? If I want an iPod and a couple accessories right off the bat, is it better to add them to the credit account? Would I even be likely to be accepted at a decent rate?

    I also need a display, and I'd like the Dell 2407. I've seen one in person, it supports HDCP if I get a PS3 or other HDCP-required device in the future, and it's cheaper than Apple's 23" with Dell's frequent coupon deals by a lot. Of course, that'd have to be a separate, stand-alone purchase. Costs... adding up...

    Other issue: I'm currently living in L.A. with no motorized transportation, just a bike. It hasn't been too much of an issue so far, all the things I need to get to are pretty close by (two grocery stores literally next door, one across the corner, mall down the street, work is 3.5 miles away) and it's been good exercise. But, I'm thinking of getting a Vespa at some point in the future, and student loan payments + Mac payments + car loan payments... it all adds up. I guess I should probably try to run some detailed numbers, eh?

    Basically all my PRESSING questions are about the finances, I guess. I really know what I want in terms of the machine itself, I'm just nervous about the issues involved with paying for it. Any advice the older and wiser members of MR could give would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Shop around for credit and only use Apple Credit if it's the lowest APR available to you.

    Oh yeah, and stick to the bicycle and public transport. It's cheaper and greener than a car.
     
  3. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #3
    Truthfully, given your situation, esp. the near-future games, I would go for a high-end gaming PC with the Dell 2407 for like $1,500-1,700 total. That way, you'd get better gaming benchmarks than you would with the MacPro, and save quite a bit of money.
     
  4. Shadow macrumors 68000

    Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Keele, United Kingdom
    #4
    But it dont run OS X ;). I think an iMac would do you well, as long as it has the decent graphics card. A Mac Pro is an unbeliably powerful machine.
     
  5. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #5
    To future-proof near-future gaming, even the upgraded "decent" graphics card in the iMac won't do a damn thing for those games. It'll be low end in less than 6 months. Also, he didn't stress a need for OS X; gaming seemed to be his principal issue. The MacPro is NOT meant to be a gaming rig; it'd probably be the most overpriced mediocre gaming rig in existence.
     
  6. Shadow macrumors 68000

    Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Keele, United Kingdom
    #6
    I agree on the rest. The Mac Pro is not designed for gaming.
     
  7. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    btw, i think your handle is ..um...interesting?

    if you make money at the video work, then buy the mac pro. then save your money and buy a gaming pc or an xbox or something (maybe cheaper than a mac pro).

    good on you for riding a bike and wanting a vespa.
     
  8. killmoms thread starter macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    Heh heh, the handle has a story, I used to link it in my profile. Read it here.

    And actually, gaming isn't my primary motivation, I really just need a faster OS X machine which can double as a gaming rig. I don't want an iMac because it's not expandable, and with the Mac Pro being Intel-based I could drop in new chips (Clovertowns) or a graphics card in the future if I needed to upgrade. Plus it has room for hard drives and whatnot... basically, because Apple doesn't make a single-processor Conroe-based expandable desktop sans-monitor, I'm left with the Mac Pro, and I do really want one, despite the cost. It's just a question of financing it. But, it's looking more and more like just saving up would be the best option, so that's what I'll do. Who knows? Maybe by the time I have enough cash, something better (or new) will be out. C'mon Mac Cube, C'MON!
     
  9. ascender macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    #9
    If its cutting-edge gaming, it doesn't relaly matter whether you buy a Mac or PC, its the video card you're going to need to upgrade. The actual core machines themselves will do for a good few years, so either should be suitable.
     
  10. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    Really? I play Call of Duty 2, Oblivion, F.E.A.R, BF2, WOW, Battle for Middle Earth 2, and Empire at War on my Mac Pro on my 30" at full res with all options turned up and it runs like a dream...And my girlfriend plays WOW on her 24" iMac with all options cranked up and it runs beautifully as well.
     
  11. Shadow macrumors 68000

    Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Keele, United Kingdom
    #11
    Well of course you can but games arn't optimized for 4 cores. Its a good pro machine, but an overpriced gaming machine.
     
  12. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Location:
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #12
    Well, some pros like to game in the evening. :D

    Omg, I spend too much time in front of my computer... No, actually, I don't.;)

    To the op, I would not go for a credit. WoW for example will run quite good on your powerbook (I started on a 867 mhz G4), as will Battlefield 1942 and some other "older" (1-2 years) games. I'm sure you'll find something to keep you occupied until you have saved enough for the mac pro. Credits are never a good option imo, what if you loose your job or something else happens (I hope it doesn't). Apart from that you'll pay a significant amount of money more over time. I'd go the safe route and wait until you have earned enough.
     

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