Mac pro buying advice please help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by andyjamesnelson, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. andyjamesnelson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #1
    Hey, After trying to work out if i wanted to buy a 24inch iMac or the mac pro and then a screen I have decided to go for the Mac Pro.

    I work with Photoshop everyday. I also use Final cut and I use it for compiling thousands of still images into video (this totally kills my Powerbook 1.25 1gig ram - the only other com I have). I also want to use the com for some heavy video work and some audio (which my Powerbook is fine for right now). I dont play games really but now and then maybe. When Spore is released I will be checking that out :p

    The imac is really tempting becuase I dont have a display and the 24inch HD screen would be so nice to work with. However I think that there is not enough life in the imac and I wont be able to install extra drives cheaply and the Mac pro will just be a lot faster. I value this because video work is no fun on a slow com and you end not doing some stuff becuase it just takes so long or Final cut crashes.

    So here are my question.

    1, I have heard that unless you have ram on both of the chip board things the com is not running at full speed is thsi true?

    2, is it worth expanding to 2 gig ram from apple or is there a better place to buy the ram? And will it work with the Mac pro

    3, How much difference does the graphics card to make to working wiht Photoshop and final cut and other graphics softs? Is it worth goign for the Ati x1900 if i dont play games. Will it speed up Photoshop or final cut?

    4, what is the point in having two graphics cards if you only have one monitor does it boost anything?

    5, as i wont have that much to spend on the display is the apple 20inch model a good choice. I have a higher education discount so it would cost around £450 i think. Is it worth getting a HD screen for photoshop or final cut. I work with pretty Hd images from my Canon 20d and thats what making the video (compilied stills). Not a Dv cam.

    6, The apple screens are pretty old now are new ones comming or has anyone any other good suggest for a display around £450 £500?

    7, is it better to get extra Hd's from thrid party sellers or are the apple drives good value?

    Sorry for all these question but i havent owned a MAc tower for years and I have been rocking this powerbook for 3 years wihtout thinking about changing.

    The main reason I am afraid of goign with the imac 24inch is thta it wont be such a huge difference from my powerbook g4. I will be keeping the laptop for everyday things as i need it for work. But I want a home com for really tougth stuff.

    Please let me know your thoughts as i could really use the help, Thanks andy.
     
  2. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #2
    So here are my question.

    1, I have heard that unless you have ram on both of the chip board things the com is not running at full speed is thsi true?

    Memory HAS to be installed in pairs. Dual powermac G5's were the same. So if your installing 2 gb, do it with 4 x 512mb or 2 x 1gb


    2, is it worth expanding to 2 gig ram from apple or is there a better place to buy the ram? And will it work with the Mac pro

    The jump to 2gb from apple on edu site is about 10% more than crucial for me. €300 for 2gb config with apple €270 from Crucial.eu for 1gb (2x512mb). It's up to you to decide if that kind of price difference is worth it.

    3, How much difference does the graphics card to make to working wiht Photoshop and final cut and other graphics softs? Is it worth goign for the Ati x1900 if i dont play games. Will it speed up Photoshop or final cut?

    Photoshop. Very Little if any.
    Final Cut. Moderate boost to RT Extreme
    Apple Motion. Considerable improvement.

    4, what is the point in having two graphics cards if you only have one monitor does it boost anything?

    None - The cards do not work in SLI mode so there is no speed increase. Just for driving additional displays only

    5, as i wont have that much to spend on the display is the apple 20inch model a good choice. I have a higher education discount so it would cost around £450 i think. Is it worth getting a HD screen for photoshop or final cut. I work with pretty Hd images from my Canon 20d and thats what making the video (compilied stills). Not a Dv cam.

    20" screen from apple is a fine monitor - you can get cheaper 20" but none that look as nice as the apple.

    6, The apple screens are pretty old now are new ones comming or has anyone any other good suggest for a display around £450 £500?

    Dell 2007FPW 20"
     
  3. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    #3
    1. Theoretically, yes. But the base configuration has the RAM properly placed so you won't have these problems. Also Apple tells you how to place your RAM modules in the right slots in the right risers in their documentation

    2. RAM is always more expensive from Apple

    3. Photoshop I don't know because I'm not a heavy user, but Final Cut will see no improvements from a faster GPU. If you plan on using other apps in the final cut studio package such as Motion, than a faster GPU is crucial.

    4. Two graphics cards in the Mac Pro under OS X only powers extra monitors. Under Windows you can setup an SLI configuration, but you're not a gamer so having more than one graphics card would be usless

    5. You can get the Dell counterpart for cheaper. It is esentially the same panel as the ACD but with a different backlight

    6. Dell, i guess

    7. Upgrades from apple almost always cost more than doing it yourself

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #4
    So is it true that if you dont have ram in both the boards you are running only two of the cores and not all 4?
     
  5. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #5
    Consider my post to be an ammendment to MRU's post. :) He's got you covered.

    Re: Memory and pairs. Yes, all memory has to be in pairs, but to get the full benefit of 667Mhz wide you have to populate both risers equally based on the "rank" of the modules. Ideally you want to shoot for four, dual rank DIMMs in the Mac Pro for the best memory performance/bandwidth. (Read about it here)

    Re: Monitors. You will pay top dollar for an Apple display. Unless the outward asthetics of the monitor (eg. how it looks) are important to you, you can do better with a Dell monitor. Same or better specs, a considerable price advantage.

    Re: Hard Drives. I'm not a fan of the stock Seagate hard drives that Apple uses. First, they're noisy. Second, I've had 2 fail, so take that for what you will. :) Adding drives in the Mac Pro is so easy you can do much better going online and getting drives you need. If, for example you want to do a RAID setup or have a Windows-only drive, you could do that. Depends on what you want to do.
     
  6. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #6
    Wow, that's so false I'm stunned. Where did you hear that?
     
  7. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    If I could add to this question:

    Is there a performance difference between using 2 X 1Gb or 4 X 512Mb? What if you start with 2 X 512Mb, then add 2nd 2X 512MB (with respect to matching RAM)?
     
  8. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #8
    Yes, there is depending on the RAM in the system, its rank, and where its populated. See the link in my previous post for more details.
     
  9. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #9
    i guess two times 1 gig costs a lot more yes. I dont kno were i read about the com not running at full speed unless both boards had some ram in them but i will try and find it. and link it here.

    By the way wha are your guys impressions in using a Mac pro. Will it kick the crap out of my powerbook 1.25 1gig ram? I want it to. I am so borred of waitting for Photoshop and final cut. Andy.
     
  10. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    Thanks for the link. Not a clear cut issue it seems...
     
  11. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #11
    Whoa, that's a lot different then what you posted above. Yes, the memory bandwidth will be reduced if only one riser is populated. You said "two of the cores and not all 4" which is completely different.

    Populating one riser does not disable any cores. It only affects memory bandwdith. (And even then, perhaps not enough to be noticable.)
     
  12. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #12
    ok so its better to have both of the risers populated. i must have got confused. I dont know a lot about hardware and thats why i have to ask all these questions. :p. Ok so when you sey memory bandwidth how do you mean. Andy.
     
  13. nickgwyn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    #13
    MY mac pro

    I am also planning on ordering one next week.

    I am going to get the 2.66 with a 160 drive and buy another HDD elsewhere (if you have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated), and I am planning on running Windows 64 bit on the 160GB (strictly for games), Mac OS X on the new one (prob 300+GB), and Windows 32 bit in Parallels (for certain apps like live messenger) (on the 300 obviously).

    I am going to up the vid-card to the ATI x1900xt.

    I am going to buy a Dell 20" wide 2007FSW.

    I want to up the ram to 2 GBs, but have yet to find a good RAM dealer (again, suggestions wanted for RAM that will not burn up because it has crappy heat-sinks)

    Money is definitely a concern, but to get the most out of my system I think this is the best set-up. If you have any thoughts about this please share.

    Also, I am seriously wondering about the two third party purchases I want to make: HDD and RAM. If you know anything, again, please share.
     
  14. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    Um... Windows 64-bit is probably a bad move. Less driver support. I don't think Apple's drivers provided with Boot Camp support the 64-bit edition. Just stick with regular old Windows XP. There's really no advantage to using the 64-bit edition, and a lot of disadvantages.

    Good decisions.

    I know there's at least one place that has big ol' heatsinks on the RAM they sell that's Mac Pro-compatible, but the name isn't coming to mind. And since I don't have a Mac Pro yet, I don't have 'em on hand. Maybe another Mac Pro owner would know better.

    As far as hard drives go, you really can't go wrong these days. I'm partial to Western Digital myself, but any SATA drive will work just fine. As for RAM, just look for name-brand manufacturers, not no-name generic stuff. That's good advice no matter WHAT kind of system you're building, but Macs tend to be extra picky about RAM, so erring on the side of caution is always good.
     
  15. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #15
    so do people think the Dell 20" wide 2007FSW is better then the apple 20inch display?

    I have no idea if its seems like a good idea to upgrade the graphics card. Its funny but a man i spoke to at the apple on the phone said that having two cars of the same type boosts performance?? but someone here has allready said that isnt true.

    I wont do much 3d apart from games so should i upgrade the card.

    I could go for the smalled Hd but its hardly anymore to get the normal one so i think I will stick with that and get others from third party sellers.

    I think I will also look for ram from other companies as people say apple is not such great value.

    Do people generally think the Mac pro is a better choice then the imac?

    I want to know everyones suggestions for a goood display and why they think what they do.

    By the way do people think its better to downgrade the processor and spend the difference on the ram?

    Please carry on making suggestions i am really in a muddle as what to buy and i know I will be lookign to run the system for years so its worht making the right choice now. andy.
     
  16. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #16
    Also I dont really understand why this new ram needs heatsinks? Normal ram doesnt use such things no? does this ram get very hot?

    Also I have an old wirless mouse it will work with the new mac pro?

    One sec will i need the blue tooth to make wireless things work i will wont i. oops there is me nearly ordering the wireless mouse and keyboard and not blue tooth.

    i must say though that I always found my old wireless mouse to be slower to respond then normal wired mouses. is this true of the new keyboard and mouse?

    Whats the EDR module?

    Why are 1gig ram chips so expensive? The jump from 2 gigs to 4 gigs is massive!?

    I am sure i will think of more things to ask.. andy:p
     
  17. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #17
    Ok yes you will need the bluetooth module EDR stands for Enhanced Data Rate. The apple modules actually have a buffer processor on them thats why they need better heatsinks. And the newer wireless Mighty Mouse uses laser tech vs the older led/sensor method therefore the newer one has better resolution and response time.
     
  18. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #18
    oh right cool i will be ordering the wirless module and keyboard and mouse. much nicer then a wired version. I hate wires. I dream of a world with no wires.

    with the 2ghz like 200 less then the 2.66 option. would it be worht saving money there and spending the same amount again on ram. surely a 2 ghz system with 2gigs ram would run better then a 2.66 system with 1gig ram??

    is it worth saving cash on the drive and going for another third party hd? I guess 60 is not much to save and then you get 250gig over a 160gig.

    is 3ghz much over 2.66 and is it worth the £540 jump? that does seem like alot more.

    I hear people saying the the base graphics card isnt great but do they just mean for gaming. I mean I have a much weaker card in my powerbook i guess and that seems fine. is it really worth going for the ati card.

    Carnt i just buy another card from a third party later? Are mac graphics cards any different then pc ones?

    Please more suggestion on displays?? I really want something great to run photoshop on. Its really important for me to be able to see what i am doing and to have great colour replication.

    Thanks again this has all been very helpfull. Andy.
     
  19. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #19
    The 7300GT card is fine for normal / NOT Gaming use but if you are going to be doing any windows gaming you should get the x1900xt at time of purchase. Right now 3rd part video cards are non existent. Dont waste your money on the 3.0ghz model the 5% performance gain is not worth the $ but I think the 2.66 is worth the difference. If you can swing the 2.66 and 2gig of ram you will be very happy.
     
  20. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #20
    ok so you only think that the 3ghz is 5% increase? I mean then surely the 2.66 is only around 5% increase from the 2ghz?

    so why not just get more ram for the difference?
     
  21. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #21
    My reasoning is that it's easier to get the 2.66's now instead of later as the cost difference between the 2.0 and 2.66 is not nearly as big as the cost difference between the 2.66 and the 3.0 so the logical choice is the 2.66. And the ram is 300.00 now and will likely come down.
     
  22. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #22
    Thats a very good point. :p

    I think i will stick with the 2.66 and get ram from crucial or some other place. Suggestions?

    Anymore Lcd display suggestions? andy.
     
  23. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #23
    Mac Pro ram

    Hey. I was wondering if anyone could answer me this quick question.

    Do I need to get ram with heatsinks on it if i buy the ram from a thrid party dealer?

    And does this save any significant amount of money.

    Is it dangerous? Might the ram over heat and die. Or does it make the com louder becuase the fans needs to come on more often?

    If I can do without the heatsinks why does apples ram include them. Surely they know more about the system and think ti wise to include them. Doesnt this say something about needing or not needing the heat sinks.

    Why are 1gig stick so much more then two 512mb?

    Is 2gig of ram enough to run the computer smoothly without the ram being a bottle neck. I will be using photoshop heavly and final cut a lot.

    Thanks for you help. Andy.
     
  24. andyjamesnelson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Jacob's house
    #24
    Actually i thought best to ask the above question in a new thread. So I have re posted it as a new thread. Andy.
     
  25. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #25
    Hey Andy,

    In a similar position but have made my choices.

    1. Went for the 2.0Ghz model, spent the £200 saving on an extra gig of ram.
    2. Crucial were quoting me £178 for an extra Gig. For the sake of £22, better off buying the Apple approved stuff.
    3. Picked the x1900xt. I'm a gamer as well as a coder so it was a shoe in. For PS, FC et all, its not worth paying £170 for, ie. for a game like Spore.
    4. Dropped the HD to 160GB. As mentioned elsewhere, stock seagates are loud and for £60 saving will buy you a whole extra HD from somewhere like eBuyer. Personally bought 2 Western Digital 250GB SATA's £43.94 each from dabs.co.uk. I'll partition a raid 0 boot partition and raid 1 Work partition. The 160GB is for windows and games.
    5. Bought 2 Dell 2007WFP panels. Perfect for coding and ok for gaming. I can even have a load of status windows open in one display whilst i'm gaming in the other. Currently those dells are £302 inc vat. Though for £566 (stonkin price) you could have a Dell 2407WFP 24"s of widescreen glory. Personally i'm sticking with the 20's as they give me more real estate and the colour reproduction is better due to the IPS panels. Same as used in the Apple 20. 23" Cinema display beats the Dell 24" for contrast and colour reproduction.

    Good luck, i'm sure you'll be happy with the performance boost over your powerbook.

    Quick edit Saw your post about perf under 2Gigs. On Photoshop it really depends on what size of images you're working with. If it's the output from a 5Megapixel camera, fine. If you're preparing A0 sized adverts, then no. FC again depends on what you're editing, but to be honest you're better off spending your money on the fastest storage option you can buy. ie. a 4 disk internal raid 0, or one of the more expensive external options.

    M.

    :D
     

Share This Page