A change is as good as a rest!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Monocle, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Monocle macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #1
    Well there seems to be a sudden surge of prospective Mac Pro purchasers on the forum, so rather than break the monotony I might as well join in!

    I am in the delightful position of having a much-loved but very aged powerpc desklamp iMac G4. You may sneer but I love it's design. It's massive 800 MHz was once a comfort to me as was its impressive 1GB SDRAM. It is no longer quite so comforting to see it wheezing its way through the multitude of all-singing all-dancing webpages on offer. A year or so back I tried to resuscitate it by paying (doubtless too much) to have a new and bigger hard drive installed. This was like giving a frail old lady a bigger shopping bag. It looks like its going to increase her capacity but ultimately she collapses due to the weight of the additional tinned goods. My G4 has shopped itself to death. I have decided to stop here.

    Obviously I am going to see a massive increase in speed etc whatever I buy. Why, even an electric typewriter might be a bit of a thrill! But to be honest I want something I can hold on for a similarly long time and run into the ground as I grow progressively out of touch alongside it. I've looked at the top of the range iMac but memories of paying tradesmen for tricky upgrades keep coming back to haunt me. Finally, just as Apple expected, I have been lured by the supposed close proximity of the quad-core Mac Pro. I feel I cannot turn back and am definitely going to throw my money at them tonight or tomorrow morning. Weep for me.

    And now gentlemen - and ladies - some questions. Bearing in mind the only pro app likely to be running on it will be Logic Pro. (My poor son saved up 3 years for it and has been forced to go to a relations house for the past 5 months to see it run. The shame! But he is seriously keen and putting a lot of time into compositions and the massive manuals). I currently intend to go for the Mac Pro quad with Apple 24" display. The 1TB hard drive and Radeon HD 4870 are also on my list. I'd like the 6GB memory upgrade - is this okay? I remember reading somewhere that there is an optimum grouping for the memory? The 2.66GHz is grand but if you can give me a reason to fork out £400 more for the 2.93 I'm open to suggestions. I assume the Mac Pro will allow me to pop in faster and better processors in future years anyway? Oh and Applecare of course.

    I think that's it really. Not looking forward to transferring all my G4 stuff but as I do have an LaCie external hard drive and SuperDuper I believe there might be a way to do it without losing too much hair. Just think, come next week my children might worship me once more! Thanks chaps...
     
  2. frimple macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I think that whatever choice you go with it will be such a night and day difference that you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner! :D Also, begone the worries and $$$ of upgrading an all-in-one computer. Now you've got a true desktop and can add more components as needed!

    The 2.66 processor will be an excellent base for many years to come. Regarding your question about memory, the grouping you mentioned is in regards to the "tri-channel" nature of the new architecture. This means that it's best served by sets of 3 memory modules (so 6 Gigs @ 3x2gig modules is fine). Depending on your comfort level (or your sons) with upgrading a computer, you can get the component parts (hard drives, memory) for cheaper elsewhere (for example you can get a 1TB hard drive for ~$100 off of NewEgg). The 4870 for an extra $200 is a very good choice and the 24" ACD's are beautiful (though they do have a short cable).

    Anyways, something to consider would be buying the hard drive(s) and memory from a 3rd party retailer and installing them yourself. Also if you had more than one you could add some data redundancy and backup capability to your machine. Good luck with your purchase, it will serve you well!
     
  3. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #3
    Well if it's as speedy as the replies on this forum I'll be delighted! As far as hard drives are concerned there any particular makes you could recommend for use in a Mac Pro? I'm sure I heard a podcast a few months ago when they were rattling off all sorts of different grades of drives. I could have sworn they mentioned caviar?!
     
  4. frimple macrumors 6502

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    #4
    That would be the Western Digital Caviar. They come in the "green" and "black" editions. While the green model is cheaper, the black (at $5 more) provides better preformance (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284). Of course I forget you're in the UK, but you should be able to search with that model number at retailers across the pond.
     
  5. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #5
    Also the WD 2TB Green drives are the same speed or faster than the WD 1TB Black drives.

    The Samsung 1.5TB EcoGreen (500GB per plater) drives are also quite fast and approach the WD 1TB Black drives. The Samsungs are only about $100 too. :) At least here in Japan they are - I guess they're $15 or $20 more in the USA. :-/
     
  6. frimple macrumors 6502

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    #6
    That's our freedom tax! ;)
     
  7. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    #7
    It will be a great computer BUT keep in mind that you won't be able to upgrade your processor later as if I remember correctly you would need a whole new motherboard. Aslo you would be better off sticking to the stock HDD and buy a new from other places. Apple charges way to much. The same goes for memory. Enjoy your new computer...
     
  8. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #8
    Thanks chaps! You're all being a great help!!

    So the plan should be to order the Pro with the 640GB hard drive it comes with as standard and then order my own 1TB drive for the second slot. Further question on that one. Wasn't there a well known make of drives that failed badly recently? Could you remind me so I don't stumble in that direction?

    Here in the UK, Crucial is offering a 6GB kit (3x 2GB) for £102 which undercuts Apple's £120 add-on price but wouldn't, of course, give me 3 year guaranteed memory under Applecare? I can see I'd save £15 after postage if I ordered this and took the Pro with the standard 3 x 1GB sticks but could they be used in any useful way once they'd been replaced by the 6GB kit?
     
  9. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #9
    WesternDigital has the highest failure rate in the industry but that might be cuz it's sold more with kits than any other drive. Seagate had a bad run recently but I dunno if that means anything or not - they all do from time to time. Saegate and Samsung both have 5-year warrantees and have had for years so they seem to be the choice of technicians and SSEs.

    Good RAM comes with a lifetime warrantee. Buy memory by looking at spec/price/warrantee. You can sell any unneeded RAM on any of several auction sites without any trouble.


    PS: If it were me I would get a 2008 machine over the 2009...
     
  10. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #10
    ^+1. The 2008 machine is a lot better power for the price - that and my opinion is that it is built more like a workstation. Logic would REALLY benefiet from the extra cores.

    Then, add in a GTX 285 [am I right on this?] when it is released for your graphical needs rather then the 4870; unless reviews comparing the two side-by-side say otherwise

    And to save money? The only reason the Apple display is priced in such a manner is because of mini-display-port; the DisplayPort standard offers greater bandwidth, but the panel cannot (to my knowledge) take advantage of this. The HP LP2475W is the same quality, lower price, and has a multitude of connections unlike the Apple display. Furthermore, it is a wide-gamut monitor, meaning that it will be able to handle Snow Leopard's new colour-gamut which was mentioned in the Keynote (to the best of my knowledge)
     
  11. wpc33 macrumors 6502

    wpc33

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    #11
    And from what I understand, it was all a firmware issue with the first run of the 1.5TB drives, not failures, and was resolved months ago.
     
  12. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #12
    And would this inability to upgrade easily - and believe me, I know my own sad limitations! - apply to the top of the range Mac Pro too? So basically you should grab the best chip you can afford now, as that's the one you'll be stuck with?

    I must say, I have noticed a lot of people within these forums pointing people towards the 2008 machines. Although I'm keen to avoid throwing too much money away, I think I'd feel slightly nervous turning my back on Nehalem when my primary objective is to stay future proofed. But I do appreciate there's a lot riding on Grand Central and the talents and whims of programmers in the months/years ahead.
     
  13. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #13
    Well, a lot of people here (myself included) want something that works, not necessarily the latest and greatest. There are some problems with Nehalems and older OSX programs; furthermore, the pricing of the Nehalems is drastically overblown for the lower-end models, and only a good dual for the higher-end (discussed at length). The 2008 2.8 8-core machines really were good machines for the money and were much more expandable then the 2009 machine.

    However, if you want to stay ahead of the game, so to speak, then the most current workstation would do. I am fairly certain SL will have greater impact on Nehalem processors then Harpertown processors. I don't know for certain how Logic will compare between the two machines, but for your use, the 09 Quad would work just fine.
     
  14. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #14
    The earlier Mac Pros were based on two sockets for dual core and quad core processors. When you baught dual core you could upgrade it to quad cores and turn a quad into an octo. With Nehalem Apple has gone away from that structure. They use only quad core processors and fit one or two processor sockets to their mother board. This means you have to make a final choice on the number of processors and cores in your system. You can still upgrade slower processors for faster units but the number of cores is fixed. If you want maximum future proof and go for Nehalem I would rather buy a basic octo which will still be a massive increase in computing power although it may be a little bit lower in speed when working on mono threaded apps than the basic quad. But the machine should be able to serve you as long as your G4.

    WD Green is a very good choice. I'm running a 1TB and a 2 TB and I'm very happy with them.

    Grafic card should be the best you can afford because Apple tends to be restrictive in terms of upgrading these. Apple does not care for existing customers, so OEM retrofit grafic options are practically unknown for Mac Pros. Most are offered by ATI.
     
  15. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #15
    Well, you can upgrade to any socket compatible processor. The problem is that if you get a single processor 2009 Mac Pro it only comes with one socket. :p And only half the RAM slots. :(

    I do believe that in the future we will be able to buy the daughter card with dual sockets and the missing RAM slots through one of those brown-market Apple parts resellers. When I have no idea... a year? Never is also possible too of course tho. :p
     
  16. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #16
    Well some good news. It appears I can get some student discount buying on behalf of my son. Every little helps!

    Right then. Are you saying that in terms of longevity, upgradeability and resale value the base level 8 core is a better bet than my initially using the 'extra' money to add more ram, a bigger hard drive etc to the 4 core?

    Thinking ahead to where the monster might live, can you chaps give me an idea of just how short the lead is for the 24" display? Also I've just read that the GTX285 has started to appear in the some of the online Apple stores. Do you still think the Radeon 4870 is the one to go for? If it makes any difference, I am not someone who is heavily into games. Logic Pro and podcast video editing is still going to be it's biggest use. Thanks!
     
  17. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #17
    You're right - the 8-core will have greater resale value, down the line.

    For video editing, I have yet to see a direct comparison between the two cards; my two yen says that the 285 will be better because it has twice the VRAM (1GB v. 512MB, respectivly). But with the 24" ACD, the 285 is kind-of ruled out... Unless you want the 30" :D ((Noting how the current 24" ACD has the MDP connector, which in turn the GTX 285 does not have a connector for, and as far as I know a DVI->MDP adapter does not exist))

    Furthermore, the cord on the 24" ACD has been recorded around 44". link
     
  18. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #18
    Well, if the truth be known, if I stretch to the 8 core then the only screen option I could afford would be the 24". Interesting to read on the discussion forums you linked to, that people are suggesting Apple did not intend the smaller screen for desktop Pro use, seeing it instead as a plug in for laptops. Do you think that's right? Also mind-boggling to see that there are a wild array of different measurements that people are posting for the screen's lead! Perhaps I'd better ask Apple to get out their own tape measure? Showing my ignorance Dr, could you explain why the smaller screen rules out the 285? I don't doubt it but I'm intrigued to know why exactly...

    As things stand I have 2 -3 days to push the button before the student discount evaporates. Hopefully all will be resolved by then leaving Apple or Mr Jobs free to announce a Mac Pro update and a longer lead...
     
  19. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #19
    The Apple 4870 has a mini Display Port which is apparently the only way you can connect a 24" Apple display. I gather the 285 does not have that port option, but comes with two dual-DVI as 99% of current grafics cards do. I have to add the caveat that I do not own Apple screens. I use a Dell 24" and a Samsung 46" LED HDTV. But this is what I make from Dr. Pants's post.
     
  20. Roy macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I don't see how one can make that case since the 24" is listed as 1 of the 2 options for monitors for the Mac Pro when you go to the online Apple store to configure a Mac Pro. Do people think that Apple is so inept that they can't make a 24" monitor with a longer monitor/tower connection cord? I don't understand Apple's decision making process, but they are being successful at making big profits and I'm just sitting on the computer world sidelines.
     
  21. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #21
    Thanks chaps! I've just come back from visiting my local Apple reseller where I specifically asked to look at the 24" screen's cord. To be honest I wasn't expecting it to be quite so pathetically short and I am particularly miffed as I cant have the screen and the Pro on/under the same desk. I got the feeling that the poor bloke serving me had gone through the embarrassment of this procedure a few times. He did of course point out that any number of wonderful extension cables could be acquired for the 30" screen but whilst this would be aesthetically pleasing for me it would be the kiss of death for my dear wife, my not so dear bank manager and the final straw for the camel's back. It seems so foolish that I can't quite believe Apple have done this. I mean, it's not as if we're talking cheap entry level machines here!
     
  22. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #22
    Apologies for the reply being so late - check the quote, I inferred something in the brackets. You mean the Apple 24", right?

    Well, the Apple 24" uses a different standard then many other monitors - MiniDisplayPort, or MDP. The MDP connector is only on the GT120 and the 4870 on the MacPro - MDP also exists on the Mini and the Macbook lines. The Apple 24" was first used only with the macbook line when it first came out, which can explain opinions that it was meant to be "a plug for laptops".

    However, MDP is an Apple "standard". The rest of the world uses DVI. The GT120 and the 4870 have a DVI port on them as well, which means that a non-Apple monitor can be used. The 285 does not have an MDP port, meaning that the Apple 24" display cannot be used.

    EDIT - Now that I read the post... Sorry.

    Well, if the cord is not long enough, there are plenty of other good displays that are cheaper (even after educational discount) that are DVI and can be extended. The HP LP2475W has had good reviews (And I would think the same colour-gamut, which may be important since those words were touted at the Keynote).
     
  23. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #23
    Thanks for that Doctor! I think I'm heading for the home straight now. I've had a chat with the UK Apple Store and the education discount runs at about 5-8 percent discount. Rather less than the 13-14 percent on these refurbished models.

    http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/mac_pro

    Certainly this is probably the only way I could run to a top of the range 2.93 Quad or 2.26 Octo. I'd have no problems slotting in additional hard drives but I'd need to purchase and slot in the Radeon 4870. I assume it's easy? If any UK member could link me to a good place to buy the card here I'd be grateful. Apple are charging £280 as a separate bit of kit on their website. I assume all Radeon 4870s are equal and Mac Pro compatible? There are an assortment here but which is the right one?!

    http://www.pcwb.co.uk/action/quicks...870+512MB&search-button.x=0&search-button.y=0

    I've also taken a peek at the HP screen you kindly suggested. It's certainly attracted plenty of praise and looks rather more ergonomically adjustable than Apple's offering. But something sticks in my gullet about paying out thousands for a system that has the Apple part hidden under the table and a non-Apple screen on public view. I know it's a pathetically impractical viewpoint but there you go. I was always a sucker for aesthetics but I'll attempt to work on that during the next 24 hours. Purchase day looks likely to be tomorrow. 2.93 Quad or 2.26 Octo? It's a toss up. Aargh!!
     
  24. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #24
    Sorry, but none of them are the right ones :(. The difference is the PC cards you are looking at use BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) for communicating with the system, whereas the 4870 in the Mac uses EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). You can "flash" a regular 4870 to use EFI, but... the regular PC version of the 4870 would not have the MDP port. And since the ACD only has the MDP port, Apple cards are really the only option.
     
  25. Monocle thread starter macrumors member

    Monocle

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    #25
    Well Dr P. this only proves that I shouldn't be let out without supervision! I think I'd better wait for someone to point me towards a UK site or swallow the Apple premium and buy direct from them...
     

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