Advice wanted on Mac Pro configuration

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DingBat, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. DingBat macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    Hello all,

    I'm looking at replacing my home (Windows) desktop and am seriously considering a Mac Pro.

    I do quite a bit of 3d modelling work as a hobby so I'd like a beefy machine to keep the render times down (I'm not a professional, I just hate to wait). I mostly use 3ds Max, Mudbox, Photoshop, plus some Silo and Modo. Nothing special, but I'll still need access to Windows. I'm quite happy with OSX for mail, document editing, etc.

    So, what I'm thinking is getting the Mac Pro and dropping in two disks: one for Mac OSX and one for Windows.

    I did have some questions:

    1. I've been using VMWare Fusion on my MacBook and quite like it. For performance, would you expect Fusion to be better than, say, BootCamp for this sort of thing. I guess I'm asking if you would dual boot or just run my Windows modelling apps in a VM.

    2. Apple Ram and disk upgrades seem ridiculously expensive. Are there any catches to buying the most basic Mac Pro configuration and simply adding more on your own?

    3. Is there a good, definitive list of the supported video cards for Mac Pros?

    4. In general, any gotchas I should consider?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Graphic performance will be superior in Boot Camp then in virtualization.

    No issues with having OS X on one HDD and Windows on a second.

    You can save a good bit of cash by buying RAM and HDDs from third parties versus buying them from Apple. The only real benefit of buying them from Apple is they are covered under the machine's warranty.
  3. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    The pretty complete list of cards for the Mac Pro:

    7300GT (Old)
    2600XT (Baseline Mac Pro card for the Early 2008 model)
    X1900 (Old, don't want)
    3870 (Not availble through the Apple store.)

    There are the Quattro cards to consider, but they're expensive. Sesshi would be able to tell you a lot more about them than anyone else on this forum.

    The 3870 is the card to get, check out for benchmarks.

    Bootcamp runs windows natively, instead of running Windows on VM on OSX. Much better performance.
  4. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2004
    Hollywood, CA
    You can also run a virtual instance of your bootcamp install of Windows under fusion if you just want to get in and do some stuff that is not graphics intensive. Comes in pretty handy when I don't want to do a full shutdown and reboot into Windows.
  5. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    That's Barefeats. :p

    Boot Camp is a better option if you're going to want as much speed as possible. The only time I used Fusion was on a 2 GHz MacBook, and it was painfully slow, so YMMV.

    As far as video cards, the 3870 is the best card for anything Core Image-based under Leopard, while the 8800 GT is better for games and professional applications under Windows. There are rumors that the 4850 and 4870 are going to be released for Mac Pros sooner or later, though. Might be worth waiting for one of those (by that I mean get a cheap card now, save your pennies for the better one later).
  6. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    The funny thing is I spelled it that way and then thought - "No, that doesn't make sense." - and changed it.

    I would recommend the 3870, it's the best all around card for the Mac Pro.

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