Are high-end Macs worth it for power users?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Crell Vorlem, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Crell Vorlem macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm trying to figure out which type of computer to buy. Currently I own a three year old 17" Macbook Pro which works pretty well for the type of work I do which mainly consists of graphics design, 3D molding and film making. However when running multiple applications of these types such as Final Cut Pro and Photoshop, my MBP will begin to run quite sluggishly and that seriously slows down my workflow.

    So basically I'm looking for a powerful computer that can handle these tasks. I'd like to get another Mac since I've been impressed with their service, the appearance of their computers and Mac OS X but can't help but notice PCs with comparable and even better specs going for less money. Especially if you custom build your PC. I considered a 27" iMac but my understanding of those is they use laptop parts. The Mac Pro would probably do, but they seem way overpriced for the specs they offer. I tried building a PC online with the exact same specs as this Mac Pro and it came out nearly $800 less.
    My question then would be if higher end Macs are worth the money for power users. Obviously they cost more so what do you get for your money other than the nicer case?

    Thanks for any advice you may have!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #2
    Only RAM and GPUs are laptop version in the iMac, other components are similar to what you can find inside a desktop PC. In fact, RAM being SODIMM doesn't matter as it's as fast and laptop GPUs are just underclocked desktop versions.

    You will get more performance per buck if you build a PC but what most people forget is that the display in iMac is worth 1000$. When you account a comparable display to your PC, the total price will be nearly the same as the iMac. Honestly, the 27" is great for editing as that usually requires a lot screen estate and 27" can offer that with its enormous 2560x1440 resolution.

    Final Cut is only available for OS X too
     
  3. dal20402 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #3
    If you're experiencing slowdowns only when doing multiple things at once, that's a textbook case of needing more RAM.

    Get an iMac, stuff 16 GB into it, and enjoy the beauty of the screen, which (on the 27") really is something else. The i7 has plenty of CPU horsepower, and the 5750 (really a mobile 5850) is a damn good graphics card.

    The low-end Mac Pros are particularly bad values, and have been since the Nehalem generation in 2009. A $200-$300 premium for OS X and the excellent case is reasonable, but (as you found) it's substantially more than that on the 4- and 6-core machines. The 8 and 12 core machines make more sense.
     
  4. adversus macrumors regular

    adversus

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    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    There are other considerations as well.

    True you can build a Windows/Linux PC for a bit less, but that doesn't get you:

    1. Apple Support which is vastly superior to anybody else in my experience
    2. Mac OS X
    3. Mac Apps

    I don't do video, I do photography and audio, and I use Apple's professional products for both. I've used both types of platforms over the years and have had far less problems with Mac OS + Apps than I have with Windows + Apps.

    Go down to an Apple store and ask to look inside a Mac Pro. Then look online at the insides of a comparable Windows based desktop. It's worth the $800 premium to me.
     
  5. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2007
    #5
    I think very few people whom get Mac Pro understand it's place. For what you spoke about, get a high end iMac. Also the mac being more expensive is a myth. If you tell us what PC you are trying to compare to we can help point out why it's not a fair compare.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    I just specced Dell Precision T3500 with base Mac Pro's specs and the total price was 1889$, 610$ less than the Mac Pro. And before you ask, yes, that was with Xeon CPU, ECC RAM and workstation class GPU (something that is not even offered in the Mac Pro). On top of that, it has 3-year warranty with onsite service, again something that Apple does not offer.

    Single CPU Mac Pros are overpriced, that is an unfortunate but a very well-known fact.
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #7
    How are these even "other considerations" for the power user?

    1. Apple support completely fails for enterprise/business customers. Clearly you are basing your opinion off of the ho-hum AppleCare provided to consumer-level customers. Apple has nothing to compare to Dell's, Lenovo's, HP's, or Microsoft's power support options.

    2. Mac OS X is no better or worse than any other operating system in the hands of an experienced ("power") user.

    3. For a power user, almost any application on one platform has an equivalent on the other. It's almost a moot point anyway- power users let their software licenses dictate their OS/platform choice; not the other way around like consumers do.

    What a colossal joke.
     
  8. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2007
    #8
    Hellhammer, no doubt an single CPU Mac Pro has a higher price tag then that Dell. However, when brought into context that isn't really a fair compare.

    On topic, the original poster says, "Currently I own a three year old 17" Macbook Pro which works pretty well for the type of work I do which mainly consists of graphics design, 3D molding and film making. However when running multiple applications of these types such as Final Cut Pro and Photoshop, my MBP will begin to run quite sluggishly and that seriously slows down my workflow."

    Now, I'm not really sure about 3D molding, but graphic design and film making are not really going to make use of the type of power that workstation has. A higher end iMac would do the stuff original poster is talking about faster then your Dell workstation.

    Plus, Dell has on-site support, but that support is pretty week. Recently I've seen them take 10 days to determine the problem was simply bad ram. Apple has always had a fast turn around for everything I've seen need it.
     
  9. ImagineThat macrumors newbie

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    Jan 3, 2011
    #9
    PC/Mac Cost Comparison

    I'd be interested as to know which PC brands you compared the Mac Pros against? In my experience, when you truly compare a Mac to a PC (any type/model), the price gap, if any, is minimal. In other words, if you find the right PC box to compare that has the same processor model, same basic motherboard, same RAM type, same hard drive size and speed, same graphics card model, same size spec and quality monitor (iMac and lappys) etc, there is typically very little difference in price. Or, the price difference is small enough to consider a wash (say, within a couple hundred dollars).

    I can't say this is always the case; this is just what I've seen.

    And of course, there's the bundled software value, OS X, the "Ahh, it's a Mac!" feeling, and all the other things that we love as Apple/Mac fans...but are not part of my point here.
     
  10. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2007
    #10
    I see what your trying to say, but well, I do not agree.

    1) Apple enterprise support has been the most inclusive full feature support I've gotten from a vendor. I've directly spoken with one of the software engineers who was writing Xsan when we had an obscure problem with 10.5.1 and Xsan2. Microsoft's "power support" is so ridiculously on a different cost scale it's not even appropriate to this conversion. And Dell... well their support is cheap, but barely better worthless.

    2) I'm not sure how can honestly justify that statement. It's like saying the make and model of car doesn't matter to a professional racer, or the make and model of lasik machine doesn't matter to a eye surgery doctor. Of-course it matters. OS X does something better, Solaris does some things, Linux has advantages, Windows 7 even has some impressive core features that set it apart from the rest. Which is "best" completely depends on the application and the user.

    3) Your arguing your own opening argument here. A power users uses the tools he knows as a professional he needs to use. Consequently, he purchases the software license required to do so.

    Regardless... all these really doesn't matter that much because who started talking about the "power user" anyway?
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    It was simply a reply to your statement that Macs being overpriced is a myth. Some Macs are.

    Video editing, if it's more than just cut&paste stuff, will definitely benefit from any extra horsepower. Apps like After Effects are extremely heavy and I know couple of MR users who have 2.93GHz 12-core MPs which are used solely for AE.

    Well, they have similar specs so the performance should be similar.

    I could post hundreds of threads where people have gotten bad service from Apple. One man's experience isn't enough to judge the whole service. At least Dell offers something that Apple does not. Whether that exists only on paper is another question. What I've heard, Dell's enterprise service is great. These onsite services are done by 3rd parties so quality may vary.

    Again, I'm not saying the Dell is better as it was just a reply to your statement.
     
  12. logandzwon, Jan 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2011

    logandzwon macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2007
    #12
    I'm not sure if you were talking to me, but as I said, I don't think most Mac Pro buyers actually buy the correct machine for them. They aren't really for desktop use. They are, for example, used as by sound engineers for mixing music, a while back there a write up with how Nine Inch Nails cut out a couple hundred thousand dollars with of sound gear from their tour by switching to software running on mac pros. Companies doing large scale computer rendering, such as Pixar, would use a bunch of them tied together to process computer animated video. There are a few places doing large scale super computers using Mac Pro as processing nodes over infiniband. etc...

    EDIT:

    Hellhammer, all good points. :)
     
  13. adversus macrumors regular

    adversus

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    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #13
    I've had two issues with my Mac's over the years: a failed hard drive in a Macbook and a defective CPU in a Mac Pro.

    Both times I've had 100% better service than I have with Dell on my Small Business Preferred Account. I was able to take the machine into the Apple store (with Dell, I had to ship it back), and got a replacement within two days, rather than waiting for a week+ like I had previously with Dell.

    Everyone's mileage will vary, but my mileage has been fantastic.

    I disagree. I've spent my entire career in the IT field, supporting and then developing software systems and hardware systems for Windows. Suffice to say I use a lot of Windows machines. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if the user is a "power user" or not. My combined use of Windows as a platform is probably 20x higher than Mac OS, but I'd use Mac OS given the opportunity, and recommend Mac's to everyone I know that isn't already locked into Windows.

    You are exactly right, power users let their software licenses dictate their OS/platform choice. Which means if you want to license Aperture, Final Cut Pro, or Logic Audio, you have to use Mac OS.

    $314.5 billion market valuation is a pretty damn good joke.
     

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