Best setup for a Mac Pro, 4K budget

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Kallel00, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Kallel00 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2009
    I'm an experienced PC builder, but never had the opportunity to play with a Mac Pro (I own a 09 Mini and a 09 MacBook). I've always built my PCs from scratch, so it's sort of annoying to be stuck with Apple's pre-configs ;)

    Anyhow, any input would be appreciated.

    My PC's an old Q6600 Quad, 4 GB, Raptor Harddrive, and ATI 4870 Vid Card (Sapphire). It's quite fast enough for my needs (I use CS4, Lightroom II mainly), and the computer is also used to play 720P/1080p videos on my TV via in-wall HDMI cabling).

    I also have a need for editing AVCHD 1080i videos from my camcorders. AVCHD's a pain to work with on PCs (unless you convert to MPEG-2), and the whole truth to it is I prefer to simply work with AIC in Imovie 09 (I've dealt with the much bigger file sizes via external 1 TB drives). This should eventually change with the arrival of Abobe's Mercury Engine or other similar tech that should finally let us edit native AVCHD without choking computers to death. This is partly WHY I'm not even considering the Core i7 Imac. I want to keep my options open as to which video card I can use once such technology is available.

    Ideally I'd want an Octo Core, since while I make little use of apps that use multi-cores, I can easily choke my Quad with all the simultaneous stuff I tend to do (like work in Lightroom and CS4 & watch HD episodes on my TV at the same time).

    Here's what I came up with my budget:

    My price are inflated due to my being a Canadian , so they're in Can $ :

    Refurbished 2008 2.8 Octo: 2499$

    Intel SSD Gen-2 80 GB: 250$

    Flash my Sapphire 4870 & install it on Mac: 0$ (or vice versa, not sure about the exact procedure yet!).

    Memory Upgrade: Kingston 2 x 4 GB : 320$
    Also keep the Apple supplied 2GB for a total of 10GB unless it hurts performance. I'm open to pushing the RAM up to a total of 16GB if I can see benefits from it.

    LG Blu-Ray Burner: 175$ (I read it's sort of a plain to read the odd Sata ports, but I guess no more than building a computer from scratch .... as long as it doesn't void my 1 year refurbished warranty).

    I already own 3 x 1 TB WD drives, so no needs to further spend there.

    Total: 3250$ + Taxes = approx 3600$

    Extra Fees: Windows 7 OEM (it's a must that I also install Windows), Ilife 09 (Apple only includes 08 on the refurbished Macs).

    So , there it is. I can't seem to come up with a better config for that price, so if you see something I don't, please let me know ;)

    There's always the option of waiting for the new Hexacores, in hopes Apple slashes the prices on refurb 09 models. I don't see much benefit however in waiting for Octo 2.26ghz refurb Nehalems (which are still sold for 3199$) to be dropped at the current pricing of 08 refurb 2.8 octos.
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The '08's are the best value MP out there (EFI64 based, so it will continue to be capable of graphics card updates as well as OS X once it goes to K64 exclusively).

    The '09's price increase and additional proprietarization and issues, have taken the value out. Unfortunately, the 2010's will suffer the same fate, as they're the same architecture (on a die shrink + 2 additional cores).

    Here in the US Refurb store, they have a 3.2GHz '08 Octad for the same $$$ as the base '09 Octad. The '08 Refurb will beat the that particular '09 hands down in performance. :eek: For the same money. I've not checked the Canadian store, but I'd think it's available there too, as the models are the same (North America).
  3. Kallel00 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Yeap we get the exact same refurb offers in Canada.

    Price of 3.2 Octo is 800-900$ over the price of a 2.8 Octo, and I don't think much (at least for me), can justify that much of money for a slight performance gain. That's gonna buy me a Quattro in a year max ;)
  4. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Sounds like a good plan. 2008 is a good value. Only thing that I would look at for the 2009 is when the 2010 get released they may do an end of life discount like they did for the 08 machines.

    However that is a gamble and I can't recall if it was open to Canadian.

    Don't refurbs get 09 iLife? Also the 2gbs of ram are 1 gb sticks. I found it easiest to grab 4x 2gb and then find someone selling their 2 x 1 gb to make 12 gb total.
  5. dcpmark macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    According to OWC's speed tests, you can get maximum RAM speed in an 8x1GB DIMM or 8x2GB DIMM configuration. By the way, I added the same 2x4GB DIMMs for a total of 10GB, and I am sending them back for 6 more 1GB DIMMs.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    With the current issues with the '09's, the '08's are actually more stable, as well as a better bargain.

    The thermal issues are a result of OS X, but there's some hardware issues that can't be gotten around. Limited DIMM slots comes to mind (makes memory upgrades potentially expensive, depending on exacty requirements), and if a user is interested in hardware RAID with the HDD bays, then it means an adapter (tack on an extra $165USD for the adapter kit). Gimped firmware that affects all kinds of specifics, such as memory speed is set to 1066, even in parts (CPU's) that are capable of 1333MHz. It's just sad really, but there it is. :rolleyes: :(

    The '08's are just a better system right now, and a much better value. ;) :D
  7. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I agree and am glad I stumbled upon my 08 haphazardly due to the end of life program. Just trying to give him options on the newer hardware at a reduced price where it may be attractive, however as I pointed out it may or may not come to fruition.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Understandable. :) Unfortunately though, given the higher prices on the '09's, I don't think the discount will be able to lower them to the '08 system levels, as I just don't see Apple lowering the margin that much. :(

    So I figure if there's an '08 Refurb that will do the job, and isn't insanely priced (i.e. eBayer's wanting the MSRP back on used systems :rolleyes:), nab it. Fast. Or it's going to disappear. ;) :D

    BTW Kallel00, I'd recommend getting the Extended Apple Care with the system, as it's far less expensive than the repair costs typically associated with MP's. ;)

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