Best way to get raw power

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gopnick, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. gopnick, Mar 29, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018

    gopnick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #1
    Here's my situation:

    I have an aging MBP. It's fine for road work, but I really need a second Mac and every computer I use needs to have the raw power to get the job done.

    A few requirements:

    1. i5 or i7 processor.
    2. Nice graphics for processing some video and a lot of basic photo editing. Ability to drive a large, high-res monitor.
    3. Solid state drive. I work about 11 hours a day... that'll get stretched to 12 or 13 if I'm waiting on a drive a lot. I've been there.
    Any recommendations on paths forward that don't cost $3,500 or more?

    Interested specifically in whether there are any desktop models that just haven't held their value as well and might go for less used than most Macs. I know that's probably a pipe dream, but I figured I would ask.

    ETA: my current Mac is fine. I’m just worried it’ll fail at some point with old components and it has been used 12+ Hours per day for years and years. I need a backup capable of standing in for it if something happens.
     
  2. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    Get a Mac Pro 4,1, flash it to 5,1 firmware, upgrade the CPU to a 3.46 GHz model, slap a SSD and an AMD 7950 or 7970 in it. Add a bit of RAM and it would probably meet your needs. If you need some extra storage, use the internal drive bays and set up a RAID.

    You could accomplish such a setup for WELL under the $3500 suggested above.

    The main limitation for you is likely to be that this computer may not be supported by Apple for much longer. Many people in this forum have a similar machine to this. We love them for the most part, but none of know how long they'll be supported.
     
  3. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #3
    Pretty much agree with pertusis1. Just some extra info, you should go for the Xeon but not i7 on the Mac Pro. Even i7-990X is acceptable on the cMP, but really no point to use a CPU that has higher voltage range, support much less memory, can't support ECC RAM, can't support the faster 1333MHz RAM, can't fallback to 800Mhz if you install quad rank DIMM, has lower max rated temperature, no (VT-d) support, no Demand based switching, no Trusted execution technology... when there is a Xeon that has the same speed but also very cheap.
     
  4. res0lve macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    #4
    why would you waste 3,5k on ancient computer parts/technology?!
    Any modern HP/Dell workstation for 3,5k will run all video/photo editing SW better than any Mac (except FCPX for obvious reasons) with easy and clear upgradability path etc.
    :confused:
     
  5. orph macrumors 68000

    orph

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    im tempted to say look at hackintosh setups if speed is needed and osx is needed.
    but reliability is more of a problem, or at least time spent setting it up will be more.
    there's a bunch of xeon hacks that can be set up on a low budget.

    what apps will you run?

    for stills you want high clock speed (and dont need more than 4-cores) & for video you want something like a 6c/12t cpu or 8c/16t depending on the app the returns from more cores starts to shrink (high clock speed is good here too as not all tasks are well threaded).
    photo editing tends not to scale past 4-cores until you do batch exporting.

    what GPU you need/want depends on what apps your using.

    32GB of ram is good to shoot for

    depending on what your doing SSD's will be fine, returns from faster storage to budget starts to shrink past then depending on apps/work you do.

    your budget will get you a top end system

    and relay might bw worth looking at windows systems too (i know it's a pain but until the new macpro comes out there's no real upgradble mac option just the imacs)

    but for less than £1,500 you will be able to setup a top and cmp if your willing to swap the cpu yourself and use old hardware.

    in the PC world that budget will get you a high end fast system.
    dont forget to budget in some kind of backup system if you dont have one (NAS or external drives)
     
  6. nigelbb, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #6
    If the OP's current Mac is an "aging MBP" then any modern Mac or PC will offer a considerable performance improvement. I agree that it would be nuts to sink money into a Mac Pro old technology with no warranty. $3500 would buy a nice 27" iMac or even a 2013 Mac Pro with a nice screen.

    At the budget end a Hackintosh should certainly be considered. They are pretty reliable & easy to install now with the right hardware. I just bought an ex-corporate PC off eBay for £75 on eBay that runs High Sierra very nicely. It's a HP Prodesk 400 G1 with i3-4130 8GB RAM to which I added a 512GB Samsung Evo SSD for £140. I added a Bluetooth dongle & USB audio widget for another £15 & now everything works as far as I can see including sleep & I upgraded to 10.13.3 straight off the App Store. It's very fast & smooth using the HD4400 on board graphics but I could easily add an Nvidia 10x0 if I needed more power. This same PC can be found with an i7-4790 for a couple of hundred more.
     
  7. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #7
    Can you share more details about what applications / projects you work on? From your initial post I didn't get the impression you require a high end system. Perhaps a newer system would be all you need?
     
  8. gopnick, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018

    gopnick thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #8
    Thanks for everyone who answered, and I apologize for posting and running. Had a chance to go play golf this morning, and I took it...

    I should clarify the $3,500 bit. When I price a *new* system, it typically comes to that. The main factors: dedicated graphics, 1TB SSD, large amounts of RAM. 4 cores is really all I need though.

    The main issue with my aging system isn't really speed. It's that catastrophic failures are possible. In the past employers bought me really nice rigs. Now I'm out on my own and I have to face the fact that I probably need less expensive equipment and need to find better deals than just taking the company credit card to the Apple Store (ah, those were the days).

    Things I do daily:
    Lots of apps & browser tabs open
    Apps are basic: Office, Mail, Basecamp, Slack, etc.
    Video capturing with Capto
    Basic editing with Photoshop CC.

    So I definitely don't need a $5,000 iMac Pro. But you price out a 1TB SSD and lots of RAM and just about anything jumps over $3k quickly.

    I'd like something that would allow me to retire my MBP as my everyday machine and allow it to be more of a backup. And if it is a desktop that can be more easily worked on, that's great too. Obviously virtually any failure in my MBP now would be end of life for it.

    TL;DR version -- I want something with power and storage similar to my MBP (i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) without spending what I would pay for similar specs in a MBP. I need a second computer so my entire business isn't being dragged through every TSA checkpoint.
     
  9. mikzn macrumors 6502a

    mikzn

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #9
    another option might be a used MBP like this Macbook for sale on ebay awesome specs and price $1,500

    MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch
    Mid 2015 i7 16GB 1TB SSD
     
  10. gopnick thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2007
    #10
    Starting to look like Hackintosh is the way to go.
     
  11. Naimfan Suspended

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #11
    Buy a 6 core MP on eBay - say around $600.

    Add a 1 TB SSD - ~$250

    32 GB of RAM (if it doesn't come with it already) ~$150-200

    Add GPU of choice - say a RX-580 for grins - ~$450

    You're under $1500 with a machine that would be reliable, upgradable, and expandable.

    Or you could go for a dual-processor machine, like a 12 core 2.66 GHz for ~$900, and then add in the above.
     
  12. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    That's my point. This guy isn't doing anything that requires more than what you posted. He could get into this machine for less than half of what he's willing to spend. Stick 2 grand in the bank and keep earning money.
     
  13. orph macrumors 68000

    orph

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    "Things I do daily:
    Lots of apps & browser tabs open
    Apps are basic: Office, Mail, Basecamp, Slack, etc.
    Video capturing with Capto
    Basic editing with Photoshop CC."

    tempted to say grab an imac, get 16-32gb ram and applecare (or like cover) with a real GPU (Radeon Pro 555 will do if on buget)
    or a new macbook pro (same idea 16-32GB ram and a real GPU)

    as long as you have 16-32GB ram, 4c (or more) and a real GPU you'll be fine for a bit. I dont think any of the apps you listed need a high end system so even the second up 21" imac with ram upgraded will be fine. (id gess)

    id also think about something like a large external drive or NAS for file storage, there's no real need for big internal drives (as long as the internal drives are SSD or faster) and backups are always worth keeping in mind.

    and as a plus if you ever do end up using a app in a year or two that needs a higher end GPU you can plug one in by thunderbolt later.

    one thing to point out is i think most imacs have dont have user upgrade ram so what you buy is what you live with so dont get 8GB of ram on a model that cant be upgraded.

    it will be less than £2000 id gess from apple

    if you where flexible a hack with new parts will be less (depending on display you buy if you dont have one, got to give it to the imacs they have good displays & GPU)

    one good thing to do is open up activity monitor on your laptop and see how much ram your using at the moment when using the apps daily to get an idea of how well your currant laptop copes with your work (with how much ram it has?)
     
  14. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #14
    Exactly what model MBP do you have? Unless it's a 2012 Unibody MBP that you have updated with a 1TB SSD then I wouldn't describe it as "ageing" as any more modern MBP is going to be very similar in size, weight, performance, screen etc. You can't buy a MBP with more RAM or SSD storage. To my mind an "ageing" MBP is one like my old 2008 17" MBP which is still going great guns in the hands of my partner's son with a 1TB SSD & 6GB RAM.

    My current MBP is a late 2013 15" rMBP with 16GB RAM & 2.6 GHz CPU that I bought two years ago used with a few months AppleCare still remaining for £1000 on eBay. I just recently upgraded the 512GB SSD to a 1TB Apple SSUBX also purchased used on eBay for £450.There is no incentive for me to upgrade to a newer MBP as the Retina screen is the same & the latest CPU is barely any faster (it's actually slower single threaded) & its not possible to specify more than 16GB RAM or 1TB SSD & I already have the newer faster SSD. You could purchase something similar for a lot less than half your budget.

    However the basic question that you haven't answered is do you need a portable computer? You get much more for your money in a desktop & can get higher performance. If you can work with a desktop & the performance on your current MBP is decent then maybe keep it for when you need to travel or for convenience but buy a used 27" iMac as your desktop or even go for an ultra low budget Hackintosh as I described earlier in the thread.
     
  15. gopnick thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #15
    I have the same late 2013 MBP release. Aging in terms of “components might break”... not in terms of getting slow. I need a backup, a second computer, and a second floor computer. And it needs to be comparable to the MBP in case it has to be my primary. Doesn’t have to be a laptop.

    When I price those specs out the prices are still high. And even getting a used MBP I’d still need to buy a nice display ($) and upgrade the RAM and HD.

    So I’m really thinking sub-$1000 Hackintosh or used Mac Pro.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 31, 2018 ---
    Also, I have a used Surface Pro 4 that I hate and might sell to help pay for this.
     
  16. orph, Apr 1, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018

    orph macrumors 68000

    orph

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    ok well thats a massive budget change, may be hard to even get an imac for 1,000 so maybe a macmin? with display and backup HD
    apple also has a refurbished shop on there site

    components might break = clasic macpro or any used computer with no warranty (and no ebay seller warranty is worth anything)

    my used macpro works fine but has new drives, GPU & ram (the PSU seems to run a tad hot at times?) iv had no real problems but also no warranty

    this is the place to go to for hack info https://www.tonymacx86.com/
     
  17. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #17
    If you want to dabble with a Hackintosh without laying out much money & without having to build your own PC then I can really recommend a used HP Prodesk 400 G1. I guess you are in the US so this i5 model is a steal at $220 https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Prodesk...895043?hash=item1ca1752c03:g:YPgAAOSwWMhahJP1 With the addition of Bluetooth & audio USB dongles it will work OOTB just like a real Mac. If desired it can be upgraded to 16GB RAM & an i7-4790 CPU & an SSD.
     
  18. gopnick thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2007
    #18
    That's an interesting idea.

    Can you update the OS without major drama?
     
  19. orph macrumors 68000

    orph

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
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    #19
    not on a 3.1 think the limit is osx10.11? you can go past that with a workaround it's not to hard but not as simple as ruining the osx installer and go.

    something along the line of make partition install a thing on it then it works (and you need a newer GPU i think?)
    iv never done it, i think it's not to hard but not simple kind of thing

    if you can swing a single core 4.1 or 5.1 and upgrade the cpu to the 4c 3.46ghz cpu or the 6c 3.33 ghz cpu you'll be on something much faster
     
  20. chrissomos macrumors newbie

    chrissomos

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    Feb 16, 2018
    #20
    buy a new base model iMac and upgrade the guts yourself and use an eGPU.
     
  21. nigelbb, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #21
    I just went to 10.13.4 with an update from the App Store. It all seems to be working including sleep. I can't guarantee it's 100% but in all the testing I have done I couldn't find anything that didn't work as expected & for the money there is little to lose.

    I built a couple of Hackintoshes from parts years ago but would never have relied on them for real work as updates & missing functionality were a PITA. It was more for the fun & the sense of accomplishment. However the Hackintosh world has evolved & I was very pleasantly surprised to discover how simple it is to do nowadays. I may have lucked out with my choice of ex-corporate PC but they are always a great bargain used & very well built whether you get one from HP, Dell or Lenovo. I originally bought it to run Plex on Linux but was intrigued when I found a reference to installing MacOS. Now I am running Plex on Linux in a VMware Fusion virtual machine on High Sierra & it's great. It was as simple as booting from a USB stick (Unibeast) to do the install pretty much like on a real Mac then running some post-installation tasks (Multibeast). CPU performance has stagnated for over five years so a PC that is five years old has pretty much the same performance as a brand new 2018 one. It may use more energy but it will run all the latest applications & perform well.
     
  22. orph macrumors 68000

    orph

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    Dec 12, 2005
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    UK
    #22
    @nigelbb odd my 3.1 wont let me upgrade the version of osx, are you shore you have not hacked your macpro 3.1?

    @chrissomos + i do think macmin or imac with the option of eGPU later if needed is better, did not think of the option of the base imac with the option of a eGPU down the line if needed
     
  23. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #23
    I was referring to the easy upgrade to latest version of High Sierra for my Hackintosh. The 3,1 is limited to 10.11 but can be upgraded to latest 10.13 with dosdude1's patcher http://dosdude1.com/highsierra/ I haven't bothered to do this yet as it runs great with El Capitan & there is nothing I am doing or using that requires High Sierra.
     
  24. thornslack macrumors 6502

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    Nov 16, 2013
    #24
    Sorry this is all I thought of when I saw the post title

    200w.gif
     
  25. MarkJames68 macrumors 6502

    MarkJames68

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    #25
    $3500 would easily buy a 2017 MBP 15” with 1TB, 16GB memory and 4GB discrete video. Plus eGPU would be an option.
     

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