Big budget, replacing my 2011 MBP. Advice?

tevion5

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So I've had my current 13" MBP since early 2011. It's served me very well through school, college and now work. It's since got an SSD and seen 8 versions of the MacOS. But it's time to upgrade.

Back then it cost €1,500 for my variant with 8GB Ram.

I am looking at upgrade options but Apple's prices are so high today it's given me pause. I have a gaming PC for that, so this machine is for audio production, software development, graphic design, other work etc.

A decade of using Intel HD 3000 graphics means in REALLY want some proper graphics in my next Mac.

- Primary consideration -
  • € 3,819
  • 2018 MacBook Pro 15"
  • 2.6GHz i7 6-Core
  • 16GB Ram
  • Vega 20
Aside from this I've given some thought to desktops. The system doesn't leave my desk 95% of the time anyway, especially now that I'm no longer in college.

- Desktop consideration -
  • € 3,179
  • 2018 iMac 27"
  • 4.2 GHz i7 4-Core
  • 16GB Ram
  • Radeon Pro 580
- Alternative considerations [2nd hand] -
  • ~€ 2,500 - €3,000
  • 2013 Mac Pro (trashcan) [2nd hand] + 27" Thunderbolt Display [2nd hand]
  • Xeon 6 Core, 32GB Ram, x2 D500
  • ~€ 2,500 - €3,000
  • 2012 Mac Pro [2nd hand] + 27" Thunderbolt Display [2nd hand]
  • Xeon 12 Core, 32GB Ram, GTX 980 (Metal Support)
Any opinions on where to focus?
[doublepost=1549298339][/doublepost]Any ideas @LightBulbFun?
 
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Nbd1790

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Go with the 2018 MBP or the 2018 iMac. The trash can Mac Pro will probably be unnecessary for what you're doing (I personally use my laptop for the same tasks you do on a daily basis) and IMO, it seems absurd to pay that much for old technology (not to mention the issue of how long it will be supported)

Choosing between the desktop and laptop is completely up to you, but I prefer to have a laptop (and the option to be portable if I want to) even though I plug into my home studio setup on a regular basis.
 
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LightBulbFun

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if the system does not really need to be portable maybe a 2018 Mac Mini with an eGPU would be a good setup for you, you get a Good modern CPU with RAM sockets and the ability to upgrade your GPU over time still :) (id get a Mac Mini with as much CPU and storage as you can afford/need and upgrade the RAM 3rd party)

(the only caveat with the Mac mini setup is that you cant directly plug in a thunderbolt display into the eGPU)

it will also still be relatively portable too :)
 
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NorCalLights

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If refurbished Macs are available in your country, get one of those. Do not buy the Trashcan Mac Pro or the 2012 Mac Pro. That graphics card you listed in the 2012 machine is Metal compatible, but it won't work with Mavericks.

A top-spec Mac Mini with an eGPU is an interesting option, but I'd probably go with a Macbook Pro or an iMac instead. The eGPU stuff still feels like a hack to me at this early stage, and it remains to be seen how supported it will be. It'll probably be fine... but if I was spending all that cash on a new Mac, I don't know that I'd quite trust it.
 
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MandiMac

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this machine is for audio production, software development, graphic design, other work etc.
As in graphic design and software development I'd recommend going for an 27-inch iMac just because of the gorgeous display. It's up to you if you want to wait for the probable 2019 refresh (possibly in March, July or October this year), it will be most likely all-SSD, 6-core and maybe better cooled. Heck, who knows, maybe we'll see Face ID too in a desktop this year.

But if you need it now and you need the most performance right now, you should go with Mac mini because it has the latest 6-core offerings. Then again, there's no dedicated GPU inside. Your call :)
 

TGM85

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- Alternative considerations [2nd hand] -
  • ~€ 2,500 - €3,000
  • 2013 Mac Pro (trashcan) [2nd hand] + 27" Thunderbolt Display [2nd hand]
  • Xeon 6 Core, 32GB Ram, x2 D500
  • ~€ 2,500 - €3,000
  • 2012 Mac Pro [2nd hand] + 27" Thunderbolt Display [2nd hand]
  • Xeon 12 Core, 32GB Ram, GTX 980 (Metal Support)
I really wouldn't spend that kind of money on technology that's 6-7 years old at this point.

Since portability is not much of a concern, I would look at an iMac if I were you. They seem a lot less problem prone than the current generation Mac Book Pro.

Have you considered waiting for the new generation Mac Pro? It's supposed to be released this year.
 

tevion5

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Thanks for all the advice so far.

I've come to my sense about getting one of the old Mac Pro models. You're right, it's too much money for outdated tech.
The trashcan could lose update support by MacOS 10.16 for all we know.

The MacMini got a great update recently, but the lack of dedicated GPU is a no from me.
If I had more cash to spare I'd get one to run as a server in a heartbeat.

I think I'll just wait another couple of months for Apple to release new Macs this year.

So, here's the Macs I'll be choosing between, and what I hope to see from them:

2019 MacBook Pro 15"
- Vega GPU as standard (RX 560 is ageing, but the 6-core i7 CPU and 16GB+ are already excellent imo)

2019 iMac 27"
- 6-core, High end Vega GPU, SSD as standard

2019 Mac Pro
- That it will be in any way affordable to someone like me
- The it's accompanying monitor will be in any way affordable to someone like me
 

ignatius345

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As in graphic design and software development I'd recommend going for an 27-inch iMac just because of the gorgeous display.
For years I used a laptop as my main Mac, "docking" it to drives and things on my desk when I was at home. It's fine, but I just got tired of plugging and unplugging things and find a permanently-installed iMac much easier to deal with.

Also, laptops are by definition optimized for weight, compactness and power consumption -- all things that don't matter when it's sitting on a desk. And for whatever price point you have, chances are you're getting more bang for your buck with a desktop.

My current setup / strategy is to have a nice big 5K iMac for my main design work, and an older MacBook Pro (no butterfly keyboard, thanks) which does the lighter stuff and syncs up via iCloud Drive and Dropbox to the main iMac. I'm quite happy with the setup. Having the iMac really takes the heat (heh) off the laptop, so it doesn't have to be the latest and greatest.
 

fastasleep

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My 2011 MBP died its final death right before the Vega 20 Macs shipped. I upgraded to a maxed out 2.9 i9/Vega 20/32GB/2TB and it's the best Mac I've ever owned, albeit a pricey one. I work on it every day, and am getting more into video and motion graphics/3D/compositing/etc, so went for the maxed out model. Depending on what kind of design you're doing, or rather what software, I'm not sure the Vega 20 will be that noticeable for you, but if you can afford it, no harm in going for it. I'd definitely go for the 32GB if you can afford it and tend to use a lot of RAM hungry apps like Adobe CC etc.
 
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Velin

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Get the 2019 27" iMac with a maxed-out graphics card. One of the best desktop screens you can get, with the added benefit of an all-in-one. Just be sure to go full SSD; Fusion drive sucks and Apple SSDs are excellent.
 

NorCalLights

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2019 iMac 27"
- 6-core, High end Vega GPU, SSD as standard
Just for the record, there's no iMac 27" with a Vega GPU, and no BTO option for Vega GPU. The iMac Pro does have Vega 56 GPU as standard and Vega 64 as a BTO option (as well as a faster processor, much more standard RAM, and standard 1TB SSD), but you're looking at spending at least USD5,000.00 for that.
 

MRrainer

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Just for the record, there's no iMac 27" with a Vega GPU, and no BTO option for Vega GPU. The iMac Pro does have Vega 56 GPU as standard and Vega 64 as a BTO option (as well as a faster processor, much more standard RAM, and standard 1TB SSD), but you're looking at spending at least USD5,000.00 for that.
It was a look into the future.

When the 2019 iMacs will arrive, we'll see how the lineup actually looks like.

There might be so much overlap between iMac, iMacPro and MacPro that Apple feels the need to release and clean-up the portfolio for all these products at the same time.
 
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NorCalLights

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It was a look into the future.

When the 2019 iMacs will arrive, we'll see how the lineup actually looks like.

There might be so much overlap between iMac, iMacPro and MacPro that Apple feels the need to release and clean-up the portfolio for all these products at the same time.
Sure. I guess that's possible, but Vega graphics seems to be a good differentiator between the iMac and the iMac Pro. We'll see!
 

tevion5

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Okay guys, WWDC has shown me the way.

This is a little nuts, but I think I'm going to save up and go for the brand new Mac Pro.

Is it expensive? Yes
Is it above my needs? Probably
Do I still really want it? Absolutely
  • € 6,000
  • 2019 Mac Pro
  • 3.5GHz Xeon 8-Core
  • 32GB Ram
  • Radeon Pro 580X
I've considered the iMac Pro and Mac Mini too, but what I really like about the Mac Pro is it's expand-ability and upgrade-ability. I can see this machine serving me well for 15 years. If/when I need more GPU power, RAM or even a better CPU I can throw in something better. Plus it would just feel pretty bad-ass to own one of these on release.

This does exceed my initial budget, so the new pro display is way out of my price range. But thanks to the new/old aluminium cheese grater design I reckon it'll match very nicely with my 30" Apple Cinema Display!
 
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MRrainer

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IMHO, if you have to "save up" for something, it's not the right product, especially and IT-related product.
This is compounded by the fact that you project a lifespan of 15 years (probably to justify the expense in the first place).

It's bordering financial irresponsibility to project the lifespan of any IT tool so far into the future. It simply does not work like that.
None of the stuff you do requires a MacPro.

Go with the i9 iMac. As pointed out by various Youtubers, the iMac has a better GPU than the entry-level MacPro.
It will be enough for the next five years and if it turns out it isn't, you can sell it without too much loss.
After all, it doesn't have the T2 chip, so one thing less to go wrong...
 

LightBulbFun

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IMHO, if you have to "save up" for something, it's not the right product, especially and IT-related product.
This is compounded by the fact that you project a lifespan of 15 years (probably to justify the expense in the first place).

It's bordering financial irresponsibility to project the lifespan of any IT tool so far into the future. It simply does not work like that.
None of the stuff you do requires a MacPro.

Go with the i9 iMac. As pointed out by various Youtubers, the iMac has a better GPU than the entry-level MacPro.
It will be enough for the next five years and if it turns out it isn't, you can sell it without too much loss.
After all, it doesn't have the T2 chip, so one thing less to go wrong...
sorry what was that?

I couldn't hear you over the usefulness of my 10 year old Mac Pro that is my daily machine :D

a major problem with any non Mac Pro apple machine for people like me and @tevion5 is they cant be easily upgraded and worked on, which can severely limit their future life span/usefulness

and the iMac only has a better GPU then the Mac Pro if you where to BTO the Vega 48 option, and if your BTOing then the Mac Pro can be BTOed up to 4 Radeon Pro VIIs LOL

otherwise they both have Radeon Pro 580X GPUs as base

not to mention the hardware of the Mac Pro is a lot more robust then the iMac, and a lot less thermally constrained (hows all those 2011 iMacs holding up Yah? LOL)

so I would say saving up for a Mac Pro is a good choice, especially as he has a 6 months head start before it even goes on sale :)
 

tevion5

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IMHO, if you have to "save up" for something, it's not the right product, especially and IT-related product.
This is compounded by the fact that you project a lifespan of 15 years (probably to justify the expense in the first place).

It's bordering financial irresponsibility to project the lifespan of any IT tool so far into the future. It simply does not work like that.
None of the stuff you do requires a MacPro.

Go with the i9 iMac. As pointed out by various Youtubers, the iMac has a better GPU than the entry-level MacPro.
It will be enough for the next five years and if it turns out it isn't, you can sell it without too much loss.
After all, it doesn't have the T2 chip, so one thing less to go wrong...
With respect, I think I'm in a very good position to judge what's a responsible purchase for me and what isn't.

I don't need it, but I can afford it and between software development, audio production and some video editing I would put it to good use. I don't just to play Minecraft on this thing dude!

Finance wise I won't have to skip lunches, I can buy this quite comfortably with some planning. I don't need all those machines in my signature that were sold before I was born either, and I'd rather not to buy and sell. These machines have more than just their pure practical value to me, so anything I'd buy especially at a high price I'd like to keep.

Computers are a big part of my life, so some extra luxury and performance together is well worth the extra cash :)

The iMac Pro is a great piece of kit and had the Mac Pro announcement been disappointing I would have gone with that. But this new Mac Pro looks brilliant to me. I don't do very heavy graphics work on my Mac, so the Radeon 580x will be enough for now. If I want more in 5 years I can upgrade. I can't with an iMac.

My 2011 MBP is still going strong only for the specs today are starting to show their age. Final Cut and Logic Pro X are a slog, almost to the point it puts me off. I've put off an upgrade for a while so now that I am I'm going big.
To echo @LightBulbFun, I've got a PowerMac G5, PM G4 and PM8600 all still going strong. 10+ years usage is a very reasonable expectation from these towers. These aren't any old office Lenovos.
 
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MRrainer

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Just be careful projecting lifespans of things. I have an 18 year old car. That doesn't mean I budget my next car for a similar lifespan. This thing is meant for people who can write it off as a business expense, possibly to the point where they break even on the first project already - but in a very short time.

You can do what you want with your money, of course.
 

tevion5

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Just be careful projecting lifespans of things. I have an 18 year old car. That doesn't mean I budget my next car for a similar lifespan. This thing is meant for people who can write it off as a business expense, possibly to the point where they break even on the first project already - but in a very short time.

You can do what you want with your money, of course.
I think expecting to get 10+ years out of this is very reasonable based on the model track record tbh. Even if parts fail before then and also after warranty, components can be much more easily replaced in a modular system than say an iMac with most components integrated to the logic board.
 
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