Buying advice: 6 core Mac Pro or 15" Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by boulderarch, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. boulderarch, Apr 5, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017

    boulderarch macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2014
    I am an architect and currently have a 2012 Mac Mini at work. It does just fine for most tasks, but struggles in one of my 3D CAD programs with graphics. Saving files could be faster as well. It also can only drive 2 of my 3 1080p monitors (one of which is a 42" TV mounted on the wall). Most of time is spent using software that only uses single threaded operations (1 cpu core), so the multi core advantage is only useful to me 5% of my time.

    I'm going to upgrade to either a 6 core Mac Pro or a 15" Macbook Pro used primarily in clamshell mode.

    The base 15" model is faster than the 6 core in single speed and I would also get a laptop out of it. I currently have a 2011 matte screen 15" Macbook Pro at home and would still keep that. This new configuration would only be used at work. It seems it might be better to go with the Macbook Pro since I get a laptop out of the deal if I ever need it. The only difference seems to be the multicore score. It is even less expensive than a refurb 6 core.

    I still can't stand the iMac glossy screen and dislike reaching around the back over my large desk to reach the ports. In reality that CPU is really what I should have. Hopefully the new redesigned 2018-19 Mac Pro will work. Or a new USBC iMac might have a less glossy screen and allow for a more accessible port hub.

    Or should I just get the iMac? Fastest single core speed by far, same multicore speed as the 6 core, less than a new 6 core and only $200 more than the refurb 6 core.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    First off, unless your workflow involves a substantial amount of CPU-based image rendering, more than 4 cores isn't doing you much. Most CAD software relies on just 1 core for 90% of workflow. So yes, you want the fastest single core speed you can get and a really solid GPU.

    Since you really didn't mention the specific software or other details about your workflow, all of my assumptions below are based on you're still able to use your 2011 MBP to work...

    The 2013 Mac Pro is a really nice machine, and the D500's should be plenty good enough for most arch CAD work. All the tech on it is getting long in the tooth, but it's not like it's slow (and certainly a lot faster than a 2011 MBP).

    That being said, if you can live with the iMac's glossy screen, and don't need the portability of a laptop, the 5K iMac would be a better desktop solution IMO - the CPU and dGPU are more suited for CAD work and the 5K display is lovely.

    If portability is useful for you, to take to meetings, etc. then the 2016 MBP is the way to go - a really super nice laptop and has the performance you need. Until the recent announcement of a future new Mac Pro (but not before 2018), my back-up plan was/is to transition to the MBP in a setup much as you describe.

    I know the MP would have no problem with 3 external screens... you'd have to double-check about how to add 2/3 displays to the iMac or 3 screens to the MBP (if that's your intention).

    You can't really go wrong with any of those though.

    Good luck!

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