Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by george-brooks, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. george-brooks macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #1
    Hey there everyone,
    I've been having a dilemma for the past few months. Currently I own a 2008 8 core 2.8GHz Mac Pro with a Radeon 2600 and 8GB of RAM. I have been wanting to upgrade it for a couple years now as I am throwing a lot more at it these days than I did when I bought it, but I have been dissatisfied with apple's professional offerings for some time now (obviously). I am a photographer, printer, video editor and graphic designer and I use Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign and FCP7 on a near daily basis. Lately, I have been monitoring activity monitor very closely and am very dissatisfied with what I am seeing. Photoshop and Lightroom both use all of my available RAM with nearly every task. My Swap tends to be around 3-4GB on average and often I cannot print from photoshop due to lack of free RAM. In Lightroom, my most common task is converting hundreds of CR2 files to DNG. When dealing with over 2000 files (as I often do) the process takes multiple hours and uses well over 600% of my processing power. As you can see, I need high performance. Time is money.

    Here is my dilemma:
    I have been holding out to buy the "new" mac pro model for a couple of years now, but it just won't come. Now we know from Tim Cook himself that there will (hopefully) be a new Mac Pro in 2013 and at this point, I just want to wait for that upgrade. But my current machine is slowing down daily and I am really starting to feel the burden from my lack of power. I really can't wait another year to upgrade. I've been toying with the idea of upgrading to 32GB of RAM, throwing in a Radeon 5870 and a USB 3.0 card, and adding an SSD for system files to increase the performance of my current machine, but those upgrades will cost in excess of $1800, and I will just need a new computer in another few years anyway, and I'll have to drop another $3-4k on that. The other thing to consider is that 32GB of RAM for the 2008 model costs over $1k, while the same upgrade for a new machine would cost less than $400. At the very least, I need to upgrade my RAM. But that alone is costly for this model.

    Do I:

    1) Spend the money to upgrade this machine with the aforementioned parts now and try to get 2-3 more years of use out of this machine until I upgrade to the 2nd of 3rd generation of the next model that will hopefully be here next year...

    -or-

    2) Sell this machine (along with the other 2.8GHz 8 core Mac Pro I have sitting in sotrage right now) and buy a 3.2GHz 6 core base model and upgrade it with the parts I need from OWC (where I would buy the upgrades for my current machine as well, if I chose to go that route). This option will be somewhere in the range of $5k for the computer and upgrades. More expensive up front, but maybe not considering the life I will get out of it and the money I would otherwise spend to upgrade a machine I will be getting rid of anyways in 2-3 years?

    On a side note, I currently am using dual 23" aluminum cinema displays that are approaching the end of their life and exhibiting burns and other minor issues, an absolute no-no in my line of work, so it will be necessary with either option to buy new monitors as well. I'm looking at the 27" NEC professional monitors, as well as high end Dells, but ideally, I would get one or two 27" EIZO ColorEdge monitor(s) for the benefit of hardware calibration. Does anyone have any suggestions for affordable graphic arts monitors? Obviously this extra expense will play into my ultimate decision as well, though I recognize that if I get new monitors now they will be able to migrate to my next computer.

    In a perfect world where money was no object, I would upgrade this machine right now and wait until the new model comes out and buy it immediately and sell this machine. But it is not a perfect world and money IS an object, so I guess what I really need advice on is priorities. At the very least, I need to upgrade my RAM to AT LEAST 16GB. But that is expensive for this model.

    Please help me prioritize! I'm so overwhelmed with all of these options and I just don't know what to do!
     
  2. thefredelement macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    I would look at it a different way, since your a professional and time is money, then how much more time are you recovering going to something like a 6-core 3.33Ghz, 16GB RAM, machine? If between now and when the new Mac Pros come out you can make even more money and buy a new one, even off setting the cost of a 2013 with the one you'd get now.

    If I were you, I'd sell your current boxes, look for a used 2009/10 model that can give you enough of a speed increase to actually give you more money between now and when the 2013s come out and then sell it or keep it around as an additional work horse.
     
  3. Flood123 macrumors 6502a

    Flood123

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Living Stateside
    #3
    There is wisdom in these words.
     
  4. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    Well, unfortunately, I'm not making a TON of money at the moment. I'm just out of college, my business is a startup
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #5
    dont send good money after bad. I learned this with old cars.



    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC560LL/A



    1899 1 year warranty


    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=D3-13R8GH2

    195 for the ram use code RWBJULY get 7 off the 3 sticks



    http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-I...TF8&qid=1341638167&sr=8-2&keywords=crucial+m4



    203 for an ssd

    this all comes to 2400 sell the old machine for 1k

    I think you may get a bit more.

    so you spent 1400 net have a pretty good machine with a 1 year warranty.

    Also sometimes refurbs have extras.


    If the new machine comes out in 10 months or so you can sell this machine with 2 months on the

    warranty. It is a plan for you that is less money and a newer machine
     
  6. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #6
    Oh, smart, thank you. It didn't occur to me to get a refurb. There must be a ton of 2010 models available. I'll take a look

    edit:
    interesting, a refurb 2010 3.33GHz 6-core is more expensive than a new 2012
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #7
    yeah a 'new' 2012 mac pro has caused a price glitch in refurbs.

    then in 10 months you can sell it and get a 2013 or you could upgrade the cpu to a hex see below

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551


    in your case the 2010 refurb makes sense.

    you could get lucky and get bonus components in a refurb. it does happen every now and then
     
  8. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Don't forget that the refurb comes with a magic/useless mouse and wired keyboard - another €80 or so off ( if you sell them when you get it)
     
  9. rantingrich macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #9
    Why

    I to look for USED MACPROS. I bought used like 5 years ago and Could not be happier. It outlasted all the ones I bought new KNOCK WOOD!.

    BUT it seems these used mac are relatively close to the same price of the same "or close" specs as a new one... I don't get that. :mad:

    I have seen 4 year old macpros on certain sites that were MORE than brand new ones and the new ones had more ram...

    I bet Steve Jobs is rolling over in his grave

    Many call me CRAZY for even using macs and not their cheaper PC alternates! I Think they are correct with pricing and availability I have seen these last few months.

    I have sent many an e-mails to some of these used mac sire asking for information on certain machine that was/is unclear and I usually get a hot e-mail right back answering my questions and inviting me to buy it..

    BUT when i send and e-mail asking them to please explain to me WHY I would buy one of their used machines I was/am interested in when a NEW ONE is cheaper?

    I have yet to get an answer to any of those
     
  10. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    I've found some 2009 high end models on eBay that have most of the upgrades I am looking for and are in my price range. I use eBay all the time for other things, but I've never bought a mac from it before, and I've never bought a used computer. Is there any reason not to if everything seems legit? I could use it for a couple years and then get a 2013. The ones I have been looking at range from 1900-2300 for a 3.33 quad-core with varying amounts of RAM

    ----------

    Another alternative-
    What about upgrading the processors in my 2008 model? I wouldn't be able to do it myself, but I'm sure I could find a shop that would do it for me. I feel like once I read somewhere about someone upgrading their 2008 8-cores to a single hex chip, is that possible? a W3680 is just a little over $500 if I'm not mistakin, and would be a huge upgrade over my E5462s. The only real issue with this is that I will have to get all new RAM and its about 3x more expensive for the 2008 model than the '09 or '10. Why is that? Because of the heat sinks?
     
  11. thefredelement macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #11
    You're better off upgrading a slower 2009 to a 2010/12 model, you'll be able to use faster, cheaper RAM and QPI instead of FSB.

     
  12. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #12
    No. The 2006-2008 Mac Pros used Core2duo based processors (Woodcrest, Harpertown, etc.). 2009+ all use Core i based processors and therefore are not compatible with each other. Hex core processors have never come in a Core2duo flavor only in the Core i series.
     
  13. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #13
    Ok, thanks, I thought that might be the case.
     
  14. deconstruct60, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #14
    Do they come with 1 year warrantee? Computers sometimes have failures. If you are going to sell off both your primary Mac Pro and your "cold back-up" Mac Pro in storage then if that eBay Mac Pro your business is dead in the water.

    There is a legit aspect in that the machine is transferred for the given price. However, you don't really know how much abuse the Mac Pro has been subjected to. A node in a render farm where it cranked away 24/7/365 for 2.5 years straight or used normally or used as a lab bench for system modification experiments ( double stuffed with drives and GPU cards , etc) or bought largely unused by someone with large disposable income.


    No, but the 2.8 refurb you were pointed to earlier could be upgraded later for this amount with this CPU package.

    If your in a start up mode without much cash flowing in at the moment you may think about staggering the upgrades over 2 years. For example,

    2012 ==> 2.8 GHz Quad 2010 + 24GB RAM (3x8GB) + 1 SSD + back-up storage.

    2013 ==> add another SSD for scratch + add 1 8GB ( 32GB) + New Monitor ( NEC ) + more back-up storage. Possibly, upgrade ( or pay someone to upgrade) to 6 cores + video card upgrade.


    Depending upon how inflow of cash during late 2012 and mid 2013 then option to either trade in/up for 2013 Mac Pro machine , more incrementals (e.g. 6 core if haven't done it) or back to dual CPU packages (e.g., a refurb/used 2012 era. ) or add second machine ( e.g., primarily ingest or "fall back" ) .


    If doing thousands of photos and keeping all of them in archives then over a multiple year timespan you have a back-up storage problem that isn't being highlighted so far. If duplicating those it will cost over time.

    The Major blocker you have is lack of RAM. Going from 8GB to 24GB is plenty to uncork that issue. That's probably followed by "slower than necessary" storage ( a SSD at least for OS/Apps would help). Once there you can measure again to see what is the major blockers. Then incrementally spend more next year to uncork that. If just incrementally do that each year you get focus (not dozens of options to choose from) and you keep pace with Apple as they evolve over time ( don't fall into trap of just spending huge amount of money to "Future proof" the box only to raise sunk costs so high that become immobilized by them so "can't" move until far into the future. )
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    Photoshop and lightroom are extremely ram hungry, but a lot of the out of ram errors are due to setting memory allocation too high within their preferences. This has always been the case. It's gotten better, but you don't want to starve the system when it comes to outputting a job to a printer driver or software RIP. Photoshop can survive off the use of scratch disks. This has always been the case. It's just these days things are much smoother if it can simply hold as much as possible in ram. I'd suggest adding as much as is cost effective.

    On displays Eizo is extremely popular as they're very stable. I don't know if the new ones age better or worse than the older Hitachi panels. NEC can be very good, and they're cheap. Just make sure it looks good out of the box without messing too much with colorcomp. Colorcomp will help to some degree with uniformity when they're new, but it tracks poorly with aging. The Eizo version is applied under the hood. You don't really have access to it. I just optimize for greyscale tracking rather than contrast ratio. The difference isn't that noticeable, but for photography there isn't a pressing need for an extremely high contrast ratio. It's actually easier to tune things when the jumps are smaller. Under their suggested settings of 80-100cd/m2 @ 6500k (I used kelvins because it measures temperature at several values, where D65 refers to a specific color), you get somewhere in the realm of 450:1 to 600:1 depending on the model post calibration with reasonably good shadow detail and excellent highlight detail (shadow detail is best on 10 bit displayport which is unavailable under OSX). There are some contentions over what models do and do not use specifically 10 bit panels. I wouldn't worry about this as manufacturers play with numbers quite a bit on the latest tech. There's nothing to suggest that any of these have 1024 fully addressable non dithered values per color channel. Even the displays with "10 bit" panels use dithering algorithms.

    By the way, even the expensive displays have limited lifespans. To maintain their stability, turn them off when they won't be in use for an extended period of time. Regarding calibration, I like the i1 display pro colorimeter with spectraview or color navigator, although basicolor is another good option if it returns superior shadow detail under OSX (some people claimed this on the older Eizos). It's not an option with NEC, but they use an oemed basicolor version in the European spectraview displays. The US versions use fully proprietary software. Remember to warm up the display a minimum of 30 minutes and leave the colorimeter plugged in at least 10 prior to calibration. Some colorimeters may differ. This applied to the older ones, and I still go by this rule as I haven't found any documentation that refutes it. It's just good to follow these rules for consistency. If you're seeing huge drift from one calibration to the next, it's often an issue of consistency rather than actual drift in a newer display.
     

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