Buying nMP in 2015 - configuration advice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sigmadog, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #1
    My trusty 3,1 is showing its age. I bought it new in 2009 with a commitment to hold on to it for 6 years. It's still a great machine, but business has been good, and it's time to upgrade to something a bit more responsive and powerful.

    I'm a graphic designer and illustrator. I'm not a gamer. I use my computer to make money and explore my hobbies. I do a lot of my work in Adobe CS6. Here's a rough breakdown of what I do professionally:

    Illustrator - 35%
    Photoshop - 35%
    Corel Painter 15%
    InDesign - 10%
    Other: 5%

    "Other" consists of some video, some basic 3D, and a desire/hope to add some animation work (or maybe just for fun).

    I'm hoping Apple brings out a newer model (7,1) in 2015, but if that doesn't happen by April, I may pull the trigger on a 6-core / 1TB / D300 model. I'll get the basic 12GB RAM and upgrade via third party to 32GB (2 x 16GB).

    I've considered an iMac, but I don't like the screen and there aren't enough connections for all my gear.

    Since I'm a graphic dude, I've included my plan in graphic form below. Please take a look and let me know if I'm forgetting something, or if you have some better ideas.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    #2
    Have you considered instead upgrading? The 3,1 could be made into a screamer if upgraded with an SSD and new video card. If it currently boots off a traditional HDD then an SSD upgrade would eliminate the responsiveness issue. Though if you run a lot of time consuming, CPU-intensive processing jobs I could understand the urge to upgrade the whole machine.
     
  3. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    near Spokane, WA
    #3
    Demigod Mac: I installed a Sonnet Tempo Pro about a year ago so I've got two SSD's in RAID0 as my boot disk, which is pretty snappy. It also has 16GB RAM and a ATI 5770.

    Honestly, I could probably live with it another year or so (stretch that six years to seven or even eight), but I'm feeling the itch for an upgrade. I've been doing some fairly large projectsl (over 10,000 x 6000 px images with layers), and the system feels a bit sluggish, especially when using large brushes in Painter and layer adjustments in Photoshop.
     
  4. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    #4
    If you're working with images that big you need more RAM and better graphics card, and that is exactly what you are lacking. You don't need a new computer.
     
  5. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #5
    My recommendations on a 7,1 config would be pretty much the same bar upgrading the gpu to the d500 equivalent at least rather than the d300 to give photoshop a bigger kick with the gpu.

    For what you are doing on your 3,1 16gb ram isn't enough :D
     
  6. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Poole, England
  7. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #7
    Upgrading the RAM is simple enough and not too expensive.

    Video cards are a bit confusing to me. My 5770 only has 1GB VRAM, which is not very much by today's standards, although it does provide enough output ports for my 3-screens. I'm unsure how much VRAM will help with Photoshop and Painter. It seems the bottleneck in that area is more CPU related (building brush effects and Photoshop layering, etc.). Or am I wrong?

    I'm woefully under-informed about video cards - it's hard to follow the alphabet soup of acronyms and such.

    ----------

    The lack of an upgrade path for the gpu is concerning, especially if I plan on keeping it for 5+ years. But due to my lack of knowledge of video cards and how my software utilizes them, I'm reluctant to go for more if I don't really know what that extra $400 (or $1000 for the D700) gets me.

    On the other hand, I get the concept that future-proofing a major long-term purchase makes sense, even if the benefits aren't perfectly clear going in.
     
  8. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #8
    why you don't like the screen of the imac? i think is better for your tasks
     
  9. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #9
    Not crazy about the reflectivity. It's distracting and gives me headaches. I want to see my work, not a ghost-image of my face (that would be more depressing than inspiring).
     
  10. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #10
    with the screen on you don't see reflections...only with the imac off i see reflections
     
  11. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    #11
    I've played with one before and I saw plenty of reflections that distracted me.

    Also, I don't like having the computer and monitor in the same unit, and the lack of enough outputs for all my other gear is limiting.

    Finally, a fully loaded iMac is only about $1500 less than the Mac Pro I'd want. Spread out over 5 years of ownership, that's not a huge difference for the expandability and power of the Mac Pro.
     
  12. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    #12
    Adobe CS6 and CC has Open CL acceleration for quite a few operations. That's what the GPU's accelerate. If you want a good value high performance Open CL card I'd suggest a Radeon 7970. Along with the RAM upgrade it will feel like you have a new computer.
     
  13. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #13
    Hence why I am saying with future proofing in mind perhaps going for a better GPU may be a prudent option as that will be fixed for the next 5 years. Ram you can upgrade, CPU you can also upgrade too right now with the 6,1 (A tech like myself recommended though!) and odds on the CPU socket on the 7,1 will more than likely be pin compatible with the 8,1 also.

    And I can't get on with Apple's glossy either - even on the 5k. I'm a budget NEC fan = Dell :D
     
  14. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #14
    Thanks for the input, everyone.

    Sounds like I still have options to keep my 3,1 plugging along happily. But if I decide to drop some clams on a new system, I'll take Gav Mack's advice and get the D500s (the D700s are out of the question - I ain't made of money!).

    It's always tricky finding the delicate balance between wants and needs, especially when it comes to tech toys. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a fair amount of "want" in my hardware plan. If I can satisfy the "need" portion for less and get a couple more years from my system, that's all for the better.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  15. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #15
    Note that CPU upgrades for the MP6,1 will be limited to the CPUs available now - the E5-26xx-v2 series. This is the set that Apple offers today (plus the 10-core that is not available from Apple).

    The E5-26xx-v3 series that you can get from HP, Dell, ... is not pin-compatible with the MP6,1, nor will any future CPUs be compatible with the MP6,1.
     
  16. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #16
    without a monitor? imac still is class leading 5k
    but its your money and i respect the power of Mac Pro, but it must have a proper display like a 4K :D
     
  17. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    #17
    The iMac 27 retina is very delicious (even with that shiny screen), but from what I've heard, it might have difficulty running that massive 5k monitor and my Wacom Cintiq, which is essential to my workflow. I can't recall where I read it, but it was said that the video card is nearly maxed out from the 5k leaving very little room for additional monitor(s). Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it's enough to make one cautious.

    To be honest, I have yet to jump on the 4k bandwagon. I get that they are impressive screens, but I'm perfectly happy with my standard resolution monitors, and have been using them for years without any issues. I'm getting old anyway, and my eyes are more 2k level. ;)
     
  18. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    Location:
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    #18
    I know, I was only using the 6,1 example as the likely chassis for the 7,1 with the GPU being the part set in stone at the time of the purchase. Which is why I'm suggesting the OP hangs on for a 7,1 :D

    My sweepstake is last week in Jan for the 7,1 announcement - what's yours?
     
  19. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #19
    Imacs display about 80% of sRGB, And "Shiny" doesn't cut it for real work.
     
  20. AppleDroid macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #20
    Always hang on until it becomes a financial burden. For me my 2009 wasn't depreciable anymore and my spouse needed a new machine so I picked up a base nMP knowing I'd only keep it for about 2-3 years until she's done with her degree. When she starts making big bucks then I can get the 8,1 14c / 4TB SSD / 128GB Ram / Dual AMD Whatever's :D
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #21
    The gpu thing is kind of a misconception anyway in that most of the typical benchmarks are highly synthetic compared to actual use. They're a waste of money for that purpose. Photoshop is the only thing in your list that makes any real use of them, and Adobe's support pages tell you exactly how they are leveraged, which is more for filters than anything else. I don't think that's likely to consume the majority of your time, especially when it's a small subset of the total number of filters implemented in photoshop. Mass application of that kind of thing would be more common in Lightroom, yet Lightroom doesn't make any explicit use of OpenGL or OpenCL frameworks. Things that can be real concerns are whether something supports a specific framework or actual hardware and driver limitations such as supported resolution or supported frameworks.
     
  22. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #22
    I just think that any comment that the "CPU in the MP6,1 is upgradeable" should include the caveat that only a small number of currently shipping CPUs are potential candidates.


    22 January 2019
     
  23. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    #23
    I'd say get one of Macvidcards' 760, 770 or 780.
    They're internal powered so you can just plug and play.

    http://www.macvidcards.com

    Also upgrade the RAM to 24GB or 32GB.
     

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