Could you help me spec out a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Spanky Deluxe, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Hi everyone!

    This is post number 1000 for me and its an important one!

    My computer set up has been all change for the past month or so. First I got hold of a faulty iBook G4 that I was able to fix, then my Windows laptop died and around the same time I sent off my old screen that I had been using with my Mac Mini for repair on Warranty (it was a 30" LCD TV Screen, not an ACD) and they ended up giving me a brand new model. After a lot of thinking I decided that I'd rather not have a High End PC/Mac Mini/High End PC Laptop combination. I'd rather keep the iBook for myself instead of selling it for a profit as I had originally planned and have a high end Mac instead of the PC and Mini combo. I love the portability of an iBook and don't really need more power when on the go. Soooo.... I sold the Mini, sold the screen, got a money payoff instead of a replacement laptop from the insurance company and sold the parts of my Windows machine. The Windows machine hadn't been used in months anyway because it was way too temperamental.

    For the first time in my life, I've been sure to be vary patient about this all. I made a few rules. 1) I was not allowed to order a new computer until everything was sold (The number of times I've bought something and thought I could pay for it later by selling stuff is ridiculous). 2) I was not allowed to even post for advice on it on here until everything was sold and I'd reached 1000 posts (A bit silly you might think but I didn't want to get dead set on something and then not be able to afford it. The 1000 post thing was just me trying to stick to a rule I made).

    So now here we are, everything is sold and the cheque for the laptop is in the post on its way to me right now.

    Now I have about £2430 raised from everything which is quite a bit more than I was expecting. I created four setups which I was considering while I was selling everything:

    Setup 1: Dream
    2.66Ghz, 3GB Ram (After Market), X1900 XT, Bluetooth, Wireless, Wireless KB&MM, 30" ACD, Applecare
    £3210 with HE Discount

    Setup 2: Medium High
    2.66Ghz, Bluetooth, 30" ACD, Applecare
    £2810 with HE Discount

    Setup 3: Medium Low
    2.66Ghz, 3GB Ram (After Market, X1900 XT, Bluetooth, 23" ACD, Applecare
    £2510 with HE Discount

    Setup 4: Minimum
    2.66Ghz, Bluetooth, 23" ACD, Applecare
    £2174.41 with HE Discount

    Now as I said, I've got £2430 raised from my sales *but* I can probably pony up an extra £500 or so from a few other sources. I have also been considering getting a setu up in between 1 and 2, i.e. getting wireless, the keyboard and mouse and I've been umming and aahing about the X1900 XT.

    I will be using the Mac Pro for lots of basic Internet browsing, msn, bla bla, regular stuff. Then I will also use it for a few scientific simulations and programming, a bit of photoshop work on multiple high res images, a bit of video editing and then a few games every now and again.
    I've always wanted a 30" ACD and *really* want to try to stretch to a set up that includes one. I've also been using a rather low res (1280x768) 30" screen for the past two years and don't really want to go for anything smaller size wise because I used it as a TV too.
    The RAM I was always planning on getting after market. I've got a few things back up at Uni that I should be able to sell for a little bit to go towards that in the future but I'm hoping 1GB will do me for a while. The thing that's confusing me the most is the X1900. Every now and again I play a computer game a lot but then I don't play any for months. I'd love to play through a few older games such as HL2 again but I would only consider the X1900 if it could deliver smooth 30" ACD resolution framerates which I don't think it can. If I can't run stuff at 2560x1200 then I'd rather run it at 1280x800 which the 7300GT would probably be adequate for. There's also my strong disliking of everything ATI - a feeling left over from the graphics drivers of ATI Rage Pro cards in Windows (shudders). If the high end graphics card was a 7900GT or GTX then I would be a lot more interested, especially because in the future I could always get another and SLI them in Windows. My PC had 2x6800GTs in SLI and that was fantastic.

    What do you guys think I should get? If you've managed to read all this through then I thank you for your time, I know easy it is to ignore long posts!!

    For reference here are the HE prices:
    Mac Pro £1461
    X1900 XT £146
    Bluetooth £17.16
    Wireless £25.80
    Wireless KB&MM £34.40
    30" ACD £1285.45
    23" ACD £646.25
    Applecare £50


  2. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    See what happens this week at Paris Expo.

    The 2.66 is the sweet spot, so I agree on that selection.

    At the moment Apple's price for their 4 X 512MB upgrade isn't really out of line, so
    I'd start there and add later.

    30" ACD schweet indeed, but hardly necessary.
    Check refurb prices.

    The BT/AP card is a nice option but hardly necessary for a workstation.
    I would call and ask if the card is an easy DIY upgrade or if it must be factory installed.

    The ATI X1900XT is the best GPU card, but it will delay your order by 3-5 WEEKS

    Hope this helps
  3. relimw macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2004
    In your case I'd go with setup #2 and add more ram to it. The ATI x1900 will get cheaper after it's been out awhile, and can easily be swapped out with the 7300 later when you buy another monitor :cool: Besides, you'll be waiting forever for your system to ship if you BTO it.
  4. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Why not consider 2 x 23" as opposed to a 30"?

  5. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK

    I'm really not a fan of dual screens, I've done it before, in fact I've done 3 screens before and it just irritated me. Also bear in mind that I'll be using this as a TV as well (with an EyeTV thingumybob).

    Is the Paris Expo tomorrow? I know stuff's meant to be going on tomorrow so I'm going to wait for at least that before I order.

    I really want to have bluetooth, I love being able to upload photos from my phone straight to the machine. I was planning on adding AE later although when I'm not at Uni I do kind of need a wireless connection unless I rearrange my whole router config. As far as I can see, the only place to get Mac Pro ram from anywhere other than Apple is Crucial and they're really expensive. Does anyone know anywhere else to get it from?
  6. YoYoMa macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2006
    Bluetooth is an easy upgrade and really cheap as well. Don't hesitate on that one.

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