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MacEx20

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 14, 2019
8
2
At the moment, I've been using an older MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement after I got rid of my trashcan Mac Pro in anticipation of an update. Now the time has come to decide on upgrading to a new MacBook Pro or the new Mac Pro.

I currently utilize my MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement and have it powering 3 4K displays (well 2 since the 3rd is off). It doesn't seem powerful enough to run 3. I have an external Pegasus Thunderbolt 3 setup for storage.

I looked at configuring a MacBook Pro 16" 8 core, 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, and adding an external graphics box like the Blackmagic RX Vega 56 comes out to a little over $4,500

A configured Mac Pro with some minor upgrades I want would put it at about $2,000 difference.

My concern with the MBP setup is noise and heat. My current setup runs a bit loud with fans and seems to throttle at times due to temps. It will restart at various times and it also taxes the graphics card causing issues with the displays.

The main dilemma I am facing is that the base graphics card on the Mac Pro (580) is weaker than the Vega 56. I think based on the base Mac Pro the MBP route might actually be more powerful/efficient unless I upgraded the Mac Pro with Vega as well (which would then be superior to the egpu.

My other factor is that I realize the actual power on the Mac Pro from a cost + processor standpoint is that it might be overkill for my uses at times. I do some editing, but not 8k or the like. The taxing stuff that I use is coding, running server software, run a security setup, file management, occasionally I'll fire up a game if I have downtime (but usually no time for it), basic tasks like browsing, music, etc. Portability is not a factor since I have a 13" MPB for traveling/on the go. Any thoughts on a $7-7.5k budget?

EDIT: Created thread under MP section since it might make more sense there. Mods, please feel free to delete to avoid a duplicate if only one can be posted.
 
Last edited:

Z28McCrory

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2014
112
53
Indiana
I’m in a very similar scenario.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward a modest 7,1 configuration (12 or 16 core, 1TB, base GPU, base RAM), and then using 3rd party RAM and adding a VII (or 2) myself. If you stuck with the 8 core MP, you could do something similar and stay within budget.
 
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MacEx20

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 14, 2019
8
2
I’m in a very similar scenario.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward a modest 7,1 configuration (12 or 16 core, 1TB, base GPU, base RAM), and then using 3rd party RAM and adding a VII (or 2) myself. If you stuck with the 8 core MP, you could do something similar and stay within budget.
That doesn't sound like a bad approach. Do have a follow up question now since I never upgraded a GPU on a Mac before. Do you need to seek out a "Mac Edition" or download/install drivers to make it work after? I remember the original cheese grater type Mac Pro had a upgrade Mac Edition graphics card years ago but not sure if they did away with that type of requirement or if you have to do anything more than pop it in and let the system auto-recognize/configure it
 
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richinaus

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2014
1,589
1,256
I’m in a very similar scenario.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward a modest 7,1 configuration (12 or 16 core, 1TB, base GPU, base RAM), and then using 3rd party RAM and adding a VII (or 2) myself. If you stuck with the 8 core MP, you could do something similar and stay within budget.

I also have the same dilemmas. I decided to simply test out a 16” (due tomorrow) and if it looks like it will struggle, it’s going back, and will look at a cheaper mobile solution with a Mac pro.
The issue for me is the Mac pro can get very expensive very quickly! but I also know it is a 5 year machine, unlike a laptop (in my usage).
 
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MacEx20

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 14, 2019
8
2
I also have the same dilemmas. I decided to simply test out a 16” (due tomorrow) and if it looks like it will struggle, it’s going back, and will look at a cheaper mobile solution with a Mac pro.
The issue for me is the Mac pro can get very expensive very quickly! but I also know it is a 5 year machine, unlike a laptop (in my usage).
Thanks. Definitely agree that the Mac Pro can get expensive. I hear most say it is overkill for most users, but I guess it depends on all users. Some of it is overkill for my needs, and other times it is probably perfect given the tasks that would be required. The ideal thing would be a middle ground tower between the Mac Pro and maxed out MBP.
 
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Z28McCrory

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2014
112
53
Indiana
That doesn't sound like a bad approach. Do have a follow up question now since I never upgraded a GPU on a Mac before. Do you need to seek out a "Mac Edition" or download/install drivers to make it work after? I remember the original cheese grater type Mac Pro had a upgrade Mac Edition graphics card years ago but not sure if they did away with that type of requirement or if you have to do anything more than pop it in and let the system auto-recognize/configure it

I really can’t speak from experience, but from what I’ve read it seems the VII is fully supported with MacOS currently, and should simply drop in and be ready to go.

On the subject of the VII, there is currently a thread on the Mac Pro forum about it. I’m following it to see what some of the “pioneers” of this approach find out.
 
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richinaus

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2014
1,589
1,256
Thanks. Definitely agree that the Mac Pro can get expensive. I hear most say it is overkill for most users, but I guess it depends on all users. Some of it is overkill for my needs, and other times it is probably perfect given the tasks that would be required. The ideal thing would be a middle ground tower between the Mac Pro and maxed out MBP.

exactly. Sounds like we both have the same issue. It makes for a difficult choice and the only way to decide is to make use of Apples return policies.

on the Radeon VII, I would be waiting for the new Radeon supported by the Mac pro . It will mean better support in macOS.
 
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