Difference between this Mac and this PC?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MythicFrost, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
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    Australia
    #1
    This Mac Pro @ $2549 only thing changed is I added the wireless card.
    This Alienware PC @ $1499, the only major thing I added was a single GTX 295 1.8GB.

    Why is there such a difference? I would pay the $1000 to get OSX, but how can the PC be so cheap?
    Is there any difference with the Mac Pro that expands it's value?

    Kind Regards
     
  2. neonblue2 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    There are a few differences.

    • The Dell comes with the "Home Premium" version of the OS. The Mac comes with the equivalent of "Ultimate".
    • The Mac has a Xeon processor (a server/workstation processor).
    • The Dell has a better video card.
    • The Mac has ECC RAM.
    • The Mac has a bigger hard drive.
    • The Mac comes with a keyboard.

    EDIT: Compare a Dell workstation to the Mac Pro and you'll see the Mac Pro is a bargain.
     
  3. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    USA
    #3
    The Mac Pro video can be upgraded to a higher end ATi 4870 for $200 ($180 if student). Not bad...

    Also, the Alienware looks like a monster in a cheap sci-fi show. :p

    Anyone take the alienware apart? Is the layout as sublime as Mac Pro's? (NOTHING comes close to the Mac Pro's interior layout, period...)
     
  4. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    Australia
    #4
    Thanks, I appreciate the replies.
    • Is the GTX 285 1GB for Mac near the same standard as the GTX 260 for PC?
    • What's ECC RAM?
    • What's the benefits of a Intel Xeon processor?

    Is the ATI Radeon 4870 better than the GTX 260 for PC?

    Kind Regards
     
  5. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #5
    Always glad to help, especially if I get my facts right! :D (grain of salt, always... :D )

    ECC RAM - it's error checking, so even if one data bit is compromised, ECC will repair it on the fly. This is a TREMENDOUS advantage with large files or calculations, where accuracy is a must.

    Xeons are by and large identical to their i7 siblings, except ECC is enabled and a couple other sundry issues. By and large, name aside, they are identical - same CPU 45nm design - but the Xeons allow server/pro workstation stability that i7 systems just won't have, which is why those systems are cheaper. Certain Xeon models have multiple data paths (QPI) and allow SMP (symmetric multiprocessing between two physical CPUs). Those are the 5500 series chips. The single quad core Mac Pros use the 3500 series, which have one QPI channel and won't operate on a multi-CPU system board.

    The QPI, as I recall, replaces the front side bus, allowing much faster access to system RAM. It also makes overclocking more of a chore, but that's the problem for Windows users, who need a 400MHz bus (or the QPI equivalent) to make Vista crawl at a near-acceptable level... (Before dumping MS, I had vista 64-bit and the difference between 333MHz and 400MHz was instantly noticeable. That's BAD, to have to run a high-end CPU (Q9650) out of legal specs just to get the OS to run at an acceptable speed...)

    Back when I was a PC freak, I looked at the GTX260 and 4870. I bought the GTX260. Both were on par for some apps... for some games, the GTX was better and it was more overclockable.

    But that's Windows.

    Apple writes its own drivers and, technically speaking, ATi's hardware has more hardware oompf to it -- nVidia just writes more efficient drivers. (ATi's drivers for Windows and Linux always stunk.)

    In short, the 4870 might do best in a Mac. But I have no solid benchmarking information, except that the 4870 cremates the puny GT120 (a re-branded nVidia 9400, says the rumor mill).

    I will say this: If you buy a Mac Pro new, for $200 (or $180 student), the cost of the 4870 is well worth the upgrade rather than sticking to the stock GT120. :D
     
  6. romanaz macrumors regular

    romanaz

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    NJ
    #6
    all depends on the needs of the system for what your doing. Number wise (since I don't know anything about the GTX 260) I would assume the GTX 285 is better based on the ideal of the higher number always being better. Now the 4870 Radeon may or may not be better, OpenCL wise, its reported that the ATi drivers aren't as good as the nvidia ones. It all depends really on the needs. Some people might need nothing more then the GT 120's.

    ECC stands for Error Correction Codes, basically it means the ram checks itself for errors, so it doesn't cause any issues with software etc... in mission critical situations, this is crucial stuff, because the way I understand it, a stray ion (not joking here) can flip a bit (you know those 1's or 0's) and cause an error in a program and generally not be good in a crucial situation.

    Xeon is the naming scheme Intel gives to its Server/workstation grade processors. Usually what this means is these processors have more cache, better multitasking ability and are overall crazy. They are niche processors though, only really good at certain jobs that require crazy horsepower of that kind, good examples are video editing, audio production, 3d animation, or anything that needs lots of calculations done as well.

    And not to mention, for the Mac Pro, it generally, as a rule of thumb, year after year, the cheapest workstation with a Xeon processor in it.
     
  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #7
    1) The GTX 285 for Mac is the same as the GTX 285 for PC.

    2) ECC has extra chips on the RAM that automatically corrects errors. Say you're storing a file and one bit get messed up; normally that'd give you an error, but with ECC RAM, that mistake gets fixed and there are not errors. Hence the RAM is more expensive, but at the same time chips are more stringently tested for compatibility.

    3) The Xeon processor is Intel's "workstation/server" class processor. It's the best pick of the bunch. Let's say they have 10 processors. The best of them would become the Xeons and then the second best may become the Extreme versions of the regular processors, etc. The idea is users will pay more for stability and reliability, hence the Xeon processors cost a lot more.

    My explanations aren't exactly 100% correct, but the point is that processor and RAM that Apple chooses to use is for reliability, performance, and stability.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    If you call Dell, you get better prices than are listed online, so it may actually be cheaper.

    But when you compare an MP with Dell's Workstation systems, they are at least close in terms of internal layout, and actually tend to be a little better in terms of placement and cooling in my experience. Then you can get options not available on an MP, and more importantly (at least for corporations, on site service).

    That said, you might also want to look at what Sun has. If you're looking for a Quad, give the Sun Ultra 27 a look. Definitely cheaper in terms of MSRP, and more options.

    Their server line is good too, but they come in rackmount cases, and are more on par with an XServe (example).

    Apple writes the nVidia drivers, while ATI does theirs for Mac, and they're better than what Apple writes so far. Particularly in terms of Core Image, as there's not much information out there yet on OpenCL. What little there is however, seems to give an edge to the nVidia line.

    The HD4870 seems to be a good all-rounder for the moment (untill something new comes along, or there's a sudden improvement in drivers). :D :p
     
  9. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    Australia
    #9
    Aah interesting :)

    I looked on the Intel site, the difference between the Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz and the Intel Xeon WD3520? (something like that) was only $100 (the Xeon being more expensive)

    Is that correct?

    I don't think that's right because the GTX 285 for Mac is 1GB, and the GTX 285 for PC is 1.8-2GB.
    Not to mention my benchmarks on crysis (Windows) for the GTX 285 1GB aren't as high as other benchmarks using the PC GTX 285 (iirc).

    I always thought the GTX 260 was a little better than the 285 for Mac (that's what someone had told me).

    Can anyone confirm or uhh de-confirm?? this?

    Go ECC RAM! and Intel Xeon processors!
    Very interesting information, thank you everyone :)!

    Kind Regards
     
  10. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #10
    Well they have the same specs. Go check out eVGA's site (they do make the Mac card after all).

    They have a PC version of the GTX 285 with 1GB of VRAM; it is spec'd exactly the same as the Mac version, except the Mac version costs $100 more. :eek:

    PC version:
    http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P3-1180-AR&family=Geforce 200 Series Family

    Mac version:
    http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P3-1080-TR&family=Geforce 200 Series Family
     
  11. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #11
    Aah, I'm glad to be wrong :)

    I thought the PC GTX was only 1GB.
    Thanks for that :) I feel happier now :D

    Are all the GTX 285's made by EVGA? or not?

    Kind Regards
     
  12. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #12
    The Mac ones are. For PCs, there are many manufacturers who make NVIDIA cards. eVGA just happens to be one of the last ones that make NVIDIA cards only. Hence in this case, they honor to the make the Mac version went to them.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #13
    No, but they're extremely close.

    The i7-9xx (those that are LGA1366), do not have ECC, and have a wider voltage range than the Xeon counterpart (E5520). Otherwise, they're the same.

    That said, ECC isn't needed for most things, and a few other members have successfully droped i7-965 & i7-975's in their '09 Quads, so they can provide the voltage needed to run them. Servers are the exception, and even then, it can and sometimes is, skipped for budget reasons for less critical systems.
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #14
    Apple can get you to spend more for the Mac Pro. :p
     
  15. goodcow macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 4, 2007
    #15
    Apple provides on-site service for desktops, both the iMac and MacPro line. Not sure about the Mac Mini, but I would assume so as well.
     
  16. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #17
    It's my understanding it's more of a "sort of" situation, not a given, for any call made that requires service (depends on distance to the nearest Apple Store at least, given posts I've seen about it).

    For a corporation (and any individual pro that needs the system up and running to earn with it), it wouldn't matter if the Apple Store is a 10min. drive. It's a PITA to pack up a system and haul it there, then have to wait for a diagnostic, and then likely the necessary parts and installation. :p
     
  18. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #18
    The PC isn't cheap, the Mac Pro is expensive. Apple's price is way above other vendors for the hardware features on the single socket Mac Pro to place it above the iMac in their range.


    You can get a Dell T3500 with a 2.66GHz Xeon and 3 years next business day on-site service for under $1,100. The single socket Mac Pro is not a bargain compared to other system options out there.
     
  19. goodcow macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    The APP agreement states that on-site service is available for desktops if you're within 50 miles of an AASP (Apple Authorized Service Provider). If the APP rep wants to argue that you can just quote the section of the agreement that states that and that should be the end of it. For what it's worth, I've had Apple send out reps several times to work on iMacs at the college where I work and never had any pushback from them. A co-worker also had them come to his house to service his iMac and didn't get any pushback either.
     
  20. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    Norway
    #20
    The Alienware has 525W PSU...
    The MacPro has a 1000W PSU...

    Your comparing a gaming computer with a workstation.
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #21
    Yes it is, even if you're looking at a real workstation that is using the same CPU's (identical P/N's 3520 or 3540).

    They also have other options, such as the W3590 and more graphics card choices, which isn't even offered by Apple.

    Even the Sun Ultra 27 is less expensive. Not quite that of the Dell in terms of cost, but still better for a base model compared to a base Quad MP (same CPU; $1595USD). :)

    So in terms of hardware, the Quad MP's seem to be the worst in terms of cost/performance. :rolleyes: More than 2x the cost in some cases. :eek: :(
     
  22. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #22
    Umbongo, where is this dell, can you post a link?

    Kind Regards
     
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #23
    Dell T3500.

    The pricing is less if you call, so the internet pricing is for suckers. :eek: :p
     
  24. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    #24
    You're comparing a low-end gaming PC to a high-end professional workstation. They are aimed at opposite ends of the customer spectrum.
    One is aimed at casual gamers that want lots of power to have fun, the Mac is aimed at professionals that need the machine to make a living.
     
  25. emt377 macrumors member

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #25
    The 2.66 quad MP is comparable to the Dell Precision T7500 with a quad Xeon 2.66.
     

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