Does a student like myself really need a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ChitoCrisis, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. ChitoCrisis macrumors member

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    Jan 9, 2011
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    California
    #1
    I'm studying 3D Graphics and Animation. My MacBook Pro from 2009 is still very good but it's been messing up since I dropped it a few times. For example, the trackpad locks at certain angles and prevents me from clicking or right clicking. It gets annoying. The USB ports and pretty much the other ports have shifted slightly upwards. I can still plug in things but they are no longer functional. This also includes the display port.

    I'm not sure how to repair this or how much it would cost to get it repaired. But at the moment I can't do my homework. I'll have to come to school to do it. Another problem with laptops is the fact that I get easily distracted. Instead of working I surf the web, watch clips, everything but getting work done. A stationary computer, in this case a Mac Pro, would allow me to fully concentrate.

    I'd have to spend about $3000+ on a Mac Pro alone but I don't even know if I need the specs for the MP for that price. I don't know the specs I'd need. I do have a job right now and it would take me a few months to buy the Mac Pro. But I don't know if a student like myself would actually need a computer like this.

    I personally hate using Windows. I'm not a Mac fanboy or anything but I only like using Macs. I don't know anything about graphics card so I don't know if an iMac (which is cheaper) would be a better choice for me. I've always wanted a Mac Pro. but what do you think? I'm also not sure if I'll last a long time in my current job (there's abeen a few issues).
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    A Mac Pro is definitely overkill for a student. An iMac would be a better solution, but I'm really not seeing how a desktop would encourage you to be productive over a laptop, as they do the same thing, but the laptop can just move.
     
  3. rovitotv macrumors member

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #3
    Maybe you just need a simple Mac Mini to just get you by at school while things blow over at work. You could always purchase a used Mac on ebay if you are careful. I would suspect a older Mac would work just fine for school.
     
  4. ChitoCrisis thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Do Mac Minis have enough power and graphics?
     
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #5
    If your 2009 MBP works, then yes. The new minis have anywhere from 2-4x the CPU power that your MBP has, and there is a model with a dedicated graphics card as well. If you were to get a new Mac, I'd say the 2.5 GHz i5 (2.7GHz i7 optional) would be ideal for you.
     
  6. ChitoCrisis thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    I was looking at pricing real quick and wouldn't it be cheaper to buy an iMac since it has a built in monitor? Not sure how the 2.7ghz i7 Mac Mini compares with the high end iMac.
     
  7. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #7
    I wouldn't waste the money on the Apple display. Yes, it's nice, but the glass on the front is obnoxious (trust me, 27" iMac + nearby window = hard to see), so you would have to find a good spot for it. You could easily get a 23 or 24 inch display of equal quality from Dell for $300 or so. If you really want an Apple display, then go iMac, as that is a better deal than the Mini + display. The iMac is more powerful, but the Mini is still far more powerful than your MacBook Pro. If you want an iMac, I'd get one with the 2.7GHz i5 unless you plan on gaming a lot. You also may want to be mindful of the amount of desk space you will have for it. The 27" is big. I wouldn't have had room for it in my dorm room.

    Personal Suggestion: Mini 2.5GHz, 750GB HD, Dell U2411. Cheaper than an iMac, but better performance than your MBP.
     
  8. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #8
    well..for reference, you can buy a good monitor for under $300 and then get a mouse and keyboard for $50. Add that in and compare with the imac.
     
  9. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    Jul 17, 2010
    #9
    iMac 21.5" 2.5GHz Core i5: 7185
    Macmini 2.7GHz Core i7: 6796

    I'd rather have the real quad core with the iMac and display is tops unless they changed it (IPS 178º viewing, 6ms response). Won't find a better deal. Well Macmini and Dell U2311 could compete, maybe. But that is 150.00 more and no mouse and keyboard:eek:
     
  10. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
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    #10
    To my knowledge, iMacs still use IPS panels for their displays. But for some, the glossy appearance caused by the glass panel overlay is a deal breaker. Try before you buy...


    Concerning the OP's use, how much power he/she really needs is really dependent on the software being used and how complicated the projects are. The performance (and precision) of 3D modeling apps often depend on the GPU, which is why there's a market for workstation-class graphics cards. However, the only workstation-class card really available for the Mac Pro at this time is the Quadro 4000 (a mid-grade card at best).

    But with that being said, students often aren't going to be diving into projects that need bleeding-edge hardware and a $3,000 budget doesn't go very far with a Mac Pro (a new one, at least). That money would buy a base quad core and leave only $500 to put towards a monitor and aftermarket upgrades (memory, storage, etc.) you might want. That same money buys a top-shelf 27" i7 iMac that's actually faster, while still leaving a large chunk of cash to spare for upgrading things like the memory. The only thing you'd have to decide is whether the glossy display bothers you or not.

    With an iMac, I wouldn't view the upgradability (versus a Mac Pro) to be a huge issue for a student. By the time you graduate and get out into the real world, you'll probably look at a newer machine anyway, regardless of what route you go.
     
  11. vladi macrumors 6502

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    Jan 30, 2010
    #11
    The only thing I would suggest you to get is new monitor. It will be much easier on your eyes and you will feel much more comfortable.

    I would suggest Dell Ultrasharp U2410, you can find them for $400 or less if you have time to hunt. 24inch IPS 16:10 1920x1200 Adobe RGB 96%, hdmi, dvi-d, DP (so its future Mac purchase ready) and Media card reader w/ USB 2.0 x2. It's not as fancy looking as Apple Display but who cares its more color accurate right out of the box.
     
  12. DSPalpatine macrumors member

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    Nov 9, 2009
    #12
    ChitoChris, have you thought of a 15" MacBook Pro and an external display, which would still be far cheaper than purchasing a Mac Pro?

    Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money, but the 15" has a discrete graphics card that is as good as what comes with the Mini, and will allow you to be 'stationary' while at home, and then be mobile if the need arises.

    I also fail to see how a Mac Pro (or iMac or Mac Mini) would be any less of a 'distraction station' than a laptop? All the things that distract you while you are trying to be productive still exist on a desktop.

    Spend your money however you see fit of course, but buying a Mac Pro for 'ordinary student tasks' would be like the police patrolling your neighborhood with a Challenger 2 tank... just a bit of overkill.
     
  13. Schismz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #13
    Depends on the neighborhood :cool:

    Dude, I'd just go to a Apple store, look at the 27" iMac which will be more then fast enough, if you need fast external storage, you can add Thunderbolt RAID later. Look at it with your own eyes, decide if you love or loathe the glossy big screen and go from there.

    $3,000 won't buy you much of a Mac Pro and it really doesn't sound like you need one.

    If you want to avoid distractions, then unplug from the internet, because changing to a desktop or tower won't help. I personally find Adderall just miraculous for solving that issue without changing form-factors on my devices, but that's just me.
     
  14. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

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    #14
    Wait for the next refresh and use a Mini for now. The resale value of the Mini will be high enough so you don't take too big of a hit when you sell it. The Mini might be good enough anyways.
     
  15. goMac, Oct 4, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011

    goMac macrumors 603

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    #15
    I used a Mac Pro as a student.

    I liked it because it was fast, but I also liked it because it was less fault prone than a Mini or a laptop. The laptop components in both their machines were less prone to failure.

    It was also less hassle (and less time) to upgrade. Video card getting a little pokey for my current project? Bam, new video card. Need a 2 TB drive for backups? Done.

    Can't do that with a Mini. It was just one less thing to worry about during school.

    (And the only thing that ever happened my entire academic career was the video card failed. Imagine if the video card in a Mini failed. I'd be out of commission for a lot longer.)
     
  16. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #16
    These are all valid points, although I'm also keeping the OP's budget in consideration. Unless he buys used, he'd be looking at a base Mac Pro with $500 left for upgrades. And that's assuming he buys the Mac Pro from an online reseller that doesn't collect sales tax in his state. The Apple Store collects tax for almost every US state (because of the presence of Apple retail stores).

    But on the other hand, there's probably a fair number of well-equipped used 2009 MPs worth looking at. The Apple Store has a base 2009 refurb for around $2k as well. Apple refurbs carry the same warranty as brand new machines, a definite plus.
     
  17. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #17
    hackintosh, seriously

    my latest build that cost 1/3 of a Mac Pro and will outperform even the next generation Mac Pro:

    6950 as graphics card (not listed in image)

    http://cindori.se/dat.jpg
     
  18. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #18
    And Cindori speaks!

    Haven't seen you around in a while. Perhaps I haven't really stumbled on your posts...
     
  19. Tatsuya Nakadai macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    #19
    Cindori, can you give more infos about your config and how you installed MacOS on it ? Or is it forbidden by forum rules ? Thanks

    -- Sent from my HP TouchPad using Communities
     
  20. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    #20
    ...the next single CPU Mac Pro(s).
     
  21. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #21
    Eh, that thing would be somewhat competitive with my 2008 Mac Pro. A lot of 2009 Mac Pros would eat that for lunch.

    You're posting in a room full of dual processor users. We aren't easily impressed by single cpu systems. :p
     
  22. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #22
    Or 6950 GPU's. C'mon, really? You can get all that now. 5870 nets you slightly lower DX11, slightly higher DX10. Seems even. What's with the i5 box? You joking or running it in oil?
     
  23. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #23
    Depends on the task. That single CPU will eat those 2009 Mac Pros for lunch on anything that goes for a higher clock speed over more cores.
     
  24. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    #24
    But you have to keep in mind that the i5 only has two cores plus HyperThreading as opposed to the four physical cores of the Mac Pros.
    Since there aren't many applications that only use one core, that's a plus for the Mac Pros.
     
  25. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #25
    That statement would only be accurate if we were talking about the mobile i5 SB chips. All desktop SB i5s are quad-core with HyperThreading. The currently available SB i7s have a larger L3 cache (8MB vs. 6MB) aside from slightly faster clock speeds.
     

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