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MP 7,1 Does it make sense to purchase a 7,1 Mac Pro today?

ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
I'm in a spot where I need a bit of help and advice. I'm a photographer who started doing video work about a year ago. The video work has increased, and on my last project (a 10min corporate promo video) I pushed my 2019 15" MBP to the limit pretty much. And that was editing in Premiere in 1080p. I will soon be upgrading to a 6K camera (Canon C500MKII to be exact), and I realize I will need more computing power than what I have. I need more storage, more everything, and in the past 2 weeks I pretty much spec'd out the system I would like to get:

- 2019 Mac Pro, 16 core, 96GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega II, and 1TB SSD - $11,800 retail (I would get less at a business account price - probably $11k total with tax/shipping).

In addition, I would get the Promise Pegasus R4i, and and OWC 4TB internal PCI SSD. I would use that super-fast OWC SSD to work off of, and then back up and keep projects the R4i (as well as external backups and cloud of course).

So to me this seems like a nice system, with flexibility down the road, etc.

But all this M1/ARM stuff has thrown many unknowns into my decision to pull the trigger on this system. I don't want to spend this much and then see an iMac next summer that will run circles around my Mac Pro. Or worse yet, an ARM Mac Pro. I know eventually they will happen, but nobody knows when and the specs. A lot of unknowns.

One thing that I think about is how will Apple support this Mac Pro going froward? Will they? I mean they could release some MPX module with a faster GPU, with H.265 decoding, and other goodies. But will they? History with the previous Mac Pro isn't good. Will they do right by it now then?

Thoughts?
 
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MarkC426

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2008
1,387
444
UK
My thoughts are yes.
There is no other mac available that is so upgradable, and should last you a good 10 years.
Also look on the refurb store, you still get the same warranty.

The BIG downside with all the new M1 macs is nothing is upgradable.
Ok there are threads talking about lower clock speeds/less ram usage with the M1, but a lot of people still need tons of ram and storage.
 
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ondioline

macrumors member
May 5, 2020
85
70
Don't think about it like that, even if there is an amazing iMac next summer you still wouldn't be able to throw a ton of internal storage into it. This is the one of the few cases where the Mac Pro is really eminently justified, and the best/only option.
 

ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
My thoughts are yes.
There is no other mac available that is so upgradable, and should last you a good 10 years.
Also look on the refurb store, you still get the same warranty.

The BIG downside with all the new M1 macs is nothing is upgradable.
Ok there are threads talking about lower clock speeds/less ram usage with the M1, but a lot of people still need tons of ram and storage.
True, but that's why I was wondering how Apple will support this going forward. Will they release more MPX modules with better GPUs and/or possibly ones with H.265 support? Or will I have to rely strictly on 3d party cards, which may or not be optimal. The CPU is what it is, and the RAM as well. What's important is the MPX modules.
 

ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
Don't think about it like that, even if there is an amazing iMac next summer you still wouldn't be able to throw a ton of internal storage into it. This is the one of the few cases where the Mac Pro is really eminently justified, and the best/only option.
No, but I can throw external RAID at it via Thunderbolt. Hmm..
 

ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
You can literally do that right now with your MBP.
Yes, but my MBP is slow. My point was yes, I can have nice internal storage on the Mac Pro, but a faster iMac with external storage? What's the difference if the iMac is a lot faster?
 

goMac

Contributor
Apr 15, 2004
7,185
1,189
Probably a few years until we see an Apple Silicon Mac Pro, but it will probably be much much faster. Without Boot Camp.

Everyone might have their own individual priorities. Some people might swap their Mac Pros every few years anyway. For some Boot Camp might be critical.

Apple Silicon will probably be great for what you're doing. If you buy an Intel Mac Pro, just do so with the understanding that it's going to have a shorter "peak performance" life span, and might even get passed up by higher end MacBook Pros next year.
 

ondioline

macrumors member
May 5, 2020
85
70
Yes, but my MBP is slow. My point was yes, I can have nice internal storage on the Mac Pro, but a faster iMac with external storage? What's the difference if the iMac is a lot faster?
To state the obvious: an external TB3 raid would be going over a 4x PCIE 3.0 link, while most of the internal nvme storage blades can do raids over 16x PCIE 3.0 (4x4)
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Sep 15, 2015
2,128
1,644
Portland, Ore.
The 7,1 is still a good buy if you need the capability it offers. If you don't need lots of ram, lots of internal storage, and the fastest graphics then it's not a good buy. It is still the best Mac for video editing, but if you're doing something like compiling code an M1 mini would probably be a better choice. The next Mac Pro will have crazy fast performance. If you can hold out I would, but if not then go for the current one. A 2013 Mac Pro, such as with D700 graphics may also work for you and would be a much cheaper stop-gap than the 2019. It can accept up to 128 GB of RAM (64 GB at full speed) and up to an 8 TB NVMe SSD.
 
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ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
To state the obvious: an external TB3 raid would be going over a 4x PCIE 3.0 link, while most of the internal nvme storage blades can do raids over 16x PCIE 3.0 (4x4)
Oh, yes. The RAID I was referring to was the Pegasus R4i, which is not faster, but quiter and takes up less space inside the Mac Pro. I would get the OWC 4TB internal PCI SSD as I stated, just to work off of, not for storage. So that's one benefit for sure, but I'm still not hearing anyting about Apple supporting this Mac Pro with MPX modules down the road. I think the lifespan would be 2 years unfortunately.
 

ondioline

macrumors member
May 5, 2020
85
70
IMO you should just get an external RAID and wait for newer M systems then. I haven't seen any substantial justification, and you don't seem very sure. Don't buy a 2019 Mac Pro.
 

ghostwind

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
81
27
IMO you should just get an external RAID and wait for newer M systems then. I haven't seen any substantial justification, and you don't seem very sure. Don't buy a 2019 Mac Pro.
I explained my use scenario - there's noting better for it. My MBP cannot keep up. I was asking about support, MPX or otherwise and for that I have not heard anything at all. That's why I'm the fence - Apple supporting it. I haven't heard anything on that, so it seems people doubt they will support it too much. So $11K for 2 years at best it looks like. I'll have to do the math. 10 years? No way. I was hoping to hear something more along the lines of 5 years.
 

IA64

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2013
527
53
I was in the same boat... Look the thing is, even on my 2013 Maxed out iMac, the 4771 CPU isn't the bottleneck, it's always been the GPU for video production and rendering.

TBH the Xeon in the MP7,1 is just fine, it's fast enough and you don't need the fastest processor on earth. I use bootcamp as well so many PCIe card that's not compatible under Mac OS work under Windows, Nvidia cards are an example.

For a machine that's expandable, can handle everything you can throw at it and should be compatible with the upcoming GPUs I made my decision to go for the MP7,1

One more thing to take into consideration is resale value. The MP7,1 has been release for quite some time and the price on ebay is still high.


This reviewer will ask pros to wait for the next gen AS.
 

nothingtoseehere

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2020
175
141
I explained my use scenario - there's noting better for it. My MBP cannot keep up. I was asking about support, MPX or otherwise and for that I have not heard anything at all. That's why I'm the fence - Apple supporting it. I haven't heard anything on that, so it seems people doubt they will support it too much. So $11K for 2 years at best it looks like. I'll have to do the math. 10 years? No way. I was hoping to hear something more along the lines of 5 years.
What about a maxed out (16 GB/2 TB) Mac mini M1, and testing how this new machine handles your workload (for example with your 10 min video), and if it copes reasonably, keeping it and upgrading later to a bigger Apple Silicon machine? And if it doesn't cope, return it within the returning window and getting the Mac Pro.
 

macguru9999

macrumors 6502
Aug 9, 2006
383
129
I would buy a new mac mini with 16gb ram and a 1 or 2 tb HD plus fast external storage. If there is something you dont like, you can sell it in a year and get a new imac and you are, at the moment , about 10k ahead. This is especially true if you use FCP. You may have to wait a little for photoshop but even in rosetta it should be ok.
 
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s66

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2016
317
380
Rule #1 on buying computers:

Buy what you NEED

Anything you buy that you do not need is a waste as computers get faster and cheaper by the time you will eventually need what you bought too soon.

The MP7,1 is a machine almost made for editing high-end video. Apple will likely sell it till the stop selling intel based machines in 2022 somewhere if they transition it all to Apple Silicon in the promised 2 years.
After that you'll get continued support from Apple and its authorized service centers for 5 years to come (at a minimum) even 7 years in some geographical areas.

With a Mac Pro: always get Applecare, it's worth it compared to the high cost of the machine without any doubt.
Just had Apple replace a Vega II duo in on of our MP7,1s ... you do not want to have to pay for that if you can avoid it.

After that you're on your own and will have to fall back on 3rd party repairs not having access to all of Apple's tools and toys, as well as a user community that will likely continue like they have done for older MP models like the 1,1 till 5,1. It's different level of support than what you get directly from Apple, but it's still better than nothing.

Is the Apple Silicon replacement for the MP7,1 going to be faster/better/prettier/cheaper/cooler/... Probably at least some of them, but nobody outside of Apple even has any idea of what they will let come to a product and exactly how far along that path they already are. Given the lead time on such development: they probably have a good idea where they might head (probably more than one path still open), but they will annouce that in their own time.

But there's no need to know the roadmap for new products if you buy the gear you *NEED*: you now need what they have now, not what they will make in the future. You'll use it for what you bought it and it'll do that job "good enough". Sure some day something better will come along, but as long as what you have is "good enough" there's no need to have the newest, most shiny tool till you NEED it ...

The same goes for the question of Apple making available more MPX modules down the line: nobody knowns if they plan to do upgrades to the parts or not. Just buy what you need, use it till you need more. If they make and you need it: you've got a solution to move to, if they don't: seek what there is to deal with your changed needs.

So if you need it: buy it.

As to storage in your machine: consider moving anything not needed in the one project you work on off of the machine and onto a NAS or so: it'll save you from replacing that storage every time you need an upgrade of your workstation.
And wil make making backups, offsite storage etc a lot easier in the long run.

Spinning disk in a MP7,1: no thanks.
A Raid fo M.2 modules: I'm not a fan at all, if I would need more storage, I'd go for a U.2 solution: much higher capacity and made to last. Something like this: https://www.sonnettech.com/product/fusion-dual-u2-ssd/overview.html
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,880
2,043
Canon C500MKII to be exact
A general recommendation does make a difference if you're going Cinema RAW Light 10-Bit, Cinema RAW Light 12-Bit, XF-AVC 4:2:2 10-Bit, or XF-AVC 4:2:0 8-Bit and the exact resolutions. This camera can do (almost) 6K and unless you're going to process everything into ProRes flavors before truly working with them (or utilize more of transcode on ingest option), a non-Xeon machine may be better bang for your buck.
 

MarkC426

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2008
1,387
444
UK
I both agree and disagree with your statement (S66)...... 😬
When I bought my Mac Pro in 2010 it was ‘years ahead’ of any standard PC, before any upgrades.
Which was evident in the retail price.

10 years later it is still very capable.
If I had bought a 2010 mini or iMac it would have been scrapped many years ago.
 

ivion

macrumors newbie
Dec 18, 2019
12
10
I was in the same boat, finally pulled the trigger on a 16 core, 32gb, vega II duo (keeping away from the Navi’s with their driver issues for now and leaving slot 3 and 4 open for future GPU’s), 2tb, afterburner. I shoot my productions for digital marketing purposes on a Panasonic Eva1 and a monitor/recorder from Atomos that records in ProRes RAW (Shogun Inferno). With this set up I was able to put in 40tb (36tb raid 5) of SSD at 2500-3000mb/s with an Areca ARC-1883ix-12 Raid card (dead silent as I removed the fan as it has a perfect heat sink for the Mac Pro), the TransInt Caddy Pro V and ten Samsung 860 pro 4tb ssd’s (MLC SSD’s). Having the freedom to experiment way quicker with high quality footage & faster turn arounds has already made up for the investment.
 
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s66

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2016
317
380
I both agree and disagree with your statement (S66)...... 😬
When I bought my Mac Pro in 2010 it was ‘years ahead’ of any standard PC, before any upgrades.
Which was evident in the retail price.

10 years later it is still very capable.
If I had bought a 2010 mini or iMac it would have been scrapped many years ago.
Keep in mind the OP has a specific workload in mind to deal with. It's a business decision, not one for a computer they like to tinker with (regardless of them wanting to do that or not: it must remain a business decision).
And then really 10 years is way beyond what you aim for, if you buy stuff that lasts that long, your beancounter will tell you it was a bad decision.
 
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Average Pro

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2013
378
123
Cali
Yes, if you need it.

Or you can follow one or all of the following threads. If they don't exist now, they will soon:
(1) When will Apple release the M1 Mac Pro (alternate titles include placing a date, season or yearly random event as a timeline)
(2) Are you going to buy the 1st generation M1 Mac Pro (alternate titles include beginning the title with "should I" or "should you" or "should we")

And my favorite:
(3) Here are all the things 'we professionals' need in the M1 Mac Pro (alternate titles can include claims that 'no one' will buy it unless it has option x, y, and z. Then add that 'everyone' will abandon Apple and move back to PC or other OS)
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2017
189
99
Melbourne, Australia
Video work is all that I do computer-wise (mostly colour grading in Davinci Resolve), and I've just spent a hectic year upgrading a 5,1 Mac Pro to ridiculous levels (after the financing for a new 7,1 fell through) - and then searching for a viable replacement not long afterwards (as I could feel the 5,1 bursting at the seams having so much more data pushed around it than it was every really intended to handle).

This took me to looking at maxed-out 16" MBPs and 2020 iMacs (paired with dual eGPUs), and iMac Pros specced up as high as I could afford to (and again, to be paired with eGPUs).

Eventually (about two months ago), the prices on used, and reasonably specced iMac Pros fell to a level that I could just about justify, so I was about to purchase one of those (deciding ultimately that 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports on the iMac Pro, was more important for video-work than the slightly higher base performance on a maxed-out 2020 iMac) when I lucked out, and stumbled across a refurbished 7,1 for the same price - so I snapped that up immediately. And as soon as it arrived, I knew instantly that any other alternative would have been inappropriate for my needs. There's just too much I/O and hardware you need to stuff a machine full of where heavy-duty video work is concerned.

I currently have seven of the eight PCI slots full, and I'm a very happy chappy. The 7,1 is absolutely the choice you should be making for video - especially with 2Gbps 6k raw from the Canon C500ii, those are MASSIVE files and you'll need all the horsepower.you can get to be able to work smoothly with them.
 

LeonPro

macrumors 6502
Jul 23, 2002
466
140
It will only make sense if you're making money from it or allocate personal spending like a hobby.

As for the future of the 7,1 Mac Pro. Only Apple knows how much more support they want to throw at it from an updated After Burner or GPU card that can compete in playing back the latest codec with ease similar to how the M1 chips are able to achieve. Time will tell.

And if that's the case, if the expense hurts your wallet then no it's not worth it for this computer or any high-end computer.
 
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