Eh, what the hell (or: I pulled the trigger)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by thirdkind, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. thirdkind macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Location:
    Columbus
    #1
    My Mac Pro 1,1 will reach its 5th year of faithful service next month, and I've been biding my time waiting for a refresh or a decent deal on a 2010 Mac Pro. I finally found what I think is a pretty good price on a nice hexacore model, so I said to hell with it and jumped on it.

    3.33Ghz hexacore
    3GB RAM
    512GB SSD
    ATI 5870
    Magic Mouse
    Lion

    New in box, $3600. I'm going to purchase a 240GB SSD, 16GB RAM (1 chip to maintain upgradability), and a CalDigit eSATA/USB3 card from OWC and recover some of the cost by selling the 512GB SSD (pretty good selling prices on fleabay for this part these days).

    It's my first new Mac in 5 years, so I'm pretty stoked. I thought a lot about waiting for the refresh, but my personal belief is that similar performance from a 2012 Mac Pro will probably come at a similar price, and I don't really care about Thunderbolt, PCI 3.0, or having more than 6 cores. It's a great machine for what I do and will serve me quite well until the iPad 6 arrives with enough horsepower to drive a pair of external 27" displays and run a pile of Debian VMs ;)
     
  2. firedownunder macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2011
    #2
    Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. I believe you get what you want now; you can't make up for time lost waiting for the next latest and greatest. It's a race you can't win. Congrats. :cool:
     
  3. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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  5. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Web development, mostly. Several Windows and Linux VMs acting as web and database servers, Photoshop, OmniGraffle, Coda, etc., plus mundane tasks like surfing and e-mail when I'm not working.

    I could probably get by with a Macbook Pro if I really had to, but I'm the type who likes to leave all his apps running on 2 monitors across 6 Spaces so I can just flip back and forth without ever closing anything.
     
  6. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2007
    #6
    I'm assuming your not buying a single 16GB stick?

    Surely 3x8GB would be better!? Then you can add another 8GB stick if needed.
     
  7. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    Nope, a single 16GB stick to start. I want to keep my upgrade options open. I anticipate adding more at some point. Will 3x16GB be overkill? Maybe. But I like keeping my options open, which is why I stuck with the Mac Pro instead of moving to an iMac or laptop.

    I would've added a lot more RAM to my current Mac Pro (11GB at the moment) a long time ago, but the prices for the 1,1 went through the roof and I decided to hold off because I knew a system upgrade was imminent.
     
  8. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2007
    #8
    So your going to be running a single stick with the single channel performance hit?

    You can't use the 1GB sticks and the 16Gb at the same time.

    3x8GB would be much better :/

    Seems a silly way of going about this upgrade path...

    Not only that, prices are continuing to drop, and will do so until DDR4 takes hold and that is a while yet.
     
  9. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    Boston
    #9
    So you upgraded the stock 1TB drive to a 512GB SSD paying Apple prices and then you are planning on selling it? Why didn't you keep the stock 1TB as a secondary drive and just buy the 240GB you are buying anyway?

    And you plan on using a single stick?

    Man, really poor choices, but hey, it's your money.
     
  10. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    I know.

    I didn't pay to upgrade to the 512GB in order to sell it at a loss. I bought the whole thing new in box from a private seller for $3600, which is way below retail for a new hexacore with 5870 and 512GB SSD. Selling the SSD just puts money back in my pocket for the RAM and a smaller, but faster, SSD.

    Single stick is only temporary, as I said. I'm not a fan of buying 3x8GB and selling it at a loss months from now when I upgrade. I didn't think the single channel performance impact would hurt that much, but if someone can point me to data that says it's a huge impact, I'd consider going to 3x8GB and seeing if that proves to be enough.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #11
    I seriously doubt anyone would notice the difference between single and either dual or even triple channel performance in real life use.
     
  12. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    That's what I've always heard...that it was more about artificial benchmarks or heavy, heavy usage than it was about actual noticeable performance improvements. You'd think it was night and day based on some of the posts here.
     
  13. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I would normally agree that between dual and triple there would be no difference, but down to single channel?

    Unfortunately I can't find any real word benchmarks (I.e. doing photoshop, video things, etc).

    Edit: The best I could find is this:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Intel-Core-i7-Nehalem,2057-13.html

    5% on the video one is not insignificant. :/

    Given your going to be running quite a few VMs surely 3x8GB for 24GB would be the better choice? With another 8GB possible or even sell the lot and get 3x16GB.

    I just think it's a silly route to take.

    However your money.
     
  14. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #14
    I agree with you, but "no difference" is a very different point than "no noticeable difference". I'm sure the difference could be measured in a quantitative way, as you state. But if you used a computer on Monday, then used the same computer on Tuesday but it was 5% faster, I doubt you would notice the difference.

    Besides, as OP stated, it's a temporary situation till he gets additional sticks. If I were in his shoes, I'd do the same thing OP did.
     
  15. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #15
    The benchmarks you will find are going to be for the performance using a single application's benchmarking tests. Probably going to say it's 5-10% slower with single channel. A single DIMM only has 38% of the memory bandwidth of 3 in triple channel. Benchmarks do not show the impact of prolonged intensive usage.

    Will it really impact you? Maybe not with what you've listed you'll be doing with it. However I'd then question why you need so much memory if memory bandwidth is going to have little impact and why you've waited this long to upgrade. I mean are you really going to add those extra DIMMs and do you need more than 24GB now or 32GB in the near future?

    I've seen so many people not get an optimum memory set up at the start and then never end up changing it or buy way too much memory when on a tight budget. Other than the memory thing I think you're on the right path and got yourself a great deal.
     
  16. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Thanks for the sensible feedback. I won't have my Pro until Wednesday anyway, so I have some time to think about the memory situation over the weekend and order something else on Monday if I change my mind.

    For me, going with a Mac Pro is more about the flexibility and expandability than it is about raw power. The point about whether or not I really need 3x16GB is well taken. 3x8GB may in fact be enough. I've been hitting my current 11GB ceiling for some time and have simply been dealing with it, even though I don't like it. I was holding out until I found a good deal, which I did. However, I haven't done a very technical analysis (monitoring page ins/outs?) to determine what my optimal configuration would be. I'd appreciate any tips on how to go about doing that.

    As I said earlier, my workflow, as wonky as it is, involves having basically everything open all the time and flipping back and forth with Spaces. When I'm done developing at night and start surfing/chatting/whatever, I don't shut down all my VMs and close Photoshop documents because I pick up right where I left off the next day. And I want all of that sitting in RAM waiting for me, which it isn't right now.

    Umbongo, you make some good points. The 1x16GB is definitely temporary, but 3x8GB is just a little bit more money and might suit my needs just fine. I'll have to think about it.
     
  17. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Something to think about is when you expect to need more memory, how much it will be, and as you've been saying how much is enough now.

    If you think 16 GB is enough now, why not 2x8GB now? That can be had for about $150 now. Once 16 GB stick is about $220. So you're saving yourself $70 and you're getting better performance (even negating most of the performance drop from 3 to 1 channel) for how ever long you expect to wait to upgrade your RAM. Then once you do upgrade your RAM, you could add just 8 GB if you don't think you need much, which in a year or so time could be almost 1/2 the cost it is today. Or if you do change out your RAM to 16 GB sticks, 1) its only 2 sticks you have to sell at a loss and 2) you already saved some money and had better performance for however long. So you have $70 + resale + the value increased happiness and productivity from a faster machine to put towards that one 16 GB stick you didn't buy. And by that time, the 16 GB stick might also be near 1/2 the cost it is today.

    So I think that if your believe it will be a while before you get around to upgrading your RAM, you should put more emphasis on filling at least 2 slots. And if you're not particularly unhappy with your performance on 11 GB (as show by your unwillingness to correct this problem for some time), I can't imagine you need 32 GB. 24 really should be enough for a while. Then if it isn't, you can fill the 4th slot and bring it up to 32 GB. I'd rather risk needing to fill the 4th slot then have to deal with just one DIMM for who knows how long. Finally, given what you do, I don't see how you'll ever need 48 GB of RAM. That of course goes out the window if you have a major change to your work flow. So I think you have to ask yourself if really ever think you need 16 GB sticks, and if you don't, do you just WANT 16 GB sticks. If you want it, just buy it. 16 GB sticks have fallen in cost a long way in the last 9 months. If all you're actually worried about is upgradability, I think you'll find money saved by only buying what you need now, plus faster decreasing costs of higher end equipment, will make up for depreciation of what you buy today.
     
  18. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #18
    If you're going to add another 16GB DIMM in a few months I wouldn't worry about it too much. I think in your position I might do the same. I mean the theoretical DDR3 bandwidth of a single DIMM is more than you get on the 1,1 Mac Pro.
     
  19. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #19
    I'm tempted to buy a 2010 2.8 quad refurb and just drop a 6 core cpu in it .. ahh dunno what to do
     
  20. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2005
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    Columbus
    #20
    You make some valid arguments for going the 3x8GB route, but what you said right here gives me pause. I do tend to get carried away with new toys. I could be overdoing it--not that there's anything wrong with that :) But if I go with 3x8GB now, and then decide a year from now that yes, I really do need 48GB(!), the price of 16GB chips may have dropped enough that I actually come out ahead of a 3x16GB purchase made today.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback.
     
  21. bkpr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #21
    I just did the same (thread titled "Pulled the trigger") and I'm extremely happy. The waiting/watching/uncertainty having been removed from my mind is almost as good as the new Mac itself.

    Congrats on your purchase!
     
  22. AMDGAMER macrumors 6502

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    Jan 4, 2011
    #22
    awesome machine. Did you get a cinema with it? I always spec out the mac pro and an LED cinema, would be such a sweet setup.
     
  23. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2005
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    Columbus
    #23
    Thanks, same to you. I have similar feelings.

    I'm not a fan of glossy displays myself. Along with the Mac Pro, I've been waiting to upgrade my displays as well, and I'm considering a pair of 27" matte LCDs. I had my heart set on the NEC PA271W-BK, but I can buy 2 HP ZR2740w monitors for just a bit more than a single NEC. I'm pretty picky about color, but I don't know if I'm quite that picky.

    First world problems :)
     
  24. thirdkind thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2005
    Location:
    Columbus
    #24
    I decided to return the 16GB stick and go with the 3x8GB kit from OWC. Based on their benchmarks, the benefits of going from 24GB to 32GB--especially if you have an SSD--are less significant than the jump from 16GB to 24GB, and above 32GB, the benefits are negligible.

    I feel like I made an informed decision with the benefit of your input, so thanks.
     

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