Entertaining the thought of getting a Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mrt209, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. mrt209 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    #1
    Ok, so I'm again thinking about getting a mac pro.

    I had a iMac i7 before, but returned it since I wasn't completely satisfied with the noise level and I had a couple of hard drive issues as well. In fact I went through 3 iMacs, so I don't think I'll purchase an iMac again in the future :p

    Now I'm thinking about getting a mid 2010 mac pro. I would use it for:

    -Programming/Web Development
    -Some photoshop
    -School
    -Surfing the web
    -Gaming
    -Watching Movies

    I'm not quite sure for which Mac pro I should go... I want the system to last at least 3 years so I'm torn between the 3.2ghz quad core or a hexcore, although I think the hexacore would be overkill. So the 3.2 quad core with ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB would probably be the best right? Can I run 2 monitors fine on the 5870? Or would you recommend going for the 2x 5770 cards?

    Also, I just noticed that the mac pro comes with 1066MHz DDR3 ram, why is it only 1066mhz? Is it slower than the 1333mhz ddr3 ram I had in the iMac before? Can I upgrade it to 1333mhz ram?

    If I purchased a mac pro, I'd purchase a SSD as well. I'd probably just go for a 128gb ssd, where would be the best place to purchase one and what's the best brand?

    I'd also get more ram. From what I understand its best to have it in 3s, so could I get 3x4gb and keep the 3x1gb ram as well?

    And if I got the mac pro I'd need a monitor as well. The cinema display would be nice, but its a bit too pricey... also, I'm not quite sure it's worth it since I assume it would have the same issues as the iMac display (backlight bleeding, yellow tint, etc...). So, could anyone recommend a good 27in monitor? Or I guess a 24in would be fine too, maybe I could get 2 ;)

    Finally, when will the new Mac Pros be released and will it be a major upgrade? How much of a difference will sandy bridge make? Is it likely for the Mac Pro to be updated in summer when mac osx 10.7 is released? I'm asking because if its just a couple of more months then I'd be fine waiting.

    Thanks for your help it's much appreciate, I guess you can tell I'm a noob when it comes to mac pros :p
     
  2. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
    1) The Quad 2.8 would do everything your likely to want and then you can get the Cinema Display :D (I have my Quad 2.8 for 4 months, and it has to be said, its going to last me 3-4 years, and I use it for heavy XCode and Final Cut Studio work).
    2) The Cinema Display doesnt have any of the issues that the iMac Panel seems too, or at least, my 27"er hasnt displayed any of them touchwood.
    3) Noone knows outside of Apple when it will be upgraded - however its more evolutionary than revolutionary in terms of upgrades (only real difference is CPU speed and Memory between 2006 and 2010).
    3) The Quad/Hex only has 4 Memory slots, and 3x4GB/ 3x8GB are the best configurations, leaving Slot 4 open
    4) The RAM is determined by the CPU (the general consensus is that its 1333Mhz operated at 1066Mhz by the CPU), but you shouldnt notice much difference as the machine as a whole is much faster in Real World usage than a Quad iMac.
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Oh there are so much more differences and the upgrade is definitely NOT evolutionary!

    2006 to 2007 is evolutionary. 2008 was a complete re-design, as was the 2009. 2010 again is more a evolutional update since nothing has changed besides the firmware and some minor hardware changes such as other fan manufacturers (not to the good!) and lidded sockets in the dual CPU models.
     
  4. rrdiaz30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #4
    Purchase the base 2.8 quad. When you upgrade your RAM, get 1333 MHz, that way you can upgrade the processor to a hexacore in the near future when the cpu prices drop. The RAM will downgrade itself to 1066MHz with the 2.8. I use my 2.8 (3x8 RAM) for photo editing in Aperture and currently it's more than fast enough. The 2.8 will satisfy the requirements you listed.

    Rick
     
  5. Stephen23 macrumors member

    Stephen23

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    Unless by including gaming on your list, you mean that you're a serious gamer who is not going to be happy with anything less than spectacular performance from your system, then you really don't need a Mac Pro.

    By all means, if you want one, buy it, but there's nothing on that list that truly justifies buying a pro workstation over a cheaper, smaller computer. Any Mac will do *some photoshop* (meaning that you're not a working photographer or professional) surfing, movies and web development. Most Macs will handle gaming pretty well, to the extent that any Mac is a gaming machine (if you were a serious gamer, you'd be thinking PC anyway, or at least mentioning bootcamp).

    Skip the 5870. The 5770 will run two monitors just fine. Go with 12GB of RAM, just because that is the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. Personally, the 45 second bootup it takes my 2008 Mac Pro from a 1TB hard drive doesn't bother me, but if you really need that extra 20 seconds when you restart it every two weeks, then go with an SSD. Oh, it will make your applications launch faster too, but again, you're talking about saving yourself seconds, and generally only on the first launch. After that, it holds the program in memory, after you quit, so if you go back and restart it, it's not pulling from the drive anyway.

    The only SSDs I'd recommend are from OWC. They are high performance, and don't seem to suffer from fatigue later on as many other brands do. I'd also buy my memory there, and they will take the 1GB sticks in trade after they've shipped the new memory. There's no need to keep them, as unless you're buying an 8 core or higher model it will only have 4 slots, and even on the 8 core machines, using 3x4GB and 3x1GB will decrease the performance from just using the 12GB by itself.
     
  6. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #6
    At least with the Mac Pro hes guaranteed to have the ability to remain reasonably up to date for the next 5 years or so.
     
  7. Garamond macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    #7
    Well, that's no reason to buy a Mac Pro. The iMac is way more silent, and I know since I've had both. For your use, stick to the current high end iMac model, go for the 2.0TB Seagate Barracuda LP SATA II 32MB HD (very silent!) and as much RAM as you can afford. The result will make you more than satisfied.
     
  8. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    The Mac Pro will almost definitely be noisier than an iMac, especially with a 5870 installed.

    The advantage of running two 5770s vs. a single 5870 for two displays would be the amount of VRAM available to each display. Both cards have 1GB of VRAM. So, with one 5870, each display would get 512MB to work with. With two 5770s, it would be 1GB per display. This could make a difference when working with large Photoshop files.

    If you're not doing a whole lot of GPU intensive work (and it sounds like you're really not), the dual 5770 solution is probably better in your case. Or, just start with a single card and see how you like it first. In any case, you really don't need the 5870.


    For monitors, there's lots of good (and cheaper) alternatives to the ACDs. For example, the HP LP2475w can be had for well under $600 and it has an IPS panel, lots of inputs and excellent picture quality. But it doesn't have LED backlighting (CCFL instead) like the ACDs do. The Dell U2410 is another good 24" monitor with similar performance.
     
  9. Gonk42, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

    Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #9
    Sadly that has not been mine experience. I have a brand new 2.8 Mac Pro and the 27 inch cinema display. The graphics card in the pro had to be replaced (which took a week and a half) and now the Cinema display blinks on and off and I'm waiting for Apple to get around to replacing it. I've had the machine for two and a half weeks and have had less than a day's use out of it. (It is working fine with an alternative monitor I should add.)

    Most people don't have problems but I don't think the cinema display is much more reliable than the iMac. They both potentially have heat issues due to a compact design. The big advantage is that you have the option of using an alternative monitor while waiting for Apple to sort things out (a slow process in my limited experience).
     
  10. mrt209 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    #10
    Thanks for the replies :)

    The reason I'm thinking getting a mac pro is because I can upgrade it later on whereas with the iMac I would have to buy a new one.

    As for the noise issue, apple admitted that the iMac is very noisy and that it would be best to get the mac pro since their much quieter... maybe they just wanted to make more money but a lot of people have said their mac pros are really quiet. As for the iMac there are endless posts online about the grumbling hard drive noise and high pitched noise.

    But, maybe I should wait until the new iMacs get released and see if the noise issues are fixed... Although a new comp now would be nice :)

    Oh and I'm not a serious gamer, but I do usually play the single player campaigns once a new game gets released.
     
  11. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #11
    A 2010 Mac Pro is silent unless you put some noisy hard drives inside or have a bad fan. I have to press my ear down by my hex core model to see if it's running.

    My MacBook Pro makes more noise.
     
  12. mrt209 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    #12
    Thanks for the info :) I'll look into the monitor. I guess I'd go with the 2x 5570 cards if I get a mac pro. I heard though that the 5870 card is much faster.
     
  13. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #13
    Odd, yours is the first report Ive heard of one breaking, and I know of plenty (50 odd) satisfied users, whose displays havent broken, so it certainly seems a lot more isolated than the early iMacs where it seemed to be 1 in 3 that died.
     
  14. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #14
    Unless your planning on using more than 3 displays 1 5770 would suffice (I havent run into any issues on the 5770 using Motion 4 for CGI).
     
  15. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #15
    I do seem to have been very unlucky on this, my first Mac with both the graphics card and the monitor being faulty. A colleague showed me a thread on the Apple support forums where lots of people are having very similar problems with the older 23inch cinema display.

    http://discussions.info.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1902288&start=345&tstart=0

    My main gripe is not so much the faults in the first place but the length of time it takes for Apple to sort them out. My previous experience of Dell service has been very good - one or two days at the most - whilst Apple seem to take weeks.
     
  16. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    #16
    Sounds a bit overkill for what you want to do, but if you can afford it, go for it. You won't be disappointed with the performance.
     
  17. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #17
    You have definitely been unlucky, Ive had several Apple Displays and theyve all been fine. The Cinema Display is a lot better than the iMac in terms of design (It doesnt have a computer behind it chucking out heat).

    And in regards to the service, normally Apple manages to fix it first time, I have had DELL service various OptiPlexs and it take them 2-3 goes normally to get it right if their actually fixing it, or they decide to send you a replacement, which is uneconomical for Apple to do as they like their margins.... (Hence why they dont want lots of stuff to sell as refurbs).
     
  18. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    #18
    If you're doing gaming then you would regret not getting the 5870.

    --Eric
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #19
    I can't speak for other games, but I play WoW Cataclysm and Fallout: New Vegas, with both games at their maximum settings, on 1920x1200, and they both run smooth using the 5770.
     

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