Getting an angle on the nMP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cubemmal, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    OK so the nMP will be a crummy gaming machine. I had hoped otherwise, as I'm presently able to use my 2009 MP quite well as a gaming PC since I put a 7950 Sapphire in it. My main use case though is as a developer and running Win7 & Linux virtulized, but I'm balking at the $3,000 entry price.

    However, my 2009 quad core cost $2,500, and it had a crummy (GTX 120) GPU, little RAM, and disk. In comparison, for an extra $500, I get dual GPU's that are at the outset higher performing, adjusted for time compared to the GTX 120 which was an underperformer when released I think. I also get higher speed RAM and flash. On the downside I get an unupgradable machine, which means I'd better buy what I want to begin with.

    But if I look at my 2009 MP which I got for $2,500, I easily put another $2k in it. RAM upgrades (twice), disk upgrades, GPU upgrades. Sure you might argue that now I have to do that external, but it's moot for me as all my storage now is LAN based.

    So, maybe I'm warming up the nMP again, and am looking at a (gulp) $4,000 hex core D500.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    If you're interested in a gaming rig, you're better off building one then investing a lot of money in a machine that is not really geared to such tasks.
     
  3. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Yeah that's what I said essentially :)

    I have liked the MP as it was a machine that could do anything. Run OS X, Windows, Linux, game and everything else I could want. Now for all practical purposes they took away the gaming capability. Disappointing, but you know I finally realized that even with the old MP it would have been better to build a custom rig anyhow.
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    Here's another way to look at it...

    Buy an entry-level Quad-Core Mac Pro now for $3000 which has a pair of decent GPUs that may even make for great gaming if CrossFire is supported in Windows.

    Then in 2 years when Apple refreshes the nMP, sell your old one for let's say (worst case) $1000 and invest another $2000 for the latest entry level which will have the latest everything.

    Then rinse and repeat every 2 years. You're basically spending $2000 every 2 years ($1000 per year) on an ongoing basis and you always have the latest and greatest CPU, GPUs, SSD, memory, and I/O.

    In my opinion, buying more computer than you need now, in hopes it will last longer, is a mistake. Buy only what you need today and buy more often... makes for a much more enjoyable ownership cycle and usually doesn't cost much more (if any given the resale value of Apple products).
     
  5. haravikk macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Other than running OS X that doesn't seem like something that necessitates a Mac Pro though. If you don't need things like ECC RAM, Xeon processors etc. then the Mac Pro isn't offering you anything you couldn't do a lot more cheaply with a Mac Mini and a gaming PC, probably with money to spare for a KVM switch so you can share a monitor (though most have multiple inputs you can use).

    You can also build fairly compact gaming rigs, so it's not like you'd be using up tons of extra space either.
     
  6. spaz8 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I'm not sure the nMP will be a bad gaming rig, so much as it would not be worth the investment if gaming was your primary or only use.

    I think the D700's and probably the D500's will do just fine for gaming, but 90% of their usage for me would be in 3d/CAD/simulation.
     
  7. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I'm picky about my development computer. I have to have three monitors, it has to be quiet and it needs to be responsive while loaded. I certainly can develop on a mini and I've done so, but it just frustrates me. I need a computer that works as fast as I think. I'm not the kind of guy that goes into a coffee shop with a laptop.

    ----------

    I guess we'll have to see. I've been trying to figure out what the D500-D700's are, and compared to their consumer versions and it's really not clear. If it can do Lord of the Rings Online well I'll be happy
     
  8. spaz8 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I think people were speculating that the D500 was = ATI 7950

    And the D700 = ATI 7970 with a bunch more VRAM..
     
  9. resotek macrumors member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    #9
    I think we have a very similar workflow. For background, I am a reformed professional game developer (DirectX), but now I do web development for a living. So, I will be using my nMP heavily for development work, but I will also have a Win7 WM running constantly for AutoCAD, Inventor, and corporate development work. Further, I too am all NAS when it comes to storage (Drobo 5N in my case).

    In any case, I am going with the stock hex core configuration and I expect outstanding results with all of the above including games. My biggest concern was on the vm side. So, in preparation for the nMP, I have been doing some testing using my MBA (Mid 2010, Core Duo 2.13GHz, 4GB, 256GB SSD, NVIDIA 230M 256MB) and my vm's perform fantastic. In fact, the wimpy MBA kicks the crap out of the Core i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz (16GB, 120GB SSD, Radeon HD 7700 2GB) I use at work running the same vm's.

    Finally, I wouldn't write off the game performance quite yet. If Apple plays it's cards right they could end up supporting Mantle and that could mean the major player game engines move over to OS X. I think this hinges on Frostbite's experiments surrounding Battlefield 4. If that goes well expect Epic to follow with UDK support and the mac platform explodes for gaming.

    Time will tell, and I'm old, so I play crappy old games that don't require much in the hardware department. For example, I love playing Company of Heros on my macs.
     
  10. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Common pattern for the Engineers I know, except we all prefer Synology over Drobo :)

    The $4k hex D500 is probably a sweet spot. I'll consider an octo upgrade on that.

    Sounds similar, I don't play fancy games so will be fine with it.

    As an engineer having all that power on tap, combined with what will be zippy fast in basic use due to fast flash and RAM, plus the 12 dB/40 W idle makes it a good package I'm realizing.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #11
    There are 7970s with 6GB. It's just not the most common configuration. For computation it doesn't seem like the most efficient way. NVidia granted more memory on tesla cards. If the primary goal was computation, they were a better option than Quadros which had to hold up in OpenGL.
     
  12. LongSticks macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Are you running AutoCad on VM or Autocad for Mac?

    I do similar work also encompassing Civil3D and navisworks, so all my work is VM. I'm still trying to decide between the nMP i7 and the hex core, as most Autodesk software still only needs fast single core speeds. Have you heard any news about Autodesk moving to proper multicore support? I keep an eye on the interweb for any snippets, but nobody's saying anything.

    Been trialling Microstation, as it uses multicore and in many ways it kicks AutoCads ass for speed. Definitely keeping it in mind if I decide to go for the hex core!
     
  13. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Great idea
     
  14. resotek macrumors member

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    #14
    The engineering software I use is all running on a Win7 VM hosted by Fusion. I use Inventor 2013 and AutoCAD 2010 for almost everything I do and the performance has been excellent on my less than stellar hardware. That makes be feel pretty confident that I can be PC free once I get the nMP hex core.
     
  15. LongSticks macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I'm gonna hold out till Sept 2014 I've decided, just to see what happens with Autocad Civil 3d 2015 and whether Autodesk finally join the modern era and move to real multicore support, rather than fast single core.

    If you are in the nMP market early on I would really appreciate a little real world use feedback, as our system uses are very very similar. Thanks again.
     
  16. Cubemmal, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013

    Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    This has been my usual approach - my oMP (Old Mac Pro) is a 2009 quad core base unit as are all the other Macs I bought. Something has started happening the last few years though, which is that I'm continuing to use the older more powerful machines (such as the MBP's and MP) and not selling because they still serve my needs. The less powerful machines (Air and Minis) get sent off to whatever use I can find for them (Media computer or server), because there's little resale value in them and they have become too slow. My MP is still going strong and could easily last me another 3-5 years. The CPU is as fast as newer generation i7's for everything I do, and I only notice the others being faster for short duration transcoding like tasks.

    I think what has happened is that computer capability has exceeded what I can make use of. Certainly in CPU, and I think in the last year even in GPU horsepower. So therefore I am at a point where I can now buy a computer for 5-10 year use instead of 2-3 as it used to be. In that case it does make sense to buy a more powerful machine since I'll be getting much more use out of it for a longer period. I'm a software developer, others (video editors, extreme gamers, scientific applications) may have a different take on it.

    I'm looking to get a nMP not because I need a faster computer, but because I want a workstation that is quieter, lower power (the MP heats up my room in summer) and smaller. That it actually will be faster in my use is a bonus. Putting all this together I suspect a $4k D500/16GB/Hexcore is the sweet spot for me, and I'll use my oMP for Windows gaming.
     
  17. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #17
    Yeah, good point... In my case, a lack of evolution in my key software (Aperture) and a lack of something remarkably better to upgrade to, has meant I've kept my 2009 Mac Pro longer than usual as we'll. I guess it's also kudos to OS X for not being Windows like and requiring new hardware with each new version. :)
     
  18. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #18
    Bit harsh on Microsoft there - only some select low range (crap) Windows Hate laptops are incompatible with Windows 7. 7 works great on machines as far back as 2006 with a C2D CPU and 4gb max ram. Stick in an SSD it will give a new model with a spinning disk a run for its money in real life usage.
     

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