Good idea to buy a Mac Pro as a student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LOLZpersonok, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. LOLZpersonok macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2012
    Calgary, Canada
    When I get a job, I would like to buy a new and more powerful computer. I was initially planning to eventually build my own Windows desktop (Something powerful to play games on, I found that it is totally possible to build an 8 core system for roughly $1000) and to buy a MacBook Pro for video stuff. Obviously, it'd take a long time to get both.

    But, I've been thinking about the new Mac Pro. While it is very expensive ($3,488 for the base model, an external SuperDrive and 512GB of storage) I'd get both a Mac for video editing and I could dual boot it to use Windows for my games and the rest of the stuff that I need. Plus I'd have an interesting case and much less clutter on my desk.

    But, it's expensive. For example, if I made $10/h (min. wage in Alberta), worked an average of 5 hours a day and 4 days a week, I'd make roughly $900 a month, before taxes and other deductions. Using this information, it'd take ~3.8 months to save for, longer with the taxes.

    Would you say it is worthwhile to buy a Mac Pro instead of first building a Windows system for $1000 then getting a MacBook Pro?

    If I were to go the route of the desktop machine and the MacBook Pro, it'd cost, in total, $3,250. The custom build in question would have a 3.6GHz 8 core AMD FX processor, 8GB RAM, 2TB of storage (32GB SSD and 2TB HDD) and two AMD Radeon 260X GPUs with 2GB VRAM each and in total would cost ~$1,100. The MacBook Pro in question would have a 15" screen, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and the 2.3GHz Core i7 option.

    What would you say is much more worthwhile?
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi LOLZpersonok,

    First of all, I can't think of any reason for a college student to get a Mac Pro. Personally, portability as a student is invaluable. Just having a desktop is crippling. Especially if you are editing video seriously, I would expect you would also be paying close to $1000 extra for displays/external storage/other peripherals. If you are just rich, or if you are somehow profiting off of the video work you do, then use your money as you please.

    Also, the custom build you are looking at is very different from the Mac Pro, and it basically looks like a gaming box. As an Apple fanboy, I am predisposed to hate AMD processors, even though it should be fine for video editing. AMD just compensates for inefficient cores by adding a whole bunch of them. As long as your programs will use all 8 cores then it should be fine. Video games may suffer a little, as many do not use more than 2 cores. Again, I am biased. I would also get at least a 128GB SSD on the system. You can get a really nice Crucial MX100 256GB SSD for only $110. You may want to consider getting a single, more powerful graphics card rather than two weaker ones, as crossfire is not perfect.

    Also, I think it is pointless getting a really powerful desktop AND a really powerful laptop. If I plan on doing any heavy lifting, I will always use my most powerful machine, so having a really powerful 2nd computer would not accomplish anything. I would recommend getting a laptop that is portable, because I would be surprised if you actually used the power of the 15" MBP. If you got a MBA, you would have nearly double the battery life, 2/3 the weight, and the rMBP is over 3x the price!

    Here is my philosophy on computers. Get the one you need right now, not the one you will need 5 years from now. I would be much happier upgrading a $700 MBA every 2-3 years, rather than buying a maxed out 15" rMBP and replacing it every 5 years. It is significantly cheaper, and much more enjoyable.

  3. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2012
    Calgary, Canada
    I have plans for each machine. What I want, specifically, is a high end desktop for my games and such and a MacBook to run video editing. I want to be able to do more professional stuff, and I want to start out using Final Cut Pro, Motion and Logic Pro. Of course, this is just hobby stuff, but I may make a profession out of it in the future. I understand that the Mac Pro will do video editing much better than a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro (Even for its entry-level model) but I'm starting to think that the direction of the custom build and the MacBook Pro is a better way to go.

    If I were to go the route of the Mac Pro, I do have my HP Envy which is a modern and relatively high end laptop, so portability will not be an issue.

    I have a good amount of experience with the AMD Crossfire ability, which is what my HP Envy supports as it has two GPUs, even if one is an integrated GPU. It does boost game performance a bit, especially since my HP's processor is a quad core AMD Vision A10 APU, which does not get the same kind of performance that an i7 of the same clock speed would.

    Trust me, I would go with an 8 core Intel Xeon or a 6 core i7 for my custom build, but it would add too much money. This probably doesn't make too much sense when taking into account my previous details, but I'm trying to keep the cost down.
  4. keringalhi macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2014
    I would recommend getting a laptop that is portable, because I would be surprised if you actually used the power of the 15" MBP. If you got a MBA, [​IMG]you would have nearly double the battery life, 2/3 the weight, and the rMBP is over 3x the price!
  5. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    20 hours a week for four months to buy a computer is a terrible decision. The new mac pro price is deceptive since you also have to add on thunderbolt or usb3 storage. For a windows system you could work for one month and then spend 20 hours a week for three months working/learning/playing with the computer instead of working. As a student who wants a powerful computer, I would recommend a deal from Dell outlet or refurb, it is cheaper than building your own and comes with windows (i7 deals with 16 GB ram can be had for less than $700 if you keep your eyes open). Lenovo also has great deals from time to time. You would need to upgrade the video card if games are important but still cheaper than building your own. If you must have mac then build a powerful hackintosh, but wait on spending your personal funds on a mac pro until you have the disposable income to do so.

    With team viewer or remote desktop you can get a macbook air and log into the powerful machine and use it when you need it.

    Also, poor students should stay away from really expensive things since other poor students sometimes can't help themselves and the expensive stuff disappears. So, even if you had the money, it might not be a good idea to have such a luxury item.

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