Graphic Designer here, please suggest which MP to buy.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TheThanhster, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. TheThanhster macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    Hello all,

    I'm fairly new here in the forums, even though I read MR blog almost daily. Short background one me: switch to Mac in '06, tech oriented type of person (i.e. can't live without keyboard shortcuts, fiddling with preferences/os level settings and finding little nuances of os's and programs, etc), and a graphic designer looking to buy a Mac Pro as my main pc for my new business, as well as my daily "home" computer. It will be my first Mac desktop.

    I've been using a 2.0ghz Core (1) Duo 15" MBP with 2gb RAM and 320gb HD @ 7200 RPM since college (bought in mid 06).

    After working on MP's at my job, I find it incredibly tedious to go back to the slower machine at home, and thus I work less on personal freelance gigs. Also, I've since learned a lot more CPU intensive techniques in CS3 and 4 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign especially) from doing professional work vs. college class projects. So this just adds more to my need of a more powerful system. I've read thru the posts on but most of the stuff on buying I already knew. I'd like more pertinent opinions.

    So, I'd like to ask everyone here which option is the best for my situation and why.

    My Pref/Concerns:
    1.) Money - I have enough to get what I need now, but do not want to "rip myself a new one" in the process. Likewise, I don't want to be cheap and buy a MP thats a couple yrs old and regret later. Plus I plan on using this thing for at least 3-5 years, so sustainability is key. I can't afford to buy a new one every couple of upgrade cycles.
    2.) Upgradeability - I not a big soup-up your setup kind of user, however I do need the expandability in terms of RAM and storage. And also have a computer in 3-5+ years that will still be able to handle the software that comes our around then at a decent rate. How much is too much RAM for the uses I have listed below?

    Intended uses:
    1.) Creative Suite 3 and/or 4 (PS, AI, ID, FL, LR, Br, in particular)
    2.) office and business type applications (iwork/(neo)Office, quicken, etc)
    3.) internet and web design, web maintenance on sites I make
    4.) "home" type stuff (photos, music, mail, email etc)
    5.) 3d rendering, starting dabble in stuff like Maya, 3ds, and zbrush

    1.) New Quad Nehalem MP - (if I go this route, I will most def be upgrading to the 2.93) Will be fast as hell now, but would u recommend this over a octo for future software to do the aforementioned uses?
    2.) New Octo Nehalem MP (standard) - bestcase: overkill now, long-lasting. Worstcase: Adobe CS (PS especially) will drag now, until they release a multithread-utilizing version, because of the lower processor speed. Will prob improve over time, but I can't stand Spinning Beachballs. I get it all the time on my MBP, and fairly often on my 3.0ghz Work MP octo.
    3.) '07 3.0ghz Octo, 4gb RAM (667mhz memory bus) MP - I have an offer to make a deal for one of the MP from my workplace (prob end up paying ~$2500) - can you tell me what a good price on this is? I'm not entirely sure what an appraised price would be.
    4.) Refurb '08 2.8 octo (but these are still ~$3000, shouldn't I just go with the extra couple $100's and get a new one?)
    5.) please suggest an alternative

    Lastly, if you can think of any other things I should take into consideration before making a decision, please let me know too. Thanks in advance for your input!

    I almost forgot! Which graphics card do you recommend? Will the standard nvidia GT 120 be good enough for around 3-5 yrs? or do you recommend the ATI upgrade? And can you buy and install a RAID card in your MP later?
  2. soldierblue macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    Refurb 2.8 octo.

    They're not ~$3000, they're $2400. Best deal out there.

    As for graphics, don't get anything other than whats stock unless you actually plan to do something with it (ie game, even in that case, a 4870 isn't even THAT fast).
  3. TheThanhster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    Crap, forgot an important detail: If I go brand new, I have access to a 17% discount on NEW apple products (family member works at a particular company). Making the Nehalem Quad ~$2K, and Octo ~$2.8K.

    So a refurb over these? or would that change your answer?
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    You have the facts correct, other than perhaps the cost of buying a refurbished or close-out deal on last year's model. They are fairly cheap if you can find them.

    Given that, you have all the information you need to make a decision and all the options have their pros/cons. Only you can really know your priorities and you seem to understand them well. I'm not sure how other buyers can help you?
  5. TheThanhster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    yeah, I know in the end I have to go with my my own preferences and pick one.

    I guess I just wanted to be reassured that my research/facts are correct, and also, I'm just curious if anyone else was in a similar situation and made a decision one way or the other.

    How do you feel about it now (glad you did this or that/regret/shoulda/coulda/woulda, etc)? Did you think you made a good choice or not? Stuff like that.

    *edit: similar situation as in career or field of work
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    There are still 2008 machines being sold as "new" from many outlets.
  7. xxMacAttackxx macrumors member


    Jun 23, 2008
    Just picked up a 2.93 quad, for mostly the same purposes. I don't regret it at all! CS4 runs VERY smoothly. The only drawback is the 16gb memory cap(8gb from apple). Although you really wont need much more than 8gb for what your doing.
  8. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Adobe CS4 Master's Collection runs very smoothly on a 2008 3.2Ghz machine too. If your working with HD content and using Premiere Pro with multiple streams of audio and HD video. Having the fastest machine won't help much, it'll be much beneficial and wiser to have faster disk storage system! SoftRAID causes frame drops and loads of stuttering!
  9. soldierblue macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009

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