Help me configure myself a Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by BiikeMike, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. BiikeMike macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2005
    I'm looking for a machine to basically run my new business on. I do Photography and Stage Lighting and production. For Now I'll be running CS2 and Lighroom Beta4. I plan on getting CS3 when it comes out (which will hopefully include Lightroom, but if not, I'll get lightroom as a standalone). I also be running VectorWorks 12.5 in 2d mostly with occasional 3d rendering.

    Some of my work also includes video, so I will also be running Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio, and sometimes Shake.

    And when all the work is over, Hopefully i'll have some time to play some games like Quake 4 and Doom 3 :)

    This is in addition to my MBP 2.16 CD machine which will get wiped and used as just a travel machine.

    I will have the money for this machine in the next 2-3 weeks, and it would be great to be able to have it in the next month or so, but would it be worth it for me with these applications to wait for the 8 cores?

    here is the configuration I am thinking of:
    * Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    * 2GB (4 x 512MB)
    * 500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    * 3 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
    * Two 16x SuperDrives
    * Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
    * Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    * Mac OS X - U.S. English
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro/Power Mac (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll

    (2) 21" Gateway HD Displays

    I would add another Gig stick (maybe two depending on how cheap I can find them) or RAM, and possibly another Hard Drive.

    Here are my questions... is it worth an extra $800 to go to the 3ghz processor? Should I get the Apple 2 gigs of RAM or get 1 gig and upgrade it with 3rd party? And finally, are the Gateway monitors as good as they are cracked up to be? My buddy has a 24" on his PC and LOVES it, but do they play nice with Macs?

  2. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    I'd say forget the CPU upgrade and get extra RAM. As for the monitor I don't know about gateway, but for pro photo work you would do well going for something like a LaCie as they have excellent colour repo.
  3. BiikeMike thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2005
    Yeah, the Lacie's are definantly in the best out there, but..... they are REALLLLY expensive! Even more than Apple, and that is hard to do!
  4. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Why are you getting 3 7300s? Unless you have a plan to be running many displays i don't think there is much point.....

    Also it would be cheaper to get the 160 gb stock and add a second 500 gb drive for data.
  5. BiikeMike thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2005
    Basically because i'm an idiot :)

    I guess i'd only need two for two monitors eh? would the X1900 be a better bet?
  6. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Well a single 7300 can drive up to two 23" or one 30" and one 23" the x1900 on the other hand can drive two 30"
    I would probably go with the x1900.
  7. BiikeMike thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2005
    I guess the big question is.....for WHAT I'M DOING, would it benifit me to wait for an octo-core?
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I'd hold out for the new NEC's that are coming out. They showcased them at MacWorld and all I can say it WOW! Expensive though... (ok, that was 2 things)
  9. djray77 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2007
    I have a 24" gateway and yes they do rock, my acer 24" sits right next to it and is also just as good.
  10. VideoTour macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Mexico
    Lots of great advice.
    My question is whether you really want the two Superdrives.
    I'm looking at a similar purchase decision, and I'm thinking I'll leave that bay open for a Blu-Ray drive in the near future.
  11. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    If they release an Octo Mac Pro it'll be limited to a speed of 2.66GHz and the main problem is no one knows when it'll come out or even if it'll come out. If you did go for the 3Ghz model then it would be faster than an Octo Mac Pro at 2.66Ghz at most applications. Few applications are optimised for 4 cores, let alone 8. Photoshop CS2 only makes use of 2 cores for one, I don't know what CS3 does though. Whilst on the topic of CS2, if you do get it, make sure to download the CS3 preview that's available to CS2 license holders, its wayyyyy faster due to no need for Rosetta.

    Like others have said, you don't need 3 7300GTs. You mentioned you'd like to do a bit of gaming so I'd recommend the ATI card, it'll power up to two dual link monitors and has enough power for decent gaming. Two 7300GTs can be set up for SLI in Windows if you know what you're doing but even that's not as fast as the ATI card.

    Like others have said make sure not to skimp on the RAM, especially with the kind of work you're thinking of doing. You can probably find a decent pair of 1GB sticks for the Mac Pro for the same price as Apple charges for an extra 1GB. 3GB for the price of 2 sounds pretty good and should be anough (for now). Seriously, be warned, the Mac Pro eats RAM for breakfast, I have no idea why but it needs a *lot* more than my old Mini Core Duo needed.

    I can't see why you'd want two superdrives apart from just being a luxury. If I were you, I'd stick to one superdrive and use the money I saved to upgrade to the wireless keyboard and mouse, its just nicer!!

    How much HDD do you think you want? For the price Apple charges for the upgrade to a 500GB drive you can get a standard 500GB drive from Newegg or somewhere, giving you 750GB and trust me, installing hard drives in these Mac Pros is ridiculously easy. In fact installing anything in a Mac Pro is ridiculously easy!!

    Lastly, good move on the Applecare, its always worth it imo for Apple products!!

    I hope that helps!!

  12. Emrtr4 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2006
    I have two gateway 21 inch

    Ha, you and I have (or will have) identical systems.

    The gateways play VERY Nice with mac (and windows) and look amazing on DVI (plus they accept 1080P signals, and down convert them, but it still looks better than 720P).

    It looks great with HDTV, upscaling DVD player, and HD-DVD player as well.
  13. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    A few things I would do :

    Go for a 160GB hard drive and buy a second 500GB from a third party retailer (much cheaper). Get the X1900XT instead of the 3 7300s. Ditch the second superdrive unless you really need it. You may want to add a HD-DVD drive or Blu-Ray drive later. Basically it gives you more options.

    Anyway hope that helps a bit.
  14. Macintosh Sauce macrumors 6502

    Macintosh Sauce

    Nov 25, 2006
    I would go for the configuration I got:

    * Two 3.00 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon (a better choice in the long run)
    * 1 GB RAM (add your own from TransIntl).
    * 160 GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s (add your own from NewEgg)
    * ATI Radeon X1900 XT w/ 512MB
    * Two 16x SuperDrives
    * Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
    * Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    * Mac OS X - U.S. English
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro/Power Mac (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll (you can add this anytime before the end of the year warranty)

    I got that configuation and I am going to be adding my own RAM soon from TransIntl and later more HD space.
  15. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Well the advantage to just going with one is you can add a much faster one later. As the drives are a little slow...
  16. dkoralek macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    agreed. and in addition, adding an optical drive, while more complicated than adding a hard drive to these machines, isn't all that difficult. The optical drive cage slides out fairly easily, and all that is required is screwing a drive into the cage, removing the face plate on the tray, making sure that the jumper is set correctly, and attaching the power and interface cables. One can also add SATA optical drives if you want. I know that people have posted here that on the Windows side these SATA ports are not seen for hard disks. Anybody know if this is the case for SATA optical drives (these SATA ports are not really secret like some have said, but are there for newer optical drives).

  17. dkoralek macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    I'm not sure that the 3.0 GHz is even worth it in the long run in terms of price for performance. I agree with the below comment regarding buying another superdrive (besides the fact that you could buy one after market for less and get a better drive). With regards to the X1900, unless you need it now, it may be more cost effective to wait until either prices come down on it, or better cards have os x drivers, and then get one after market.


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