Help me decide on a couple options before I buy a Mac Pro.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rychy, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Rychy macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Well here's the thing a little over a month ago I had a big fiasco with 3 24" iMacs that had bad screens... now I feel I can't go the iMac route and after thinking about it I like the idea of having a Mac Pro anyways (for upgradability and what not).

    So I'm trying to decide on a couple things... mainly Quad vs Octo, and the ATI card vs the 8800GT card.

    I'm not a Professional by any means (more like hobbyist hoping to be more someday), but I'm trying to start up my own little studio type thing. Basically I started doing small things for friends of mine, graphic design stuff, designing books, slideshows, editing home videos. Now I'm thinking of doing this on a larger scale. Someone wants me to do a wedding book for them, and their are other bigger projects as well. While I haven't had many video editing request, I really enjoy working with video and actually plan on doing my own short films in the future.

    The major programs I plan on using include: CS3, Final Cut Express, and Aperture once I get a better camera. I'd also like to move up to Final Cut Studio in year or two. I'm not much of a computer gamer (360 for that), but that could change if I had a capable computer.

    Money is kind of an issue... I only really wanted to spend $2000 on a computer, but that kind of went out the window with all the iMac problems. I'd like something that last me a while, but I don't really want to waste money on something I'm not going to see the benefits of either.

    So what do you guys and gals think? Would a Quad with the standard ATI card work for me? And would that be quite the performance boost over the current high end iMac?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. ianimate3d macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2002
    I'll just say this, if you ultimately decide to go mac pro I would suggest the octo because it's $500 more, but currently to buy the processor separately costs more, then you have the problem with needing to have matched pairs of the processors and trying to find a factory heat sink for the second processor that fits and works correctly with the thermal design of your machine. Resale value will also take a much more severe hit in the future on these quad core models.

    For the video card I would recommend just getting the 8800 and being done with it. The extra $200 is really a small % of the total cost of the machine, and the Mac Pros continue to be very very limited regarding upgrade paths for video cards. Another thing to consider is that getting the octo and 8800 from apple allows you to be under full warranty from Apple with those items.

    Doing video and heavy multi-tasking will utilize 8 cores, and help future proof you as much as possible. Hard drives and memory are the upgrades I would recommend you add yourself from third parties as you will realize significant savings on these upgrades by skipping past Apple.

    Either quad or octo should see significant performance boosts over the iMac depending on task and will remain usable for longer before you feel the need to upgrade again.
  3. adamzx3 macrumors regular


    Sep 8, 2007
    NE Ohio
    I agree with the previous poster and would like to add a little.

    If your on a budget and would like to spend less than $2000, a used 2.66 on ebay is going for like $1600 or so with warranty, that would be a very cost effective solution coupled with a ram upgrade (certified 4GB for $147) and an extra 1TB drive (seagate 7200.11 $269) for storage and if you do video a separate fast drive for scratch would be nice.

    I am just starting up freelancing design photo retouching and and use the CS3 design suite, and have yet to max out all 4 threads and 5GB of ram, even retouching 39 megapixel Hasselblad photo's. (there is a PS fix to utilize larger amounts of ram that I haven't installed yet). Indesign flies even with a 32 page catalog with high res proxy's. I have dabbled in video editing some (using premiere trials) but for me as a hobby I can afford to let the 1080 HDV video process while I eat,sleep or work on something else.

    If you really need the extra power of the new mac pro's or have the money I would say go for it, but a quality used unit with 8GB ram and a TB of disk space would do you just fine for quite a while, I don't plan to upgrade for 3-4 years.

    If you go the new MacPro route the 8800 upgrade would be of benefit as Aperture uses it to speed up the program and more apps are utilizing the GPU.

    Also for what it's worth look into for your wedding project, they have top notch quality bound books and the first order is $50% off. Mpix also now has hardcover books but their quality is just ok.

    **edit** I just looked on ebay's completed and don't see any for that much anymore, closer to 1900...which is the same as refurb prices. I did see some for 1600-1700 with 1gb ram so you may have to keep looking. If you cant get a 2.66 for around $1600 it may not be a bad idea to save up some overtime for the octo 2.8 because I can't see paying $2000 for a 2.66 refurb now. Using the developer discount with their subscription could be an option too.
  4. Rychy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Thanks for the replies.

    Yeah I was pretty much under the impression that getting the 8800GT was a no brainer... I'm still up in the air over getting the Octo. If I got the Quad I wouldn't be looking to add another processor down the line. My thought is by the time programs are really able to utilize eight cores, I'll be well enough off that if I feel I need a performance boost I can upgrade sooner than later. And yeah I know handling RAM and HDD upgrades myself is the own way to go.

    Adam - thanks for the suggestions. I'm not really a fan of used or refurbished stuff, so I'm definitely going with a new one. Like I said the idea of only spending $2000 went out the window with the iMac... not to mention I'll need to get a monitor now.

    And thanks for the link to that website, the quality of the books look really good. I'll definitely consider it for future projects.

    Developer discount?

    .... decisions, decisions. :)
  5. adamzx3 macrumors regular


    Sep 8, 2007
    NE Ohio
    The ADC program is here , from what i've heard it can save you a lot of money, especially the student version since its only $100.

    Also forgot to say before, on the asukabook site you can request for a sample packet to preview the different page finishes and paper weight. You can also download a tiff sample to check onscreen against there printed sample...very accurate proofs on a calibrate monitor. They dont list prices unless you sign up for an account but there very reasonable, with the 50% discouont for the first order mine was $56 I think then they add per additional page.

    Good to hear your going with the new mac pro's, should last you a long time. Also as far as I understand the 2.6 quad is a lot slower considering the 2.8 is really 5.6ghz with both cpu's combined....2.6 vs 5.6 should make a considerable difference.

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