Help me decide: Specs on new MacPro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by joco, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. joco macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Ok, its time to retires my old Mac Pro. And I want to get one of the new ones, however, I cannot decide which is the proper spec for me. Based on what I have read the most powerful MacPro isn't always the best/fastest.

    So I am looking for my best choice (power and speed) for what I do.

    About me. I am a web developer/graphic designer and use photo and graphics editing primarily (outside of basic programming). My main apps are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I tend to work with mostly with web-sized images however, I do occasionally work with very large format images (i.e. for windows displays and such).

    I also do some light video editing but nothing more than normal functions in Final Cut.

    Lastly, I do dabble in electronic music, so support for that would be good, do.

    So based on the above which MacPro and spec would you recommend?

  2. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    It's also a matter of budget.
    A larger internal SSD and more RAM (less expensive from a third party than ordering more than 12 GB from Apple) is in any configuration you choose an advantage and never a disadvantage... but adds to the price.
    You should say if money does matter or does not matter in your choice.
    I am no expert at all but from the posts I have read a 4 core CPU could well handle what you do although a 6 core might give you extra power if one day you need it and the speed difference to the 4 core is very small.
    However hear from tech experts what they believe. They will answer you soon.
    In any case any nMP will give you great pleasure and useful work. :)
  3. VirtualRain, Jun 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014

    VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I think you would enjoy the base quad core with upgraded RAM to 16GB and SSD to as much as you can afford (so you can put your entire workflow on the SSD).

    If you have some extra budget, then the 6-core is probably the next best place to spend money along with an upgrade to 32GB of RAM.

    Diminishing returns will really start to kick-in beyond that.
  4. joco thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Thanks everyone for the advice so far.

    As for price, I want to be reasonable. Money isn't a major factor but I want the best bang for the buck here.... Obviosuly memory is always a good place to start. And it sounds like 6-core is a good way to go as well.

    What bout 8 core or does that really only help with more intensive apps?

    Also what about graphics card. Is the the D700 (w/6gb) worth the extra $$ and will I see a performance gain in the apps that I use?
  5. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    I have similar uses as you..probably a little more fcp and .net developing.

    Can't go wrong with ram. You can aftermarket it up to 64gb for ~650 from B&h. Straight forward installation.

    D700 is a no brainer imo. Can't upgrade it easily in the future, so what you get now is what it's going to be. While today it could be overkill, tomorrow you never know.

    HD. I went with the most but here you do have other options given the speed of thunderbolt ports. Plus it will be upgradeable in the future.

    Processor: toughest of all if you ask me. Big price jump from 6 to 8 core. I went with 6 because while it's not easy, upgrading is a possibility. Besides I think 6 is all I really need at the moment. Blazing fast box.
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    D700 for sure, unless you prepare to sell the whole machine for upgrade later.

    I personally prefer the 6 core, quite a good balance between speed, core, and price.

    If money is OK, I will go for the bigger SSD, and upgrade the RAM by myself.
  7. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2014
    Will you be using an emulator like Parallels heavily? I find Parallels really works much more smoothly given 4 cores, and pumping up it's memory. If so, then an 8 (or even 12) core could be useful. Barring that, the sweet spot for OS X seems to be 4 cores at the moment, so 6 is going to be very good.

    Barring massive parallelization in the future (not likely as the programming is too touch), and barring you doing video stuff, 6 core should be pretty great for at least 2-3 years.

    Agree with everyone else, D700 is a must as it's the most non upgradeable part. So it's now or never. But if you plan on selling the machine within 3 years, the 300 is fine. If you plan on keeping the machine for 4+years, get the D700.
  8. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    Since many pro users still employ cMP with graphic cards with 1 or 2 TB or 3 GB dedicated video RAM (and only ONE of them!) I can only scratch my head if I read from someone that a D300 with 2 TB or even a D500 with 3 TB (and besides TWO of them!) are considered by many as not the right choice and the D700 with 6 TB is warmly advised as a "MUST" choice.
    Twice 6 TB seems to me for 95% owners an overkill now and in 3 years from now as well.
    For "very special users" the sky is the limit regarding GPU in the same way that 64 GB RAM is looked down as "entirely not enough".
    The question is if you consider yourself to be in that category and your workflow falls accordingly in that very special group.
    I chose the D500 although a D300 would have been equally perfectly fine for me, mainly because the price difference is "relatively" small and in tests I read the D500 is put in the same "Tahiti" family (whatever that may mean in practice) with the D700 while the D300 belongs to another GPU family.
    However the price difference between the D300 and the D700 is a big one!
    Therefore I went one step beyond the so called "entry level" in the CPU (6c) and in the GPU (D500) although I found it wise to take the largest (only) built in SSD precisely because being the only one, and added RAM (but from Apple just took the unavoidable 3 x 4 GB and bought more RAM by myself).
    As soon as the prices jumped strongly (8c CPU and D700 GPU) I said to myself enough is enough.
    If you are wealthy enough you can of course choose the most expensive options, but I doubt that for most users, the D700 pair of GPU should actually be that "MUST HAVE!" some posters pretend it is, in the same way that for most users a 4c or 6c CPU should be largely enough.
    If a pro computer of that class should truly need for most users in the world twice 6 GB of Video RAM, I do not believe that Apple had offered the D300 at all!
    Just my humble opinion for what it might we worth...:rolleyes:
  9. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    I humbly disagree. Those that got the D300/D500 will realize their mistake and will be encourage to upgrade much sooner than those that didn't...thus increasing sales. --It's also why you can't upgrade the video card. Because upgrading video cards have been traditionally an easy way to extend the life of older computers.
  10. Aspen Excel macrumors newbie

    Aspen Excel

    May 15, 2014
    Depending on how much audio processing you do that should influence how much CPU power you want. Hex or even quad-core should be sufficient for light to medium applications, but once you start hitting 100+ channels with many CPU intensive virtual instruments, you may find yourself having to export MIDI regions as audio to free up CPU. Since I work solely on electronic music and audio processing uses no GPU power whatsoever, I went with the 8-core/D500. I can't speak much to the graphics option since I only do light gaming like Team Fortress, Portal, etc, though using just one of the GPUs under OS X it runs flawlessly at max settings in 1920x1200 without even breaking a sweat. I can imagine only very heavy 4k video and rendering applications would call for the D700s. I don't feel underpowered with the D500s, though in 5 years who knows. :p
  11. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    Sooner or later any hardware becomes old but I am still convinced that in the next future (3 years or so) the D300/D500 owners will still be perfectly satisfied with their choice and their GPU will do what they want them to do.
    I believe in the wisdom of Apple.
    If twice 6GB RAM would be necessary for most buyers of the nMP, I believe that the D700 wouldn't be at the high end of BTO choices of GPU but somewhere in the middle, and there would be a D800 or D900 with even higher specs to choose!
    As long as they set for the 2 standard configurations the D300 and the D500 as GPU, I believe they knew that most buyers will choose those GPU and be satisfied with them.
    Since "nice" prices was not the main idea behind this nMP and including as customers as many as possible "prosumers" (as with previous MP) was not their present goal, they offered as standard configurations those they assumed would satisfy the needs of the mainstream of pro people needing and buying a nMP.
    Which means demanding pros!
    Therefore the D300 is by no means the "poor man's" choice but an absolute reasonable one and the same applies IMHO to the D500.
    As I said I trust the wisdom of the decisions of Apple.:)
  12. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    First and foremost, Apple is a company. And a very rich one. Don't forget that!

    People buying these things don't wait for the technology to become obsolete. They upgrade constantly to the latest technology because of the gains they provide. It's a luxury purchase in the computer world. Just like Omega and Rolex are to watches.

    I could really care less where the D300/500/700 stands in two years. IMO though, the 700 will have close to another year or more worth of value since it's really the only part of the machine that's not upgradeable. Just like a fully loaded used car holds better value than a base model. It's just the way the or the world My friend.
  13. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2014
    3 years from now every screen will be "retina". 8K displays were shown at CES 2 years ago. 3 years from now you can expect 8K displays. The operating system will be pushing a lot of pixels, and pushing a lot of processing to GPUs.

    So again, if you plan to hold on to the computer for about ~3 years, D300s are great. If you plan to hold on to it for 4+ years, you should seriously consider D700s.
  14. 244620, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  15. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    If he has the funds that sounds like overkill but fun. Otherwise I think hex-core, RAM is fine, and the d500 should be good.

  16. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2014
    I don't think there are any mistakes here. All these options are great options. You know your needs better than others. Don't be swayed by others' opinions when you have a feel for what works for you.
  17. 244620, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  18. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    You know $600 translates to $13/month over 4 years. You have to wonder if it's a smart move all together with that kind of margin. But hey, no one is really saying bad things about the 300/500 anyways.

    Just that the D700 is a good bet just like others are saying the 8 core is the way to go. Don't hear us 6 core guys complaining. We all still have awesome machines. Get what you can afford because you probably don't need it.
  19. snouter, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014

    snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    If you want to go quad core, consider the iMac. The iMac is solid machine unless you know you are going to heat stress it by making it run pegged for extended periods.

    If you think you want 6 or more cores, then MacPro. If you are going to render and compress a lot, then, you probably want more cores. If you compile software so much that you need cores, then you already know that.

    On the video card, tough choice. I don't see the clear advantage in the D700, especially when you are reliant on Apple to write the drivers that unlock their power. 10.9.3 borked my D500 and it borked the D700. I still have the $600 though.

    If you KNOW you need CPU and GPU power, then you know, but paying Apple just to "future proof" you is probably not the wisest money spent.

    Just my .02.
  20. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    Some of us don't know what those requirements will be 2 yrs from now. If you do then why ask?

    I would look to get the best bang for my buck now out of the processor and graphics versus ram and memory. Hope to rub a few nickels together down the road for an upgrade of the later. It's not "future proofing" your CAN but it does give you more options.
  21. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Funny because a lot of the posts in this subforum are whining about how Apple is already shipping outdated hardware and so they won't buy in fear of a "possible" future update that will make their already new outdated hardware even more outdated.

    My main point was, take a hard look at what you need to do now and buy a computer that does that now. For a lot of people, that's still going to be an iMac. An iMac is a lot cheaper than a MacPro, especially by the time you get the MacPro all kitted out. Ignore the sex of the MacPro and keep the focus on your needs.

    I think if you need 4 cores, you're looking at an iMac. If you need the CPU and GPU power and the thermal characteristics of the MacPro, then start with the 6 core Mac Pro and go as high as you feel you need to go.

    I did not see anything in the workflow as presented that screamed Mac Pro is required. It's no secret that the iMac i7 with an SSD and max ram is a pretty strong performer.

    So much of the Apple experience is emotional, not practical and that's a pricey game to play.

    I can't say I've ever bought a computer wondering what I was going to need 2 years from now.

    Again, this is just my opinion and it's worth maybe .02 on a good day. I'm most certainly not telling anyone what they should do, only how I would look at. I assume that is why he/she was asking.
  22. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    Words of wisdom

    Very reasonable way of thinking,
    Nobody can foresee the future.
    Buying much more than presently and in the short future needed just because of fear that in x years it might be no longer uptodate is playing the prophet.
    Anyway one day the presently most advanced components won't be that any longer.
    In the meantime you took profit of your machine and that is what counts.
    Luckily Apple hardware keeps more value in time when reselling it than other computers.
  23. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    That's their opinions to wait. I feel I made an educated assessment and took the plunge. This one has plenty of power for my needs now and in the foreseeable future. Plus how sexy :) to get one of the first ones. And most importantly, I have mine now. To those waiting, someday may never come.

    Purely from an operational point of view your main advice to "get only what you need now and worry about tomorrow later" is terrible imo. Apple's plant managers don't operate that way. No business I know of operates that way. Would you buy a pizza oven large enough to do today's orders and nothing more? No. Fact is. You always get what you need now, and try to forecast what you'll need during the life of the machine. --that's how it works in the real world at least.
  24. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    I don't agree unless you are part of a great company which makes long term decisions (and can fire you and still work further without you).
    That is well shown by the one you quote: Apple.
    They could went on after Steve Jobs regrettably death.
    Nobody in a smaller scale can truly foresee more than his short term future at the very best.
    Who can guarantee he'll be alive next year or in 2 or 3 years from now???
    One should be able to cover one's needs at present and within a reasonable time period. What is reasonable depends on the opinion of each of us.
    The shorter, the safer.
    To try to buy now things to be supposed to cover one's true needs as they will be several years from now (?) is gambling with the future. And it is an expensive gamble.
    And a gamble one may lose...
  25. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    It's a lot of money, some can get by just fine with an iMac, others will want a Mac Pro no matter what; whatever "reasonable" is in this case depends a lot on one's budget.

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