Help with MacPro purchase for Video Editing teen

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by memorygirl, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. memorygirl macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011

    I'm a Macbook Air/iPhone user and passed on my Macbook Pro laptop to my teen son who is doing video editing as a hobby and for school. My husband came across this ad on Craigslist and thought it might be a better fit for our son. We are waiting for a reply regarding the ad, so we can ask further questions. Not being super technical, what should we look out for? Any obvious red flags? The seller is in our neighborhood so we are hoping to maybe meet at the Apple Store.

    Here's the ad:

    "Excellent condition Mac Pro tower, 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8 cores!!!), maxed 32GB ram, a brand new just recently released AMD Radeon HD 7950 with 3GB of virtual ram, 128GB Solid State drive, 750GB SATA HD, two superdrives (dvd/cd burner, Apple brand!), Apple keyboard with numerical pad, Apple mighty mouse, and 20" Apple Cinema Display!

    Fantastic over-powered Mac, great for film, design, gaming, you name it."

    He is asking $1300
  2. memorygirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
  3. h9826790 macrumors G3


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Check if the 7950 is a flashed card (or even worst, just a PC card), it may cause you some issue later if that's not a native Mac edition card.

    Any used SSD's performance / life span has no guarantee.

    Confirm the RAM is 800MHz and ECC.
  4. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    What specs are the MacBook Pro he currently has? Depending on how old it is, it may be fine for the job. Personally, if it was quick enough, I'd prefer the portability. Then again, if perhaps it's a C2D model, it may be a tad too slow for editing.
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Is he hitting bottlenecks with the MacBook Pro he has now? I am also a teenager who does video editing and have maxed out my MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM and a 120 GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD. I rarely hit the point where editing becomes hard. I have pushed the CPU to 100% usage and gotten RAM usage to 15.9 GB of 16 GB though.

    It really depends on what your son wants to do. I edit 1080p footage and my MacBook Pro is fine. I highly doubt your son is doing anything better than 1080p.

    If you would post back with the specs of your sons machine we can help you better. If it is a 2008 or older machine then it is possible he will be bottlenecking it. But if it is a 2010+ it should be fine given appropriate RAM.
  6. memorygirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    Thanks everyone. We were either looking to buy a used MacBook for my husband, or a used desktop for my son to free up the 2010 MacBook.

    As for the Macbook Pro. It is a mid 2010, used to be mine before I went with a new Air last year. It's specs, if I recall, are 4gb Memory, and a new 500gb hard drive put in under warranty. Although it was working, it was rather slow when processing videos.

    We met the seller at the Apple Store, and actually had the time to speak with a trainer we know who is familiar our needs and Final Cut Pro X. He was able to go over all the pros and cons of the 2008 MacPro as it was configured. Thankfully, the Pro also checked out great at the Genius Bar, so we decided to go ahead.

    So far, so good, although my husband has yet to move all the files over from the MacBook Pro. My son did a Final Cut Pro X rendering test and was amazed at how faster the rendering was with the Pro.
  7. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi MemoryGirl,

    As another member mentioned, the custom installed parts can be a pain, and the 7950 was released two years ago, so it is a little bit of false advertising. Since it is the 3.2 GHz dual-CPU setup, I think it is the January, 2008 model. That means the computer is over 6 years old, and almost every part except for the CPU has been replaced.

    At this point, the dual-CPU setup is almost exactly as powerful as the 2012 Macbook Pro. In other words, each core is half as powerful, so in most scenarios it would perform worse than a laptop from 2 years ago. All the other parts are relatively new, but since they are custom installed, you will have to deal with the manufacturers directly if they break. Especially since you didn't buy those parts specifically from the manufacturer, it could be a huge pain trying to get warranty if a part breaks.

    Here is what I would recommend doing. Get a 2012 baseline 15" rMBP for your son. You can find it for 1200-1400$ on Craigslist, or around 1500$ on Apple refurbished with a 1 year warranty. It is a gorgeous, portable machine with a processor more powerful than than the computer you are currently looking at. It will fit your sons needs much better than the Mac Pro you are looking at, and will realistically last much longer. This is the option I would recommend for your price range and needs. It has a 256GB SSD, so look into getting an external USB 3.0 1TB HDD for about 100$.

    If he is set on getting a desktop, the best option is a 2012 27" iMac on the Apple refurbished site. The model I would recommend is 1949$, so unless you have some room to stretch your budget, stick with a rMBP. The main benefit of the iMac is the the display, which is one of the best work spaces for video/photo work. The graphics card is also 3-4 times as powerful as the rMBP depending on the task. The RAM is upgradable as well, so you can upgrade to 32GB for about 150$, instead of the Apple price of 600$. It also comes with a 1TB Fusion drive, so it has a lot of relatively fast storage.

    The MacPro is hard to recommend because it is really old, and almost all the original parts have been replaced. The rMBP is your best option, as it will perform as well as the upgraded 2008 MacPro, be more reliable, be portable, have a nicer display, and cost about the same. If you have the extra money, look into getting the 27" iMac, as it will give you a lot of bang for your buck, so it will most likely last longer than the rMBP.

    Sorry for the long post, I hope I helped in some way,


    Ah ok, you can ignore my post. I'm sure it will be a great computer!


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