How Do You Decide If You Need a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Vesuvio Cat, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Vesuvio Cat macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2010
    Don't shoot if this sounds too much like a newbie question.

    I have had three Macs over the past ten years. I had a 15" MacBook Pro (2008 model), a 11" MacBook Air (2013 model), and now a Retina MacBook Pro (2013 model with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, intel i7). I have also had a handful of PC laptops, which aren't worth mentioning except a tank of an ASUS that I bought for $500 and for some reason just keeps going strong. The other ones lasted four or five months and always went straight down the drain.

    I'm a Mac person, and I want a powerful home work station. I work in international development and do a lot of video and photo editing, creative design, and multitasking. I know I probably don't "need" a super powerful machine. But working on my Retina MacBook Pro isn't as practical as working with a big immersive screen with a lot of power behind it. I would also like to game on it sometimes - Call of Duty, that kind of thing.

    So the questions is: iMac or Mac Pro? I love the 5K Retina iMac but I have heard about a lot about overheating problems. I also never know where I am going to have to use this thing. Sometimes I work in Ghana, Ethiopia, South Sudan, but will hopefully be mostly based in Portland, OR. So heat could be a major factor - it has been for my MacBook Pro in the past (It gets to be 108 degrees on average in South Sudan). Ideally I will be in the United States now, because I have kids that need to go to good schools (which there aren't in South Sudan, unless you have $50,000 a year to spare).

    So my biggest question is which of these two options is the most durable and sustainable? I worry about the all-in-one nature of the iMac. That is, it being hard to tinker with and fix. But a Mac Pro at least has the option of swapping monitors, replacing memory, etc.

    Then there is the price. A Mac Pro plus a monitor is a a huge price to play. Better to go iMac and then just swap it out when it dies? Or better to go Mac Pro?
  2. koyoot macrumors 603


    Jun 5, 2012
    There will be my personal view of those comps.

    I dont like the design of iMac, at all. Never liked the engineering idea of it, however, the looks are quite nice these days.

    Mac Pro is a different story. For me personally is an epitomy of what I was personally thinking for long time about getting for myself but couldnt find anything like this.

    Compact, fast, power efficient, cool(thermals ;)) and silent design. Im still waiting for next gen to decide or I go with last gen route or new gen to buy, for my needs, which are:

    Photo video editing, and gaming. And yes, Im willing to pay the premium price tag for the thermals and silence.
  3. Vesuvio Cat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2010
    Those are also my initial feelings on the matter. I just worry about the price tag of going Mac Pro, buying a monitor, etc. I would have to go for the 6 core (because I always go for the best of the best, but probably not 12 cores) and then buy a monitor. It would be a $6,000 investment at least. Compared to about $3,000 for a pretty well-fueled iMac 5K. But if I have to replace the iMac in a couple years, then am I not just doubling my costs? Or would I need to replace a Mac Pro as well?


    Damn, even looking at the basic specs I would want it is still about $8,000.
  4. Zorn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2006
    I realize I'm not your typical Mac Pro user, but since I'm a gamer & general user that strongly prefers OS X, my only real option was a cMP. Gives you a lot of power and the maximum customizability. I added a GTX 980, PCIe SSD, 5,1 firmware and W3680, newer WiFi & BT 4.0, USB 3.0, and a couple additional SSDs as well as a 1TB HDD.

    The iMac with its fixed GPU is already outdated for my uses, and there's no upgrading it. Same problem really for the nMP and its circa 2011 GPUs.
  5. koyoot macrumors 603


    Jun 5, 2012
    Thermals of Mac Pro gives you at least some comfort to be sure that you will not have to take it back to Apple Store to replace components because they failed of temperature. Second thing is: do you want to play modern games on 4K or not?

    P.S. Why not try the Refurbished store? 6 core, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB, D700 is/was for 4.9K$.
  6. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Or, do what many do, go "Classic" 2009-2012 base model $500 and upgrade to fit your needs is a lot cheaper and offers the chance to choose GTX upgrades or AMD over time.

    3.4GHz 6-core / 32GB RAM / Some SSDs which today 128GB EVO 850 is $59 @ Amazon or PCIe-SSD or a SATA III controller and one or two SSD.

    More like a PC.

    The iMac is not suitable for many upgrades and likely is not going to last whereas a Mac Pro may never really give up the ghost and last for years (mine is almost 9 years old now).
  7. Pieterr macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2015
    The Netherlands
    You can hook a pretty big screen (e.g. LG 34" 3440x1440) onto your MacBook Pro. Works great for photo/video-editing.
  8. burnsranch macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2013
    I bought a base mac pro and a Samsung UG590 on an impulse when looking to replace my iMac with a new 5K iMac.

    It was clear I did not understand what I had bought, as it was a far different machine. As a retired networking professional the modular design is a godsend.
    My professional/personal uses is a video data base. I have about 13 TB of videos I reference. The Mac Pro and FCPX allow me to reference the while 13 TB of videos in almost real time. The Prores codecs are processed at disk speed.
    My fastest external drive is a roughly a 500MBS 13TB raid drive, which I purchased after I realized that FCPX could hand video at drive speeds.

    When I tested the functionality I found the ProRes codecs were handled at 600MBS to 900MBS and filters were about 100MBS on the base model. The Mac Pro handled my external drives at drive speeds, so I am not sure what the limit actually is.

    I run four monitors, a 15TB tb2 raid 5 drive, a 4TB tb1 drive, and 12 TB usb raid 5 with no real issues.

    In a professional environment, the data is more important than the hardware, so this changes the focus of the hardware. If my database size doubles from 13TB to 26 TB, I can just add another external TB2 raid drive. If Someone gives me a high end Mac Pro, I can just plug it in and go.

    When I converted my video database from raw files and dos videos based files into the FCP database I was using the Mac Pro, my iMac, and my Macbook pro, 24 hours a day for a couple of weeks. The MacPro was the workhorse, the iMac and the Macbook pro were alway on the thermal edge.

    I did find if I run my 4K monitor on the same controller with another monitor, I had some issues. So I run my 4K on its own controller and have the TB drives on different controllers. I have stress tested all of my external drives at once and all three work at drive speed at the same time. It is a solid machine.

    The issue with the benchmarks being used to test machines is they are cpu based benchmarks instead of system benchmarks. As a professional benchmark tester, there is a huge difference between the two. The MacPro is designed with the system as the focus, not the cpu. It is a simple deal to throw a cpu or a video card at a performance issue compared to improving system performance.
    In the short term, the cpu or video care will win, but in the long term the system improvements will come out ahead.

    I blew my budget on a base unit and a new TB2 raid drive, but when understood the system functionality differences between my iMac and my MacPro, it is a completely different machine.

    To be able to scan videos on an external drive at 60FPS is unreal. I can go to a 2 hour video, scan at 60 FPS and find what I am looking for.

    I also have no clue what the system limitations of the MacPro are, I do not have enough money to stress them. I need another 15TB raid drive and would like a large external SSD drive to move my user directory and the new video library to.

    Apple, designed the tool I needed for my video project. I did not expect it and I am still figuring out how to use it, but I do not see a better machine for my needs.
  9. Vesuvio Cat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2010
  10. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
  11. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
  12. Vesuvio Cat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2010
  13. mattspace macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2013
    Well you could go all "tactical" about it and fit (classic or new) mac pro in a pelican case with compact UPSand all the power adapters you're likely to need, with a large monitor mounted to the inside of the lid, get a second pelican case with a pair of monitors and stands if you need more realestate. Rock up to a location, set up, work, pack up, go home.
  14. JackGriffin, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015

    JackGriffin macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2015
    Get The mac pro if you want a serious machine. This beast will quietly sit on your desk and take whatever tasks you throw at it without any signs of stress. The fan is extremely quiet and rarely goes past 790 rpm. The Mac pro is a marvel of modern science

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