How dumb is it to buy a Mac Pro now?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cksbcville, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. cksbcville macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    As the title indicates - I am thinking of getting a Mac Pro. I want to use it as a Pro Tools mixing station. I am fairly inexperienced with Macs (I purchased a G4 lap top a few years ago - loved it and used it to mix Pro Tools. Now I need something more powerful to run all my plug-ins.

    I guess my question is how much better do people think the new Mac Pros will be? Better bang for the buck? Should I wait? How much better will the new ones be? Can Pro Tools even take advantage of the power increases?

    At this point it seems to me that the computers are so powerful I wont ever really use all that power.. I do not plan on doing a lot of video editing - just audio. I need power to run the plug-ins and obviously more power is better - but very few programs are multi threaded anyway( as far as I know).. anyway - as people can maybe tell I am having some serious internal quandaries and would appreciate any general thoughts or specific suggestions... to buy or not to buy, that is the question,
  2. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    You kind of partially answered your question (how much power do you really need and would you really benefit by waiting for a more powerful computer), so here's the $1,000,000 question (or rather series of questions):

    Do you need the computer right now? Would you use it right now? Would it make your life easier now? Would the increase in your productivity over the next 3-4 months offset whatever perceived 'loss' you will feel when the next upgrade comes out?

    If the answer is a resounding "yes" to the above, then get it. Especially since you have no guarantee that the newer computer will work (or work well) with Pro-Tools right away (probably will, but you know the computer now does...).

    It sounds like you could really use it right now. And in worst case scenario, you can always buy it now and sell it when the new ones come out (resale value on these puppies is pretty good)
  3. Supaklaw macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2008
    From what I read on the main rumors page the new processors in the next wave of Mac Pros will only offer a 29% speed boost. The Jan 08 models were a major overhaul of the internal design, I don't think the next gen is going to be as dramatic a jump in raw speed. So that's to answer your "should I get one now, or later" in terms of speed... the real answer is wait no matter. Even if you want to buy an older model like the Jan 08, the new release (expected in first quarter of 09) will drive the price down, and the price of refurbs on the Apple sales page. So you'll save a fair amount waiting 2-3 months.

    Secondly, any current Mac Pro will be more than enough processor speed for audio editing. You will want to make sure you have 4 Gb of RAM, as in the Jan 08 models they were designed to have a minimum of 4 RAM slots used to max their speed. You might be just as happy getting a Macbook, as their portability is extremely useful in taking them to various gigs, and studios to work on stuff, record, etc. And I think the current gen of Macbooks can handle a healthy dose of plugins if you max out the RAM.
  4. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    The penryn speed boost isn't in the same league as the Nehalem jump, as penryn was just a core 2 rehash on a smaller process with SSE4 instructions.
  5. rodal126 macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2008
    I was in your same position last week. I decided to buy the Mac Pro now because my poor Mac Mini couldn't keep up with my needs. It also made it an easy decision when I saw that a 2.8 quad refurb was available. I figured that the times that I got frustrated would be better spent on other things.

    As the saying goes, "buy now if you need it now..."
  6. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Yes, but the number of cores in the standard model doubled
    and the clock speed went from 2.66 to 2.8. That's a significant
    boost for multi-threaded applications.
  7. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    I do both, Video and Audio editing on mine.

    My New Year's Rez is to learn Logic. I bought it at CompUSA when they went out of business. I use (and have used for 15 years) Adobe Audition (Used to be Cool Edit Pro) on my Mac Pro under Windows. In fact, the only reason I still have Windows...because I know how to use Audition and they don't yet make it for Mac.

    The latest edition of Adobe runs fantastic on my Pro. Logic, from the little I have done, runs great. I use Final Cut alot though. Tons of video editing in High Def. We also have two (three year old) pros. My early '08 cuts 80% off rendering times in some cases. And, that's not taking advantage of all 8 cores....not even close! I think the software developers need to catch up with the hardware personally.

    It's hard to believe these can get any faster...I run Flight Sim on the Windows side of over 70 frames/second! My "new" Quad Core Windows machine (Same graphics, 8800GT) has a tough time maintaining 20fps!

    Someone mentioned it earlier. If it is time to upgrade, it's time to upgrade. Don't wait for what is possibly around the corner....these Mac Pros Blow the competition out of the water for sound, video, photo, or any creative rendering.

    No need to wait if you need it now.

  8. liquid stereo macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2005
    Saint Paul
    Just Bought

    The new machine arrived today. (Let me first say thank goodness for time machine. My 250GB drive decided to flake out and I had to restore a from TM.)

    I love the new 8-core MP.


  9. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    You may want to wait if you plan on doing a lot of sample based work, the new DDR3 will really out preform the DDR2 in the current Macpro, saying that I run Logic 8 in the current Macpro and it doesn't seem to break a sweat.

    It might be blasphemy here but have you considered running a PC with say Windows Vista 64bit, you'll get a lot more bang for your buck, i'd recommend a new Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte, they're a sweet looking machine
  10. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Very! Why? Because the current ones will be a lot cheaper and the new ones
    may be so much better you'll kick yourself.
  11. rpaloalto macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2005
    Palo Alto CA.
    If you think the current mac pro. Will be more than enough power for your uses. And you need something now, get it.
    Mac world is still 2 more months away.

    The next mac pro will be totally different. Both inside and out. I'm sure they will do some kind of case redesign. Along with the new intel chips. These new chips will use a whole new radically designed architecture. Their may or may not be some problems with them. Both hardware and firmware issues.

    If your going to be relying on this mac pro, as your only computer. And you use it on a daily basis for your business. You might be disappointed. If their is a major problem

    It's fun to get the next best thing first. But it's wise to wait. wait for a revision b or later.

    If you buy the mac pro now you will be buying A very stable version of the mac pro. The case design has been around since the G5. And were on the second intel revision. The current Intel architecture Has been refind for the last few years and is very stable.

    If your going to wait, for the new mac pro . At least wait for a good six months to see what problems their may be.
  12. liquid stereo macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2005
    Saint Paul
    The "case"???

    The case doesn't matter. Does it not sit somewhere unseen?
    Additionally, it will not change (much). PCI slots, hard drive slots, cooling, etc. suggests that its not in Apple's interests to change the machine. If anything it will be changed in a manner similar to the other Macs.
    (1) It will be aluminum.
    (2) It may be more recyclable.
    (3) The new chips do not put out less heat.
    (4) Who wants fewer slots and hard drive options?

    Consider this - what does 25% speed increase mean to you? If its a game-changer then you may want to wait.


  13. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    Where did you hear a 25% speed increase is guaranteed?

    25% faster doing what? rendering HD video? Ripping an album into Itunes? Surfing?

    Certainly NOT doing audio tasks??? I run a program on my MacBook Pros and iMacs in the field called Serato. I've also used Traktor and other "live audio" applications. There is ZERO latency anymore. Even with my laptops and iMacs. I don't use the Pro in the field, it is stationary in the studio.

    I guess I'm confused on how you can get 25% faster in Audio applications. Even adding pan or echo/reverb/EQ effects to long files (more than 15-20 minutes) is instantaneous (almost).

    I know the new machines on the horizon will be faster...go figure, Moore's Law. It's just not necessary for audio applications. Someone else mentioned a PC. Hell, you can run a three year old PC with most of the audio apps on the market today and be just fine:)

  14. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
    How dumb is it to buy a Mac Pro now?

    With new Mac Pros less than 2 months away, VERY.
  15. kabelabs macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    just like the imacs were supposed to get updated before the end of the year, eh? then apple announced no changes this year.

    if you need it and use it to make money, then get one now. if you are in no hurry, then wait. it wouldn't hurt to wait. But, if apple doesn't come out with the big changes everyone is banking on in jan, you're no better or worse off, then you can tell yourself to wait for an update later in the year.
    unless there is a 40-50% increase in speed and performance, i can't say it's honestly worth the wait if you need it now.

    Have their been any tests with OSX that show the difference in performance or is all the speculation and performance benchmarking in windows? if all the benchmarks and whitepaper speculation are from windows, do you think it will translate to the same gains in osx?

    it all should hinge on your need. do you need it now or can you wait?
  16. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    I wouldn't say it's stupid to buy now, it just depends on what you really value the most.

    Latest and greatest? cutting edge? Or refined, and stability?

    If you care about a case redesign you should wait then. But as a poster mentioned, the Rev. A might have problems so just keep that in mind, otherwise you'll obviously get a much newer, and different internal architecture machine. DDR3 ram sounds nice too compared to fb-dimms.

    Personally, I purchased my mac pro in September knowing full well it was due for a redesign/update in a few months. Why did I buy it anyways? Well, I went for a refurb deal which are awesome and I would recommend the same to you. I also tend to prefer proven technology and value stability more than cutting edge. Oh and I needed a computer at the time as well, and trust me, it ain't worth holding out for a new revision whilst compromising your work flow.

    Ultimately, whichever you choose, i think you'll be very happy :) mac pros are awesome machines.
  17. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
  18. kabelabs macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    we haven't even seen the xeon chips in a dual socket running yet, or at least i havent. i have seen one foxconn dual socket mb, but nothing about the performance.
    Benchmarks always make things look better then they really are, nvidia/ati proved that for years with futuremark.
    real world performance is all speculative at this point, unless you go with what intel says, or anand, toms or other windows enthusiast websites.
    The thing is, windows handles memory much better then osx, so i'm not sure the memory bandwidth gains will translate to huge gains in osx.
    but, i guess thats as much rumors as the next release of the mac pro.
  19. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    There is almost no chance that new MacPros are less than 2 months away.

    The processor that Apple will almost certainly use in the next generation of MacPros is supposed to be released in the first quarter of 2009. "First quarter" does not mean January, it means sometime in the January through March time frame. The present MacPro was released about eight weeks after the processors were released. That would suggest that the next release of MacPros will probably be sometime in the March through May time frame.

    If you need a MacPro now, buy it now. If you can afford to wait until spring, wait.
  20. cgdotcom macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2007
    This is one of the smartest comments I've read on this forum -- and let's face it, smart comments are outnumbered by idiotic comments by a ratio of about a hundred to one.

    If you are using your Mac to make money, as I do, and you will be 10% more productive with a new Mac Pro, then you can easily work out whether it's financially "worth" waiting; every month you wait will cost you 10% of your monthly income.

    If the benefit of the new Mac is likely to outweigh the sum of this cost, then you should wait. If not -- and personally, I'd think that it probably wouldn't -- then you should buy one now.

    I realise that everyone uses their Mac for different reasons, but the Mac Pro is aimed at the professional market. People who post comments along the lines of, "OMG u are mad u cd lose like $100 WAIT" need to appreciate this.
  21. apple2E macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2008
    This is the reason why I ordered one last week. I played the waiting game with the macbook pro and I'm still waiting for the 17".
  22. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
  23. liquid stereo macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2005
    Saint Paul
    Want vs Need and other poor motivations

    I've been waiting for a long time. I first considered purchasing in May/June. I waited and waited. So much so that I screwed up a project that I could have done much better on the MacPro than on the 2x2GHz G5 PowerMac. And let me say that I am working, making a living with this machine. It comes not out of my personal budget but my work budget, of which its a small fraction.

    If you're playing games, or just want the latest machine then wait.

    If you are using the machine for business/work and the upgrade from your previous/current machine offers an increase in productivity, throughput, etc. then its no-brainer.

    Regarding the 25%... based on speed increases on the other Intel chips (over current core2duo's), the speed increase will be, in my opinion, not greater than 25% on average.


  24. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    It also is one of the most repetitive comments made re. buying advice.
    It is sound advice though, unless an upcoming processor generation might provide substantial improvements or introduce new standards.

    This would be my most reasonable comment of choice :

    The question remains, does at this point anyone know by how much faster a MacPro Nehalem might be under a heavy load, compared to the current MP ?

    20-30% in general, that's not much, but if it cuts render times in half, if Snow Leopard will work significantly better with the new architecture, if the pro software will for some reason be easier to adjust, then it could be a great difference.
  25. djjclark macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2008
    would be more likely WWDC=MacPro, expect them in the March to May time frame based on CPU availability and Apple engineering turn around time.

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