How long can the current Mac Pro last? vs next gen?

SpaceJello

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 2, 2006
383
1
Like everyone I love a new mac :D, and I have been toying with moving onto a Mac Pro from a MBP since I will be doing more graphic/video intensive work - movie/episode length video editing, motion graphics etc.

However, I am curious how long would the current gen of Mac Pro last in reality? I am looking at the 2.66 Ghz, would I be able to upgrade the CPU sometime down the road to a higher Ghz? Or would they even be build?

Seems like with Intel moving onto 45nm architecture... I would imagine those would require a different motherboard. Seeing how even the current iMacs suppasses the Dual G5, I am a bit hesitant to get a Mac Pro to only be obsolete in speed in 2 or so years. Not to mention the discussions about the lack and expense of upgrading a Mac Pro.

What about the expected new Mac Pros for next week? What would be the expected life expectancy for them be? I just don't want to get these powerful machines to only be beaten by the iMacs in 2 years or so....may as well get the imac in the first place and update every 2 years.
 

Eric Piercey

macrumors 6502
Nov 29, 2006
266
5
Perpetual Bondage
The short answer, probably 3 years.

Anything you buy is going to be surpassed in a year, period, but there's a huge difference between that and obsolete. I'm still using a G5 dual 2.0 4GB RAM professionally for video and even using Motion. (x800xt) There are those junkies that just "need" the very fastest thing no matter how much of a financial hit they take because they have to have it. Time is money!! I suppose if one is making 6+ figures a year editing this is true, but to most of us 5Gs is a significant chunk of change that 5-10% increase in render times really isn't going to begin to recoup over a single upgrade cycle.

The way the USD is falling, gas prices rising, and global instability increasing I'd say in 3 more years we're probably all going to be locked up in FEMA camps or something anyway so may as well splurge. I'd wait until the new MP's come out though, which is presumably very soon.
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
There will **always** be a faster mac on the horizon.

our kids Iphones will be more powerful than the next-gen MacPro.


The Mac Pro is over a year into it's original lifetime. It's an infinite game of leapfrog. Of course, eventually, an Imac will outdo the Mac Pro. But there will be a Mac Pro v.3 by then. But then, in a few years after that, the Imac will beat the Mac Pro v.3, but by then, there will be a Mac Pro v.5 that is even faster!

Do you really not see the infinite progression of computers speeds?

The expected lifetime for any mac is "until there is something faster out and the forums explode with posts like this one."
 

Father Jack

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2007
2,481
1
Ireland
Regardless of how long it will be before the Pro is updated, the current Pro is more than capable of doing all you need .... :)
Instead of waiting for the next generation, just add more ram .. :cool:
 

Transeau

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2005
869
12
Alta Loma, CA
it will last until you are able to max out the CPUs.

Mine is 1 year and 3 months old. I've upgraded the CPU's, memory and hard drives. And I've just ordered the RAID card. For what I do, I only use about 50% of it's processing power. I personally don't see needing to replace it for several more years. Given, I do like to always have the latest thing, and if a new Mac Pro comes out that uses a much cooler memory then I'll think about replacing it.

As of now, the heat generated by 8GB of FB-DDR2 is my only real complaint. Who knows, maybe just an updated DIMM design or a new riser will fix this?
 

wentwj

macrumors regular
Sep 6, 2006
206
0
There's a difference between always waiting until the 'next best thing' and just plain common sense.

The Mac Pro upgrade is imminent, it will happen by January at the latest, and could be as early as next week.

When you do get your mac, understand that it won't be the fastest for long, but still.. I wouldn't get one knowing that it could be upgraded before it even arrives from shipping. Even if you think the current model is all you need, after the update drops, you'll be able to get the current models for a lot cheaper.
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
6,038
36
The Land of Hope and Glory
I already max out the CPUs on my 2.66Ghz Mac Pro :(. I just can't justify upgrading just yet. I guess I'll wait till the revision after next. At least then I'll see a significant speed boost.
 

SpaceJello

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 2, 2006
383
1
First, thanks for all the replies. :)

I know that there will always be something better on the horizon especially with tech stuff. If I hadn't switch over to Macs, I think I would still be using my Pentium 4.

I just want to make sure that since the Mac Pro isn't as flexible as PC hardware in terms of user upgrades etc, that I wouldn't be dropping some serious$ to have a piece of hardware that isn't upgradeable, or tweaked to "keep up to date". On the other hand, considering all there that can be done with the current Mac Pros, I doubt i will have everything upgraded to its limit by the time I NEED a new one.

Plus, many of the programs I use (FCP, Photoshop, expect for AE) haven't really utilized the multicore processing yet. Its more forward thinking then wanting the latest. I would want a system with longevity :D
 

SpaceJello

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 2, 2006
383
1
I already max out the CPUs on my 2.66Ghz Mac Pro :(. I just can't justify upgrading just yet. I guess I'll wait till the revision after next. At least then I'll see a significant speed boost.
What do you mean by maxed out? From you signiture, you have a lot of room for RAM upgrade? :)
 

Rowlander

macrumors member
Aug 25, 2007
90
0
My current PC has lasted me 5 years until now. I expect the new Mac Pro I´m going to buy when it comes out to last me at least that long.

I think you should try to wait for the new model or you "lose" one year of usefulness. :)
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
1,759
0
Pasadena/Hollywood
I've gotten 3years out of my Dual 2.5ghz G5. Although, I will probably upgrade much more often from now on (now that I'm actually working rather than being a student).
 

shinji

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2007
1,316
1,508
Way overdue for both a graphics card refresh and an ACD refresh. Happy with everything else, though.

Maybe Blu-Ray/HD-DVD drive and software that can actually play them, too.
 

98707

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2007
198
0
I'm guessing we may see blu-ray mac pro and macbook pro at macworld?

I'm guessing.
 

krunk

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2004
236
0
What do you mean by maxed out? From you signiture, you have a lot of room for RAM upgrade? :)
Ram and CPU are not the same thing. There are ram intensive tasks and CPU intensive tasks. If the applications you are running are cpu intensive but light on ram usage, increasing ram will not increase performance.

For example, the software I use can max out to 100% nearly every core you throw at it. By "nearly", I mean a cluster of about 5+ octo workstations can be pegged at 100% for a considerable amount of time quite easily.

However, 2gb of ram for each workstation is usually plenty to gain max potential for each node. If the future mac pro increases performance by 20% it could reduce a 4 hour task to almost 3 hours. That's a considerable decrease.

Whether to upgrade now should be balanced between need and type of work. If you're doing ram intensive/cpu easy work then buying now will have a negligible impact on potential. If the reverse is true, waiting the relatively short time till an update could provide considerable gain if your need is not too pressing.
 

SpaceJello

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 2, 2006
383
1
Thanks all for your insight! I know that video encoding/compression, FCP and AE takes a beating on the cpu, but photoshop doesn't? Am I correct or does that depends on the project?
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
No, Photoshop won't need all 8 Cores or use all the RAM (it only uses 3GB max now)...After Effects is an other story, with my 9GB of RAM, I am able to utilize ALL 8 cores during a render. If I open the task manager, I can see all my RAM being used up and 8 nodes for AE.

Same goes for 3d apps.
 

deathshrub

macrumors 6502
Oct 30, 2007
360
0
Christmas Island
No, Photoshop won't need all 8 Cores or use all the RAM (it only uses 3GB max now)...After Effects is an other story, with my 9GB of RAM, I am able to utilize ALL 8 cores during a render. If I open the task manager, I can see all my RAM being used up and 8 nodes for AE.
Task manager? :rolleyes::p
 

FF_productions

macrumors 68030
Apr 16, 2005
2,822
0
Mt. Prospect, Illinois
The Mac Pro will last as long as you need it to last, and if your requirements change.


For example
(Let's go back to 2002)
"I have purchased a PowerMac G4 with dual processors, I can edit DV in real-time!"
(A few years later)
"My G4 is choking on anything HD I throw at it, damn looks like I'll have to upgrade..."

The Mac Pro will go through the same thing if you change your requirements. Obviously it can handle HD, but there will be higher quality codecs out there in the future that the Mac Pro will struggle with.
 

MikeZMacGeek

macrumors newbie
Nov 2, 2007
11
0
Mansfield, CT
Like everyone I love a new mac :D, and I have been toying with moving onto a Mac Pro from a MBP since I will be doing more graphic/video intensive work - movie/episode length video editing, motion graphics etc.

However, I am curious how long would the current gen of Mac Pro last in reality? I am looking at the 2.66 Ghz, would I be able to upgrade the CPU sometime down the road to a higher Ghz? Or would they even be build?

Seems like with Intel moving onto 45nm architecture... I would imagine those would require a different motherboard. Seeing how even the current iMacs suppasses the Dual G5, I am a bit hesitant to get a Mac Pro to only be obsolete in speed in 2 or so years. Not to mention the discussions about the lack and expense of upgrading a Mac Pro.

What about the expected new Mac Pros for next week? What would be the expected life expectancy for them be? I just don't want to get these powerful machines to only be beaten by the iMacs in 2 years or so....may as well get the imac in the first place and update every 2 years.
If you get a 8 core system and upgrade the memory to the highest you can afford now and see how this go get more memory if you need it, and always know you will have to up grade the video card every couple of years than you should be good for at lease 5 - 10 years. thats if you are not drooling for the new ones in couple years or so on. But if i were you wait and see what apple does to the mac pro in couple of weeks.....:apple::)
 

pprior

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2007
1,440
8
it will last until you are able to max out the CPUs.

As of now, the heat generated by 8GB of FB-DDR2 is my only real complaint. Who knows, maybe just an updated DIMM design or a new riser will fix this?
Agree - with 8GB of ram my Mac Pro is like a space heater! It's insane how much heat they put out.

Well, that and the ATI X1900XT card - it's a space heater too...
 

SpaceJello

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 2, 2006
383
1
If you get a 8 core system and upgrade the memory to the highest you can afford now and see how this go get more memory if you need it, and always know you will have to up grade the video card every couple of years than you should be good for at lease 5 - 10 years. thats if you are not drooling for the new ones in couple years or so on. But if i were you wait and see what apple does to the mac pro in couple of weeks.....:apple::)
Hum, I have been reading the forums etc, but no one nows whether the next line of new graphics card would work with the current mac pros? Or am I totally wrong? Does Apple have a history of providing drivers or compatibility with new graphics card for older powermac/mac pro editions?

Or are we stuck with the spec choices we had when we ordered the original mac pros?
 

gojaromeiginla

macrumors member
Nov 5, 2007
61
0
Well, the thing about the Mac Pro is that it's the only Mac that uses Nvidia cards. That's somewhat smart of Apple, because it gives added appeal to the Mac Pro. However, that comes with a catch in my opinion. It reduces compatibility with new cards, because Apple needs to put them in themselves unless you're the master of Mac. If this is confusing to you, it's somewhat confusing to me as well. I'm just stating what I know.
 
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