How long would a Mac Pro last?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dwd3885, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    You see, I'm going to be in the market for a Mac Pro (I want a Mac again) and I want something comparable to the Dell system in my sig. My uncle bought a PowerMac G5 Dual 2.7 CPU something like 4 or 5 years ago for photo and video stuff. My question is that if I get a Mac Pro (the 2149 refurb model) would it last a while? See I'm always in the rut of buying and selling computers and I want my next purchase to last a long time so I can put an end to that.

    I don't do any heavy editing with Final Cut or any graphical stuff with Motion or After Effects. I do use iMovie and Lightroom and Photoshop, with iDVD and all the other iLife apps built-in there. The main reason for the Mac Pro is because I can always add hard drive space internally, without adding external mess to the setup and being cheaper. I also have a Dell monitor which I love. I would think an iMac wouldn't last me as long. But what are your thoughts?
  2. AZREOSpecialist macrumors 68020


    Mar 15, 2009
    My PowerMac G5 Dual 2.5 GHz (single core each CPU) w/ 4.5 GB RAM lasted me roughly five years. It was starting to get long in the tooth, but still functioning and usable. If you're okay with using your Mac until it is basically unusable, I don't see why it wouldn't last you at least this long. Apple has been really good about keeping Mac OS X lean and efficient over the years, and with Snow Leopard throwing out a bunch of legacy technologies in favor of newer technologies, this should hold true into the future a well.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Given what usage you describe, it would last awhile, as the software is likely to be some time before it can catch up to the hardware, let alone actually exceed it. ;)

    The problem is, it's kind of hard to give you an idea, so I'll go with the norms for workstation/server systems; 5 years is the typical time such a system is supported. After that, you may or may not be left out in the cold.

    That said, Apple doesn't look at the MP's as workstation systems as far as support length. Take the '06 - '07 models. They came with EFI32, and haven't had an EFI64 update, despite the fact that the CPU/s are 64bit models.

    It's already affecting their ability to update the graphics cards, and will soon affect their ability to use newer versions of OS X (once they go 64bit Kernel only). Fortunately, the '08's on have the EFI64. So something like this may be less of an issue. But you should be aware Apple doesn't seem to care about purchasers of previous systems for very long.
  4. TheSilencer macrumors regular

    May 27, 2007
    Basically think of three years thanks to Apple Care, then sell it before it passes these three years or just keep the machine as long it suits your needs.

    You can upgrade the CPU (violates Apple Care), RAM, graphics card and, most efficient upgrade today, give the OS an SSD which will really make a difference.

    Given all these upgrades the machine can last some years without a problem and yeah, every machine you can buy is out of date because manufacturers have better, faster products to come out any time.
  5. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    According to dgm, just ten months! :D
  7. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    3 to 5 years is a good amount for any computer. It would probably be OK beyond that for limited usage. However, as we all know the next step up in technology is far too tempting to miss out on....
  8. Macpropro80 macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2009
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Though both situations are terrible (and should be covered by warranty, if under 12 mo or the extended was purchased), they are anomalies. If it becomes more common, then there's a real issue with the QC of the systems being produced.

    General Rule of Thumb:
    3 years for desktop systems (consumer gear)
    5 years for workstations & servers (professional/enterprise gear)
  10. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Let me turn the question around a bit... how long do YOU want it to last?

    Reasoning behind that is simple: if you want it to last, say, 5 years, you'll make sure it lasts that long. You'll have any broken parts that gets in your way fixed, replaced, worked around, whatever.

    We also don't know how long you want to keep it before (for example) you get tired of it. But a desktop machine with mostly easily found and upgraded parts, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to easily last 3-5 years of daily use. And even longer if that's what you want out of it.
  11. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Buying an iMac every 2 years will be cheaper and probably faster for what you need...
  12. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
  13. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    5 years.

    The G5 in my signature is still making me a living and it'll be 5 years old in December. I have no immediate plans to replace it, unless it dies of course :eek:
  14. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    He only plans to use iLife and Photoshop, and the only thing he needs that a Mac Pro has over an iMac is 4 internal drive bays. He won't notice the difference otherwise...

    So why not get a new iMac every couple of years?
  15. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    Like the OP, I mainly use my Mac Pro for Photshop/Lightroom and basic day to day stuff (i.e. I'm not using it professionally at this point - I wanted something that would last a long time, and has the internal storage that I want.)

    I purchased this machine in January of '08, and I expect it to last at *least* 5 years. I did buy Applecare on it (repair cost would be insane on a machine like this), but I'm hoping to sell it for maybe around half of the original price after that time (maybe someone could tell me if that's a reasonable expectation...)

    Hopefully I *will* be using it for professional use before the 5 years is up... :)
  16. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Well if you drop it from 5th floor, it lasts for few seconds. If you place it under your desk and use it appropriately, there's no reason why it wouldn't last you few decades, give or take few hard drive exchanges.
  17. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    Had mine since they were launched in Sep 2006.

    I've added since then a 8800GT graphics card, 12GB ram, 4x250GB HD's + 64GB Boot SSD.

    Sure these extra toys have cost a bit, but i really like keeping the machine snappy. In its original config it would still do everything that i currently do on the machine, just a little slower. Also most of these are transferable to a new machine.

    I've had 3 years excellent usage out of it and don't have any yearnings for a 2009 Mac Pro. I suspect i will continue to keep it for another two years.

  18. iPhone 62S macrumors 6502a

    iPhone 62S

    Aug 18, 2009
    Macs can last a long time. There are iMac G3s which still work today! Sure, you'd have to replace a dead HD or two if you use it for a long time, but it's certainly doable.
  19. dwd3885 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    Well, the refurb Mac Pro is $2199. So getting an iMac would probably be like $1499. I guess I would then sell the imac in two years time and the new one would be something like the same price, so it would probably be a couple hundred difference, making the total for the second one + first one around $1900.

    Mainly, if I get a Mac now, I'd want a quad core or at least comparable specs to what my Dell is, otherwise I'd be missing out on power. I just always thought that if an iMac died, i'd be out a good screen at the same time and since I already have a Dell IPS panel that I like, it might not be as wise.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Nah, it won't last decades. The caps will go out before then (10 years max for electrolytics). :eek: :p

    And if they do go, they could take out other parts of the system with them , rendering the system absolute toast. Particularly those in the PSU and Voltage Regulators on the logic board.
  21. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    See it that way:

    Computers last a) as long as they can be repaired, or b) until you want new features no longer supported by your hardware.

    Re a) Apple guarantees spare parts to be available 3 years after the model stopped being produced. And if you get AppleCare (highly recommended if you want to keep hardware that long) hardware failure will be repaired for free for 3 years.
    After that typically third parties still repair the computer for another year or two. Then certain replacement parts start to get scarse.

    So from that point of view any Mac Pro purchased today would last you at least 5 years.

    b) is the tricky one of course.
    Mac Pros due to their expandability can last you longer than an iMac as they can be retro fitted with new hardware via its expansion slots.

    But you won't be able to get past PCI Express speeds. So once SATA 6 Gbit/s becomes mainstream or Light Peak your hardware requirements might have moved on and your Mac Pro might no longer be sufficient.

    Also consider max RAM requirements. The quad-core Mac Pro only comes with 4 RAM slots, in a few years 4GB sticks will be affordable, but you'd probably be stuck with a 16GB maximum for a while.

    That's plenty today, but in 3 years might not seem so much any more and you might have to buy new hardware simply because you want more memory.

    It really boils down to your own needs in the future.

    If you set up a system 'as is' today and won't upgrade anything ever again, chances are you could use this easily 5 years.

    But if you want to upgrade HD space, more RAM, new ports/connections then you might run into limitations.
    All of these can be much better expanded on a Mac Pro than an iMac, but perhaps still not well enough.

    The safest option is to purchase a new, current model every year (selling the old one). That way you're up to date. And for that route an iMac is sufficient.
    If you don't want to go that route a Mac Pro will last you longer - depending on your own 'I want current technology' needs.

    Typically Macs last 3-5 years.
    They tend to be a bit more expensive but provide longer life spans so overall can actually be cheaper.
  22. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    Quite long if you stick to the current software and don't upgrade.

    A lot of studios out there are still on CS1/2 running Tiger and see no reason to jump to Leopard, let alone Snow Leopard. Why? Because what they run is perfect for what they need.

    A studio I worked for ran first-gen Mac Pros and Powerbook G4s, 8 year old large format printers. They ran on Tiger and used CS2. We were just as good as a studio running the latest Mac Pro's with CS4. I'm sure our studio could still be running those for another 2-3 years without seeing a need to upgrade.

    Now if you plan on running the latest and greatest OS/software, don't expect to see more that 5 years max.
  23. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Seconded! On my (now sold) iMac (2.93GHz, 4GB RAM, 2009 model), Leopard (10.5.8) flew over my Vista PC (which had a Q9650 o/c to 3.6GHz, 8GB, 10000PRM hard drive, GTX260 video). Snow Leopard knocked my socks off too; MUCH faster with file access times, refined interface (enhances what's a darn good design), and lays the groundwork for future app development (GCD, OpenCL).

    Case design is sublime and unsurpassed by any plastic PC pablum...

    As an outsider, reading the complaints against Apple just don't often seem warranted. (Apple controlling everything means it's their reputation and responsibility, which even on the worst days is still light years better than Windows. So far!) If anything, the single quad Pro would have been nicer with 8 RAM slots, but it's all good... I will be more likely to move to a 3.33GHz CPU than upgrading RAM anyway, when the time comes... 8GB is plenty and configuring AfterEffects to use 6 cores (3 real 3 HT), the remaining 2 cores can be used for photoshop without problems...)

    Indeed, if Apple were to sell a 3.33GHz upgrade I'd probably bite. Going to 2.97GHz, for $500, is pointless - even if newegg sells the same CPU for $600. :eek: Not for the 260MHz difference. The margin offered by 3.33 is likely worth its price ($1000) despite not having read enough performance benchmarks, apart from the static one I'd read here...
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You've got a lot to learn. :eek: :D :p

    Keep in mind, the hardware is the same as anything else out there now (it's Intel based, and there's equivalent hardware).

    The OS is the only real difference. But to lock OS X to the systems, Apple chose to use a proprietary version of EFI (based of v.1.10). So it and the other "changes" are made to lock out competition and keep margins high, such as using the PCB traces to give their own Apple RAID Pro card an advantage over better 3rd party RAID cards via incompatibility without an expensive adapter. Not to improve the product or overall experience.
  25. iZac macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2003
    My '06 Mac Pro is 3 years and still ticking. It runs a little warmer than id like, but i keep my fans ticking over at 900rpm and the DVD drive started clicking intermittently. Other than that its as good as gold.

    It still handles 150cm squared 400 dpi photoshop docs (little bit slow, but i blame that on CS4) but i only have a paltry 3 gig of RAM in it at the moment, so it's probably paging like hell.

    Im in a dilemma, wondering if i should upgrade the RAM and GPU, (maybe a BR drive when we finally get playback) which should keep it fresh for another year or two. My dad expects to get it as a hand-me-down, so i have no chance of selling it at the end of its life!

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