How much more power would I get in a Mac Pro compared to a MBP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by msmth928, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. msmth928 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #1
    I can't decide between the two :eek:

    How much more powerful is the Mac Pro to the MBP?

    MBP
    Cheapest 2.4ghz
    4GB Ram
    Upgraded HD to Seagate (or WD) 7,200rpm 16mb cache
    1 USB external disk for time machine
    1 FireWire external for 'extra' storage space
    (All important files such as OS, my files and emails etc on internal HD)

    Mac Pro
    Cheapest 2.66 quad Nehalem
    250gb 7200 16mb cache HD for OS
    2 x 500GB 7200 16mb cache HDs in Raid 1 (mirror) for all my files

    Speed is important to me as I'm coming from a very past PC, I'll be using the computer for photoshop, coding and general pc stuff, I do however have up to 50 tabs open in my browser when surfing (and I surf often).

    I have the MBP right now but can still return it if I want to, it was feeling a little slugish when browsing until I bought an airport extreme base station and now it feels a lot snappier (which is what I was used to).

    I was going to set the MBP as follows, internal HD for all important stuff such as emails, files etc along with one external USB drive for time machine (to back up internal drive) and another USB or firewire drive for unimportant stuff, such as high definition trailers, images from camera and other downloads (and I'd move the one's I want to keep to main HD). However usb drives are capped at 480mbs and even firewire at 800mbs wouldn't be as fast as a proper internal HD.

    The Mac Pro would be set up as follows, internal HD1 (250gb 7,200) for OS only, and two 500GB 7200 disks in Raid1 for a mirror of each other where all my files, emails etc will go - so I have an instant back up of all my important stuff.

    I would rarely need the portability aspect of the MBP (and have another laptop if I really needed that). I do however like how quiet it is :D

    The expandability side of the Mac Pro does appeal to me as at some point I may be interested in getting a HDMI card to rip video footage from a compliant device (not 100% yet but it's something I'm thinking about).

    I don't game on my PC and have no intention of doing so (got a PS3 for that!)

    So what do you think if the cost between them doesn't really matter? Are there any other pros in getting a Mac Pro? :apple:
     
  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #2
    Overall, a Mac Pro would be snappier in day to day operations (though probably not significantly so) because it uses workstation-class hardware (faster CPUs, system bus, hard drives, etc.). Obviously, there will be a significant performance difference when using multithreaded software (CAD, 3D modeling, video rendering, etc.).

    So I suppose if you wanted faster overall performance and value the level expansion a desktop can give you, the choice would be simple. And configured with relatively quiet hard drives, Mac Pros are close to dead silent, unless you have a noisy video card installed (like the Radeon 3870).

    FYI, you can run eSATA drives (which would be faster than FW800 and darned close to the speed of internal SATA drives) with an ExpressCard eSATA adapter if you end up keeping the MBP.
     
  3. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #3
    The Mac Pro is pretty quiet, makes a slight whooshing noise.

    The main reason I got mine was (aside from the fact that it has 8 cores! :eek:) for expandability. I've got 4 drives in mine right now (boot, windows, and 1TB RAID 1 for photos and other bollocks). I couldn't do that with a MBP, I'd have externals all over the place (I only have 2 now, lol).
    Plus, as the years go on, you can upgrade the GPU, and add more RAM. I say go for it. I love my Pro, you'll love yours too! :D
     
  4. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #4
    Hello,

    Quick advice: don't consider RAID1 as a back-up solution.

    And for performance, don't hesitate to get more RAM (50 tabbed surfing!!!) and a RAID0 set. Otherwise, you won't see a night and day difference.

    Using a Mac Pro "as is", or nearly as-is won't bring you a huge difference. Setting it up, making use of the expansions... well now you're talking.

    Loa
     
  5. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #5
    One main advantage is that you can put 16GB of ram in the MP for $300.

    The MBP comes with 4GB of ram and it would be pricey to take it to 8GB.

    I'm not convinced that something like "surfing the internet" is going to be blazes faster with a MP. There are too many factors like the internet, the bloated browsers, etc.

    Where the MP shines is under load. Rendering, compressing, compiling, etc or doing those things as background tasks. Obviously would excel at app that multithread well... which more will in the years to come...
     
  6. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #6
    Seems kind of ridiculous to me if you don't need the portability, must you really ask? 8 cores compared to 2, the ability for more RAM, 4HD bays. Upgradeable graphics card. Hmmm, let's see, I think Mac Pro.
     
  7. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #7
    6HD with the Nehalems, prodivded you buy a 25$ braket for them in the 2nd optical bay...

    Even better!

    Loa
     
  8. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #8
    Uh, that's what it's for, data redundancy. I guess the two drives could fail at the same time, but that's highly unlikely.
     
  9. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #9
    But it's still not a "back-up."

    The difference is slight, but real.

    If you CAN'T afford to lose the data, you need to do more than a RAID.
     
  10. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #10
    Yep. I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain it myself, but read up on it. Redundancy is not a back-up.

    Loa
     
  11. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #11
    Unless I have some kind of voodoo crap RAID, if one drive dies, I'll just replace it and rebuild the mirror. I guess it's always good to back up, but I can't justify spending money on a HDD just to back up my back up.
    "yo dawg, I heard you like redundancy, so we backed up your back up so you can back up while you back up."
     
  12. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #12
    lolz, but it's a little like that...

    what if the controller goes bad and corrupts your drives? the weakest link brings the whole thing down...

    500GB and 1TB externals are pretty cheap these days... $60-$120.
     
  13. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #13
    True, but what if my external backup gets stolen ;) there are always variables; my favourite ideology about backing up comes from a Nat. Geo photog (can't remember her name). She basically said "we used to carry exposed film around in our pockets, and now with digital everyone is all worried about backing up every step!"
     
  14. msmth928 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #14
    Thanks All! Looks like I'm leaning towards the MP :D

    Thanks - I didn't know that!!

    Isn't the limit 8GB on the cheaper model?

    I'm looking at the cheaper 4 core model...

    Why not? I had a raid 1 set-up in my pc that just died, simply took one of the raid1 drives out put it in a sata disk reader and copied the contents to my MBP :D
     
  15. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #15
    Because you can't back up film? If you could backup film, they would have.

    Yes, there are always variables but how do you control and mitigate them is what matters.

    If your RAID craps, you'd have your external.

    If your external gets stolen, then you'd need to get another one and re-back up your data from your RAID.

    It just depends on what the data is. If it's not worth it, it's not worth it. Sometimes it is.
     
  16. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #16
    That quote was meant as a statement about people's back-up paranoia. ;)
    It's good to back up, but it's ok to not back up everything ever multiple times. There's a middle ground, which I feel is served best by my RAID. If you or anyone else feels that is not enough, then more power and HDDs to you.
     
  17. snouter macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2009
    #17
    Apparently, 4GB sticks will work, just they are expensive...
     
  18. Semiopaque macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #18
    In a one user, one machine situation I personally wouldn't take the performance hit doing mirrored software RAID, especially if you only have two drives. I'm currently using Time Machine on one drive with periodic clones on another.

    Drive issues seem to crop up when I need to use the computer the most and being able to just pop in a cloned drive saves a lot of time. Also, it seems that one drive failing is usually a good indication that the other drive is going to have problems too - soon - possibly because they're the same models, usually manufactured at around the same time, and getting the same usage continuously under the same conditions.

    I was using mirroring on some 1 TB drives but, once filled, the data was generally static so I switched to just copies of the drives with one in my computer for use and the other stored away in a separate location.

    Keep in mind in the Mac Pro setup you listed, you only have a backup of all your data (on the two mirrored 500GBs). You have no backup of your OS or Apps. Think about Time Machine or cloning your OS/App drive so your downtime is only the time it takes you to swap drives. Installing the OS and everything and getting all your settings back to your liking is a pain.
     
  19. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #19
    If you're referring to me, I have a time machine back-up of my boot drive.
    I also have seen no real performance degradation with my RAID 1. It just makes more sense in my setup to do RAID 1, the only other option would have been to get another drive of the same size and have automated back ups... like a RAID 1, only more annoying.
     
  20. Semiopaque macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #20
    Sorry, I was referring to the OP's original proposed set-up for the Mac Pro. I probably should have quoted that. :)

    Your set-up sounds good and if you don't notice any performance issues and it works for you, it's obviously good for your needs. Don't mess with what works I say.

    I do like and recommend cloned drives, though. It has saved me tons of time.
     
  21. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #21
    Ya, at some point I'll probably invest in an external 1TB drive to back up the stuff on my RAID to, but for now, this works really well. I have to balance my need for HDDs with my lack of money. :cool:
     
  22. msmth928 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #22
    Thanks for the info.

    Will I be able to create a partition on my OS drive (the 250GB one) and then use half of it for time machine back-ups of that disk, i.e. the os and apps?

    I'm not too bothered about having to reinstall the OS and programs - I used to do that every 6 months on Vista!

    I intend on moving my 'home' directory to the mirrored disk, so if I ever had to reinstall the OS I would simply point it to the old location, preserving my settings, emails etc (is this how it 'should' work? That's pretty much how I do it with Vista).
     
  23. sommls macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    #23
    If it's just not losing data, you can do an off site service like Mozy for a lot less than the drives will cost you, though it takes forever without a 100 Mbps connection.

    The MP expandability was what finally drove my decision. I've got tired of mazes of wires and power bricks to support additional optical drives and stacks of external HDDs.

    It's a also lot less high strung than a laptop (mine is a first generation MBP) whose CPU temperatures commonly get into the 70C range with correspondingly high case temperatures with streaming video.
     
  24. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #24
    Hello,

    Look, gonna give it one more try, and then you can decide to do what you want with your RAID1.

    It's called a RAID1 mirror, and not a RAID1 back-up for a reason.

    Sure if one drive physically fails, you can use the other one to restore. But hard-drive failure is just one of the things a back-up protects you from. I'll give you two examples that, hopefully, will make you see the difference between a mirror and a back-up.

    1) One of your file gets corrupted (pick one of the many ways this could happen). Well, just about immediately, that corruption gets copied over to your mirror. Now where is the original, non-corrupted version? Nowhere.

    2) You delete a file by accident and don't realize it immediately. The next few files you write may well write over that file, and of course your mirror will instantly delete and write over your file as well. Now where is the original file? Nowhere.

    There is no back-up paranoia my friend: ppl are only as paranoiac as their data is important. Ask yourself: to what length would you go to recover lost data if something bad happened? Well then you should expend just as much energy to "prevent" such data loss.

    Take 5 minutes and check all the options on a good back-up utility like CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner), and then try to find those same options on a RAID1 controller.

    Loa
     
  25. msmth928 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #25
    Hi Loa

    That level of contingency is not required for my purposes. All I want is two copies of my files/emails etc, for two reasons,

    1) if one drive fails I have a 'back-up' (back-up/mirror call it what you want, essentially it is a copy of the first drive which I would class as a back-up)

    2) when I go away, I want to be able to take one drive out and leave it at a different property - so if there is a fire/break in while I'm away I still have my files.

    On top of that, anything that is really really important, is generally backed up to DVD, online storage, or an external drive. But that's rare and in such cases does not exceed 1GB of date.

    Hope that helps explain why anything more than raid1 is overkill for me.
     

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