If you had to buy now, which would you get?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by taberrr, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. taberrr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    NY
    #1
    My 4 yr old Mac Pro just completely died earlier. It's been having intermittent weird USB issues, but finally it died... can't boot off a CD or USB, unplugged all accessories, it's just... done. It was a 3.0ghz Mac Pro2,1 with 12gb of DDR2 RAM.

    So I'm in the market for a new Mac, and I turn to you guys/girls! I know the Mac Pro line is due for an upgrade in "early 2012" but... I can't be without a computer for that long. So if you were in my situation, which would you go with, an iMac or a Mac Pro?

    And which configuration?

    Thanks!
     
  2. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #2
    Really need more info on what you use the machine for, what apps, did you find the performance of your old machine adequate? What were you using for a display with your old MP?

    The latest iMac's are good values in that they have a very nice display, very fast quad core CPU, can get to 16GB RAM cheaply (and 24-32GB not so cheaply) and have Thunderbolt for high performance external storage expansion.

    The downsides are not many option on Thunderbolt devices yet (and they are expensive so far), no 6+ core CPU option if needed, not easily expanded/upgraded due to package, you are paying for a display whether you need it or not.

    The MP is more flexible, capable of much larger core counts and RAM, but is a lot more expensive.

    If your RAM needs are modest, don't forget the new Mac Mini server - quad core, but only gets to 8 GB cheaply, 16GB expensively due to having 2 DIMM slots instead of 4 like the iMac.

    If I had to get a MP today, the most cost effective, future proof solution is probably looking for a used/refurb 2010 2.8 quad base model and doing a DIY CPU upgrade to the 3.33 6 core CPU ($615 for the part) and putting 24 GB RAM in from a 3rd party such as OWC ($349, also from OWC). With the PCIe slots available, lack of Thunderbolt is not really an issue (especially with the meager selection of devices in the near future). And the SB-e Xeon MP upgrade that is expected is not going to embarrass the 3.33 hex Westmere model by a large amount at the same core count, based on the projections I have seen. One of the reasons the slower clocked mobile SB models smoked the previous C2D machines is a crazy TurboBoost multiplier - something the faster Xeon SB chips are apparently not going to have.

    THis has been hashed over many times here, so without specific needs, there isn't much we can add in a general sense.
     
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Came in to post the same thing. Don't buy much HDD storage now if you don't specifically need it as prices have gone through the roof. Get an SSD though.
     
  4. taberrr thread starter macrumors regular

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    NY
    #4
    @khollister Thanks, good point! I used it mostly for web design & development, iOS apps, and VM stuff, a little video editing and a ton of Photoshop. Yes, the speed of the (currently busted) MP was fine with me! It was pretty speedy.

    I have 2 HP ZR24w's and they're fine... but an extra 27" iMac screen in the middle can't hurt. :)

    One of the reasons I ask is that I saw a post about the newer iMacs being faster than a Mac Pro, but also saw some posts saying it was because the iMac was SSD and the MP was not.

    Because this MP is DOA I'm a bit hesitant to go the refurb route... hopefully a new one would last me another ~4 years.

    Then I was also considering getting a new logic board. Before I made the switch to Mac (yearrrrs ago) I put together my own computers with parts from pricewatch.com. The logic boards seem to be ~$1K though. Hmm.

    @Umbongo Good point too, I have all 4 bays full of SATA drives right now, but one of them is a Bootcamp partition that is rarely used.
     
  5. deconstruct60, Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #5
    Off to the side may even hurt less. For those who may not like the iMac screen due to color, matte, etc preferences the computer doesn't necessarily need to be be in the middle. The iMac screen could get used for eMail, web browser, reference manual, and system monitoring..... stuff that doesn't require primary focus most of the time.

    If have two pairs putting them side by side put a more uniform space together. The "primary" monitor can be set in the preferences.

    that's primarily a short term situation. But yeah if you SSD the top iMac and put the entry level Mac Pro on HDD there is a speed gap but either machine would be "fast enough". So "faster" should not be much of a difference.

    Running one or more VMs (the OS images are only going to get larger over time) lends itself to cheaper ways of putting in the maximum memory. I think the Mac Pro may be better fit on that mark. (but it is also more money and the high density iMac memory will come down in price in 1-2 years. )

    It might cost an additional couple $100 but one strategy would be to buy a MP now and then sell it off once the new Mac Pros finally do launch and buy again.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Location:
    England
    #6
    Refurbs aren't always broken machines that have been fixed, often they are just returned items. If they have had defects then they will have been fixed and thus had better diagnostic checks run than a system straight off the product line. just a way to save money and you get a full warranty and can get AppleCare for it.
     
  7. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #7
    I would buy exactly what I'm now using, specs in my sig. People act like it's behind when Sandy Bridge is supposedly around the corner, I say it's still the best we can get from Apple and that's why I think it's the bomb! :cool:
     
  8. szolr macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    I'd say get one of the high end iMac. 27 inch display, 2 thunderbolt ports, quad core sandy bridge, decent enough graphics etc etc. You can pick and choose RAM, processor uprades as required. :)
     
  9. taberrr thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    NY
    #9
    Thanks for the opinions! Appreciate it. One more question I have: How do the new "Westmere" chips compare to the older Xeon X5365 (Clovertown) CPUs found in the MacPro 2,1 models? My old MP had two 3.0ghz Xeon Clovertown CPUs (each with 4 independent cores), and right now I'm looking at the "8-Core" setup in the Apple Store:

    "Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (8 cores)"

    The price of 2 of these at 2.4ghz is comparable to my current dual 3.0ghz Xeon's... seems like a step back to me, for the same amount of money. :(

    Then again, I'm not sure if the older Xeon X5365's have hyper-threading, etc. so it may not be a fair assessment comparing the 2.4ghz clock speed on the newer chips w/ the older 3.0ghz Xeon X5365 chips... can someone weigh in there?

    Thanks again!!
     
  10. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #10
    Geekbench on a 2008 3Ghz x 2 (8 core) MP is 11269

    Geekbench on a 2010 2.4 Ghz x 2 (8 core + 8 hyperthreaded cores) is 14074

    My single processor 3.33 6 core MP is 15300, and it clobber the 2.4x2 on software that is not threaded well due to the clock speed. On the other hand, the dual will take big RAM cheaper and you have a upgrade path to faster X-series Xeons (but they are very expensive).

    The differences from your MP are largely due to Hyperthreading and TurboBoost. The newer machines will likely not seem blazingly faster just piddling around surfing the web, etc. There will be a big difference running large multi-threaded apps or multitasking.

    ----------

    The MTBF for a Pro (excepting HDD or optical failures) is way longer than 4 years from what I have seen. I would not hesitate to get a refurb or even used (assuming you can thoroughly test it). I know a number of folks still running G5 PowerMac's or even G4's :eek:

    There are refurb 2010 2,8 SP MP's on the US Apple store right now for about $2100. Add about $1000 for a 3.33x6 CPU and 24 GB RAM and you have a very powerful machine.
     
  11. taberrr thread starter macrumors regular

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    NY
    #11
    Thank you! That's really helpful!

    Because I needed it by Monday, I picked up the 8-core MP from the Apple store today. It was heavy. Haha. I swapped in the HD's from my old MP with no problems... booted right up, and it's pretty quick!

    Hopefully it will last at least another 4 yrs. :D

    Thanks again!
     
  12. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #12
    Congratulations. MIssed the "needing it by Monday" part. It should be a little snappier than your old one.
     
  13. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #13
    congrats on the purchase! that's probably the one i would get if i was buying today. of course i'd love to have the 12-core, but the price is just too high. maybe one day i'll buy my second mac pro if they continue to make them
     
  14. taberrr thread starter macrumors regular

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    NY
    #14
    Thanks a bunch! Ah yeah, I think I left out the Monday part - I kind of wish I had more time to mess around w/ the logic board, but I don't. :( It's definitely a bit snappier, and I can actually put it to sleep and not worry about my USB devices failing/causing it to freeze up when it wakes, or something like this happening:

    [​IMG]

    Haha, poor old MP.
     
  15. keantan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    Penang, Malaysia
    #15
    Congrats on your purchase. I just ordered the same model because my old iMac got worked to death since I should've bought a MP the first time round anyways. Mine's on order w/ 24GB of crucial RAM on order and the 5870. I'm pretty excited. Hopefully mine will last longer than 4 years :D
     
  16. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #16
    Good move. As great as an iMac is, and it's really a terrific all-in-one, it's still not a Mac Pro. I'll take slightly slower but way more useful every time.
     
  17. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #17
    Just curious. I have a pair of X5160s now and am considering to replace with X5365s to essentially make my 1,1 into a 2,1. Would you consider parting with the CPUs?
     
  18. taberrr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Location:
    NY
    #18
    Good question - I'm actually still debating on what to do w/ my old system... 1) selling it "as-is", 2) putting a new logic board into it and then selling it, or 3) just parting it out. I still have the original box, so I think I'm leaning toward options 1 or 2, actually.
     
  19. Kimmo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    #19
    I second these comments.

    I can't tell any difference between my hex-core refurb and new; except the extra money in my bank account. :)
     

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