I'm Ready To Buy A Mac, Problem Is, Which One To Buy?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dgman, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. dgman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    #1
    I currently have a Mac Pro from 2009. It works like new, 12Gb ECC RAM, Radeon 5870 HD Graphics, 4 Core 2.93 XEON. It's good, but when I use Final Cut X, rendering a 10 min HD Video can take a 2-3 hours. I thought about upgrading the 4 RAID HDD's to SSD, but I have upgraded this computer a few times now. Ready for something faster.

    I am thinking about the Mac Pro 3.7 4-Core, 1 Tb SSD with dual D700. Then I see the late 2013 iMac 27in 3.5 I7, 1 Tb SSD with the GTX 780M graphics. They are about $1,400 difference (I have a Cinema 30in Display, so I would not need to buy for for the Pro, but the iMac appears to have a better monitor). I am not certain I care about the price difference, I just want a good machine.

    I do not use my Mac for work (I must use a PC, company policy). I will only use a Mac for home. My hobby and passion is Photography (Lightroom & Photoshop) and HD Video using Final Cut Pro X (I don't care for iMovie). I like to make qaulity short films for personal use. Family and friends always ask me to create their wedding and other important videos. I do that 60% of my time, my other 40% of the time I game in boot camp as the games run much better on the Windows side (I would prefer that not be the case).

    So quality and speed is important. I keep my machines 4 years, I see my Mac is worth basically nothing now. So I may upgrade every 2-3 years now. I can't decide which to get, HELP.

    I want the Quad Core only because it's faster for 4 core use, (so gaming and Adobe products). I am uneasy about the iMac using laptop hardware, perhaps I am prejudice but I feel like it's fast like a race car but without power to pull a heavy trailer. The Mac Pro may not be as fast, but it can pull the heavy trailer (meaning Final Cut Pro, filters, rendering etc). I wonder if I will miss ECC RAM, probably not as non ECC RAM is stable today without the 5-10% slowdown. Because the Mac Pro has dual D700, I doubt they are used together, I believe they are more used as 1 for the monitor(s) and the other for heavy lifting if the software is designed for it like Final Cut X. For games I believe in most cases only 1 is used with the exception of Boot Camp where the driver may tie the 2 together. I know the iMac has Thunderbolt 1, Pro has TB2. Ughhh, I go back and forth. Just not sure which one will give me the best performance (I am not using 4k video, only 1080p as most folks don't have 4k televisions I know so no use in making them today for me).

    So I wonder if the Pro will be a lot faster for Final Cut X, and Gaming. Or if the iMac will be similar or same in speed. The Cinebench R15 scores are very similar for both 4 core systems that I have seen. However, both are nearly the same GPU bench speed as what I have today, both are close to 2X the CPU speed in the benchmark though.

    Sorry for the long post, I appreciate any insight or knowledge folks on here may be willing to share.
     
  2. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

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    May 4, 2009
    #2
  3. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #3
    If you plan on keeping the machine for a few years then the price difference won't matter so much. For what you are trying to do the nMP makes perfect sense.
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    I came from a very similar place as you with a bit more emphasis on photography in my case (and less on video). Here's me experience...

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1692536

    If you run FCP X, the nMP was made for you! (seriously). Forget the iMac.
     
  5. dgman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    #5
    Thanks!

    Thanks for all the excellent feedback. It's unanomous then, I am placing my order for the nMP right now! (Then I just need to wait a few months for it to arrive).

    VirtualRain, excellent read from your post!
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1692536
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    Awesome. Glad you got something out of it.
     
  7. mintfan7200, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014

    mintfan7200 macrumors member

    mintfan7200

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #7
    Most people , even power users find imacs to have all the power they need . Imacs have really gotten so much more powerful in the last 2-3 years . Most people who buy mac pros never use all that power anyways and a lot of apps today do not use the full power of the new mac pros because the apps have not been updated yet to use all avaliable power of the machine . I would go with the imac unless you have the extra money to spend .
     
  8. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Location:
    Southern US
    #8
    It's funny how people on the iMac forums always recommend buying an iMac. Those on the Mac Mini forum always recommend buying the MM. Those on the Mac Pro forum rarely recommend buying the MP, but usually advise people to buy the iMac or MM because they "will never use most of that power anyway." Then you look in their signature (not always, but sometimes) and they own a MP. So I find it intriguing that there are a lot of people out there that think they are the only ones who should own a MP....and for all others, the lower end desktops are plenty.

    Just an interesting observation from a newbie.

    ----------

    Oh, and for what it's worth, I would go with the nMP if I were you because of your FCPx usage. But, if you are already buying the D700's, why not just go ahead and get the hex core? Seems like it isn't that much more $$ for 4 more threads....
     
  9. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #9
    It's dramatically more expensive for little gain for lots of tasks. In that case, why not recommend something that will do the task just as well at a fraction of the cost?
     
  10. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Location:
    Southern US
    #10
    It was just an observation. Again, I realize that these machines are only for those who have ever owned one. It seems as though one should be in the 1,1 club to ever buy a MP.

    Again, I'm not saying all users, but the trend is undeniable.
     
  11. Robert Davies macrumors 6502

    Robert Davies

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    People's Republic of Wrexham
    #11
    …and there was me going to say 'keep the oMP' and drop some high end GPU power into it. The work that MacVidCards of this parish has done on testing etc suggests that with care an oMP can outperform an nMP when the GPUs match the task.
     
  12. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    #12
    Well, I am a member of the 1,1 club, but....

    Let's look at the options again.

    nMP - pricey, but all the latest tech, which creates some limits, depending on what you want to do. Big plus, a warranty.

    cMP - For the OP, not a choice, as he already has one. There is more internal expansion, but, you wind up with potential support issues in the future. No warranty if something breaks.

    iMac - good for some, but longevity is an issue. A good choice if you also need a display.

    MacMini - inexpensive, but very limited by the GPU.

    Hackintosh - Great if you want to maintain it, and have the skills/time to do so.

    There's no on great answer here. The choice that is missing, that Apple appears to not want to address on purpose, is a headless iMac. Take the CPU and GPU options of the iMac, stick them in a beefed up MacMini, and that would be a real contender. Apple must know this, and doesn't want to cannibalize it's other product chains.
     
  13. CH12671 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Agreed! On all accounts.
     
  14. deconstruct60, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #14
    The iMac doesn't solely use laptop hardware. All the more so when move into the higher BTO options range. None of the iMacs use a laptop CPU. iMacs moved over to desktop CPUs years ago. It is an outdated "rule of thumb" that the iMacs are just laptops with a bigger screen at this point.

    The top end BTO GPU is basically a desktop class GPU that has been underclocked. The Mac Pro has a substantially less underclocked GPU but underclocked none-the-less. At the top end iMac BTO config, both have non laptop CPUs and GPUs. They are in different classes of performance and abilities, but being "laptop" isn't one of the differences.


    ECC isn't about stability. It is about detecting and dealing with errors. Modern non-ECC RAM is not less susceptible to error now. As have more memory risks go up.

    You posted 12Gb of RAM currently. I suspect that was suppose to be 12GB of RAM. If going to move toward having 32-64GB RAM over long term then ECC has utility. More transistors holding a bit of data means more possible failure points.

    Xeon E5 in the Mac Pro has more memory bandwidth (more memory channels) than the iMac. The ECC overhead isn't as high if get past narrowly focusing down onto single DIMMs. For fully engaged, 4 core action there isn't a big gap.



    FCPX has optimizations in it that take advantage of newer AVX instructions that all the 2013 Mac models have. Folks presenting that are not leaving performance on the table by sticking with 2009-2010 vintage CPUs are not taking into account your workload and misdirecting into GPUs. If gaming is the highest priority perhaps that is useful but if FCPX is one of the primary factors then will be kneecapping perforance on some tasks going that route.


    This being a "hobby" D700 is probably not the best use of budget (**). You probably should put that money toward new storage. Slippery slope if want to go with D500, since gaming is going to "the other primary" task. A D500 "compute" GPU is incrementally better, but if that isn't going to be sole top priority it questionable added value. The slightly different underclocking approaches Apple made for the D300 and D500 points to perhaps the D300 better trade-off for that mixed usage.

    If on a 3-4 year upgrade schedule then, D300 don't have very long range service lifetime to cover. Similarly, the budget increment applied to increasing internal SSD capacity (or new display next year ) would be a better band-for-the-buck.


    (**) if the D700 are more driven by some desired high gaming frame rate perhaps, but FCPX over HD video not so much.
     

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