I'm really thinking about buying a Mac Pro 2013. Please talk me out of it.

dfelix

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
92
99
Hi there,

So my needs are the following: web development (ergo vms) and reencoding old vids into new space-efficient codecs (random **** codec > hevc). I also do graphic design, so photoshop/illustrator/indesign/affinity/pixelmator and pdf generation etc. Eventually, I want to load it up with storage (like a few Mobius TB's) and use it as a ZFS NAS. Maybe once I have the new machine I will dabble into producing videos but it's not in the pipeline atm. Oh, and silence. I'm done with winy fans. The computer basically has to be on 24/7 doing whatever.

I see that for about $2.5K I can get a used 12 core 2013 Mac Pro w/ 512gb onboard ssd and 128GB ram. Sourced from many places, of course. I currently have a 2012 Mini i7, so for me it will be a huge boost in processing power. I do not currently have any TB2 accessories, only tons of USB docks. My budget would be around $3K max. I also have a ton of ifixit tools just in case, so I can open it up and replace thermal pastes or whatever need be.

For whatever reason, I keep having a lot or random logouts/BSODs with the mini with my current workload as of right now. I do have a few projects in the pipeline making the decision crucial. The iMac pro would be better, but I would get less ram, less cores and possibly worse thermals than the Mac pro '13 I could put together. Plus, the eventual ZFS repurposing would be a no go. And, the budget considerations of course.

What am I missing? Do I have better plays than this?
 
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e1me5

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2013
285
460
Cyprus
Does your workflow benefit from more cores or higher frequency? Also Mac Pro doesn't play well with the HEVC codecs. Or the regular h264. Your old Mac mini will probably be faster converting h264 due to hardware acceleration that the MP lacks. Better buy an 27" 5k i7 iMac or still, wait for the new ones.
 

Zeke D

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2011
1,006
156
Arizona
the trashintosh is never the best play. It's a fine mini pro, but it's not a prosumer device. I have a 2009 and a 2010 mac pro, with dual CPU tray in the 2010 and a single in the 2009. I use photoshop, illustrator, audition, dreamweaver, vellum, scrivener, sigil, pro tools, and handbrake with VLC for encoding. I can do all that on either machine with zero issues. Provided you're running High Sierra or higher, I recommend a 2010 or 2012 with the following specs:

2x hex-core Xeon (I'm running 2.93Ghz, but a high clock frequency isn't important for what you're doing.)
32GB RAM (I'm running 4x 8GB ECC Samsungs with heat spreaders, but nekkid dimms are fine.)
GTX 680 (I run an MSI Twin Frozr flashed to a Mac bios. I've used an ATI 5770 Mac edition, and there's a 5870 as well. you'll get the most contention here. I personally want the boot screen, but not everyone needs it.)
an NVME drive. (I run AHCI versions because I need to run Sierra for some software compatibility.)
A rotational magnetic drive of some kind for storing your project files, etc. If you're 8tb or over, you'll need to print compatible drive sleds, or purchase an aluminum one from OWC.

You should be able to put this together for less than $2000.
 

esk

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2016
77
239
You probably don't like my answer but I'm going to give you my opionio anyway. You really should switch to windows 10 and build the pc you need or buy one from the thousand different desktops that fit your need.

Buying the 2013 mac pro is a really dumb move. If you want to stick with Apple get an iMac with dedicated graphics and enjoy the much better thermals than the mini has. Or wait for the mythical next gen mac pro that should arrive this year. But looking at the current state of apple they probably will manage to **** this mac pro up and make it barly useable.
 

dfelix

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
92
99
Does your workflow benefit from more cores or higher frequency? Also Mac Pro doesn't play well with the HEVC codecs. Or the regular h264. Your old Mac mini will probably be faster converting h264 due to hardware acceleration that the MP lacks. Better buy an 27" 5k i7 iMac or still, wait for the new ones.
More cores. And most ram. I'm a serial multitasker; I always have a million apps open.

The standard imacs are no go's, as they become real audible real quickly. Plus capped at 64GBs.
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the trashintosh is never the best play. It's a fine mini pro, but it's not a prosumer device. I have a 2009 and a 2010 mac pro, with dual CPU tray in the 2010 and a single in the 2009. I use photoshop, illustrator, audition, dreamweaver, vellum, scrivener, sigil, pro tools, and handbrake with VLC for encoding. I can do all that on either machine with zero issues. Provided you're running High Sierra or higher, I recommend a 2010 or 2012 with the following specs:

2x hex-core Xeon (I'm running 2.93Ghz, but a high clock frequency isn't important for what you're doing.)
32GB RAM (I'm running 4x 8GB ECC Samsungs with heat spreaders, but nekkid dimms are fine.)
GTX 680 (I run an MSI Twin Frozr flashed to a Mac bios. I've used an ATI 5770 Mac edition, and there's a 5870 as well. you'll get the most contention here. I personally want the boot screen, but not everyone needs it.)
an NVME drive. (I run AHCI versions because I need to run Sierra for some software compatibility.)
A rotational magnetic drive of some kind for storing your project files, etc. If you're 8tb or over, you'll need to print compatible drive sleds, or purchase an aluminum one from OWC.

You should be able to put this together for less than $2000.
This is an interesting one I didn't think of before. Indeed, I don't really care for a very high clock frequency.

But I will not be able to repurpose it after as a ZFS NAS, unless I can get adaptec cards that break out or something similar. But still, I found this listing on ebay which would appease for the time being, help me get though the projects I have to do to get enough money to actually get a refurb imac pro with the specs I would want. I am forced to play the long game for now.

I am not US based, so getting rid of it is quite out of the question once I buy it, which is why I was looking into the trashcan 12 core and being able to repurpose it.
[doublepost=1552399322][/doublepost]
You probably don't like my answer but I'm going to give you my opionio anyway. You really should switch to windows 10 and build the pc you need or buy one from the thousand different desktops that fit your need.

Buying the 2013 mac pro is a really dumb move. If you want to stick with Apple get an iMac with dedicated graphics and enjoy the much better thermals than the mini has. Or wait for the mythical next gen mac pro that should arrive this year. But looking at the current state of apple they probably will manage to **** this mac pro up and make it barly useable.
I'm not a biased apple fanboy, but for working I need macos. I really, really truly and completely hate drive letter assignment which is why I would never again use windows for anything serious.

That said, this could be the ZFS NAS part, and I could spin it into a proper linux box to hold files on my network. I currently have hard drives like stray children around the house, so I have to remedy that situation.

As for waiting for the new mac pro,

a) I prefer to skip first generations as getting it fixed is always a problem because of my location and
b) apple just disappoints lately (LOL macbook pro keyboards) so I don't have any faith they could get this one right for one.
c) this is the most basic thing and apple still can't deliver. I would pay $300+ easy to get macos installed on a preapproved list of hardware that I assembled myself. I don't want to tinker with hackintoshes as I need reliability at all times. Apple had a good product already but they ****ed it up to go the trashcan route

Which is why the new iMac Pro is so good, as they finally made something I could get behind and use. But it's outside my budget at the moment.

I have the 2012 mini still due to holding out for the longest time on hardware due to various shortcomings through the years. But I have been getting too many random reboots/logouts/black screens as of late, I fear my workload has outgrown it finally.
[doublepost=1552399354][/doublepost]
I love my Mac Pro 6.1. It is a perfect machine for SW development and virtualization. It is super SILENT.
Which led me to the original post
 

Zeke D

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2011
1,006
156
Arizona
That's a solid purchase for the money.

You should still be able to install FreeNAS on the 2010/2012.

Without add-in cards, you have six SATAII ports, and all those drives can be accommodated with almost no modifications to the stock case. (you'd need 3.5 > 5.25 adapters to house a pair of drives in the optical bay) You can even go a little nuts and get a pair of 5.25" SATA enclosures that support 6 2.5" drives each. The ICY DOCK one is nice since it runs off a single SATA power connector, and has two cooling fans. Pair each of those with a QNINE 8, and you've got plenty of storage. (I'd run six of them to the optical bay, and maybe a SATA DOM for the other two channels.
 

w1z

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2013
416
254
Don't buy any trashcan MPs!

What I would recommend is a dual proc used mac pro 2010 or 2012, upgrade CPUs to X5680 or X5690s, upgrade RAM to 128GB if you really need it otherwise stick with 96GB, upgrade storage to 1TB NVMe SSD, GPU to AMD RX 580 for under $1,200.

Whenever the new mac pro is released and you end up buying it, you can convert the old workhorse into an ESXi 6.x hypervisor and if electricity is expensive where you live, sell the X5680s or X5690s (130W) CPUs and downgrade to lower TDP ones ie. X5675 (95W).

By going this route, you save $1,300 which you can put towards the new mac pro or custom windows build (if the nMP is a disappointment). You would also end up with a beast of a hypervisor capable of easily running a variety of OSes, development VMs, storage, network and local services ie. NAS, Pfsense, monitoring, Active Directory or LDAP which would free up your new mac pro or custom windows build for production / daily work use.

This is my plan.
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
2,230
2,603
I'm not a biased apple fanboy, but for working I need macos. I really, really truly and completely hate drive letter assignment which is why I would never again use windows for anything serious.
Can you expand upon the problem with drive letter assignments? In Windows it's possible to mount devices in a manner similar to UNIX. Have you investigated that capability?

If you must remain with Macintosh I would recommend the Mini over the current Mac Pro. It's despicable Apple has let it flounder to the point where their entry level system is more capable for a significant number of users.
 

dfelix

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
92
99
Can you expand upon the problem with drive letter assignments? In Windows it's possible to mount devices in a manner similar to UNIX. Have you investigated that capability?

If you must remain with Macintosh I would recommend the Mini over the current Mac Pro. It's despicable Apple has let it flounder to the point where their entry level system is more capable for a significant number of users.
Yes, I live in bash. And working with C:\ does not fly with me. I don't want to bother with workarounds for this.

The problem with the new mini is it does not have ecc ram. So I will not be able to repurpose it into a ZFS NAS later. I mean, I do have a 2012 mini with that same particular limitation which I could repurpose if not for the specific ecc ram requirement for running ZFS.

I like the new mini and it would be an upgrade, but I would prefer to get those as very capable office machines for my coworkers, not for myself.
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
865
323
ZFS NAS with internal disks? Then the cMP is the only option. If going external the nMP's USB ports are hindered by all 4 sharing a single uplink so means investing in thunderbolt connections. Either converting to USB using adapters or going to TB drive enclosures.
 

dfelix

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
92
99
ZFS NAS with internal disks? Then the cMP is the only option. If going external the nMP's USB ports are hindered by all 4 sharing a single uplink so means investing in thunderbolt connections. Either converting to USB using adapters or going to TB drive enclosures.
Indeed, those are the Mobius TB's in the original post
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
865
323
Sorry, I read right over the Mobius. Doing a quick look I question using them since they seemed to have stopped at TB2 and moved to USB3.1 gen 2 for their new stuff.

I like my nMP but it is not silent if you run at 100% cpu (6-core) for any length of time (may need to blow dust out). I have a 2nd one with the low power 10-core and is silent at 100% CPU. I don't use the GPUs much but think if I did it would push the fans even more.
 

jscipione

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2017
211
113
If you are considering buying the trashcan Mac Pro I recommend getting a 2018 Mac Mini instead. The 8th gen processors will be quicker than the older Xeons, the two machines have similar upgrade options, and if you really need GPU power then neither machine is suitable.
 
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bobmepp

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2014
128
77
I love my Mac Pro 6.1. It is a perfect machine for SW development and virtualization. It is super SILENT.
I too am very happy with my 6.1. If you decide to get a used one, be sure to check the serial number at http://www.appleserialnumberinfo.com to determine the manufacture date. My first instance was a built in 2014, and had a bad GPU. I had purchased it from my local Apple store directly, and they wanted to send it off for repair. I told them this was unacceptable for a 2 week old unit, and I demanded a replacement with a new one on the spot. They relented (without too much resistance). The replacement was manufactured in the second half of 2016. It has been perfect, quiet, and cool running ever since. My usage centers around the typical graphic arts/ photography area. I am using it with a 4 bay Thunderbolt 2 drive box, and I have upgraded to 64 GB ram. I considered 128 GB, but that seems to impose a limit of 1333 MHz, instead of the usual 1866 MHz. The OpenCL Geekbench score is 70868, which translates into more than adequate performance for my purposes. I know it is not the highest performing computer in the world, but I don't really care. It just works well for my use case.
 
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