Is the 2.8 ghz Quad still a good upgrade from an iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by SteelBlueTJ, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. SteelBlueTJ macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I am in need of a new machine to replace my 2007 2.4 C2D iMac. I want a Mac pro for the expandability and faster CPU's. I was hoping for a significant Mac pro update this year like all of you but it didn't come. Now I am considering getting a base 2.8 Quad from Apple's refurbished store. they are $600 off retail. I am hoping it will hold me over for a year or two if/when they release a new mac pro. I would throw in some extra memory from OWC and an SSD. So can the 2.8 Quad still perform well using Final Cut Pro X and CS5? The 2.8 Quad core is still a respectable machine isn't it?
     
  2. BigJohno macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I have the 2.8Quad right now from 2010. My plan was to get the 6 core 3.33 and maybe a 5870 and put it in later this summer. I also have an ssd and the thing flys. I came from an imac quad 2009. The processor just seems faster even though they get about the same mark on Geekbench. The refurb is a great deal and will perform well in final cut and cs5.
     
  3. Buffsteria macrumors regular

    Buffsteria

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    #3

    The refurb Mac Pro isn't a good deal because it costs more than new. I'm not making this up.
     
  4. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #4
    It's respectable and you can, as stated previously, drop in a 6-core. But as is an i7 iMac is 3000 Geekbench points faster AND has a slightly faster GPU in the 6970m (6850 desktop) than the base Mac Pro 5770. A hex with a 5870 is faster than any iMac right now.
     
  5. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    The refurb hex is more right? The refurb 2.8 quad is a pretty decent deal now at $1800. It would also be a very nice upgrade from a 2007 C2D iMac, and have plenty of upgradability.
     
  6. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #6
    I don't see why you're just buying a new one of the same generation. It's not that hard to drop in one anyway.

    It's still not that great of a buy. The whole line is behind, so you guys are just trying to rationalize a bad situation. The refurb pricing will most likely be fixed. It makes zero sense the way it stands. In this case the used market could actually make sense if you come across a good deal.
     
  7. Melbourne Park macrumors regular

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    #7
    I'm in the same boat. But the used ones are costly. Typical twin Quad 2008 machines cost 20% less, but they have no warranty, and their GPUs are likely on death row.

    While on can make a Quad hackintosh for $600 less, there's more time in keeping it running OSX. And down the track, perhaps a Hex processor could be dropped in??? When they get cheaper???
     
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #8
  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #9
    You can still find 2009s for maybe a bit over $1000 if you look hard enough. I haven't heard as many dead gpu stories with them, and they use the same logic board as the current model. The 2009 with upgraded firmware + hex dropin isn't any different from a current hex core model. It was possibly even more desirable before as the hex previously cost $800 more than today. Overall the lack of really good options is annoying right now.
     
  10. Melbourne Park macrumors regular

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    #10
    I am in Australia, and using eBay, one has to add $250, plus the unknown risk of a machine not working.

    But even in the USA they seem to be more a long way from $1,000.

    And also - why would a 2009 owner sell their single qaud processor machine and make a large loss, when for $440, they can put in a 6 core and get at least a 50% speed gain?

    For me, the issue is:
    2008 twin 2.8 Mhz processors, and then add a contempory screen card. and perhaps a WiFi card. And likely, a new HD.

    Or get a refurb ... and add some RAM. Selling the CPU is a bit risky too - because Apple may want it back if there's a warranty claim. But ... a Hex upgrade is not that much more expensive ...
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #11

    I should have known by the name. I can't say I'm not jealous of where you live. Australia is one of my favorite places, and some of the forests and things to the west of Melbourne are amazing.

    Anyway back on topic, 2009s come up used here all the time. $1300-1400 is pretty common. If you watch for one, you can find one for less at times. I don't know about there. Overall I'm annoyed that they just rehashed the same machines. It kind of matters what you're doing. Some things scale horribly past 4 cores or so. That is the typical consumer grade cpu, so that's often the magic number for a lot of software. It's just the heavy heavy stuff that scales well.

    http://barefeats.com/mbp12cp.html

    That's a good example. Photoshop doesn't scale well. If it's held within ram and your gpu is supported (NVidia one will probably be patched in), the performance is pretty close. I still like the mac pro as they're extremely stable and they don't run as hot.
     
  12. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thanks for the replies. As tempting as it is sometimes, I don't feel comfortable buying a mac pro on eBay or craigslist. No matter what they say, you don't know who had it or where it's been, and most of all there's no warranty. I would rather buy Apple refurbished and have the peace of mind knowing it was thoroughly inspected by Apple and comes with a 1-year warranty. The 6 core would be nice but even refurbished it's almost double the price of the 2.8 Quad. More than what i want to spend right now and probably more computer than I'll need.
     
  13. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #13
    you should buy the refurb 2.8


    hope you get the better gpu, more ram ,extra hdd any of the free upgrades can happen. I buy upgrade and sell many refurbished macs around 1 in 10 come with better specs.


    then read this thread


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551

    this is an easy upgrade. plus you can wait to do it.
     
  14. Melbourne Park macrumors regular

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    #14
    I'll read your link!

    Perhaps they do come up for around $1400/1500 here ... I will keep looking. But even so ... to get the 5770 GPU, would cost me $270 I think. So, that would up the price to $1770. They keyboard and mouse would be new too (they do wear out), so ... that is worth $100. So ... $1,850. I guess the warranty is worth something too. The machine can be delivered too ... so maybe all that is worth $150, and its worry free. So that is $2,000. While a refurb will cost me almost $2,200, which is also the same as a refurb imac 27" with an i7 and the 6970 card ... I seem to feel better about a MacPro.

    After reading about Ivy Bridge and the following improvements in the next generation, it seems to me that Ivy Bridge is more about notebook performance, low power when not pushing hard, and better CPU based graphics capabilities, rather than desktop improvements. So maybe the old architecture is not so bad afteral. Shame about USB-3 though ... but at least one can put a couple of drives easily and cheaply into a Pro.
     
  15. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    But is $400 worth having to flash the firmware and deal with the whole not-exactly-a-drop-in upgrade thing should you ever want to make a hex (didn't someone say Anandtech broke a processor trying this?), plus the lack of a warranty? I'd say all those things make the 2.8 quad a reasonable deal.

    Sure, it would be better if Apple released a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro, but they didn't. So, this is about as good as you can do, depending on your perspective. If you're more of a tinkerer, and don't mind a little extra risk, then no, its not the best deal for a Mac Pro. But if that's the way you are, you're probably pretty inclined to just build a hackintosh.

    ----------

    I'm not sure if you switch to talking about iMacs, if so, I think you're right. The difference between a i7-2600 and an i7-3770 is not really that big, assuming you're going to use a dedicated graphics card anyway.

    However if you're talking about the Mac Pro, the problem is the current Mac Pro is still on Westmere. The Westmere to Sandy Bridge jump is pretty large. Sandy Bridge is giving users the capability of 8 cores on a single processor, plus better performance for those parts of your work flow that are single threaded due to the better turbo boosting abilities. It really is a sizable jump that apple is going without.
     
  16. philipma1957, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #16
    Okay out of respect to your request to not be so loud the size and bold was removed.




    Anandtech broke a lid-less 2009 dual cpu..


    The single 2010 quad to hex is basically a no brainer to do.
     
  17. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #17
    You must talk really loud.

    Anyway, that was my point. Didn't they not break a cpu when upgrading a 2009 (which is lidless) to the 2010 because of this issue with the spacing difference? I wasn't talking about a 2010 quad to hex upgrade there, pal (ie. why would I mention a firmware update?). Please read carefully before you start screaming.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #18
    Flash the firmware is a bit editorialized. It's a standard firmware upgrade provided by Apple. It's not like we're talking about a hack in that regard.

    Intel is sort of behind in that Sandy Bridge E only came to oems this year with Ivy E coming out next year rather than later in the current year. Anyway you'll still see some cpu improvement. You'd have an updated gpu. You'd have usb3. They should be out by Mountain Lion. It's not like they're going to put the imac on a 2 year refresh cycle, and there's no way the 2013 update would be early in the year.

    You know I'm probably a little stuck on the prior price points there. It used to be much more expensive. $800~ is obviously a big drop, and I was expecting to see more 2009s show up in the $1000 range because of this (saw a couple, just not many).

    That's not so much the case, however Ivy E is likely to be a bigger deal on the high end when it comes to workstation models if they up core count again or something of that sort. Sandy Bridge E has 8 core cpus available as opposed to the hex cores on Westmere. Anyway it kind of matters how you will use this when determining what the important factors are here.
     
  19. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Yeah, I know, but its the combination of the 3 (firmware, more than a plug-and-play type install, and lack of a warranty) that just adds up. I'm not saying its brutally hard, or not worth doing for some. But at the cost savings of about $400 (or maybe less once you really equalize other factors), it might not really be all that worth it to many people. If I needed a Mac Pro now, I don't know which way I'd go, but I'd probably need to see a 2009 Mac Pro down around $1200 to be tempted to go through that whole processes.
     
  20. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Howell, New Jersey
    #20
    they broke a dual cpu which is why I made it caps. I knew (or inferred or deduced or as Felix would assumed) you believed that all 2009 cpu were lid less. I wanted to get your attention .

    the single 2009 quad is lidded= easy peasy



    the dual 2009 is lid less= harder



    in terms of putting in the single 2009 quad to hex it is easy to do.
     
  21. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Philip, its a lot easier to just type like a normal person than too shout some incoherent nonsense. There is no need to TYPE IN HUGE BOLD FONT FOR ME TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE WRITING.

    Notice how i) I respond to several posters that don't feel the need to do that and ii) it took you two posts to explain something that needed all of about 10 words to say?
     
  22. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #22
    The price advantage has dried up quite a bit. Given the similarity in speed between the 2.66 and 2.8, I was suggesting it more in case the 2.66 wasn't enough. Also note that while I'm not familiar with the OP's local market, I noted the slightly higher retail price in the Apple Store due to the inclusion of GST. I did suggest $1000-1200 as being the range to view before, but obviously it was more appealing prior to the lowered price points on Apple's end. $600 cpu vs $3800 base computer is quite a difference compared to what it is today. Obviously it was previously based off the original launch price of that cpu.

    I'm personally debating moving away from Apple to some degree. I will probably go through with it. It's annoying figuring out what to buy, but the PC end, especially self building offers a lot of options in terms of configuration. Service isn't that big of an issue. If the mobo is expensive I'd look at service terms prior to purchase. If it's a company with slow warranty service, I'd have to plan on buying a new part if one went bad. Overall it's typically the research that's more time consuming than actually building something. I could easily build one during the morning hours of any given weekend with whatever parts I want (just referring to the idea that it's a big hit on time to physically build a single computer:rolleyes:).
     
  23. Melbourne Park, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    Melbourne Park macrumors regular

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    #23
    I am think Apple doesn't care about desktops. Really - they don't. Just look at their portable devices. They upgrade them much much more frequently, and people even know when they are going to do so IMO.

    I built - with my teenage son - a games machine at Christmas. It was easy to do, but I have worked alongside a computer reseller a number of years ago. But ... its just making ones mind up, and plugging things in.

    However ... the ASRock motherboard did not support its SSD and HD as a single drive - which was promised. Its an x69 I think is the technology - the one before Ivy Bridge. Warranty on that did not exist ... the support was non existent. So, we switched to separate boots. The SSD was a 320 Intel - not the fastest, but reliable. And good value at the time.

    And now, the machine does have issues. It seems to get corrupted drives. Yet my son uses it for two purposes only - games (it was two GTX 570 cards) and also for Facebook. Two weeks ago, he paid close to $100 for a security program. The machine has a water cooled CPU too, but a 2500k i5 (games prefer a fast clock rate CPU and good GPUs rather than an i7). Or that was the theory at the time.

    But ... I've looked at building a Hackintosh, and the complixity is frankly scary. It will end up a pure Windows machine IMO, after all the OS X hassles I reckon. I am still half tempted though. Or go to Win for photo apps, and be done with it. Apple have had a big advantage in video and graphics apps, and now they are too lazy to keep revising their hardware, and their app upgrades are also slipping from the reports I've read. Its quite a shame.

    We've bought two iPad 3s in the last few months ... both cost I think $700 to $800 each. They weigh almost nothing. My wife is scared of technology (she's smart otherwise) but actually loves her iPad. Her work is a No Apple zone ... even with phones, only Blackberries are permitted (at the moment). But it is close to ordering 1,000 iPads. Their only issue is that they need an electronic pencil for getting signatures. Of course, that's available. But Apple is getting into the corporates, through the back door - phone and pads.

    How much less than a Mac pro does an iPad weigh? 25 times less? 18kg / 0.662 = 27 times less in weight. The price is lets say $750, versus $2,200. So - one 27th the weight, and one third the cost. And the Pad has a screen. So ... the Mac Pro is not very profitable. Because its heavy. That's the issue IMO.

    Apple though has missed a golden opportunity. Its not made a lightweight desktop that's expandable. If it was engineered for light weight, it would be cheap. If it sold in large quantities, the R&D would cost little. It should be targetted at Windows and Unix users - and ship with a cheap Windoze OEM OS. And throw the Mac OS in their simply to delight and reveal. And if you want the iphone etc packs - download them from the store, for a small iPad price.

    It should be flagship of value, and a loss leader. It should lead, not follow. And it would be Oh - so easy to do. We could all design it, right here. Its not so difficult if one had some vision, and Apple's resources. Heck employ the Woz to put a value upgradable desktop back into people's lives. And ti could hub the TV world as well. etc etc

    That it does not, just shows to me at least, that Apple doesn't care about desktops anymore. I am close to buying a Mac Pro ... but its like buying a 1960s Cadillac somehow ...
     
  24. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #24
    I don't see this as the crux of the issue. Their whole desktop line has issues. A big issue with the mac pro is that they've used entry level workstation hardware in a machine with a high starting price. Typically something like that would start at a much lower price from Dell/HP/Lenovo. Usually with those if you just want the workstation box with slots and a quad cpu, it's cheap, with heavier markups to configure it further. With Apple the kind of side step 2008-2009 and then the delay in 2011 have really made it less appealing outside of the high end configurations which obviously cater to a smaller market. It used to carry a very large number of photographers, graphic designers, and some amount of ad agencies with in house art production, but there isn't a lot worth upgrading to there. With creative suite many of the gains are realized in gpu acceleration gains, and they're quite a bit more impressive than anything that we've seen cpu wise in years for much of that suite.

    I wouldn't personally go with a hackintosh for anything serious. They don't look that difficult. I don't mind troubleshooting. I just prefer to maintain a fully supported solution with anything where a high uptime is required. I'm careful on selecting component combinations. Regarding that drive and corruption, it could be many things. Overclocked cpus can spit out errors. Bad ram can lead to this. It's a matter of testing, but Macs are no more problem free. In my case I'd still end up using Xeons with whatever supported board. I was hoping gpu acceleration would become even more prominent given the availability of things like tesla cards that run under Windows. Really I'm very careful about research, and my goal is usually compatibility rather than maximum speed or lowest price. I always maintain a backup of my boot drive with applications. If corruption becomes an issue, I can clone it back over an evening or simply swap drives. There are other details to such a switch. You have to be aware of what file systems to use for your data. There are some issues with cross compatibility in terms of safeguarding against corruption. Overall I'm not very trusting of Apple, and that's the main issue for me. They implement some things that I like, but you are definitely forced to choose from their available solutions.
     
  25. Melbourne Park, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    Melbourne Park macrumors regular

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    #25
    Thanks for your comments thekey. I appreciate your editing my initial writing errors too!!!! :cool:

    And the appeal of the mac is its applications ... things like Aperture, iphoto and such. But ... Adobe is closing the gap a lot with such software. They are rip off merchants though ... if only Apple would bring out a good Photoshop layering program for $150 ... but they haven't even done that. Yet Photoshop has focussed on the Windows world. Apple should buy Quark, and fill in the blanks that exist in their photo / video / web Apps for the Mac OS. And a low cost per output desktop is a key to that IMO. But because of the consumer devices, there is no pressure to do so IMO. its just becoming a niche for those still loyal or too lazy to change IMO.

    And annoyingly, their state of the art machine is the Macbook Pro Retina. Which costs less than a base Mac Pro. And its faster than a base Mac Pro too, and it has Thunderbolt and USB-3, and for what it is, compares with PC notebooks for performance & quality versus cost. In comparison, the desktops don't at the moment IMO. Except for those Apps and the OS .
     

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