Is the "2012" Mac Pro worth it for me?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tsuchiya, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    Guys, next month my 2007 MacBook Pro turns 5. It's been a great machine that introduced me to the world of OSX.

    It's given me minimal problems over the years and a new HDD and extra RAM has kept it feeling fresh. However, now that it struggles to keep up with my needs, it's time to relegate it to being my secondary machine and buy something new.

    (you can skip the next paragraph)

    I have to admit that the new retina MacBook Pro has seriously tempted me. That gorgeous screen and thin profile caught my eye, and the specs aren't that bad either. Then I was thinking that for practical purposes a regular MacBook Pro would be better. It's just as powerful, but more flexible should I decide over the years that I need more memory. Also because I'll be using it mainly on my desktop with a 27" external monitor is the portability of the rMBP really necessary?

    (continue here)

    Then I realised that I'm being foolish. What I really want, what I've always a Mac Pro.

    From what I can tell, it's the most practical option.
    1) I don't need a portable machine as I'm always working at my desk.
    2) It's more then capable of supporting my current needs.
    3) It's surprisingly under budget (a hexacore will cost less then what I was planning on putting aside for a rMBP)
    4) I already have a great monitor to use.
    5) I don't use/need thunderbolt but could do with an internal BD drive, a secondary HDD, a second graphics card...

    I should mention that I'm not a professional by any means. I mean, I'm definitely not a casual user and I do need the extra grunt. But nothing an Ivy Bridge quad-core MBP couldn't handle.

    What do you guys think? Is it a bad buy? I do want to use this machine for the next 5 years or so...
  2. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2011
    Perrysburg, OH
    IMO, I think the current Mac Pro's are a bad buy. They are already over 2 years old in term of hardware, and the refresh last month doesn't count for anything. I opted for the "classic" 15" MacBook Pro, maxed out for the ability to upgrade to 32 GB RAM and/or whatever HDD/SSD I want and I currently have two (256 SSD + 1 TB HDD, 16 GB RAM). A Retina MBP cannot do that.

    The best value is of course a custom-built Windows PC. If OS X is important to you, I would go classic MBP (iMac is eh, and Mac Pro is crap right now). If you can handle Windows, build a nice Xeon-Based 6+ core or Core i7-3930K for cheaper than a Mac Pro.
  3. Melbourne Park macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I have decided to get a mac Pro. I bought a superceded one - picking it up when I am back from holiday.

    The discounts on them at the moment make them bargains.

    Forget the PC alternative, unless you want to operate with Windows. And if you build it yourself, it will hardly save you much money, and it will be worthless second hand.

    The downside on a Mac Pro IMO is that it lacks Thunderbolt, USB 3, its motherboard is a generation behind, its ECC memory is a bit more costly,
    and some upgrades can be pricier than with a PC.

    Most of those issues are not major. A USB 3.0 expansion card cost around $50.
  4. thekev, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Blah forgot to address the OP. You don't mention what you're doing, what your real needs are or anything. You're working on a 2007 era notebook with abstract suggestions of your requirements. What requirements could a second gpu possibly satisfy here? You haven't explained that. I'm almost tempted to say wait for an ivy mini or imac, even though I'm not a big fan of the imac. With the mini the drives are replaceable. Just make sure to watch a video teardown to make sure you're comfortable doing such a thing. You're remarkably abstract on your usage.

    Windows isn't bad for some things. The registry still sucks. You can turn off most of the garbage GUI elements. When I boot into Windows, I strip it down to a clean plain background. It looks like I'm running Windows 95, but I don't really care. What's important to me is the experience within an application. The biggest irritation there is that the command key becomes the start key under bootcamp:mad:. I've altered the registry to remap keys at times whenever something wasn't as I wanted it, but this is somewhat annoying. I wish they had some kind of native support for this.

    I disagree with you on DIY projects if you have an ebay account and don't mind ebay. You can use many parts until they wear out. The mobo, cpu, and ram can be sold on ebay when you upgrade. A mobo can often support 2 cpu generations. It's not like you must buy a new case, power supply, etc each time. You just swap components as necessary whenever you want. Overall total cost of ownership should be lower, and you don't have to deal with hardware that is frozen in time. Whether you wish to deal with all of this is another matter, but I don't agree that the residual value will always be there. It tends to remain when the current thing isn't that compelling and Apple hasn't bid down the price with refurbished models. A lot of people have held onto 2008 models, because if they're fully utilizing all cores, the available upgrades relative to their cost may not have made sense since then.

    It would be better if they could get the drivers from Apple. These cards are sold on razor thin margins, so it's not like they have the resources to write and test perfect driver stacks.
  5. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    It's a great buy.

    They're fabulous machines, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A lot of folks lurking around in this forum don't understand the allure of a Mac Pro or how truly useful such a capable system can be. The internal design is gorgeous and extremely well thought out, and they're quiet. These two things are still unmatched by any other system on the market.

    If you desire a Mac Pro and go through with the purchase, you won't be disappointed. Apple just finished transitioning all their software to 64-bit (which was analogous to them going from PowerPC to Intel- a lot of people don't realize the amount of effort that had to go into the 64-bit switchover), and the new Mac Pro systems are completely 64-bit compatible. A new Mac Pro should easily last you more then 5 years.

    While those Retina systems are pretty as hell, I'm not too sure about the construction of them. The RAM is soldered onto the motherboard (and RAM does fail- it's not impervious to fault at all), the batteries are glued into the case (if you want the batteries replaced, they actually replace the entire upper half of the laptop- including the keyboard and trackpad), etc.

    If you do buy a Retina, you basically HAVE to buy AppleCare. You'd be stupid not to. And the likelyhood of a Retina MBP lasting more then 3 years is slim at best- it's doubtful your batteries would last that long and there's always the chance of the RAM failing on the logic board.

    In my opinion, if you don't need the portability- the Mac Pro is the more stable and reliable solution. If something needs to be upgraded or replaced in the future, you can do that with the Mac Pro- you can't with the Retina MBP. Don't get me wrong, the laptop is a very nice and extremely slick computer. However I don't think it targets the same group of folks that find the Mac Pro appealing.

  6. Melbourne Park macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I looked very carefully at the Retina, and even the superseded MBs ... but decided the value for me was in the MP. If my current notebook fails, I'll likely use an iPad for travel. Despite the slimming of the MPR, they are still very bulky.

    The MBR does give a lot of performance, but when you add it all up ... the MP is the solid solution. I would be disappointed if the MBPRs do not last. And I suspect uogrades will appear for them, despite their current apparent fixed status. But I think that despite thunderbolt external RAID arrays (that sound great but will cost heaps), for me a MBP needs another screen and a separate keyboard and some other extras. The MP seems the solid, satisying route.

    As far as Windoze goes ... they are great for hobbyists and gamers. But they are not much cheaper, and less value - at least the games machine I chucked together at Christmas wasn't. And its not been perfect either.

    A MP can have a solid upgrade path too - including wth the CPUs.
  7. Tsuchiya thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    Well I kind of need my next machine to handle well...everything. I'm a market trader so from about 6am till early evening I'm at my desk looking at charts. It doesn't seem demanding, but I drive 2x27" monitors on my 2011 Mini (my stop gap) which displays my platform, charts and a Bloomberg news feed. Then I use my MacBook Pro for browsing purposes/my 3rd screen. My current setup barely handles all of this and annoyingly lags at times.

    For non-work purposes...I'd like something that can handle editing HD footage with ease. Right now every time I need to pull 1080p footage from our camcorder to work on, I absolutely loathe it. It takes forever. I use CS5.

    Of course I'll be using this machine for all the other regular things too; browsing, music, video etc.

    So yeah, a quad-core Mac from 2011/12 could probably handle my needs, but for the kind of money I was considering spending, the Mac Pro is an appealing option. I don't need a laptop, a Mini just won't cut it, and I simply just don't want an iMac. The secondary GPU is of course unnecessary, but I like that should my needs change, I could install parts in my machine to make it more capable.
  8. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    What monitors are you using? They both can't be 27" 2560x1440 since you're connecting a mini? Unless you're using 2 thunderbolt displays.

    Apart from that limitation, a 2011 mid-range Mini with an SSD and 16 GBs of RAM would more than meet your needs.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Charts on data someone else generates or do much local data analysis?

    If it is primarily just presentation of already crunched data, a Mac Pro to simply drive three large screens is an anachronism.

    It likely takes forever because pulling the data over USB 2.0 or FW400. If the camcorder has a SD card if you pull it and transfer with a faster card reader it will go quicker. It try to pull data with a Mac Pro through USB 2.0 or FW400 it will be just as slow.

    The 2012 Mac Mini probably will. You'd probably need a different set of monitors (at least one Thunderbolt), but it very likely will drive 3 ( the MBPs and MBAs do ). However, you'd need to get another monitor anyway if dropping the Laptop as the 3rd monitor.

    I'd advise waiting till it comes out (probably within a month from now ) and then make a decision where can compare the 2012 Mac Pro to 2012 Mac Mini.

    You are not looking for solutions. That isn't a constraint driven by the problem. It is a constraint to remove options from the table.

    If this 5 year plan is highly motivated by a 5 year depreciation tax schedule, then you could replace a Mini every 3 ( on a 3 year schedule) and evolve over time that way. It would become more capable over time also.

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