Is there a 'sweet spot' Mac Pro in terms of value/upgradability?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cageytiger, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. cageytiger macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    #1
    I've done a lot of reading on here the last few days - and I've ended up more confused than when I started.

    I work in audio/music, primarily on PC but I've had a 2011 MacBook Pro for quick demo recording when I'm travelling etc. I built a i7 4790k Hackintosh system for a bit of fun - unfortunately it's been spectacular. So well, I've actually moved the studio over to Logic Pro X and using it for all my work. I'm now living in a world where I have 'the fear' constantly. I have my old Macbook to fall back on if the worst happened, but most of the projects I work on would probably turn it into a barbecue.

    To remove the sense of dread and sickening anxiety affecting my daily life, I decided to get a Mac Pro. To my (and it seems you guys too!) total dismay, Apple ass hats want lots of my money for a 3 year old computer that's just about to be updated/made 'old', so I'm left in this Tim Cook induced limbo (timbo?).

    So this led me to looking at 5,1's to tie me over 'til the new MP comes out - I would possibly even pick up a 2013 then depending on specs etc. And then even possibly picking up a 4,1 and FW updating/maxing it out, which seems like a lot of fun. Also, considered picking up an iMac/Macbook, but I feel like I'm paying for stuff (screen) that I don't need.

    Our old studio system was Windows/i7 3770k 32Gb Ram. We never got close to maxing out the CPU/Ram.

    Is there a value 'sweet spot' for what I'm after? I don't mind any of the upgrading, but I would prefer to avoid any CPU de-lidding, that sounds utterly terrifying.

    Cheers guys.
     
  2. saulinpa macrumors 6502

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    Jun 15, 2008
    #2
    From your description it is fairly simple. Sweet spot would probably be the cheapest 2010 dual processor machine that you can find.
     
  3. loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

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    Jul 1, 2010
    #3
    Yes, I understand and had to buy a Mac Pro 2013 a few days ago due to workload and was stress about paying a lot of money for a three year old system. I found the sweet spot the 6-core option.

    I stressed about it and waited until after last week's event to make my decision. I had to guess that apple will not update the Mac Pro until late 2016 or even 2017 because really the system came out in January 2014 when it started shipping.

    I also think that apple will skip skylake CPU's and go with the next from Intel to have a lot of time space between models verses power etc. to make it worth the upgrade. If you want pros to upgrade, that would be the push, not a skylake bump up with marginal video card updates. The Mac Pro is focused at the professional who don't normally buy for some years after purchase, so no need to update so quickly. Plus, the customize everything inside, including the video cards, so whomever vender will be the next supplier for Apple, they need to create a customized card specially for the Mac Pro, so again these things contribute to my predictions.

    Even though the Mac Pro is 3 years old, after buying a using it for the last few days, I Find it a powerful system and just have to get over the cost. It should be a system that should last some years.
     
  4. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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    Jun 3, 2015
    #4
    On the bright side, MvC shed some light about GPU upgrade....there may be some future in 6,1.
     
  5. fastlanephil, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

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    Nov 17, 2007
    #5
    Actually, it's Broadwell Xeons right now not Skylake.

    It doesn't appear that there will be a huge CPU speed increase with these and not much to gain either with TB3 for external storage. My thought is that although the 5.1(2009-2010-2012?) Mac pros will loose support within a few years, the 2013 Mac Pros are probably not far too behind for the same axing.
     
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #6
    He recanted on netkas forum. It was a mistaken conclusion. We still don't know how Sierra will treat vanilla graphics cards in an eGPU case.
     
  7. Synchro3, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    Jan 12, 2014
    #7
    After I read that from MVC I tried an EFI GTX 680 and a PC GT630 as eGPU connected to my Mac Mini 2012. Sierra fresh installed, no KEXT editing, nothing changed. Sierra does not see any eGPU, doesn't matter if EFI or vanilla PC card.

    That trick with no KEXT editing works only with that special eGPU-EFI from MVC. Otherwise you have to edit KEXTs', as usual.
     
  8. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #8
    Didn't seem like lots of money when it first came out. In fact it was cheaper than comparing with a similar PC workstation during that time. Its that they don't reduce the price unlike a conventional PC. Than again its why a Mac holds on to its value so much longer. If your going to stay in the Apple ecosystem its more about increasing productivity when upgrading rather than price/performance.
     
  9. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    The Peninsula
    #9
    Only if you put real FirePro cards in the non-Apple system (instead of renamed Radeons).
     
  10. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    Jul 4, 2015
    #10
    Yeah eGPU is not a Sierra feature that's coming. Shame really. Would've been a big money maker if Apple sold a chassis that featured a PCIE slot, SSD storage and a USB hub.
     
  11. linuxcooldude, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    #11
    FirePro's on the PC platform AND Nvidia's Quattro's are also based on their Radeon and GeForce series consumer cards. So its not some Apple conspiracy.
     
  12. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #12
    Real higher end FirePros and Quadros support ECC memory.... The Radeons in the MP6,1 - not so much.
     
  13. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Real AMD 7970's don't use 6GB of VRAM.
     
  14. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #14
    The best machine Apple ever built was the aluminum pedestal mac pro (MP). It can run indefinitely at full load because it has professional grade parts including ginormous heat sinks, which allow the fans to run slow and quiet, and third-party graphics boards with their own heat management.

    The thing to keep in mind with old equipment is Apple disables its new software from running on hardware older than 7 years. For example, OS Sierra when it comes out in late 2016 will not run on anything before 2010. Only the MP 5,1 are dated 2010 or later. But there are two MP 5,1: the 2010 models and the 2012 version. They are so much the same you can upgrade the firmware and make a 2010 think it is a 2012. Just to be on the safe side, however, I would only buy a genuine 2012 model, part numbers MD770LL/A and also -771- and -772-. Because these will be made obsolete by new software after 2019, I would only buy the cheapest model. The quad-core MD7701LL/A in stock configurations (6GB and 1TB) sells for about $1000. You would probably want to spend $100-$200 for some more memory.

    The problem with the MP is it cannot move a lot of data off itself because it only has firewire 800. There are 4 internal drive bays so you can put lots of storage inside.

    Perhaps the most over-hyped machine Apple built was the new cylinder mac pro (nMP). The small size means it has inadequate thermal management. For example, there is a special warranty repair program for nMP which tend to burn out their graphics chips. If you want a new machine and can wait then buy the next model because it will have the same thermal management and cooler chips which will make it more robust.
     
  15. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    Jan 12, 2014
    #15
    I think we could see an Apple 'eGPU' in form of a proprietary 5K Thunderbolt 3 display including a GPU, with USB-C hub (of course only for new Thunderbolt 3 Mac's).

    Would explain why this special eGPU EFI from MVC works - without KEXT editing.
     
  16. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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    #16
    That sucks.
     
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #17
    But obviously they can, if you build a proprietary form factor card and put 6 GiB of VRAM on it.

    Seriously, though, the amount of RAM is easily changed, and it not a good indicator of the base hardware.

    This is straying, though, from my response to your claim that "In fact it was cheaper than comparing with a similar PC workstation during that time".

    While it is true that a non-Apple Xeon with dual FirePro cards, dual GbE Ethernet and an SSD blade would be priced in the same ballpark as the MP6,1 - this ignores a couple of important factors that usually make these price comparisons rather pointless.

    The MP6,1 is a fairly well equipped system, even in the base configs.

    However, if you don't need dual GPUs - the second Dx00 card is a waste of money.

    If you don't need dual GbE Ethernet, it's not cost effective to buy the unused port.

    The price comparisons often add a bunch of stuff to the non-Apple system to "match" the Apple config - even though many people would use a base config of the PC without putting a bunch of extras that they do not need on it.​

    The PC may have features that are very expensive or impossible to add to the MP6,1.

    Can you put a high-capacity spinning HD inside the MP6,1? No.

    No amount of money will give you more than 64 GiB of supported RAM, but a Dell T3610 from 2013 is supported with 256 GiB. (Same hex-core as the hex MP6,1.)

    T-Bolt - too bad that the name doesn't have an "S" or two that could be replaced by "$" - because "$$" is what you need to attach T-Bolt expansion. Of course, the PC has PCIe slots for expansion as part of the base price.

    And of course, the PC workstation series includes dual-socket systems with up to 44 physical cores today. MP6,1 stuck at only 12 physical cores.​
     
  18. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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  19. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

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  20. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #20
    Ok, first 7970 card I've seen with 6GB of memory. But I guess they are out there.


    But none of them support Mac OSX natively and likely never will.
     
  21. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #21
    for audio work, where the GPU is not the end all, be all, you might want to consider an iMac. cheaper than a Mac Pro and includes a 27" monitor. the current top of the line beats any current Mac Pro for single thread performance. 3rd party RAM options can get you up to 64GB. I don't know myself but since you are using Logic, the retina screen should be an advantage rather than a nuisance.

    I don't know myself but since you are using Logic, the retina screen should be an advantage rather than a nuisance.
    definitely go for the top GPU, AMD Radeon R9 M395X, to have enough juice to drive that screen.

    with that you get USB3 and Thunderbolt. I don't know what your hardware situation is, but even a few years ago, Thunderbolt started showing up in interface and processing gear.
     
  22. loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

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    Jul 1, 2010
    #22
    Thank you for the reminder, I agree and since I bought the "old" mac pro 2013 a few days ago i have noticed my increase in productivity and improvement. Funny, psychologically if I bought the mac pro 2013 two years ago, I would not have second thoughts about costs etc. now. Unfortunately, the tech industry has trained our minds to think that a few years old tech is "old" and no good. Price is high, "yes", but it was high then and is still now. Before technology difference each year were major leaps in improvements, but in the last few years, the jump is at snail speed now and have probably reach a peak.

    We have been trained to want the new technology to make the longevity of the system to last. If I can continue for at least five years or more with this machine doing FCPX and Logic Pro X without delays and the smoothness that I have now, then the buy is worth it. Being able to upgrade the RAM and maybe the graphic cards eventually will be another plus for longevity.
     
  23. linuxcooldude, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    #23
    I find I'm getting 50% more done now, than for the 50% less I'll get now, waiting to get an extra 15% on top of that later on.

    I rarely play the waiting game. If I need it at the time, I'll buy it. In fact, I prefer NOT to buy a newly released Mac product. I let the "Not paying for old tech crowd" do my beta testing to get all the problems solved first with software/hardware issues. I usually purchase a year or two later. Plus newly released products tend to be in short supply anyway making for an even longer wait.
     
  24. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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    Jun 3, 2015
    #24
    Yup...productivity. Are you able to get your work done more effectively?
    I don't thin Mac 2013 is old per se because it's still latest Mac Pro.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 19, 2016 ---
    I guess when newer models shows up the previous model would be slight cheaper. Anyway.. It's good to wait and let others deal with the mess.
     
  25. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #25
    Myself, I'm coming from an 2009 Mac Pro, which is still a fully capable machine. But 50% increase over old Mac Pro with nMP is quite good. But originally had random rebooting problems on the 2009 Mac Pro which had to do with a third party driver. It prompted me to look into another machine for a backup.

    Sure, you have reconditioned, used nMP and so forth. Major purchases I wait for new products to mature and small purchases I might get it right away.
     

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