Looking to get a Mac Pro.. some questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dbam987, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. dbam987 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #1
    Hey all, I'm looking into getting a mac pro in the near future. I have some questions about it:

    1. If I choose to get the single processor (quad-core), is it possible for me to upgrade it later with another quad-core-processor? Would Apple perform the upgrade for me later on?

    2. I plan on using VMWare Fusion to run at least 2 copies of Windows XP at any one time. Obviously, the more memory the better. Has anyone tried running multiple virtual machines (2 x XP + 1 x Linux) at the same time on a single-processor with, say, 4 GB of memory? I plan to gradually bump the memory as the need goes...

    3. This question is purely subjective, but just wanted to get an idea anyway: does the Mac Pro make a lot of noise in general? My current desktop gets rather loud, and I sometimes get annoyed when I don't have any music playing in the background to drown it out.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. HitchHykr macrumors 6502a

    HitchHykr

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    1. I dunno. I have a single quad-core and I'm not worried about adding another quad-core later. By the time I would upgrade in 4-5 years there will be a new wizbang architecture with thingamajigy BUS with PCI Super Express video that MacOS 10.9 will require and my current MacPro architecture will be obsolete regardless of how many cores it has.

    2. I've used multiple instances of Parallel with 6GB but for short time periods and not running anything heavy. Performance seems OK but I would add more RAM if you intend to do that.

    3. My MacPro is much quieter that my old MDD G4, I think it still puts out the same amount of heat, maybe more but it is very, very quiet.
     
  3. jwt macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #3
    1. Probably, but I think CPUs need to be paired, and you would have to find an Apple heat sink somewhere. Apple won't install it. If you think you'll want the second CPU in the future, it'll probably be cheaper in the long run if you get it now. Since you're running lots of OSs at the same time, you might want the extra CPU now.

    2. Don't know.

    3. Mac Pro is super quiet. Much quieter than my PowerMac G4 (Quicksilver 02).
     
  4. MAC-PRO-DEMON macrumors 6502a

    MAC-PRO-DEMON

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Up north in Yorkshire :)
    #4
    1. I have the 3.2ghz 8 core and it runs fine with vista and ubuntu at the same time although I dont think it is possible to do a processer upgrade
    2.I have 16gb of ram which is allot for most people but I obiously dont notice any bad performance.
    3.The mac pro is really quiet unless you are running it with the case open and everything running!!!!!
     
  5. matt321 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #5
    1. I still have the old dual-dual and it runs fine. The socket to upgrade is there and it is possible but you would probably have to do it yourself. The biggest obstacle is finding a Mac Pro Heatsink...

    2. I have been running Vista + XP via Parallels and use, almost, all of my 16gb of Ram. Since it is cheap from OWC, I would get as much as possible that you can afford.

    3. The Mac Pro is Quiet! I cannot hear it unless my ear is against the machine. However, this does depend on what hard drives you get so, if you upgrade your hard drives, make sure they are quiet too.
     
  6. CharlieKirk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #6
    1. It probably is, but it will void the warranty. I advise going with an 8-core.

    2. Once again, if your running about 4 instances, 2-cores each will be a sweet spot. ie 8-cores. Memory wise it depends what your doing, but 4gigs each will be nice.

    3. It makes hardly ANY for me.
     
  7. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #7
    More questions!

    Thanks all for your replies. I definitely will go for the 8-core option. I now just have to sell off my current custom PC desktop and backup all my data (a whopping 1 TB of info, mainly media files).

    My day job requires development on Windows machines, hence the several virtual machines with Windows XP. I have the MacBook Pro which is awesome but the 4 GB memory limit is preventing me from running more than 1 virtual machine comfortably. But for my hobby I create landscape scene's using Bryce and other animation tools.

    I have a few more questions to ask :eek::p

    1. If I wanted to add my existing hard-drives into the Mac Pro, which are of the traditional IDE variety, is it possible to add those to the internal drive bay's?

    2. Which brand of memory is generally preffered for Mac Pro's? Usually I'd get memory from Crucial, or Geil, or OCZ. I've had great success with all of them.

    3. How big is the power supply on the Mac Pro? I thought I read somewhere that it dishes out 1000W of power...

    More questions sure to follow.
     
  8. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    1. No. Mac Pros use a SATA interface for the HDD bays, so no IDE
    2. I have 2Gb of Crucial memory in addition to the 2Gb from Apple, and they are identical (down the model numbers on the stickers)
    3. It's 1000W. The PCIe bay can draw up to 300W through the slots, and also has two external power connectors. The rest of the power is for everything else, but I really doubt you can max it out.
     
  9. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #9
    1. NO. No socket on board for extra processor

    2. Typically assigning 2gb or more per VM is best, but if it's low intensity then 4gb total ram might be ok.

    3. Mac Pro is quiet.

    ------

    1 There are IDE to SATA adapters but they are expensive and probably won't fit in Mac Pro. Better to buy new SATA drives.
    2. There are hundreds of pages and a guide on memory here on MR.
     
  10. CharlieKirk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #10
    By the way the guy above is mistaken, there IS a socket.



    1. Sata/sas only :(

    2. I'd use OWC.

    3. Huge. more than you need is possible, but it wont take it all its allowed.
     
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #11
    To add to this discussion, downgrading the base Mac Pro to single quad only shaves $500 off the price. You can't buy a standalone Harpertown processor that cheap.
     
  12. dchao macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #12
    That's not a good reason at all. If you're not going to use all 8 cores at 100% utilization, then are you saving $500 or throwing $500 away?
     
  13. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #13
    In the long run I want a machine that will last me a long long time. Somewhere around 6 to 7 years, preferably longer. In my line of work it might not be feasible to get something like that. If I choose to go the 8-core route, I'll be ahead of the curve for about 3 to 4 years, and still have a mid-to-high grade machine to carry me the rest of the way before needing another machine.

    Anyway, has anyone owned and used a Power Mac/Mac Pro for more than 5 or 6 years? (Have Power Mac's been around that long?) If so, does it still run well for you with today's applications?

    I view it as saving $500. Many applications don't make use of all the core's available (with the exception of some graphics software). Going the 8-core route would make sense if you were doing image and video processing, running multiple VM's (like me), or running many applications at the same time.

    One more question that popped up: is it possible to get additional warranty service past the timeframe that Apple Care would get you? It would suck royally if on the 4th year the logic board dies and it ends up costing $1000 to get it repaired...
     
  14. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    I was using a PowerMac G5 dual 2.5Ghz until recently, and it was happy enough with all modern applications - not the fastest thing ever for things like Motion, but they still ran. I know people still using G4 PowerMacs as their main machines.
     
  15. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2007
    #15
    How many years have you had your G5? Trying to get a feel for how long the hardware will last before requiring maintenance.
     
  16. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #16
    I mentioned this in the context of one of the OP's original questions:

    Yes, you can save $500 with a BTO single-quad Mac Pro. I'm not trying to debate that. If you don't necessarily NEED 8 cores, fair enough. I'm just pointing out the fact that $500 is very reasonable for a second 2.8GHz Xeon and makes the Mac Pro even more future-proof than it already is.
     
  17. ilm101 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #17
    1. dunno.

    2. i routinely run 3 parallels/xp instances, photoshop, preview, acrobat, firefox, safari 2 AND 3, netbeans, tomcat, apache, entourage and several terminal tabs plus ichat. pretty much all day every day, multi-tasking like a madman on a 2.2ghz mbp with 4 gigs of ram and it's tolerably responsive. on my 2.8ghz quad core mac pro with 4 gigs of ram, doing the exact same thing, it's never hesitated for a second. not one time.

    3. except for the built in speaker which continues to surprise me occasionally, it's utterly silent under my desk. i've literally never heard the fans once.

    the bottom line is that these machines are bloodthirsty beasts and unless you're doing something way more intense than what I listed above (which is pretty darned intense), expect to be totally satisfied with the specs you mentioned. seriously.
     
  18. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #18
    One thing to remember with the IDE drives is that they are perfectly usable with a Mac Pro when used in external enclosures. I recently swapped into a Mac Pro and then took all my previous IDE drives and stuck them in a couple of QBOX-F cases (4 drives per case) that hook up via FireWire 800 and they work really well! http://www.datoptic.com/cgi-bin/web.cgi?product=qBOX-F&detail=yes You can of course use them in single enclosures be they FireWire, eSATA or USB interface enclosures that accept IDE drives internally. One thing different to remember too is that you can boot your Mac Pro from a USB external drive (as well as FireWire) where non-Intel Macs could only boot from FireWire.

    I added 4 sticks of 2GB RAM from OWC (where I order all RAM for myself and clients) and it works just fine at a good price point. I always like the idea of their lifetime advance replacement policy, though admittedly in several years of using them I have never had need to use it.

    Don't know how big the PS is, but MacTracker does list the max power used by a 2x2.8Ghz Pro as being 318 watts, so it is obviously in excess of that by a safe margin.
     
  19. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2007
    #19
    Thanks sickmacdoc, I'll look into that hard-drive enclosure. It'll make reusing existing HD's much more convenient.
     
  20. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #20
    Optical Drives Q

    Got another question, this time about the optical drive bay's on the Mac Pro. I have a DVD burnder existing on my current desktop PC. It uses the traditional IDE connector, so is it possible to put that in the 2nd optical drive bay?

    I'm guessing no since everything is going SATA these days...
     
  21. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #21
    Happily for you in this case the optical drives in Mac Pros are indeed IDE still, though I do think that is surprising. I got my Mac Pro last week and it came with a Pioneer 112, which immediately got replaced by a pair of Pioneer 115s with IDE interfaces.

    Just a side note to add to that- while you can certainly set them up as Master/Slave, in the MPs they work fine with both drives set to Cable Select for simplicity.
     
  22. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #22
    BTW- caloptic.com (which is another arm of DatOptic apparently) has the QBOX-F I mentioned on sale right now. I got mine for $179 each as opposed to the $199 price on the datoptic site.
     
  23. dbam987 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #23
    Radeon 3870 Mac 'n PC Edition

    Hey all, got another question here. Is it perfectly fine to install the Radeon 3870 in the Mac Pro along-side the Radeon 2600 XT? I probably would lose out on Crossfire... right?
     
  24. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #24
    Sure, you can do that easily enough. I've run the 8800 GT and 7300 GT together, and a 3870/2600 combo would draw similar amounts of power. As for Crossfire, that'd work only under Windows, and I'm not sure you can Crossfire cards of two different generations, but I'm hardly an expert about that so you'd have to ask someone else.
     

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