Mac Pro alternatives

starkrayz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 12, 2012
2
0
The Mac Pro update was supposed to come out in July, then August, then November, then January, now they're saying Feb/Mar. It seems kinda ridiculous, so I formulated a ridiculous thought: what if there are no more Mac Pro updates?

Assuming you use the system for:
25% - Photoshop/After Effects/Logic (heavy RAM)
50% - Avid / Final Cut Pro
25% - General computing

Would you:

A) switch everything over to PC (including contacts, music, mail, etc)?
B) go with an iMac (which doesn't seem to be very expandable)?
C) go with an older Mac Pro ('09/'10 model) and hope for the best?

Just curious what folks would do since I'm in that predicament!
 

JesterJJZ

macrumors 68020
Jul 21, 2004
2,422
761
Being that my MP1.1 has lasted me so long, I'd get the baddest current MP and ride it out for the next 6+ years. These things last so long that you get a pretty big buffer to figure out future options.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,085
1,097
I'd buy a new Mac Pro immediately when a discontinuation is announced. Have not been impressed by PC workstations so far.

If you're ok with the sort of horsepower an i7 provides, the iMac is a pretty decent system though. The GPU is weaker, but for those apps it would not be a giant hinderance. It does feel more like a disposable machine though. The cheaper price just means you could upgrade every two years.
 

starkrayz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 12, 2012
2
0
Thanks for your opinions. I think an older Mac Pro would be my first choice too (except that buying 1-2 year old technology just seems wrong!). Switching to PC is an absolute last resort. Not to sound cheap but I already have 2 great monitors so I'd rather not go with an iMac and its built-in monitor. There's something comforting knowing that you can continually expand the mac pro tower.
 

wonderspark

macrumors 68040
Feb 4, 2010
3,047
100
Oregon
You said 50% Avid / Final Cut, so I assumed going PC won't fly, unless you're willing to ditch FCP and just use Avid, and maybe jump to Adobe.

You can build a righteous 2009 Mac Pro for pretty cheap if you find one used or a refurb off the Apple Store. I love mine!
 

noiceT

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2008
526
7
Catalina Wine Mixer
I miss my mac pro...:(

Needed to switch up to a mbp when we moved to japan (couldn't fathom shipping it with my 30" ACD).

I say just get a 6-core westmere and be done with it. When and if a new mp comes out, reselling is very easy. MP hold their value very well.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,085
1,097
Thanks for your opinions. I think an older Mac Pro would be my first choice too (except that buying 1-2 year old technology just seems wrong!). Switching to PC is an absolute last resort. Not to sound cheap but I already have 2 great monitors so I'd rather not go with an iMac and its built-in monitor. There's something comforting knowing that you can continually expand the mac pro tower.
The current Mac Pro still uses the latest Xeons available. It's not old technology as far as workstations go.
 

t0rr3s

macrumors 6502
Dec 23, 2010
471
43
*pats my 2007 mac pro lovingly*

Fed it some more ram couple of days ago, it runs as happily as can be.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,772
2,056
Apple doesn't do minor updates on the mac pro line. It's pretty much all or nothing. They come out with one, and it remains unchanged until a major hardware update from Intel. Sandy Bridge E still doesn't seem to be shipping in large quantities. My guess would be since it does say it's shipped that they've received some for testing, but Apple and the other oems are still showing westmere. The current mac pro isn't as powerful as I'd like for what it costs :(. It will cut down render times, but it's just a bit disappointing when you figure it's at least $4k configured (6 core with upgrades). Personally I tend to stagger laptop and desktop upgrades. If they don't come out with new mac pros soon, I'll test out a 15" MBP to see if it can work as an interim machine (my workload isn't that heavy right now). I worry partially about stability, but if I do that it's getting 16GB of ram and a pair of SSDs.

Buy a pc and make it a hackintosh
So many people mention those being easy to maintain. My problems with such a solution would be license compliance and beyond that there are little things that are different. I'd be worried about breaking it. Personally I'd move to Windows or Linux or a hackintosh. Since Linux isn't an option for some things I need, I'd go Windows.
 

markyr17

macrumors 65816
Apr 8, 2010
1,173
82
So many people mention those being easy to maintain. My problems with such a solution would be license compliance and beyond that there are little things that are different. I'd be worried about breaking it. Personally I'd move to Windows or Linux or a hackintosh. Since Linux isn't an option for some things I need, I'd go Windows.
I just turned my gaming pc into a hackintosh until they update the Mac pro line. (I am brand new to macs- my iPhones and iPad reeled me in, and I'm hooked) Nothing major I am specifically looking for them to add to newer models, but if I am going to buy something, I want the latest tech. Setting the thing up was a huge chore, but it is now maintenance free. Just a suggestion.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,660
1,779
Isla Nublar
As someone who supports PC workstations for a living I can tell you don't worry about specs. PC workstations don't hold a candle to a Mac Pro workstation (we've upgraded 20% of our PC workstations at work to Mac Pros and its a HUGE improvement). Don't get caught up in specs, they really mean nothing.

The reason there are no new Mac Pros is because Intel hasn't released any new chips.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,772
2,056
I just turned my gaming pc into a hackintosh until they update the Mac pro line. (I am brand new to macs- my iPhones and iPad reeled me in, and I'm hooked) Nothing major I am specifically looking for them to add to newer models, but if I am going to buy something, I want the latest tech. Setting the thing up was a huge chore, but it is now maintenance free. Just a suggestion.
That's fine for you. it's still not a solution for me. I know a few things that don't work quite the same. If there are others, I don't wish to find out.

As someone who supports PC workstations for a living I can tell you don't worry about specs. PC workstations don't hold a candle to a Mac Pro workstation (we've upgraded 20% of our PC workstations at work to Mac Pros and its a HUGE improvement). Don't get caught up in specs, they really mean nothing.

The reason there are no new Mac Pros is because Intel hasn't released any new chips.
What models did you upgrade from and to? There's quite a range among workstations. Even the mac pro line has a lot of variation when inspected from top to bottom. I mean if you compare the base model to a maxed out twelve core, they're nothing alike (obviously the price difference is significant too). It's not so much that I doubt what you're saying. It just lacks perspective when you say undefined PC line to undefined mac pro model.
 

JesterJJZ

macrumors 68020
Jul 21, 2004
2,422
761
You said 50% Avid / Final Cut, so I assumed going PC won't fly, unless you're willing to ditch FCP and just use Avid, and maybe jump to Adobe.

You can build a righteous 2009 Mac Pro for pretty cheap if you find one used or a refurb off the Apple Store. I love mine!
Final Cut has been discontinued so it doesn't matter.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,085
1,097
Final Cut has been discontinued so it doesn't matter.
Errr no. FCP7 and FCPX are still around and being sold.

I doubt FCP7 will be going away for a while, whatever happens with FCPX. If only because people will still have FCP7 projects they'll need to be opening for years.
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
26
Right side of wrong
my 2006 Mac Pro is still going strong!

i would agree with others that stated by a latest mac pro and upgrade what you need upgraded, and it will last you a long time! my mac pro is now 5.5 years old, and it's still running great! but i am keeping an eye out for a mac pro update soon
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,934
54
England
As someone who supports PC workstations for a living I can tell you don't worry about specs. PC workstations don't hold a candle to a Mac Pro workstation (we've upgraded 20% of our PC workstations at work to Mac Pros and its a HUGE improvement). Don't get caught up in specs, they really mean nothing.

The reason there are no new Mac Pros is because Intel hasn't released any new chips.
Specs really mean nothing is a bit of an exaggeration. Especially when a lot of software is cross platform and technically performs better on Windows 7 64. Sure there may not be a big difference between current Mac Pros and current PC workstations, but there would be a big difference between current Mac Pros and PC workstations based on LGA 2011 processors and chipsets in terms of possible performance. OS X can only make up for so much performance difference and not for everyone.
 

modula

macrumors newbie
Jan 13, 2012
8
0
I need to buy a new machine for fairly intensive graphic design (2d and a bit of 3d) work, and am currently holding out for a new mac pro. I don't want an iMac or mac mini as they're not expandable, I don't get on with iMac screens and they don't last as long - and this is a big investment for me, so needs to keep on truckin'. I'm currently running a dual 2.5 G5 which is just about going still, so I am keen on pros. If they don't release a new mac pro, do you guys think a bottom of the range (can't afford more) current mac pro with extra ram and hd space would fit the bill? Alternative is a monster pc but I still don't trust one to keep going as long as a mac pro would..
 

arogge

macrumors 65816
Feb 15, 2002
1,060
19
Tatooine
I like how Apple's Website still calls the Mac Pro "The new Mac Pro." It always seems to be new, even when it's two years out of date.
 

Liquinn

Suspended
Apr 10, 2011
3,016
57
I just turned my gaming pc into a hackintosh until they update the Mac pro line. (I am brand new to macs- my iPhones and iPad reeled me in, and I'm hooked) Nothing major I am specifically looking for them to add to newer models, but if I am going to buy something, I want the latest tech. Setting the thing up was a huge chore, but it is now maintenance free. Just a suggestion.
Fair enough but a hackintosh just isn't the same.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,660
1,779
Isla Nublar
That's fine for you. it's still not a solution for me. I know a few things that don't work quite the same. If there are others, I don't wish to find out.



What models did you upgrade from and to? There's quite a range among workstations. Even the mac pro line has a lot of variation when inspected from top to bottom. I mean if you compare the base model to a maxed out twelve core, they're nothing alike (obviously the price difference is significant too). It's not so much that I doubt what you're saying. It just lacks perspective when you say undefined PC line to undefined mac pro model.
I'm in Colorado for the next week and a half snowboarding so unfortunately I can't get you an official spec sheet. The workstations were HP Xeon based workstations, some running XP, some running 7 but thats the most I can give right now.

Specs really mean nothing is a bit of an exaggeration. Especially when a lot of software is cross platform and technically performs better on Windows 7 64. Sure there may not be a big difference between current Mac Pros and current PC workstations, but there would be a big difference between current Mac Pros and PC workstations based on LGA 2011 processors and chipsets in terms of possible performance. OS X can only make up for so much performance difference and not for everyone.
I have yet to see a software (besides MS Office) that runs better on Windows than Mac OS or Linux to be honest and I've tested a ton of software. These tests are partly what led me to switch from being a diehard Windows user to Mac OS and to some extent Linux.

As for specs being an exaggeration, I understand your point that this isn't always the case, but most of the time it is, especially for real world usage.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,085
1,097
I like how Apple's Website still calls the Mac Pro "The new Mac Pro." It always seems to be new, even when it's two years out of date.
It's not new, but it's not really out of date either...
 
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