Mac Pro - Buy now or wait

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Reticuli, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Reticuli macrumors regular

    Reticuli

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #1
    This is most likely a frequently asked question on all kinds of Apple products - do I buy now or wait?

    I've been coveting a Mac Pro for a while now. Theres 12 months 0% finance up until January 15th and I've been thinking about it.

    What I'm wondering though - is there an update looming on the horizon? Additional SSD storage / ram perhaps? Should I go for it, or wait it out?
     
  2. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    #2
    If you want a Mac Pro with some future proofing your choices are either a 5,1 or at least the six core 6,1.

    For some reason I think Apple is waiting for AMD's Pirate Islands GPU architecture before releasing the 7,1. The GPUs in the current Mac Pro are beaten by consumer cards.
     
  3. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #3
    No-one but Apple knows what they have in store.

    They could do a minor refresh right now if they wanted. New CPU's are available with better price/performance for some options. However, only minor graphics upgrades could be done at this time (at least if they stick with AMD).

    I think it's more likely that they prefer to wait until they can offer 5k display capability, which would require Thunderbolt 3 (or a kluge, but that's not Apple's way). By then, 20 nm graphics chips will be available, allowing higher graphics performance at the same or lower power levels. So perhaps mid-2015?

    Personally, I'd hope they would move to a more standard flash drive slot and squeeze in a second one (won't hold my breath), but anyone waiting for dual CPU's will absolutely be disappointed.
     
  4. VirtualRain, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014

    VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    The pieces are in place to do a minor refresh of the nMP, however, no one knows if Apple will refresh it at this point or wait for something more substantial. And if they do refresh it, it could be tomorrow or 6 months from now.

    And while some might disagree with me, a refresh right now might sound good on paper but results wise, it will offer very little at all...

    - The latest Haswell CPU benchmarks used in a refresh are anywhere from 5% better to somewhat worse than the Ivy CPUs in the current model, with Anand concluding it had a 3% benefit on average. The v3 4/6-core options cost the same as the v2 so there won't be any cost savings either. If you plan to go 8-core, there is a new somewhat cheaper 8-core (saving ~$500 after Apple margins) and on the high-end there maybe more cores available but Intels prices are extreme ($4500 cost on the 18-core CPU)

    - DDR4 is required by Haswell which has no real-world benefit but may actually cost more depending on the supply of ECC DDR4 at the time of a refresh

    - AMD's latest Tonga/Hawaii FirePro GPUs offer about a 15% improvement on average, but they apparently run hotter, so it's hard to say if there would be any benefit after downclocking to meet the nMPs thermal constraints. It's very likely they would include more VRAM, but I'm not aware of any OS X application that is currently constrained by today's configs. And then, of course, there's the fact that very few applications are actually able to fully leverage one or both GPUs now anyway. If you're among the elite few, or plan to game, you'll want to pay close attention to the specific benchmarks that apply to your workflow to evaluate the potential for improvement... Just keep in mind the whole downclocking thing might negate some of the gains.

    - There's no new I/O technology at this point. While USB3 would now be native to the chipset vs discrete, there's no significant performance gains to be had.

    - There's no newer or faster SSD technology at this point. The only thing Apple could do in this dept. would be to add a second SSD which would be a nice option, but there's no guarantee they will do this now.

    In my opinion, all of this adds up to a refresh that will be disappointing in benchmarks and be very unlikely to meet most people's expectations. I use to think this was reason enough for Apple to skip Haswell and wait to refresh the nMP when Broadwell EP lands. However, the recent refresh to the Mac Mini proves it's not beneath them to release a product refresh thats disappointing in nearly every way.

    So I don't really know what they will do. However, I do know that if you have a need for a nMP, the pricing deals you can find at B&H or the refurb store are pretty decent, and you know you're getting a solid performer. If you wait, you may get rewarded with an incremental refresh or you may be left wondering when it's coming for months.
     
  5. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #5
    Personally, I'm in a waiting mode, but I have a sinister plan in place to ensure I will be replacing my aging 3,1 with a new Mac Pro in the spring...

    For Christmas, I've purchased new MacBook Pro's for the wife and daughter, replacing their old MBP's (purchased in 2009). By doing this now, I remove any potential complaints from Mrs. Sigmadog when I order my new computer. As a bonus, my plan provides me with an instant and winning response should Mrs. Sigmadog grumble:

    "Hey! My computer is the main workhorse of our business, and it's older and slower than yours! Why do you hate efficiency?"

    It's an expensive scheme, but it worked like a charm six years ago.
     
  6. Reticuli thread starter macrumors regular

    Reticuli

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #6
    You devious dog.
    I like it.
    I just plan on getting my mac pro using money from bonuses / extras at work without cutting into my regular salary. It might take me a little while but I'll get there.
     
  7. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #7
    I'm personally in waiting mode myself. My feeling is that they won't let the nMP considerably age without a refresh due to all of the money and R&D, not to mention marketing, that they put in towards the new design. It had to have been a long and fairly expensive venture for them, especially considering the lengths they've gone towards having it assembled in the US. What good is it to them if they let it stagnate to the point where it's massively outdated and not competitive with other workstations? I don't think they'll wait for DP 1.3/Thunderbolt 3, as that's at least another year off before being able to be included in Apple products, if not more.

    There's also the fact that, even without sound knowledge of a refresh coming soon, a nMP costs the exact same as it did 12 months ago. To me personally, spending the same amount of money as I would have 12 months ago for the exact same system is a waste.
     
  8. bxs, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014

    bxs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #8
    Refresh likely to be on a 2 or 3 year schedule

    IMO Apple will use a 2 year or even a 3 year refresh schedule for the MacPro. When a refresh is released they will lower the entry price for the older models.

    I also don't see Apple introducing a 2nd flash-based SSD. With the fast external SSD units connected via TB-2 or maybe TB-3 in future there's plenty of speed and capacity for that.

    Just my $0.02 worth of insights. :)

    [EDIT]
    OWC just announced a pre-order 2TB SSD for the nMP6,1..... $1479. It uses the x4 SandForce SF2281 controller with claimed speeds of 730 MB/s reads and 698 MB/s writes. I believe the stock Apple 1TB SSD provides better speeds.
     
  9. megalaser macrumors 6502

    megalaser

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #9
    Apple have always taken their time with Mac Pro updates, so don't hold your breath.
     
  10. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #10
    While that is entirely possible I'd argue that they won't because they're going to want to have it on DDR4 in '15 and PCIe v4 in '16.
     
  11. ratisse, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    ratisse macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2014
    #11
    If a big part of this has to do with money, I've got you there.

    I ran into this awhile ago and it's saved me a bunch of money so far. You can get paid 7% back on ANYTHING you buy from apple. Buy it direct from them or if you don't want to pay tax buy it from the macmall.

    You sign up for free, download the toolbar into google and you're good to go.

    http://us.mall.dubli.com/?_aff=T0US19AJX&region=1&_d=US,en,1

    *See pic so you know I'm not trolling you*
     

    Attached Files:

  12. itcrashed macrumors regular

    itcrashed

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #12
    I say buy now. There is great value to be had right now...

    The 6-core 16GB 2xD500 256GB model is currently offered at -$500 off retail. Apple Care is also included for FREE! That's a $250 value. Adorama is tax free which for most means an additional savings of $350. So altogether, you are paying $3500 for a kit regularly costing $4600.

    This is all meaningful if you are in the market for the 6 core with D500. RAM is obviously upgradeable and a 1TB Apple SSD is going anywhere between $650-$750.


    http://www.adorama.com/ACMD878LLAZ.html

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Samsu...ina-NEW-Mac-Pro-Late-2013-2014-/291323423471?

    I just finished configuring with the parts above and have been very happy with the results! Now to save up for some additional RAM and some 4k screens!
     
  13. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #13
    Hopefully apple will include a second drive bay for another ssd in the next mac pro. I hate cables! Think they would sell more units if they did.
     
  14. Reticuli thread starter macrumors regular

    Reticuli

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #14
    That's an amazing deal itcrashed. Sadly I'm uk based though. If you know of any similar offers in the uk off the top of your head please do let me know though. That's some fantastic discount!
     
  15. Captpegleg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    #15
    You're not the only one that uses that plan. MsCapt didn't know what a Rolex was 30 years ago but she couldn't possibly say a blue faced submariner was frivolous after she already had a ladies watch. Good investment, almost never off my wrist since. It's an expensive method at times but it ALWAYS WORKS.
     
  16. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    #16
    This. I see Apple parting ways with the traditional market. They know some people will get left in the dark, but what can they do? It has to happen sooner or later.

    If you need the power of a big computer rig, you're going to have to get a big computer rig. If you're waiting for Apple to upgrade the nMP anytime soon, you could be waiting a while.

    Just follow the money. It will cost Apple money to upgrade this now. And Apple doesn't like to spend money for no reason. Especially a winner such as the nMP with no competition in site. It's no like phones where Samsung is matching them toe-toe. And while people complain they'll lose the pro market, they'll continue gaining big in the semi-pro market which they will control almost outright.
     
  17. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #17
    I'm unsure if Apple will refresh with every Intel EP iteration, but in my case, I believe it has more to do with a lack of any tangible performance increases in this generation.

    I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for why they might skip obvious refresh opportunities? Are you suggesting it's too costly to update? If so, I'm not sure that's a legit reason for Apple.

    I think the most significant signal that we will see an update to the nMP for Haswell, is the fact that Apple updated the Mini - even after a lengthy delay. I think they got burned by Intel waiting for suitable Broadwell chips which were delayed. I'm not sure they would make that mistake again. Even though the updated Mini is over a year late and arguably worse in every way from it's predecessor except in price - Apple did the update anyway (and obviously didn't have an issue with the cost of doing that update).
     
  18. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    #18
    Competition drives innovation. Why change the form factor here if the idea was to compete with the traditional market? It wasn't. They created a new market. How you define the market (pro, semi-pro) really doesn't matter here. But, it's a new market with no competition so far. So at the moment, changes cost money.
     
  19. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #19
    I don't think anyone is arguing (realistically) for a change in form factor... only when the next update to the internals will occur.
     
  20. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    #20
    That's not really what I meant. Apple's data showed an new market. So we have a nMP. There's a good chance they don't think this "new" market needs upgrades any time soon. Especially with no competitors. They could sell more units by dropping the price versus upgrading components. Which is what I suspect they'll do.
     
  21. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #21
    I would wait like I have suggested to friends wanting a new Haswell mac right now. Apple nearly always stalk Intel chipsets and yields bar the cMP being left for dead, where I suspect a total redesign of the two part logic board system with no northbridge and integrated memory controller on the sandy bridge was that exception to their normal Intel rule.

    The Haswell e 7,1 I suspect will not be that far away bearing in mind that I think the Xeon range in the 6,1 was released in September and it shipped in January, likely to satisfy yield and as Apple must be one of the largest Xeon customers for those individual parts.

    I can't decide if the broadwell mobile chips will be out before, after or simultaneously for a q1 2015 product launch. I will put my sweepstake for as possibly early as the end of January to give all those Xmas buyers of the 6,1 one of apples slap in the face new year presents for the impatient at least and broadwell depending on Intel with a much, much bigger demand in terms of volume a bit later. Though I should have more of a clue by the end of the week and may adjust my sweep ;)
     
  22. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #22
    You'll never see a Haswell-E

    Please, you're smarter than this. "Haswell E" are Core i7 CPUs that will never show up in an MP*,1.

    The Xeons are "Haswell EP".
     
  23. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #23
    Oh come on - its past 1am here about to hit the sack and I did say Xeon lol. Since sandy bridge and all these new variants I have given up caring about being totally exact with any never mind just a xeon!

    The one that fits, cores, cache sizes, clock and TDP are all I care about :D

    What's your sweepstake dates before I say goodnight?

    Tara :)
     
  24. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #24
    But master, all of the grasshoppers here look up to you for sage guidance.

    If you be careless with important details, the grasshoppers could be tempted to follow the path onto the dark side.
     
  25. Reticuli thread starter macrumors regular

    Reticuli

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #25
    I reached out to the head of benefits and compensation at my work today, to propose that they partner with a salary sacrifice partner for buying apple and other tech products. We already do salary sacrifice for cycle to work, so it would give a lot of geeks a great way to spread the cost of a kickass system.

    I'll wait a few weeks and see if they take the bait on that before I make my mind up.
     

Share This Page