Mac Pro buying help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nREMfan, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. nREMfan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #1
    I can't believe that I'm asking this, but I need help. I've been using, and buying, Macintosh computers since '94 but purchasing a Mac Pro these days is the most confusing thing ever. Between the various code names and processor speed variations, I have a headache.

    What I'm trying to do is buy a fast Mac for Web development and the Adobe CS Suite with heavy emphasis on Photoshop. The monkey wrench comes in looking at the i7 benchmark tests vs. the cost of a new Mac Pro. Plus, the RAM is the same (I think) for each with both maxing out at 16GBs.

    So simply, would a used Mac Pro with 2x 3.0ghz (Xeon 5365) be faster than a 2.4 i7 Macbook pro? Or at that cost, would one of the current Apple refurbs (2.66 Quad or 2.8 Quad) be better than both? The price of the 2x3.0 seems to be the better "deal", but I'm concerned the speed will not be there compared to the latter models.

    I apologize because after searching the threads, I see this similar scenario has been brought up before. But again, it's confusing on what to go after. As for the MBP I would need portability "maybe" a few times a year. But not enough to make it dictate a portable purchase.

    I appreciate anyone's help/insight on this. Thanks.
     
  2. iNeedAMacPro macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    #2
    Wait 2-3 weeks I suppose Mac Pros will be refreshed sson with new, faster models.
     
  3. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #3
    You haven't told us what your budget is, but lets say its $1500-$2000 with that kind of budget you are on target for a new MBP, depending on the screen size. As for a Mac Pro, you are close to a refurb from Apple on the top end of that budget, and certainly within range for a used 2008 or 2009 if you are lucky. I wouldn't rely solely on benchmarks as the most important indicator or deciding factor. If you feel the upgradeability of the Mac Pro is more important to you then portability, or storage options such as the internal drive capacity of the Mac Pro are more important then Thunderbolt, then perhaps the decision will be easier for you. A refurb from Apple comes with a warranty, although many Mac Pro owners will tell you they've never had to use their Apple Care, its an option you'll only have through buying a refurb unless you happen to buy a used Mac Pro that still has Apple Care on it.
     
  4. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    Honestly for your usage I would advise against a Mac Pro.....Mac Pro is for professional power use. I have one because I am a visual fx compositor for feature films...so I need to push around a lot of 2k plates and cg elements, and it can get brutal on a comp. Also a lot of 3D projection rendering takes some power! I have maxed out my Mac Pro (one shot on Drag me to Hell in particular rocked it pretty hard!)....but for your use, I would say, either get Macbook Pro (only because of the ram...otherwise I would say get a macbook air!) or an iMac or even a Mac Mini (they now come in i7 variety!!)....actual hardware tech specs on some of these devices seem low, but I assure you, they are not!

    I have done work on my MacBook Air that has really surprised me! I worked on a large number of 2k shots plugged into an external 24" display with no hiccups!
     
  5. nREMfan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the replies so far. Sorry, my budget is $1,500 - $2,500. I have a 30" monitor (IPS) so the iMac is out. I tried the Mini Server and really liked it. But returned it due to "my fear" of not having a dedicated graphics card. I'm looking at the Pros for speed and hard drive expansion. But it seems within my budget at least, I'll lose out on speed compared to a MBP. And will have to settle for external HD expansion.
     
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #6
    If you don't have a need for more than 16GB of memory, the MBP will be faster at Photoshop. Also the MBP is faster all around. Get a 2009/ 2010 or don't get at all as the portables are giving the older 8-cores a run for their money in short burst use. In long drawn out renders I would still rather have a tower even if it was slower. You are talking 2008 tech vs. 2012 tech.
     
  7. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #7
    I say go for the refurb quad MP, then upgrade to the hex.
     
  8. nREMfan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #8
    How much does the upgrade cost, and where would I get the processor?
     
  9. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    Refurb 2010 Quad Mac Pro $2119
    24GB RAM kit from OWC (1333MHz in case of the upgrade below) $303
    6-core 3.33GHz W3680 CPU (just drop in) $585

    First two bits are easy peasy, and keep you in budget. Last one is if you feel like you need more speed. For $5 more, the faster RAM works on either chip, but at 1066 on the stock one from Apple, so it's useful to spend $5 in case of an upgrade.
     
  10. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #10
    The CPU might cost a few hundred dollars, perhaps a little more, you can buy them used on Ebay. There are many instructional videos that more or less show you how to do it, and threads from others who have done it and offer advice and what tools you would need.
     
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    I've done the mod to my 2009. The CPU swap requires a long hex driver to reach the bolts down inside the heat sink. You unscrew the five bolts and remove the heat sink. Flip the lever, lift out old CPU, drop in new CPU. Clean old thermal paste, apply new thermal paste, re-latch spring lever. Remount heat sink, rescrew bolts.
     
  12. nREMfan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #12
    Perfect. Thanks for your help and everyone's advice.
     

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