Mac Pro choice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by riddlefitch, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. riddlefitch macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011
    Hi all,

    I am in the process of updating my desktop. I have been using a dual 2.3 powermac tower for a year or so with dual 20" cinema screens. I love the monitors and do not want to go glossy so the imac is out. So that leaves the slightly lame mini, which would probably meet my needs but does not at all seem future proof since it still uses the c2d. Anyway a reputable Graphics firm is selling off their old mac pro 1,1's for $800, a little cheaper than what a decent mini would cost me. I mainly run Ilife (including imovie) and music (high quality audio is important to me), web, word processing stuff, but I like to keep my machines for a while. So, question is, is the old pro worth it, or should I go for a new mini?

  2. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Do you know the specifics of the Mac Pro 1,1?
  3. riddlefitch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011

    it's the Dual 2.6ghz dual core Xeon. 250 GB HD and 4 GB RAM
  4. phairphan, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    Both machines will meet your stated needs. The fastest Minis come close to matching the processing performance of the 2.0 GHz MP 1,1, but they can't match the power of four cores running at 2.66 GHz. Helping out in the speed department will be the full-sized hard drives you'll be able to use in the MP. You'll have more USB and FW ports on the MP.

    In the Mini's favor it's new, quieter, uses vastly less electricity, has faster memory, and will be under warranty. It also supports booting SL in 64 bit mode and will be officially supported by future versions of OS X longer than the MP.

    Both the Mini and the MP 1,1 are based on C2D architecture, so don't let that be a consideration. Actually, the C2D architecture in the Mini is more advanced than that in MP (which is the main reason why a dual core at 2.66 can nearly match two dual cores running at 2.0).

    In my opinion buying to future proof, especially with Macs, is nearly pointless. Even the "expandable" machines like the MP end up with fewer upgrade options than you would hope for and many of them make little financial sense. You should buy for what you need or expect to need in the near future.

    Here's the pro/con list

    Speed: MP
    Expansion options: MP
    Warranty: Mini
    Memory capacity: MP
    Memory speed: Mini (questionable)
    HD speed: MP
    HD capacity: MP
    Price: MP
    Future OS X support: Mini
    64 bit support: Mini
    Utility usage: Mini
    Ports (USB/FW): MP

    I guess you need to decide how important warranty and future OS X support from Apple is to you. At the moment (and for the near future), things like 64 bit support are irrelevant to your stated usage, so the OS X support may not be as big of a deal as it sounds. If I was in your position, I'd probably opt for the MP.
  5. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2010
    The Mac Pro 1,1 is actually a 64 bit machine, all Apple need to do to enable 64 bit booting is release a firmware update. Hopefully if they come out with a full 64 bit OS, there will be enough bitching that they get off their a$$ and do it.
  6. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Apple will never release an EFI-64 firmware update for the 1,1 and 2,1 machines. If they really wanted to, they would have already released an update long ago. They rather sell you a new computer.
  7. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004

    1) The likelyhood of Apple releasing a new firmware for the Mac Pro 1,1 is completely totally unlikely.
    2) 10.5 was almost entirely 64 bit. 10.6 is entirely 64 bit. They came out with a full 64 bit OS a long time ago.
    3) Despite the rumblings, I'm not sure why they'd discontinue K32 support. It's not likely to happen until the Mac Pro is too slow to run OS X anyway, which is going to take a while.
  8. riddlefitch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011
    Thanks for the advice

    Yeah, as a casual user I am not too sure how the 32 bit vs 64 bit thing affects me. After all, I am still on 10.5.8. Still, it is always fun to have the latest and greatest!! The electrical efficiency of the mini is probably its most appealing aspect to me right now. How does the audio out equipment of the mini compare to the pro 1,1? I am running audioengine 5 speakers and sound quality is important to me. Thanks for your feedback!!!
  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    For analog output to your speakers, I imagine the sound quality would be about the same because both machines probably use similar audio chipsets and op-amps. In either scenario, you can improve the quality that signal by using an external DAC.

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