Mac Pro Lifespan

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by v5point0, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. v5point0 macrumors member

    v5point0

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    #1
    I am not a creative professional but I do dwell in some creative softwares like Aperture, and FCP for personal or side projects. I am inquiring because I would like to know if an investment on a Mac Pro (base model) on the long run would be a good decision, say for the next 5 years and more - upgrading the RAM, GPU, and HD along the way.

    I have considered building a Hackintosh for a fraction of the cost but with more work, though I would like to hear if going the Mac Pro route is worth the money for someone in my position who just wants to a customizable Mac for the long run and be able to use OS X and its softwares flawlessly.

    My other option is going the Mac Mini route and I would probably replace the machine every alternate OS X release or so - repurposing the older model into a HTPC or setting up a multiple computer environment (Mac Mini's have high repurposing value).

    I don't want an iMac because it is a hassle to replace the HD (post-warranty) and because I already have existing external peripherals. I don't want a portable at the moment because I already own a Macbook, though for future replacement - I would consider the 11" Air.

    So in light of Apple products being expensive consumer disposables, I see the Mac Pro as being the most future proof; and so how long has one of these machines served you and are you happy with the purchase down the road.
     
  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I have two 09 Mac Minis and dream of getting a Mac Pro. Mac Pros are fast and a new one should be usable as a primary computer for 5-10 years. If you are game you can even upgrade the CPU.

    I use both my Minis as HTPCs. They're more powerful than my 07 MacBook, so I use them for CPU intensive tasks where possible.
     
  3. v5point0 thread starter macrumors member

    v5point0

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    #3
    Wouldn't that just be downgrading a 2500 dollar Apple machine into a Hackintosh?
     
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #4
    How so?
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #5
    no if you get a 2010 quad 2.8 you can drop in the hex 3.33 for about 1k or the hex 3.2 for about 600 see this thread


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551


    this can be done in under an hour. if you are afraid of the 3.2 being written out of use via an update buy the 3.33 cpu it is the exact same as apples .
     
  6. v5point0 thread starter macrumors member

    v5point0

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    #6
    Nice, thread. So essentially what you did was upgrade the CPU to Apple's stock configuration option or at least that is the safe way to go about it. How long do CPUs remain in the market, suppose if I were to upgrade the CPU in the next 3 years or so? I do suppose newegg/owc keeps a stock of them for a very long time.
     
  7. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

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    #7
    They will be around, but just as expensive or probably more expensive than now.
     
  8. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #8
    I expect my 2.8 ghz octocore 2008 Mac Pro to last a minimum of three more years, but probably closer to five, having already used it for three. Simple fact is that most software still can't take full advantage of the hardware introduced three years ago. And of course, upgrades can double your speed in some cases.

    These machines last a while unless you feel a strong need to be on the bleeding edge.
     
  9. philipma1957, Apr 2, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #9


    the cpu will have a life cycle of 2 to 4 years.

    on ebay longer but used. price will be

    high = new
    lower = 6 months to 18 months
    lowest = 16 months to 28 months
    higher = when they stop getting made and are hard to find . edit = transporteur may be right that they will drop a lot once they are eol


    this was a huge boost in performance for me. 50 to 60% faster
     
  10. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #10
    I disagree. Previous generation Xeons are really cheap. Just check the prices for the 5300 or 5400 series. They cost nothing compared to what Intel charged for them when they were the current generation.
     
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #11
    the last eol price may be wrong you are correct,

    but the 3 other prices in the beginning all show price decline over time. So I am thinking you disagree with the eol estimate. You may be correct about it.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #12
    My suggestion is to go the Mini route. If you aren't using the MacPro professionally, then I believe it is not a good value. I've got the 2008 octocore, and the software is only now starting to fully use it. But only sometimes. (I do still photography professionally). While I expect to use it for another 2 to 3 years, what I will be missing out on is a new hardware protocol - Thunderbolt.

    That is the big risk of any hardware purchase that you intend to keep for multiple years... that new hardware technologies will be introduced that the old system will not have. The advantage of a repurposing Minis every 2 to 3 years is that you can stay current with the hardware. If you buy your peripherals with an eye to the future, then whenever you do trade in your old Mini for a new one, the other bits will just swap over.

    My belief is that non-professionals tend to dabble in more areas, and usually only have one (serious) system. So keeping the hardware up to date is more important. I've got my MacPro as my working system. I really only do a few things on it. I want reliability more than being current. I will swap out my portable system in the next year or so for a new one in order to stay current with the hardware.

    In terms of buying timing. This is just my opinion, but I would wait for the release of Lion if you are going to get a MacPro system. If you want to keep a system for the long-term, you also need to think of OS cycles. It is unfortunate, but Apple doesn't tend to spend much time supporting legacy systems. By buying at the start of a new OS cycle you are ensuring that the HW will work with whatever OSes Apple tosses our way for an extra 12-24 months. The MacPro will continue working, of course, with whichever OS is the last one compatible (in ~4 to ~6 years, more or less) - but you can buy a little more "contemporary" OS time by starting with Lion, rather than the tail-end of Snow Leopard.
     
  13. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Unless you've got a collectors item (such like old Apple computers) or RAM, prices for hardware usually doesn't go up again after eol.

    Nothing different with XEON chips. The prices for them fall continuously, albeit not as fast as for desktop chips.
     
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #14
    If you go the mini route and can wait just a bit maybe april 30 or mid may. The new mini should be out. It is rumor to have a big upgrade. If you can't wait here is a new one on sale from a real dealer.

    one hundred bucks off new sealed just buy some ram to booost it a bit.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Apple-Mac-Mini-...5267&_trksid=p1468660.m2000036#ht_1617wt_1141
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    But those are used ones. There is a difference between a boxed unit with full warranty and a chip that has been abused by someone for several years. Nothing bad with used ones though. I do agree with you that the old chips, even Xeons, are cheap.
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Don't have to be used. You can still find brand new chips from the previous generations on sale. XEON stocks are kept way longer than those for desktop chips since workstations or servers get supported much longer from their vendors.
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    Maybe I should have looked somewhere else than just eBay :eek: :p

    Looks like there are quite a few brand new chips available as well. I'm surprised that they are that cheap, even as new. I remember looking at some old Xeon months ago and it was close to its list price (can't remember the seller. Probably some Finnish ripoff store :D).
     
  18. RebootD macrumors 6502a

    RebootD

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    #18
    I'm using my MP for my business so once it is fully depreciated (as a tax write off) I will most likely sell it and buy whatever model is available, so 3-4 years for my 2009 MP. Plus I don't want to wait too much longer than that so I can get a decent used sale out of this machine.
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #19
    The general rule, is that enterprise systems (servers and workstations; those based on Xeons), are designed on a 5 year duty cycle (upgrade cycles used by those that purchase these systems). Consumer CPU's 3 years.

    As per the OP's specific solution, I'd say go with the mini, as there's zero interest in/desire to use the iMac (understand the reasoning ;)).
     
  20. v5point0 thread starter macrumors member

    v5point0

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    #20
    I take reliability over staying current any day too. Buying cheaper hardware more frequently may enable me to stay current with hardware but is it necessary? Thunderbolt is nice but it will take time before it gets more widely spread like Firewire before it, even USB3.0 isn't so mainstream yet. I have realized no matter how frequent or seldom one purchases a piece of technology, it is hard to stay current. So I much rather buy the cheapest so I don't mind it turning obsolete faster or buy the priciest so it can last me longer. I always do my homework before any purchase no matter how big or small so I would compensate if there were to be any major change in the industry.

    I agree with you on buying during OS launches, I suppose that is the best option for buying any Apple product including iDevices. My current Macbook was the first revision to ship with Leopard.

    I also agree Apple has bad backward compatibility support as they are more into the current and new. You see very little software support these days for Tiger owners, soon that will be the case for Leopard users like myself unless we upgrade. So you mean to say software compatibility with hardware will cease in about 6 years (roughly about 3 OS cycles), based on current OS X history I suppose this is true. If this is the case, I would probably continue using the Mac Pro for another 6 years or so until support for the last OS on my system is fading provided the system can still accommodate my needs.



    There is no hurry, I will probably wait till Lion's release and max out the RAMs as I did the Macbook.



    How much do you intend to get back from the sale?



    I really don't see myself outgrowing the Mac Pro in a mere 5 years. The Mini I definitely agree I will.

    My main reason of upgrading would be a significant increase in performance.
     
  21. Joshuarocks macrumors 6502

    Joshuarocks

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    #21
    And this was my downfall.. I got my w3680 processor in December 2010 for 700 dollars and now its April - result.. I just got myself a G5 Quad(yes, it has the better LCS) for my everyday stuff.. I seem to have expanded my mac pro while not even using it for what it was meant for(strong video encoding, editing, audio work, maya, motion, 3d video and animation) - ALL OF WHICH, SADLY I WILL NEVER EVER GET IN TO.

    Nevertheless, I think I prolonged my 2010 6-core(originally was 2009 4-core) to the point of just keeping up.. Now I realize my mistake, but my mind told me to get upgrades for it and upgrade the processor.

    result: Mac Pro is now 2nd in use and my G5 Quad has taken the lead for being used as my everyday machine which is only basics. However, I am going to use my mac pro as a server to host all of files and programs.. but since I will never use video editing or have a need for it, I feel I went OVERKILL on it.

    I usually don't make poor judgements in computer purchasing, but I think for the 1st time, I did.
     
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #22
    Fair enough. I was generalizing, of course, based on too little real information. Sounds like you have it well thought out.

    It won't be just Thunderbolt, in the next 5 years. There will be other technologies too. But I think Thunderbolt could be a game-changer in a way that USB was, and Firewire wasn't. Whatever you do, wait until you can get a system with Thunderbolt. It's been announced apparently that TB will not be an add-in card for the MacPros. So if you go that route, wait for the on-board implementation. I suspect in a few years time the one thing that will push me into retiring my current MacPro will be it's inability to run TB devices.
    As long as the system is running, you can run the last version of OS and software that worked on that hardware forever. Where it gets complicated is if the protocols for the internet or networking change (not likely. Well it is, but ipv6 or whatever it's called is already part of the OS), or if peripherals don't connect anymore (think of the several different plugs that keyboards have gone through before settling on USB, or printers, or SCSI ports, etc)
    Took me about two years to outgrow my Mini. But then I was trying to edit huge Photoshop files. I expect 5 years for my MacPro, so in another year I will start really paying attention to what's coming up. I want to be able to time my purchase for when it's convenient and best value for me, not for when the MP decides (unilaterally) that it's time to retire ... :)
    Mac Pro. Max the RAM. Wait for Thunderbolt. Easy.
     
  23. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    #23
    The correct term is "process", editing is choosing the select images from a session / roll or editing a clip from an entire take in a full motion squence. I am not sure when this misuse of the term started, probably some time around the awful term "Nice Capture".
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #24
    Yes, I am sure you are correct. On the other hand you don't actually know what I do with my image files, so perhaps 'edit' is a better word to describe it. Having been a 'editor' (at least that what it said on the masthead) I will need to think about whether what I do with my image files is closer to 'editing' or 'processing'. I'll get back to you.
     
  25. RebootD macrumors 6502a

    RebootD

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    #25
    I would hope to get between $800-$1,300 if I decide to sell it in 2012/13 which would be just under half of what I put into it.
     

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