Mac Pro, mac Mini with eGPU or something else

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tobiastimpe, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. tobiastimpe macrumors member

    tobiastimpe

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    #1
    Hello everybody,

    as my current system is already 7 years old now, I am in the market for a new desktop. When the rumors about the new Mac Pro started, I thought "Well, I'll just wait to see what they announce and how much it costs." - That was before they announced the pricing of the new Mac Pro.

    Now, I am facing the decision of what to buy that will last me another couple of years (upgradable storage, RAM and GPU).

    I think I have a couple of options here:

    - a fully decked-out mac Mini + eGPU + 2 LG 5K displays (although I would really like a 27" 5K one from Apple)
    - iMac Pro with extra 5K LG display (would at least look better)
    - new MBP 16" (Let's see what they announce regarding the keyboard) + 2 LG 5Ks with a whole lot of adapters (10Gb Ethernet, many USB ports, FireWire, video capture, SD card slot)

    Or maybe even an entry-level Mac Pro with a Pro Display XDR

    I am a web/iOS/Android developer and music/video producer so my software needs would primarily be:

    - Xcode
    - Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Audition, After Effects, Premiere Pro)
    - Logic Pro X
    - Final Cut Pro X
    - Pro Tools

    What do you think? What would best serve my needs or provide the most "bang for the buck"?
     
  2. iluvmacs99 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2019
    #2
    If your current system is a Mac Pro desktop, then the natural upgrade path would be the new entry level Mac Pro as it offers flexibility of upgradable storage, higher RAM ceiling and plug and play GPU without the bottleneck of the Thunderbolt 3 interface.

    However, it's really up to you and what your budget allows and how much of the ROI (Return On Investment) you get out of your computer doing software development and music production, because the time you spend trying to upgrade the computer in the future can be time saved and spent producing and developing software and music which can help increase your incoming revenue stream. You need to achieve a balance of cost and downtime. The Mac Pro may initially look uber expensive with the Pro Display, but if it helps your productivity, then that is a measure of performance you can not measure now, but may appreciate later when you own the computer over several years time. Basically, what is your amortization outlook on the initial purchase cost and when you know that, it will make it simpler for your to decide. We all have different ROI expectation and amortization costs regarding the computers we chose.
     
  3. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    #3
    Since you need it for business, I would get the new Mac Pro and write it off as a business expense.
     
  4. lifeisepic macrumors 6502

    lifeisepic

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    What about an i9 iMac with an additional LG UltraFine 5k?
     
  5. tobiastimpe thread starter macrumors member

    tobiastimpe

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    #5
    Yes I agree that the new Mac Pro seems like a reasonable choice (although my wallet disagrees), but I worried about the ARM transition that is pretty clearly coming up in the next few years. I don't want to end up in a "buying a G5 in 2005" type of situaton.
     
  6. lifeisepic macrumors 6502

    lifeisepic

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    ARM will likely be for less powerful machines, it won't be a replacement for high end intel chips.
     
  7. tobiastimpe thread starter macrumors member

    tobiastimpe

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    #7
    That was another option I was thinking about, however that inability to upgrade the iMac and the fact, that having the LG UltraFine right next to an iMac looks super ugly IMO, makes me kind of not want to down this route.
     
  8. iluvmacs99 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2019
    #8
    The ARM situation will not effect the Pro line all that much. ARM would probably be implemented on the portable machines first and then transition towards the Mini and then finally the desktop line if it ever becomes powerful enough. You would likely upgrade, 7 years from now, to the new Mac Pro with ARM.

    Again, if you are business minded, you need to look at your business costs. Your gross income vs gross expense. In this low interest rate environment, can you borrow at preferrable rates that are lower and that can give you a reasonable yield spread between your gross income and your gross expense to service that debt. That is what you need to look into. Too many people focused, when they are in the transitionary period of wanting to be in business is not to realize what is your income yield, the spread between income revenue vs gross expense and most often, people entering into the business goes in with unsuitable equipment and the down time eats up potential income revenue, because once you bought a computer over several years, you can't just return it. You have to sell it and upgrade to the proper computer and then re-install your applications and accessories. So you need to realize that aspect. If you're not using it for business, you can buy whatever you want and then sell whatever don't fit your needs. That's a consumer mindset -- very different from a person running a business.
     
  9. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #9
    If your day job involves spending half your life sat in front of this thing and can afford it - why not.

    I'll assume that you're sufficiently committed to Logic, Xcode and FCPX that switching to Windows is a non-starter (...otherwise the answer is get a nice AMD PC mini-tower that you can put together to your exact specification).

    If cost is an object, though, its going to be hard to justify the cost of the XDR display (even if you save $1000 and prop it up on a pile of bricks) unless you actually need a 'reference' display and don't already have one (oh, and lets wait for reviews from people in the industry who are not on Tim Cook's speed-dial before pronouncing it fit to replace a $20,000 reference display...).

    ...and the issue with the $6k Mac Pro is not so much that you don't get $6k worth of hardware, its that the configuration doesn't really make sense - you're paying a lot for all those PCIe lanes giving the potential to add quad GPUs and a brace of afterburners - but who would pair that sort of (expensive) power with the 'mere' 8 core entry-level Xeon? 256GB of SSD isn't going to go far by the time you've installed Logic, XCode, FCPX and a bunch of sound libraries, and that gaming-grade GPU is wrong in every respect: a waste of a few hundred bucks for something that's just going to be a server, completely mediocre for anything that's going to be used for the sort of graphics that deserve a $6k computer.

    Bottom line: whether the Mac Pro line as a whole is a triumph or disaster, that $6k entry level model probably isn't the Mac Pro you are looking for - so its a case of waiting and seeing what a more sensible spec will cost (e.g. 512GB+ SSD and/or some internal HD storage, Vega graphics, ...wheels at $999 for a pack of 3... :) )

    ...that would probably put the iMac/iMac Pro at the top of your list, since they are pretty good value if the 5k display floats your boat. The iMac Pro is starting to look a bit "old" but I don't know if there's a relevant new Xeon that it could be upgraded to.
     
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #10
    ...if you bought a G5 in the first half of 2005 (i.e. before the Intel switch was announced) you'd have had to wait a year before the Intel Mac Pro was even available, probably another year or so before everything you used was Intel native and took full advantage of the new system, and maybe until about 2010 before it became a real inconvenience.

    Also, don't forget that a lot of early adopters got stiffed with a 32-bit-bios that turned the early Mac Pros into Hackintoshes on the same sort of time-scale. The ARM probably isn't going to offer the same sort of straight performance boost that the Intel switch and will probably focus on lower power/better battery life/thinner/getter iGPUs in the laptop range first. If it does come to high-end-iMac/Mac Pro range then it will likely manifest as more cores, more on-chip accelerators and be very dependent on optimised software (which might take a while to seep through). I think its an exciting prospect, but that doesn't mean that the early worms won't get the bird.

    ...thats if the rumours aren't just part of a keep-Intel-on-its-toes strategy by Apple (gee, look who's suddenly got early access to new CPUs for the formerly-non-touch MBPs and possibly the Mac Pro...)

    You can hope to get 7 years out of your next Mac, but there are 101 things other than the still-hypothetical ARM switch that could thwart that.
     

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9 August 5, 2019