Mac Pro or Retina MacBook Pro - which to buy?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by malthe, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. malthe macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    Okay so here we go - I have the opportunity to buy either the mac pro 2009 and upgrade it exactly like "wonderspark" here on macrumors has done - from the 2.66 quad to the 3.33 and add more ram, more hard drives and a better graphic card..

    I can get a mac pro 2009 with quad with 2.66 ghz, 8 gb ram, 2.8 tb of hard drive space for about 1300 dollars..

    Or I have the possibility to get the macbook pro retina 15,4 2,3 ghz, 8 gb ram, 256 ssd. for about 1200 dollars..

    Both are used - what would be the best choice?

    I would use it for mostly photoshop cs6 and capture one, because I'm a photographer..
    I do occasional gaming and other stuff - but really I just need a fast maschine that would follow me at least the next 3-4 years..

    Currently I have a macbook pro 15" 2.4 i5 ' and a macbook air 13" and a cinema 27" display.. I would opt to have the most juice for the money.. And mostly a workstation..

    Is the new macbook pro retina really faster and a better choice than an upgraded mac pro 2009 -
    to intel 3680 - 16/32 gb ram and a 128/256 ssd drive?

    Please help me out guys - I have just 5-6 days to make the right choice..

    Regards in advance!!

  2. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    No, a rMBP is not faster. A w3680 6 core will eat the rMBP's CPU for breakfast. (I have a rMBP by the way). The only reason why I didn't buy a Mac Pro this year and opted for the rMBP was because the "update" was not an actual update. If you don't need portability and you want the best CPU and GPU power with upgradeability then the Mac Pro route that you're thinking about makes sense. I would also consider a 2012 iMac, if you can live with the limitations of such a machine.
  3. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Why do people ask these questions? 2 completely differing reasons to buy one over the other. Is the retina so fast a Mac Pro makes no sense? No. Can you take a Mac Pro with you? No. C'mon folks?
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I agree with you, but I think it's a natural reaction for most people when two items can be had for a similar price even though they are completely different.

    MBP vs Mac Pro? It's like asking whether a sports coupe or a pickup truck is the better choice.
  5. Dor Levy macrumors member

    Dor Levy

    Feb 6, 2013
    Totally agree. I have no idea why people ask these kind of questions.
  6. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013

    Thx for the reply..

    I got the idea mostly from and also from googling the question.. It seems that people have traded their mac pros for retina macbooks..

    Im glad to see that you all agree on the mac pro as it is the thing I want to buy the most :)

    But I seen a lot of disturbing videos of errors in the macbook pro retina line on youtube and on threads.. All from failing screens with ghosting, and pixel errors, and not able to wake up, giving errors that required them to be replaced and chuckling noise from screws that was not properly assembled.. I think its a better option too to opt for the mac pro..

    Also since there is nothing apple wants you to upgrade on the macbook pro retina since all is sodded into place on the back..

    Is the price for the mac pro good? 1300 dollars?
  7. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    IMO just get the Mac Pro since you already have a MacBook Pro. So you have both a workstation and a laptop whenever you're traveling taking pictures. I guess most photographers keep a desktop and laptop for their work. A mac tech guy told me, in the new Retina MBPros, the hard drive is embedded to the logic board as chipsets. He said in case of repairs or crashes, it is harder to recover the files compared to a traditional removable sata drive in older laptops.
  8. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Don't pay too much attention to GeekBench scores. Synthetic benchmarks show how fast a computer is in 100 metre sprinting and do not show you the full picture.
  9. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    That there just screams Mac Pro :) And you already have an excellent monitor.

    With the rMBP, the most you'll be able to upgrade is the SSD which is also not very great as you'll just be able to put a 512gb blade or possibly 1TB if and when they come out.


    I about paid that for a stock 4,1 2.93 quad with 8gb and 1TB hdd. I don't know if the prices have dropped much since last year? I put in 2 256gb SSDs, 2 2TB HDDs, 2 GTX 670 for SLI in windows and plan on putting in a i7 980x/990x and going to 16-32GB of memory.
  10. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013

    Okay that is interesting - Im 100 sure now that I will go for the mac pro..

    But after you told me you would upgrade your 2009 model to i7 980x/990x -
    i gotta ask why?

    Never heard of those models - normally I see people upgrading to xeon 3680 or in some cases 3690?

    I was going for the 3680 - but would the i7 980x/990x be a better go?
    And why?

    As far as I can see they are the same ghz and the same 6 cores ' both hex..?

    Also I would guess that since you gotta upgrade the firmware to 4.1-5.1 than the 3680 is a safer bet - because apple actually ship mac pro's with the 3680?
  11. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    I've just been in your situation, a couple of times in fact...

    I started out with a base 2012 Retina Macbook Pro, it was faulty 5 times in total and purchased from a reseller leaving me no option of a refund only repairs, long story short Apple gave me the option to swap out the machine for any Mac so long as I pay the extra or lose the difference, had to sign a disclaimer with Executive Relations. I chose a 6 core Mac Pro instead.

    I loved the beast but my relationship with the machine became sour recently, now the extra grunt is always appreciated but I always had in the back of my mind that I missed having a portable and that the lack of features was starting to grate on me, I was using an essentially 2010 spec machine that had no usb 3, thunderbolt, SATA 3 connectivity...

    They are both built for different purposes but at the same time there is a lot of crossover with both machines. Once Apple had cut supplies to the EU due to the new directive and the fact that I was using a machine that is dying a death without any attention from Apple, I decided to sell and go back to a retina Macbook Pro. I couldn't be happier and glad I tried it out.

    I'm sure you would love the 6 core Pro but for me knowing a new model was just around the corner and I was essentially running on 3 year old tech without essentials, that is what drove my decision. I wish you every luck with it, I know it's a tough one.

    Here's a spin for you to contemplate - the Mac Pro 6 core is just about faster than the new iMac, given the new iMac is 'normally' far and away from a Workstation class Mac on normal comparison I'd say hold off. The value of getting a Mac Pro purely for speed of processor is a mute point at this point in it's cycle. If you're set on a Mac Pro 6 core then perhaps hold off until the new release this year and buy at discount?
  12. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Those users didn't really need a Mac Pro anyway if a laptop can replace it.
  13. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    It's not that simple...

    I can complete projects on the Retina Macbook Pro i7 Quad 2.7Ghz purely because the Mac Pro is so ancient that the performance gap is smaller than it's ever been between workstation and Macbook Pro.

    SATA 3 with SSD speed and Thunderbolt save me heaps of time in terms of completion of a project. I loved my Mac Pro but it's just ignorant to assume that working professionals didn't need a Mac Pro to begin with, in fact it's because a Macbook can compete with the current Mac Pro in todays Apple ecosystem, it's a slouch that has been allowed to fall far far behind, the Retina Macbook offers a nice balance of performance and modern connectivity, the Mac Pro simply put, does not.
  14. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    I have a 2008 8 core Mac Pro and a Retina MBP. The Retina MBP is faster for what I do. Would be good to know which currency the thread starter is talking about (US$, Aus$, Can$ or whatever), but I suspect $1200 for a Retina MBP is a steal, no matter which dollars we are talking about.
  15. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    It does matter which gen Mac Pro. A 1,1 to 3,1 yes, case is solid (usually).
    A 4,1 8-core (16-thread) or 5,1 6-core to 12-core (24-thread) and 8 DIMM slots, no.

    And, if course, it matters what you are doing with it. A Mac Pro will run circles around that lappy in After Effects. Or with a GTX 570 in one all over CUDA GPGPU.
  16. thegreatdivorce macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2010
    Upper Left USA
    This is where I am, too.

    For the OP, though, I say get the Mac Pro.
  17. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010

    Those 2 words...
    Depending on what kind of projects the professional happens to be working, it is absolutely possible that the current, ancient Mac Pro will decimate the i7 laptop.
    It's also possible that the laptop will crush the Mac Pro.

    The right task for the right job.

    Ever run a process that uses 45GB of RAM and is using 14 out of 16 cores? In that situation, the performance gap is pretty big.

    However, the gap between a 2009 base Mac Pro and a 2013 fully loaded Mac Book Pro.... the gap has narrowed.

    But if your profession required a PCI card....

    If you just needed processing power in 2009 (enough that the base MP was enough but the MBP wasn't), then i can see a current MBP as a lateral move or an upgrade.
  18. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    My point entirely, it's a very viable option for many users.
  19. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    It gets down to one simple principle; If a user does not know why he needs a Mac Pro then almost assuredly he does not need a Mac Pro. I mean really, a Mac Pro or a laptop? How can such a question even be asked?
  20. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    My rMBP is running circles around my Mac Pro on a CPU-bound, single-threaded task at the moment. Like, will save me days running circles.

    Of course, my solution to this on the Mac Pro is to spin up a few virtual machines eating more RAM than the rMBP can take in its maximum configuration.

    Different tools for different jobs. It's like asking if you should have a hammer or a screwdriver.

    That being said, it sounds like for your stuff, a Mac Pro might be the better bet.
  21. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    Yeah :)

    Okay so I went with the mac pro - and of cause the stock 2.66 2009 is slower than the new macbook pro retina.. But once I have upgraded the ram to 32 gb, and the 3.33 ghz 3680 intel chip and a ssd then im sure the map pro will step on the macbook pro retina in most tasks.. And since I got both a iPad 3, a macbook air and a macbook pro it seemed like the best solution to buy a tower :) To support my two cinema displays..

    But there was another thing that now Im wondering about one last thing..

    Just to add a little ssd bootdrive for both mac os x and for the programs I was thinking about those two here..

    a 90 or a 120 gb..

    sorry for the danish prices - they are around
    100 us dollars..

    What would be the best to choose?
  22. derbothaus, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

    derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Yep. Just not everyone:)

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