Mac Pro Price Point

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JamesGorman, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. JamesGorman macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #1
    Well I realize this is from a few years ago, but I bet if you went and configured a system simialr to the current Pro's you would get similar results. So far all the people out there saying apples are so expensive, I think we need to look around a bit first before we make that assumption. Granted, some of apples machines are pricey, but you can still get some really good deals with apple.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    As with everytime the Apple Tax gets mentioned. Depending on the specs and options, sometimes the Apple Tax is not present, sometimes it's a wash and sometimes it still lingers.
     
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #3
    Unfortunately, this isn't the case. The value disappeared with the '09 systems alltogether it seems. :(

    There's a thread or two on MR if you search. Such comparisions between Dell, HP, and Sun not only are more likely to compare well, but be less expensive for similar hardware (it's essentially impossible to get the exact system specifications identical).
     
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #4
    There seems to be a thread every two weeks or so, the reality seems to point that at some points Apple is better the their PC counterparts, but at others Apple is the same old Apple.
     
  5. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #5
    As you would say, it depends on the intended purpose. Until the 09s came along, I could easily build a hack with a quad to do the virtualization I needed. The 09s changed the game. No other manufacturer is equivalent. The HP, Sun, and Dells are a serious PITA for virtualization, even if they run nehalems. MacOS and vmware is a beautiful thing.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    I tend to view OS X and MP's as a necessity for those that have a significant investment in software for OS X with the advent of the '09's, and presumably the newer systems. Or in the instance that a company/independent professional needs a single point of contact for support, and uses the OS X environment.

    But with some software gaining the upper hand in Windows (i.e. 3D applications), even graphics pros here seem to have gone to or are considering Windows for that. If the software continues to be difficult (whatever the specifics, such as Adobe abandoning the Mac market if this actually happens), they may have no choice but to go with Windows entirely if the prices or performance reduce the value to the extent it's just no longer viable. It feels as if we're at a critical point here, and depending on what happens (hardware and/or software), could go either way. Specifics per user certainly matter.

    The previous models did offer a nice value, and could be had for less than their counterparts from the likes of Dell,.... But not any longer with base systems from what I've seen in terms of pricing.

    In your situation with VM's, I've not seen or heard of issues with other vendor's systems, and Nehalem was designed for VM/enterprise use. Intel has even admitted that. I'm curious, so could you elaborate on this?
     
  7. JamesGorman thread starter macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #7
    I fully agree with you. like I mentioned, some systems are overpriced, while others are a very good deal. When buying a mac though, I know Im paying for a better operating system, which I value at at least 100 - 150 dollars over a similarly spec'd pc machine. I also factor in that I usually buy a new system every 3 years or so, unless I buy a laptop, and than later that year a desktop or something along those lines, but usually I replace systems every 3 or 4 years, so I also like to factor in at least 50 dollars a year for Anti-virus software, which comes to about 200 dollars, give or take. So if im comparing a similarly spec'd mac to a pc, I always take the price of the mac down about 400 dollars, which evens things up a little bit, even though sometimes it still can be a bit more pricy on the mac side, it is much easier to pull the trigger on a new computer.
     
  8. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #8
    Sure. I need to run three or more VMs at once to mimic the production environment. This works well under redhat/debian linux using Xen or vmware when things are going well. When it goes south I can easily lose days to troubleshooting/restore. Windows only has vmware and it's a whole other bag of nightmares. I use Xen fully virtualized for production and it works great but for workstation use it's a lot of effort. MacOS solves most of the problems (mostly because of clones, software raid0, and File backup) and vmware is extremely fast. Plus, all the other great features of MacOS ices it for me.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    If you're comparing workstations, then you have to add the extended Apple Care to the MP to get close enough to the PC vendors' 3yr on site warranty that come with the base systems (and on-site means on-site, not if only more than 50 mi. from the nearest Apple Store).

    With the PC versions being ~$1k - 1.2k USD less expensive (CPU's are identical, the rest is close, but never 100% the same), it's much harder to justify now. The biggest requirement of staying with OS X and paying that additional amount would be the existing software investment, which may not be insignificant.

    In OS comparisions, Win7 isn't anything like the previous versions, where OS X had a clear advantage.

    Just something potential buyers might really want to take the time to consider in order to get the best value for their needs.
     
  10. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #10
    I don't think that the situation has changed much. Apple has gotten more competitive in some areas and in other areas PC makers have updated specs and quality to match Apple. The OS debate is never going to be clear, but in the end, Apple advantage in some areas and PC advantage in others hasn't changed.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    What are the details of your system (Octad, Quad, memory,...)?

    I'm just curious, as most of the VM's I've seen/had access to are under some form of Linux, not Windows. Nor have I compared the three OS's to one another for VM use.
     
  12. JamesGorman thread starter macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #12
    Very Very true, although for me, I would never buy on site coverage. I know for some people that is a factor but for me, I wouldn't even consider it. Also, you make a good point about the OS's, although I have used both SL and WIN7, and I prefer SL by far. And companies such as cnet, still declare OSX as the better OS between the two. The differences may not be as insurmountable as they once were, but SL is still a better OS, at least for me. And please don't go labelling me a fanboy, because I am anything but, Windows 7 is a great OS, but I still choose OSX.
     
  13. akadmon macrumors 68010

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    It's actually the other way. You can get onsite service if you are within 50 miles of an authorized Apple service provider (not just an Apple Store).

    http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Images/AppleCareProtPlanFacts.pdf
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Looking back at the '06 - '08 MP's, they actually sold for less than their closest PC vendor counterparts. Options could change this, and particularly software. But in terms of hardware, the '09's no longer follow this trend, and the software/options aspect is still similar to previous years (from '06 on).

    Keep in mind, I'm used to the software investment well out-costing the system by a notable margin. In some cases, a single application suite can do it. :eek: ;)

    So from this way of thinking, financially speaking, the MP's are harder to justify for some (not just based on $$$, but the best overall combination of machine + software). It can get detailed rather quickly, and would likely be different from user to user, even if their situations are similar. That tiniest detail could make all the difference. ;)

    You made the best choice for a solution for your needs. Quite simple really.

    But for some that value has declined (or even disappeared), going by some of the posts I've seen since the '09's dropped. Yet others are still willing to stick with MP's, even at their current pricing.

    My only hope is that potential buyers make careful consideration/comparisions,... before they buy, no matter the system purchased. My reasoning is simple:
    1. So they get the best system that fits their useage and budgets (ie. best value to my way of thinking).
    2. The choices we make with our wallets is the only language corporations really listen to. ;)

    Not at all. :)

    To me a computer system (hardware + software) is just a tool, and which ever makes the best over-all solution wins. It's just not likely to be the same for everyone.
     
  15. JamesGorman thread starter macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #15

    I completely agree with you. My whole point in starting this thread, beside trying to show that there is some systems that are on par pricing wise with their pc counterparts, was to help some people make a good decision when buying a Mac Pro, or any apple system for that matter.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    Ah. Got it backwards. :eek: Thanks for the link. :)

    But the basic idea still applies though, as I've not had milage restrictions even when it was a couple of hours outside a major city. In those instances it may have taken a bit longer to send someone, and I usually had them send me the parts in such cases to speed up the process.
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #17
    That's a good thing. :)

    Where I really get into issues the '09's, is in the specific details, and they may not mean anything to some.

    But here they are:
    1. Limited RAM slots (i.e. forced to go with large capacity DIMM's, such as 8GB sticks, if the capacity requirement is high).
    2. The throttling of the ICH10R @ ~660MB/s (though this isn't specific to MP's, but affects all the Nehalem systems, and may matter if SSD's are desired). It can be gotten around, but a bootable SATA card doesn't exist (you have to go with either an eSATA <1 that will boot EFI32/64>, or a proper RAID card). Both of these are on the expensive side ($230USD for the eSATA unit, and $300+ for a RAID card).
    3. High Temps under certain conditions; ~65+C for less than 1% core useage (audio, including USB, FW audio devices, and perhaps a few others that have yet to surface, as it seems to be an interaction with the PCI lanes = audio chip, USB, FW, and NIC chips <not the PCIe lanes> from what we know so far). There's an entire thread on this.
    4. If an internal hardware based RAID is desired, you have to use an adapter to use the HDD bays with a 3rd party card. (Hardware RAID is much more difficult with MacPros).
    5. Lack of firmware access (viable complaint for both hardware RAID and Windows use on MP's, as it can prevent operation such access would solve).
    6. RAM is limited to 1066MHz (firmware limit), even with the CPU's that can use 1333MHz by design.

    The above may not matter to many, but for some it's made life rather difficult, and are the details that I hope potential buyers consider before purchasing. Even if they buy the MP, it can allow them to get the correct options/add-ons (as some of it does have work-arounds) to do what they need without getting upset at the lack of this knowledge prior to obtaining the system. ;)
     
  18. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #18
    Backing up and restoring windows is a pain. No surprise that it is best done with an OS X app (winclone).
     
  19. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #19
    My mac is an 09 octo w 32gb ram. The three VMs all running CentOS (redhat in production) with occasional windows for testing.
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #20
    I've not had problems with Acronis True Image in the Windows environment, and if I use the DVD Recovery disk (has to be burnt), it can clone the OS drive (boots a Linux Kernel). Works with Linux too, but not OS X.

    Plenty of horsepower and RAM, so what sort of problems are you running into that cause you to spend so much time with diagnostics and repair?

    I tried with OS X, and ran into some issues with that, but it was rather specific (hardware = test instrumentation, and even after days on the phone with tech support with the software vendor, couldn't solve). So to avoid the headache, I had to go Windows only (native). Given the situation with RAID as well (cost associated with external enclosures I'd have needed), I ended up sending the '08 Octad back. Really nice machine though.

    I ended up with a DIY system to fit the entire RAID internally, as well as an OS and backup drives. All 17 of them. :eek: :p
     
  21. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #21
    I really have no issues with mac os. I've been running it hard since the nehalems came out.

    Windows and vmware was horrible. The app I code makes heavy use of xmlrpc to pass data between the layers. This would cause blue screens on the windows side and would almost always corrupt the vm. I would lose work all the time and the contractors I worked with would be very unhappy. Xen is great but I really don't like Linux as a workstation.
     
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #22
    My issues weren't OS X related really, but rather passing the data between a USB interface and two OS's, one being VM'ed. I never did figure it out, and gave up.

    Dual booting did work, but it was a royal PITA, as it had to be repeated way too often (two application suites needed to pass data back and forth), so it would be do some work, save the file, reboot, load, work. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    That would be enough to make someone scream IMO. ;) :p
    Linux isn't a good workstation OS IMO, but it is good as a server platform. It's inexpensive, and lightweight compared to other OS's like Windows and OS X.

    Linux, a modest system (i.e. AMD based), and you can build a ZFS file server on the cheap. :D
     
  23. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #23
    In terms of the Mac Pro (and most would agree the MBP too) it doesn't matter.

    The mac pro case alone is so far ahead of any vendor sold PC case ive ever seen that its not even funny.. I even looked at those lian-li cases everyone bangs on about and all i could think was "lol?"

    Seriously, what PC case compares to the mac pro enclosure? It's a thing of pure engineering beauty..

    I don't expect Apple to compete on price, i expect them to blow away my expectations of how amazingly beautiful a computer can be whilst still remaining functional.

    That is why i am an Apple owner and a Mac Pro purchaser. I never desire any other system over the one i have at the moment..
     
  24. JamesGorman thread starter macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #24

    I agree with you for the most part. The case of the mac pro is a wonderful design and I have yet to see a case that even comes close. I like my computer to be more functional than beautiful, but pretty isn't a bad thing. As long as apple doesn't cross that line too much, I'll continue purchasing their products for years to come.
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #25
    Lian Li's are general cases though. They're not tailored to a specific system, so the comparison is a bit harder, as it's internals are made to fit every board listed for a particular model (M-ATX, ATX, E-ATX).

    That forces compromises, and there's no way to really compete with a case designed around a specific system as the MP case is. So the only true comparisons are from other PC vendors' workstation systems.

    In terms of the exterior, most would agree with this. There used to be really nice looking systems from the likes of Silicon Graphics, but that's changed. I don't mind the current Sun's (Nehalem based systems).

    Internally speaking, other vendors actually do a really good job with the internals with their workstations and enterprise systems. Consumer, probably not (though the high-end units are much cleaner the budget boxes). Cost requirements prevents much effort here, as the accountants even count things like nylon zip ties.

    This is the real key for me. The MP's are nice systems (hardware), but the recent revelations with the '09's (particularly the firmware), it's loosing some ground compared to other systems. This aspect isn't the difference between EFI and BIOS, but with Apple's implementation and lack of access to the settings. It's possible they can fix this, but I'm not holding my breath. :(

    This seems to be shifting though, and in the wrong direction. Poor firmware combined with design flaws in both hardware and software are creeping in, causing Apple to loose their luster and competitive edge.
     

Share This Page