Mac Pro processor upgrade worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kwarren, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. kwarren Guest

    Aug 18, 2007
    Alright, long time no post, but I figured you guys would be the best to help me out.

    I'm getting a Mac Pro for college (I can hear the cries of "MBP!" and "Wait for Nehalem!" already) because I'm planning on keeping this rig for a while and need the ease/cheapness of upgradability that a desktop provides. My main question is: is the 3.0GHz really worth the additional $800 over the dual 2.8GHz? Right now I'm telling myself no, especially because I don't/won't do much in the way of video editing (maybe a few Final Cut projects a year) or anything super processor-intensive really, but I will be doing a fair bit of work in CS3 and playing some games, so I don't want anything to lag. Also, any idea about what video card I should get? Dual 2600s? Everything else will come stock, and I'm planning on getting a few sticks of RAM/extra HD from OWC, so any recommendations on how many/much?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. nxent macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2004
    i'd say the extra processing power isn't really worth the $800. For that amount of money you'll see far more performance improvements by investing in the NVIDIA 8800GT (over the dual 2600s) and extra ram. there may even be better card for the macs, i'm not sure which it is though...
    edit, but for college, also keep in mind the portability factor... dorm rooms can be incredibly non conducive for studying. for me it was really convenient to take my work to the library or the coffee shop. even the current gen mbp is surprisingly powerful. i have CS3 and several games and it runs incredibly well.
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    The 2.8Ghz is definitely the sweet spot in terms of value:performance. Spend the extra $800 the 3Ghz upgrade would cost you on better/faster/larger hard drives and as much memory as possible.
  4. CJRhoades macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Lafayette, IN
    Definatley not worth it. Yes it gives more performance but at a very high cost. And, just think of what you can do with $800:D
  5. dibara2003 macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2007
    if you have the budget for the extra $800, i say invest it in memory and/or hard drive upgrades.
  6. netherfred macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2004
    Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  7. kwarren thread starter Guest

    Aug 18, 2007
    Good suggestion. Unfortunately, upgradability greatly outweighs portability for me right now. I've been stuck with the same slow as hell system for a good five years, and never want to have to deal with that again. Also, from what I can decipher, my roommate is rather chill, and I have noise-canceling headphones anyway.

    Haha, not a bad idea! :)

    Thanks for all the quick replies! Would 4 1GB sticks be the best configuration for me? I only say that because I vaguely remember hearing that you can get better performance with each slot taken rather than say 2 2GB sticks.
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    If you only intend to use 4GB for the foreseeable future then yes just get 2x1GB from a 3rd party. You might also want to consider just getting the quad core version. The $1,300 difference (if you want to look at it like that) from the 3GHz combined with the high value used Apple hardware maintains should let you buy a new Mac Pro in the future that will vastly outperform any upgrades you could make. For all the memory and storage upgrade options the Mac Pro has, processors are likely to remain the most important part and buying a new machine will be the only real way to get the best value and performance in that regard.

    You should also definatly be looking at the ADC student program before buying anything if you aren't aware of it.
  9. kjs862 macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2004
    If you ever plan on selling the computer one day the 3.0Ghz will fetch a premium.
  10. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    The refurb 3.0 octo Mac Pro is $3099, and is usually available on-line. The refurb 2.8 octo is $2399. But you have to pay attention, because these machines come and go with store updates.
  11. Sonicjay macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Definately not worth it, IMO, and I don't think it would make any difference in the resale value either. Too little of a difference. I have a quad core with 5GB of RAM, and it never breaks a sweat running FCS. As the others have said, plenty of better things to spend the money on.

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