Mac Pro purchase advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by marcos73, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. marcos73 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    Hi Everyone

    This is my very first post. I was wondering if someone could give some advice on buying a mac pro.

    I am an unhappy owner of a non-state of the art PC AMD dual core running Windows XP. (too much %#^@# in just one sentence, I know!). But for redemption, my first ever computer was an Apple II back in 1986 (it is time to complete the circle).

    I want to get a Mac Pro. I just can't stand Windows anymore and I believe a reliable machine running Mac OS is the way to go.

    My question is: which one to get it? I will be basically run Photoshop and Illustrator. In a not so near future, I am planing to do some video editing.

    A new Mac Pro might come up in the next few months (or not). Should I go for a refub 4 core one? I was wondering if that would be enough for my needs:

    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

    One 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor
    3GB (3 x 1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory
    640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200 rpm
    18x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory

    Thanks in advance!

  2. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    If you need it now, you need it now. Buy it. However if you can wait, something is coming.

    I would say if you can make money off of it now, buy it. If you can't, then wait.

    May be worth it to wait, as the quad core has 4 ram slots, while the octo has 8. Maybe this will change, maybe not. Refurbs may drop in price.

    Plus when the 09 MP's were released, the 08 went down by 30% (2799 to 1899).

    Basically its a gamble.
  3. marcos73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thanks for the reply Kellen. I can definitely wait. It is just frustrating sometimes - I spent over 8 hours this weekend removing virus and trying to get windows back to "normal".

    What about future upgrades? Would be easy to upgrade to a new processor or I need a brand new machine?
  4. iSpoody 1243 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    if your gonna watch pr0n at least have an antivirus installed :D
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Thanks, I needed a good laugh. :)

    And you're right in the sense that virus/trojans,... are typically the result of user carelessness (lack of foresight to avoid questionable sites, run anti-virus software, including email scans, perform Registry scans,...).

    It can, and does happen otherwise, but it's now where near as common.

    Overall, the various scans and common sense practices can be annoying, but Windows has the majority of the OS market, and that's what thieves, malcontents,... will target. If OS X were in that position, it would be attacked at the frequency Windows users see, and some of it's bound to be successful (and the most successful would almost certainly be the result of user error).
  6. Roman23 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    I would just go with the 2.66

    This is what I did and now I plan to upgrade my processor to the 3.33 - only 500 bucks versus spending apple's ridiculous high prices for going to a 3.33 mac pro. The difference between the 2.66 and 2.93 is like 10 percent or maybe less though.

    Plus, use the 400 extra for something like memory or hard drives.. Here is my system as it stands.. remember I got this at refurb price which turned out to be great in the end..

    Mac Pro 4,1 Quad-core single 2.66
    6GB of DDR 3 1066 memory - stock ships with 3GB
    1TB Hard drive - stock ships with 640GB
    ATI Radeon 4870 HD - from 2008 mac pro, now sold.
    4x1TB Hard drives - from 2008 mac pro, " "
    Stock superdrive SATA 22X
    OWC Pioneer dvr-218 Superdrive - from 2008, using odd ports.
    USB 2.0 Card - from 2008.

    Planned upgrades: Upgrading 2.66 processor to 3.33 or w3580(apple charges 1200.00 to goto this sytem.. I got the processor for less than 600 dollars).
    Maybe I will add 12GB of memory to my system - to more future proof it, though 6GB(3x2GB) is working fine for me and is the sweet spot.

    Note: The processors in the single-quad core mac pro 4,1 only use STANDARD INTEL OEM parts - meaning, you can remove the 2.66,2.93 etc and put in its place a stock oem or retail w3570 or w3580 for less cost than it would be to do it through Apple.. However, make sure you hold on to the processor that came with your machine, as if you have applecare, you will need it.

  7. Roman23 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    I can assist here

    If you buy the 2.66 or 2.93 for 400 more.. that same 400 you could save by getting the 2.66 and yes.. since on the single-quad core mac pros only.. it is INDEED possible to upgrade the processors. Your choice is the following:

    w3570 or 3.20 ghz
    w3580 or 3.33 ghz(this is Apple's top of the line single-quad core@1200.00 extra ouch!)

    What you have now: 2.66 or 2.93 - unlike the duals which are LIDLESS processors(no integrated heat spreaders), the single-quads use STANDARD core i7 or xeons with OEM integrated heat spreaders. ALso, an added benefit is that the processor is mounted like on a pc logic board - sitting in the socket and you use a little handle to raise and lower to remove the processor - easily. Duals don't use this as you have to manually pick it up and you run the risk of bending pins.

    The only real gotcha here with the single-quad cores is the heatsink.. You must ensure that you don't rush through this upgrade, as if you are careless in removing the heatsink you run the risk of damaging the fan connector.. Not a big deal if you are CAUTIOUS and taking your time.. I never am fast changing a processor as I know the precautions.

    Apply artic silver on the WHOLE processor not just in the middle.. taking a small dab(small dot), using a bad with your finger wrapped in it.. spread it all over the processor's integrated heat sink.. That will also ensure that the cores underneath get adequate loving care.

    Also, wipe away the excess heatsink grease or pad from the bottom of the heatsink with rubbing alchohol.. Personally, I used water when changing out powerpc processors, but others on here prefer alchohol.

    Hope this helps.. remember, its like changing out a PC processor or POWERPC processor, just take your time!!!!!!!!!! Once you get past the heat sink and the fan connector is fine.. you are 1/2 way done!

  8. zeigerpuppy macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
    You can probably install Mac OS now

    Hi Marcos,

    4 core is definitely enough for most tasks, the only thing that more cores gets you is better rendering/decoding time. Generally, most apps are using 2 or 3 cores at best.

    So processor speed is more important for the vast majority of tasks. You're probably better off waiting a little for the next Mac Pro to come out as the previous model will drop in price as soon as it does.

    Although, I would also say, have a look at building your own (insanely mac forums), the Mac Pro is just a normal intel machine with custom bios and processor board. You can build your own a lot cheaper and it just does a little trickery during boot to get drivers up, also means you can use decently priced graphics cards, upgrade the processor with ease and not be stuck waiting for bios upgrades from Apple (they are quite notorious for forcing you to buy a new machine by not upgrading the processor daughterboard bios). You can also overclock, if you're into that sort of thing. i920 processors have a lot of head room, there are people running them at 4GHz, I keep mine clocked at 3.3GHz with air cooling.
  9. marcos73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thanks everybody for the tips. I will wait a bit for a possible update and see if it is really worth getting the new one or maybe get a deal on the older model.

    Even though the idea of building my own machine is tempting, I think I will stick to everything original.


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