Mac Pro vs HP Blackbird 002

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Mahler12x, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Mahler12x macrumors regular

    Mahler12x

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    California
    #1
    Ok, I've got a PC that I built years ago with all the state of the art parts. I could play all the games I wanted at a healthy resolution as well as work on videos and photos with relative ease.

    Well, the time has come to get something entirely new. Last year I bought a MacBook and fell in love with Apple products. I've got an iPod, iPhone, and MacBook now and while I still have a few favorite programs on the PC, I think I may be ready to make the break and buy a mac pro. At least, until I saw the HP Blackbird 002. What a gorgeous machine! 100% non propriety parts, liquid cooled, snap-in-and-out everything, SLI, RAID, and the latest in nVidia graphics and motherboards, and everything is totally upgradable. Its only obvious problem... Windows Vista.

    So, my question is, what the hell do I do? I want a machine that can do EVERYTHING. I wanna work on professional grade home videos in OSX and then hop on Battlefield 2 to blow off some steam at 100 fps on a state of the art video card. Can I do this on a Mac Pro?

    How upgradable is it?
    How do games perform in BootCamp?
    What are its potential weaknesses vs the Blackbird or other souped PCs?

    Sell me on the Mac Pro without citing the obvious advantage of OSX vs Vista.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #2
    Both are excellent machines. The Mac Pro, as you know, has the advantage of running both OS X and Vista/XP, while the HP can pretty well only run Vista. So one can make a solid argument that the Mac Pro can "do more".

    I'd get the Mac -- but I'm just biased haha.

    Games perform in BootCamp just as they would on a normal XP machine. Windows is Windows. And it will be running natively on the fast Mac Pro hardware. So it shouldn't be an issue...

    The Mac Pro can be upgraded in terms of its graphics card, hard drive, and ram. Not sure about processor though...I would think not.

    I'm pretty sure though that you can't just pop in any graphics card into a Mac Pro and expect it to work - you need drivers from Apple (could be wrong, I've never done this before...)
     
  3. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #3
    Hardware wise:

    The Mac Pro has 8 RAM slots (32 GB max), as opposed to the Blackbird's 4 slots (8 GB max).
    The Mac Pro has up to 2 3.2 GHz CPUs while the Blackbird has only 1 3.2 GHz CPU.
    The Blackbird has much better GPUs than the Mac Pro, unless you need the Quadro FX option on the Mac Pro.
    The Mac Pro has 4 HD bays compared to the Blackbird's 5 bays.

    Software wise, the Mac Pro can run Mac OS X and Windows, while the Blackbird can run Windows. Snow Leopard's Grand Central would help utilize the 8 cores of the Mac Pro to their fullest.
     
  4. belunos macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #4
    I think that's a loaded question in a mac forum, but here goes..

    Short answer? Get the mac pro.

    Long answer? Well, the mac pro is really more of a work horse than the blackbird. With the ability to use up to 8 cores, it's definitely going to have more proc power. And while ECC ram isn't the best for gaming, the sheer amount will more than make up for it.

    The only issue is the graphics. But here's what you have to ask yourself.. just how much are you going to be pushing dual 9800GTX2s in SLI? If most people never heard of FPS, they'd probably all be happy with a consistent 30ish fps. The 8800GT you can get in the Mac Pro will probably handle most of the games you play, up to even Crysis. Sure, you may not be getting 500000 FPS, but who cares? And I think eventually ATI will release the 4870 for it, which will be a big boost.

    Hell, Crytek is the only company really pushing graphics these days, and they said the next crysis won't be so resource intensive.

    Lastly, look at what you did? You built a PC years ago, and probably only upgraded 1 or 2 things at most. So what happened? Most of the tech in your system became too outdated to update, while you were probably quite happy with it all along. There used to be this mindset of having to upgrade every year, and honestly that's just not the case anymore. Platforms get outdated too quickly to bother upgrading, so you eek out what you can from it, and then just buy another system.

    I can say all this because I'm looking at it from my perspective. I've been a PC gamer since Duke Nukem 3D! But, I looked at all those things I just told you, and have been wrestling with switching for probably almost a year now. Welp, I sold my top of the line PC last week and ordered a refurb Mac Pro today. I've been using a macbook from work for a while now, so I knew I wanted OS X, but the gaming thing was my only hangup. Honestly, I think the Mac platform is in a very good place right now for gamers. The top of the line systems have respectable video capabilities, while at the same time boot camp takes away the switch fear factor.


    Well, holy crap I think I just wrote a book there. And I think I did it more for me than you :)
     
  5. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #5
    ...I don't own any mac's but I did see the blackbird first hand a week ago and wasn't impressed with it...

    It was running crysis on a 37 inch LCD and it was jumpy - for that much processing power, it boils down to the resource hog OS its got loaded...

    I'm making the switch to macs when they start putting quad cores in the iMac platform - or the macbook update happens...

    Until then, my winXP platforms still work fine for what I need them for:eek:
     
  6. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #6
    The Mac Pro can run Windows natively or virtually and also OSX natively. I'd say the BlackBird is cool, but the Mac Pro just sweeps it off the shelves. You can upgrade the 8 slots to 32GB ram memory, while the BlackBird does 4 slots, 8Gb max. Vista is a ram hog, OSX is not. The Mac Pro has 8 Cores, not sure about the BlackBird. I'd choose the Mac Pro, since it is Apple's most powerful computer and it easily beats the blackbird. the fastest processor per core is 3.2GHZ, factory overclocked, fastest processor i think.
     
  7. Mahler12x thread starter macrumors regular

    Mahler12x

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    #7
    Do you see the upcoming Mac Pro update as becoming more competitive in terms of keeping up with GPU innovations? I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means but I do enjoy playing enough that a solid gaming performance is important to me.

    Is it truly a fact that Windows will function in BootCamp exactly as it would on a PC with like hardware?
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    There are a number of threads around that discuss this, usually can be found by searching for specific cards.

    This may help give you some idea of current capabilities:
    Core Image
    Mac Games
    PC Games
    Yes. Just keep in mind, some of the hardware may only work in OS X or Windows, unless it was designed to work with both. ;)
     
  9. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #9
    Get a Mac Pro. You'll be getting much more for the buck, minus the graphics card obviously. The amount of RAM you could throw in it, not to mention quad-channel memory vs dual-channel memory, maan, those two things I couldn't live without! Throwing more RAM in the Mac Pro helps OS X LOTS! And then you've got 8 processing cores...You get the jist of it right? :D

    If you're going to get a Blackbird, you COULD potentially make it into a hackintosh. But I wouldn't recommend it, even though I have a 100% functional + stable build myself. I generally use it to render any After Effects or Final Cut projects while I use my Mac Pro to do my main stuff...So it's a rendering powerhouse. ;)
     
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Location:
    England
    #10
    No. Not that it couldn't happen, but it seems very unlikely. You can run any graphics card you want in a Mac Pro for windows though. Of course the whole setup is going to cost more and two quad cores are slower than one quad core at the same speed, can't overclock, slower memory etc. Though it's not like there are any games you can't play on the Mac Pro.

    Yes.
     
  11. ohforfckssake! macrumors regular

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    Singapore
    #11
    Is the Blackbird a Voodoo creation with its own support or does it rely on the HP support infrastructure? Because HP's service is cack according to places like Consumerist. So many horror stories.
     
  12. 7031 macrumors 6502

    7031

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    #12
    Get the PC if you do gaming. Rebooting can be a pain on the Mac, and IIRC you're limited to what graphics cards will work with the Mac Pro.
    Probably true, but lately Apple's support has gotten much worse. They're still not the worst, but they're getting worse.

    Seriously, why are people so biased against PCs here? After all, a Mac is just a PC in a fancy case.
     
  13. ohforfckssake! macrumors regular

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    #13
    Because of OS X? :p The service thing is a HP thing though. I think IBM/Lenovo has excellent service for example. Better than Apple's by a mile. 3 years parts and service included to begin with -- something AppleCare only begrudges you, if what you read on these forums is to be believed.

    I almost bought a Voodoo Envy...until I read about HP's shambolic repair and warranty policies.
     
  14. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

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    #14
    The Current Pro supports SLI (Or has PCI-E 16x?)? Well then for OS X, get the 8800GT, and for PC Gaming, have a 9800GTX or whatever you want plugged in, or if possible, get OS X to see the 9800 as an 8800, and only use the 8800's power, or something :S

    In OS X, you are limited to the cards released for Mac, on Windows, any card will work afaik.
     
  15. Mangaroo macrumors regular

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    London
    #15
    What? is this true? can anyone confirm and even better site a source please? (would really help me with my decision!)
     
  16. Coolpowers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #16
    i'm curious about that too if it works as well :eek:
     
  17. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #17
    This is true, for programs that don't take advantage of 8 cores. But for programs that can take advantage of all of the cores, other computers will be blown out of the water. This program should be resolved with Snow Leopard, because (hopefully) most programers will be coding programs to take advantage of all of the cores.

    Don
     
  18. darklyt macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2007
    #18
    Also, since the Mac Pro has Xeon processors and not Core 2 Duos, you have a speed advantage there.
     
  19. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

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    #19
    A few questions that has not been asked, but really does need to be...

    1. Do you want or do you need a CPU-centric computer?
    2. How much have you invested in applications so far (e.g. Photoshop CS3 for OS X)
     
  20. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

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    #20
    ...but a disadvantage in memory
     
  21. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    Philly
    #21
    32GB of memory is not a selling point, games don't need THAT much. The blackbird has 4 cores. It easily beats the blackbird at certain tasks, and gaming is obviously not one of them. Not factory overclocked, they're higher binned. You continually post very inaccurate information :/

    Voodoo Supports it from the factory where they were built in Canada.

    The mac pro does NOT support SLI, although you can use crossfire ( two 3870 M&PC editions). You can also have a card only for windows, but you have to switch the cord to the display (Annoying) and you have to get power connectors for it that will provide enough juice. Not always possible, depending on the card.

    8 cores beat 4 cores in tasks that are designed to use more cores, otherwise it's just overhead that takes up space.

    Not true. Xeons are core 2's.

    It really comes down to what you plan on doing most. Games? Blackbird. Rendering, photoshop? The Mac Pro is great for those tasks. Either can do both in a snap, personally I would go with the Mac Pro (And I plan to :p), but they're both very capable well built machines.
     
  22. Mangaroo macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2008
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    London
    #22
    Thanks guys, i was wondering if you knew how much of an actual hit it would be (statistically or even roughly) to be using 8 cores in an application that doesn't use it (over 4 cores)?

    I don't want to hijack this thread, and it actually may still apply for the OP/others interested in the blackbird so i think it can slide :)
     
  23. Mahler12x thread starter macrumors regular

    Mahler12x

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    #23
    So what it boils down to for me here is that the majority of my work will consist of using programs like Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut (if I ever get around to learning how to use it), and other heavy rendering apps. In that, I'm 100% sold on the Mac Pro for obvious reasons. It's screaming fast!

    What continues to be a somewhat significant hang-up for me is that I also still enjoy gaming. If I'm spending $3500+ on a computer, I'm really nervous about making sacrifices or having to choose between two equally important uses for my machine. I know I'm not the only potential adopter that has this concern.

    I've noticed that MacRumors is recommending that we wait to purchase an MP, pending an inevitable update. Is there any hope that this gap between Crazy-Fast-Processing-Monster and Crazy-Fast-Gaming-Powerhouse will be addressed in any way, or am I living in fantasy land? I seem to remember Jobs highlighting Apple's more serious venture into the gaming arena in a recent Macworld Expo. Any thoughts?
     
  24. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Kind of. Apple WILL use Larrabee, which will hit in Summer 2009 if we're lucky as an upgrade card, but they may wait until 2010 to use it. Nvidia and ATI will have new cards for the new one when it launches in January hopefully, most likely at the same product level that the 8800GT was at Christmas 2007.
     
  25. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #25
    It isn't an aspect you should consider when purchasing, I merely brought it up as it is one of the many differences between these high-end gaming systems and the Mac Pro that people aren't aware of. There are other differences between Xeons and desktop processors and the architecture they run on that give advantages between different types of applications and use, the reality is that none of it much matters when you are comparing things like equal processor speeds.

    If you look in the Mac Pro sub-forum you will see what people are doing with graphic card setups for situations similar to yours.

    Personally I'd just buy the 3870 Mac & PC card for the ease of it, but as I said you can use any graphics card in the Mac Pro for windows. It just requires more effort and annoyance.

    Apple are likely to be a generation behind in graphics cards for some time to come, just have to decide what works best for you with this in mind.
     

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