MacPro 3,1 vs Mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by al404, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. al404 macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #1
    hi i was looking at some benchmark of latest Mac mini full powered and older Mac Pro 3,1 8 cores... and are almost the same

    i actually have a 2011 iMac but would really like to go on SSD (i also have extra monitor) and i don't want to mess with imac to change internal HDD and is quite expensive to find a solution to daisy chain my second monitor

    so i was thinking if i could change for a more modular solution
    a mac mini or a mac pro

    actually i usually run parallels sifferent times a day, but no 3D or other heavy staff
    only some full HD home movie editing

    the cons of mac pro is that for my budget what i seen around could be a 3,1 and i'm afraid it would not be eligible for system update soon

    i'm not sure how fast is 5 years old 8 core CPU vs latest i7

    and i don't really know mac pro even i'm mac user since about 10 years: mac mini, mac book, iMac

    i'm not even thinking to get the ne mac pro unless it would price around 1500€ for entry model, but i can't find any rumor about prices and dates
     
  2. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #2
    If all that is important to you is synthetic benchmarks then get the Mac Mini. Usually the people that own Mac Pros or workstation class computers know the reasons why they need them. If you do not know why you have a Mac Pro or know the differences between the two then a Mac Mini should suite you just fine.
     
  3. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    Novara, Italy
    #3
    i don't really need extra video card, or special expansions card, i do not use mac for 3D or heavy graphics or games

    what i may need is to use parallels with windows 7 or xp for debugging

    what i like of mac pro is that HDD is easily accessible, unfortunately on most mac that is not possible

    i'm not sure if CPU if upgradable and i long could last OS X support on feature realeases
     
  4. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #4
    Um, yeah. :confused:
     
  5. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    California
  6. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    #6
    You will find the memory for a 3,1 is relatively expensive. If you want a Mac Pro, look at the 4,1 as they can be flashed to the same list of CPUs and memory type as a 5,1.

    There are plenty of threads about upgrading the dual processor 4,1s up to 2x 6-core 3.33GHz models although there are some caveats about the correct processor types and care with lidless processors.
     
  7. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    #7
    unfortunately i saw some offers only for 3,1 or below

    maybe when apple will release the new mac pro i will find a lot of them :)
     
  8. clamnectar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #8
    Never mind the geekbench scores, the Mac Pro is the better machine if you 1) like internal hard drives 2) want to install a PCI card 3) like to work your machine hard for extended periods of time (the cooling is better in the mac pro obviously)

    I have no evidence on which to base this statement, but I would guess that a like-new Mac Pro 3,1 bought today would outlive a brand-new-from-Apple Mac Mini bought today.
     
  9. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    Doubt it it would be a just about 5 year old machine no matter the condition it looked in. For the 1500€ you are thinking you can afford to spend you should be able to get a used 5,1 machine that just might have that chance.
     
  10. tamvly macrumors 6502a

    tamvly

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #10
    If you get the fastest Mini available (2.6 GHz i7) and you don't need more than 16 GB of RAM and you're content to run with any additional drives as external USB3 and you're content with the built in graphics ... you might just be happy.
     
  11. LorenK macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #11
    I have both the 3,1 and a 2011 Mac Mini. I use the Mac Pro primarily for music and movies, and have connected it for high end audio and video to my surround sound receiver and 60" plasma. It is a workhorse and is flexible for upgrading, and the processor is fine for what I need (I had a quad and recently upgraded with a second processor and an SSD). I have basically left the 3,1 on for five years and have minimal problems, so I have great love for it.

    The Mac Mini does not seem to be the same as a workhorse. I apparently fried the motherboard and fortunately had AppleCare and it was replaced. I did learn that you shouldn't leave it flat if you're going to do any heavy processing with it.

    As between the two, even though the 3,1 may be older, it will upgrade to the current MacOS. I am not expert enough to know if you could upgrade the processors, but it doesn't sound like what you're doing with it would require the processor upgrades. Because it has PCIe expansion slots, you can add PCIe cards, such as upgrade video, add external peripherals for storage or whatnot, and slots for four internal HDs and two internal eSATA slots to add SSDs if you wish.

    Given that I paid $2200 for mine 5 years ago, I have no regrets and if you can get one in decent shape for the price of a new MacMini, I would seriously consider the 3,1 simply because it is more flexible than the MacMini. Good luck with your decision.
     
  12. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #12
    Hardly, the Mac Pro 3,1 will be supported by probably only the next one or two versions of Mac OS X.
     
  13. clamnectar macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2009
    #13
    Yeah, but how long will the computer physically keep running before succumbing to actual breakdown? The Mac Pros are designed to last, the Mac Minis are not. No way something that small that generates that much heat doesn't have a way shorter lifespan...
     
  14. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #14
    That is true. I was only talking about software and being supported by the latest OS. Both hardware and software should be considered in a decision like this.
     
  15. orph macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    the mac min will be small quiet and use less power (+less heat/sound).

    the mac min uses much cheaper ram (and faster) so if you need to upgrade add that to the final cost, 16GB ram for mac pro 3.1 can cost a lot if you need to upgrade it.

    mac min will be new so warranty cover which is always nice :apple:

    mac pro is more easily upgradeable, PCI etc but if you dont need it then ~~
    and the mac pro 4.1 is a better looker and for the price of 3.1 + ram upgrading (if the mac pro 3.1 need's it) you might get a mac pro 4.1

    but then the mac min may just work and hide behind your screen silently
     
  16. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #16
    the first problem actually is software upgrade, because i notice that often is required latest OS X

    but i decide to wait because i heard that new mac pro should be price competitive vs PC

    all depends from apple, but with that smaller and light form factor i think it could be... it also seem design to have no internal disk exept solid state i guess for OS and little more

    i think 1000 / 1500$ for basic model could be it's price
     
  17. brand, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013

    brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #17
    Up until the current version the Mac Pro has always been priced very competitive with PC workstation computers with like hardware. It sounds like you want a Mac Pro priced at desktop prices.

    A Mac Pro = A Workstation Computer
    A Mac Pro ≠ A Desktop Computer
    A Desktop Computer ≠ A Workstation Computer

    It could only be pink and only run Windows too.
    Apple will not price their workstation computer cheaper than their desktop computer.
     
  18. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #18
    my assumptions comes from rumors, and the way Apple redesign it:

    - small and compact, it could be a nice for final user but for apple too if it wan't to keep price lower. more economic case, less space and less weight to ship

    - it seems that next mac pro is design to give the core of the mac and let the user expand it mostly outside of it. from the mac pro page, i suppose no internal HDD, i think is good idea since USB3 and thunderbolt. CPU and GPU are the most expensive part i guess.

    IMHO Workstation Computer and Desktop Computer are not so different anymore, i have seen some people spend a lot of money to make a game PC.
    I' hope new mac pro price would be lower that actual range.
     
  19. rdsii64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    #19
    If you are only considering synthetic bench marks, you are not getting the complete story. choosing between a used mac pro and a new mac mini is about how much flexibility you [want/need].

    I didn't like the video card that came with the used mac pro 3.1 i bought about a month ago. A quick trip to ebay, five minutes of my time, and that problem was solved.

    A new mac mini has thunder bolt, a used mac pro doesn't. If thunderbolt is important to you that is something to think about.

    With a mac pro you can add and subtract components at will. With a mini you can't. If you suspect your needs may change post purchase, this is something to think about.
    These kinds of things are more important than synthetic bench marks. choose wisely and enjoy your machine.
     

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