MacPro Quad core as cheap as I can...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by CTYankee, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #1
    I'm considering a 2.66 or 3.0 (dual core). I want the x1900 card, 4GB of RAM total, and will add a Raptor and two big drives (500 or 750GB) as well as the bluetooth and airport kit.

    I can do one of a few things:

    1: Buy the refurb 3.0 and get some extra RAM and HDs.
    2: Buy the refurb 2.66 and get the ATI x1900 from Newegg ($250) and sell the stock card, then upgrade RAM and HDs.
    3. Buy a used one.
    4. Buy a new one configured to what I want.

    If I get a 3.0 then the refurb seems like the best choice. If I get a 2.66 is makes the most sense to get the refurb and upgrade. I just wonder how difficult it will be to upgrade the bluetooth and if the video card is exactly the same as the Apple BTO (i will be getting the mac version, not some flashed PC version if they even do that).

    Any other ideas to get it up to spec as cheap as possible while still being reliable?
     
  2. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    Adding Bluetooth and/or Wireless isn't hard at all, nor is swapping a graphics card, installing memory or adding hard drives.

    If you list the 3GHz refurb as something you can afford then go for that one. Also if I were you I'd get 3GB RAM total rather than 4GB. Most Mac Pros come with 1GB as standard so to get to 4 you'd have to get 4 sticks of memory, (2x1GB, 2x512MB). Going to 3 is more than enough for most people's needs.

    Edit: Here's a guide on how to add BT and AE.
     
  3. CTYankee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #3
    That reminds me I should post a bit about what I do with it....

    -50% photo batching and processing using Aperture/Lightroom (still testing the two) and iViewMP. I import and batch process 200-1000 images at a time. This includes DNG conversion, RAW processing and then generating web galleries.
    -30% photoshop with large multi layered files
    -10% other apps like Freeway (to work on my website), FTP, iCal, Mail
    -10% Final Cut Pro

    I use it ~5 hours a day...well I use my G4 5 hours a day, my hope is that a MacPro can get me done in half that.
     
  4. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    I'd still say get 3GB rather than 4GB. Then get an extra 2GB later on when you can afford it. If you're planning on having this machine for a long time (i.e. as long as your G4 if you bought it roughly around release time) then you'll want to save your ram spaces for more sizeable memory. There's no point taking up another two slots with two 512MB sticks imo.

    How much RAM do you have at the moment in your G4?
     
  5. eMagine macrumors regular

    eMagine

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    I'd go with route #2 since 2.66 and 3.0 is only about a 10% difference. And buying from Apple gives you Apple warrantly which comes handy(at least for me). plus you can always upgrade to 8-core when the prices of the chips come down then upgrade them yourself.

    Get the least amount of ram(1gb), HD(160gb) from apple, and the nvidia 7300. Then buy elsewhere and upgrade. when you get the mac pro, take out the 1gb ram immediately, sell them, and get 4x1Gb ram sticks for quad channel.($480@OWC).

    for me, Bluetooth and Airport options are non-issues. they don't cost that much from Apple. If you can get them cheaper and install them yourself that's great too.
     
  6. CTYankee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #6
    I have 1.75 currently.

    How much better does the RAM function when its Quad channel? I'd like to get the most out of the system, but for another $140 (net cost of 4GB vs 3GB after selling the stock 512 sticks) would quad channel 4GB be much faster than 3gb? I'd like to wait out the bleeding edge RAM prices right now, but don't want to sacrifice measurable performance.
     
  7. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    The benchmarks don't show much of an improvement with quad channel over the norm from what I remember. A Mac Pro with 1GB RAM isn't very nice. That's all I've got right now because I saved on all the options in order to put money towards my screen with the plan to upgrade later. 2GB is what I'd recommend anyone as a minimum and good amount for the Intel Macs, especially the Mac Pro. Upgrading to 3GB is a sweet spot since the 2GB upgrades are the best value for money. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the quad channel business if I were you.

    I would say that 2.5GB of RAM in a Mac Pro would be similar to the 1.75GB in your G4 that you currently have, RAM wise. Intel machines need at least 500MB more RAM than a comparable PowerPC machine in my opinion due to things like Rosetta.

    From what you've been saying, I really think the 3Ghz Mac Pro refurb sounds like its what you're loooking for. Then add RAM and hard drives as required.
     
  8. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #8
    Don't think that will work unless youre not planning on running OSX.
     
  9. CTYankee thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 18, 2002
    #9
    They do have the mac version, but its actually $310 shipped, not $250.

    I may wait on the card too, there must be something new coming and I'll upgrade then.
     
  10. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #10
    The Mac version they sell is for the G5 architecture, not the Intel architecture, it wouldn't work.
     
  11. osx-linux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    #11
    They way I understand it, and I could be wrong here but I think I'm correct:
    1) Its all about bandwidth, how big of a pipe you have from your cpu to your ram. (bigger, more bits, is better, faster)

    You'll get the 256bit addressing [the max in the mac pro] *if* you have 4 sticks of ram, 2 matched sticks on card A and 2 matched sticks on card B.

    The caveat here being that if the 4 sticks aren't all matched, you'll only be able get that 256-bit bandwidth on "part" of your ram.

    Examples:
    1) 2x512mb+2x1gb will give you 3gb total ram, of which only 2g will be 256 bit addressable, the last 1gig will only be addressable in 128bit fashion.
    2) 2x512mb+2x2gb will give you 5gb total ram, of which only 2g will be 256 bit addressable, the last 3gig(ack!) will only be addressable in 128bit fashion.
    3) 2x1gb+2x1gb will give you 4gb total ram, of which all 4g will be 256 bit addressable.

    So there ya go... how much of speed decrease you'll see is completely dependent upon how often you will push your machine to use over the 256-bit addressable ram you have.

    So 2x512mb+2x1gb is still better than 4x512mb cause at least you've got 1 gig of this 'half-bandwidth' ram instead of nothing.
     
  12. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    In regards to the whole quad channel thing, I quote this from Barefeats:

     
  13. osx-linux macrumors member

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    Apr 4, 2007
    #13
  14. CTYankee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #14
    Thanks for the info on the RAM. I think I'll go with 3GB for now and as the price drops I'll add more.

    Regarding the video card...I could have sworn I saw the MacPro version at Newegg...maybe they don't carry it anymore or maybe I must misread. I thought I read reviews from there that specifically said it was used in MacPros. So I have no idea where I got that idea, but the card is still available from others, however too pricey. Aperture is the only app that I will use that can really benefit from it, and I'm not 100% sold on Aperture (will demo it). So I will have time to try things out and then when prices drop I can get a better card. For now this is what the plan is:

    Refurb 2.66 (all sold out on line)
    2GB RAM from OWC
    X1900 when closer to $200
    Bluetooth/APX installed myself
    Raptor scratch drive
    2x Seagate 500 7200.10 (11?) or WD500KS...still not sure what storage drives to get...One will be my system/userbackup the other will be user/system backup.
     

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