MacPro - should I start looking elsewhere ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by barmann, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    I've been a Mac user from day 1, and can't really imagine using anything else.


    For my business, I need a capable, expandable desktop computer, mainly for Photoshop and some 3D modeling .
    Some laptops , too, but only for travel; iMacs are not an option .

    In the past few years, Mac Pros have become less and less compatible with existing peripherals, namely USB 3 drives and regular display port standards, while Thunderbolt is still a big unknown .

    Also, the upcoming Lion OS , along with all the efforts Apple makes to push consumer devices only, makes me wonder if the company will be providing proper workstations any longer within the next few years .

    I'd really hate to do it, but rather jump ship now, get used to another OS and invest in compatible peripherals, than being forced to do so when there absolutely is no choice .
  2. lbeck, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011

    lbeck macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2009
    There's a debate about the future of Mac Pro's going on right now. Here's my opinion ... the MAc Pro is here to stay. I can't see any foreseeable future without Mac Pro's, its apple's professional machine and is greatly expandable. Some people think my opinion is wrong, but only time will tell. And I will be the first to start a "Mac Pro is still here" thread in five years when the MAc Pro 10.1 is released.

    Its not going anywhere.

    Also, you can buy a USB 3.0 card to install in a MAc Pro which gives you that technology. Here it is for $49

    The other thing is, if you switch you will have to use Windows. And that's why I will never switch. OS X is the best out there.
  3. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    USB 3.0: What do you really need this for? FW 800 works great for most applications, and if you really need faster, it is trivial [and cheap!] to add an eSata or SAS port to your Mac Pro.

    Display ports: These are are adaptable. Graphics card has MDP and you need DVI? Use this:

    Thunderbolt: This sounds a lot like the moral opprobrium which we heard when old-fashioned RS-232 and Parallel ports started to disappear. In the end it was a non-issue. Again, adapters are your friends.

    Can we all just stop speculating on topics like this, where we really don't know what will happen? Come on! The creative industry is an important customer base for Apple. They may stumble on occasion in software design [rushed rollout of FCPX], but they are not just going to abandon that revenue stream.

  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Lion provides plenty of workstation goodies.

    ...which I can talk about once it's released. (NDA)
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Strange, I think the exact opposite of what you do. Over the years I've seen Macs get far MORE compatible with peripherals. USB 3.0 is available as an add-on card for Mac Pro, plus there are viable and speedy alternatives like Firewire and eSATA. And what's wrong with the "display port standards" on a Mac Pro?

    I don't see the advantage? I feel like you are worrying about nothing important and all too willing to take drastic measures that are comparably much worse than the actual things you are worried about.
  6. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    the mac pro line will not be discontinued. Usb 3.0 cards are cheap, and as said before the fw800 is fast and if you want something faster just grab an eSata addon.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    To be fair, USB 3.0 cards are available for Mac Pro, but unfortunately the quality of the 3rd-party drivers they require are poor. I tried one for a while, and gave it up after suffering 2 weeks of hangs, kernel panics, and failures to wake sleeping external drives...

  8. barmann thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
  9. zephonic macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2011
    greater L.A. area
    I'm also on the fence, but primarily because the majority of my software has been reported to run more efficiently under Windows. I suspect that is true for most software as they are usually developed for that platform and then ported to OSX as an afterthought.

    Add to that the MacPro's premium pricing and Apple's continuing preoccupation with all things "i", and a bespoke Win7 workstation is beginning to look like a reasonable alternative. For <$2500 I can have something with a 6-core Westmere, 12GB RAM and 4 HDD's, that is not gonna happen in Apple land.

    But everytime I convince myself that is the way to go, I just chance upon some interaction with a cheapo PC and the whole idea crumbles. I really need to get some time on a professional Win7 system and see if it is any good.
  10. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Even on the most extreme HW it is still Windows. It still has constant HDD chatter, still needs to be updated and restarted constantly. On the plus side you can put anything available in the HW market in it. Usually pro apps run slightly faster to incredibly faster thanks to devs actually getting straight answers out of the MS crew to help their developments. Apple just kind of alludes. In the end I still use OS X because of it's efficiency and I work mainly in audio. Mac's still pretty much rule that roost.
  11. zephonic macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2011
    greater L.A. area
    Depends on your DAW. Logic and MOTU, yes. Even PT was developed as a native Mac application so that works pretty well, but just about anything out of Europe runs better on Windows.

    Steinberg, Native Instruments, VSL/VEP are all developed for Windows and ported to OSX. There is not a lot of unbiased benchmarking out there, but from what I've seen the non-native apps take a noticeable performance hit.
  12. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    The Caldigit AV drive is bundled with a USB 3.0 card and works just perfect! Only downside is that it can only work with Caldigit drives...

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    Don't see the Mac Pro going away, at least in the next 5 years, possibly more.
    Don't really see the Mac Pro as needing that many external storage options. Some adapters you can get as many as 8 hard drives inside?

    Don't know if I would trust the USB3 adapter card.

    A $19.00 bracket from OWC gives you two eSATA ports that don't need any third party drivers.
  14. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    I got what I paid for with that $19.00 bracket - it basically didn't work. Problem was most likely total cable length: 0.5m internal + 1.0m external > 1.0m max for SATA internal spec - which is what is available on the ODD SATA ports...
  15. linuxcooldude, Jul 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011

    linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    Strange, you could try to contact OWC about this and I bet they could tell you something on this. Is the external drive powered? Not sure if eSATA provides external power or not.
  16. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I had on of those brackets in a 2008 MacPro. Worked OK but did not work in windows and the drive had to be on at boot up. Swaped it out for a $20 SATA card from ebay and now how swappable and I got port multiplier too.
  17. sbb155 macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    for photoshop, it doesnt really matter - on both platforms it is ok
    win 7 is very stable and cheaper, and i get more beachballs on my mac than bsod on win 7
    you could be ok either way
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I've not seen a true PC workstation in a big box store in a number of years, such as Best Buy. So the most likely way you'd be able to get some time in, is either find a friend with one that will give you permission to give theirs a good run, or buy one on spec, and test it out (keep it if it's good, deal with a return if it's not suited to what you're doing).

    Sucks, but I don't think you'll find a physical location these days.

    It depends on whether or not the Xeons climb in price to the point users couldn't afford equivalent machines at that time (high-end professional workstations that offer both SP and DP versions on the same socket).

    Unfortunately, industry information indicates this is currently the trend (rising prices due to increased complexity, ...), and doesn't appear it's going to change for the better in the next couple of years either. :( Oddly enough however, when you look at it from a cost/performance perspective, it's better than what's been before.

    Now consider that Haswell isn't too far out, and could make an SP only system viable for workstation users to be a valid product for Apple (loose the "must have DP" crowd, but retain all of the SP users as the price is still acceptable, even if bitterly complained about <not to the point it's actually so expensive they cannot come up with the funding>). Such a system should offer additional performance for an SP system as well (particularly true n core multi-threaded applications vs. current SP Hex cores; unless the clocks are super slow, or Intel borks it bad, which hopefully won't happen).

    So it may still be around, but not necessarily what the MP is currently (SP + DP versions of high-performance workstations).

    Or Apple could use the same chip (desktop CPU with 8 cores on one die) in the iMac, and intend TB be used for high speed peripherals (i.e. potential that TB will get a revision at that time, which could increase the viability of such a system). Not ideal, but appears would be technically viable as well as cheaper at that time.

    Either way, it appears that there is a shift coming in the not too distant future due increasing costs (price creep).
  19. JollyJoeJoe macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2011
    Just remember that a Mac nowadays is just PC hardware flashed with EFI. Unfortunately OSX requires this EFI firmware to run, done as platform identity protection so as not to loose desktop hardware sales.

    So if your applications exist for Windows, you can always go that way.

    Really, there should be no Mac vs PC argument anymore, it's all the same *****, just different case and board layout.
    It's PC with EFI (Mac) or PC with BIOS (PC).

    Both OS's are stable as rock now. Only the applications matter and they should
    work and look identical on either OS. Both OS's are straightforward and easy to use, after all what do we use them for anywhere (application launching), nothing more really.
  20. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    With the PC industry moving toward UEFI, the mac and PS's are moving closer together as was posted above.
    You need to decide if the software you need is for mac or PC to make your decision. Of course there is bootcamp to run on the mac, but then again you can build a better PC for the money depending how much power you need. Win7 is actually pretty good. Still has its quirks but what operating system doesn't.
  21. Etherz10 macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    United Kingdom
    im sorry but beachballs and BSOD's are not the same thing..
  22. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011

    A BSOD on Windows is equivalent to a kernel panic on OS X.
  23. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    There is also the question of equivilancy.

    People like the compare a $700-$1000 non-Xeon, non-ECC Windows box to a Mac Pro.

    Check out the Dell workstation with Xeon/ECC it costs more than a Mac Pro, not by much so lets call it the same. Not to mention it isn't in a fantastic case and can't run OS X legally.
  24. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I see an awful lot of SP MPs out there, including my own. So how many MP owners really need Xeons and ECC? Many of us are MP owners only because its the only Mac with real graphics cards and PCI slots.
  25. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    While I much prefer working under OSX I have to say this; All of my Macs beachball excessively, even my MP. None of the same computers BSOD or slowdown, beachball-like, when running W7, my mini.

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