MacPro 'smart' buyer options - saving money?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AzMacNoob, May 26, 2007.

  1. AzMacNoob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Phx, AZ
    #1
    Hello guys and gals!

    I have a few questions, I didn't know whether to post in the MacPro area or here but since it is mostly about buying strategies I decided it'd be best to post here.

    First of all, my new boss just happened to have been an old friend and she is a HUGE mac lover and she is coming into our mostly PC only world here at work. She has decided to start a division of the company that was based specifically for the purpose of making our software Mac and Palm compatible. In the end after a week long discussion with the owners they decided to just start a similar company with the specific above goals listed.

    Now, this is where the question comes in. I will be moved from the first company to the new forming company to be an assistant to the new manager in the Mac friendly community and we will be purchasing several Macs but 1 is going to be a special purchase. She knows I like to play games when I am not working and knows I do side projects apart from work and games. The MacPro that will be ordered for me will actually be my personal property and not company property which is a favor they will do for me for taking the jump from a fast moving company to a new environment where there may be alot of learning to be had as well as a slower pace to start off with. They want me to learn all I can about the mac from all angles and be the person who was the windows convert so I can rant and rave about the cool new macs.

    It will be an 8 core 3.0Ghz mac pro.

    Question 1:
    Is it better to just get 1 gig of ram from the apple store and order an additional 4 or 8 from the crucial store or get it in the BTO option on the apple website.

    Question 2:
    Because it will be for side projects, games and work, I want 512 min for my video card memory. Is it best to get 4 individual 256 cards and will that even increase my computer game play and other projects/work or are those 4 cards just intended for multi monitor support. I want to make sure what I get will last many years because it is going to be my personal comp as well after 1yr with the new company.

    The second part of the same question is, if the 4 cards don't actually work together to give me 1 solid gig of video memorty is it best to just go with a 512 card over 4 256 cards or the possible 2 radeon 512 cards (I will be getting 1 monitor to start and a 2nd if the rumored new monitors come out)

    Question 3:
    Is it gonna be easier to go with a standard 250 gig HD and get a 2nd 500gig from frys or another store that has the same options/speed for a cheaper price?

    Question 4:
    Is it best to buy a Mac Cinema HD display or to go with a cheaper monitor from another vendor.

    - Reguardless of whether I get the Mac display or a 3rd party monitor, I will still be getting the rumored 24" new Mac display that I have been reading about here when the thing becomes available.


    Now that has all been said and done. Toss this into the mix of things. I am in school as well as working full time and a 2nd part time job among playing games. I do qualify for the education discount but don't know what % discount it gives or if there is a cap on the price of the discount. If I get a mac with all these options:
    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    4GB (4 x 1GB)
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
    .Mac
    Applecare

    it comes out to $6,570.95


    Or,

    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    8GB (8 x 1GB)
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    4 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
    Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
    .Mac
    Applecare

    $7,770.95

    I do want 8 gig's but could settle for 4 and want 1gig of vid memorty but can do with 512 if that is the best option. (I'll be running a max of 2 monitors but want super performance both at work and in game)

    Anyway, education discount vs buying items cheaper from crucial or other companies, which option is best.

    Thank you for your time reading and the input you can give on this situation. As a final note, the reason I am trying to get the cheapest route is the company approved a $5,000 purchase but also has given me a $3,000 allowance on computer equipment/upgrades and I want to try to save some of that allowance for a mouse and some software.
     
  2. 4God macrumors 68020

    4God

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Location:
    My Mac
    #2
    *wipes drool from chin*

    Well, the Apple stuff just plays well together however I use a Dell 2407 24" monitor
    with my MacPro and couldn't be happier. I really like the adjustable stand, I think
    that was the selling point for me. (as well as the price).
     
  3. cruzrojas macrumors member

    cruzrojas

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    Hi,
    Congrats on your transition to the mac world. Since you qualify for student discount I would recommend you to get the ADC (Apple Development Connection) $99 for students, and then use the one time hardware discount, that will save you some money, and you get the ADC suscription ;)

    Best Regards
    Jesus Cruz

    EDIT: PS. Student discount applies to any computer with any configuration and to any display.
    ie. Cinema Display 23' without student discount $899
    Cinema Display 23' with student discount $799

    EDIT 2 : ADC discount is around 20% but make sure you apply it to the mac pro and not to the monitor, since you can only use it once ever (for the student one).
    The two options you listed with student discount come to $5,794 and $6,874
     
  4. RichP macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #4
    honestly, seems like you are just wasting company money to me.

    Load it up with everything, 2 30", the works!

    ***

    What are you going to be doing on this machine?
     
  5. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #5
    Buy the barest minimum from the Apple store. Get the 3Ghz with an ATI card and a 250GB HDD. Then buy everything else from third party vendors it'll be much cheaper that way.
     
  6. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    My setup would be:

    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    512 ram Then get 8 - 16 gigs from crucial A lot Cheaper
    750GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    Then buy 3- 750 GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s from frys A lot cheaper
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    Apple Cinema HD Display (30" flat panel)
    Applecare
    Bluetooth Mouse & Keyboard
    2 Superdrives
    Either way, have fun!
     
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #7
    I'd agree with is except for the RAM and super drives.

    Get one superdrive in your Mac Pro and then buy the second from a third party retailer. The minimum amount of RAM you can get with a Mac Pro is 1GB so go with that and get the extra RAM from Crucial.

    Personally I'd get a 250GB drive for the boot drive from the Apple store and get everything else from a third party retailer.
     
  8. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #8
    You're getting an octo Mac Pro with 8gbs of RAM on company dollar so that you can play games on the side? Someone in charge is a financial moron.

    Best of luck to the new company...
     
  9. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #9
    1. I have heard from friends that the Mac Pro is very picky about memory, you may want to just get it from Apple. Its easier to explain to the bosses one big purchase than a large purchase and another purchase for memory.

    2. 4 video cards won't give you 1GB video RAM. I am not aware that the Mac Pro has SLI support (SLI only supports 2 cards anyway). As far as games go, there don't support more than 512MB video RAM.

    3. Get from Apple for the same reason as #1.

    4. Buy a Cinema Display or a Dell.

    I would skip the Octo and just get a Quad, unless you have a specific application that can use the Octo (must apps do not).
     
  10. AzMacNoob thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Phx, AZ
    #10
    Well, we are going with the octo because we know adobe has always been fast about making their software useful on an octo. We run mostly Adobe software and alot of the video editing stuff but we know that for Macs the Adobe company has always been quick to update their software to use the new technology on Macs.

    I only have 5k to spend on the order and my 3k allowance is to buy all my cables, drawing pad, mouse and any unusual software I may need for my projects other than the big name software packages that the company provides.

    At home, I do web design and some graphic design but now I will be doing it all on a mac as well as playing my computer games.

    So, the computer is going to be a work horse but I also want it to have the ability to play computer games. I think a few people have mis read what I wrote and think the computer is a gaming computer or I have unlimited $$ to spend. It's a 5k limit and I have my 3k yearly computer allowance to either get more ram or whatever I need.

    So, some say from Crucial, others say stay with Apple. Just go with one 512 card (I'll only be running a max of 2 monitors, not anywhere near 4 or 8 monitors)

    Any other suggestions?
     
  11. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #11
    Buy your RAM from Crucial. Get the ATI X1900XT, get your hard drives from anyone you want. Sorted.
     
  12. RichP macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #12
    Ok..you are a bit more clear now...at first this thread was talking about frugal shopping, then it was about some blue-sky octo-core mac..

    I still would would reconsider the octo-core. Very few things are going to utiliize it, and it is very bandwidth-limited. Check out some benchmarks first. In most cases, it is only a few % at best faster than the quad.

    Get all your RAM from Crucial. Its some of the best out there, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Its not the cheapest RAM, but cheaper than apple. Go with 4GB for now, not sure Adobe can even address that much RAM. (in CS2, for example, you have a 2.5 GB Max) You may see a better Adobe speed jump by getting a 160GB western digital "Raptor" drive as a scratch disk.

    Skip the 23", get the 30". The 23" ACD is a real crappy monitor, personally. It has color issues (pink cast, etc) and if are paying for good stuff, you will get much more use out of the 30". The ATI card will run it very nicely. Also, I have found that working with 2 widescreen monitors side-by-side gets a little taxing, because your work area is SO wide.
     
  13. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #13
    I agree that you may want to reconsider the octo-core. Do you seriously encode/render enough material that you can justify the extra cost? Just look at some benchmarks here:

    Bare Feats
     
  14. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #14
    Based on this I would say the Octo is a waste unless you want bragging rights. Save the money and put it toward 3 500GB Sata drives. Put them in a RAID0 for your CS3 scratch disk.
     

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