MacPro vs Dell Workstation

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by masmullin, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. masmullin macrumors member

    May 7, 2009
    Canadian Site: Canadian Prices
    All computers include the basic 3 years extended warranty

    Quad Core:
    Mac Pro (base + 6GB ram): $3138
    Dell Workstation: $2194
    ==Difference: $944
    PROCESSOR Quad Core Intel® Xeon® W3530 2.80GHz, 8M L3, 4.8GT/s
    OS Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate, with Media, 64-bit, English
    CHASSIS CONFIGURATION Mini-Tower Chassis Configuration w/ 1394 Card
    HARD DRIVE 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s,7200 RPM Hard Drive with 32MB DataBurst
    OPTICAL DRIVE 16X DVD+/-RW w/ Cyberlink PowerDVD™/Roxio Creator™
    GRAPHICS CARD 1GB ATI FirePro V4800, Triple MON, 2 DP & 1 DVI
    FLOPPY DRIVE & MEDIA READER No Floppy Drive and No Media Card Reader
    RESOURCE DVD Resource DVD - contains Diagnostics and Drivers

    Six Core:
    Mac Pro (base + 6GB ram): $4428
    Dell Workstation: $3864 (as above but with the W3680 3.33GHz 6 core proc)
    ==Difference: $564

    Eight Core:
    Mac Pro (base): $3898
    Dell Workstation: $4234
    ==Difference: -$336
    Dell specs are for the T7500, similar setup to above but with the E5620 chip and the ram moved to 6 1Gig DIMM

    Twelve Core:
    Mac Pro (base): $5498
    Dell Workstation: $6504 (same as 8 core but with X5650)
    ==Difference: -$1006

    Twelve Core high end:
    Mac Pro (base + 2.93GHz): 6798
    Dell Workstation: 7974 (as above but with X5670)
    ==Difference: -$1176

    Apple is targeting the higher performance market at the expense of the "prosumer." The 4core model is extremely overpriced as compared to their top of the line products which are extremely inexpensive compared to the competition.
  2. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Does the Dell run OS X? Will it have any resale value in 4 years like the MP likely will? Will it require less support than the MP?

    Long term the MP is the better value.
  3. Ravich macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Portland, OR
  4. masmullin thread starter macrumors member

    May 7, 2009
    Lets forget about anything other than the 4core machine... the 6-12 cores are all in Apple's favor. (also forgetting that the dell will be much easier to upgrade as you can use stock graphics cards)

    I would expect that in 4 years 4core MP will run say $800-1200 in 4 years while the dell will run $400-700. So we are looking at a gain of 400-500 on the mac side for long term value.

    The dell runs Win7 which is a very decent operating system. While many people prefer osx, im not sure its value is $400 ABOVE win7 (ie its value is $600 total... win7 costs say $200) to most people.
  5. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    It's a fools errand to have these threads especially on a Mac's own stomping ground. Some would say OSX is priceless, invaluable, et al. I haven't used Win7 much but I do like it. The last OS I used was XP and switched just as Vista was beginning to get released.

    Anyway, when I bought my MP 2.8 which were I guess the middle configuration for $3,200 it was purely an indulgence. I've always built my own machines and I could always do it under a $1500 budget. Having to see Apple gradually increase their price of their workstations, I guess upgrading won't be in my near future. The value is still in the iMacs.
  6. Major Reeves macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2009
    Not only that, but the build quality of the dell precision workstations is kind of sad and don't get me started about their cooling efficiency and motherboard circuit printing.
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    What models are you talking about?

    Just curious, as I've not seen many failures for their workstations. The cases could be nicer, but they're far more about functionality than appearance (costs are tighter too for this component). Cooling is usually sufficient (usually user changes with poor cable routing causes most of the problems from what I've seen). The consumer systems far more often, but it's not a fair comparison.
  8. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    near Cambridge
    I have a Dell T5500 and it is very solidly built. Since Dell provides 3 years on-site warranty as standard it is not in their interest to make things in too shoddy a fashion.

    On the heating side, the 2009 Pro had a lot of issues (according to these and other forums). Having said that, I was a little concerned with the temperatures of my processors being unbalanced (90C and 70C on 100% load) but after upgrading the heatsink of the main board one (which was only aluminium) via Dell (for around £30) the temperatures are both 80C under load which is fine.

    The resale value of the Mac Pros is just an indication that Apple maintains high new prices. If they ever have a change of policy the second hand price will drop. It seems a strange argument to say that Mac Pros are better long term value because the resale value is high because the new prices are high.
  9. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    Could be a higher demand for used mac pro's which drives the prices higher. I'm guessing resale value for PC workstations to be higher also then compared to their consumer PC's.
  10. jeanlain macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2009
    It's interesting to compare the price differences across configurations. Personally, I would have preferred if the low-end Mac Pro were cheaper than the Dell workstation, not the other way around.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    What some may not realize, is that if you pick up the phone to get pricing from Dell, it tends to be cheaper than the web pricing. :eek: HP and other PC vendors are the same way for their enterprise gear (sometimes consumer as well). ;)

    So those price differences posted by masmullin could easily change as a result.
  12. npropes macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2010
    If you go through Dell's business unit, you can generally knock 10-20% off their web pricing. They also run many specials for their professional line computers.

    Whether you want to go with a Mac Pro or a Dell would depend on many more factors than price. If you're going to be doing heavy 3D CAD/CAE work, then the Dell might be a better option since you have many more workstation class graphics card option available. If you're a photographer or working with printed media, then the Mac Pro would be better.

    Also Dell provides on-site support for their workstation class machines which Apple does not. If you are supporting yourself through the use of your computer, then next day on site support can be a life saver.

    Price isn't the only thing to look at when purchasing hardware. That becomes even more apparent if you're supporting yourself and your family through the use of your computer. If you're buying the machine for personal non-income generating use, then you would want to go with the cheaper option. If you're going to be making money with the machine, then you need to look at support options.
  13. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I don't know how things have changed in recent years, but I've got pictures of the insides of a Dell Precision Workstation 650 (dual Xeons, RAIDed SCSI drives running Red Hat Linux) I took in 2004 and a Dell Precision Workstation 380 (Pentium 4 running Windows XP) I took in 2006. Pretty messy but I never had any problems with them. The 650 was $8000 in its day.

    Precision Workstation 650
    Precision Workstation 380
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I know (have a business account with them), and they've always transferred me to the correct section, and I didn't think to mention it. :eek:

    Good call on this one. :)

    Options and particularly support are much better than Apple. Having to physically haul a MP into an Apple Store is a joke for an enterprise grade system IMO.

    Definitely (posted on this many times).

    Validated hardware is another (i.e. specific professional applications operating properly with the hardware in the system, such as CAD/CAM suites with graphics cards).

    The swing out panel cases were messy (drives mounted to the panel). I presume they did away with them for that reason. But the airflow over the CPU is decent (cables not in the way of airflow in this area).

    I've also notices variances over the years (even in the same systems). The only thing that makes sense is skill of the assembler and/or time constraints (i.e. large order quantity, and rushed to get them assembled, so shortcuts may have been taken).

    But overall, it's not bad, and has improved since those systems IMO (newer tech helped; the cables got smaller, such as SATA/SAS for example).
  15. jmggs macrumors regular


    Jul 6, 2007
    I have been a happy user of a 2006 mac pro until i need to do upgrades. with the idea of the most upgradable mac i was confident.

    So i need a better graphics card, my 7600GT wasn't cutting any more. so after some search nome of actual video cards was available. because i bought a 64bit mac pro with an 32bit EFI!!!! what no updates to bios!!! and the new graphics cards don't work because apple don't want. an artificial limitation! if i put a PC graphics card i can use any one and i have to use the windows! Blame apple and their mac pro.

    So needing more power i have sell my mac pro and i have built a PC workstation with i7 CPU, Intel Motherboard and Nvidia Quadro cards windows 7 64bit pro and i am happy.

    For now i only recommend the mac pro for people that really need to use apple apps with power. if use avid or adobe apps get a PC.

    I love apple and i have many macs, for now only laptops and ipod and so on.. mac pro is too expensive for that limitations...its a $2500 or more for a computer! At work i have 15 HP workstation they are great and they are speedy and rock solid. they only have windows and avid.
  16. Garamond macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2004
    It's not easy to jump ship when you have software licenses into the thousands that you also have to renew into PC versions.
  17. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Uh, you do realize the ATI 5770 and 5870 do work in the 2006 MP's regardless of what Apple says? Just look a couple threads above this one for at least one person using the 5870 in older MP's.
  18. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    About the on-site thing....don't plenty of Apple Authorized Repair places offer on-site support? Do they bill Apple for the whole trip if it is a warranty job?
  19. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    honestly, I think the support Dell and HP offer is worth the extra expense, or at least most of it, on the higher end models, if you need to use Windows software regularly. not to mention the options you have for workstation graphic cards if you need to use any Windows-only software. MP's only have the FX 4800 and maybe the 4000.
  20. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Recent Pricing

    Just put together a Dell T3500 as close to the lowest Mac Pro and the diff is 500 CAD. I'm impressed that the Mac is close :)
  21. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    People have commented on the pricing of the Mac Pro 4-core in previous threads also. I would suggest looking at the iMac for a mid-range system. The 8-core seems to be the best deal for the buck in a Mac Pro.

    As for the other issue -- for me, MacOS X is definitely worth paying a hardware premium for compared to Windows 7. But even more than that, it avoids the whole Windows XP software "ecosystem" (biologically speaking, XP makes me think of slime molds-- fascinating, but, not appetizing).
  22. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Some licenses but Adobe is cross platform.
  23. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    I have a nine-year-old Dell server that I still use from time to time (running Linux), but, mid-decade, I started to hear complaints. Not sure how things stand today.

    Any suggestions on particular HP or Dell models that people respect as being rugged and reliable?
  24. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    We just had a bout with enterprise support from Dell. It was terrible felt bad for the tech that had to visit four times to tend to a dead motherboard.
    In the end they just replaced a 4 year old workstation with a new one.
    I guess I got a good deal but no more warranty on that replacement.
    Were done with Dell for good.
  25. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    If you purchase AppleCare, there is an option for on-site service for desktop computers (iMac and Mac Pro).

    If you need/want to run Windows-only stuff like ProE, IDEAS, 3DMax that needs specific high-end graphics cards, then get a Dell or HP. If you like OS X and run creative apps, get a MP.

    By and large, most of the complaining about graphics cards I see in various forums aren't from professionals running CAD/CAM or 3D visualization software, but gamers. Nothing wrong with playing games, but casting the argument as "Mac Pros don't have high end pro graphics" when a lot of the stuff that really needs that type of card doesn't even run on OS X, is a bit suspect.

    Lets be honest - the Apple universe has been oriented around entertainment and the creative arts almost from the beginning. If you need to run heavyweight scientific/engineering applications, you are likely to be forced into Windows or another UNIX anyway, cost of a Dell vs Mac aside.

    And I don't recall seeing any Dell or HP remotely close to a MP price that was designed like a Mac Pro from a packaging standpoint. I've seen servers that weren't that elegant inside.

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