Moving to Mac Pro, advice needed!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by grapefruitmoon, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. grapefruitmoon macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    OK, I was hoping for new Mac Pro's to be announced last week, but no joy! Anyway, I need one very soon, so I'm about to purchase. However, I have a few requirements I've like to discuss with you knowledgeable people!

    Basically, I'm replacing a fairly high-powered PC, which is on it's last legs. My current set up is PC, 2 monitors, speakers, webcam, backing up daily to a Time Capsule. I also have a TV card (Hauppauge) which a UK Sky TV digi box is feeding into. So I'll be replacing the PC with the Mac, and need it to work in pretty much the same way. What TV card options do I have?

    Also, I'm a SQL Server developer, and I'm thinking I'll need to use BootCamp when in development. Although I will use VMWare Fusion too (I use that on my MBP). Is it reasonable to think I could run a large Fusion VM (say 60Gb?) instead of having to use BootCamp?

    I like to have the dual monitors set-up, can Fusion span across two like Windows? And how does Spaces work with 2 monitors, I can't quite figure that one out! On my MBP I have 4 Spaces set up, would like the same on the Pro.

    My current PC has 1 160Gb 10,000 rpm SATA drive, and 2 320Gb 7,200 rpm SATA drives, can I put these in the Mac Pro?

    I think I need about 4Gb-6Gb RAM, what are my best options here?

  2. millar876 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2004
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    There are a few USB tv sticks that work on macs, just have o look in tha adds part of macformat magazine, they to RF analogue and DVB (freeview) cards. the software is top notch (according to reviews, I got a tv in the same room as my mac so no need)

    cant say about SQL development sorry.

    Fusion and Parallels can span 2 screens, they also have a unity view where the vista or XP windows apear over the OSX desktop (like normal finder windows) allowing mixed sets of windows.

    Dual displays are available on almost every mac out the box, (no dual displays for mini, some need adaptors) but the mac pro can drive 2x30" Dual-link DVI displays (like the 30" cinema display) from the get go, with no problems or adapter required. and spaces works great with multiple monitors.
  3. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England
    Your best bet while waiting for replys is to use the search feature, as this has been discussed before and allot of greats tips / suggestions have been made. And as usual Google is your friend. These remarks are to help you no sarcasm implied.

    As far as where to go for a system, order the base unit from apple and upgrade memory and HD from other places such as 'OWC". eBay has some systems and people with stores that have base systems to power systems pre-built and ship the same day.
  4. pwn247 macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2008
    West Virginia, USA
    It's sort of hit or miss. Most TV cards will say if they're Mac compatible. My advice is to purchase a USB TV card, because the Mac Pro is rather picky about what goes into the PCI-E slots.

    Sure! Make sure you've got the drive space, and don't consider doing really system-intensive tasks like video encoding and 3D modeling/gaming.

    Not sure! I'm in the market to buy another monitor soon, though. I would assume that Spaces spans across two monitors, because Apple is usually pretty good about checking that stuff out.

    Yes. Most, if not all, Serial-ATA drives are compatible in the Mac Pro.

    Sites like and are known to sell pretty reliable RAM. I got mine from and never had a problem. Just buy from trusted sellers, because Mac Pro RAM gets very hot and needs to be properly constructed.
  5. millar876 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2004
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    for ram in the uk, try or crutial. just remember that your mac pro will need ECC RAM, its highly unlikley that you will be able to shoehorn any ram you already have in there, and you need to but your ram in matched pairs as the mac pro has a 128bit memmory bus and RAM chips are only 64bits wide.

    Also I've found that macs seem to be more efficient with RAM than wintel boxes so you might nod need as much as you think, just dont buy it from apple, far too expencive.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The next model Mac Pro will still be delayed for awhile. Intel didn't get the parts (Xeon 5500 series) out on their original deadline, and moved it to Q1 '09. Assuming that means the end of March, it will take another 6-8 weeks for system vendors to deliver systems. Apple included. So May or June seems realistic.

    If you want to go with a current model, you might want to look for a base model refurb. It's been tested out thoroughly, and has the same warranty as a new unit. You can save some cash this way. Buy any upgrades 3rd party, as it's always cheaper than buying from Apple.

    Hope this helps, and good luck. :)
  7. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Another Mac Pro newbie

    I just pulled the trigger on a Mac Pro myself. I'm a designer and illustrator, working mostly in Photoshop right now, but I'm planning on expanding into 3D software in the near future.

    These are the specs on the configuration:
    * 2.8GHz Eight Core System
    * 2GB (2x1GB) RAM
    * 500GB SATA Hard Drive
    * 16x Dual-Layer SuperDrive
    * nVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB Graphics
    * Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
    * Airport Extreme
    * Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

    Of course I'll be getting Windows XP-Pro (64 bit version) and Bootcamp as well, but I'm planning on getting into programs like Rhino and other modeling software like Z-Brush or Mudbox (any tips or Recommendations there?)

    My main issue right now is choosing the best way to display my work. I'm reluctant to drop large cash on the Apple monitors as I've heard they can be troublesome for the cost. Eventually I'll be working on a Cintiq easel from Wacom, but I still want a Mac-compatible monitor that gives me the resolution and color/contrast accuracy necessary for the kind of work I do, but is more cost effective. Size-wise I'm searching for anything 24"-30".
    I've been checking into Samsung so far, but I'm curious to know what other professionals have got and what they'd recommend.

    Thanks much!
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you can wait on the 64 bit windows version, you might want to hold out for Windows 7 64 bit. The Beta 1 version is looking good, and even Vista has improved. (The 64 bit version runs rings around the 32 bit version, BTW).
    Any monitor with a DVI interface will work, as there isn't a specific Mac compatible version.

    Personally, I'd say look at NEC's 90 series, particularly the 24" LCD2490WUXI. Well reviewed, well priced (you might get a better price than the link), IPS panel, and members who have them seem very impressed.

    Even Dell makes a good 30" (3008wfp?).

    I would recommend a search, as this has been covered in depth in other threads, and they have a few other models you may want to consider. :)
  9. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks Nanofrog. I did do some looking using the search feature here, and it was helpful. For example, some suggest avoiding Samsung. Also, the IPS panel monitors seems to be an important thing to look for and something I should seriously consider.

    The monitors you suggested are actually more expensive than their Apple counterparts, at least in terms of size. I'm not sure how else they compare, but considering I'll eventually be spending about $2000 for a 21" Cintiq easel it doesn't seem to be worth the expense.
    I saw that some Mac Pro users here were writing about Dell's 2408WFP, which is pricing in at around $517. I'm not clear on what kind of panel it uses, but if it comes highly recommended enough I would consider it.

    I did find that HP offers their LP2475W which does have an IPS panel, and that's pricing in under $650 through some sources.
    Are there any other pros or cons about this model I should know about?
    Any other recommendations?
  10. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    To address the Bootcamp vs. VMware question, you can use VMware Fusion to run your bootcamp partition in OS X. This is what I do, and it works great.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    For professional monitors, IPS seems to be the way to go. Better accuracy and less color shift, but some PVA offerings can compete due to the electronics. But they are expensive, and at least in the same range as the IPS professional counterparts. Eizo Nanao is a good example. Can't touch one unless you have ~$2k on hand, and that's for their base units. They can go over $5k. :eek:

    As how the NEC and others compare to Apple's monitors, it's in the electronics. LUT's (Look Up Tables) are added to allow access to a greater number of colors. It then gets placed on the panel, which is 8 bits. (They can't display all colors at once).

    The Dell 2408wfp is S-PVA. It's a great consumer unit, but not the best for photo/video work.

    The HP LP2475w is a consumer unit, as it doesn't have the 10 or 12 bit LUT's. It's strictly an 8 bit system. According to the reviews though, it would be good for photo/graphics work. (As a hobby I presume, not full time).

    Here's another detailed review of the LP2475w. This monitor could get you started, but if you're doing this for a living, you may be better served by the NEC, as it offers a lot of "bang for the buck".

    Other manufacturers to consider would be:
    Eizo Nanao

    None of these are inexpensive though, the Eizo's in particular (see above ;)).

    Might I ask, what kind of budget do you have?

    If you look, I think you might be able to find the NEC 2490 for ~$1k, and the HP for just under $600. Granted the difference is $400, but it's something you may want to seriously consider. Again, it depends on what you need exactly.

    BTW, don't forget to consider a color calibration unit. More of a necessity than an option. :p

    Hope this helps. :)
  12. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    The Dell is a S-PVA monitor. It is pretty good. Probably not quite as good as a IPS Cinema Display but the next closest thing for sure.
  13. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    An affordable S-PVA might be an acceptable compromise if I can get the colors calibrated correctly and not have to deal with a lot of color-shift grief.
    It sounds like it may at least broaden my choices.
    As I stated, I work mainly in Photoshop doing design and illustration. However, most of my professional work is pre-production. I also do painting and illustration, but again; I'll eventually be getting into 3D modeling.

    Really, right now I'm working with some pretty archaic hardware here.
    I'm still on a G4 (still my first computer). I bought it when Mac first produced them over 10 years ago. I'm also still using my 19" Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900 monitor, which was one of the earliest flat-screens available. This is the kind of stuff I'm used to working on, and even though my monitor was pretty high-end back then, I'm sure things have improved. If it looks better than what I get now, I'd be pretty content.

    Would a 30" monitor be great? Hells to the yes. But not for $2000. I'm more likely to invest that in the Cintiq easel first. Budget-wise, I'd like to spend half of that on a 28"-30". I don't want to go smaller than 24" and would like to keep that under $700.
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Given the 24" min and $700 budget, I'd say go with the HP. It's IPS, so you won't experience the color shifting. You wouldn't be happy with a 30", if you can find one in that price range, as the only panel that would make it cost wise, would almost certainly be crap...err...TN. :p

    As far as the NEC, there is another alternative, but it could make you nervous. Refurb unit for $637.24, but only comes with a 90 day warranty. You can buy an extended, and make it in your budget. It's up to you, as it's a hard one to figure out.

    I've been considering this vs. the HP myself, and am still trying to weigh it out. Personally, the 90 days scares the crap out of me, but it's still an NEC. Hmmm...:p
  15. deze macrumors member


    Feb 4, 2008
    I have a cintiq 21ux alongside a 30" cinema display and the cintiq's quality is slightly fuzzy in comparison to the sharpness of the 30". The different colour temperatures are slightly annoying although i have never calibrated them using a spider.
    Saying that the wacom cintiq 21ux is pretty amazing for your creativity and it works great even on my 3yr old powermac quad g5 with 4GB of ram, you can always drag your finished work onto the better monitor and adjust the colour for final output regardless.
  16. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    In spite of a few warnings about Samsung I've been reading some on the SyncMaster 305T. They do use S-PVA panels (yes, even the 30" model), and they've gotten some pretty favorable reviews. The enticing thing about the 305T is that it's priced at just over $1000 (purchased from B & H).
    Could this be an acceptable compromise, or is this a model I should steer way clear of?

    I do hear you about refurbished units, and yes, they do make me a little nervous.
  17. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the testimonial, deze. The Cintiq has come recommended by a colleague of mine, mainly as the way to move off the Wacom tablet and directly onto the image itself. Are there any better competing products? The Cintiqs seem to be about the only option out there for mac-based creatives right now.
    And yes, the plan here is to work on the easel monitor then drag the art onto a larger display for viewing and making adjustments. Some of the illustration work I do is poster size, and it's been frustrating trying to view my work on my dinky 19" monitor.
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I've not used a Samsung Monitor. Though their LCD TV's are really good for the price. (I've not tried to hook it up to a computer though). :eek: :p

    IIRC, Eizo uses Samsung S-PVA panels in some of their models (Flex Scan). The difference may be in the exact part number. The electronics, and back lighting are certainly different though.

    Sorry I can't be of more help here. :eek:

    I'm still undecided myself on the NEC refurb. Just can't make up my mind. :p

    Has any member ever had any experience with NEC refurb monitors?
    Any information/thoughts on this would be appreciated. :)
  19. deze macrumors member


    Feb 4, 2008
    Looks like there's an alternative brand
    Looks a bit flimsy, only 15 17 & 19" but offers 1024 levels of pressure. Seems like it has drivers for mac too, I personally would stick with the Wacom brand to be honest, you cant really go wrong.
  20. Theophany macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2008
    NW London.
  21. Edison macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I would agree. Especially since I cannot seem to find a price or any US company that even sells it. It makes me wonder if I could get any support should something go wrong.

    When I lost my Intuos stylus I phoned Wacom and spoke with a sales agent who was ready to overnight a replacement to me.
    Fortunately I found it later that day and was able to cancel the order with no problem. ..Apparently my cat had run off with it. :eek:

    I've been very content with Wacom's products and support. My Intuos tablet has served me well for about 7 years and it's still going strong.
  22. sintra1 macrumors member


    Sep 8, 2004
    Harrow North West London
    1. Get an eyeTV Hybrid USB dongle (Its a re-branded Hauppauge WinTV 950 Hybrid and includes the Osx viewing software application eyeTV)
    The Hauppage unit will also be recognized (no driver issue -under OSx) however you will have to buy and download the eyeTV viewing software.
    You know that Windows XP and Vista actually recognizes the eyeTV’s real identity and just require the Hauppage TV viewer software (Downloadable free!) is installed will play just as well!
    I say get the Hybrid model because you can cable to your Skybox decoders coax analogue output, continue to tune to current analogue terrestrial channels provided your Arial coax is connect to the Skybox input socket AND access free to air DVB-T freeview channels at the same time .(This is how I have mine now and currently have Lost on SkyOne running in the background)

    2. Bootcamp by default creates a Windows FAT32 or NTFS partition on the primary OSX boot drive the size of an NTFS partition limited only by available drive space after the Osx demands.
    This partition become visible in the OSx finder as drive icon (by default named untitled!) if formatted as FAT32 you also have FULL read and write access under Mac OSx. If NTFS only read access by default (Special third party software Macfuse allows write access to NTFS partitions as well)

    3. Bootcamp also creates a Bootloader and GUI switcher to allow dual booting, your OSx/Machine backup disc include drivers needed for Vista and/or XP.

    4. Both Fusion and Parallels virtualization software allow you the option to dismount the windows partition under Mac Osx and boot the loaded windows installation under virtualization (Subject to some Graphics and performance limitations) and in addition to booting various flavors of Windows and Linux virtual machines.

    5. Dual monitor support built-in to MAc OSx and the MacPro both mirrored and extended straight out of box .

    6. Both of your existing drives should work in the MacPro but will need reformatting to Mac Extended (journaled). If left as NTFS they will be read only!

    7. 6Gb good start for RAM, however only get basic installation direct from Apple (Currently 2GB). Buy remaining from Crucial and make sure they have Heatsinks fitted.
  23. grapefruitmoon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Thanks, some excellent information in there! Particularly regarding Windows recognising the TV card, that was one of my next questions! :)
  24. kahine macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    On two particulars

    I'd definitely go with Vista 64 over XP 64 , not a huge Vista fan myself but I use Vista 64 for both work/gaming when needed and it has better 64 support overall driverwise than XP , they never really did fully flesh out XP 64

    Between Fusion and Parallels I'd go with Fusion , VMWare to me has way better business support and options than Parallels and I like the speed of Fusion also

Share This Page