MPro comparison to other workstations from Arstechnica

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by comatory, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
  2. iSayuSay macrumors 68030


    Feb 6, 2011
    No USB 3.0
    No Thunderbolt
    No SNB Xeon
    No good GPU

    Lastly ..

    No buy

    Screw you :apple:

    MacPro only get you a nice chassis. But that certainly not worth $2500++ today.
  3. gpzjock, Aug 9, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    The only thing that let down the HP workstation was Windows 7 stability, Dell look shabby as usual. If you can wait for Apple to get off their collective arses then I would if I were you. The other alternative would be make an i7 Hackintosh for about $800 to see you through till then and keep the other $6000 HP want you to spend for the next gen Mac Pro.
  4. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Interesting article. The HP case was alright, I'm amazed how crappily designed the PCs were for such an expensive computer. There are some fantastic PC cases out there, not all of them are expensive.

    That said, the PCs are clearly a superior deal using actual modern components. The point about them having an INCLUDED on-site 3 year warrantee is huge.
  5. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2009
    It's just a personal opinion but right now, I agree Hackintosh is the way to go.

    You get all the benefits of a Mac Pro, minus the great chassis, at a fraction of the price. It's a small amount of work to build but once you're up and running it's a great feeling.
  6. comatory thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I've seen people putting the guts into Mac Pro case, actually I read that G5 cases are easier to work with. Fractal cases look nice too although they're plastic.

    I agree that having 3 year on-site support is great.

    I decided that I'll either
    A. look out for used MPro and buy it only if it's under $1000 (with at least 16GB RAM, 2008 or 2009 model)
    B. Get Mac mini server (I know) and fill it with 16gigs of RAM and OS SSD drive

    I'll probably go with option B since I'll have warranty on it, I'm tinkering with the idea of building hackintosh alongside for doing the hard work, and once new Mac Pro comes out, sell both machines and buy it.
  7. peabo macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    This actually makes me feel a little better about my purchase of the 3.06GHz machine as the 12 core 2.66 wasn't totally blown away in every test. A more comparatively priced machine would have been the 12x 3.06 at just over $6K which would be even closer to the PC workstations in terms of speed.
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Dell's puny case is in part because not comparing the same subclass model with HP. A closer match up would be:

    z820 <==> T7600
    z620 <==> T5600

    Although, I suspect the build on the z620 would still be preferred by him.
    The Mac Pro somewhat fits between those two classes. Since the T5600 came in at a higher price, the T7600 might have resulted in bigger sticker shock. However, there is more room inside the T7600 so RAM slots are easier to get to and there are more drive sleds.

    As for better hardware, it is only as good as the software layered on top. It is the whole system that most people use as tool. While there are several benchmarks here where the Mac Pro looses, there are also a few where it comes out on top and still more where it is marginally slower. Apple is at a disadvantage but it is not complete doom and gloom either. The Mac Pro is still a useful workstation.

    That he had to hack up OpenCL to work in Lion for one of the benchmarks is illustrative that in several contexts not even all of the performance of the current Mac Pro's is wrung out. The brute force workaround is to buy faster hardware to run the unoptimized software faster. That's actually not solving the root cause issue.

    Similarly, it wouldn't hurt if Apple could convince some 3rd party that a new, certified by Apple support, video card would be a useful edition.
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Windows7 stability is pretty dam good. Nothing like XP. Plus a hell of allot of better options than what apple has produced. One big complaint is the crapware coming from Dell and HP. I have installed an OEM version of Win7 which has none of this crap on both my dual processor Westmere systems and have been rock solid. My advise is to build your own workstation as I did. Be surprised how much cash you save vs apples inflated prices plus you get current technology, not the last couple of years like apple has been selling.
  10. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    The Mac Pro seems to get it's ass handed to it in a lot of graphics benchmarks. The feeling I get is a lot of that must be driver related.

    In CPU benchmarks? Strangely enough, the 12 core 2010 Mac Pro seems to hold it's own against the 16 core 2012 competition. The differences are not severe. And the 12 core is still cheaper.

    In some CPU benchmarks the 12 core loses, and in about the same amount it actually wins (!). It just seems like the 2010 may actually still have legs.
  11. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Win 7 is indeed much more stable than XP or the slow motion car crash that is Vista. Unfortunately I have had numerous experiences of Win 7 going south due to "3rd party conflicts" and "hardware incompatibility" where upon the only fix is a complete reinstall or replacement of the offending parts. If you can live with Windows then doubtless it is a better option compared with a Hackintosh and the price is the same.
    Horses for courses old chap.
  12. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    You hit the nail on the head. Apple has said the reason for not updating the Pro yet was the lack of a CPU that makes a difference that warrants a refresh. That may well be true, but for them to still think the 5870 or Quadro 4000 are good enough for Mac Pro users is insane. They at least could have made a GTX offering along with the 2012 "new" pro and 10.8 release.
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Where did Apple say this? Got a quote or a link?

    That is a hugely myopic and not "system evaluation" outlook, that is highly uncharacteristic of Apple in general. If it came from Apple it came from an internal bozo that is pretty technologically inept.

    "CPU only" being the issue does nothing but undermine the refresh having almost 3 year old GPUs. If it was primarily a CPU issue then why would the GPUs stay static ? It is an even bigger joke that the GPUs haven't progressed substantially in the interium since the 5770 and 5870 hit the market.

    As stated in the article once have compilers and reoptimized code to leverage the AVX instructions on the E5 that gap is going to be quite substantial on heavy floating point workloads. On broad spectrum workloads 10-25% is all that is likely going to show up given a equal number of cores. However, applications that work better with more cores are essential for successful workstations. Not pushing the evenlope only will lead to slower scaling upate on the Mac platform which only damages the platform long term with lower diversity.

    I don't think they do any more than they think the Xeon E5 update is "too weak to use". The same video options were more likely used as a "message" that this June wasn't what they had been working on since 2010. Additionally, with the Apple systems centered viewpoint revising the Mac Pro as a system would bring CPU and GPU upgrades to together at the same time.

    It isn't really just Apple. The Quadro 4000 is not an Apple card. It is Nvidia/PNY card. It is not in the BTO options. If the 3rd party didn't put it into the Apple Store, it wouldn't be there.

    The market for additional PCI-e video cards is small in the Mac market. The "underground" market for flashed mainstream PC market cards for the Mac Pro only makes it smaller which makes it even tougher for the 3rd party to get return on investment.

    As has been noted other threads. If don't need a certified configuration or boot display there options. It is somewhat a catch-22 in that is in part why there are not additional configs.
  14. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    This at least gives Apple some more time. Let's just hope that whatever comes out in 2013 is acceptable.
  15. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    I don't remember exactly where I read the CPU comments, could have been here, or maybe from a less rumor, more AAPL stock site. It was before the WWDC debacle though. Apple is clearly being hugely myopic about attention to the pro market in general. The bean counters don't see the value in a pro presence, just the cost of doing so when the vast majority of profit is coming from laptops and mobile devices.

    As for GPUS's, I stand by what I said. If they are going to make us wait, adding a GTX 670 or even base 680 option (dual six pin power) and a few lines of code to get a boot screen would have cost next to nothing and would help them get rid of remaining stock while keeping defections down. Although I now only have four Apple computers, an iPad, and two iPhones, and 100 shares, as a recent convert, and a Pro user who makes a living from his workstation, I expected more, FAR more, and I firmly but politely let Tim Cook and AAPL investor relations know how I felt in no uncertain terms.
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    In prior to the Xeon E5's being avaialbe to system vendors in volume. (very late April '12 and previous) that was true. The delta between the June updates and their predecessors isn't that large. So it really didn't make much sense to release those earlier in 2011 like some suggested. If they are 'woefully bad" now in 2012 rolling back 6-8 months into 2011 doesn't really make that much better. Furthermore, it would have blown the "Plan B" option from being invoked in June if Apple stumbled along the way (which they did).

    Not really. Even for he various variants of the "pro" connotation thrown around.

    Pro == Enterprise and/or "big ticket price" market. Those market typically are risk adverse and move slowly on capital equipment purchases. A few will be updating at a time but the group as a whole largely does far, far, FAR, more talking and prima donna strutting ( 'either you do exactly what I say or I'm going to the next sandbox to play') than doing.

    Pro == significantly above average high performance with more than average (for Macs) prices. Again, typically a substantially slow equipment turn over rate.

    The Mac Pro is not the key to the Mac business. Never has been. Ever.

    It is growth not profits. Growth is what inflates the Apple stock by large amounts over longer period of times.

    The boot code is not Apple's code. Whether the card presents to EFI is the card vendor. I suppose Apple could hand over a wad of R&D money as a bounty for the card vendor to do the work. While Apple does that for some parts for the most part they slide risks to the components vendors side of the table. That's primarily why there are no cards.

    If there was a gap between OpenGL and the card that is more so the area where its "Apple's fault".

    Apple generally does not have an inventory problem.

    They have one of the most highly tuned "just in time" supply chains in the business. That is one reason why they have been highly successful and a primary reason why Tim Cook is now CEO.

    If the suggestions you are sending are along the lines of "you should do blah, blah, blah to clear out inventory" then they are most likely being politely dumped into the trash can.

    That's like trying to sell air conditioners, ice makers, and "walk in" freezers to Eskimos living North of the arctic circle.
  17. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Apple doesn't have "more time". They have a time window where the losses are likely acceptable. The choices here were likely between bad , worse, and dismal. This delay is not part of some primary "Plan A". (unless the relatively recently replaced "Plan A" was to cancel.)

    It is doubtful Apple is doing something that is "acceptable" to everybody. For example, people who love ODDs are likely going to be deeply disappointed. Same for folks who like PCI (not PCI-e ) slots. Same for those looking for multiple DIMM banks and more than 4 PCI-e slots.
  18. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    The author lost me here. A well designed custom workstation with all high end components with the top customer reviews will be much more realiable than the lowest bidder parts used in OEM computers. The vanilla Windows install with the latest drivers downloaded from parts makers will also be more stable than the bloatware laden install and old drivers.

    The vendor support is laughable and the warranty is useless.. When you need the computer for work you can't wait 4+ days for a tech to come out, order replacement parts, then come out again to install them. You need to run out and get it locally that day if available in your area or order it yourself next day air.

    Not only are you getting a much stabler machine. You save a lot of money. That saved money will more than make up for any out of pocket repairs.
  19. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    Whats with all the Windows 7 hate? I've found it to be far more stable than 10.7.
  20. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    No h8 for Win7 m8, I agree that it is a serious improvement on previous incarnations. TBH I'm not that impressed by 10.7 either, still using Snowy till I have to switch to a newer OS X moggy.
    I was quite pleased with Win 7's stability and feel when it first came out but over time I have noticed increased issues with older hardware and software. 3rd party conflicts and incompatibilities are my main gripe, otherwise it is a decent OS and the first one M$ have produced that I will say that about. I use OS X in preference and I think most folks on these forums feel the same. Talk about a Mercedes on a BMW forum and the same reaction will likely occur.
  21. slughead, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

    slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    My first MP came with a Maxtor HD and an NEC optical drive, both of which failed. There were an entire generation of MPs with a huge failure rate on PSUs. The Radeon 2600, Radeon x1900, NVidia 8800 were all ticking time bombs or had awful drivers and flaws. Many MP owners also noted extremely cheap RAM.

    Add in the fact that the PCs in the articles come with longer warranties and superior on-site service--and yes, they often come out same-day and bring replacement parts with them, something you willfully misstated here.

    There is nothing magical about Apple parts that makes them last longer, and with a shorter warranty and no on site service, it can be a huge expense for companies, especially small ones with no real tech department.

    If I have to haul my workstation into a freaking Apple store every time I want something fixed, or be an expert in computer hardware to troubleshoot the freakin thing, my downtime for any particular problem is going to be unacceptable.

    As for Windows 7 being worse than 10.7/8 in terms of crashes, I highly doubt it. Dell also has tech support who can actually remotely login and troubleshoot your computer to fix it.

    I find mac-using professionals often have to know a lot more about hardware and software to make it "just work" without significant downtime. This is just ridiculous. Expecting it to run every time or someone to fix it "for free" when it doesn't is not too much to ask.

    For consumer machines, Macs are great, but professionals/businesses require reliability and service.

    With Apple's terrible support, it's almost better to just build your own.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Well that's because both of those companies have continued to refresh and update their workstations, where as apple has let the Mac Pro whither on the vine.

    Not to sound overly negative, but even when apple does update the MacPro, their past behavior is such that it may make little difference to some customers. That is will some customers opt to avoid apple, just because they continue to ignore the pro market, where as Dell and HP do not
  23. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    Um... that was his point. HP and Dell will send a technician out to you, with parts, next day. AppleCare, while it does offer on-site coverage (although the author also claims he was never able to get them to come to his office) will send a technician on-site, but it's contracted out and takes several days.

    Whenever we have an iMac go down at work (Edu sector), somebody has to call AppleCare, it's usually a 30 minute or so call, then they setup a repair with a local technician. We have to wait about a day for the local tech to call us to schedule the repair and that's always another day or two out as Apple has to ship the parts to them first.

    Apple's on-site service is very lacking compared to HP/Dell. When our HP/Dell computers in the student labs go down they're there next business day and the warranty is cheaper (we get four-year warranties for everything, including AppleCare). I also don't understand why Apple doesn't offer four-year AppleCare to regular people.
  24. mkokimoto macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    I'm still not too sure about the article. Price didn't play much of a factor in the comparison.

    In terms of being a real workstation, the mac pro is a bargain. 2 and a half grand to get your foot in the door to xeon class processing power is pretty good.

    So far as I've been looking at workstations the MP has always been in the corner of my eye as a low cost, stable, out of the box, professional-world alternative.

    I know people here have been complaining about the price of the mac pro and the perceived lack of value from these machines but for me it's sort of a bargain compared to the alternative in my old office - dell precision. (nothing wrong with dell's business grade stuff!)
  25. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    I do like OSX, I hated 10.7, and am sorta starting to hate 10.8, feels like its full of gimmicks. Though I don't think I'll ever hate 10.8 as much as 10.7.

    Yeah I agree, I've always used PC's and Macs, even as a youngin ( First PC was a 486 running Windows 3.1, first Mac I used was some old pile of ****, forget what kind of was, then I bought a iMacG3 in high school, damn Im getting old....27 is just to damn old lol ). The only windows I have complaints about are ME and Vista, the rest of them weren't to bad.

    OSX is just something I see going down hill, big time.

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