Need advice buying a Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by matt2287, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. matt2287 macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2014
    Hi guys, I am buying a Mac Pro. But I need advice about when is the best time I should buy one, as there's rumours of a new updated model.

    Also what specifications do people think is the "sweet spot" for buying one?

    Hope you guys can help.

  2. Baklava macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2010
    If a Mac Pro is really what you need, I would never buy the old models with the big chassis.
  3. pr33tz macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2008
    London, UK
  4. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009

    If looking to buy a new Mac Pro then if need ( not "it would be cool to have"... real business need) one, then buy it. The window could be 3-6 months or Apple could go back down the rabbit hole again. All of that is disconnected from the need if present.

    If the objective is to 'game' the used Mac Pro (MP) market by trying to market time a window where there will be a glut of used MP's on the market forcing prices down, then ..... just don't. It isn't a strategy that is particularly effective or useful.

    Over an extended period of time the used prices go down; there is no magical short term timing window. If they get very old and extremely rare they might bump back up a bit, but pragmatically no one waits that long who isn't an antiques collector.

    Relative to a year ago the used MP market is already down. They probably won't be a radical shift any time soon ( even if a new MP releases in 3-6 months). Barring Apple going back into an extended mode of not selling any MPs ( extremely unlikely if there will be another one coming) there isn't going to be a shortage that drives used prices substantially higher again.

    Your application workload defines a "sweet spot" far more than any magical one proclaimed by anonymous users on a forum.
  5. vett93 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Right on. If your applications use a few cores concurrently. You may want to consider 6/8/12 core Mac Pros. On the other hand, if it uses one or two cores only, then the 4-core Mac Pro is actually faster.

    See comparisons from Mac World below:
  6. matt2287 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2014
    Thanks for some of the advice guys.

    Basically after using Windows nearly all of my life I am finally switching to Mac and OS X. I tested it out for a week last month and loved it. It took me a while to get used to it, but now I really like it.

    The reason why I am going for a Mac Pro is because I just want a powerful machine that is going to last quite some time. I have always had a fairly powerful Windows machine. And out of all the desktop computers that Apple offer, it seems that the Mac Pro is the most powerful.

    I do movie editing occasionally and I play a lot of high definition content too.

    I think I'm going for -

    6 Core
    32 GB Ram
    512 SSD
    Firepro D700's
  7. purplecu6e macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    There are no rumors of an updated model. There are new CPUs soon and GPUs out now that are updates of the ones in the 2013 nMP, but that does not mean that Apple is working on a MP update. My best guess is that there is a 90% chance Apple will wait for the Xeon v4 and a 10% chance that they will surprise us with a new model later this year.
  8. vett93 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2014
    I would recommend that one waits until OS X 10.9.5 is released and see if Mac Pros are more reliable then. I have been in networking software engineering business since I received my EE Ph.D. degree 20 years ago. If I had known then what I know now about the current Mac Pro, I would have waited.

    See this thread for the problems I have run into with the new Mac Pro:

    On the other hand, my MacBook Pro is the very best laptop I have ever used.
  9. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    Usually you have the "need" and then you find the "tool".
  10. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    For what it is worth I have had precisely 0 problems with mine since day one.
  11. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    That's wrong, both 4/6/8 core models share the same identical turbo speed. The 8 core have slightly better single core performance due to greater cache.
    I'm surprised that somebody with an EE ph.d do not know that.

    To the OP:
    FWIW my machine is running flawless since late gennuary, if you need it now just buy it. There is really a very little chance Apple will release a new version this years and even if they release a new machine it will be just incrementally faster in term of CPU performance.
    If you tell us what software you use it will be easier to suggest what configuration better fits your needs.
  12. vett93 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Don't forget that the 4-core CPU has a higher clock rate. See Mac World's benchmark comparisons as well.
  13. matt2287 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2014
    The main tasks I would use the Mac Pro for are -

    Editing HD videos with either iMovie/Final Cut Pro
    Playing large HD Videos
    Using Photoshop occasionally
    Browsing Web/Music/Documents
    Boot Camp to Play a few games like Resident Evil 6

    But I just want a system that is going to be a powerful investment, enough to last for the next 5 years or more, especially how much the Mac Pro costs.
  14. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    Guess you never heard about Intel turbo... Here is a reading for you to better understand how modern Intel CPU work:
    Also please do not point me to reviews made by somebody with no clue of what they are talking about;) the first batch of article about the nMP was just crap, IMO the only two reviews worth reading are the one from Anantech and Arstecnica(made by people who actually took some time to use the machine).


    For this use a stock 4 or 6core will do just fine, and honestly even a maxed out iMac can fit your needs quite well. In case you make money using FCP you can think about the D700 upgrade.
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    20 years ago there was no Mac Pro product. :). But yeah last Dec - early January folks didn't have long track records with Mac Pro.

    The sleep issues are likely far more a software problem than a hardware one. Even if Apple releases new hardware ( and a new OS ) can still be stuck with the software problem.

    Unlike Windows, Apple doesn't run a large, somewhat compressive hardware compatibility lab and/or certification process. A fair amount of stuff works but users tossing a large set of 3rd party peripherals at Mac are going to expose bugs. That isn't particularly going to get better (or worse) with new product updates.
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    That is a bit of a simplification. The reality is that in most situations the OS isn't going to stick to 1 or 2 cores. The number of cores active will be a blend of those speeds. In short, probably going to loose 0.05-0.1 off those numbers in real life. Besides in the chart the 6c 3.5 and 4c 3.7 are exactly the same in the 1-2 core active zone. Turbo is far more indicative that you are going to get a blend of speeds over a range than than be pegged at any one particular speed even for a largely fixed workload ( there are numerous periodic processes that pop up in normal OS X usage by a human being rather than synthetic benchmark. )

    So "faster" either way is a far more so over looks the fact that the additional 6 core cost isn't buying anything in that zone. A 4c 3.7 system with more money thrown at RAM / SSD / etc will likely turn in better overall system numbers that throwing that extra money at 2 cores that don't particularly make much of a difference in the 1-2 active core zone.
  17. vett93 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Believe it or not, I started with an Apple II+ computer. I think the new Mac Pro has a great design and so I bought one. But Apple needs to put Engineering resources to test their desktop computers for common use cases, even though they are not their main revenue stream.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009

    If have excess money burning a hole in your pocket that is overkill probably isn't bad.

    Oddly, for gaming the D300 is better than the D500. The D700 isn't necessary for the casual movie work. Game wise ( windows in crossfire mode ) may be worth the bang-for-buck.
  19. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    20 Years ago I had a Mac IIci which for all intents and purposes was the Mac Pro of it's day. It had a Motorola 6830 CPU, NuBus Slots, was expandable and IMO, was state of the art back then.

  20. vett93 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Cannot agree more!
  21. Mike Richardson macrumors member

    Mike Richardson

    Apr 23, 2010
    The circle effect on my avatar is non-consensual
    If you are coming from a Windows background, where you are used to having a big tower with a lot of slots and upgrade capability, then a used tower type Mac Pro might be a good way to get your feet wet. Some of the used Mac Pros are also a good value, if you ask me.

    My personal experience with Macs is that the more expensive tower Macs tend to last a lot longer, when helped a long with a few upgrades. My Power Mac G5 dual 1.8 is still used on most days of the week at my office, where I just need to read e-mail and do other tasks like that. It's really a shame, because it's not slow, but the Intel switch is slowly taking away it's remaining useful value. This month I've had it for 10 years.

    Before that G5, I had an iMac G4 700 MHz, which I used for exactly two years.

    Our Power Macintosh 6500 was used from 1997 until 2004, helped along near the end by a used G3 upgrade and a hard drive upgrade (the stock drive was 4200 rpm). And again, it wasn't really all that slow, but it failed to run Mac OS X.

    The new trash can Mac Pro - you know. It costs $3000 but what kind of upgrades will be available in 5 years? Maybe the CPU since it's socketed, but the graphics cards and even the damn hard drives are proprietary.
  22. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    To be honest, an top end iMac is going to work just as well and probably last just as long for you.

    Mac Pros don't tend to last longer than any other Mac. They get dropped from support on the same schedule, and their warranty's last just as long.

    I've seen plenty of organizations that have been burned by buying Mac Pros only because they think they are more future proof, and then watched as Apple deprecated support at the same time as the corresponding iMacs. Sure, with an original Mac Pro you can swap components you like, but that won't get you any closer to official Mavericks support.
  23. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Hmm, going to disagree with you here.

    Do you have any older Macs with Mavericks on them?

    I have a 1,1/2,1 running Mavericks without a hiccup.

    Took all of 30 seconds to fix the boot.efi file and BINGO !!!

    The guy using it has no idea that he is running an "unsupported" OS at all. Everything "just works". He cross boots from Win 8.1 x64 and 10.9.4 using bootcamp and never has any trouble at all.

    Of course, the reason it was so painless is that 1,1 has a 7950 GPU in it. Also has a WiFi AC and BT 4.0 card in it, so should be a dream once Tiamo does a Yosemite fix.

    Since a 2006 iMac is hopelessly mired in 2006 due to it's 2006 GPU, there is really no comparison. Any attempt to put Mavericks on a 2006 iMac will end in tears.

    I know you love to tow the company line, but here you towed it too far.
  24. purplecu6e macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    There are several things you have to keep in mind for longevity. One is AppleCare coverage, which is three years either way. Then there's hardware failures. This is going to depend a lot on how you use your computer. If you're using an iMac for a job the Mac Pro was designed to do, then I wouldn't expect much more than three or four years before you run into a catastrophic failure. Likely some before that too, but those will be covered by AppleCare. The Mac Pro will likely last much longer, and when it breaks you will be able to repair it far more easily than an iMac. However, if you're mostly doing web browsing and email, then both are likely to last about as long.

    Finally there's software support. Over time your computer will drop off the supported hardware list for OS, web browser, and other programs. Even if you can't run the latest OS, though, you'll still be able to run your old programs. Eventually you won't be getting security updates for important programs, and that'll be the end of it. The PowerMac G5 recently succumbed to this problem, having lost the support of major web browsers. For the most recent Power Mac, that was a lifespan of about eight years, including four years after it no longer met the requirements for the newest OS X. My guess is that the nMP will start to lose software support a year before the iMac does due to its older chipset.
  25. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    What is suppose to be magical about Xeon E5 v4 ? There will be a bigger jump between v2-> v4 than v2 -> v3, but the delay is also likely twice as long. ( v3 could 'go' in December and v4 will probably be another year after that ). The supporting chipset is exactly the same ( Intel doesn't usually change workstation chipsets for an entire tick-tock cycle).

    v4 clocks will probably go up and the top end, "if you have to ask you can't afford it" core count will go up, but there is likely not going to be radical change in TDP. v4 is 'tick' ( primarily process shrink) iteration. Up in the Xeon E5 zone there no mobile specific process tech or GPU updates that Intel is focusing on in the v4 ( "Broadwell") upgrades in the mainstream (e.g., Core M and broadwell GPU ). More likely Intel will use process improvements to crank up performance through more "turbo" and additional core counts. (**)

    Same socket and chipset means the PCI-e lane count is exactly the same on v3 and v4. So still have same log-jam of moving to something like Thunderbolt 3 (even if it does come another year out ) or moving to multiple internal SSDs. Unless waiting on some Q4 2015 or 2016 components the same motherboard for a Xeon E5 v4 Mac Pro could also use a Xeon E5 v3. So waiting on what new infrastructure?

    A 90% weighting on "Apple will skip Haswell (v3) like they skipped Sandy Bridge (v1) " doesn't particularly have that kind of firm grounding.

    Kneecapping the Mac Pro with Xeon E5 1620 v2 CPUs while the high end iMac moves to Broadwell on the high end is only going to cause Apple incrementally more problems with Mac Pro sales. Even more substantive impact for the whole Mac Pro line up when the other workstation competitors move on.

    A huge delay into late 2015 for the Mac Pro would be far more indicative that Apple has nobody working on the Mac Pro full time more so than the Intel tech coming in v4 was a show stopper issue.

    (**) Intel has a growing roster of low TDP server parts. Xeon E3 . The new Atom Avoton and 14nm shrinks of Avoton. ( There little to no reason to radically change the Xeon E5's TDP.

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