Need advice on new desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by --g-, Apr 29, 2017.


Which is the smartest move?

  1. 6 core Mac Pro

    2 vote(s)
  2. 8 core Mac Pro

    1 vote(s)
  3. i7 iMac

    8 vote(s)
  1. --g- macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2016
    The hard drive in my mid 2010 iMac packed it in last July, I purchased an external SSD to boot on and have managed to limp along during my quiet season. Weddings are starting up again and I don't think I can wait for the new releases. I offer both photo and video services so use the full Adobe Suite. I mostly serve an ethnic community that favours multi day weddings and only do about 10 weddings a year so I'm not pumping out hours and hours of video.

    I'm torn between a 6 or 8 core Mac Pro, both with 32g of ram, D700's, and a 1tb SSD. Add to the mix a fully spec'd out 5k iMac i7 4ghz with the same ram and storage and the 395x graphics card. All three machines will end up within about $500 of each other making the choice that much harder. I do realize I'd need a monitor with the Mac Pro and would likely pick up a single 4K monitor.

    I'd like something that will serve me for 5 years at least and am looking for advice to help me make a sound decision. Which of the three choices would be the wisest?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. novabond macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2017
    Washington, DC

    I was in the same situation as you, but with a 2012 Mac Mini that just died. So here's a highlight of my decision making process. Also, I already have two NEC 27" displays, that was a big factor in my decision making. Like you, I'm looking to keep this machine for the next five years as well, and to see what Apple really does with future desktop Macs. I examined all options - used 2012 Mini, iMac, Mac Pro and even Hackintosh. Needing more than 16GB of RAM ruled immediately ruled out another Mini as my primary machine, plus it's hit or miss in finding a 2012 i7 quad-core (OWC has a few right now). I thought hard about a Hackintosh, but it's been awhile since I've built a computer and one of the reasons I moved to Mac OS 10+ years ago was that I spent an inordinate amount of time just managing my Windows computer. From my research a Hackintosh requires work to make it go, and it's much easier today than in past years. I may still build one as a side project, but not for my main production machine. That left the iMac and Mac Pro. Given that I'm starting with video and having the 2x monitors already, I decided to order a refurb 6-core Mac Pro. That gave me two more cores, plus being able to expand RAM beyond 32GB if needed. If you decide on Mac Pro, think hard about how big of an SSD you need. I went with 512GB, as I have good experience with 512GB on my MacBook Pro and felt 256GB was just too small once more programs are added - I also use VmWare for virtual machines. If you can, look in the Apple refurb store today, they just updated inventory. In fact I'm waiting for FedEx to deliver the Mac Pro as I type this :)

    Best of luck in your decision
  3. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    If you need one right now, i'd go for the imac. The mac pro is kinda overdue for replacement, has old generation GPUs in it, etc.

    Sure the processors, RAM capacity and thunderbolt ports on the Pro are more than you get in an iMac but they're WAY overpriced right now...

    Unless you know you need the Pro, you probably don't.

    As always my advice is this:

    Don't try and spec for 5 years, spend a little less to realistically spec for 3, offload your machine at that point before it is considered a boat anchor and upgrade. You'll maintain warranty coverage and it won't really cost you any more (over the long run, probably less) than buying the biggest baddest machine you can today, which will be handily outperformed by mid-range machines by 2019-2020 anyway.

    There's a technology sweet spot as always, and you typically get about 90% of the general performance on a system worth 2/3 of the price. Be it PC or Mac or whatever.
  4. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    For your usage, it's hard to go wrong with either. And unfortunately, both the MP and the iMac are due for significant upgrades, so not great timing on either... which is exacerbated by you wanting a system to last five+ years.

    If you're good with the integral (and glossy) 5K display (and sounds like you were good with the 2010 iMac which doesn't have nearly as nice a screen), that's a faster computer for your usage, and will feel faster for a longer period of time. In reality, you're not going to be pushing either computer very hard 90% of the time, so either should work for you.

    If you go with the 2013 MP (which is a really nice computer BTW, just old hardware now), stick with the 6 cores... that's all you need.

    They both will have decent resale, so consider selling after 3 years and re-investing the money in a new system, rather than pushing an old system to the brink of worthlessness... aside from the hassle of selling, the cost-side works out pretty well.
  5. Daniel Reed macrumors 6502

    Daniel Reed

    Sep 9, 2016
    San Francisco
    6-core for what you're doing should be fine.

    If you're dealing w/ RED 6K RAW you'll need the 12-core

    Can always pull the CPU and put in the 12-core later
    Only the 12-core has dual memory controllers and is multi segment optimized
    (no clue why Intel labels it 2.7GhHz.. it runs at 3GHz w/ all 12 cores in use... and 3.5GHz w/ 6 cores)

  6. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    For the cost of a Mac Pro i can build something that will destroy it with PC hardware. Especially now 8 core Ryzens are dirt cheap at the low end of the Mac Pro lineup.

    So... yes.

    Sure it won't run macOS, but in terms of hardware the current Mac Pro is getting long in the tooth.
  7. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    If the iMac screen works for you, I think that might be the better option. Also, I'm not sure I would spend the money on the 4Ghz i7, the 3.3 i5 will have close to the same burst speed. i5 to i7 adds hyperthreading and unless you know you are doing a lot of multi-threaded stuff, it's unlikely to make a huge difference. The slightly slower CPU might be easier on the machine thermally, adding to life and reducing the chance of hitting temp throttling issues. Either CPU model will be faster than what you were using in the old MP, even if you had upgraded it.

    Likewise, I'm not convinced that the M395X over the M395 is worth the premium if you aren't gaming on the machine. Definitely stick with the 1 TB SSD, even though it's overpriced. I'm less sure about paying the Apple premium for 32 Gb of RAM, but it might be the simplest way forward.
  8. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland

    If I were you, considering that we'll have an mMP and/or an iMac pro within 2 years, I would not now plan for a five year purchase. Just get something which will carry you until then.


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