octo workstation with 24GB RAM - Apple or Dell or DIY?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Gonk42, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    near Cambridge
    I realise that Mac Pro pricing has been done to death as a topic
    but I have a slightly different angle as I'm looking to get more
    RAM than most people seem to be going for. Also, having wasted hours
    going round in circles looking at different options it is theraputic to
    put it in a post - sorry to be boring (my family are sick of me
    going on about workstations to them....;))

    First lots of caveats before I'm accused of being a troll or what ever..

    I like the Mac Pro and OS X but I currently use Windows/Linux so have
    no investment in software etc which puts me in a different position to
    most on this forum but I thought that some of the costings I've worked
    out (as ball park figures) may be of interest to others.

    I want (as a Computer Science PhD student) to get a octo workstation and
    I want to have plenty of RAM, say 1GB plus per thread so this means
    24GB on a Nehalem system (12GB is too small and 24GB is the next size
    up for a three channel system).

    With the student discount the 2008 Mac offered prices better than either Dell (even their Outlet prices) or DIY (at least in the UK) but I delayed buying because Crucial memory was very expensive in the UK and I didn't want to import from the States or elsewhere.

    The new mac pros have changed things completely price-wise. The following is based on the assumption that the Mac Pro can use the cheaper registered 4GB modules which are the same as used in the Dell T7500 (if the Mac can't then the more expensive OWC 4GB modules - unbuffered - add a couple of 100 pounds to the cost of the Apple systems). For Dell outlet I'm assuming that there is a 35% reduction based on Dell outlet reductions in the US - there has been no T7500s on the Dell outlet in the UK yet.

    For a octo 2.26 with 4750 graphics and 24GB ram and Apple Care (to match Dell) and for an octo 2.66 and faster memory but otherwise the same:

    Dell Outlet (if a system was available which it isn't yet)
    2.26 : £2064 2.66 : £3102
    Cheap DIY (ie lowest cost motherboard etc)
    2.26 : £2330 2.66 : £3430
    Good Quality DIY (better motherboard, case, power supply etc)
    2.26 : £2829 2.66 : £3930
    Apple with Student Discount
    2.26 : £3133 2.66 : £4170
    Dell Full Price (possible to get this discounted a bit over the 'phone)
    2.26 : £3176 2.66 : £4772
    Apple Normal Retail
    2.26 : £3668 2.66 : £4885

    Given the student discount and the fact that Dells may not appear on
    Outlet for many months and though I'm originally an electronic engineer
    and am happy with DIY if things go wrong it is hard to determine (without
    access to replacement parts) if its the motherboard or processor etc,
    I am still leaning towards the Mac Pro but I'm frustrated because:

    i) I can get no definitive information on whether or not the Pro can take
    registered dim
    ii) The pros don't officially take faster memory even for the 2.66 (though
    they should do) but I can't get any definitive info on this either
    ii) when I did a similar exercise with the 2008 model it was cheaper than
    Dell outlet so my hopes were raised that the new models would be much
    cheaper than they are
  2. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    As a student, you're eligible for the student Apple Developer program. In the US it's $100 to sign up, and then you get a one-time discount on any Apple hardware... I think it winds up being about 20%, which is a lot of money when you're looking at a Mac Pro. You also get some neat perks that have to do with developing, which you might find useful as a CompSci student.

    I'm not sure what the details are in the UK (I'm assuming they offer this program there, though). But I'd highly suggest doing some research, since it could potential save you some big bucks on your purchase. Maybe someone here from the UK knows a thing or too and will chime in. :)
  3. Gonk42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    near Cambridge
    Thanks for that. I did look into this before and in the UK it is not such a good deal as in the US. In the US the normal educational discount is something like 10% so the developer discount of 20% is a worthwhile increase. In the UK the educational discount is nearer 17% so the increase to 20% at a cost of around £50 to £60 gives a net gain of only a few tens of pounds.

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