PC vs. Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Android who?, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. Android who? macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2013
    Is it true that you could get a much better PC for the same price a Mac Pro would cost? Someone I know has been saying so... but then I see all these people saying how great the Mac Pro is...

    P.S. This is not a fight and does not require bashing other computers. It's a question. Level-headed comments are definitely a plus.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Only if you do not want the same level of performance a Xeon workstation/server class CPU, error checking & correcting (ECC) RAM (good for long calculations), PCIe based flash storage and dual workstation OpenCL GPUs offer together in a good package.

    But then again, most people spouting that nonsense about building a faster or better computer for less than a Mac Pro do not consider those aspects, as they only look at one or two components at once and ignore the rest.

    Also let your friend take a look at HP and Dell and Lenovo workstation computers of similar kind, they are often more expensive and have a much bigger energy consumption.
  3. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    You can build a very powerful computer out of PC parts with a newer and more powerful GPU, and quite powerful CPU however a 'hackintosh' is not without its own issues. Strides have been made in that community so that you can build a very stable machine, but updates can bring issues, sometimes minor sometimes not. If you are using the computer for work, I would not reccommend a 'hackintosh' as you need stability and reliability, a computer you can count on all the time, and a real Mac will give you that, plus applecare. I have been reading that some posters here with the nMP have been having some issues, they can call Apple or bring it into a store for a swap, with a 'hackintosh' all you have is the community to help you.
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Define "better".

    Lets ignore the OS for a moment and just think of hardware performance.

    If you want a Xeon processor with ECC RAM, dual FireGL GPUs optimised for running pro video/graphics software rather than playing games, 6 thunderbolt ports, ultrafast PCIe SSD etc. then you'll have a hard time matching the Mac Pro on price/spec... and if you put value on the Mac Pro small form-factor, low noise,low power and good looks, forget it.

    However, what you could do, for far less money, is put together a mean hex-core i7 tower, with a decent full-size "consumer" graphics card (or maybe 2 in a SLI/crossfire rig if you're a gamer), heaps of RAM, several TB of hard drives and a SATA3 SSD for the system drive.

    It would not be "better than" or "as good as" the workstation-class, small-form-factor, low-power, near-silent Mac Pro - but if you're not planning on running pro video/graphics software or doing OpenCL number crunching 24/7 but just want something faster and more expandable than an iMac or Mini then it might be a more sensible proposition for you.

    ...if you like Windows or Linux. Otherwise, see ahsman70's caveats about Hackintosh above.
  5. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    You should also have a look at the applications you are running. If you are mainly wanting a games machine then a PC (core i7 with a gaming GPU) is the way to go as it will give you the best performance for the money, but you really need a 'workstation', that is with Xeon, EEC RAM and GPU's that are certified to run with professional applications then a generic PC and the nMP just aren't the same thing. Compare the nMP to the Dell Precision, HP Z, or Lenovo workstations. Once you spec one of these up to the same specs as the nMP, then Apple starts to look cheap. Workstations from these manufacturers do scale higher than the nMP, but again you need to ask yourself what your requirements (and budget) are.
  6. DJenkins macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    For the price, nMP can't be beaten when matching the xeon specs, it’s been proven a couple of times on here and other sites. Try and compile a similar Z820 machine on the hp site and see where that gets you!

    You can build your own (up to the 6 core) machine with similar or better performance for less money, but with lower quality parts, e.g. i7 CPU, gaming GPUs etc.

    However, if you want to break through the $$ threshold, you can build a machine that will absolutely flog the nMP on ALL fronts… dual or quad CPUs for a start (although OSX compatibility starts to decline).

    This of course leaves aside factors of the nMP that some may find important - e.g. size & power consumption. For those who want an ultimate performance machine these factors are usually less important.
  7. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Are you in Apple marketing?

    I just bought a Dell Precision Workstation T3610 for $2244.73. Ordered 27 March, to be delivered tomorrow 7 April.

    Same 6 core "Xeon workstation/server class CPU, error checking & correcting (ECC) RAM (good for long calculations)" E5-1650v2 3.5 GHz CPU and 1866 RAM as the $3999 new Mini Pro.

    Has a 1 GiB Quadro GPU - I don't need dual GPUs, and the GPGPU stuff that I do use is CUDA-based. Don't inflate the price with (for me) useless mid-range ATI GPUs.

    Has 8 GiB of 1866 ECC RDIMM (2*4GiB) and 8 DIMM slots. No amount of money will get a new Mini Pro with 8 slots. Ordered another 72 GiB from Newegg (4*16GiB + 2*4GiB) from Newegg, so will start with 80 GiB. Will upgrade to a supported 128 GiB config when needed. Apple doesn't support 128 GiB.

    Has 685watt power supply. What's with Apple and the 20th century 400watt PS in the new Mini Pro?

    Has two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (one used by the Quadro), one PCIe 3.0 x8 (physical x16) slot, one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and a PCI slot. No amount of money will get a new Mini Pro with PCI slots.

    Has a DVD-RW and BD-RE drive. No amount of money will get a new Mini Pro with optical drives (from Apple).

    The "much bigger energy consumption" is pure BS FUD. The others use the same CPUs and chipsets as Apple, and will use the same power as the Dells, HPs and Lenovos. (My office T1650 E3v2 usually sits at less than 40 watts for the system box.)

    You need to "put up or shut up" on this claim about power consumption.
  8. GreenWater macrumors member


    Jul 30, 2013
    Venice, CA
    How well does FCP X run on your Dell?
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    It depends.

    If you need dual GPUs and a Xeon CPU, running off of a PCIe-based SSD, you'll be hard pressed to find a computer for a much better price - Apple's pricing is usually quite competitive, although I admit I haven't crunched the numbers in about a year.


    If you don't need a PCIe-based SSD, than you're paying for something you don't need.

    If you need expandable internal storage, then you're out of luck.

    If you only need a single CPU, you're paying for something that you don't need.

    My point is that if you need a general purpose computer with ECC, the Mac Pro is for you. If you have specialized needs, there's probably a much better computer by Dell or Lenovo that you could buy. And since you can customize it for your needs, you don't pay for what you don't need, and it'll be cheaper.
  10. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    For the same balance of components (that mean equivalent, not substituting lower quality) the prices you can get individually is about competitive. The key distinction is that Apple has put everything together is a super small form factor and chosen components that are extremely well balanced as a mid-range server machine. The best you can do yourself even if able to match the price will be a monstrosity several times the size of the nMP.


    Those are in a way actually really bad comparisons because of the SSD. The best those SSD can do is about 450 (let assume it's a top of the line Samsung 840 Pro). To get true equivalent speed, you would need 2 x SSD in a RAID 0 (a point of failure), or actually get a PCIe SSD card, and I think the equivalent for those that I saw were in the $1200 - $1500 range for the same kind of 900MB+ speed performance range and size.

    My argument would be that a fair comparison require a singular PCIe card device and not 2 SSD in a RAID 0.
  11. antonis macrumors 68000


    Jun 10, 2011
    As others have said, "better" is a very relative term that means something different to each one. Mac Pro tear downs by relative sites has proved that it is actually cheaper than the sum of its components cost.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of specs on this machine that someone might ignore because he doesn't need it. For instance if the OS X is not a major factor, or the extra fast SSDs, why pay for them when they can order a PC that includes all they need/want (and without the absurd waiting time) ?

    It all boils down to what you consider important and what not.
  12. cbm, Apr 7, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014

    cbm macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    The Dell does not offer a fast PCIe connected drive, does it? Those are fairly pricy items. In general, I agree with the common wisdom that if you are trying to match the Mac Pro specs exactly in PC space, that the Mac is a reasonable deal. That said, you can build a PC for any specific use and/or price point.

    I love my nMP, fwiw.
  13. SimeoneSergio macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2012
    London UK
    I might be wrong but don't we already have a lot of threads like this running around?

    Wouldn't it be better to make "container threads" for all of these similar posts? Would save a lot of time...

    Even if it'd take a lot of effort from mods, so this is why i'm going to hide...

    But before hiding i'll give my contribution to the the thread:
    PC has Windows. Mac has OSX, aka Unix with a GUI. I've been with Windows for nearly 22 years (i even have a Windows certification dated 1991) and I'm not going back to it. This OS is just... Beautiful.


  14. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    FWIW, there are a few motherboards that support ECC such as the Asus P9X79 WS Intel X79 and various Supermicro ones but I think they are non-standard sizes.

    I think the main source of debate is the worth of the D300 etc relative to FirePros on the Windows side which are default configurations on Dell/HP machines. Therefore, people on here seem to get upset when one configures a custom PC with R290s for example instead of the expensive FirePros.
  15. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    Don't forget the Thunderbolt PCI-E expansions chassis and external thunderbolt array prices. Those must be added to the Mac Pro if you're trying to compare capabilities.
  16. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    Supermicro make many MB in ATX size (and a few microATX), and most of their bread and butter are in EATX for dual CPU. They specialize in servers so the product lines come in a number of form factors to support different market segments, you just have to find your board and chassis edition that you want. For specialized computing, the Supermicro site is like a candy store of boards and the best rack mounted chassis in the world.


    I do not use PCI expansion chassis with mine :D the only things I have attached are an old SSD for my database and another one for local time machine.
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    In only nine words you've pointed out how unbalanced the MP is....
  18. 0x2102 macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2014
    Can you explain ...
  19. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    Doesn't matter if you don't use it. To make an equal comparison, it must be included.

    If you're not interested in an equal comparison, that's cool, but then you should get rid of the second Radeon and the PCI-e storage (vs SSD) since those are things most people do not need.
  20. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Depends on what you want to use it for?

    Do you want a baby server, that is rock solid, or do you want a performance beast?

    Well Apple only gives you one option, Xeon based systems - Baby server.

    I can guarantee you that most of the people getting these systems do not need a Xeon or ECC supported ram.

    For the same amount of money, you can build a killer PC system, when overclocked will beat the nMP by quite a margin depending on the application. And a number of components will be better than in the nMP, minus the XEON or ram, you can get a much better Mobo, better PSU, better GPUs, and faster CPU + Ram, plus u can get better PCI storage.

    SO depending on purpose you wish to use it for, a PC can cost less and be much more powerful. If you must have a Workstation, than the nMP is very competitive.

    If you do not need a workstation/server class CPU, than do not be fooled by people telling you the XEON is better, its not.
  21. dhazeghi macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2006
    Depends what you're doing. For Final Cut Pro, no, you can't. For MySQL, Mathematica, Photoshop or Lightroom, you certainly can. The main drawback of the Mac Pro is that it includes things that many professional applications have no use for (dual GPUs, Thunderbolt etc.). If you require the PC to include those, it will cost as much or more. But if you don't need those things, you're paying a Apple a lot of money for extra hardware that's going to be sitting idle...
  22. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    Surely it mainly comes down to Windows vs OSX and which you prefer?
  23. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

    May 22, 2012
    Which for professional use is irrelevant since you'll spend almost all of your time inside your applications, and beside different keymaping they work the same on both OS.
  24. 0x2102 macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2014
    For me it matters the most. I also just went from a cMP 12c to a nMP 6c because I couldn't stand the noise anymore. So I value noise over performance. I am really happy now with a 25% slower CPU. It all depends on the individual and what they value. I would never reduce a Mac down to the hardware itself.

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