Performance/value recommendations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pandamonium54, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. pandamonium54 macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2011
    We're a Mac household and trying to avoid having to switch. We've been patiently waiting for the last 3 yrs or so for Apple to release something that fit our needs. I had high hopes for the iMac pro, but it falls short for me. The big sticking points are: we both need standard USB ports TODAY, we both love MagSafe, and we prefer good keyboards with thicker laptops than crappy keyboards with thinner ones. The touch bar is a huge downgrade for us. The loss of F2 is a MASSIVE decrease in productivity for our workflow.

    Present machines:
    Early-2013 13" rMBP with 256GB SSD: main problem is that the SSD is nearly full. The machine also crashes every now and then (always has-even when the SSD was at <50% capacity).

    Mid-2010 15" MBP with aftermarket 512GB SSD: this crashes randomly whenever the discrete GPU is used. I only use this when traveling- it's too unreliable for me to use for anything important.

    Late-2014 Mac Mini with 16GB RAM: Main problem is that I want to drive a 5k display. Thought about picking up a Sonnet 550/RX 580 and a 5k display, but it looks like Apple's OS X updates have a tendency to break eGPU support over TB2.

    Thinking about:
    1) Replacing the early-2013 13" rMBP with a current maxed out 13" MBA. Not sure if the loss of Retina, possibly processing power, and the keyboard issue will disappoint us.

    2) To be honest, a slightly upgraded iMac pro would suit most of my needs except my principles - pro level/enterprise-grade gear should be serviceable. I also just don't like space gray, but I could get over it. My stopgap plan is to get 4k display for the Mini until the modular Mac Pro is released. I've been at capacity on 16GB for years with my workflow. I think 32GB will be enough, but I want the flexibility to upgrade to 64 or more if I later learn that I underestimated my future needs. We learned our lesson with the 256GB SSD on that 2013 rMBP.

    3) Scrapping the 2010 MBP. Basically have done this already. If there were a non-touchbar MBP with TB3, 16-32GB of RAM, and at least one legacy USB port, I'd buy it, the sonnet 550, an LG Ultrafine 5k, and be done with it.

    What would you recommend?
  2. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    The problem with the MBA is the display. It's not IPS. It's a TN display. These displays don't make much sense anymore these days.
    I'd say: get used to the touch-bar or get an external keyboard.
    And get used to the iMac being basically unrepairable after AC has run out.

    If you buy one, be sure to mail Tim Cook about it and request for some kind of "extension" for AC beyond year 3.
    Amazingly, AC is not more expensive for the iMac Pro than for the iMac. People would probably pay between 500 and 1000 per year for year 4, 5 and 6 (or 500, 600 and 1000).

    That said, even a 1k repair on a 7k machine is actually economical. Sort of.
    So, if you can make a business-case for the iMac Pro, go for it.
    Personally, there's no way I can make that case. But I'm really just a home user with no GPU requirements.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    If your mini is currently an adequate desktop you don’t need an iMac pro any iMac will be a massive boost to your processing power. Don’t even consider an iMac pro waste of money, they all take a least 32gb of ram.

    Why you can’t just buy some new cables for your usb A peripherals is anyone’s guess, then any of apples laptops will do you fine.

    The iMacs all retain usb A ports anyway.

    For you it sounds like a low level 27 inch iMac with an ssd and a 16gb ram upgrade kit and a ntb 13 inch mbp with a pack of usb c to usb a cables is the perfect combination to replace your aging kit.
  4. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    In trying to evaluate your situation, I keep coming back to the points you made about the loss of F2 (massive productivity decrease) and lack of last-ten USB ports. Without knowing what it is you do with your systems, I can say that I wouldn't buy a system that you describe this way. Computers are productivity devices, and if they cause you to massively decrease your productivity, then that would seem to be a strong reason not to spend money on it. Other observations:
    - MBAs max out at 8GB, and no Apple laptop has more than 16GB. That is a design trade off between battery life/portability and the type of RAM used. I have a nice-to-look-at Dell 4K, and when I use one of the 13-MBAs I don't notice the difference at all. But this is completely subjective.
    - Keyboards - as above, you can always buy today's BT models.
    - RX580. I follow this pretty closely because I want one for my 5,1 Mac Pro. I haven't pulled the trigger yet because 1) miner demand has increased the prices by 2-3X and 2) the whole "Apple support of 3rd party GPU/eGPU" thing seems like a science experiment so far. And so far what I've read is (and stop me if you've heard this before) "wait until the next rev." But what you're describing in your third option is not available from Apple, at least not yet.

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3 March 10, 2018