Picking a Mac Pro, and are my expectations appropriate

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by redkamel, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    I am looking into getting a MacPro. I have no illusions about my needs: I do not need a MacPro. I am buying it for several reasons:
    1. I enjoy the design, and design is very important to me. I have a restored G4 cube sitting on my desk and I feel the nMP is the new Cube. I fully admit this is the primary reason
    2. I want to not own a laptop, in an attempt to not be on the internet all the time, everywhere in my home. More "work/internet is for the desk, everything else is for real life". Plus i have my phone for that.
    3. I would like it to serve as a digital hub/server; stream movies etc to my Apple TV (currently I dont have anything resembling a server but I would like to get plex set up or at least all my movies on DVD that I ripped years ago).
    4. Although expensive, they seem to last a long time; my friend owns the tower and it has lasted for over 8 years with excellent performance and rare upgrades. I expect the nMP to do the same. But the nMP is not the tower.
    5. I use Lightroom, but obviously I dont need a MP for that. However, my laptops tend to choke on large photofiles especially a few years out.
    6. I dont want an iMac; I have had one before and I don't like them (for various reasons). Mac mini is out for performance reasons. And I only want to manage one computer.

    So my options are to either continue with laptops or to get a nMP. Will the nMP last me for 8-10 years? Is the model I am looking at appropriate for lightroom? Are the GPUs/processors upgradeable? I know the MPs are due for a refresh but I am looking now anyhow...purchase wouldn't be made for at least 6 months. Im looking at quad core with 16gb ram and the D300s. My other option is to get a laptop and leave it permanently plugged in and on. The difference between the two is about $1K, which to me is worth it IF I can get adequate performance for twice as long as a laptop. Although I have been reading about the nMP, most of the benchmarks seem to be about 3D rendering performance.
  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I have a base model with the quad core. Would work fine for your mentioned needs.

    It is very doubtful that these will have the same long legs of the towers. If you read the most popular thread on this page about getting Yosemite on a 2006 Mac Pro you will realize that the ONLY Mac from 2006 that can run Yosemite (& El Capitan) in a fully functional way is the Mac Pro. This is primarily because it is the only one that can use the newer GPUs that Apple started requiring in 10.8. All of the other early Intel Macs are stopped dead in their tracks at 10.7.5. Hacks to make them run Yosemite leave them with CPU rendered graphics. Laggy and non responsive with no translucency.

    The nMP has 2011 era GPUs and will doubtlessly be anchored in time by these. There is a tiny chance that upgrades will ever come. An eGPU may help, but a kludge fix and likely that would mess up TB port function.
  3. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Buy 2009-2012 MP and I think you can do it nicely, max it out as need, affordably, but invest into upgrades like SSD blade design, 6-core 3.4, and even Lightroom for you, 3x8GB or more in memory.
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    I'm with you on the Cube/nMP comparison, though nMP is the more powerful machine (relative to their contemporaries). We kept a Cube going for a long time past its prime. But the reason for the Cheese Graters' longevity isn't build quality (although build quality is awesome), it's upgradability. And even with that... Got a dual-processor G5 Cheese Grater in the basement gathering dust - that had far less than the 8-10 year productive life you're hoping for.

    If you want and can easily afford the nMP, go for it (I would, if I could). Just forget about any kind of economic rationalizations. None of us know what the future will bring. You'd be buying yourself the equivalent of an exotic sports car - buying those is never about dollars and sense (or cents).
  5. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    If you can afford it, and really want it, get it. I don't think you need a bunch of forum rats to justify the purchase for you. Some guys get little Alpha convertibles. Some guys get Mac Pros. Enjoy life, get the things you want.

    On the more practical hand, I think a QC 2012 Mac Mini or one of the higher-end 2014 Mac Minis with more RAM will last 8+ years easily for your uses. Desktop computers just aren't advancing at the same pace as they once were. All the efforts these days in silicon development is in energy efficiency and sticking more components into a single SoC. Look at Skylake, the improvements are energy related and built-in Thunderbolt 3. I don't see there being any huge advance in desktop computing that would obsolete a computer built in the past 3 years for a while - not like there used to be. And if there is, it will probably also obsolete the current MacPro anyway.

    Although I really like my QC 2012 Mac Mini, if money was no object, I would get a 2014 3.5ghz Mac Mini with 16GB of RAM, buy one of those new 1TB PCIe SSDs from one of the new Macbook Pros on ebay, and stick in there along with a 2TB Samsung 850 PRO SSD in the 2.5" slot.
  6. RC Mike macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2015
    Whether or not you can stretch a 2013 computer to 2021 or 2023 is entirely about personal choice. I just moved from a 2008 MP to a 2012 MP. I'm confident I'll get at least five years out of the 2012, taking it to 2020. I don't do a lot that stresses my computers, other than a game or two.

    The longevity of the cMPs is an anomaly in computing, in my opinion. Upgrade cycles are definitely getting longer, but the 2008s will be able to run a 2015 OS. That's quite something. None of my previous Macs could come close to that. I think it has to do with more R&D money pouring into the growth areas of computing--mobile. It's pretty unlikely that desktop computers will be driving innovation again in the near future.

    You can reasonably expect to run a current OS for another five years. After that? Hard to say. If running a current OS is something that will remain important to you, then perhaps you should wait for a refresh. With how tied OS X is to iOS in terms of services and paired capabilities, for me a current OS on my desktop is perhaps more important than it used to be.
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I like the car analogies and have used that myself. It's kind of weird how people buy more than they need when it comes to cars, housing, clothes, dining, etc., and no one bats an eyelash, but when it comes to a computer, you're considered a freaking moron around here if you buy more than you need.

    I think 8-10 years is a stretch. If you can afford to lay down $3K on a nMP for the hell of it, you can afford to upgrade a little more often. :cool: Keep in mind that if in 5 years it's still in good working order, you'll be able to ebay it and get a good chunk of change to put towards the next one.

    While a 2006 MP might technically be upgraded to run the latest OS X, it's going to feel like a relatively slow computer by todays standards. The base nMP is literally twice as fast at single-threaded tasks (which still make up the overwhelming majority of computer tasks). There's only so much upgrades on an old machine can do.
  8. redkamel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    Thanks everyone. Yeah, 8-10 is pretty long. But I can usually can get about 4 years out of a laptop so If I could get 6 out of a MP I'd be getting my moneys worth. I think I'll get a desktop set up, and wait as long as I can. If the MP gets refreshed, I'll pick one up, if not I'll stick with laptops...maybe try running one of those as a desktop replacement"

    Agreed. While I can drop 3K on a computer, I certainly don't enjoy it and it ain't easy. But I use my computer a lot, even if it is just for recreation. I try to keep my computer "cost" reasonable. But 3K for a computer that lasts 6 years is 41 dollars a month, or half my phone bill, or one dinner a month out. Not unreasonable to me!
  9. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Those 4,1 are already 6 years, still going strong, having a resurgence when nMP turned out to be so ho-hum disappointing.

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