Sell or Upgrade?

BlueBubba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
59
4
I'm unsure as to what I should do, whether I should sell my current computer or upgrade it.
I work as a 3D designer and my primary use of my computer is rendering 3D, so my main concern is speeding up render times.

My current computer is a Mac Pro 4,1 (Early 2009) 2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 16Gb RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4870 (512mb).
I bought it in September 2009 and it has 9 months left of apple care.

I'm prepared to spend about £1000 upgrading this computer, with my only choices being a new graphics card like the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 or upgrading the RAM which would mean buying 4GB dimms and selling the 2GB ones. Neither of which would improve render times (I believe), but will make my viewport and general usage smoother.

or I could add the £1000 to the money I get for selling it, in the UK I think I could get around £2000 (I paid £3200 new), so £3000 for a new one. This could either buy a 27inch iMac 3.4ghz Quad Core i7 with AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5 for about £2400 (Would this out perform my current computer at rendering, I think so) or a New 8 Core Mac Pro 2x2.4Ghz Quad Core 6gb ram ATI Radeon HD 5870 for £3033 ( I know it isn't much more powerful than the one I've already got but I presume having a newer generation of processor would be faster?). And I get an apple care refresh.

I'm concerned that if I wait till the apple care runs out on my current computer it will lose resale value and if I decide to keep it, I potentially could spend money upgrading a computer that might need expensive repairs after it is out of apple care.

What would you do? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I think you are right. Sell it now while it still has Applecare and put the money towards a new machine.

I'm doing similar work on a 27" iMac with 16GB RAM i7 and 2GB video. This should be fairly future proof, and your old machine has done you proud. It's worth more with the Applecare in place.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,369
I'm 99% sure there will be a major MP refresh either 1Q or very early 2Q. I would wait until then and then sell. I wouldn't spend major bucks to upgrade a soon-to-be 2 model old MP nor would I buy either the current MP now or an iMac, ever.

My problem w/ the iMac as a pro machine is that the internal drive is practically sealed inside the unit. Yes, it can be removed but unless you have a clean room good luck not ending up with dust inside the glass. Because the MP is a pro machine you can easily replace a bad drive and go on w/ your work with little time lost. W/ an iMac you have to send the entire machine back to Apple. You also maintain control of the bad drive w/ a MP, but not an iMac.

I have other issues w/ the iMac as well, but I could overcome then all IF the internal drive was user upgradable. Being it's not is a deal killer for me.
 

wallysb01

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2011
1,573
772
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

I would avoid the current 8 core 2.4, the processor is just kinda slow, plus you'll have to upgrade the ram. The iMac has the issues mentioned above, plus that is also due for a refresh with ivy bridge probably inside 6 months, defiantly in 9. I'd also suggest waiting for the next refresh of the Mac pro. The base dual processor is probably going to be a substancial upgrade over the current dual processor base. And sense it seems like you can wait, I think you might as well wait to buy a Mac immediately after a refresh.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,692
The current 5.1 and your 4.1 are not that different, so I definitely would not sell that to buy a new one right now.

In your situation I'd either (1) wait for the next MP and buy it or (2) do the firmware flash and slap in two fast hexacores in your existing MP. The second choice assumes your software can take good advantage of more cores.
 

BlueBubba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
59
4
do the firmware flash and slap in two fast hexacores in your existing MP.
I think i'll give that one a miss, I've never put anything back together that I've taken apart. How much for a Mac Pro dustbin bag of bits on ebay? thanks anyway.

Thanks for all your responses, I think selling it when there's a refresh is going to be the best idea.
 

george-brooks

macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2011
732
16
Brooklyn, NY
I'm debating whether to keep upgrading my current Mac Pro or wait until the imminent refresh, or if its not a refresh but a funeral, I'll get a heavily upgraded 2010 model to last me for the next 5 years at least. I think I'm going to hold off on major upgrades and wait for the new model to see how I want to proceed. Its definitely coming soon, maybe best to wait a few months to decide?
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,060
4
Please do not go from slow 2.26GHz to also slow 2.4GHz 8-core. Kind of important what applications you are using as well. Do they scale well on all cores?
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,060
4
Cinema 4d scales really well. Best would be many fast cores of course. Cores are probably more important but in raw power even with the extra cores, the 6-core 3.33GHz is faster than the 8-core 2.4GHz in everything. I'd get a 2.66GHz 12-core on refurb if you can find one.
The iMac i7 3.4GHz in Cinema4D will give you zero improvement on renders. It will improve your iTunes import/ conversion and your photoshop speed but probably not Cinemark stuff unless a lot of Cinema4D is single threaded. It it is single threaded (with Turbo boost) the iMac can be 2.53GHz Mac Pro vs. 3.8GHz iMac, which is huge.

Multithreaded 32-bit Geekbench results.
2009 Mac Pro 8x2.26GHz: 11803
2011 iMac 4x3.4GHz: 11602
2010 Mac Pro 8x2.4GHz: 12942
2010 Mac Pro 6x3.33GHz: 14900
2010 Mac Pro 12x2.66GHz: 20299
 

BlueBubba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
59
4
Thanks Derbothaus, this really helps. I've tried to read up as much as i can on Cinebench scores etc, but still end up unsure exactly which route to take. Cheers.