Six month new Mac Pro report

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cubemmal, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Cubemmal, Sep 20, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014

    Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    This is just a thread for anybody to report how they feel about their new Mac Pro after about having it for six months. Mine is that I got a six core, 256 GB, D700 sight unseen when it was first released. My company has a corporate discount program with Appleso I also got a nice price on it. I bought it for general use and software development.

    Previously I own a 2009 single CPU MacPro which was nothing but trouble. The main problem being that I was trying to upgrade the machine in various ways, such as eSATA and USB cards. You see at the time Apple had a number of bugs with their driver subsystem. The first was with eSATA. After much pain and trouble using it I found that they had a bug with hot swapping. It actually was worth than that, I think they had a couple of other bugs they weren't talking about. Apple is very good about this, they never or rarely talk about their bugs are failures and they have plenty, especially in driver code. The second problem was with their USB subsystem, it just never worked reliably. It was horrible, I had a USB mouse attached and then suddenly it would go bonkers. Third-party keyboards would fail to work upon resuming from sleep. There's nothing will make you trust a computer less than having USB devices that don't work. And of course the final thing is that that Bluetooth is basically useless. I tried to solve that with a Bluetooth dongle but then the USB subsystem problems cause up to fail intermittently. I just couldn't get keyboards and mice to work reliably, unless I used the Apple prescribed versions.

    It took a couple of years but finally a few of the system upgrades included bug fixes which actually fixed the problems, but by that point I simply didn't trust the computer to be the workhorse that I needed. Additionally the computer was loud and a power hog. Every time I turned it on the lights flicker and during the summer my room to get too hot to use. And even in the winter it would get a little bit too toasty. I tried various other Macs, such as laptops, they can never adapt to that kind of work. I'm firmly a desktop kind of person.

    Enough of the old, now with the new. The new Mac Pro has been everything that I wanted. It's dead silent, powerful and can take everything that I've thrown it. First the upgrades, I put 64 GB of RAM and it which is important for all the virtual machines I run. Second I put to promise Pegasus two Thunderbolt drives in it.

    The first thing that I'm looking for with the computer like this is absolute stability. I get 16 workspaces set up for the various activities that I do and I ideally want to never reboot my computer. It takes a while to get everything tweaked and set up the way that I want. On the MacPro part I haven't experienced any problems. Well there were a few problems early on, one was with the MacPro having a hard time going to sleep. I think they put out a bug fix for that. Otherwise it's been nearly flawless which is super important.

    The second is the external hard drives. Now there is a bug there. I have these drives off in a equipment cabinet for noise. I need 23 dB or less near my desk. I'm using a Corning 10m optical TB cable to move them over there, and the problem is that when Daisy Chained the first one in the chain won't turn off the fan when it sleeps. After much trouble I finally got Promise to duplicate the issue and now their working on it. By the way in one of the drives I have 4x256GB SSD's and have 6TB of spinners in the other, so I've got speed and size.

    This was a very expensive computer, but it's the most powerful, quietest and useful computer I've had to date (and I've had a lot of them). I also have a PC gaming computer with AMD 295x2 GPU, 4GHz CPU, SSD etc, and it's loud and tweaky. In my hack shack I have a powerful Linux computer, which is stable and runs fine, but doesn't have the OS X polish and usability (the terminal emulation is a joke after iTerm). My PC is probably more powerful, and a lot cheaper, but stability, fit and finish count for a lot in my daily work.

    My only other upgrade plan is to 1TB OWC flash whenever they release it. I have no interest in upcoming nMP upgrade releases, I'll use this one for 6 years at least. I still have the old Mac Pro and use it for a few things, in fact it's opposite the new one on my circular desk. It's just not that fun to use when you factor in the noise and heat, even though the bugs have finally been ironed out. I did upgrade to the 750 GPU, maybe I'll use it as a Windows machine which is presently on Boot Camp. I do still use the eSATA for external offsite drives.

    That ended up being longer than I intended, but please share how the new Mac Pro is going for you too.
  2. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    Thanks for the post, Cubemmal. "How do you like it after the new glow wears off?" is one of the questions I have about the new Mac Pros, so I'm looking forward to reading more in this thread.

    Do you still thnk the D700 GPUs were a good choice? I'm hedging back and forth on whether I will get the D500 or D700.
  3. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Yes I think so for a few reasons. First obviously you can't upgrade them, which was the major motivation initially. Two, because now we know that one of the cards is unused most of the time unless you boot into Windows or you do video editing. I do neither on this computer, other than at some point I'll probably buy Final Cut and do some home movie kind of stuff. Since the second card is useless for most of us having a main card that is as good as you can get it is more important. I didn't mention that I have three 27" Cinemas on it - two TB and one older Cinema. I'll probably upgrade the Cinema (being used as the center monitor) to a new "Retina" 4k display when they release it. I'm sure I'll appreciate the graphics horsepower when I do that. I'll talk below about what I run on the computer, but since its so many apps and spaces simultaneously I think 6GB VRAM is important here. Finally Mac Pro's seem to age pretty quickly. As I mentioned I build a no holds barred gaming PC shortly thereafter which was far cheaper and faster. But I wouldn't trust it for my work, as I indicated with the old Mac Pro story I need a machine I can depend on.

    The great thing about this machine is that it can take everything I throw at it. I'm running five or six VM's, and I dedicate a few cores and gobs of RAM to each. I have 16 spaces as I said, and am running Java IDE's, Xcode, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, it goes on and on. Heck I game on it too, occasionally taking a quick break to play Civilization, Elder Scrolls or LOTRO. I do a variety of activities on my main computer and this is the first one that can do everything without breaking a sweat. I've never been able to get the fan to spin up, despite my best efforts. The 64 GB of course is important here, I'd like to go 128 eventually assuming that's possible.

    Really I couldn't be happier. My brother also got a 2009 MP (dual CPU) and he has no interest in upgrading, it just does what he wants (somehow he missed having all the driver problems I had). I'm happy to have found that here, not even sure I'll upgrade five years down the road.

    All together, despite being a $5k computer (well I did get a company discount for some $400 or $500), when amortized over 5+ years it will be a good deal. Other than RAM and disk I did upgrade my GPU a few times on the oMP, which highlights the importance of getting something good to begin with.
  4. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    Why are you waiting for OWC 1tb flash ssds, there are Samsung Apple ones on ebay now. I just got one for my 2009 Mac Pro for about $530.

    (that's an upgrade and I understand you aren't into that kind of thing. Means my 2009 has bootable read/writes over 1000 mb/s. I won't mention the multicore geekbench over 30,000, or the 6g of VRAM there either)
  5. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    I've worked on mine for about 8 months.
    8core/D700/1TB/64GB, until now a completely flawless machine, silent, extremely snappy.
    Solved all the problems/bottlenecks I was having on my old MP(of course you can upgrade that to improve some aspects, but it will always be an upgraded old machine crippled by slow single thread and old architecture).
  6. N19h7m4r3 macrumors 65816


    Dec 15, 2012
    I've had mine since early May, and it's been rock solid. My slowest part is simply my external drives. Now that Lacie finally released their TB2 systems I'm just waiting for those to arrive in Ireland the UK.

    I'm a little miffed I didn't go for the 8 Core, and 1TB of SSD storage though. My 6 core gets maxed with 4K video, and the 2 extra cores would have helped a lot without dropping on frequency too much.

    The 1TB SSD is more for just wanting 500GB for OS X, and Windows. At the moment Windows is on a 256 USB3 external SSD.

    I've not had any hiccups or issues, and the machine stays quiet even with the heaviest work I throw at it, or some gaming at 3440x1440 in Windows.

    Only concern is the GPU's possibly. I know they won't last 3 years, but the new Intel sockets and DDR4 dropped. So I'll be upgrading in 2-3 years anyway.

    I just wished the machine had more USB3 ports on it, two more would have been great.
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Awesome report. I also came from a 2009 MP and shared much of your experience trying to upgrade it.

    Here's my initial review of the nMP compared to my 2009 for any newcomers that might be interested...

    Now that I'm 9 months in, the best thing I can say about the nMP is that I just don't know it's there. Sure, it looks cool on my desk, but what I mean is that it's so utterly transparent to my daily work... It just never gets in my way... No beach balls, no noise, no frustrations, nothing. It's the most transparent computer I've ever owned.

    The 2009 Mac Pro was a great bridge coming from the DIY PC world, but this is on a whole new level and I'm not looking back. :)

    All I need now is a nice 32" 4K display. :). (if nothing comes from Apple soon, I'll be getting Samsung's IPS panel this fall)
  8. N19h7m4r3 macrumors 65816


    Dec 15, 2012
    This! I completely forget about the machine. I tap a key on my keyboard, mouse or trackpad, sit down, type in my password and get to work.

    My external drives are what I hear during the day. That and noises outside.
  9. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    They'll be faster (there's a new chipset out which is the fastest available for these kinds of drives), new and from a reputable vendor.
  10. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Has it been nine months now? I should have counted.

    Anyhow I agree but I've been a little surprised to find out how quiet PC's have gotten. The gaming monster is fairly loud (and is a more equivalent machine with the 295x2 GPU which is presently king of the hill) but the Linux box is nearly silent. I even used the stock Intel cooler to be cheap, I could easily have made that even more silent.

    So the silence isn't hard to get anymore with any normal, relatively sedate computer these days, Apple does't have an edge there really. The edge comes in when you consider that it's dual GPU's, and how it sounds under workload (just as quiet), and that yes the OS disappears. But anyhow you expressed perfectly what I was trying to say, I don't think about the computer much. The nMP with OS X let's me concentrate on my work.
  11. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    Six month new Mac Pro report

    I've had my 6core 1TB flash, 32GB RAM, D700 since May & I'm absolutely loving it. I added a 2x 4bay Pegasus R2 to it and it's the best machine I've ever had. I have 2x30" Dell monitors which I had for a couple of years (came from a 12core which I bought in 2011) and I will definitely keep this for a lot of years. I use this for a living as I edit TV series & couldn't be happier with it.

    The only thing I'm wondering about is how these computers will work with handoff in Yosemite as these don't have a built-in mic like the previous generations (if I'm not mistaken). I do have a usb logitech headset that has a mic but still...
  12. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Were those the empty P2 4 bays, or did they come populated with drives? Do you daisy chain or have on different busses?

    I found a bug where when sleeping, with two devices two P2's the first device in the chain won't shut down the fan on the power supply. Took some time and work to get them to reproduce the problem and then get it to engineering (who are reputably working on a fix), I'm surprised others aren't seeing it regularly.
  13. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    Evidence that they'll be faster? Benchmarks? Prototype was demonstrated in January, so whatever chipset they use was available then. Unless its some sort of raid-o set up, a 4 lane PCI-e drive is pretty tough to beat.

    Also, my Samsung Apple drive is new, in factory packaging. Samsung are going to start retailing this option themselves later this year, as well as the Sonnet option which interesting.
  14. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Nope. I'm too lazy to dig up the thread but we discussed this earlier, if you really want I can find it. We fortunately had one of the writers for AnadTech on the thread too, we were discussing the OWC flash and a chipset that had just come out, I don't recall but it might have been Samsung.

    At any rate the AnandTech editor confirmed that the particular chipset is the fastest SSD chipset to date and certainly OWC would be using it, in fact that chipset is probably what is causing the long release time.

    Apple is famous for using old designs for a long time, even at release. I don't know the details of what chipset Apple is using but we know it's not nearly as good as this one. By the way, the way these chipsets work and get increased speed is exactly by a RAID type of mechanism. They parallel up the flash chips for speed.
  15. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011

    They're both on a different bus.
    I bought the diskless versions, however, I believe they discontinued them not too long ago..,

    Not sure why though.
  16. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Whoa, you're right. Glad I bought two then!

    I can guess why. They did it in conjunction with the release of the nMP, with the idea being that you can use it to seamlessly transition from an old Mac Pro by taking the drives from the one to use with the new. So of course people threw all sorts of drives into it, including me that put 4x256 GB SSD's. All 'unsupported', or at least untested drives, they only have a tiny list of drives they know work.

    I'd bet that either they've had support issues from all these new configurations, or it cannibalized sales of their other drives or some combination, so they decided to stop selling it. Too bad, it's one of the better external drive solutions and for $650 was a decent price relatively speaking.
  17. davidb367, Sep 22, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014

    davidb367 macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2007
    Graphics Driver issues

    I've had my stock six core machine for 9 months. The only issue I have had with the nMP is a graphics driver issue. The machine would freeze at boot with multiple monitors attached with the second monitor displaying garbage.
    If the USB DVD ROM drive was attached, the system would hang about 33% of the time.

    The other weird behavior was that the system would "forget" which desktop instance it was use a new one on the second monitor. Both of the monitors use mDP to DVI on different TB controllers.

    10.9.5 has finally solved this issue.
  18. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    Stock hex core here. Other than it not liking a cheap USB 3 hub from Best Buy (didn't really need it anyway with the additional ports on the TB display), no problems aside from a tricky Windows 8.1 BC install. Like others, I forget it's even there. It's visually stealth and makes almost zero noise. Now if those external RAID boxes would sleep with computer, it would be perfect. Fans in those are loud and run constantly.
  19. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011

    Yea, I see where you're coming from. I do think that they're going to hurt themselves with this move as now they're forcing people to spend ~$1400 on the 4bay version thus giving opportunity for other manufacturers to grab customers by offering diskless solutions.

    Bad move in my opinion. People will not pay an $800 premium for those HDD's. They're simply not worth it.
  20. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Yeah there are a number of 4-5 bay Thunderbolt empty options now - OWC among others. The problem is getting reliable ones, the good thing about Promise is that this is all they do, and they do big systems. They take this stuff seriously and know what they're about, so I'm comfortable getting from them. So far it's been a champ, other than the fan issue, but they're working on that now.

    I think I just saw a 4 bay option for $900 in the Apple store when I checked earlier today. But yeah it's expensive, you're paying for the firmware and support.
  21. macines macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2013
    that is one of the most absurd statements i have ever read
  22. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    That's one of the poorest replies I have ever read. There were many statements, you have to be more specific if you're trying to make a point.

    But don't bother, I don't really care either way.
  23. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011

    I only see 1 option in the Apple Store, $1499+tax & only comes with 2TB drives... That's whyI was saying $800 premium for crappy drives...


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