So is now a really bad time to buy a Mac Pro?

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
Hey all,

I'm needing a new Maya machine for school. For a couple of months I contemplated getting one of those i7 quad-core iMacs, but I've heard too many rumors about Autodesk/Snow Leopard issues and all those cracked/miscolored screen issues. On top of that, I've heard that the 8-core's speed boost over the iMac is more than worth the price difference. So I'm currently leaning towards a Mac Pro, with intentions of buying a refurbished Apple Display.

School starts next week, and I've planned on holding off buying a new computer until the end of January/beginning of February. Now I'm reading lots of articles and forum posts, even from last summer, saying that the current Mac Pro is terribly outdated, and due for a refresh "any day now." I know that there was a minor processor update in December, but not much. I'm worried about getting Leo Laported, IE buying a new Mac Pro the weekend before a sudden and sizable update.

In the past, how substantial have these updates been? Has the machine suddenly become 150% more powerful than before, or is it more like 105%? And gathering that Apple regularly releases certain new products at certain times of the year, is it possible to somewhat predict the month/quarter/timeframe that the Mac Pro will get an update?

I'm just trying to avoid shooting myself in the foot, here.
 

spinnerlys

Guest
Sep 7, 2008
14,329
7
forlod bygningen
The Mac Pro is usually updated in January of each year, and the next update is to be expected having the new Gulftown CPUs in ti, which has 6 cores per CPU, meaning 12 cores with two CPUs, which are 2 to 4 more cores than the current model has.

Have a look around at this sub-forum for some already existing rumour and update threads.
 

jetjaguar

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2009
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975
somewhere
the rumor'd update could be anytime between now and march .. the cpus will most likley be the 6 core gulftowns .. or 12 core .. price might go up for those systems .. some people are saying the low end dual cpu might be a higher clocked quadcores
 

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
I like the idea of a speed boost, but not a price hike. Assuming this January 27th event comes to fruition, do you think we'll get an update then? What time last year did the current models get updated?
 

BillB50

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2009
67
0
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
As an owner of an early 09 purchased two months ago, do yourself a favor and wait for the new models. We have an issue with unexplainable heat simply playing a song in iTunes or transferring data from an external drive. Please review the thread in this forum about 09 MP and the green factor. It will be an eye opener for you...

-bill
 

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
Well, with hope we see a release sooner rather than later, and the updated machine doesn't cost an extra arm and a leg.

So, explain it to me like I'm 5. Do additional cores simply double a machine's power, or is it an exponential increase in power? IE, while an 8-core machine render twice the speed of a quad core, or 16 times?
 

disconap

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2005
1,800
2
Portland, OR
Yes and no. More cores/processors do lend an equal amount of power to the machine, but they create essentially separate environments for data processing. Some apps (photoshop, for example) take advantage of more cores, others don't; however, if you have four apps running (mail, safari, a movie on VLC or quicktime, and whatever you're working in) they'll all be running on different cores in a 4 core system (plus the OS, so one will be shared for the task). The advantage to the i7 is a technology Intel developed that shuts off unused cores and actually overclocks active cores on the fly. Pretty neat...

But the short answer is yes. Running a graphics test on my G5, my system runs about 75% faster with both processors than with one. But it's not an exact 100%, of course.
 

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
Any idea how effective multi-cores are on the Adobe Suite and Maya?

I've been looking at the 8-core Pro, and priced one out, coming within $200 of my budget. Here's hoping they can make the update to a similar configuration without me breaking the bank. And by all means, I hope they give 'em a bump in January. Last January it looks like they announced the new 17-inch MBPs, iLife, miscellaneous music software, etc. As I recall it was all one big Phil Schiller buzz-kill. If this tablet comes to be, it's going to be one heck of a January 27th event, and hardware bumps on all major machines would be icing on the cake.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
2
Any idea how effective multi-cores are on the Adobe Suite and Maya?

I've been looking at the 8-core Pro, and priced one out, coming within $200 of my budget. Here's hoping they can make the update to a similar configuration without me breaking the bank. And by all means, I hope they give 'em a bump in January. Last January it looks like they announced the new 17-inch MBPs, iLife, miscellaneous music software, etc. As I recall it was all one big Phil Schiller buzz-kill. If this tablet comes to be, it's going to be one heck of a January 27th event, and hardware bumps on all major machines would be icing on the cake.
PS is only able to use 2 cores currently, and Maya can use as many as there are in the system (there's settings that can be tweaked, and I know it can at least allow you to enter the thread counts = 2x real cores on HT capable CPU's in the Windows versions <example of settings on a Quad>).

Assuming you're unwilling to move away from a Nehalem based system (architecture - such as the possiblity to use triple channel DDR3 if software catches up before you need a new system), then wait for the 2010 models to ship, and see what happens. I'm not expecting a price drop with them, and you'd be able to get an '09 Octad for less in the sales (i.e. other vendors of Apple systems) or in Apple's refurb store.

Otherwise, the best system out there IMO is the '08 3.2GHz Octad Apple's got in the refurb store now. It's the same price as the '09 base Octad (2.26GHz), but it's faster in every respect as the software CANNOT use the additional bandwidth of the IMC in the Nehalem based chips. The difference in clock speeds do matter in this comparison.

It uses EFI64, so you can use the best graphics cards to date (and for awhile at least), as well as continue to upgrade OS X after it goes K64 exclusively. Until Apple changes the firmware on some future system run to stop you. ;) :p
 

TheStrudel

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2008
1,133
1
Even if the '10 machines turn out not to be great for you, it's worth waiting because then they'll experience a price drop due to being older models. Definitely wait until announcement of the new machines.
 

chet.d

macrumors member
Dec 6, 2009
40
1
Otherwise, the best system out there IMO is the '08 3.2GHz Octad Apple's got in the refurb store now. It's the same price as the '09 base Octad (2.26GHz), but it's faster in every respect as the software CANNOT use the additional bandwidth of the IMC in the Nehalem based chips. The difference in clock speeds do matter in this comparison.

It uses EFI64, so you can use the best graphics cards to date (and for awhile at least), as well as continue to upgrade OS X after it goes K64 exclusively. Until Apple changes the firmware on some future system run to stop you. ;) :p
This is pretty much the 08 I'm considering though waiting for the 2010 MP till I seek it out re; pricing.
Still, I'm torn about going for a 09 2.66 8 core MP wondering if the heat issue may somehow be resolved and therein making it a better choice.
I think software will catch up at some point and be able to utilize the Nehalem bandwidth.
Moreover, if the 2010 looks that good and isn't a whole lot more than an 09 8 core... :confused:

Anyway, to attempt an answer to the OP's question, it seems to me that somewhere between next month and March would be the time to buy a MP.
 

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
Good to hear. My hope was to have something ordered before January 30th. I have a senior animation production class starting Monday, and I hope I can spend at least six weeks working on aspects of the project that don't require much power. But those final 10+ weeks are going to require something better than my soon to die MBP: high res modeling animation, rendering, After Effects compositing, some Final Cut.

I guess I could technically hold out til the first week of March... but if it's March 15th, and there are no updates, I may just get a Nehalem or a refurbed 08 Pro.
 

Varmann

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2010
98
8
I guess I could technically hold out til the first week of March... but if it's March 15th, and there are no updates, I may just get a Nehalem or a refurbed 08 Pro.
Keep in mind that there might be some time from the announcement to you will actually be able to get your machine.
 

BillB50

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2009
67
0
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Keep in mind that there might be some time from the announcement to you will actually be able to get your machine.
And even if you bought an 09 right now it would take some time for them to build the machine and then ship it out to you as well. I was advised by my salesperson to add the bluetooth adapter which is now riveted in the 09 chassis - I also added additional RAM. It took 7-10 days for mine to be built, shipped and to arrive, shipping from Texas where they are now assembled to Pennsylvania...
 

Nostromo

macrumors 65816
Dec 26, 2009
1,358
2
Deep Space
the rumor'd update could be anytime between now and march .. the cpus will most likley be the 6 core gulftowns .. or 12 core .. price might go up for those systems .. some people are saying the low end dual cpu might be a higher clocked quadcores
I don't think so.

People have already issues with the overpricing in the 2009 Mac Pro line.

Worst to come is the dual six core at the same price as the dual 4 core.
 

AZREOSpecialist

macrumors 68020
Mar 15, 2009
2,103
881
As an owner of an early 09 purchased two months ago, do yourself a favor and wait for the new models. We have an issue with unexplainable heat simply playing a song in iTunes or transferring data from an external drive. Please review the thread in this forum about 09 MP and the green factor. It will be an eye opener for you...

-bill
This is a software issue that appears will be resolved to some extent with 10.6.3. The new power management kext in 10.6.3, although not complete and still buggy, does not exhibit this issue with Mac Pro currently. If buying "green" is a major factor for you, this may be a concern, but I hardly think it affects the majority of Mac Pro users. I have a 2009 Mac Pro Quad and this issue doesn't impact me AT ALL. If I play iTunes my CPU temps rise, but all is within design specifications. There are a few people who are seeing even higher CPU spikes, but that is not the norm and currently limited to maybe 1 or 2 people in the other MacRumors thread. I'm certainly not seeing anything to be alarmed about. I've maxed out all four physical cores and all four virtual cores and never once got close to the CPU's thermal threshold and the machine functioned just fine with an 800% processor load.
 

ARF900

macrumors 65816
Oct 30, 2009
1,119
0
get an imac, the 8 core proccessor is not worth it because there a few apps that take advantage of that power. get the imac and if something goes wrong you can just get another one.
 

Santoanderson

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 15, 2007
34
0
get an imac, the 8 core proccessor is not worth it because there a few apps that take advantage of that power. get the imac and if something goes wrong you can just get another one.
Let's not get started with that again... I spent a good three weeks trying to track down info regarding performance on the iMacs with Maya. I made phone calls, sent e-mails to both Apple and Autodesk, made numerous forums posts and ultimately got the answer that an iMac would "probably" run Maya 2010, and even if it didn't, I was getting a sweet monitor out of it. :rolleyes:

Finally on the Autodesk board somebody said that yes, the Mac Pro is more expensive, but it absolutely, undoubtedly, for sure runs Maya. And if for some reason it ceases to work, and it's clearly a problem with the video card, or memory, or motherboard, or whatever, it's a lot easier to swap out the faulty component for a new one instead of sending the whole machine back to Apple.
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,929
54
England
I really hope Apple announces them at the January 26/27 event.
Unlikely, the processors aren't launched until the middle of march. Anyone looking at waiting should take in to account that it could be early June before they are able to get a 2010 Mac Pro fully setup and ready to work with, and that is assuming the system they buy works correctly.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
5,834
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California, United States
Unlikely, the processors aren't launched until the middle of march. Anyone looking at waiting should take in to account that it could be early June before they are able to get a 2010 Mac Pro fully setup and ready to work with, and that is assuming the system they buy works correctly.
I thought Apple had first dibs on the new processors, hence why they were released ahead of the market last March?