So who should buy the Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sammyman, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. sammyman macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    I have been reading a little about the mac pro. It seems anytime someone asks if the mac pro is right for them, people usually respond that the higher end imac is just as fast as the mac pro, or that the mac pro is over priced.

    I am considering the mac pro for a couple of reasons:

    1. My wife is a professional photographer, and currently uses a mac mini (last revision) + 24" Apple Cinema - I already have a monitor.

    2. We are tired of external drives, and the pictures have filled up a 1tb pretty quickly - We would love having a raid setup to back everything up.

    3. We would like the power, but mostly for photoshop, home videos, and goofing off with logic pro - the mac mini works, but my wife will automate 50 raw photos at a time, and processing pictures can take a lot of time.

    I guess another alternative would be to sell the 24" cinema which I got new for a smokin deal, and buy an imac with a raid external hardrive system like this:

    Or get a mac pro when they give them an upgrade in the coming months. I would probably get a lower end configuration and install a bunch of hard drives and a bunch of ram.

    Quick side question- right now can you only install 4tb of hard drives in a mac pro? It seems I read that each bay only accepts 1tb. Thanks!
  2. Vanilla Thunder macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
  3. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    I'd just wait for the update at this point. And no, you can use any size HDD in you want in the bays, Apple just doesn't offer BTO options past 1TB. If you want, you can do a 2TB in each sled, plus two more in the optical drive bays and have a total of 12TB (although no more optical drives).
  4. hwhalers macrumors regular

    Nov 23, 2009
    If you run tasks that are lightly multithreaded, then the 2-Socket Mac Pro is a poor investment. Similarly, the 1-Socket Mac Pro is unimpressive for the price if your main concern is sheer power and RAM expandability. Unless you need PCI-E cards, the 1-Socket Mac Pro is not a good buy at all.

    Take a look at the 27" in person.before you immediately dismiss it due to already having a monitor. The i7 27" is less than either Mac Pro, and the monitor is quite impressive (when it's defect free) IMO. I considered buying one just for the monitor, with the nice bonus of the free computer attached to it.

    Honestly, the i7 iMacs would probably suit you better. The money saved by selling the 24" and getting an i7 27" vs. the lowest end Mac Pro could most likely fund a nice external storage system that you could hide away and forget about.

    They'll accept 2TB drives just fine, last I heard.

    RAID 1 is different, however.
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007

    Mirrored / Stripped raid is not backup! It'll only make accidental deletion/corruption of files 2x fast and 2x painful.

    I'm holding off on buying any storage for the immediate future because hopefully we'll see some faster FW , eSATA , USB or lightpeak perhiperals. HP has already announced that their Ugly oops i mean Envy laptops will come with USB 3.0 for certain models.

    How well does a mirrored raid protect against user error, file corruption, accidental deletion(user error but still) etc?
  6. vaderhater245 macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Are we to expect a 1TB standard in the next revision?
  7. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    As has already been said, RAIDs are no substitutes for real backups - they provide redundancy in case one of the disk fails, but they do not support real archiving.

    Unfortunately, Mac OS X does not play well with real backup hardware, so you probably want to buy two external RAID solutions: One for your actual storage and the other one to back the first one up. If you use Aperture, you can put the vault on the second RAID, for example.

    About the Mac Pro vs the iMac discussion: If this thing is for a professional photographer, then the iMac simply is already out of the question. Especially with software like Lightroom or Aperture, you sooner or later want to attach a second display to your computer. You will also want as much horse power as you can get, because both apps can use as many CPU cores as the system has. You will want to extend your hard disk size. In short: You want an expandable machine and the iMac isn't really one.
  8. hwhalers macrumors regular

    Nov 23, 2009
    It doesn't, it's a hardware failure security measure. There are people who mistake mirroring as a backup method and pay for it later. It's a cog in the machinery of data security, nothing more. My response was worded poorly. Apologies :).

    If the budget doesn't bear much more than the cost of a bare low-end Mac Pro, the iMac is probably the better purchase if internal expansion is not paramount. iMacs support external video output as well. If your need for vastly more display real estate and internal storage outweighs processor performance, then obviously the 1-Socket Mac Pro is the machine you must buy. Upgrading the processor/RAM/Video, however, brings it so close to the cost of the 2-Socket machine that it's really not worth buying for use with tasks that benefit from multithreading.
  9. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    I'd opt for the Mac Pro. Better all around Mac with upgrade options. Yes, the Mac Pro can use 4TB of storage.

    Habitus :apple:
  10. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    Actually Apple does offer BTO options fro the 2TB's now. But the price is ridiculous. You would be much better off buying them yourself. IIRC they charge 540 dollars for a 2TB Caviar Black. :eek::rolleyes:

    EDIT: Just checked they are $550 USD for a Caviar Black 2TB.
  11. turbineseaplane macrumors 68040


    Mar 19, 2008
    I believe the new iMac's can actually power a 2nd monitor, no?
  12. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Old ones could too.

    Buy one if you like the expandability, like to play games requiring more than a 4850 or need the processing power. Gaming you will be paying a premium, but it's your money.

    Sounds like it would be fine for your needs OP.
  13. Paul B macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Time is money.

    If the time saved from the shorter photos processing times is worth the extra money, then of course get the Mac Pro.
  14. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    My advice? Get a Mac Pro. You won't regret it. Having 4+ internal hard drives is a big plus, and you can even fit more in the second optical bay. There are adapters for that that cost less than an external enclosure.
    You could easily fit at least 10TB inside the Pro.
    As good as the new iMacs are, if you're tired of swapping external drives, it's a no brainer.

    You should also get for $20 an eSata extension cord on Mac Sales. It's a bit a of a PITA to install depending on your Mac Pro, but it's great.
  15. andyeb macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2008
    The way I see it, the main reasons to go with a Mac Pro are:

    • Options for expansion now
    • Options for upgrades later (RAM, HD/SSD/storage, graphics card)

    Remember that Mac Pros are designed to be user upgraded, whereas iMacs are not (apart from the RAM).

    That said, an iMac with a Drobo attached should do you fine from a workflow point of view.

    I guess it comes down to whether you are looking for the best short term investment (i.e. iMac) or long term investment (i.e. Mac Pro).
  16. pagansoul macrumors 65816


    Aug 10, 2006
    Four years ago I got my Mac Pro with 2GB of RAM and 500GB HD. Currently I have 12GB RAM and 4TB HD. Yes, it's nice to able to upgrade and purchase via OWC and not the Apple store. It's also great to use my Dell 24" monitor.
  17. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
    People who want the bragging rights should buy the Mac Pro. Oh, and people who need the expansion possibilities. And people who need more speed and RAM than any of the other Macs can offer.
  18. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I have had two consumer Macs and two professional level Macs and they have all been great.

    The two reasons for having a Mac Pro, or Macbook Pro, would be because one needs the higher end appointments, or one simply wants to buy a machine that will not get obsolete as quickly.

    Ten years ago, buying a professional level Mac would give you up to two extra years of practical use, but's it's probably just over a year of technical advantage these days over consumer Macs.

    The type of person who would waste their money on a professional Mac would be one who rarely or never uses it, but buys it just to "have" one. If I were to buy a Mac, but still had to use it but rarely for the basics, then the Mac mini or Macbook are the best options.
  19. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Definitely the positives of the mac pro for me over the iMac are the fact that you can use a monitor of your own choice, have multiple monitors, can upgrade them more easily, user serviceability, can have multiple hard drives and more ram! [​IMG]
  20. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    Safer, perhaps, with Mac Pro

    One thing to think about, especially if this machine is to be used professionally, is the Mac Pro can be up and running in no time when some problems arise that would completely disable the iMac.

    Say you have a sudden drive problem on your boot drive, you can keep a second hard drive with a clone OS on it just as a backup in a Mac Pro. If your primary drive fails, you can reboot from the backup drive and be up and running immediately. I don't think you can do this with the iMac.
  21. dernhelm macrumors 68000


    May 20, 2002
    middle earth
    Mac Pro is for Professionals. People that use the full compute power of their computer every day. If you value your time highly enough that you want to minimize down time, then you want a system who's drives can be placed in a some sort of RAID (not 0, but 1, or 5 will work) configuration so loss of a hard disk doesn't cost you a couple of days recovery. This isn't about backup - this is about fault tolerance.

    Everyone should have a viable backup strategy, professionals should have something off-site - but that has little or nothing to do with your choice of computer.

    If you use your computer all day every day, then higher quality, fault tolerant ECC RAM means something to you. Mac Pro has that, iMac does not.

    If you need multiple monitors - then a Mac Pro is probably your best choice, but you can often rig multiple monitors up to lower end computers as well. However, if you need higher quality monitors than the iMac ships with (and depending upon the type of photography you wife does, she might) then the Mac Pro again is probably your best choice (although an Mac Mini might also work). Although I will say that the monitors shipped with the iMac are generally excellent.

    As stated by others here, the Mac Pro allows you to start small and grow into it also, supporting 8 TB easily, and upto 10-12 TB of disk space. The box is made for expandability and is one of the easiest systems to open up and work in (windows systems included). If you plan on doing your own upgrade and maintenance, the Mac Pro is definitely the way to go. If you plan on letting Apple do that work anyway, then it doesn't matter to you.

    If your system goes down for 3 days and it's merely an inconvenience, then you don't need a Mac Pro. Don't get one. If you are a professional, and 2-3 lost days due to a hard-disk crash would cost you far more than the difference between an iMac and a Mac Pro, then get the Mac Pro. Think of it as an insurance policy.
  22. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    coughfirewire.or.usb.externalcough. Yeah it won't be as fast but to say that an iMac is hosed if the boot drive nukes is just false. Infact, any intel based mac can boot from usb or firewire provided they are appropriately formatted and have a good installation.
  23. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2009
    um if you're serious about photoshop, then you will get best performance using 64-bit windows. photoshop 64-bit is only available for pc's. none for macs.
  24. parakiet macrumors regular

    Nov 23, 2008

    i have an iMac8,1
    with an eizo CE240w hooked on. my 24" imac is just the secondary screen.

    how much money does your wife make? how much can she invest? what will give the best profit?

    my imac handles my raw files and photoshop docs (16bitt, 250 - 500 mb) just fine.
    maybe she'd prefer a imac + 5d mii above an $5000 mac pro

    i guess a mac pro pays of when you edit large format scans or files (60 to 100 mega-pixels)
  25. mward333 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2004
    IMHO, the MacPro is really cost-beneficial for people who need to run several jobs in parallel, i.e., for people who are doing intense programming with many threads.

    If you do photography, you might want the excellent quality of the monitors available for MacPro--many people have ever recommended some 3rd party monitors.

    Otherwise, maybe an iMac is the sensible investment for your needs, if you don't get one of the yellow-flavored monitors.

    I agree with the post above that says too many people buy the MacPro just for bragging rights.

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