So who should buy the Mac Pro?

sammyman

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 21, 2005
945
43
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:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QID2NG?ie=UTF8&tag=samhay-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002QID2NG

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!
 

J the Ninja

macrumors 68000
Jul 14, 2008
1,824
0
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).
 

hwhalers

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2009
226
0
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.
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.


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

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.
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.

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


Raid 0 would be a poor choice for backup
RAID 1 is different, however.
 

Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,847
1
Raid 0 would be a poor choice for backup.
This.

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.

RAID 1 is different, however.
How well does a mirrored raid protect against user error, file corruption, accidental deletion(user error but still) etc?
 

Winni

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,118
928
Germany.
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:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QID2NG?ie=UTF8&tag=samhay-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002QID2NG

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!
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.
 

hwhalers

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2009
226
0
How well does a mirrored raid protect against user error, file corruption, accidental deletion(user error but still) etc?
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.
 

Habitus

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2009
606
0
Where ever my life takes me...
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:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QID2NG?ie=UTF8&tag=samhay-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002QID2NG

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!
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:
 

Cynicalone

macrumors 68040
Jul 9, 2008
3,209
0
Okie land
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).
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.
 

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,362
55
Seattle, WA
I believe the new iMac's can actually power a 2nd monitor, no?
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.
 

Paul B

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
270
0
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.
 

juanm

macrumors 68000
May 1, 2006
1,565
2,880
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.
 

andyeb

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2008
15
0
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).
 

pagansoul

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2006
1,041
40
Earth
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.
 

Bengt77

macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2002
1,518
0
Europe
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.
 

63dot

macrumors 603
Jun 12, 2006
5,271
339
norcal
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.
 

opera57

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2009
295
0
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!
 

musique

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2009
222
5
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.
 

dernhelm

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2002
1,634
104
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.
 

Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,847
1
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.
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.
 

kate-willbury

macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2009
684
0
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.
 

parakiet

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2008
123
0
hum

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)
 

mward333

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2004
526
5
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.