Some Mac Pro (or other Mac equivalents) buying advice?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by micahPRT, May 6, 2011.

  1. micahPRT, May 6, 2011
    Last edited: May 6, 2011

    micahPRT macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2010
    Alright, currently I have a Mac Mini (early 09) 2.26 2Gb. I like it, surprisingly gets what I need done but obviously at some slow speeds. I am into heavy video editing and transcoding (Final Cut with HD footage), not to mention lots of multitasking (Photoshop, iTunes, e-mail, all that kind of stuff) and I just need a more competent system.

    That in mind, I have looked around and found some decent deals on the 1st gen Mac Pros (2006 Xeon Quad 2.66). I really am not sure how good these will be with outdated hardware and the DDR2 ram. (which can be upgraded to DDR3, correct?)

    So I have ruled out any sort of laptop I believe, because they do not give you the raw power for the price that a desktop would. I was trying to stay around the $1000 level, I can get the 3.2 GHz i3 iMac for around that, but I don't think it will outperform any sort of Mac Pro I can find in that range. There are the new Minis as well, which would be cheap but I guess not a big step up from 2.26 to 2.4.

    Then, I have found the perhaps frowned upon "hackintosh" packages that would run me quite a bit less than anything else, for more impressive hardware. I am a little frightened of these though! As far as I can tell, this is the best one I have found.


    Quad Core Intel I7 - 920 Processor 2.66GHz 8MB Cache
    Incredibly fast 2nd Generation Intel Solid State Drive 160GB X25M-G2
    Asus P6T Deluxe 1366 Motherboard - Triple Channel DDR3
    9GB DDR3 Memory
    Corsair 650W 80plus Power Supply
    nVidia 260GTX PCI-E Video Card
    LG Dual Layer SATA DVD-RW Drive
    1TB Western Digital Green SATA Hard Drive

    To summarize

    I'm considering in the $1000:

    2006 Mac Pro
    i3 iMac
    MacBook Pro if I am proven wrong and it is indeed better for things like this.


    All that said, I really need some advice here :p

    Thanks to anyone who helps me out!
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I saw a guy walking into the Apple store the other day with a PC. Perhaps it was a Hackintosh. :eek: More likely he was taking advantage of their free service to transfer his stuff over to a new Mac.

    I would not advise you to bother with a Hackintosh. I prefer Apple hardware as strongly as I prefer OS X. This is a matter of personal preference for me and if you don't mind some risk, I'm sure you can save money with a Hackintosh. I'm just saying that isn't something I would choose nor would I recommend it to anyone who wants to take full advantage of Apple's seamless end to end user experience and can afford the Mac they really need.

    Another option to consider if you can't pick up a Mac right now is to put Linux on any old PC you have lying about. This could tide you over until you were ready to purchase a Mac. There are a lot of similarities if you do things in Terminal (bash shell) but the Linux GUI leaves a lot to be desired vs OS X.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Unless you are ready to troubleshoot, don't go with a Hackintosh. While they have gotten better and stabler over the years, there is still many things that can go wrong.

    The cheapest iMac is only 1199$ and even that will offer you a quad core. Try to extend your budget by 200$ and go for that, or wait for refurbs if your budget is really that limited. It should even outperform the Hackintosh and will run circles around the i3 iMac and your current Mini.
  4. micahPRT, May 6, 2011
    Last edited: May 6, 2011

    micahPRT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2010

    Wow, you know what I was completely focused on refurbs I didn't even recognize this as a viable option. The new iMac is looking pretty good actually...

    Would it really outperform the hackintosh though? Looking at the hardware it seems like it wouldn't. Then again I have no experience with a hackintosh...the one I linked looks like it might be loud :eek:
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008

    Well, it depends on the test you look at. AT's bench does not have the CPU used in 21.5" iMac (i5-2400S) but the ones I linked have similar clock speed differences so it should five you a rough idea. The i5 in iMac has more aggressive Turbo and the i7-920 in the Hack has only 8MB of cache so that should eat up the difference.

    Maybe I was too quick to say that the iMac outperforms the Hack but the difference isn't that big. iMac gets you a hassle-free solution and a great screen too.
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    you have the option of "performance" over "reliability" here :)
  7. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    A long time windows user and hackintosher myself, I just picked up a first gen Mac Pro literally the other day for $700 CAN, it has dual 2.26GHz Xeon's, 9GB of RAM and I put my own drives in it, I also just picked up a AMD 5770 Mac version off ebay. I currently have a PC, i7 920 running OSX just fine, but I wanted the real thing. True, Hackintosh's have gotten easier to build and far more stable with updates over the years but at the end of the day I want a stable system I can count on, I don't want to have to worry every time an update comes out, will I lose my sound, or video, who knows, better wait and read the threads, no thanks. Will you save money going with a Hackintosh, sure, you can build a system comparable to the latest Mac Pro's for a fraction of the price, but there is a price to pay by doing that. I would suggest you look at the latest iMac and focus on that, for you I think it makes better sense to invest in newer rather then older technology. For me, I have been working on pc's for 20 yrs and can upgrade this old Mac Pro myself as time goes on, plus I am not doing the intensive video editing you are either. If you can wait a little longer and save a budget of $2000 then I would say go for an older but slightly newer Mac Pro, otherwise as I and others have suggested, go for a new iMac.
  8. micahPRT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2010
    Thanks for the advice, it's just the price tag of a hack that makes it so incredibly tempting. Although, it is a very good point that I may not enjoy the unreliable system that goes along with that. Macs also hold their value quite well.

    So, I think I will need to bump up my budget and go for the new iMac, which as far as I can see is better than the old Mac Pros. I would indeed rather a Pro, but I simply do not have the money for any of the new ones.
  9. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    No matter how stable people tell you a hackintosh can be, at the end of the day its not the same as having a real Mac. Sure real Mac's can get kernel panics and crash too, but generally they are very stable machines. The last thing you need when your editing some video or working on a project is a system that won't boot for some unknown reason, then you have to go onto the various boards, post a help thread, wait for a response, ya, no thanks. And then there is Lion, will it run on hackintosh's? Who can say, but do you really want to have to worry, no, you just want to be able to pop in that disc or download it from that app store knowing it will install and upgrade without any issues. Get Applecare too, its invaluable in my opinion.
  10. Game64 macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    @ashman70 Off topic, between your i7 and the Mac Pro, which is faster?

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