Tell me I'm not crazy

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macphipsi, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. macphipsi macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    So here is my dilemma...


    I use a combination between an ipad 2 for portability and at my desk, I have a 2010 15" macbook pro i7. I have my MBP connected to a LED apple display and use it in clam mode with an external wireless keyboard, trackpad, and bookarc. I use the MBP for serious computing such as CS5 and ACAD and can't downgrade my power because I will be using these processor heavy programs for the distant future.

    I like my MBP but I don't seem to ever bring it out of my apartment(class) since getting my ipad. I think i am wasting the portability of the machine and sacrificing some of the performance because it is a portable machine.

    I want to sell(or hopefully trade) my MBP for a Mac Pro. Most likely, a 2009 model, because i could use all my peripherals with that one. I feel like the MP will last longer and have sufficient performance for some time with the user upgradeable nature of the machine. I could then use my iPad as a portable device and would consider purchasing a 2011 MBA.

    Am I thinking logically or am I just getting bored with my current setup. In which case, I would just suck it up. What do you think? Is a MP with an iPad and possibly a MBA too much for a college engineer?
  2. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    Are you maxing out the computing capacity of your MBP? Seeing beachballs, pegged CPU, or sluggish graphical display? Have you maxed out the memory in the MBP? Are your applications slowing down due to paging, or due to slow disk access? Do you play games and need a kick-ass graphics card?

    Basically, are you dissatisfied with the performance of the software you use on the MBP?

    If not, then there is no reason to switch.

    And even if there is reasons to switch off the MBP, Mac Pro might be overkill. The higher end Mac Mini might be a better bet -- and far easier on the wallet.

    As for whether you are crazy, I'm not sure we can answer that question here... :)

  3. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    I am seeing the computer slow a little. But more importantly than that, I think I paid alot of money to have a portable desktop. But since I don't EVER move it, I feel I will have a longer lasting power house with a mac pro.

    I thought about the Mac Mini. I really did, but I just don't think I am ready to cut the optical drive completely out of my life. I need atleast one computer with an optical.

    To address the overkill, I was a little concerned that the mac pro would be overkill, but to get an imac just seems silly since I have an LED display. What do you think?

    What is the max ram I can put in my MBP?
  4. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    From the sound of it, I would agree that the MP is probably overkill.
    If you have the money to burn, then there's no reason not to.

    If money is an issue, I'd recommend a mac mini with the i7 $899. You can get an external, USB optical drive. It's a $79 option from Apple, or you could get a 3rd party one. Max out the memory yourself. Selling your MBP should more than cover all of this. You're well under 1/2 the cost of a MP. Buy a refurb/used mini and save even more (it could also have an optical drive).
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You could always consider an external optical drive via a USB or FW connection. Seems like a simple, inexpensive solution for a Mini vs. a MP if the Mini is sufficiently powerful.

    Though if you're into engineering, slots and HDD bays aren't a bad idea (better GPU options alone if you're going to use professional software on your systems rather than use university owned equipment in a lab).

    I'd recommend sitting down, and really figuring out what you need before doing anything. If you don't need the MP, then save the funds. Please understand, I'm playing it safe and figuring the funds used on computer equipment will be from student loans (not a good idea to buy a bunch of expensive stuff that's not absolutely critical, as it adds more than you may realize to the total repayment amount). Paying those back is no picnic, so it's best to keep your debt load as low as possible.
  6. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    Your MBP is a dual-core @ 2.66 GHz. I'm pretty sure you can go up to 8GB from your current 4GB.

    As for the optical drive in the Mac Mini, you can always get an external one...

    I do understand your concern about paying a premium for portability which you don't ever use (I've been there before). Also note that laptops are much more prone to early thermal related failures, and generally have disk drives which are slower, and which have shorter expected lifespans.

    The right thing for you to do will be to look at the features of your current MBP vs. MacMini vs. MacPro, and make a decision.

    Do you need support for multiple disks inside the enclosure? Do you need to be able to swap in a high end video card? Might you want hardware RAID in the future? A second internal optical drive? Ability to vastly increase memory [e.g. to 64GB]? Up to 12 cores @ ~3Ghz? These all point to Mac Pro.

    On the other hand, is quiet important to you? Is small size important to you? Is price a concern? Is there a spousal approval factor involved? These lean toward Mac Mini...

  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Trading a MBP for a MP is essentially trading portability for expansion. Performance is unlikely to be significantly different unless you sink a LOT more money into the Mac Pro.

    If you don't need either portability or expansion, then the Mac Mini is the most affordable solution.
  8. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011

    that's why i think that I ought to go with the mac pro. I can always upgrade it in the future if it becomes outdated and it will easily last me for the next 5 years. Whereas the laptop will become sluggish within 3 years. I am also a Mac geek, so I think that being able to toy around with a completely customizable MP is appealing.

    To all that suggest the mac mini, I appreciate your input, but the mac mini does not offer me anything i want. It is barely powerful enough to run the applications i have to run and IMO it would be a downgrade from the MBP.

    Now a new question, Do yall think it will be tough to find someone who will trade a 2009 Mac Pro(minidisplayport) for a 2010 MBP?
  9. Papanate macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2011
    North Carolina

    What are you crazy?<g>
  10. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    So I thought i would update everyone on what I decided to do.

    I dropped the idea of having a mac pro. It would be nice just to say I have one and be able to upgrade as needed, but as a college student moving would be a pain.

    Instead, I am selling my macbook pro, and am going to buy a brand new mac mini and air combo. I think the new high end mini will be more than enough computing power anytime i have something serious to do, and the mba will more than suffice as a general use laptop for class and what not. I'm excited and think this is a more appropriate choice than being locked into a HUGE mac pro. I will definitely grab one when i graduate, but for the next 4 years a mini will be great. Plus, I already have a monitor, keyboard, and trackpad. So I'm set for the desktop setup. Now to try and sell my mbp. that will be tricky.
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    You're not crazy.

    The only reason to stay with a laptop instead of a desktop is if you can justify moving the heavier computing power from place to place with enough frequency to make it a hassle otherwise.
  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Not crazy. Same reason I went Mac Pro only for a while.

    (I ended up getting a laptop again as well as my Mac Pro because I was working with some clients away from home for a bit.)

    Mac Pros aren't hard to move. I moved mine when I went back to school. Just keep the original box, and it's super easy to move without worrying about damaging it.
  13. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    You're crazy… :p

    I picked up a Mac Pro when…
    1) I REALLY wanted a Mac Pro for many years;
    2) My MacBook Pro wasn't fast enough;
    3) The iMac wasn't viable as I didn't need a display;
    4) The Mac mini was terrible in terms of performance per dollar;
    5) Did I mention I really wanted a Mac Pro? ;)

    So far it's been almost 2 years and I'm very satisfied with my purchase; everything can be completed faster, especially the 10% of the tasks that use to take forever. That's really it; 90% of the time my MacBook Pro can do things fine (hell my MacBook Air can do it too!); it's the 10% of the time that matters and makes the difference.

    In terms of raw performance I'm not sure laptops can keep up yet and will be another year before that happens; if I'm really inclined to keep this up-to-date in terms of performance, I can upgrade to ensure it'll still be powerful enough to take on tasks from the next couple years with ease.

    As for moving this machine, I have a lot of drives in it, so I usually have to take those out before I move it; but otherwise it's simple to do; short distances it's got handles; long distances I use the original box the machine came in.

    Now with the Mac mini, I think it's a good choice; it's now powerful enough to be a viable solution.
  14. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    Well, thanks to yall im teetering on my decision AGAIN!!! thanks alot, hehe.

    Here is the new dilemma and probably geared more towards the last few posters.

    If i were to go the mac mini route, I would be getting a brand new mini. The high end consumer model, and would then probably use the iFixit kit to add an additional harddrive and max out the ram.

    But, if i were to go with a mac pro, I would only be getting the first model to support minidisplay. I believe that was 2009? this is due to the fact that i don't think I can get a newer one than this within the constraints of trading or selling my current laptop and I have a led display that I LOVE!

    So now, which is more sensible?

    The mini or the pro?
  15. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    What exactly are you using CS5 for? And isn't AutoCAD reliant on GPU?

    Do consider the poor GPU performance of both Mac Mini and the MacBook Air.
  16. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    I primarily use cs5 for a lot of inDesign work and photoshop. I do a little bite of work with illustrator. All of this is for fraternity and university work. Nothing professional but I would say 10-15 hours a week. Some weeks it's up to 30 when there are deadlines.

    But I'm glad you raise the question about autoCAD. This is a huge deal as I use this for work and class almost every day. Is this going to be a problem? It runs beautifully on my current laptop and I feel like the graphics card will be similar on the mini and my mbp. The MBA will never be used for CAD maybe to display drawings, but never to create or edit.

    Can anyone give advice on autoCAD on the mini?
  17. papoopeepoo macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Personally, I bought a Mac Pro strongly based on the fact I knew AutoCAD would be a walk in the park for the available power, even into the future.

    On the other hand, I have wanted a mac tower since apple dropped the beige designs, so the purchase was pretty incredible for me.

    If you really rely on AutoCAD, don't depend too much on the MBA. For the Mac Mini, do some homework on the graphics card, and consider visiting a (hopefully) local Apple Store. The demo computers in the store usually have AutoCAD installed. You might even be able to bring in a USB hard drive and test your own models and drawings for a better perspective.

    Good luck making the right decision.
  18. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Since you love your current Apple display, have you considered selling your MBP AND the display to help cover the cost of a decked out iMac? Or maybe use it as a dual monitor if you have the space.
  19. macphipsi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    I think having a dual monitor set up in college is overkill, no? not to mention, I fear that the iMac has the same issues as a mbp. I cant swap parts as easily as I want to be able to do.

    So I'm back on the MP track. I was limiting myself to only looking at 2009 and up mac pros, because of the minidisplay port. Then it dawned on me. I want the mac pro to be able to swap out parts.

    Would it be ill advised to buy a 2008 mac pro with dual quad core 3.0 ghz and then upgrade the video card to handle minidisplayport?

    Would it be silly to trade my mbp for this system? it seems like I will still be getting a huge jump in raw power.

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