Time for a new computer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by CFoss, May 24, 2011.

  1. CFoss, May 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2011

    CFoss macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #1
    Hello! So, I have a Mac Pro, early 2008 (specs are in the signature). I use it for everyday work, light gaming, and most importantly, Logic Studio.

    I have recently started studying music at University. Thus, a portable computer would be most helpful. Not only that, but the CPU in the Mac Pro is starting to show its age. With the newly installed EWQL Library, the CPU is struggling to keep up half the time, even with the EWQL engine set to low.

    While I purchased the Mac Pro for its flexibility in customization, I'm starting to wonder if I should cut my losses and go with a high end MacBook Pro. It's twice as fast as my Mac Pro CPU wise, gives me a portable workstation that I can use at work (and perhaps live performances), and has an adequate GPU for gaming needs. Plus, with an installed eSATA express card, storage shouldn't be an issue (not to mention Thunderbolt).

    Of course, there are benefits with sticking with my Mac Pro: It's still gaming relevant, ESPECIALLY if I install an AMD 5870; it has a lot of RAM; and it's easy to add extra HDD if I'm running low on space (which, while I could probably cut down on the storage space, I am glad I have my 1.75TB of space). It's just that bloody CPU limitation that's getting in the way of Logic. While it's possible to add an additional CPU, the hassle, price, and risk is simply not worth the performance gain. If I sell my Mac Pro, I could probably get around... $1000 to $1500? I might be pushing it a little, but this baby still has a lot of life left... just not for professional editing.

    I'm just trying to get some thoughts about the issue. For the most part, people have suggested sticking with the Mac Pro... but that CPU bottleneck is only going to get worse from here on. Once those new Mac Pros come out (which should be any time soon), I wouldn't be surprised if the resale value for my Mac Pro drops further.


    Please note: While I enjoy gaming, it's coming to a point in my life where it's not something I truly consider relevant. It's just something nice to have.
     
  2. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #2
    There are multiple points that I'll try to address with the best of my abilities; I'm a student so portability is important to me, however I don't really rely on many CPU intensive tasks so I'll try to the best of my abilities to help :)

    To me, after reading that, it seems that your main concern is speed and processing power. As you stated, the new MBPs have a better CPU and are also, well, notebooks, so you'll be able to transport your system with you wherever you go. It has the ports to allow you more space if you need it (externally) you ultimately you'll be able to access all of your information; if you can stick with carrying it around in external drives, you'll probably be fine.

    You can also shell out a little bit and get a good external monitor (or use the one you already have?) with the laptop to extend your working space. Having a laptop or any system with 2 screens, for me anyway, practically doubles my efficiency by allowing me to not only see two screens at once, but also perform two different things at once; having work open on one and doing research on the other is a lot faster and more convenient than switching between spaces or cramming the work onto the laptop screen itself.

    i don't know the exact specs but I'm assuming that the graphics card in the MBP will be lower/worse than what you have now or can upgrade to? If that's the case you'll have to think about if it's worth it. I love gaming as much as the next guy but I don't do it much anymore and have to get by with my integrated graphics card which severely limits the games I can play. I'm willing to live with this because of everything else the system gives me.

    Now for selling the iPad? You could get lucky and sell it to someone on a site (forum or something) for 500 but that's going to depend on the specs. Check Apple and eBay for the trending prices and see what they're going for now and base the selling price around that.

    Now of course you'll get more overall power out of something like an iMac or a desktop equivalent but you won't be able to really take it around with you. I don't know how important portability is to you but for me, it's something I've learned to not live without.

    Hope this helped :)
     
  3. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #3
    I all ready have the full setup for a computer, and monitors will not be a problem.

    The high-end MacBook Pro GPU is essentially equal-to-worse to my current Mac Pro. I have the ability to upgrade the GPU in my Mac Pro. I suppose if I wish to start gaming again, I could build my own computer later.

    iPad specs are 64 GB and 3G support. I believe $500 is the approximate resale value... which is a bargain, seeing how I bought it for $1000 over less than a year ago (I was rushed into deciding between an iPad and MacBook Pro... I chose poorly).

    The iMac seems almost equal to the MacBook Pro cost wise, once you bump up the specs. While an iMac is an attractive computer, I feel like I would regret spending the extra money only to end up a non-portable computer.

    Thanks for your help. Anymore comments would be appreciated. At this point, I think I will get a MacBook Pro once the iPod promotion begins.

    Edit:
    Could anyone tell me on average how much people are selling a Mac Pro and iPad with similar specs on these forums? I know there's a board for selling Apple products once you reach 250 posts. Unfortunately, I'm more of a spectator than a poster here, and am far away from reaching such a post count. :/
     
  4. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    I'd easily stick with the Mac Pro. Just as the expandability is rather vital to have, as Audio gear wont be Thunderbolt ready, and the Single FireWire port will be rather limiting (Heck I'd miss the expansion cards and the only audio work I do is from a video angle ie Soundtracks). Id just be tempted to find the appropriate parts to make your Mac Pro an 8-Core Model (I don't think its a particularly hard upgrade) - it would allow you to use EWQL fine (Given that it works fine on my 2010 Mac Pro Quad 2.8, and they benchmark similarly).
     
  5. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #5
    Upgrading the CPU will cost me at least $500. I have no idea why it still costs that much, but I doubt it will go down before they become irrelevant.

    The disadvantages with going with the MacBook Pro that you mentioned are precisely the reasons I haven't made the jump yet. Oddly, I am NOT using any Firewire technology at the moment, but I am considering purchasing a portable mixer unit for Live performances. On the bright side, I rarely make any audio recordings, so I'm not in need of an external soundcard... at least, not now.

    While I wonder if Thunderbolt will be utilized to its fullest capabilities, I would not be surprised if someone releases a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire device. This could solve the lack of Firewire ports on the MacBook Pro. I could even purchase an ExpressCard with two Firewire ports, at least, last time I checked.

    The final reason with jumping onto a MacBook Pro right now is that my resale value for the Mac Pro will plummet once the new Mac Pro comes out with the updated CPU architecture. This month will probably be my last chance to sell it for $1200... I could be wrong, though.

    Thanks for your help. I'll make a final decision sometime this week.
     
  6. JohnRocks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #6
    You want your computer to handle all future applications that may come out, like Solitaire 2.0. I’ve taken the time to scour the market looking for great deals on solid, fast PC solutions capable of running most of today’s high-end software and animated help wizards. The following are my personal recommendations that will provide you with the quality and speed you deserve.
     
  7. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #7
    Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    I doubt the resell value would plummet that much as the first gen ones didn't plummet drastically when the 2009 and 2010 Nehalem machines came out. (As in they still go for $1000 even though they are Quad-Core and Mac Pro 1,1 so I think 3/4 gens behind? (Mine is a 5,1, but I seem to remember the 2,1s were just 8-Cores and not a significant jump)). Those disadvantages with portables were the exact reasons I went from MacBooks to my Pro (That and I needed BlackMagic and ProTools Cards, which definitely don't fit in any Laptop).
     
  9. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #9
    Your 2008 MP is still a pretty sought after model due to the high level of performance to value it originally had especially when the price increases/models came out in 2009... I'd upgrade what you have and get a lower cost portable for when you need it.
     
  10. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #10
    That's the problem. I can upgrade everything BUT the CPU - The one thing that's limiting Logic Studio. Sure, I can upgrade the GPU and the RAM, but it's not going to make a difference. The only significant upgrade that might make a difference is a SSD.
     
  11. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #11
    In this situation, I don't think a SSD would give you any improvement; the performance here is hindered due to processing power, not data retrieval. You might see a slight improvement in terms of speed across the board but the high cost and size restrictions don't make it very appealing nor logical when you can get a 7200rpm drive for a lot less with a lot more storage.
     

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