Time to buy a Mac Pro (yea or nay) based on "lifecycle" of current MPs

MCHR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
150
0
A quick, objective question to the group here.

I've been saving my returnable money to replace my 2005 PowerPC. I'm on the bubble, looking at the quad 2.93 and ready to place the order.

But I also see that the lifecycle of the current offerings may be coming close to an upgrade, though I don't know what that might be, or when it would drop.

I'm not "in desperate need" of an MP right now, nor am I in an OCD frenzy about the latest technology. I'm only looking for any educated advice, or information on what to expect in the MP lineup.

Should I buy? Or should I wait? That is indeed the question.

Thanks.
 

Mackilroy

macrumors 68040
Jun 29, 2006
3,614
58
Honestly, I'd wait. If Apple keeps to its usual patterns, we're only a few months out from an update, and who knows what goodies that will bring?
 

smacman

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2006
452
2
I vote for buy now. You can't win this game with Apple, and it will still be an awesome machine regardless of what they do to the product line.
 

hugodrax

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2007
896
141
Honestly, I'd wait. If Apple keeps to its usual patterns, we're only a few months out from an update, and who knows what goodies that will bring?
The next update will probably be when Sandy Bridge architecture arrives. There really is nothing new to add to the current lineup other than maybe a different videocard or something minor as some extra ports.
 

pcconvert

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2008
69
0
I am in the same situation and I am thinking of buying now. I could wait 5 months but then I won't be able to do what I want to do for 5 months (HD video etc.). I am really torn between buying 2.26 dual for $3k or 2.66 for 4k refurbished now and when 6 cores would come up I'd either get higher freq for less or drop in the new 6 cores. 2.26 might seem slow but it would let me 'get warmed up' on this platform with least waste. With 2.66 I'd pay quite premium for much faster processor but then these will get smoked by 6 cores anyway so there is '2.66 least waste' thought.

If you want single I'd get the cheapest 2.66 and when 6cores would come up I'd just replace if needed. 2.93 is essentially same in performance (unlike 2.26 vs. 2.66 @ duals).
 

MCHR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
150
0
I am in the same situation and I am thinking of buying now. I could wait 5 months but then I won't be able to do what I want to do for 5 months (HD video etc.). I am really torn between buying 2.26 dual for $3k or 2.66 for 4k refurbished now and when 6 cores would come up I'd either get higher freq for less or drop in the new 6 cores. 2.26 might seem slow but it would let me 'get warmed up' on this platform with least waste. With 2.66 I'd pay quite premium for much faster processor but then these will get smoked by 6 cores anyway so there is '2.66 least waste' thought.

If you want single I'd get the cheapest 2.66 and when 6cores would come up I'd just replace if needed. 2.93 is essentially same in performance (unlike 2.26 vs. 2.66 @ duals).
I'd rather not set this thread sideways on conjecture of quad vs octo, and potential upgrade paths if that's okay. I've never been a big fan of upgrading processors, since IMHO if the OEM upgraded the processor, there are also likely architectural advantages to be had as well.

However, if you are concerned about your decision, I would suggest you be realistic with what softwares you currently use, and whether or not they will work efficiently enough in your new MPs configuration. It also becomes a personal matter of billable time vs processor speed if you are looking to justify the switch from a octo 2.66 to a 6 core as has been rumored.
 

pcconvert

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2008
69
0
I'd rather not set this thread sideways on conjecture of quad vs octo, and potential upgrade paths if that's okay. I've never been a big fan of upgrading processors, since IMHO if the OEM upgraded the processor, there are also likely architectural advantages to be had as well.

However, if you are concerned about your decision, I would suggest you be realistic with what softwares you currently use, and whether or not they will work efficiently enough in your new MPs configuration. It also becomes a personal matter of billable time vs processor speed if you are looking to justify the switch from a octo 2.66 to a 6 core as has been rumored.
Oh I did't mean to discuss quad vs. octo. It's just that I am in the same situation (decision). In general I'd be ok with quad but I HATE waiting for encoding. Import of AVCHD footage to FCP... So I figure more cores better.

I am going to buy now and If there is a work you can't do (or no longer can suck it up) on existing equipment I'd encourage you to do the same. Nothing worse then months wasted by not doing what you want.

P.S. my 'existing equipment is 17" 2.5 MBP... I just can't suck it up any more...
 

pipep

macrumors member
Dec 18, 2007
30
0
As I always say: if you need it, buy it.

BUT: as being mid november i'll buy either refurbished or used, since there will be an update soon (less than 6 months).

If you can wait, then wait until you need it.

that's what I do.
 

ntrigue

macrumors 68040
Jul 30, 2007
3,805
1
A quick, objective question to the group here.

I've been saving my returnable money to replace my 2005 PowerPC. I'm on the bubble, looking at the quad 2.93 and ready to place the order.

But I also see that the lifecycle of the current offerings may be coming close to an upgrade, though I don't know what that might be, or when it would drop.

I'm not "in desperate need" of an MP right now, nor am I in an OCD frenzy about the latest technology. I'm only looking for any educated advice, or information on what to expect in the MP lineup.

Should I buy? Or should I wait? That is indeed the question.

Thanks.
Even the first Nehalem is going to blow you away. Although, I'd imagine we'll see update or price drop by February.
 

phaedarus

macrumors regular
Dec 27, 2008
165
7
The frequency at which Apple updates its Mac Pro lines leaves me to believe that graphic designers and professional audio and imaging editors have become the forsaken child.

Consumer gadgets and all-in-ones are what fills Apple's coffers now.

Ever since the success of the first iPod, I've had the sinking feeling that Apple no longer regarded us as their base or, at the very least, have slotted us to the back of the bus in terms of priority customers.

The one good side effect I can foresee is that pricing will remain stable due to limited quantity and revisions made to the lineup. This means that even a few years down the line, you can still sell your Mac Pro for $1500-$2000 depending on how much you've invested into it since the initial purchase.
 

mattcube64

macrumors 65816
May 21, 2006
1,277
97
Missouri
I certainly hope Apple does the right thing and offers the Radeon HD 5870.
Completely agree. Apple, if you're listening, you have my word: If you release a six-core Mac Pro w/ a 5870 (Or, even better, a 5890), I *WILL* purchase one by the end of the summer.

-Matt
 

Dr.Pants

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
1,181
2
Completely agree. Apple, if you're listening, you have my word: If you release a six-core Mac Pro w/ a 5870 (Or, even better, a 5890), I *WILL* purchase one by the end of the summer.
Fullhearted second. Especially if Apple manages to put more then two outputs on a single graphics card like other 5870s, I will be impressed.
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
1
Munich, Germany
I expect the Gulftown machine in February to be very similar to the current range of Nehalems. As the OP is looking at quad he obviously isn't in a pinch for more cores or he would already consider an octad. So the logical advise would be to go for his quad now. Emotionally there could be enough curiosity pent up to just wait and look at the wider options then.
 

disconap

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2005
1,800
2
Portland, OR
I agree. Also, if you're quandry is that you want higher end but you need something faster right now, I'd suggest dropping around $1K on a used first or second gen MP to get your feet wet and save up for the big machine you eventually want. That's my plan right now, as the price on the current line for what you get isn't worth it when I know what's coming in the next year or two, but when CS5 comes out I'm going to HAVE to go Intel, I'll have no choice when clients start requesting we use it...
 

phaedarus

macrumors regular
Dec 27, 2008
165
7
I agree. Also, if you're quandry is that you want higher end but you need something faster right now, I'd suggest dropping around $1K on a used first or second gen MP to get your feet wet and save up for the big machine you eventually want. That's my plan right now, as the price on the current line for what you get isn't worth it when I know what's coming in the next year or two, but when CS5 comes out I'm going to HAVE to go Intel, I'll have no choice when clients start requesting we use it...
I think you will have difficulties finding a Mac Pro for just $1000 - at least from any one individual who didn't buy the machine used himself/herself.

If you can score one from a company under-going liquidation however, that will be the holy grail of bargains :)
 

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,364
56
Seattle, WA
Perhaps Apple will again end of life these machines with the release of the new ones, as they did with the 2008 machines.

I picked mine up new from apple for only 1899 or 1799, can't remember. Fantastic deal for a 2.8 x 8, even to this day. It was 900 off, but only for business customers.
 

300D

macrumors 65816
May 2, 2009
1,284
0
Tulsa
Don't buy now. They are due for a speed bump any time now, especially with 3.3ghz cpus being available for quite some time.
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
1
Munich, Germany
Don't buy now. They are due for a speed bump any time now, especially with 3.3ghz cpus being available for quite some time.
This is wide off the mark. Apple has no product update in the next 6 weeks according to Phil Schiller.

Apple has never used two chip generations in a MP. So a speed bump of the 5500s and the intro of the 5600s would be as unlikely as hell freezing over.
 

Wild-Bill

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2007
2,539
617
bleep
Admittedly, I'm more interested in getting my hands on a Mac version of the 5870 for my early 08 dual-quad 2.8 MP. I've got plenty of storage and 14 gigs of RAM. I personally cannot see needing more power than i've already got.

A new video card and an SSD (or two RAID-0) would be perfect.
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
1
Munich, Germany
"Never has" ≠ "Will never"
I'm not a bookie but you'll be facing some pretty long odds on your prediction of a speed bump. Most observers agree that the next MP will have the 5600 chips and come in Q1 next year. Apple have excluded a product upgrade this year. So you are in effect predicting two Mac Pro upgrades in one quarter. Have you really thought that through?
 
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