Time to buy a new Mac Pro! Help me pick.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by makoffee, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. makoffee macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yes I know there are rumors of a 2013 'update'. But as I've found with macs... it's best not to hold your breath for future products.

    I've seriously considered the 6-core 3.33 Mac Pro that everyone says is the sweet spot for bang to the buck. But I find myself hesitating because of the lack of an upgrade path. I doubt there will ever be a faster CPU and only 4 slots for memory (3 if you want it fast) doesn't sound very appealing to me. I used every one of the 8 slots on my former 2006 mac pro.

    I keep coming back to the 8-core westmere that's being sold as a refurbished unit on mac's website. Yes I know that the 2.4ghz 8 core will be slower than the 3.33 6-core. But at $2700 it's a good price and has a serious upgrade path... Doesn't it stand to reason that I could rock that for a little while being much faster than my old 2006 mac pro. Then at a later time upgrade the CPU's to dual 6-core xeons for some extra juice in the future, along side a possible 64gb ram upgrade.

    The 8 core just seems to have more life in it for the price, even though I know out of the gate it will be slower than the 6-core 3.33.

    Am I wrong in my thinking about the potential upgrades?
  2. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    The upgrade path for the dual processor Mac pro would be the best option since you can upgrade those processors. Descent upgrade path. Can the software you use be fast enough on the 2.4? I would say go for the dual processor if it will work for you.
  3. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    It matters much what applications you need the speed up for. It may actually be slower for many things.
  4. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Number of DIMMs slots isn't as important as the RAM density putting into the slots. The 4 slot 2012 model (2010 too) maxes out at 48GB. (3 x 16GB ). The old 2006 model maxes out at 32GB. While not 64GB it is substantially more. If your current workload is below 16GB the difference is likely a non critical factor.

    The 3 DIMM versus 4 DIMM difference isn't really going to make much of difference if workload requires maxing out on RAM.

    Much of the 4 versus 8 DIMM slot argument is about budgets of gorging on cheaper 1GB and 2GB DIMMs trying to get numbers like 8 and 12 GB.

    If in the context of buy 8GB modules now and switch to 16GB 2-3 years from now, it really isn't a big deal.

    As pointed out can put 48GB RAM into the four socket models.


    If the objective is to poke around and upgrade the box over time then they are about the same. Prices for 64GB and dual process upgrades are likley better deferred to whatever Apple comes out with next. It will likey be a better foundation to build off of. Getting something that is "good enough" for next 18-24 months should be fine.
  5. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Although not out as of yet, I wonder if 32GB dimms can work in the 4-slot mac pros of 2009,2010(2012)?

  6. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    If you look carefully at the OWC (Mac Sales) chart it is suggestive that the answer is a bit of inbetween 'yes' and 'no'. For some reason need the newest 8/12 core configurations to fully max out on 16GB DIMMs in groups of 4. So it doesn't seem likely that 32GB DIMMs will fare any better. They may work, but not in all 4 slots. Might be lucky to get past 2. ( performance wise that doesn't make alot of sense to crank the memory density extremely high on just two memory controllers. All that are likely doing is increasing congesting memory traffic at that point. )

    The other factor is that the price premium paid for those will be so high might as well save the money and invest in a better Mac Pro foundations, the 2013 model when it arrives or into moving platforms ( Linux or Windows which have support for servers with 100's of GB of memory. )

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