Upgrade or sell and buy new? Your advice please.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AdvocateUK, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. AdvocateUK macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #1
    Hi all,

    Whilst discussing the possible purchase of a Macbook Pro with my fiance it occurred to me that really my Mac Pro could do with some money spent on it.

    It's a late 2007 quad 2.66 with the ATI X1900XT graphics card.

    I've expanded the memory the 12GB and all the hard drive bays are full (a total of 4TB including external drives).

    It is paired up with 30 inch and 23 inch ACDs and is used for the following

    80% of the time web browsing, office type scenarios, and streaming HD movies to my PS3
    15% of the time for my photography business (Aperture, Photoshop CS4, iDVD, and occasionally FCP)
    5% of the time gaming either in OS X or Windows via boot camp.

    Those figures are rough, but realistic.

    Whilst preparing/editing photos I find myself increasingly frustrated by its lack of speed, and obviously gaming with the X1900XT is annoying to say the least.

    My options as far as I see them, are to try and extend the life of the machine and give it a speed boost by adding a flashed 1GB 4870/4890 and a 120 or 250 GB SSD as a boot/applications drive. Or....to sell it and add the required amount of money to buy a new Mac Pro.

    Your thoughts? What would I realistically get for it on ebay (in UK £ please). Is the i7 iMac worth considering?

    Would the "2010 refresh" 17inch Macbook Pro be a worthy replacement?

    So many questions I know, sorry.

    Regards

    Alistair
     
  2. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #2
    I use my mac pro for the things you mentioned with the percentages changed a bit, more photography and more gaming! :)

    If i were to upgrade it would only be to another Mac Pro, and heres why.

    The HD's in the iMac/MacBook are going to be a lot slower than the ones in your machine, coupled with the fact that you will no longer have a scratch disk means performance for Photoshop work will take a big hit.

    So my recommendation would be either upgrade what you have, or sell the whole thing to raise funds for a newer model mac pro.

    In terms of the value of the machine, i would think you would have not much problem selling it to a fellow professional as a few of the photogs i know are still running G5 towers for their production machines.

    With all the ram in it and the fact that Macs keep their value like crazy i would hope to get about £800-£1000 for it.

    I would find a student to buy me a new one and grab a current model quad for about £500!

    This is what I did last year and I managed to grab the rig in my sig for £1500 with applecare brand new :)
     
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #3
    Both options are really possible. It depends of your mid term plans. Basically you have the 2006 spec although it was bought in 2007. The 2007 new technology was the octad which you did not get.

    Selling now and upgrading to a 2008 or 2009 machine would get you the latest EFI64 firmware, which in turn would give you access to the latest graphics cards and future OS X versions.

    On the other hand if you feel you have enough multi core power for your video work you could indeed add the 4870 and SSD. Those purchases can be carried over to the next Mac Pro which you may want to consider when running EFI32 becomes more of a set back. Some people think this will happen in 2011.

    So the whole thing is mainly a question of opportunities, prices and whether you have a long term view to changing machines or find more frequent upgrades by selling and buying feasible.

    Personally I would look for an opportunity to buy a 2,8 2008 octad used. Only if that materializes at a nice prize I would sell my 2007 machine. If you do not get a good enough deal I would upgrade and keep the machine another 2 years.
     
  4. AdvocateUK thread starter macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #4
    I've seen somewhere (here I think but I can't remember) of someone saying that he bought a PC GTX285 and uses an injector to make it run under OS X to avoid the flashing that I'd have to do with a 4870/4890. Basically he said it runs no problem and he doesn't have all the problems that people who have flashed do.

    Is that worth considering?

    I have a 7300 helper card here that came with the Mac Pro.

    Regards

    Alistair
     
  5. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #5
    £500 ? I'm a student at the moment and the student prices start at £1600 for the very basic quad and £2,100 for the basic octo. (That is why I bought a refurbished Dell T5500 with dual X5570s and 24GB of RAM - it was less than £2000 and the equivalent Mac Pro was well over £5000 even with the student discount.) The student discount in the UK is around 17% which is about the same as the Apple refurb discount (I've noticed that refurbs are are slightly more than student new).
     
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #6
    That card requires EFI64 which you don't have.
     
  7. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #7
    Yes. The quad should be about 1500 with a student discount. Minus the £1000 pounds he could recoup by selling his old machine is about £500 or there abouts.

    Don't forget, if you get a student to buy it for you, you can get applecare for only £45 too with the machine. This makes it a no-brainer imo.
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #8
    Upgrade. And there's two ways to go about it:

    1. Keep the current system and upgrade:
      New Processor: X5365 x1 (cost = ~ $600) and about zero when you sell your two X5155. (this will give you a 4-core 3.0 GHz)
      New Video Card: flashed 1GB 4870/4890 (cost = $200)
      More HHDs in RAID0: Samsung HD154UI 1.5 TB X 3 (cost = $300)
      Total cost: ~ $500 (add $600 if you want an 8-core 3.0GHz system)


    2. "Upgrade" the system you have to a 2008 2.88 GHz octad.
      Sell the system you have for under $2K.
      Buy the 2008 for a little under $3K.
      New Video Card: flashed 1GB 4870/4890 (cost = $200)
      More HHDs in RAID0: Samsung HD154UI 1.5 TB X 3 (cost = $300)
      Total cost: ~ $1,400
     
  9. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #9

    Damn.

    I have the even older 06 MP.
    70% = Lightoorm + Photoshop (up 1.5Gb pics)
    29% = FCP+Shake+Color (1080p+compositing)
    1% = Email.

    And I am just doing fine.
    Damn smooth workflow.
    Only encoding times could be a bit faster but MatroxMXO2withMAX is on the way to sort thigs out.



    Serously dude? You are changing your computer because of your "issues"?
    You got to be kidding?
     
  10. AdvocateUK thread starter macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #10

    The Mac Pro version of this card by EVGA requires EFI64. I was referring to a post I read (somewhere) where a guy was using a PC GTX285 in his Mac Pro 1,1 using Netkas Injectors and a 7300GT as a "helper" card.
     
  11. AdvocateUK thread starter macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #11
    No I'm not kidding. This from a guy using 2 ATi 5870's in his MP ;)

    You must be using them in Windows correct? If not care to share with us how you got them working under OSX because I'd LOVE a 5870 in my MP :)

    [EDIT] AHA ur sig is a joke, silly me. The 21" Johnson gave it away :p[/EDIT]

    But something is seriously crippling my MP because I KNOW the quad cores aren't being used as well as they should be.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    You might want to pay close attention to Tesselator's post. The first option is fine. You can upgrade the graphics card first, and see if you need additional HDD throuput (perhaps just a reconfiguration <software RAID of some kind>with the existing drives).

    But if you want to be able to use newer graphics cards (ATI's future cards might work, but nVidia's won't), you'd need to go with option #2 (or slight variation, but the important part is switching to an '08 model).

    Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of Samsung consumer drives. :eek: :D
     
  13. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #13
    I haven't payed much attention to that kind of setups. My guess is that you would have a system that requires some maintenance and would be pretty exotic to trouble shoot.
     
  14. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #14
    Thats probably because most of the programs are not multicore aware :

    Photoshop=BagOfHurt= Uses maybe 1-2 cores for 99% of stuff. Only few special filters might use a bit more.

    Aperture=Sucks= Relatively well optimized for multiple cores and gpu helps the previews. But the program is fat and bloated so = Suck.

    Lightroom=Ok= is a bit more streamlined but it has started to bloat as well post 2.1.


    What you could do is to get a dedicated scratch disk for PS & Aperture that is not your OS disk or media disk. It might speed up a bit.Just a bit though.

    Or, you could raid up a 2-3 disks to a raid0,it might speed up a bit more when doing big batch processes,wich can be I/O heavy.



    But otherwise there is not much you can do. The problem is in the software.
    Whatever you buy will suck more than you MP.
    But,if you like the rush of shopping,hell,go for it.
    Jonesing about new stuff an being a gearwh0re is ok, as long as you admit it!
    :D
    I know,I am....now and then...
     

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