What should I replace my old Mac Pro with?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by scotttnz, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. scotttnz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #1
    Let me just say, I know that this is a question that really only I can answer, but I thought it might be useful to collect my thoughts here, and get some of your opinions. We have to fill the internet up with something don't we?

    My Mac Pro still does everything I need, which is mostly hobby photography (Lightroom, Photoshop) intermittent gaming (nothing too demanding - Diablo 3 was the last game I played to death), general MS office and browsing etc, and I run a Windows VM on Parallels for some windows only work tools that I use when I'm working from home. It is a 4,1 hacked to the 5,1 firmware, upgraded with a 6 core X5650, 24GB RAM, GTX760 GPU, 960GB SSD in a SATA3 card, and a couple of larger internal SATA drives for bulk storage and backups. While performance is not too bad for my usage, it does occasionally feel sluggish, and while it it works with Sierra, and I expect High Sierra, it is unsupported, and misses out on some features like Apple Watch unlocking, and the new file system etc, It is a power hog, and at 8 years old I feel it is time for an update. I don't need a Mac Pro, and a new one is well over my budget anyway. I think a well spec'd quad core i5 or i7 would do what I need\want. The big sticking point for me is that I LOVE my Philips 40" 4K monitor....every time I sit down at it, I'm still blown away by having so much real estate.

    The options I am considering are:

    1. More upgrades for the Mac Pro. RX580, PCIe SSD, X5690 or similar faster CPU. But I don't think putting that sort of money into an 8 year old computer is a great investment.
    2. Top Spec 15" MacBook Pro. (NZ$4699) Gives me portability, but I have a 12.9 iPad Pro for that. I'd also have to spend about $500 for a TB3 dock of some kind, and get some form of external bulk storage. Expensive and 16GB RAM max. External GPU is an option to drive the 2nd screen in the future.
    3. 27" iMac. I'd either go with the top stock spec one (NZ$3849), or BTO with 512GB SSD (NZ$4189), and add 3rd party RAM. I'd still have to do something for external storage, although a simple USB drive for time machine would be sufficient if I went with the 2TB fusion drive option. The major drawback would be that I don't have room on my desk for a 27" and the 40" screen, so that would have to go. :(
    4. 21" BTO with i7, 16GB RAM, and 512SSD (NZ$3739) would just fit on my desk along side the 40". RAM isn't easily upgradable, so i'd be tempted to go with 32GB, which Apple charge a ridiculous price for. External GPU is an option to drive the 2nd screen in the future. I'm a bit worried that the built in display would make my 40" look bad :rolleyes:
    5. Wait for an updated quad core, TB3 Mac Mini (don't laugh ;)) and add external GPU and storage. This would be ideal for me, but I will be surprised if it ever happens.
    Any thoughts\feedback appreciated.
     
  2. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #2
    Good morning fellow kiwi. I'm thinking about the same things, but I already have the maxed-out retina 27" iMac (earliest one - late 2014). You shouldn't underestimate the quality of the screen, even though the size is relatively small. This replaced a maxed-out 2012 retina MBP (with the 768Gb SSD) running a 30" Dell monitor.

    Personally, I would be ready to flick the iMac on Trademe and get an iMac Pro when they come out, but the possibility of 8k and a larger 30+" Apple-branded monitor is making me think about waiting for the Mac Pro... I don't need lots of multi-core, just the maximum possible single-core and graphics performance with as much SSD internally as possible. You don't mention whether you're willing to wait this long...

    I've been exceptionally happy with the iMac, and it's still a great machine. I run 1Tb SSD, and an external TB2 8Tb LaCie for mass storage, with a 9Tb Synology NAS and 10Tb USB3 external drive for Time Machine backups. I would probably keep the same externals for my next machine, but want to go to at least 2Tb SSD internally.
     
  3. scotttnz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #3
    Thanks for the feedback. That iMac Pro sounds awesome, but realistically I do not need that much power or want to spend the sort of money they will be asking for it. I am wavering between ditching the 40" for a high spec 27" iMac and getting either a 21" iMac or 15" MBP to use with the 40". Fortunately I am not in a rush, so I may wait and see what the iMac Pro brings. There might be a few trashcans and high spec iMacs on the used market when it comes out.
     
  4. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #4
    There will be a nice maxed out 27" iMac with one careful owner on Trademe as soon as the Mac Pro comes out :)
     
  5. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #5
    If you need to be portable, then the only option is the MacBook Pro. Otherwise ask yourself a question. How likely is it that you will max out the CPU/GPU of an iMac and want to upgrade? If you are going from a modular design to an all in one you lose the ability to swap out parts. If this is not an issue, then go for the 27" iMac. It's a nice machine.

    I personally think you would be best off waiting as your current machine works. See what Apple's new modular Mac Pro is like before making a decision. You are likely to want something that will last a few years so wait until it is announced in a couple of months - my guess is Apple will want to announce it this year and ship next year. You might not be able to get one straight away, but at least you will have an answer, or you might decide it's not for you and just go for the iMac. You might even ditch the Mac completely and go for a PC. Who knows, it's your call. But I do think you should wait a couple of months so you have all the information.
     
  6. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #6
    I would wait a little longer for rumors about new desktops. If not iMac, Macbook Pro, or even Windows if you can tolerate it. I wouldn't keep buying Apple if they continue to neglect their desktops.
     
  7. scotttnz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #7
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm really not in the market for an iMac Pro or Mac Pro, but I've done some measuring, and I think I might try a 27" iMac. If I decide it is all, too big I can sell the 40" and get a smaller second screen. I have a bit of time to ponder the exact canfiguration while I wait for my quarterly bonus to be paid....
     
  8. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #8
    I bet you end up finding you don't like your 40" monitor the moment you use the 27" iMac. That's certainly what happened for me, and my old monitor has been sitting under the desk ever since.
     
  9. scotttnz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #9
    That is definitely a possibility, and I'm ok with that.
     

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