When and what options for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dlweber2, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. dlweber2 macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
    I have been considering a Mac for a while now and believe I will get one. I am looking at a Mac Pro. This site says to wait and buy after the next update. What does everyone think? I am not in any big rush. Also I heard there will be a new OS soon, when and should I wait?

    I have been buying Dells for about 10 years and the most confusing thing to me are the options on buying a Mac. Every option seems to be very expensive. The base Mac Pro is $2800 and I believe this does not even include a monitor. Upgrading to a 3.2 cpu chip is $1600 (wow!). Going form 2GB to 4Gb is $500. The system comes with a 256MB graphics card, is this enough? Do Macs not need as much ram, cpu and graphic speed to run fast? For example, on the dell site, a xps can upgrade to a 3.8 cpu for $500, comes with 4GB of RAM and DUAL CARDS: nVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512MB SLI.

    I understand Macs are more expensive but I am used to ordering from dell and I am not sure what upgrades are worth the money on a Mac. Thankyou for helping me because I believe a Mac is my next step.
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Wait for the Nehalem update at MacWorld 2009. Snow Leopard will be out after June.

    Nope. An equally configured Dell is $1,500 more when you get to the good upgrades. Never buy RAM, ODDs, or HDDs from Apple.
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Well when it comes to workstations. ;)
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    You are comparing Workstation/Server hardware (Mac Pro) to desktop hardware (XPS). There are big price differences, mainly in the expensive processors. The two 2.8GHz quad cores the Mac Pro uses cost over $800 each, the 3.2GHz are around $1400 a piece.

    Don't buy any upgrades from Apple except for the airport if you need it or processors if you do hours of processing daily or your time is very valuable. Memory and storage can be found elsewhere. If you don't need to use it for intensive 3D applications the base graphics card is fine.

    As for the memory that comes with the Mac Pro as standard, Apple have always offered the minimum amount needed on the Power Macs (to my knowledge) and Mac Pros. The Mac Pro's components would cost around it's retail price if brought separately by the way.
  5. dlweber2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
    So, if I am looking for a desktop computer to do video and photo editing, is a Mac Pro what I need?
  6. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You could get away with an iMac.
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    If you don't want an iMac's display or want many of the features it doesn't have (RAID, multiple drives, more than 4GB RAM, better GPU options) and want OSX then sure. There are ways to not be spending $2800 though. Used or refurb systems. Going quad core instead of 8 core.
  8. dlweber2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
    "You are comparing Workstation/Server hardware (Mac Pro) to desktop hardware (XPS). "

    What is the difference?
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The ability to support two processors comes at a dollar cost. The 2.83GHz 1333MHz FSB desktop processor costs $320, the Xeon version costs $700. A quality desktop system board can be had for around $200 easily with all the features someone might need. A full featured workstation board will run you over $400.

    The Mac Pro's system board and two processors alone would cost you in excess of $2,000. If you go the quad core Mac Pro route you are effectively paying three times as much for a system board and processor than you would from a site like newegg for the desktop equivalent.

    There are also other hardware differences like larger, but slower, memory support and the other benefits you get with the Xeon platform that you can read about on Intel's site if you want more info.

    Apple have to offer workstation hardware and because they don't offer a system using desktop hardware (everything else is mobile hardware) it can make for confusing price comparisons. In the end it comes down to how much you want OSX and don't want one of the other options.
  10. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    You're looking at the XPS line of machines that are really designed for gaming. Dell's workstations are here.

    I selected a few options that would get this thing to be close to the Mac Pro. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages:

    Quad Core Intel® Xeon® Processor E5440 (2.83GHz,2X6M L2,1333)
    Quad Core Intel® Xeon® Processor X5440 (2.83GHz,2X6M L2,1333)

    The Mac Pro has a 1600Mhz FSB for each processor as opposed to the 1333Mhz FSB of the Dell. Not a huge deal. Not sure why one of the processors is an X and one is an E, the "only" difference will be the wattage. Weird.

    Genuine Windows Vista Business Bonus-Windows XP Professional downgrade

    Choose from XP Pro or Vista Business, no price addition.

    3 Year Limited Hardware Warranty with Next Business Day On-Site Service

    Apple Care only includes a year of warranty support, though it can be extended.

    256MB PCIe x16 nVidia NVS 290, Dual Monitor DVI Capable

    The dell has a nicer group of pro graphics cards to choose from. Not a big deal if you don't use Maya.

    2GB, DDR2 SDRAM FBD Memory, 667MHz, ECC (2 DIMMS)

    The Mac Pro has 800Mhz FB-DIMMS, not a big deal.

    16X DVD-ROM with Cyberlink Power DVD™
    250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s,7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurst Cache™

    Same size hard drive after an upgrade, the basic dell comes with... An 80GB.

    No Monitor
    Resource DVD - Contains Diagnostics and Drivers
    Dell USB 2-Button Mechanical Mouse with Scroll

    The Dell is $3778, the Mac Pro is $2799.

    Keep in mind that this is not quite a side by side comparison, but it's fairly close. Hope this helps.
  11. dlweber2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
    So, it sounds to me like the apple will have comparable speed to a Dell system. I am looking at apple for the ease of operations and increase speed. It just gets confusing when comparing systems. If I go with a Mac Pro is there any options to get when I purchase the machine like upgraded graphics cards or do I wait and purchase things later. Also when would the new system come out. Thanks for the help.
  12. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The Mac Pro isnt exactly a rip off, but that doesnt mean you should get it. It is a workstation, if you arent running business doing tons of rendering all day then you probably dont need that much power.
  13. dual64bit macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2004
    If you buy a Mac Pro, you need to buy the hardware RAID and SAD. That setup MAKES the Mac Pro!
  14. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    If you are doing 3D work then you might consider the 8800GT upgrade, but the ATI HD3870 is a better card, but can only be got seperately and works out more that way (new card vs upgrade). If you think you will use wireless then get the airport upgrade at the time of purchase too. Anything else should be bought afterwards.
  15. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    If you have to ask yourself if you need a Mac Pro, you don't need one :p.

    Very few consumers will ever need a system like that.

    If you want to start with a Mac desktop, get an iMac. You expressed concern about the Mac Pro not having a monitor, the iMac solves this problem.

    Mac Pro is not for gamers or casual video/photo editors. Most people that buy it buy it for their professional work and write it off as a business expense on their taxes :p. These are people that would consider spending $2600 on a graphics card.
  16. dlweber2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
    OK, I just looked at the iMac. There are basically no options. Is this correct? Like I said, I am use to getting Dells where there are lots of options. No graphic card option, speakers, cameras, sounds card, etc? Is there are different options list.

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