When would you stop upgrading and replace?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by aller, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. aller macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I have a MacPro (1,1) that's served me well for the past ~3.5 years. I've upgraded it over time (more RAM, more drives, etc.), and I'm now considering upgrading the video card and possibly swapping out some of the smaller drives. Then the question hit me: Is it time to sell this one and get something new?

    In the past this has been an easy answer. I have a G3 and G5's are out. I have a G5, and the new, shiny Mac Pro's are out.

    This time, it's not so clear-cut. Circumstances have changed: I'm no longer using my home computer to make a living. I have a real job now. :) This box has been relegated to iLife duties and my son's occasional World of Warcraft sessions. The most processor-intensive thing I do now is export EyeTV shows to iTunes.

    So I'm staring at three options:
    1) Sell the Mac Pro and buy a 21.5" iMac at ~$0 cost out-of-pocket
    2) Sell the Mac Pro and buy a C2D 27" iMac at ~$200 cost out-of-pocket
    3) Upgrade to an HD 4870 or some other flashed card (which is an entirely different topic) primarily to feed my son's growing gaming habit, which at most is $350 out-of-pocket.

    I'm leaning toward option #1. With the rumors of the next gen Mac Pros coming, I'm thinking that the resale price on my box is about to drop significantly. I don't deal well with large displays (I had to swap the 30" display at work for 2 smaller displays.), so option #2 doesn't really jump out at me. Also, the i5 version is outside of the realm of the money I want to spend.

    I think my hesitation is mostly emotional. Mac Pro -> iMac feels like a downgrade, even though I don't think it necessarily is for my usage. Opinions?
  2. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    You forgot to mention the specs on your MacPro.
    I am not sure what MacPro(1,1) specs are. :)
  3. aller thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I certainly did, sorry. It's the first generation MacPro with 2.66GHz processors, ATI x1900xt video card, 8GB of RAM, and 4x500GB drives.
  4. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    It is still a pretty good machine, so that is a tough call. Are those the dual core or quad core xeons? I can't remember. But I would definitely enjoy a quad tower over my C2D iMac. :)
  5. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    I think that you are also able to upgrade the processors in that mac pro and put dual quad cores in should you so desire. I wouldn't go to the imac due to losing the drive bays and expandability. I still run a G4 that has SATA and USB2 that would not be possible without the expansion. I am looking at getting a 2008 mac pro at the moment. In your position I would choose option 3
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Dual Core per CPU, so 4 cores total.

    OP, what do you use it for?
    For general computing, it's a good system. In fact, they're still good for photography work (PhotoShop can only utilize 2 cores right now). But if it's being used for video/graphics editing (i.e 3D work), not so much anymore.
  7. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    I have the same machine and it still works quite well. I do a lot of HD video and I can begin choking from time to time but overall it gets the job done. I'd like to think I can get another year out of it before I NEED to upgrade to a better system.
  8. aller thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    It's more or less retired now. I pretty much just use it to store pictures of the kids (iPhoto), and I occasionally use it to chop up videos of my daughter's soccer games so the grandparents can see her (non-HD iMovie).

    I can certainly do nothing and be happy. There's nothing that I need to do with it that it can't currently do. Having said that, three years or so has historically been my sweet spot for maximizing resale value. My question is being mostly driven by the beautiful screens on the iMacs and my son's complaints about Warcraft frame rates. :)
  9. jwt macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2007
    To the OP,

    Those options look like sidegrades to me. I don't think any of the C2D machines you mentioned would outpace your current rig. What's the advantage of replacing it?
  10. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space
    If you really want to buy an iMac, get at least one of the i5 or i7 processors.
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I'd get my son to quit Warcraft.

    Would be cheaper overall. ;)

    But if it really came down to it, I'd do the upgrade because going from an iMac to a Mac Pro later on will be quite difficult (financially).
  12. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    I'm just wondering, why did you get a MP in the first place? :confused: Are you not using it because you have something better?

    Going to an iMac is just plain STUPID. It's like trading in a 3 year old Lexus to for a new Corolla!

    As for upgrading video, I don't see the need for it if all you (err, your son) want to do is play WoW and some such.

    Your MP has at least a couple of good years left in the tank for how you're using it.
  13. smacman macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    I'd have to agree with akadmon. iMacs are consumer grade machines and just don't have the level of build quality that your Mac Pro has. Your 3+ year old Mac Pro has a very good chance of outlasting a brand new iMac that is purchased today. Furthermore, the fact that you have been able to add upgrades to your machine over time should reinforce your choice to stick with the Mac Pro.
  14. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I think 3-4 years for most heavy users. I am a light user so I usually get 5+ years from desktops and laptops. My Power Mac was 7 before it was retired as my main machine. My iBook was 5 years old before it became a backup machine, meaning that it really never got used much after that.

    But 2 years or less, with replacing machines, is common with those with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). It's a common trend for my Mac clients, when I was a techie, to see them get the latest and greatest in January, lust but sometimes refrain a year later, but definitely get the latest and greatest in the second year. Technology still moves at light speed, so by the time any Mac is 2 years old, the cheaper, more well equipped Mac at the store is hard to pass up for the techie inclined users.

    I go a long time because to me, my Mac is a tool, a fondly loved one, but still a tool.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Upgrades on that particular system will be limited though (for OS X), in the near future. Graphics cards are already becoming a problem (nVidia's more recent offering's won't work). So far, ATI cards are still working, but it may not last that much longer (hopefully will, but no way to be sure). Assuming the graphics card requirements won't exceed what the 4870 can do (hopefully the 58xx will too, if/when released for Mac), it can get you a couple of years or so.

    Then there's OS X. Once it goes exclusively to K64, those versions won't work on the EFI32 systems. So as long as the newest version isn't needed, it will still have life in it.

    On the Windows side, its possible to use whatever PCIe hardware you want, and it can run the 64bit versions (though a Retail disk is a bit tougher to install, due to the different versions on it = mod before it will load).

    It all comes down to usage. ;)
  16. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I don't like the car analogy you put forth. If you said going from the top of the line Mercedes at three years old to a new Corolla, that would make sense.

    By the looks of some of the new Corollas (I have been car shopping) I would rather have one of those nicely appointed than most three year old Lexus models. But that's just me. :)

    That being said, I like Mercedes, Lexus, and Toyota Corollas.
  17. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    Just cram more RAM into it. You can go up to 32GB of RAM into it (Apple says only 16GB, but they lie) Add a new GPU, an SSD boot drive (or RAID 0) and you'll be screaming for at least another year.
    That's why I got my Mac Pro; it's cheaper and easier to upgrade over time than get a whole new system every time you need more speed IMO.

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