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Was it a good buy (hindsight)

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macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
I’m curious why people (particular not in photography/film) have purchased a Mac Pro?

I’m a student in CS and my MacBook Pro is no longer cutting it for my duel monitor setup. I do a lot of:
  • putzing around the internet
  • online tutorials
  • programing in sublime, xcode
  • casey neistat vlog watching (youtube)
  • often connected additionally to a 50inch tv
  • duel boot to windows and Mac osx dev builds
  • gaming sometimes (MC, Starcraft, Simcity)

I was thinking about getting a low end (4 core) mac pro to be my basestation for the 4+ years and have my Macbook be restored and setup for class since it doesn’t support me in my full glory anymore.

So i’m genuinely curious if anyone like me (a semi intensive user, student) owns a Mac Pro and why? I think this could be a good machine to last me a long time therefore worth the investment, but i have no experience in this caliber

(Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3


3.7GHz quad-core with 10MB of L3 cache
16GB (4x4GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
512GB PCIe-based flash storage
Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Why did you buy your Mac Pro? Whats your story?


macrumors newbie
Aug 20, 2009
I'll be honest.
I'm an Apple Fanboy, with Money to Burn. i.e. Dual Income no Kids. (DINK).
My most daunting tasks, is contributing to SETI@Home, which you will notice, I am #1 currently for the setiathome team - thanks to the dual d700 and 6 xeon cores.

I have owned a PowerMac G5 dual core 2.3GHz, Mac Pro (3,1), MacBookPro (original Core Duo), MacBookPro (9,1), PowerBook G4, it only made sense to get a Mac Pro 6,1.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2008
The main "pro" reasons for me were being able to run a multiple monitor 4K set-up, do lengthy software builds with heavy unit tests in the background while doing other work, running lots of VMs, and absolutely silent operation. In addition, from a hobbyist standpoint, being able to run Logic Pro with multiple virtual analog softsynths.


macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2012
parents fell for the salesman slick words and greasy hair back in 2006 with the first mac pro..i bought a mac pro in 2011, when i went to college for engineering work. didnt need all the horsepower but i just wanted it.

i bought the Nmp at launch and regretted it a couple months in because i did not want the disposable computer so i sold it.
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macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2011
I don't believe there's a low-end and high-end. The 4-core has its benefits for single core use, which is most important for you I guess.
Portability and speed sure were taken into consideration while making my decision. I hope reliability as well, but since it's a new generation of Mac Pro's I can't really tell you that now. I was actually considering to buy an old mac pro because of upgradability over the expandability of the late 2013. But the lack of thunderbolt and portability convinced me to go with the late 2013.


macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2012
My 2008 3 GHz octo Mac Pro was a good buy overall. I bought it just before my "physics" PhD with money I saved working at a supermarket. I do not do programming just to make it clear.

I bought it because it was the only Mac that appealed to me: I wanted a decent amount of power as I suspected I may need to use virtual machines to run various PhD related software and run simulations etc. I wrote my thesis on it, used the internal drives as work storage etc. To be honest though, the main reason was that it was the only Mac I considered worthy for gaming. It still works although I have upgraded it over time (e.g. PC 5870, 2xSSD for OSX and Windows). I spent a lot of money on it, easily over £3500 factoring in HD and GPU breakdowns and upgrades.

I had a funded PhD position so I was able to afford this but in hindsight, this was too much money spent.

Personally, I would not buy a Mac Pro now if I was in the same situation since I think its too much money. A base Mac Pro is £2500! I would just buy a PC since I don't really need OSX anymore and technically I didn't really need it then either.

If you insist on a new Mac Pro and want to game, I would recommend the D700s since you can never replace the D300s.


macrumors 68040
Aug 29, 2009
Just for the PCIe slots, pretty much.

Also, to have a future-proofed machine which still handles everything I throw at it, having a tower PC with dead-silent fans, having a tower PC case which is clean as hell on the inside, and once I buy a PCIe-SATA card and plug my SSD into that, it'll pretty much be at SATA-III speeds and thus be even more future-proofed than it ever used to be.

I'm not into Thunderbolt because it's evolving really fast, and I'll never need to use it anyways. I also don't care for a desktop machine I can't upgrade, so the tube Mac Pro is literally a trash bin in my eyes.

If this thing ever dies, I'm probably just going to reuse the case if I ever built a new PC. So the nice case was also a bonus factor. Looks nice, and I do like being able to route cables underneath the case.
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macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2014
I've got 2, and the oldest one still serves me well. Amazing machines. I'm a musician, I need lots of tracks, lots of VIs, lots of ram, and most importantly, cpu... As for the new models, I still need PCI so I have to think it trough...


macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2012
New York
I wanted OS X and it was the only Mac that would suite my needs because a lower end model wouldn't, then at that point the only value was going with one with a little more horsepower.


macrumors 68000
Aug 25, 2010
I just wanted a powerful Mac, like the kind they made when Apple made really great, useful, configurable computers. Having a six-core Mac Pro stuffed with 4TB data drives is kind of cool. It definitely scoots along pretty fast.

I just got an HP Z230 i7 (for a Mac mini i7 amount of money). Not as cool as a Mac Pro but a tremendous machine. Now I'm thinking do I keep the Mac Pro or not.


macrumors regular
May 15, 2015
I bought my first Mac Pro back in 2005 (G5) along with 30" Cinema. I am pretty sure I had 500$ or so left after on my account after that. That same year I started college. I was doing tons of freelance 3d/2d/video/photo/cad/web & native coding before that on various PC DIY's. Biggest motivation was reliability / dependability of my OS X rig;

And it did work quite well ttbt, as I was able to do more serious (strict timelines) things.

Now I am more of a (DINK) type of fan boy.

P.S. That G5 is still in service as a map server (had to replace HDD and RAM few years ago). 30" Still works strong as well. Paid ~3000$ originally, divided by 10 years, 300$ a year and still running. Not Bad at All!
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macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2007
I'll be buying one because Apple doesn't make the computer I really want. Something headless so I can choose my display, with a non-integrated graphics card, moderately powerful. I would LOVE the Mac Pro form factor, but I don't need the workstation processors and graphics. I want powerful consumer processors and a single consumer graphics card. Sadly for me, the Mac Pro is my only option. I keep my computers for years (still running a 2009 iMac with i7 quad 2.8GHz and Radeon 4850), so the Mac Pro will last me a while.


macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2011
Well, at the time my rMBP had been returned and I got a gift card for it (due to multiple repairs). I knew immediately that I wanted to get a nMP. Apple's higher end portables had never been reliable while their pro desktops have always been great. I think I had to come up with an additional $100 to get it, but it's worth it. The machine has been great, no issues. Now though, I wanna get a better display. I have two (older 20" Cinema and a Dell 1080p) and they work OK but aren't the greatest. I'd like to get 2 1440p displays (not quite ready for 4k).

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
Sagittarius A*
For use with CS6, Solidworks, transcoding but to also run absolutely anything I want without it slowing down. In real life use my six year old beast batters anything bar the 8 core 6,1 which it beats hands down on cost per buck and I need my slots and upgradable GPU. Quite amusing seeing it dust the top end retina 5k and the new 15 MBP both with maxed out options that I've sold to clients recently :D
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macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2007
I didn't buy a Mac Pro. I do have a 2.3 GHz quad core Mac Mini that has a multicore geekbench score that's 82% of what you're thinking about buying. You could buy one of those, add an SSD and still pay 1/3 of what you would for the base model Mac Pro. You might even upgrade in two years. Future you would probably rather have a 2017 Mac Mini than a 2014 Mac Pro.

Don't get me wrong, I think the MP is a brilliant design.


macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2008
Wanted one for video editing tv recordings / dvd / bluray ripping. 2008mbp and 2009 mini just don't cut it


macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2005
In the Nexus.
Currently I've got a 6-core Mac Pro 5.1. I purchased the system refurbished in July 2012. I bought it more or less as a temporary system, because my 2-core MacMini was a little bit too limited.
The main usage is programming common-lisp, oracle database and lots of virtualization (windows, linux, solaris). Other than this, the usual e-mail, web browsing, itunes. I'm not into video or photography. However I like to play a game from time to time, so a beefy GPU is a huge plus.
That's basically why I dumped the MacMini. The lack of internal space for HDD/SDD and the 6630M GPU simply did not match my usage pattern. I have to say, the MP is one of the best machines I ever owned. Fast and rock solid. I hope it does not break down too soon.


macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2012
I didn't buy a Mac Pro. I do have a 2.3 GHz quad core Mac Mini that has a multicore geekbench score that's 82% of what you're thinking about buying. You could buy one of those, add an SSD and still pay 1/3 of what you would for the base model Mac Pro. You might even upgrade in two years. Future you would probably rather have a 2017 Mac Mini than a 2014 Mac Pro.

Don't get me wrong, I think the MP is a brilliant design.

I bought the cMP mainly to try out gaming on a Mac and I'm an upgrade nut and just had to try it....
So I bought a 2010 cMP with dual 5770 videocards - upgraded the CPU to 5690 and GPU to GTX680. Added an SSD then sold it, realising that it was a lot of dosh sitting there to play a few Mac Games which I had on my pc anyway. After that experiment and with my profit I bought a 2012 quad i7 2.3 mini with SSD, added 16gb ram and put my investment money back in my bank account. So essentially I got the Mini with SSD and upgraded ram for nothing. I didn't need the HP so the mini suits me fine, but man what a great machine the cMP was and still is..... I am actually looking at buying another to upgrade as we speak. FWIW I bought and sold two Imacs and a 2008 cMP for a profit as well. Try doing that with Windows boxes!
I agree a 2012 Quad i7 Mac Mini would probably serve you well, apart from your gaming needs, but even then the games you mention dont need huge GPU grunt so you would probably be fine...
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macrumors 68000
Aug 8, 2008
Zurich, Switzerland
If you get a fast SSD and max-out the RAM (which is really dead-cheap these days), the QC2012 Minis are great.
They don't do 4K video, though. So you've got to settle for a 27" or 30" display.
A 2014 Mini will do 2x2650x1600. So, if you need to maximize screen real-estate, the 2014 is a must, IMO.
Of course, the MP is a totally different animal. It's SSD is much faster than anything the 2012 Mini could support. The Xeon CPUs have much larger caches and are designed to work at max speed for a long time (as is the cooling). And it's video-subsystem blows the 2012 and 2014 out of the water.
And you can have four times the RAM as in the Mini.
But if the system will be sitting idle most of the time - do you really need all that power?

Reno Richter

macrumors member
May 31, 2012
I bought a black cylinder because when it comes time for the next upgrade, I can gut it and it will then match my home office furniture and and make a great trash receptacle. However, my 2.1 was dying. CD drive and 2 of the internal drive bays went south. Two of the FW ports would drop in and out. Processor was old and slow. Geek bench of the Cylinder is 50 percent faster then my 2.1 Was bent on new and in hindsight probably should have bought the latest used tower instead.


macrumors member
Oct 22, 2011
Needed a new Mac to replace my aging 2006 Mini. Always wanted a Mac Pro for the look, the upgrade flexibility and the power it delivers. Couldn't resist to buy a 2009 dual quad core (4.1) for $800 in 2014.
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