Wondering what to do with my mac pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sparkie1984, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    Hi everyone,

    I have a 2009 mac pro base model with 6gb ram and the radeon 4870.

    I ended up with the mac pro after having iMac issues and apple helping me out with a deal so don't particularly use all of its power.

    I am wondering whether to invest some money into this mac pro and getting a 256GB SSD (any recommendations?) and a better graphics card (again anything that works out of the box) and boot camping so I can play the occasional game in windows,

    or would the iMac when its refreshed offer me more power?

    I also fancy a 27" display as I currently have the 24" and my thinking is the monitors so expensive on its own should I add a few hundred ££ and get a newer machine. And future proofed with thunderbolt also.

    did think about a windows box but don't want 2 machines really and like osx for everything else

    Any thoughts much appreciated!
  2. trooperx17 macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2012
    for the ssd I would take a Samsung 830 Sata 3 256 GB
  3. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Or you could use a cheaper SATA2 SSD since the Mac Pro does not have SATA3.
  4. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    thanks for pointing that out mate, didn't realise it only has sata II
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I got a Plextor M3 SSD. It uses the same highly regarded controller as the Crucial, it uses server-grade memory chips, its performance is great, and it has a longer warranty than most SSDs (5 years). The pricing is also great. Right now Newegg has the 256GB for $280 after rebate.

    The iMac is a bad choice for boot camp gaming because its GPU cannot be upgraded and it is a mobile GPU so you'll fall behind quickly with no other upgrade path than replacing the entire computer and its built-in monitor.

    The Thunderbolt ACD is not compatible with any Mac Pro.

    AFAIK the only video cards to work 100% out of the box with full support in all aspects are Apple official cards. The fastest you can get at the moment is the 5870. It is quite expensive and probably not worth an upgrade from your 4870. If you can wait a few months, I would do that. There are likely newer cards coming from Apple at probably the same price point but much faster. There are aftermarket cards that get close to 100% out of the box, but that's a whole can of worms and you'll just have to look at existing threads. The 6870 is often quoted as the easiest and most trouble-free.
  6. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    Thanks mate, very helpful :)

    Im really stuck with what to do, I also didn't realise I couldn't just hook up a thunderbolt display.

    Im trying to work out whether its worth putting money into this to make it more powerful or whether to start thinking of other options really, I mean even if they finally update the mac pro this year its not going to make my 2009 work with thunderbolt is it? unless they released an add on card i guess, but then why haven't they done it yet?

    I would of thought Mac Pro users would want the high end equipment.

    I am going to struggle to end up with a 27" apple display with the mac pro, unless I buy another make.

    I looked up the 5870 £377!!!! wowzers, I bet it wouldn't be an increase enough to justify that price tag either
  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    You didn't state what you use the system for, so it's tough to answer your question.

    Also, it might help to know what issue caused you to go from an iMac to a Pro originally.

    One thing you could do is go to Apples web store and configure an iMac like you would want it except for the memory. Memory is very easy to install yourself and doesn't void the warranty. And Apple currently charges way too much. You will then have an approximate price to work with on whether it's better to upgrade your Pro or buy a new iMac. note that when Apple updates the iMac, the prices can fluctuate.

    Other things to consider:
    • A new system will have a warranty and you can add AppleCare if you want.
    • Apple does drop support for systems with every major OS release. So how many more OS upgrades can you get for your Pro versus a new Mac.
    • You will no longer have a tower taking up space.
    • And one that some people forget. A Pro uses more electricity than an iMac. This is an ongoing cost that people don't seem to think about.
  8. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    I use it for minor photo work (I am learning about photography) general browsing, Large iTunes library that is held on a windows server box and encoding movies, nothing too taxing apart from the encoding,

    The iMac issue was when they first came out they had issues with the screens on the 27" and I went through 5-6 units before I emailed apple and they offered me a mac pro for the same price (obviously had to buy monitor) due to massive amounts of aggro taking back and replacing the iMacs.

    I loved the iMac when it worked though.

    The other thing I would like to do ideally would be to leave the iMac on so I can access my iTunes from apple tv without having to turn on the computer first, the mac pro is a bit electric hungry for 24/7 running I think.

    My thinking like yours with apple dropping support is also would a new iMac be of similar or greater power to the pro I have? I would spec it with an SSD
  9. RedCroissant, Apr 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Mac Mini...

    I would invest in a refurbished Mac Mini and use that as your iTunes box. It uses much less energy than the Pro and it would also work with the display(I think). That way, you still keep the Mac Pro whose specs are still really good and you save money in the long run by not having to buy another monitor/large computer.

    Forget the refurbished Mini idea, the one they have in there is almost $1000. So, I would buy a new base model Mini and a god external hard drive for your iTunes library. You can upgrade the RAM with Crucial and save money there.
  10. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    been reading around and it seems I could look into getting a more powerful graphics card for the mac pro, just unsure about this flashing malarky? also I have been further confused from the thread about seeing the boot screen with modified cards.

    I would need to see the boot screen ideally so I could bootcamp into windows to play some games.

    I guess i would have a half decent system with a SSD and updated graphics, even though I have the base model macpro
  11. jabbawok macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2004
    I'm pretty sure you van run any graphics card you want for bootcamp. You wouldn't get the boot screen in osx but some may work after boot up.

    I've got a 2006 1,1 Mac Pro that I've upgraded th CPUs from dual to quad cores, stuck a load of RAM in and an ATI 5770, also I'm booting off a 120gig SSD.
    If you want a tidy mounting solution for an SSD look at
    Newertech Adaptadrive

    Also look at netkas.org for graphics card information.
  12. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2008
    That depends on what the OP is looking for in an SSD. The "small file/4k"-speeds of newer SATA3-drives are still faster than most SATA2 on small file IO, which still does not saturate the SATA2 bandwidth. I.e. a SATA3 drive will still be a better drive than most SATA2 even if the Mac Pro can not utilize ALL the benefits of it.
  13. handygeek, Apr 27, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012

    handygeek macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2007
  14. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Quadra 4000 versus Radeon 5870

    The Quadra 4000 has been around for a while, but still it's $880!! Is it much better than the Radeon 5870 to justify the extra cost?

  15. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    They have completely different purposes. Are you needing the pro drivers or what is this for? The Quadro 4000 is slower than a GTX285 in consumer things like video games. Which means the 5870 is almost twice as fast for those things. The 5870 does not support CUDA obviously nor the advanced 3D modeling stuff. Why would anyone even compare these cards? Totally different.
  16. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Looking to do both gaming and video editing. I am not a Hollywood level editor, although I am thinking of getting the AVID and I already have Premiere via CS5. If I get Final Cut Pro X which doesn't use CUDA, then right no need for Quadro 4000. If I do get AVID and want to game, would it make sense (economically and speed-wise) to get Quadro 4000. So with AVID would I need the pro drivers in the Quadro 4000, or would the 5870 be alright with AVID. If the 5870 is find with AVID then I would get that and enjoy the speed gains with gaming too. :)

    Well, I always thought the cost of a graphics card was based on its speed and memory, so when the Quadro 4000 costs more and was slower, well that was baffling. So now I know people pay more for the Quadro 4000 for the drivers.

  17. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Yes. It really comes down to the tools you decide on and whether it is worth it.
    Adobe should be supporting more OpenCL stuff but new gen only not 5000 series with Mercury playback. At least as far as I know. The CS6 PS stuff is supposed to be supported for all cards. Avid appears to be Nvidia only as well and maybe even zero GPU acceleration on a Mac:( Look into this further. Super lame if true. Apple needs to get these API's to 3rd parties. We will be utterly dusted in GPGPU and future computing. Back to open vs. closed standards "in fighting".
    So anything other than Final Cut would be better served by Nvidia right now. CUDA had amazing marketing apparently.
  18. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'd call that more of case of CUDA being ready for practical use first.
  19. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    There is always that.

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