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another "Mac pro: should I buy or wait?" question

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Hi all,


My 2008 MBP is on its last legs and I want to replace it now so I don't have any downtime.


I run a crap ton of VI's (kontakt, spectrasonics, etc...) and record up to 5 or 6 audio tracks simultaneously. Its been a massive struggle with some of the bigger scoring projects, so I need something much more powerful. I'd also like to keep running 10.6 or 10.7 (my buddy regrets upgrading to 10.8 as a lot of his plugins haven't caught up).


I don't want to run a VE pro type system until I have to get it. i am not opposed to it, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.


Hackintosh is not an option - I know what I know but I don't know enough to troubleshoot problems if I one day decide to updade java or security and it screws me.


I don't want an Mac mini for a bunch of reasons. I feel it'll run too hot and I don't think it'll be powerful enough. Besides I like the idea of being able to upgrade to multiple hd's, graphics, ram beyond 16GB etc...also I just don't see it as a great primary machine for composing with tons of VI's.


I don't want an IMac either. I just can't get over the "if the screen breaks, I bring the whole computer in". for the same reasons as the mini, I just feel the iMac isn't a great professional machine. I've never liked all in one desktops, less upgradeable than previous models, and it still isn't benchmarking like the Mac pros (maybe the new ones will?)


I like the new mbp's, however, the ram is soldered in and not upgradeable. plus there's the 10.8 issue, not to mention no expandable hard drives, no upgradeable graphics, etc...also not benchmarking up to Mac pros...


which leads me to the Mac Pro...there's a 2010 Mac Pro 8core refurbished up on apples website that I really want to jump on, but I'm afraid of buying a 3 year old model that could be outdated as early as next year. also, i can see a ton of compatibility issues coming in the next 2-3 years, but it's mostly the reasons I can't think of. apple has infuriating ways of using its software to get people to upgrade hardware even if the hardware still works fine. gah...


if I were to get this 2010 Mac Pro I'd put 10.6, 24gb ram, an ssd, a sata port and possibly USB3.


I'd love to get people's thoughts on where my head is at...should I wait for new Mac pros? I just can't get comfortable with buying a 3 year old model, but given the other options, it feels like by far the best for me ...am I missing something? if i get this, am i screwing myself in 2014/2015/2016? should I be more open to a mini/iMac/mbp??


would love to get people's thoughts...

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Regarding buying the refurb... Although the iMacs are smokin' fast, I don't think the power of the refurb computer will become outdated. Power is power. And a 2010 computer is more than likely (though you should check) to be able to run a previous operating system such as SL or Lion that is proven to marry well with Logic and probably most of your 3rd party plugs. The same can't be said of buying a brand new computer:


One of the reasons I bought my 8-core when I did was because it was just before computers were going to start shipping with Lion, an OS which I had no desire or (more importantly) no need to get into. I was told that if I had purchased a computer on which Lion was installed, I wouldn't be able to "downdate" to SL because the motherboard would be (somehow) incompatible with earlier operating systems.


With that in mind, ask yourself, if you bought the refurb...


1) Do you think you could get 2 years of use out of it?

2) Would it pay for itself in a year or two?

3) Would you agree that it would be more efficacious* to buy a more powerful computer running the OS of your choice rather than invest in what amounts to a potentially frustrating computer science experiment featuring a ML operating system?


If you answer "yes" to all three questions, buy the refurb.


Finally... if cost is at all an issue, I'd dispense with the idea of going with a SSD unless the price/GB ratio is comparable to a traditional HD. Now, I was recently at a composer's studio where he was running system with an SSD system drive, and holy s#!+ did it boot up fast. And while that's attractive and a half, if (again) price is an issue then I'd suggest loading up your system with more RAM rather than spend (perhaps) too much money on the SSD.


* word of the day

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Thanks for the response, ski - I'm going to go with the 2010 2x2.4 mac pro refurb from Apple. with a 256GB SSD as my primary boot. It makes more sense with every passing minute. You're right, looking at all the benchmarks - power is power, and I agree, I don't think it will be outdated any time soon.


In fact, I went into a local independent apple authorized supplier here in LA who had a used 2009 8 core. I told him my situation and his response was "I think a mac pro is the best way to go" and "I won't even sell you the used 2009 - for what you want to do, the 2010 refurb is perfect." When I asked him if he would help me install the SSD and RAM he said he would but that it was so incredibly easy that I wouldn't even need his help. FWIW.

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Just to add an update - I bought the 2010 mac pro (since my overarching issue wasI didn't want to upgrade my OS from 10.6). However, this refurb mac was firmware locked and wasn't able to put 10.6 on it. I just upgraded to 10.8, and have been reinstalling all my old plugins and hardware and it's all working pretty well. I'm ditching the idea that I need to be in 10.6.


However, there are certain things about this machine I can't get over - 3G SSD speeds (should be 6G), FW800, USB2 will all be really old in 2015... not to mention a 2012 mac mini is getting close to a quad core mac pro as far as performance. But mostly I can't imagine what the new mac pros are going to do (based on the fact that a mini, and imac mbp have really come close to lower end mac pro. I think it's worth holding myself over with a mini and waiting for another mac pro in 2013. If it doesn't come out, then I'll see about buying a 2012 mac pro, but now that the OS is not an issue, I'm holding out for just a little while longer..

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I did a ton of research regarding this before recently purchasing a mini.


The Mac Mini actually surpasses the benchmarks of nearly all 2010 mac pro processors (except the two highest end 6 core upgrades) if compared a single processor at a time. It also beats all the 2012 Mac Pro processors except two of the high end 6 cores. The advantage is the available dual processors in the mac pro if you went with the lower end processors. The Mac Mini also surpasses all 2011 iMac processor and all 2012 iMac processor benchmarks except the two available 2012 iMac i7 processors(one for 21.5 & one for 27 in).


In short, the new Mac Mini is a beast for the size and price. There of course are the limitations at 16 gb ram, and only two internal hard drive slots available, but with thunderbolt and usb3, I'm seeing external SSD's as my way to expand without limiting my performance. I've installed dual internal SSD's at the moment and my system is flying right now with no hiccups.


With all that being said, I'm expecting the Mac Pros that are supposed to come out next year to be ridiculous. I just didn't really want to wait to upgrade my system anymore so this is my temporary fix.


Edit: I'm referring the 2.6 ghz quad core i7 in the mac mini by the way.

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nice post. I agree with everything you said. speaking of benchmarks, I DLed the Evanlogic benchmark (there's a thread on gearslutz). my 2008mbp got 20 tracks, the 8 core 2.4 got around 85 and my new 2012 mini gets 125. wowzers. I have the fusion drive in it and logic boots up in like 5 seconds. IF they come out with a 2013 Mac Pro its gonna be a freaking horse...but who knows...maybe this mini is enough?!?!?
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