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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Should I Buy A New MacPro or Upgrade Existing MacPro ?

Should I Buy A New MacPro or Upgrade Existing MacPro ?
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Anto39x
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Aug 25, 2016, 07:22 AM
 
Hi all...

I have a Mid 2010 MacPro 12 Core (2 x 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon) with 64 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC + 500GB SSD + QTY 3 x 3TB Internal Drives + 15TB DroboS (using Firewire) + 27" Apple Cinema Display (not Thunderbolt)

This was the biggest investment I ever made and it's been the best.... this computer has been a total workhorse and without one single issue... well maybe one... Ethernet Port 1 died on my a few months back... but other than that... a powerful, productive computer that has paid for itself over the past 6 years many times over.

I wanted to get the new MacPro back in 2013 when it was released... but for the first time ever in the history of me buying new Apple products, I decided to hold off until Gen 2... for a faster, even better spec machine. I'M STILL WAITING

But if a refresh of the MacPro happens this year... should I buy it if it's got all new bells and whistles. My fear is that all my old tech won't work with it... or if it does with adaptors it will under perform.... and what about all that storage that I currently have access to... how can I get that to work on one of these new cylinder style MacPro's, is there a solution for that... will I need to upgrade my Drobo S Firewire backup system.

It just seems that upgrading to this new machine will cause major issues.... or... is there reliable 3rd party supplier that could being my current machine in 2016 and beyond... I would be looking to future proof it for another 4 years or so... new SSD hard drive, is there better RAM, new kick ass processor... and would this stuff be easy to install DIY style ?

Anyone else find themselves in a similar situation..?

I'm an old skool graphic design using my machine for traditional graphics work, along with large format signage design, but Im also use it for home movies, and converting video file format in Handbrake (not so much now as I discovered PLEX).

Software I use: Adobe Creative Cloud CC, QuarkXpress 2016, Final Cut Pro, Parallels, Handbrake (sometimes).

Any comments, suggestions most welcome.


Best regards,
Anthony
     
P
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Aug 25, 2016, 09:59 AM
 
This is very hard to answer until we see the new machine, but let me put it this way: what do you want out of the new Mac Pro? Same as what you have today except new and shiny (and with warranty, not unimportant), or is there a feature that you don't have that you want? I see one big thing, but let's see what you say.

There is really nothing you can do with that Mac Pro except maybe replace the GPU, but since you didn't even mention that, maybe GPU is not your main concern. The CPU uses an old socket and you have pretty much the best you can put in that socket. 64GB RAM is not shabby, and I think that it may be the RAM ceiling for that model. You can of course replace all storage with SSDs, but I would not advice spending all that money on an older Mac when you can't necessarily move it to the next model.

Old external storage can be used with adapters. It will be as fast as it is today, no faster, but that is mostly because spinning rust is slow in itself.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
reader50
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Aug 25, 2016, 12:07 PM
 
The CPUs can be upgraded to 12-core 3.46 GHz. But that is a few grand, for at most 18% speed boost. Doesn't seem worth it.

The RAM can go to 128 GB using 8x 16 GB DIMMs. You might well get some mileage out of a GPU upgrade, depending on what you have now and what you'd like to speed up. HDs can be upgraded to 10 TB today, though those are about $500 each. SSDs have been announced up to 64 TB, but you might have to sell the house to buy one of those.

Normally I'd recommend only limited upgrades until we can see the new MacPro. But I'd have given that advice a year ago too, and you'd still be waiting. I haven't read any rumors lately about the MP getting upgraded, so we don't even know if it will happen this year.

You have a good and expandable computer today. I wouldn't worry about future-proofing it. Rather, identify a bottleneck that annoys you. And do targeted upgrades. Apple will update the MP when they feel like it, and apparently their feelings are hurt. Or something.
     
OreoCookie
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Aug 25, 2016, 07:30 PM
 
I have a slightly newer, but similarly specced machine at work. I don't think it's worth it to upgrade at this point, nor do I think there are areas where your machine really needs an upgrade. 64 GB RAM seems plenty, and unless you know that you are constantly swapping memory, it makes no sense to upgrade RAM. I concur with reader that upgrading CPUs is probably not worthwhile either — your machine is just too fast And if you can put all these cores to work, it is still faster than most current Macs.

The current Mac Pro essentially hasn't changed since its introduction in 2013, it is old technology. I cannot recommend you getting one at this point. People expect that Apple has to upgrade it soon given the age of its Mac line-up, but we don't know when that will happen. It's not even clear if Apple will upgrade the Mac Pro, at least there are no rumors to that effect (although to be fair, this may be due to the fact that Mac Pro rumors is not what people are really interested in).
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Aug 26, 2016, 04:48 AM
 
The Mac Pro is also assembled in the US, with less chance of supply chain leaks, and less interest from people like case manufacturers who pay well for images of the latest iPhone.

Apple had a the chance to make a straight update of the Mac Pro last year some time - replace the CPU with the newest chip of the same category (Haswell-E) and the GPU in the same way (to the "Hawaii"-class GPUs from AMD). For the CPU, it is a drop-in replacement. For the GPU, you do need to change the cooling contacts for the chip as well as have a different circuit board, but it is not hard. In both cases, you'd have a 50% boost at the same price. For some reason, they didn't, and I don't understand it.

Apple could update now, to Broadwell-E on the CPU side, but there isn't really a great GPU solution right now. The AMD Fury is a possibility, but it is RAM limited and DP performance went down compared to Tahiti (what's in there now) and Hawaii. Vega (AMD's next high performance card) isn't out yet, Apple and nVidia aren't friendly, and their top tier cards aren't available in volume yet anyway. The card that probably makes the most sense now is Hawaii, still, but it is so silly to update that card now when it has been out for two years and is due to be replaced.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Anto39x  (op)
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Aug 26, 2016, 05:26 AM
 
Thank you all so so much for all your excellent comments, suggestions and observations.... they have all been very helpful.

I think for now I shall wait.... and hold off.... as I do feel over the years I have added more external drives.... added more RAM etc... so I have upgraded it already many times... and to be fair... it's still doing a great job.

I just know... that after Sierra... Apple may drop support for my machine altogether for future MacOS updates and then I will be forced to make a decision to either upgrade my current computer or go for a new MacPro if indeed they do materialise...

Here's something I never considered... would a top top top of the range iMac with all the bells and whistles work as an upgrade... example... new 5K machine turbo charged...?

Again... guys thank you for all your contributions... they are really helpful and shaping my approach to this whole upgrade question.


Best regards,
Anthony
     
reader50
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Aug 26, 2016, 05:38 AM
 
The last time Apple cut models from the supported list was Mountain Lion (10.8). So it was 4 versions (4 years) before another cutdown happened. I suspect another 3-4 years before the next cutdown. With two years of support after that since Apple keeps supporting the previous two OS versions.

I have a 2009 Mac Pro, not even flashed to a 5,1 yet. I'm not worried today, and still do GPU and HD upgrades as needed. Most recently, I upgraded graphics cards to support 4K monitors.

There's nothing good to upgrade to today, nothing may show up for some time, and my MP does everything I need it to do. Apple will release something good when they feel like it, and I'm not putting my life (or upgrades) on hold pending a hypothetical update.
     
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Aug 26, 2016, 08:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Anto39x View Post
Here's something I never considered... would a top top top of the range iMac with all the bells and whistles work as an upgrade... example... new 5K machine turbo charged...?
Yes, and this is clearly what Apple wants users like you to move to. The 5K iMac is a fine machine - great display, a powerful modern quadcore, and PCIe-attached SSD storage options paired with a pretty decent GPU (likely to get much better in the next model, if my tea leaves are accurate) - but it brings pretty much one big thing compared to what you have today: You get a Retina quality display. Which is great, but you also lose 8 cores, the RAM ceiling doesn't go up any, and you won't be updating that machine for years as it is for all intents and purposes a sealed box except for the RAM slots.

It is probably the sane answer, to be honest. It is just a bit of a sad end for the MP.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Anto39x  (op)
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Aug 27, 2016, 05:57 AM
 
Thanks for your comments "P".... I think I will hold off for now... for the short term... MacOS Sierra could very well be the last compatible system install I get with my current MacPro and I will decide then what to do... and hopefully the future of the MacPro might be a little more clear.

Thanks to all your guys for your generous input.

Regards,
Anthony
     
OreoCookie
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Aug 27, 2016, 10:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Anto39x View Post
I think I will hold off for now... for the short term... MacOS Sierra could very well be the last compatible system install I get with my current MacPro ...
I don't think see any reason why Apple will cut off support for these Mac Pros. Usually Apple does so for reasons (e. g. in the 32 bit-to-64 bit transition some graphics drivers did not go 64 bit, ending support for some machines). I'm not telling you your machine will be supported forever, but honest, I don't think you need to worry about that just yet.

Apple's hand will be forced soon on what to do with the Mac Pro, whether to update or discontinue it (as the current one uses 3-year-old technology). In case it gets discontinued without replacement, the iMac is the natural choice. In fact, the iMac probably comes with the best display on the market* as it is a desktop with Retina screen. Since you mentioned you're using media applications for the most part, I reckon 64 GB is probably enough. (Unless you're doing demanding 3D work or so.)

* If your needs are extremely specific, there are other, more suitable displays on the market. But even if you need those, you can connect up to two of them to a 27" iMac, giving you 3 displays.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
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