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Old May 11th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

I've been editing with MBP's for five years, and with more and more overlapping projects, really need to get a second at-home-only system to primarily handle long renders, compression, and other such tasks. Ideally it'll be faster than my pre-Thunderbolt 17" MBP w/ 8GB RAM.

While CS6 will be my new primary edit suite, a large number of my edit clients still desire FCP workflow, so converting wholesale to PC is not feasible.

I'm pricing the various i5/7 iMacs, but notice that the fully-decked price for them isn't much less than a ~2010-era Mac Pro. A new MacPro doesn't seem to add significant gains vs. the older model. I already have the monitor, keyboard, mouse, extra hard drives (internal and external), etc, so I'd only really need the box anyway.

Are the i5 processors and TBolt that significant of a performance increase, or will I never even notice vs. the 4-8 Xeons?

For that matter, is there any reason a maxed i7 Mac Mini isn't a better choice than the Mac Pro?
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Last edited by Kevin McRoberts; May 11th, 2012 at 06:26 PM.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Re: Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

Every Mac Pro model is still a good machine if it can be had at the right price, but especially the 8 core models (Quad cores are solid but lack raw performance in some areas). What you miss out on in Thunderbolt expandability in most cases is made up for by PCI expandability and graphic card options seem to be improving as more driver support is being made available in Lion for Nvidia cards.

What the right price is becomes the question really
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Old May 11th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #3
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Mac Pro is built for stout

My personal feeling is the Mac Pro, even if it is slower, would be preferable over the iMac or MacBook Pro because of the way it is built. The Mac Pro is really built stout - everything is very heavy duty, lots of breathing room for air cooling, really meant for a lot of continuous running.

A couple weeks ago I replace the lower case on my MacBook White 1,1 early 2006 1.83 and everything is really small, compact, and crammed together. When charging the battery gets hot and this causes all the electronics inside to get hot. The cooling fan just really can't keep the inside of the cabinet cool. It's a nice little computer, won't run FCPX, but is great for email and web surfing. Hence, my second machine, a

MacBook Pro 15" 2.53 5,1 with memory upgraded to 8GB. This is the bare minimum model able to run FCPX as I understand it. When I got this the intent was to run FCPX. Bought it used for $600 from a private party and made the purchase at the Apple Store in U-Village, Seattle, after it had been run through a diagnostics test at the Genius Bar and after my name replaced the former Administrator's name. This little step is very important when buying a used Mac. This machine ran FCPX fine with 4GB but works better with 8. The memory is cheap - Other World Computing.

Now comes the good part. No sooner had I bought the MacBook Pro and lo and behold, my son-in-law gave me his old 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 2.66 machine. This machine is a tank. No, make that a TANK. There is no comparison between it and the MBP. Absolutely none. I did have to buy a new ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card for it to run FCPX though. When I took out the old graphics card I discovered that the cooling fins were about 85% blocked by fuzz which was not good.

The MBP is now my video-only machine for when I'm traveling and have a must-do project. Otherwise, my work is done on the Mac Pro.

Heat is the bane of electronics and video processing is very labor intensive. The Genius Bar guy said that running FCPX on the MBP is no problem because they're designed to do it; however, I think that's kinda like towing a 23-foot camping trailer with your Toyota Prius. It might be able to do it but I'd prefer a F-150 heavy-half.

Hopefully, one of these days Apple will come out with a new line of Mac Pros. One rumor I read was they will be "server-sized" and maybe that's why it's taking them so long to do an update. Hopefully they do come out with some new Mac Pros because I know some people who are waiting for them.

By the way, the memory for the Mac Pro 1,1 is very expensive.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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Re: Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

Sure does, thanks John.

Cheers.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 07:43 AM   #5
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Re: Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

Don't know whether you've seen this site but it's a great resource for looking up Mac info:
Low End Mac's Computer Index

This is the Mac Pro index: Mac Pro

I agree with the heat comment and I have now put a usb fan to blow air at the back of my MBP to try and get rid of some of the heat when dealing with HD video. I think the iMacs are great, especially being all in one, but there's no way they'll be able to handle cooling as well as a Mac Pro.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #6
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Re: Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

If you buy a Mac refurb from the Apple store it comes with exactly the same factory warranty as a new one. and you'll notice that there are a few extra refurbs listed on the Apple store after major trade shows.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 11:10 PM   #7
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Re: Is there any reason not to get a refurb MacPro vs. new iMac?

No reason not to get a refurb (I have bought a few), just check how much money you are saving over a new MacPro. Some of the deals are not very good and some of the improved specs with a new computer are beneficial for video editing.
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