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Retina MacBook Pro vs. Mac Pro? - Page 4

Poll Results: Mac Pro or rMBP?

 
  • 100% (5)
    15" Retina MacBook Pro
  • 0% (0)
    Mac Pro
5 Total Votes  
post #46 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaperMacWriter View Post
 

I have the current high-end rMBP, and a friend of mine has the Mac Pro. Given your budget and uses, I absolutely think that the next generation (Broadwell) rMBP is the choice for you. The Mac Pro offers many incredible features and greater reliability with things like ECC RAM, but unless your courses involve large amounts of video editing in Final Cut Pro X you won't even begin to utilize the dual GPUs in the Mac Pro. Photoshop on the current rMBP just flies, has a great screen, incredible battery life, and, most importantly, the high end is within your budget. If you're buying a Mac Pro that you want to last for a long time, you would't but an entry level machine. Without any accessories, the cheapest Mac Pro I would recommend to someone is almost $7,000. For the rMBP, buy it with the maximum amount of RAM and SSD space you can get, since you can't change that later. CPU speed isn't worth fussing over too much. One warning I give is about the discrete GPU: it's fast, and I love it when I'm doing video editing, but it gets activated by a lot of things, and it will kill your battery life. If you don't need the discrete GPU, you might be better without it. Also, next rMBP may have increased support for 4k monitors, so that's a draw. The Broadwell chips are fairly delayed, so you might be waiting until around February for you new machine, but it's worth it. Broadwell will be much more power efficient, and that will mean a good bump in battery life/power. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask or shoot me a PM. Sorry for the disorganized nature of this post, hope it helps.

 

EDIT: read more of what others posted about iMacs. I lean heavily toward getting a laptop, as managing two computers is a total nightmare and you'll need your computer more out of your room than in it. Once I'm out of school, my ideal setup would be to have a Mac Pro and a MacBook Air to have the most powerful computer at my desk (I do work that can actually justify the Mac Pro) and the most portability on the go. But as a student, buy a laptop. 

That's why I'm skeptical about the rMBP. I'd get the discrete GPU model and right now it would probably realistically get about 7 hours of battery life. I'm assuming Broadwell will improve that, but who knows. If a $229 Chromebook can get 10 hours of battery life and is more portable, it makes me second guess not doing two computers. I could easily sync word documents with the Chromebook with Google Docs and it has a great web browser. 

 

But I'm a little concerned at how the base Mac Pro is apparently the same benchmark wise as the top of the line rMBP. Makes me think that I should stop caring about reliability and take the free battery and beautiful screen. But I'm definitely waiting for the refreshes. They might make the 512GB SSD standard on the Mac Pro, which would decrease it's cost to me, especially after my student discount. It also might have more (and DDR4) RAM standard. Then I might see some more differences compared to the rMBP. 

 

I totally agree that I wouldn't begin to realize the hardware benefits of the dual GPUs, but that's one of the reasons it's an attractive option to me because it means I have plenty of years before it degrades to the point where it becomes slow. 

 

My question to you would be this, that others might also be able to answer: On the current MBP I have, I have replaced the harddrive twice, once was an upgrade and the other time it broke. I also replaced the RAM twice (once was an upgrade and the most recent time there was a defective chip). Do you think there is enough of a reliability increase due to the SSD and integrated RAM that it's unlikely to break, even after 5 or so years? Either case worries me, as the RAM means a new logic board, which basically forces me to get a new computer, while the SSD means a new card which is $400 minimum. With a desktop the RAM chip itself is $200 for a 16GB upgrade, and the SSD can be replaced with an external until I can afford a bigger chip.

 

It's nice to hear so many people's opinions!

post #47 of 69

I use a Mac Mini with my home stereo to run my lossless files to my dac.  If I was on a budget and was going to use the computer for music, I would go that route and put money into NAS/DAC/AMP and etc...

 

If I was on the go..retina.

 

I chose, the Mac Pro with LG34UM95.  I don't miss that massive PC I built just 1 year earlier.

 

post #48 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Coupe View Post
 

I use a Mac Mini with my home stereo to run my lossless files to my dac.  If I was on a budget and was going to use the computer for music, I would go that route and put money into NAS/DAC/AMP and etc...

 

If I was on the go..retina.

 

I chose, the Mac Pro with LG34UM95.  I don't miss that massive PC I built just 1 year earlier.

 

I saw that picture a few weeks ago, I forget what thread. Beautiful setup, although there's a decent chance that the audio stuff is more than the Mac Pro. Do you recommend the Mac Pro over the mini? The computer wouldn't be used exclusively for music. 

post #49 of 69

Thanks!

 

IMHO- Not necessarily.  It really comes down to use. 

 

For web surfing, music, and some basic computing...the Mac Mini makes a lot of sense.

 

If you do video editing and etc...the Mac Pro is the better choice.  

 

If you want a game machine, go PC.

 

Portability, Retina mac.

 

Or, if all meet your needs and you just love a particular form factor/aesthetic...get what you like.  

post #50 of 69
Thread Starter 

What screen(s) do you use with your Mac Pro?

post #51 of 69

 

LG34um95.  Better pixel density than Apple thunderbolt display plus allows me to run 1 monitor vs 2.  It also has thunderbolt/usb/etc.. hub built in.  It was made for the Mac.  I may get a 4K  or Retina display (when the make it) down the road but this works great for me right now.

post #52 of 69
Thread Starter 

Damn, very impressive. 

post #53 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy205100 View Post
 

That's why I'm skeptical about the rMBP. I'd get the discrete GPU model and right now it would probably realistically get about 7 hours of battery life. I'm assuming Broadwell will improve that, but who knows. If a $229 Chromebook can get 10 hours of battery life and is more portable, it makes me second guess not doing two computers. I could easily sync word documents with the Chromebook with Google Docs and it has a great web browser. 

 

I can see the appeal of a Chromebook — a different friend had a similar setup to this. However, this falls apart as soon as you need to do any "real" work away from your desk — if you want to open up something in PS, you can't. If you don't pay for cellular, the second you're not on WiFi it's pretty much a paperweight (I don't know the full details of what local doc storage it might have, but last time I looked into it it seemed quite limited). Once you're paying for cellular, the cost adds up fast, and it's not such a great deal. Your documents will be in sync, but that has a lot to do with the fact that you won't really be doing much with your documents on a Chromebook.

 

Quote:

But I'm a little concerned at how the base Mac Pro is apparently the same benchmark wise as the top of the line rMBP. Makes me think that I should stop caring about reliability and take the free battery and beautiful screen. But I'm definitely waiting for the refreshes. They might make the 512GB SSD standard on the Mac Pro, which would decrease it's cost to me, especially after my student discount. It also might have more (and DDR4) RAM standard. Then I might see some more differences compared to the rMBP. 

For CPUs, Intels Xeon line is pretty consistently a generation behind their mass-market chipsets, so while they're the highest performance, they're also not cutting-edge technology. They run hot and fast, but they're far from the most efficient. 

 

Also, for the SSD, I'd say go with 1TB if at all possible. I didn't, and while I have enough space now, I wish I'd bought more. It's pricey, but for things that are difficult (though not impossible) to upgrade down the road I'd say it's worth the money. 

 

As far as what's standard on the Mac Pro, you really want more than the base model. If that's out of your budget, I really think you should be getting the rMBP. 

 

Quote:

I totally agree that I wouldn't begin to realize the hardware benefits of the dual GPUs, but that's one of the reasons it's an attractive option to me because it means I have plenty of years before it degrades to the point where it becomes slow. 

I can see why you'd think this, but it might not work out that way. To get that speed boost, it needs to be software that really can benefit from delegating processes to the GPU and not all software benefits from that. The GPU headroom will help, but only to a point, and only for applications that are rewritten to utilize the GPUs. Smaller developers are more likely to do this, but giants like Adobe move painfully slow.

 

Quote:
 My question to you would be this, that others might also be able to answer: On the current MBP I have, I have replaced the harddrive twice, once was an upgrade and the other time it broke. I also replaced the RAM twice (once was an upgrade and the most recent time there was a defective chip). Do you think there is enough of a reliability increase due to the SSD and integrated RAM that it's unlikely to break, even after 5 or so years? Either case worries me, as the RAM means a new logic board, which basically forces me to get a new computer, while the SSD means a new card which is $400 minimum. With a desktop the RAM chip itself is $200 for a 16GB upgrade, and the SSD can be replaced with an external until I can afford a bigger chip.

First off, the SSD on the rMBP is the same style as the Mac Pro. It's a proprietary, but still replaceable form factor. The RAM on the Mac Pro is a big advantage, but I'd feel pretty good about the RAM lasting for a long while on the rMBP. Obviously get Apple Care for whatever device, but I'd expect any problems to exhibit themselves well before the 3-year mark when they'll repair it for free.

 

I'm not sure if you really realize how much you'll need a laptop in college. For your usage, a Mac Pro really feels foolish to me. I certainly want one for myself — the thing is a gorgeous powerhouse. But it's not what you need. It'd be a bit like buying a sportscar right before you had kids. It's powerful and fun, but it's not what's most practical. 

 

If you're interested in reading more on the Mac Pro, here are a few things to read:

 

http://www.marco.org/2013/11/26/new-mac-pro-cpus

http://www.marco.org/2013/12/19/explaining-mac-pro-cpus-again

http://www.marco.org/2014/01/01/anandtech-2013-mac-pro-review (about this review: http://anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013)

http://www.marco.org/2013/12/24/macworld-mac-pro-review (about this review: http://www.macworld.com/article/2082515/mac-pro-late-2013-review-apples-new-mac-pro-really-is-for-pros.html)

http://www.marco.org/2013/12/22/mac-pro-pricing-over-time

 

You might notice that I'm basically linking to @marcoarment's website. If he takes notice of this thread, I'd say his advice is probably the best you'll get. He knows his stuff about the Mac Pro.

post #54 of 69
Thread Starter 

The entire campus has wifi. I don't use photoshop for school, just personal use. But I'd be getting the base Mac Pro with 512 GB and waiting a few years to upgrade the RAM. From what I've read, the base Mac Pro is a horrible value. For the same price as that Mac Pro, I could get a rMBP with 1TB SSD and maxed out RAM. The rMBP might be much more attractive to me if they up the graphics card and 4k support, which the next model will likely do. 

 

Like you said, the Mac Pro is just attractive because it's the best of the best, Mac wise at least. I don't buy computers often so I guess maybe I'm just biased towards wanting to get the beast, especially since they just updated the design last year. I also read about ECC RAM and all that jazz and it's definitely not necessary for me and with the Mac Pro I'd be paying a premium for it. 

 

I know from when I visited campus and sat in on classes, only 3 out of the 20 or so students in each class had laptops with them in class. I'll know if that's representative of every class once I've been there for a few weeks. Students have also told me that any class that requires computing will be held in a computer lab. So a Chrombook MIGHT suffice. Otherwise a rMBP will be my choice. 

 

What's also nice about the Chromebook is that it boots in 5 seconds, is lighter and more portable than a rMBP, and although the screen sucks it gets better battery life. 

 

I was looking on Amazon last night to see if any cheap laptops could complement the Mac Pro, and I was surprised at this one and how good of a value it seems to be:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-C300MA-DB01-ASUS-Chromebook-13-3-Inch/dp/B00KD5SEPK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407813601&sr=8-1&keywords=asus+chromebook

post #55 of 69

I've spent a lot of time with both Mac Pros and MacBook Pros, and currently own a new Mac Pro (primary) and first-gen 15" Retina MacBook Pro (travel). I also used self-built desktop PCs in college from 2000–2004, back in the stone ages when about half of students still had desktops and I still used Windows.

 

The Mac Pro is an amazing machine. Most MacBook Pros are also amazing machines, especially almost every model made today. The 13" Retina is probably the best value in the lineup, and the 15" Retina is unquestionably the best all-around Mac.

 

The Mac Pro is not a good value for most use. It's actually a very good value for a Xeon workstation, but most people don't need a Xeon workstation. You yourself were complaining that a 1 TB SSD was more expensive than a 7200 RPM HDD earlier in this thread, which is also completely missing the point. And I find it hilarious that people in a high-end-audio forum would make such blunt, under-informed judgments about the value of quality differences in a nearby field.

 

But anyway, the Mac Pro is not a good value for what most people want out of a computer — and that's why it's not aimed at most people. The HD 800 isn't a very good value for what most people want out of headphones, either.

 

I use a 6-core current-gen Mac Pro, and happily pay the premium for it (like I did my two previous Mac Pros), because it offers:

 

  • The best parallel performance in the lineup. I often run multi-threaded, CPU-demanding tasks, and it makes a huge difference. (But it often does not offer the best single-threaded performance, and that's the case today, because the Haswell core improvements haven't made it to the Xeon line yet. Coming this winter.) Note that this benefit does not apply to the 4-core model. If you're going to get one, get the 6-core.
  • Grace. When you push it hard, you hear nothing. Silence. This is important to both my sanity and my frequent podcast recordings at my desk.
  • Reliability. One of the reasons Xeons and the surrounding parts (motherboard, chipset, etc.) are more expensive and conservative, and why they use ECC RAM, is because they're held to much higher reliability standards than the consumer-level parts. Mac Pros have far fewer kernel panics and far less data corruption than consumer Macs over time, especially as they get older. This benefit might sound minor or false, but use one full-time for a while, then use a laptop full-time for a while, and you'll notice.
  • Better handling of desk-docked use. Laptops don't like running in clamshell mode and are ergonomic disasters for sustained use. The only healthy way to use a laptop at a desk for long spans is to get an external keyboard and mouse and put the laptop on an elevated stand. Many people use second monitors, too. This is a great setup (did it myself for years), but it's complex and huge, and your desk is always covered in wires. A Mac Pro with a single huge monitor is much cleaner and simpler.
  • Longevity. If you want a Mac that you can happily use and keep up-to-date for 5 years, the Mac Pro is your best chance. Today, the 2009 Mac Pro is still a perfectly good machine and supports all of the latest software (although probably not for much longer — the 2008 doesn't).

 

So I love it, and I've never edited a single video. (But transcoded quite a few.)

 

But you shouldn't buy one.

 

You want to put it in a backpack and take it places. That will suck.

 

You want to play games on it. That will suck.

 

You want to get a great configuration with a lot of storage for $3200 max. That's not really possible. A 6-core with 16 GB, 512 GB, and the base GPUs — the minimum configuration for which the Mac Pro really makes sense over the other Macs — is $3900. And I'd strongly advise you to get the 1 TB SSD, which makes it $4400.

 

You really want a nice laptop instead. Trust me.

 

For $3248, you can get almost the most decked-out 15" RMBP: 2.5 GHz, 16 GB, 1 TB, with 3-year AppleCare warranty. (Is there still a meaningful student discount?)

 

It might last 5 years, but probably not. But as most people have pointed out, you probably don't need it to. A better plan is to keep it for 3 years — the duration of the extended AppleCare warranty — then get a new one and sell this one, which will probably still be worth at least $750 if you don't beat it up too badly. (Good luck selling a 3-year-old PC laptop for that much.)

 

I've been down this road many times. Trust me, this is the path you want. And don't skimp on the internal storage — the fewer external hard drives you depend on, the happier you'll be. You have a large music collection that's likely to get larger, and upgrading these SSDs after purchase is unpleasant, unsupported by the warranty, and so expensive that it's usually a better value to just buy it up front from Apple.

post #56 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoarment View Post
 

I've spent a lot of time with both Mac Pros and MacBook Pros, and currently own a new Mac Pro (primary) and first-gen 15" Retina MacBook Pro (travel). I also used self-built desktop PCs in college from 2000–2004, back in the stone ages when about half of students still had desktops and I still used Windows.

 

The Mac Pro is an amazing machine. Most MacBook Pros are also amazing machines, especially almost every model made today. The 13" Retina is probably the best value in the lineup, and the 15" Retina is unquestionably the best all-around Mac.

 

The Mac Pro is not a good value for most use. It's actually a very good value for a Xeon workstation, but most people don't need a Xeon workstation. You yourself were complaining that a 1 TB SSD was more expensive than a 7200 RPM HDD earlier in this thread, which is also completely missing the point. And I find it hilarious that people in a high-end-audio forum would make such blunt, under-informed judgments about the value of quality differences in a nearby field.

 

But anyway, the Mac Pro is not a good value for what most people want out of a computer — and that's why it's not aimed at most people. The HD 800 isn't a very good value for what most people want out of headphones, either.

 

I use a 6-core current-gen Mac Pro, and happily pay the premium for it (like I did my two previous Mac Pros), because it offers:

 

  • The best parallel performance in the lineup. I often run multi-threaded, CPU-demanding tasks, and it makes a huge difference. (But it often does not offer the best single-threaded performance, and that's the case today, because the Haswell core improvements haven't made it to the Xeon line yet. Coming this winter.) Note that this benefit does not apply to the 4-core model. If you're going to get one, get the 6-core.
  • Grace. When you push it hard, you hear nothing. Silence. This is important to both my sanity and my frequent podcast recordings at my desk.
  • Reliability. One of the reasons Xeons and the surrounding parts (motherboard, chipset, etc.) are more expensive and conservative, and why they use ECC RAM, is because they're held to much higher reliability standards than the consumer-level parts. Mac Pros have far fewer kernel panics and far less data corruption than consumer Macs over time, especially as they get older. This benefit might sound minor or false, but use one full-time for a while, then use a laptop full-time for a while, and you'll notice.
  • Better handling of desk-docked use. Laptops don't like running in clamshell mode and are ergonomic disasters for sustained use. The only healthy way to use a laptop at a desk for long spans is to get an external keyboard and mouse and put the laptop on an elevated stand. Many people use second monitors, too. This is a great setup (did it myself for years), but it's complex and huge, and your desk is always covered in wires. A Mac Pro with a single huge monitor is much cleaner and simpler.
  • Longevity. If you want a Mac that you can happily use and keep up-to-date for 5 years, the Mac Pro is your best chance. Today, the 2009 Mac Pro is still a perfectly good machine and supports all of the latest software (although probably not for much longer — the 2008 doesn't).

 

So I love it, and I've never edited a single video. (But transcoded quite a few.)

 

But you shouldn't buy one.

 

You want to put it in a backpack and take it places. That will suck.

 

You want to play games on it. That will suck.

 

You want to get a great configuration with a lot of storage for $3200 max. That's not really possible. A 6-core with 16 GB, 512 GB, and the base GPUs — the minimum configuration for which the Mac Pro really makes sense over the other Macs — is $3900. And I'd strongly advise you to get the 1 TB SSD, which makes it $4400.

 

You really want a nice laptop instead. Trust me.

 

For $3248, you can get almost the most decked-out 15" RMBP: 2.5 GHz, 16 GB, 1 TB, with 3-year AppleCare warranty. (Is there still a meaningful student discount?)

 

It might last 5 years, but probably not. But as most people have pointed out, you probably don't need it to. A better plan is to keep it for 3 years — the duration of the extended AppleCare warranty — then get a new one and sell this one, which will probably still be worth at least $750 if you don't beat it up too badly. (Good luck selling a 3-year-old PC laptop for that much.)

 

I've been down this road many times. Trust me, this is the path you want. And don't skimp on the internal storage — the fewer external hard drives you depend on, the happier you'll be. You have a large music collection that's likely to get larger, and upgrading these SSDs after purchase is unpleasant, unsupported by the warranty, and so expensive that it's usually a better value to just buy it up front from Apple.

Thanks for the advice, many good points. Do you think the graphics cards they are going to use on the next rMBPs (likely NVIDIA GT 8xxs) will allow for improved 4k support? That's one of the only things holding me back from the retina. 

 

They do have a student discount, and they discount the rMBP slightly more than the Mac Pro, although the more expensive Apple Care makes up for the difference. I'll post both configs here with discount. Obviously the next revisions might be slightly different. 

After looking at the prices again side by side, and hearing everyone's advice on here, it's getting harder to justify the Mac Pro. It'd be a nice toy, but with the price difference I could get a Chromebook or something else for fun. When I get out of college and have a job there'll be more graduation gifts and even paychecks then so I guess it makes more sense to wait until then for the desktop. 

 

Is clamshell mode bad for it? Cause if I get a laptop it'll probably be used clamshell on my desk a decent amount. I've done it with this laptop and the fans go absolutely nuts. 

post #57 of 69

I definitely agree with Marco's points and strongly recommend the rMBP.

 

As for 4k support, I think the main issue is related to Thunderbolt on the rMBP. It seems like they'd improve that in the next refresh. Certainly the next round of integrated and discrete GPUs will be able to handle a 4k monitor. This might be of interest: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8023/apple-releases-osx-10-9-3-improved-4k-display

 

For using it at a desk: I suggest using it as a second monitor. It's nicer to use, and the laptop can breathe better. Especially with the discrete GPU, it's automatically activated when connected to an external monitor and can get quite hot.

post #58 of 69
Thread Starter 

At least right now, I just don't have enough desk space to use it as a second monitor, and I think I'll have even less at college. 

 

I remember reading about that software update when it came out, but it's interesting that it can now handle it. Hopefully the next revision has even better support. 

 

Is there any chance of HDMI 2.0 in the next generation of rMBP? I also would love a third USB port, but we all know that won't be happening. Luckily hubs are cheap on Amazon.

post #59 of 69

The room I had my freshman year was a shoebox, 10' x 14' for two people. You couldn't open drawers or the closet with how cramped it was. Even with the desk they gave me, I had space for my monitor, laptop, full size keyboard and mouse. I can't be sure how big the desk will be, but I'd be surprised if it wouldn't fit. Not roomy, but it doesn't need much space at all.

 

Apple has a somewhat poor history with adopting newer versions of connectors. I'm not sure if HDMI is done on Intel's end at all, but if that's not included in the controller then I wouldn't expect Apple to add it. They'd rather you use Thunderbolt/DisplayPort.

 

Quote:
 It'd be a nice toy, but with the price difference I could get a Chromebook or something else for fun.

Perhaps more headphones? :D

post #60 of 69
Thread Starter 

The next headphone upgrade I get will be a pair of HD 800s and that's not going to be until after college. I'm not going to bother with a minor upgrade (like from the DT 990s that I have to the T90). 

 

I honestly think the DAC is limiting my current setup. I want to get a Uberfrost, but that's money that I need for other things. Like a new DSLR before I study abroad in a few years, and the aforementioned new computer. I luckily have $3,000 with plenty of savings left over after I spend it, so I can comfortably spend that on a new computer. 

 

I'm thrilled I ended up getting the Asgard 2, because I'm sure it'll heat my tiny shoebox well in the winter. That and my clamshelled MBP should hopefully give me some more heat. 

 

I'm sort of dreading having friends over in my room and having to explain my "weird' headphones and "strange" electrical devices on my desk to them. The vast majority knows nothing about computers and even less about audio. They will look at a pair of Beats and HD 800s and choose the Beats... 

 

I personally have a pair of Beats Studios that I bought a few years ago. I paid $30 for them because the person wasn't using them anymore and I gave them an unlocked old flip phone I didn't need. That's about what they're worth. 

 

A good friend of mine recently bought a rMBP 13" with 128GB of storage and 4gigs of RAM. The storage was fine for them but I encouraged them to get the $100 upgrade to 8 gigs and they'd appreciate it in the future. They didn't do it. Personally I was horrified because I bought this computer 6 years ago with 4 gigs of RAM standard but to each their own. 


Edited by jeremy205100 - 8/11/14 at 10:32pm
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