Should I Buy A New MacPro or Upgrade Existing MacPro

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited November 2016
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

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,905moderator
    amcliz said:
    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.
    The Drobo S should have a USB 3 port so you'd just use that instead of Firewire. FW is 800Mbps, USB 3 is 10Gbps. To replace the 3x 3TB internals, another external like the following would let you copy it all over:

    https://www.amazon.com/16TB-Desktop-External-Drive-WDBLWE0160JCH-NESN/dp/B01B6BN1CU

    You might get away with an 8TB if the drives aren't full:

    https://www.amazon.com/Book-Desktop-External-Drive-WDBFJK0080HBK-NESN/dp/B01B6BN0Q2

    An upgrade to match the system you have will be quite expensive but you can always recoup some money by selling your old one. I expect they will go up to 18-core this time (about 80% faster CPU than what you have). If you only need 12-core, that brings the price point down a bit. You'd have to buy another set of extra RAM.

    I wouldn't upgrade the old machine any further. It only has 3Gbps (375MB/s) SATA so SSD drives are limited by that. The next Mac Pro SSD will likely be 2-3GB/s, close to 10x the performance of the boot drive you have so faster loading/saving of big documents. You'd have to switch to PCIe SSD in the machine you have to get that.

    The GPUs will be about 3x faster if you didn't replace the original one.

    Your non-Thunderbolt display probably won't work though. Apple suggested they were discontinuing the display and recommended getting a 3rd party one. It's possible they are discontinuing it to replace it with a Retina external display but you might have to get a different display like Dell or LG. You can get a 4K/5K/UHD one though.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    amclizamcliz Posts: 23member
    Thank you so so much Marvin for your excellent and informative reply. I have posted similar questions before and this is the best reply I have ever gotten.

    I'm disappointed to hear about the 27" Cinema Display... as I only bought this about 1-2 years ago... and at the time the guy in the Apple Store said it would be compatible with an adaptor with the new MacPro.... so I hope that's still the case... a 4 or 5K standalone display from Apple will no doubt be crazy money and I would prefer to throw my budget into more cores and more horsepower. Should I go 18 Core... I know some people in forums said I went overboard for what I do with 12 Cores, but when I invest I like to invest longterm and having the best that can handle all tasks is a great option to have instead of wondering what if or I should have gone for the better machine....?

    What does a USB 3 port look like on my DroboS.... should I be using that so instead of my Firewire connection.... ? Or does my current MacPro only support Firewire...?

    My gut feeling really is that my current MacPro has served me well and that it is indeed due an upgrade... whether that comes this year or next... I think I will take the plunge.

    You have been a great help Marvin... taking time out of your busy day to send me such an informative reply.

    Thank you again...


    Regards,
    Anthony

  • Reply 3 of 6
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,905moderator
    amcliz said:
    I'm disappointed to hear about the 27" Cinema Display... as I only bought this about 1-2 years ago... and at the time the guy in the Apple Store said it would be compatible with an adaptor with the new MacPro.... so I hope that's still the case...
    It should be compatible, I keep thinking they aren't because it's not compatible the other way round. Thunderbolt displays don't work with Mini-DP connectors but Mini-DP displays do work on TB ports. The only limitation is they don't work when plugged into the TB port of another TB display for chaining but they will work ok with the TB ports on the Mac. The next Mac Pro might come with USB-C style Thunderbolt 3 ports so you'd need to get a TB3 or USB C to Mini-DP cable. If Apple doesn't make one, some other manufacturer will make one.
    What does a USB 3 port look like on my DroboS.... should I be using that so instead of my Firewire connection.... ? Or does my current MacPro only support Firewire...?
    USB is the one to the far right:

    Your current Mac Pro doesn't support USB 3, just USB 2 (450Mbps) so FW 800 is the better option just now. USB 3 will be better on the new Mac Pro.
    My gut feeling really is that my current MacPro has served me well and that it is indeed due an upgrade... whether that comes this year or next... I think I will take the plunge.

    It's good to keep the machines updated every now and then as the operating system compatibility drops off. The 2010 Mac Pro is the last one on the list for being compatible with the next Sierra system. They might drop support next year.
    edited August 2016 amcliz
  • Reply 4 of 6
    For $400, you can get very close to the top of the line current Mac Pro.

    USB 3.0 can be added via PCI-E for about $40. OWC has PCI-E cards for direct-mount of a SSD giving it SATA-3 speeds for your existing drive for about $50. SATA-2 is plenty fast for hard drives, so that doesn't need to change.

    Thunderbolt can't be added. As far as video cards go, Nvidia has web drivers for all of its cards pre-1000 series, also PCI-E. Get a 900-series card, and it'll be faster than if you haven't upgraded your card.

    My vote is for keeping this Mac Pro. OS drop-off is a possibility, but I don't think it's going to happen next year. They hadn't lost any machines for a while prior to Sierra's killing off a few.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,400member
    Marvin said:
    amcliz said:
    I'm disappointed to hear about the 27" Cinema Display... as I only bought this about 1-2 years ago... and at the time the guy in the Apple Store said it would be compatible with an adaptor with the new MacPro.... so I hope that's still the case...
    It should be compatible, I keep thinking they aren't because it's not compatible the other way round. Thunderbolt displays don't work with Mini-DP connectors but Mini-DP displays do work on TB ports. The only limitation is they don't work when plugged into the TB port of another TB display for chaining but they will work ok with the TB ports on the Mac. The next Mac Pro might come with USB-C style Thunderbolt 3 ports so you'd need to get a TB3 or USB C to Mini-DP cable. If Apple doesn't make one, some other manufacturer will make one.

    Yeah I was going to say, TB supports the displayport specification. It's just that displayport doesn't actually implement thunderbolt. As long as displayport is supported, he should be fine.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Hi- You posted Nov 1 so don't know if you've acted on your decision or not, yet.
    I would wait till 2017 and see if we get a new one.
    I had a 2012 MPro Tower decked out with all kind of PCI-e cards (I can sell you) and memory (I can sell you) and the unit just
    died.  D I E D.
    Apple couldn't even fix it.
    So under Applecare, they sent me a new top of the line 2013 MPro Cylinder.
    I love it.  AND, I can't wait to the newer ones to come out with better processors, etc.

    Connectivity is paramount not only for backups but for iTunes Media files which I put on external drives and iPhotolibrary Media Files which
    I put on external drives to save space on my SSD.

    Either way, you'll be happy but I'd wait awhile at least while yours is still working.
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