Advice needed- New MacPro MC560LL/A owner- from PC

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I'm hoping I can get some advice here.



Two weeks ago my hard drive crashed in my Dell XPS 8000 and I decided to jump ship and purchased a Mac Pro. I researched and compared the iMac and Mac Pro and went with the latter after finding out the Mac Pro was easily expandable, which I purchased through Amazon.

I upgraded the following hardware:
  • 1 TB Samsung HD

  • 1 TB Seagate HD

  • 500GB Seagate HD

    all 3 HDs are data drives.

  • ATI Radeon HD 5570

(I went to the Apple store in town and spoke w/ a Genius and sales rep. My big concern with switching to a Mac was being able to keep my 3 monitor setup I had on my Dell. They both assured me that the Mac Pro comes out of the box ready for 3 displays... later found out they were wrong.. I needed to purchase 2 dual display adapters- but I installed the extra card.)



PROBLEM-

After a week of use it seems like my Mac Pro isn't as fast as I would hope. When using Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver (CS5), I get the spinning rainbow wheel.



Is the Xeon processor slower than the i7 or even i5?



A couple other things kinda irritate me...

- With a PC, I had more control of what was going on in my computer. I could view the task manager, clean my registry, scan for viruses, etc.

- The keyboard is so small- I constantly error with the wrong keys

- The mouse is so sensitive.

- Navigating between programs seems to be more labor intensive than when I had a PC.

- Outlook 2011 is really weak



I know I'm probably coming across as a miserable complainer, but I'm getting frustrated with the feeling of not knowing my computer. I'm a web marketing consultant and my livelihood involves a computer. I feel like I'm starting from scratch and I'm losing hope.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    After a week of use it seems like my Mac Pro isn't as fast as I would hope. When using Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver (CS5), I get the spinning rainbow wheel.



    DId you turn their RAM usage all the way up?



    Quote:

    Is the Xeon processor slower than the i7 or even i5?



    Uh, yeah… The Mac Pro has been unchanged for about a year. Newer chips are out and the iMacs and MacBook Pro pretty much beat the Mac Pro now.



    It was pretty foolish of you to waste your money on a workstation computer when all you wanted was "expandability". Thunderbolt provides that with any other Mac that would have suited you better.



    Quote:

    - With a PC, I had more control of what was going on in my computer. I could view the task manager, clean my registry, scan for viruses, etc.



    HA HA HA HAH AHA HA HA HA H AH AH AH AH AH! Don't worry.



    First: Activity Monitor. Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities.



    Second: THERE IS NO REGISTRY. You don't have to deal with that absolutely wretched nonsense. There is no "cleaning". There is no "fixing". Hooray!



    Third: There are no viruses in OS X. It can't get them. You're safe. How would you not know this? It has been THE selling point since time immemorial.



    Quote:

    - The keyboard is so small- I constantly error with the wrong keys



    Do the Mac Pros still ship with the proper keyboard? The ones with the numpads? How is that "small"? They're the same size as any other keyboard's keys, just shorter and chiclety.



    Quote:

    - The mouse is so sensitive.



    System Preferences/Mouse.



    Quote:

    - Navigating between programs seems to be more labor intensive than when I had a PC.



    Open Apple (oh, that's Command for you)+Tab. And then just keep tapping Tab to switch. Or click anything in the Dock. Or use Mission Control.



    Not sure how any of that is labor intensive. It's one click.



    Quote:

    - Outlook 2011 is really weak



    Because it's a Microsoft product. Try out Mail!



    Quote:

    I know I'm probably coming across as a miserable complainer, but I'm getting frustrated with the feeling of not knowing my computer.







    That's completely understandable. You really don't know it, so frustration's a given.



    Quote:

    I feel like I'm starting from scratch and I'm losing hope.



    You are!… For the former, not the latter.



    You a keyboard warrior? Then check this out.



    Search for any file with Spotlight in the top right. It's stupidly awesome.







    Search for application capabilities in the Help Menu of any modern application. Just type what you're looking for and the application will show you where it is.







    And search around or ask here if you run into something you want to do but don't know how.



    Welcome to the switch! Too bad you got off on the wrong foot (being lied to, buying PROBABLY the wrong computer, etc.)…
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Holy $#!t- thanks for the in depth response!



    I was told by an Apple employee that I couldn't run 3 displays w/ an iMac.



    And I hate to just ditch my 3 internal HDDs because the iMac can't use them... right?



    I still have 2 weeks remaining to return this Mac Pro and get something else.



    Suggestions?



    PS- Thanks again!!!
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Quote:

    I was told by an Apple employee that I couldn't run 3 displays w/ an iMac.



    That's somewhat as much of a lie as you were told about the Mac Pro.



    The 27" iMac has two Thunderbolt ports, so you can run two external displays right out of the gate. Boom, three displays.



    The 21.5" has a single Thunderbolt port, but Thunderbolt devices are daisy-chainable, so you could get the new Thunderbolt Display (expensive, I know, but the panel's of the best quality available and it has a FRICKLOAD of extra ports on the back, including another Thunderbolt. Oh, and speakers, a mic, and a webcam) and plug a third display into the Thunderbolt display.



    And barring any of that, you can use Matrox' DualHead2Go, which is some sort of a branching adapter that lets you plug in two displays to one port.



    Quote:

    And I hate to just ditch my 3 internal HDDs because the iMac can't use them... right?



    Well, there's Thunderbolt to plug them in, USB to plug them in, FireWire 800 to plug them in…



    What interface do they use? I can't imagine there's not an adapter of some sort or that they wouldn't work.



    Oh, wait, do you mean they're just bare drives? Well, you could always get a multi-bay hard drive enclosure and plug it in. They make FireWire 800 ones for fairly cheap, and as Thunderbolt gets more inexpensive, that becomes an option, too.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    After a week of use it seems like my Mac Pro isn't as fast as I would hope. When using Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver (CS5), I get the spinning rainbow wheel.



    Beachballs tend to come from slow hard drives and especially if you run out of RAM, that problem will show up. Consider using an SSD as a boot drive:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NbsdC8_T84



    You can get a 128GB SSD fairly cheaply:



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148448

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820167050



    Just use it for the system and some apps and put everything else on standard drives.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    Is the Xeon processor slower than the i7 or even i5?



    The 2010 2.8GHz quad Mac Pro isn't too bad and would be in the region of the i5 iMacs. The i7s are faster but only by about 30-40%.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    - The keyboard is so small- I constantly error with the wrong keys



    You can get the big version of the keyboard.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    - The mouse is so sensitive.



    It just doesn't like being shouted at . You can and should get a 3rd party one e.g Logitech.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    yeah it takes some time to getting used to. I remember when I got my mac i was like wth, i hate this and how come this is like that. But once you take some time to set things up the way you like them.



    Then play around with all the new set of features (I can no longer live without a trackpad)



    A mac is the most enjoyable computing experience in my life. It spoils me to no end and needs less maintenance then my car, granted my car and computer are my children.
  • Reply 6 of 39
    Hmm, the track pad. I messed w/ it at the Apple store.



    I've suffered from tennis elbow for the last two years (damn P90X!) and using a mouse has kept my elbow from healing.



    I used a handshake mouse w/ my PC... but it really didn't help much either.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    And I hate to just ditch my 3 internal HDDs because the iMac can't use them... right?



    I still have 2 weeks remaining to return this Mac Pro and get something else.



    Suggestions?



    For the money you'd save buying the iMac instead of the Pro, you could buy a 4 bay Drobo ... either USB or NAS... and install all the drives in that. It can be set up as a RAID device if you want bulletproof backups!



    As for the monitors... I'm pretty sure an iMac can drive TWO external displays (plus it's built in) ... not sure if it can handle THREE though. (And you'd want to verify that, as well as the ability to get adapters to drive your current monitors via the Thunderbolt port(s) on the iMac.)



    In short, you're paying an awful lot of extra $$ just for the ability to easily drive multiple displays... but it may certainly be worth it to you!
  • Reply 8 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    Hmm, the track pad. I messed w/ it at the Apple store.



    I've suffered from tennis elbow for the last two years (damn P90X!) and using a mouse has kept my elbow from healing.



    I used a handshake mouse w/ my PC... but it really didn't help much either.



    I recently upgraded my system and was deciding between a Mac Pro and an iMac (to replace an older iMac). Here are some notes that may help you based on your discussion(s) above:



    1. Check out http://www.barefeats.com/ This is a great resource for benchmarking Macs against one another. The new (especially the BTO i7) iMacs stack up well against anything Apple has ever offered (when stock, anyway). Based on several articles I decided to go with the iMac instead of Mac Pro, even though I really wanted a Mac pro. I just couldn't justify it. There are plenty of other sites, too, but these guys are quality and have been around forever.



    2. One of the best things about the Mac Pro is all those ram slots. Empty RAM slots are a SHAME. Don't be shameful . Fill those slots. Your system will definitely feel faster. 8Gb Ram is pretty minimal for Photoshop and the rest. Especially if you're using CS apps together. My old iMac was maxed at 8Gb and functional. The new one has 16Gb (add the ram yourself. It's easy and cheap) and smokes.



    3. Unless your 3 HD's are pretty new, you will want to consider getting newer HD's. You can always get an external enclosure and one of the many eSATA solutions available for Mac Pros to save those internal bays. Or SAS if you are addicted to speed. (And have the $$$)



    4. If you can afford it or justify it in any way, get an OWC SSD drive in one of those internal drive bays on the Mac Pro. My wife just got a relatively wimpy MacBook Air. Despite the anemic processor and RAM on that thing, it just FEELS faster because the SSD it runs on is just plain fast. And the OWC SSD's are way faster. I put one of the 6G OWC extreme SSD's in my iMac (the other deciding factor... the 2nd drive bay for SSD) and use it as a boot and app drive. Data goes on the larger internal HD. Photoshop (even with 400+ fonts and several plug-in suites) loads in literally 2 seconds. That's initially. Reopens are almost instantaneous. Indesign and AI are about the same.



    5. Keyboard: you almost certainly can use your PC's old keyboard (assuming USB). The Mac keyboard keys are full sized. The shape is just funky. It takes a week or so to get used to, but you'll be back up to full speed and loving it in no time unless you have special needs, in which case you should just get whatever USB keyboard you want anyway.



    6. Mouse - honestly, I've not tried the Magic Mouse. I have a Logitech MX series that worked great for years. However, one thing about the newer Mac OS iterations is the inclusion of gestures, which actually speeds up a lot of processes in general usage. Some may be possible with the magic mouse, but all are available with the trackpad. I switched over to the trackpad a month ago and haven't used my logitech mouse since. App switching/window switching is a breeze when you can just flick your fingers and see everything. Moving between virtual screens is a simple swipe.



    Finally:

    Hang in there . Coming from the PC to the Mac will take some adjustments. But the real benefit comes the longer you use the mac. Just like the nuances of being a power PC user took time to become ingrained in your usage habits (checking/cleaning the registry, virus/malware checks, system reinstalls, etc.), it'll take time to do find them on the Mac. It's going to be different stuff, though, like how you set up your file system from an organizational standpoint. How you use all the various OS nuances like gestures (as a long time Mac guy (20+ years) this is something I'm just now integrating) and a ton of small apps that are available to help you customize your system and make it function exactly the way you want.



    Hope this helps.

    -WinterEC
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Thanks guys for all the great advice!



    I think I'm leaning towards returning the Mac Pro and getting an iMac i5 w/ a SSD. I'd love to get a i7, but I'm afraid it will eat up my budget.



    Speaking of SSDs- should I buy one and install it myself? How difficult is it to do this on an iMac?



    RAM- I assume the RAM I just purchased for the Mac Pro won't work with the iMac.



    What's more important for performance- RAM or SSD?





    @WinterEC- your #4 comment really struck a chord with me- I'm an Adobe guy and I use all those programs.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    Speaking of SSDs- should I buy one and install it myself? How difficult is it to do this on an iMac?



    100%: You need to get a 27" iMac to have the room for the SSD, unless you want to take out the optical drive and put the SSD there.



    Not 100%: If you don't buy the SSD directly from Apple, I don't THINK that the cable you need to install said SSD yourself (where it would normally go, not in the optical drive bay) doesn't come with the iMac, so you'd need to buy that separately.



    As for actually getting into the machine? Hoo boy, good luck.



    Quote:

    RAM- I assume the RAM I just purchased for the Mac Pro won't work with the iMac.



    That's right. See if you can return it or sell it to someone else with a Mac Pro.
  • Reply 11 of 39
    One more question about the iMac...



    When connecting 2 other displays (Dell 22" and Samsung 24"), all I need is a display port adapter? Or do I have to shell out $200 extra for the dual link adapters??? which also eat up 2 USB ports...
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    One more question about the iMac...



    When connecting 2 other displays (Dell 22" and Samsung 24"), all I need is a display port adapter? Or do I have to shell out $200 extra for the dual link adapters??? which also eat up 2 USB ports...



    Don't need a dual-link unless those monitors are 2560x1600? and I can't imagine they are.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    Speaking of SSDs- should I buy one and install it myself? How difficult is it to do this on an iMac?



    I was thinking you'd install it in the Mac Pro - an iMac installation needs you to take the screen out. I wish they'd allow storage access from the bottom like RAM but sadly no.



    If you don't need GPU computing as much or gaming, you can consider the quad-i7 Mini Server. It is faster than the i5 iMacs and fairly easy to install an SSD. It will only support two displays but you can hook up a 3rd via USB:



    http://www.kensington.com/kensington...y-adapter.aspx



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    What's more important for performance- RAM or SSD?



    It depends. If you open and save large files or run a webserver then your bottleneck is getting data to and from storage assuming you have 4GB+ RAM already. If you open high resolution documents or ones with lots of layers then you could run out of RAM and you then start paging your storage - in that case, both are important but more RAM stops you paging the drive.



    Your best bet is to go with 8GB RAM and an SSD and you cover all bottlenecks.



    Don't be embarrassed to go for a Mini, people look down on it because it's small but it's what you do with it that counts. It's really a powerful piece of hardware and matches the Mac Pro you currently have.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I was thinking you'd install it in the Mac Pro - an iMac installation needs you to take the screen out. I wish they'd allow storage access from the bottom like RAM but sadly no.



    If you don't need GPU computing as much or gaming, you can consider the quad-i7 Mini Server. It is faster than the i5 iMacs and fairly easy to install an SSD. It will only support two displays but you can hook up a 3rd via USB:



    http://www.kensington.com/kensington...y-adapter.aspx







    It depends. If you open and save large files or run a webserver then your bottleneck is getting data to and from storage assuming you have 4GB+ RAM already. If you open high resolution documents or ones with lots of layers then you could run out of RAM and you then start paging your storage - in that case, both are important but more RAM stops you paging the drive.



    Your best bet is to go with 8GB RAM and an SSD and you cover all bottlenecks.



    Don't be embarrassed to go for a Mini, people look down on it because it's small but it's what you do with it that counts. It's really a powerful piece of hardware and matches the Mac Pro you currently have.



    You know- I actually looked at that option. I priced out the mac mini at $1678-

    - 8GB RAM

    - 256GB SSD

    - External SuperDrive.



    I'm just a little scared something that small won't suffice. Additional USB ports may be needed. I don't know about the video card either.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    Thanks guys for all the great advice!



    I think I'm leaning towards returning the Mac Pro and getting an iMac i5 w/ a SSD. I'd love to get a i7, but I'm afraid it will eat up my budget.



    Speaking of SSDs- should I buy one and install it myself? How difficult is it to do this on an iMac?



    RAM- I assume the RAM I just purchased for the Mac Pro won't work with the iMac.



    What's more important for performance- RAM or SSD?





    @WinterEC- your #4 comment really struck a chord with me- I'm an Adobe guy and I use all those programs.



    Couple of comments on this:

    1. I went with the i7 based on the results at bare feats. Definitely check out those comparisons from when the new iMacs came out. The i7 has 4 cores and up to 8 threads (essentially like 8 cores). i5 only has 4 threads. Makes a difference on specific apps. Look at the benchmarks/comparisons to see if they have applicable comparisons for your usage. Honestly, the i5 is a pretty stout system, too.



    2. One thing to consider with the Apple products: they generally last a lot longer. a LOT longer. I've only ever lost one system due to component failure. In >20 years. I tend to get 4+ years out of each system unless I just get greedy/lustful of something new. And even then they are worth enough to make a dent in the new system up-front cost. May be worth it to go up a notch just based on longevity and resale value in the future.



    3. I'm pretty brave with the internals on my computers. I've repaired laptops (Macbook pro) that my kids have broken. But after watching video of the SSD install process on the iMac, I decided to farm it out. Having the work warranted made it worth it. OWC has a turnkey program where you can send your iMac and have it modded with the SSD. You can also add an external eSATA port and have them add the ram. They warrant the work for 1 year. There may be other services that will do the same. But the OWC SSD's are the fastest available.



    4. RAM vs SSD - the answer is both. Fundamentally, the Mac Pro has a higher potential on top-end speed. The processors are "better" from what I've seen. And upgrades may be possible later on. RAM on the Mac Pro is cheaper because you have so many slots. The SSD only needs to be big enough for your system, apps, and potentially your Photoshop scratch disk. Since you're a new Mac user, you could probably get away with 160GB SSD or 120 even. There's a lot of speed for the amount of $.



    Would I trade in my Mac Pro and get the iMac? I don't think so. I think I'd look into an SSD and then save up for some RAM. One good thing about Macs is the resale. Have you checked eBay for what a 2 year old Mac Pro system will go for? It's kinda crazy they hold their value that well. But they do. So you can essentially always make the change later if you get the urge.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    I wonder why Amazon doesn't carry any i7 iMacs?



    I have an Amazon Prime membership- 2nd day shipping for free. and their prices can't be beat.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    I wonder why Amazon doesn't carry any i7 iMacs?



    I have an Amazon Prime membership- 2nd day shipping for free. and their prices can't be beat.



    The i7 iMacs are exclusive to Apple's build-to-order option. I agree with you on that, and add "you don't pay sales tax, either!"
  • Reply 18 of 39
    I guess I'm gonna run with this: 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5, purchase a SSD and go to a local retailer who can install it.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Hi, couple of extras...



    Your current drives are probably in NTFS format. Macs can read NTFS but not write to them. FAT32 can be read and written to. Obviously for best results reformat to HFS+.



    I've had snags with Kingston Value RAM in the past (dreaded Kernel Panics). Kingston later told me KVR isn't Mac compatible.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    You know- I actually looked at that option. I priced out the mac mini at $1678-

    - 8GB RAM

    - 256GB SSD

    - External SuperDrive.



    You can get that setup a bit cheaper:



    Mac Mini - $999

    8GB RAM - $54 ( http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartsp...752152A5CA7304 )

    256GB SSD - $391 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148443 )

    DVDRW - $33 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151231 )



    $1477



    Plus you can sell your 500GB drive from the Mini and possibly the RAM too.



    The iMac refurbs do offer good value:



    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC813LL/A



    You still have to buy the $391 SSD and pay fitting costs so it'll be at least $500 more but you are getting the 27" screen, which is nice and the better GPU.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appstate98 View Post


    I'm just a little scared something that small won't suffice. Additional USB ports may be needed. I don't know about the video card either.



    The Mini has the same number of USB ports as the iMac and both have FW800. Thunderbolt also has two channels so one can be used for data while the other drives a display. The nice thing about the Mini is that you can very easily upgrade it every year (it should get USB 3 next year) and having access to the storage yourself means that if you have to return a failed drive, you don't have to pay someone to remove it again and fit it again.
Sign In or Register to comment.