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Reader Question: Mac Pro Upgrade or Replace?

David S writes:

It seems to me that there are a lot of people in the same boat as me right now with their Mac Pro:

1. Have a 2010 Mac Pro that I've souped up through the years (OWC Accelsior hard drive, lots of RAM, etc.).
2. Passed on the latest capsule Mac Pro at the time because it didn't seem quite good enough then.
3. Now dying for a new machine but not willing to spend >$5k on a 2.5 year old Mac (shocking that its been this long).

So the question is do you:

a. Take another stab at souping up the old Mac Pro with the OWC Turnkey processor upgrade (which can currently get a machine that is faster than the current Mac Pro being sold by Apple, at least on paper), more RAM and a new graphics cards. This is easily a $4k expense.
b. Buy the current Mac Pro from Apple. As I said before, this is >$5k.
c. Wait for a new Mac Pro this year (presumably with Thunderbolt 3, fast GPU/CPU, etc.).

For the moment I have being doing #c but its killing me - I have a machine that is running out of everything. And add to that that I've been doing more video these days and it takes me 6 hours for FCP to process 1 hour of 1080p video. One wonders whether Apple is really paying attention anymore to this part of the market (which I think is a huge mistake by them, but they are too busy making phones to even notice).

MPG: anyone who has skipped a generation (the 2013 Mac Pro) is now sitting pretty, or so one hopes: a revised 2013 Mac Pro with Thunderbolt 3 and external 5K video support could be in the works this year. On the other hand, given how long Apple took to deliver the 2013 Mac Pro makes one wonder about a follow-on timeline, if any.

Te nature of the work raises the question of whether the Mac Pro is even necessary. For some, the Mac Pro is no longer required now that the late 2015 iMac 5K supports 64GB memory. For others, nothing less will do (ports, up to 128GB, dual GPU although the GPU advantage is dubious at best).

At this point I deem it wise to assume that a revised Mac Pro will debut in 2016, which means I would not be a fan of buying the 2013 Mac Pro at this point. Or, if buying one, buying one used or at least refurbished or at a discount (B&H often has discounted Macs). But I also would not be in a hurry to spend big bucks on upgrading a 2010 Mac Pro. Specific upgrades might help, and that’s why anyone really considering $4K for upgrading an old machine may want to consult with me first to work out where there actually is likely to be bang for the buck.

In terms of 2010 Mac Pro models, OWC has deep discounts on used Mac Pros, which is another option.

 


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