Once again considering Mac Pro - questions

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by StL_Don, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. It has been nigh on to 2 years since I began considering a Mac and once again, mainly thanks to NX2, I'm shopping.

    I've pretty much got the configuration stuff figured but still have a question or two.
    This base system along with at least another 4 MB memory and a couple more HD probably 500 GB each.
    I'm guessing that the diff between the 2.8 and 3.0GHz processors isn't all that noticible considering the $750 difference.

    On the previous Mac Pro the upgraded ATI 1900 video card was a must have option for image processing...
    Does that mean I'll want the current optional nVidia 8800 GT or will the standard ATI 2600 XT do the job?

    I'm sure I'll want Parrallels - will I need a fresh copy of Windows or can I install one of my Dell OEM copies?
    (I think I know the answer:mad: )
    Do I need a seperate physical HD for Windows and it's programs?
    If I get the Mac version of MS Office will I be able to export my Office 2003 Word, Excel and most
    importantly Outlook files and settings?
    Can you drag-drop and cut-paste between Windows and Mac apps?
    Will the Mac backup program also backup the Windows files and data?
    (can you tell I'm still not ready to jump into the Mac world with both feet :smile:) 

    How long is the keyboard extension cord? (can't find this info anywhere).
    I'll need ~12 ft. total 'till I get a wireless.

    I don't use my current PC on a wireless network (I do the laptop). Will I miss having AirPort?

    If I get a Mac will I want to trade my fun little BMW M Roadster for a Prius?:biggrin:

    What else should I be considering / worried about?

    Thanks!!
    Don
     
  2. LDB415

    LDB415

    929
    Apr 26, 2008
    Texas
    I don't know about the Mac hardware side of things but you'll definitely be trading in for a Prius within the first couple of months. :biggrin:
     
  3. bozola

    bozola

    Feb 28, 2006
    Seattle WA
    I will try to help

     
  4. Snipps

    Snipps

    896
    Oct 7, 2006
    -
     

  5. Don,

    I've been mulling over the same sort of decision. Unlike you though, I'm just at the beginning of thinking this through.

    Although I can't help you with answers, I do have a few questions. How are you planning on transferring your image library over to the Mac? Do you currently use a database application (DAM application) to organize your images in Windows? If so, how are your transferring it over with your image library in order to keep things intact?

    Thanks!
     
  6. gadgetguy11

    gadgetguy11

    Nov 16, 2005
    Kentucky
    Don,

    I will try to add to the confusion - I mean help answer your questions. You already have received excellent advice.

    1-keyboard extension. I use both Apple wired aluminum and wireless aluminum. The wired is connected by standard USB, so I would guess any USB extension cable would work.

    2-Video card - buy the best. I popped for the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 which is offered by Apple when you configure a Mac Pro. It was a $2,600 upgrade. 3D, 4 DVI output. You need 4 DVI output to power 2) 30" Cinema monitors.

    3-Highly recommend 2) monitors. The 30" Cinemas are killer.

    As previously stated, don't make the big mistake I did: I bought 8GB RAM from Apple for $$$$. BIG MISTAKE. Apple grossly overprices memory. And they only offered 2GB per stick. Several months ago I decided to max it out, and ordered 32GB from OWC. Approx. 1/4 the cost of Apple memory.

    The OWC 32GB (8 4GB sticks) was lightning fast, but hung the computer from restarting every time. They took it back and even paid return shipping. OWC is a wonderful company.

    Before I gave up on 32GB, I ordered 32GB from Crucial for more $$$ (about $800 more). It works perfectly!!!

    OWC memory works great on my wife's iMac, but 4GB sticks are "sensitive". Crucial's work exactly the same as Apple's (and look the same)...

    Now I am stuck with - and do not use - the expensive 8GB memory (4 sticks of 2GB).

    ALWAYS ADD MAC MEMORY 4 STICKS AT A TIME for maximum benefit. I believe it is an increased bus speed, but don't hold me to that reason.

    4- I bought Parallels AND NEVER INSTALLED IT. MAC WORKS SO WELL I bought the few programs I wanted in Mac and did without the rest. I even bought a full retail, licensed copy of Microsoft XP PRO and have never opened it. And I am not going to. So if you want these, call me. Otherwise, you may not want them, either.

    5- Buy Time Capsule on the SAME RECEIPT AS YOUR MAC PRO AND BUY APPLE CARE!!! This insures the Time Capsule for 3 years!! That is the ONLY WAY TO ADD APPLE CARE TO TIME CAPSULE!!

    6-Keep the M Roadster. I sold my Corvette. You need the Roadster.

    7-Buy the fastest processor. You will be glad you did in several years as increased demands utilize it. Wise long term investment. You can add RAM as you like but the processor - not so.

    8- You do NOT need separate HD for Windows and OSX. You can format the HD - many options.

    9-Consider the largest HD (1TB). You can easily plug in up to 4 total. I have 4 750GB's. Now you can get 4 1TB's.

    You still have my phone number? (If you do not, PM me for it. :wink:)  Call me anytime today and we can chat further. I'd like to see how your "retirement" is treating you!!

    Catch you later,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2008
  7. I'm the contrarian on this one. I have a several year old Mac Pro with the 2.66MHz processors and with a Parallels VM running Windows XP, cranking away on the Mac side with Lightroom and PS CS3 and a few other apps, the system doesn't even break a sweat. Unless you are doing 3D modeling or video rendering, the CPU speed is the last thing to worry about.

    What IS critical is memory and, to a lesser extent, HD speed. DO NOT pay Apple their exorbitant price for memory and HD's. Buy the base config and then get a total of 6-8GB of memory from OWC and buy some extra HD's from whoever has them on sale. Local big box stores often have better prices when they put HD's on sale than the internet joints.

    Depends on your usage. If you use Aperture for your photo PP, get the fastest video card you can. Otherwise, it doesn't matter. (And, BTW, I purchased and tried Aperture on my base config Mac Pro and it ran fine.) Again, I'm a bit of a contrarian on this topic. On the iMac systems, upgraded video may matter. On the Pro, the base card is probably OK for most purposes.

    The Dell OEM copies won't work. They are probably keyed to the Dell systems' BIOS anyway. Go to NewEgg or Mwave and buy an OEM copy of XP for a hundred bucks or less. It will register and activate just fine. I'm no lawyer (and I've never stayed in a Holiday Inn Express) but I think this is a legal use of the OEM license. If you are worried about the legalities, consult a lawyer or pay triple the amount for a full-blown retail copy.

    On the topic of registration and activation, here is a trick that will save you loads of frustration if you plan to use both Bootcamp and Parallels (which I do and highly recommend. It gives you the option of booting into a completely native MS environment when that is needed while allowing you to work in the VM most of the time.):

    - create a bootcamp partition and install XP. DO NOT activate XP.
    -install Parallels and create a VM. In the edit menu for Parallels click on the Virtual Machine option, select network adapter and then select advanced. Type in the MAC address for the physical adapter that you have the ethernet cable plugged into. (You can find this using the System Preferences utility).
    - install XP in the Parallels VM following the instructions provided.
    - start XP in the VM. When XP starts, go through activation.
    - install your Windows applications and activate them (in the Parallels VM).

    From this point on, you can run XP and your apps within Parallels or via Bootcamp and should receive no nagging about reactivating.

    No, but I recommend it. I don't like mixing up file system formats on my boot drive. It also simplifies backup.

    Yes. No problem.

    Yes. The latest versions of Parallels handle this invisibly. However, understand that while the Mac can read AND write FAT format, it can only READ ntfs.

    To the best of my knowledge, you can only do a volume level backup of the Windows partition. There may be Mac backup utilities that can do backups of folders and files and do incremental backups but I am unaware of them. Someone else will have to answer this.

    Doesn't matter. Any USB extension cord will work. Pick up a cheap one at WalMart or Target.

    I've never used wireless with my Mac Pro. YMMV.

    Heck no. Us Mac users are very "sporty" while being user friendly :biggrin:

    Give yourself sufficient time for the learning curve. I cannot stress this too much. Of the many posts here and on other forums where switchers complain about how the "user friendliness" and "intuitiveness" of the Mac don't seem to be true and "I'm going back to my Windows machine.", most are due to unrealistic expectations. The Mac is a computer. OS/X is an operating system. They impose a certain way of accomplishing things. These ways are just similar enough to the Windows world to entice you to think in those terms. Don't. Buy the Missing Manual book and set aside a couple of weeks for a sort of "honeymoon". Immerse yourself in the new environment. You'll be glad you did.
     
  8. GBRandy

    GBRandy

    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Don.....skip it. The Mac thing is way overrated. As I type I am trying to publish some photos via Aperture from a great family weekend...the spinning pin wheel of death is here and a reboot is yet again necessary. This thing is just as buggy as my PC's.....

    Mac Pro 3.0 + 8 gig of ram..... Mediocre at best. My 2 cents.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2008
  9. bozola

    bozola

    Feb 28, 2006
    Seattle WA
    I would have to agree with you Randy. I have had macs for over 15 years and they used to just work. Leopard is the worst OS that Apple has released ....ever.
     
  10. Firelarz

    Firelarz

    Feb 26, 2006
    Chandler, AZ
    Hey Don, while I can't answer all your questions, I can answer a few.

    I just added a Mac Pro to my systems. I still have my PC but hardly use it.
    There are NO windows anything on my Mac. ;) 
    I went with the basic system and added the wi fi card, they installed it in the store.

    I then went to OWC and ordered 8 GB of ram and it is working fine.

    I also went to NewEgg and ordered 3 750 GB 32 MB casche HDD and installed them(talk about easy, thanks Apple)

    I still have the base graphics card as well. I am only using one monitor but it is a Sony 40" LCD. Everything seems to be working great. I like the Mac so far, a lot of cool things to learn.

    I think the cord with the extension is about 6', but I am sure you can buy an extension.

    I bought a keyboard/mouse set up at BestBuy, Logitech's MX5500, I know, it is windows based and they don't have software for it yet, so some of the features don't work, but it is wireless and the mouse has a recharging base.

    If I think I need it, I will upgrade the graphics card, but for now it seems fine.

    I would say I am very happy!

    OH and Time Machine is cool! Hook up a very large drive to this. I have a 500 GB right now and it is almost full, I just bought a 1 TB today for it.

    Any other questions, feel free to email me.

    Take care, Larz

    Larz@LNLPhoto.com
     
  11. Thanks for all the good advice!

    I don't expect to be using Aperture so that's good news about the video card.

    Doug - when/why would I need to use Bootcamp instead of Parrallels?

    Don
     
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