Replacing my old Mac Pro, with what?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mostly sports, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. My Mac Pro is from 2008 (2.1) and it won't upgrade past 10.6.8. And Aperture will only upgrade to 3.2.4. Just when I'm shooting more RAW with newer cameras, I can't deal with the files. And sometimes the machine boots up with fans roaring like an airplane getting ready to take off. (Turn off, unplug, plug in, turn on.) And then there's the random spontaneous reboot. Makes me think it's getting old. Sure, it would be nice to pick up one of the new Mac Pros, but that's beyond the budget. Since the new paradigm seems to be a size-reduced processor, attached to peripherals, should I be considering a recent model Mac Mini and some external hard drives? When I search Craigslist, I find a lot of models like the mac pro I have for sale, but not many of what I want as an upgrade. I already have a nice big monitor. Suggestions welcomed. Maybe the Mac Pro should live as file server for the new Mini?
  2. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    and it won't upgrade past 10.6.8. And Aperture will only upgrade to 3.2.4.​

    It's tiring, isn't it. Try Windows? I did, and it turned out to be the best investment for my time, money and software.
  3. I have a Mac Pro, 10,5.8, 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, and 8Gb memory, Nividia GeForce 8800 GT, and running very nice, feeding two monitors, since I bought the unit, many years ago. The only problem, I can't open the new Nikon Df RAW files with photoshop CS-5. I get around and open them with Photomatix Pro, an-edit and safe them as .TIF then I can open them with the PS-CS-5. No problem so far, except my second monitor the bigger, 24" LaCie become capute, needed a new monitor. The MAc is silent, no hick-up, no quitting on me, noise of the fan only rebutting time. And I'm total dummy for computers general, only the programs I using what I can do, email, brazing in the internet and transporting files and related staff. Never needed a repair, service guy, never needed to do any massage to it. I still has my previous MAC, at list 20 or 25 yeas old and still running, the model, everybody called the "wind-machine". Scanners, flatbed and nikon film scanner running on it flawlessly. Never needed a massage or repair. Running as I bought and set up far bak.
    I heard the mini is very good to, you have to have an external storage HD for files, and images. No problem. You all ready has the keyboard and the mouse and the monitor.
    I suggest the MINI.
  4. Phil,
    Try resetting the SMC, which stands for System Management Controller. It regulates things that control startup , shutdown, and other power related events. Every now and then, it just needs to be reset. I can't remember the keys to hold while starting that will do that, on your model Mac Pro.
  5. Now, if that doesn't help, what should you replace it with ? I would say an iMac. They can run external monitors and have Thunderbolt ports for fast external hard drives.
  6. The Mac Mini makes a nice solution (if specced to the maximum), as can a MacPro if the budget is very generous; but going non-Apple with a Windows PC, you can gain a lot of flexibility with regards to hardware.
    My desktop (self-built, windows) runs circles around a Mac Mini, has a lot more storage, is silent and costed me about $300 less than what the Mac Mini with inferior specs will cost me on But of course, it does not run MacOS X, so I guess that's the first thing to decide on: do you want to stick with OS X, or are you equally fine with Windows?.
  7. According to the MacTracker app, the original MacPros can go up to 10.7.5 Lion. That might let you upgrade Aperture, though, unfortunately, you're still prevented from running Mountain Lion or Mavericks.
    Any later MacPro ("Early 2008", Model ID of MacPro3.1 or later) can go all the way up to Mavericks.
    On the other hand, do you really need the brute force and size of a MacPro? The i7 iMacs, Mac Minis and MacBook Pros are all very fast, some of them faster even than the early MacPros. I'm picking up a late 2009 27" Core i7 iMac. Its 4 cores benchmark at 8325 vs the 8 core early MacPro at 7977. Most of that, IMO, is due to the different and faster system bus used.
    The mini can be a good option, though make sure you're looking at Core i7 models, which came along later in the mini than the iMac. The Core 2 Duo and Core i5s won't feel anywhere near as quick as your MacPro with its Xeons.
    Don't discount getting a late 2009 or newer iMac. You can always plug your "big monitor" into the iMac for dual-screen editing in Aperture.
  8. There are amazing deals on MacPro's now that the new baby is out. Go to
    type in a request for email notifications for MacPro's. You can get a great machine for far less than you'd expect. For example:
    Or you can throw the baby out with the bathwater, go Windows, buy new software and learn a new OS and fustrate yourself <g>.
  9. How much RAM does your current Mac Pro have?
    How much hard drive space are you currently using?
    The Mini maxes out at 16GB RAM, 1TB drive
    The iMac maxes out at 32GB. 21" max 1TB hard drive. 27" max 3TB hard drive (but this is is over $2300)
    The Mini has Thunderbolt and 4 USB3 ports for external storage.
    Your Mac Pro probably uses a lot of power even idling. You can buy a Kill-a-watt meter for $20 and find out how much. If it is spontaneously rebooting I wouldn't trust it as a file server.
  10. Thanks for all the responses.
    I have done the SMC reset. It fixes it for a while, although its been good for the last month.
    I am so into Aperture with archived libraries going back for years and years that switching to PC and Lightroom at this point is a little daunting. My workflow is smooth and second nature by now.
    My current machine is the 2.1 version Mac Pro, with 16GB RAM, 4 hard drives allocated as start drive, backup drive, and a RAID 1 array with the RAID drives for data storage. About every year, the raid fills up, and I archive the disks, although this year I went to 2TB drives, so I'm probably good for two years. When I remember to, I copy the start drive to the backup drive.
    iMac? I do run dual monitors on my home office Windows 7 machine, and find that setup very useful, but with a 30" Apple Cinema monitor on the Mac Pro for photography, I'm OK with one monitor.
    This may come down to whether or not I can find a later model Mac Pro that I can swap my drives into and upgrade, or a Mini with additional cost of external drive setups. I like the quiet minimalism of the Mini, but that's just me. My Mac Pro I got a good deal on used several years ago, and its always seemed a little overbuilt, given the limited lifespan of these devices. Thanks for the tip on
  11. Get Windows 7 they got it right. So much cheaper than the Macs.
  12. It's tiring, isn't it. Try Windows?
    Get Windows 7 they got it right. So much cheaper than the Macs.​
    This is akin to someone asking: the battery on my Canon 5D isn't fully charging, should I replace it? and then someone suggesing "switch to Nikon". You guys really think that's going to help the OP?
    Are you folks reading the OP's workflow (and his use of Aperture)?
  13. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Always trying to incite an argument...
    We read...
    Suggestions welcomed.​
  14. Always trying to incite an argument...​
    No, just pointing out the lack of a helpful reply unlike every other poster and the facts of the OP's workflow.
    Suggestions welcomed.​
    And suggeting he give up computers and photgraphy and become a monk is a stupid suggestion too.
  15. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Three respected contributors, out of eight, suggested the same thing...Then along you come quoting people and looking for an argument again.
  16. I would seriously consider a new iMac if you feel you really need to replace your machine. I am using a 27 inch quad core that is three years old and is running on OS 10.7.5. I am currently using Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Aperture all with no problem. I shoot only RAW so the files are large. My camera is a d7100 Nikon. I have 12 gb of RAM and have considered moving up to 16. Good luck with your decision.

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