Guide to buying a Mac Pro

So you want to buy a new Mac Pro, here is a simple guide to help you get the best system for your money.

Processor

At default the system comes with two dual core 2.66GHz processors. Select the 2.0GHz processors and quickly save yourself £190. Don’t worry; in the next section I will describe how you get your four cores of 2.66GHz goodness back. In the meantime you can throw the 2.0GHz Xeons away.

Memory

1GB is no where near reasonable amount of RAM for a power computer. You need about 4GB which would set you back an extra £449.00. Don’t buy this from Apple, instead throw the ram that comes with it and can get 4 x 1GB FB-DIMMs for less than that from crucial (Get two 2GB kits for at £152.74 each). FB-DIIMMs are rather expensive but by using a different motherboard you could use standard DDR2 ram (Currently selling at £34 a Gig).

Motherboard

Four core computing is no longer the reserve of the expensive Xeon/Opteron systems. You can now get a four core CPU to fit in a standard board and use standard RAM. Take the board out of your Mac Pro and throw it away. Replace it with a standard Socket 775 board and plug into it a Quad Core QX6700 and 4 GB of DDR2 5400.

Graphics

The range of available graphics options seems to be “how many GeForce 7300 GT 256MB would you like”. Additionally to these there seems to be an X1900 (I didn’t know they still made these, they were replaces with 1950s ages ago) and a rather extreme NVidia Quadro (at £1,049.99). Lets be sensible and say we want to do crossfire with two 7300 GTs. Instead of paying £100 for each additional card just get one yourself for £50. In fact get two nice fan-less ones and throw away the one that came with the box.

Hard Drive

250Gb is quite low for a system like this. Instead of paying £288 for two 500Gb drives, get them directly yourself for £148. Throw away the one that came with the Mac.

Optical Drive

Instead of paying £70 for an extra optical drive, throw it away and buy two matching DVD/RW drives for half the price (£35 for the pair).

Keyboard and mouse

Get a wireless keyboard/mouse set for £7 (splash out get a £10 set) and throw the wired versions away. Seems more sensible than paying £40 for the Apple set.

Summary

The overall picture is the following:

Instead of spending £2,645.99 on a reasonable Mac Pro,

1: Buy the absolute basic Apple Mac Pro for £1,509.01

2: Throw it away

3: Replace it with something better

Total: £2,627.74

Numbers

-                                                                          Price  #          Total
Basic Mac Pro	                                                        £1509.01  1       £1509.01
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Quad Core (2.67GHz) Socket 775 8MB Cache     £607.56  1        £607.56
Ebuyer 1GB DDR2 667MHz PC2-5400 240pin Extra Value Ram                    £34.02  4        £136.07
PNY Verto GeForce 7300GT 256MB DDR2 DVI HDTV out PCI-E                    £51.71  2        £103.42
DFI Infinity 975X/G SKT SKT775 conroe Core2Duo ready DDR2 Crossfire ATX   £81.94  1         £81.94
Seagate ST3500641AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - OEM      £73.99  2        £147.98
LITEON DVD8900/DW1670 16x DVD±RW/RAM Bare Black - OEM                     £17.39  2         £34.78
X-Tensions Silver RF Wireless Keyboard & Mouse - PS2                       £6.98  1          £6.98
Total:                                                                                    £2627.74

Vs.

  • Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
  • 4GB (4 x 1GB)
  • 2 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
  • 500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • 500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • Two 16x SuperDrives
  • Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse – British (wireless)

£2,645.99

  1. No comments yet.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.