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2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

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2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby arkieboy » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:29 pm

Hi all

Refreshing my home office - can't go for anything ostentatious so I was going to ask for a brand new mac mini to replace the one I have at the moment. However, I have an alternative - I can grab well looked after 2006 model 'quad core' Mac pro with 4Gb RAM and two dual head graphics cards. Not sure precisely what clock-speed the twin xeon processors are (between 2 and 3 GHz), but the box sure is sexy!

I guess in raw muscle stakes the mini would probably be faster, but it may be that the pro could still be better at running Logic if it needs to.

Opinions?

Steve
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby buggymusic » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:38 pm

i think bang for buck and future proof wise you need the mac mini
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby Dave B » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:45 pm

Were the 2006 model Mac Pros intel? I think mine is either 2007 or 2008 and it is quite happy - but then I offload anything nasty onto the Liquid Mix..

If you want something like the UAD cards, then you have to go for the Mac Pro (although, again - was that PCI or PCIe in 2006?)

I'd be sorely tempted to go for a Mini though. Stick a load of memory and sort out some decent drives and it should happily fly. And it is looking like the Thunderbolt port is finally going to deliver the goods as an external interface...
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby blackmagicdisco » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:24 pm

I reckon mini mate. They have a great spec and you are getting a current machine, rather than 5 year old one! The Mac Pros are old Xeon chips, you could get a Mac Mini Server with an i7 Quad, brand new for 850! Those huge beasts will be making the way of the dinosaur I reckon :)
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby desmond » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:16 pm

I'd go for the Mac Mini.

A 2006 era Mac probably won't even run apps in 64-bit mode... Sexy though the boxes are, large boxes for a computer are becoming extinct bit by bit.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby johnny h » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:39 pm

arkieboy wrote:Hi all

Refreshing my home office - can't go for anything ostentatious so I was going to ask for a brand new mac mini to replace the one I have at the moment. However, I have an alternative - I can grab well looked after 2006 model 'quad core' Mac pro with 4Gb RAM and two dual head graphics cards. Not sure precisely what clock-speed the twin xeon processors are (between 2 and 3 GHz), but the box sure is sexy!

I guess in raw muscle stakes the mini would probably be faster, but it may be that the pro could still be better at running Logic if it needs to.

Opinions?

Steve

Yep, no contest... mac mini. Power consumption, speed, thunderbolt connection, futureproofing ... the writing is on the wall for desktop towers.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby hollowsun » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:53 pm

My Mac Mini (bought last year) is now downstairs as the 'family Mac' and I replaced it with an eBay-bought 2009 Apple Mac Pro 3.0 Ghz Quad 8Gb Tower with a 1TB drive installed...

And it leaves the Mini standing - massively.

I bought the Mini (new) because it was the cheapest way to to get hold of an Intel Mac which I needed for various aspects of my work but it was a false economy. In hindsight, I wish I'd gone for the 'used' tower originally. Very expandable (my old G5's 1TB drive will be going in there as a second drive this weekend). The tower also has sufficient welly on the graphics card to drive my 27" monitor at 2560 x 1440 (the Mini could only manage 1920 x 1200 and I either had to have it set to 'crap quality' or lose half the screen acreage ... and it still looked a bit naff!).

And thing bloody flies!! I saw no appreciable difference between my 4 x 2.5 PowerPC G5 and the Mac Mini. but this bastard really is supremely fast and eats my graphics and audio editing work as a snack and spits it out gagging for more!!

I disliked the 'closedness' of the Mini - having to hang extra drives and stuff off the back of it, etc.. Messy. I like to stick stuff in the box and I like the expansion slots the towers have (but then I have always had towers so that might just be 'comfy slipper' familiarity ... I don't like MacBooks for the same reason).

I can't vouch for the 2006 model you've looked at but I am dead chuffed with my 'new' one here - one of the best £1,000 I've spent in a long time (I think it was top of the range in 2009 and would have cost in excess of £3,000!). And the chap I bought it from was terrific too - great service, attentive, prompt to respond, quick delivery, no false promises or bollox. Seems he's a refurbisher and has plenty of others at good prices. I can pass on details via PM if you want.

The Mac Mini's doing sterling work downstairs for routine tasks but I found it limiting for my purposes.

But if you fancy a workhorse tower that flies like sh!t of a shovel (and reading between the lines of your original post, I suspect you do), get one - I have a sneaking suspicion we'll see the end of the Mac super towers in the not too distant future! Which I think is a damned shame but I can understand why.

But I have one now and if past experiences with my G4 and G5 are anything to go by, it'll be with me for ten years or more (my 1999 G4 is still going strong running OS9 for legacy apps).

In the interests of balance, I know quite a few programmers, etc., who run Mac Minis for their work using VMWare Fusion to switch between various flavours of Windows or Linux or Mac OS, depending on what they are required to program in so it must be pretty capable - I just don't get how they can work with Firewire and USB drives all over the place dangling out of the back. But that might just be me.

Good luck in your decision. And let me now if you want me to point you to that refurbisher. I can assure you that there's no connection or affiliation or commercial interest - just a satisfied customer.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby arkieboy » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:31 pm

It turns out I can give the big boy a go for a few weeks. Speed isn't just about processor clock rate and raw ram - this mac mini is a 2GHz Core Duo with 4Gb RAM (same numbers as the Mac Pro except for the two extra cores) so the comparison will be interesting. I'll report back to the thread.

Certainly I can happily run Office, Oxygen XML, Subversion and eXist on this box with no problems, which covers all the software development, grant proposal, and report and paper writing I need to do during any given half term/snowed off school/inset day/mad panic sunday for monday deadline. I guess as an early intel box it will never run Lion - much as I like Lion on my MBP I won't be bothered about that until Logic is Lion only.

Thanks everyone

Steve
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby Scope » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:31 pm

The 2006 Mac Pro IS Intel, its a Mac Pro, not a G5 !
The speeds were quad core 2.66 and 8 core 2.8
The dual core Xeon CPUs are 64 bit and DO run Lion.
( note the previous single core Xeons were not 64 bit, but Apple never used them... )

The only Macs not able to run Lion are 1st gen "dual core" Macbooks, MB Pros and iMacs.
Most of these have died by now due to crap Logic boards....
All Core2duo and Xeon models can run Lion.

A quad core MP will slaughter a dual core/ core2duo Mac mini.
But a quad core i7 is twice as fast as the quad Mac Pro 2.66
The only significant advantage of an old Mac Pro is HD space.
4 drive bays - great for AV.

Having owned most mac models inc Mac Pro quad and 8 core machines, I'd get the i7.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby blue manga » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:05 pm

Scope wrote:
4 drive bays - great for AV.


Yes .. except to bare in mind the Graphics Card supplied in most (if not all?) of the 2006's Mac Pro's will not run Final Cut Pro X ... (I presume amongst other current graphics apps)
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby Scope » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Mine ran FCP-X when I tried it.
But I would recommend it be replaced with a better card, if FCP is your thing.

The stock Nvidia 256mb 7300GT is a bit crap by todays' sta
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby blue manga » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:13 pm

Hmmmm... I had to buy a new card for mine .. as it's not supported ..
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4664

I can't actually remember if I tried starting FCPx up or not tho ..
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby G-Doubleyou » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:04 pm

Here is a benchmark stress test using Logic9 from gearslutz.
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/371545-logic-pro-multicore-benchmarktest.html

The mini quad i7 has roughly TWICE the cpu power of the 2006 mp.

When going for a Mac pro check out the 2008 and later models.

8-)
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby arkieboy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:39 pm

That performance test is interesting. Of course its the new =dual= core i7 thats in the shops at the moment so its only a little faster than the 2006 pro. But a heck of a lot smaller, and much lower power consumption...

Anyway, I think my boss will veto using an old machine: the cost, hassle and delays of recovery if it goes wrong are too much. And it will have to be upgraded at some point anyway. So I think the mac mini server is the one I'll end up with.

Steve
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby jules2005 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:33 am

I'd be reluctant to put any money into an old Mac pro. They are great machines but they're pretty much 'obsolete' inn Apple terms. If something goes wrong it could be difficult and expensive to fix. I'd say:

New Mac Mini.....New mac Mini....New Mac Mini ..... any day!
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby Pink Fluid » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:28 am

I think expandability has a lot to do with it. I've got a 2008 2.66 quad core Mac Pro which has been the studio (and now office) workhorse for ages. I've got 4 drives in it and it runs a printer, scanner, firewire camera and video converter plus various dongles. It also runs my newly acquired copy of Logic happily but struggles far more with DP and Protools when using VSTis. Replacing it recently in the studio with a Macbook Pro has given me a lot more power but far more headaches in terms of attaching peripherals.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby johnny h » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:20 pm

Pink Fluid wrote:I think expandability has a lot to do with it. I've got a 2008 2.66 quad core Mac Pro which has been the studio (and now office) workhorse for ages. I've got 4 drives in it and it runs a printer, scanner, firewire camera and video converter plus various dongles. It also runs my newly acquired copy of Logic happily but struggles far more with DP and Protools when using VSTis. Replacing it recently in the studio with a Macbook Pro has given me a lot more power but far more headaches in terms of attaching peripherals.

Thunderbolt will solve most of those problems in the medium term. You can already got fast hard drive arrays and PCI-E expansion devices that run on thunderbolt but they are fairly expensive right now.
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby G-Doubleyou » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:24 pm

Also it looks like Mountain Lion, will not work on that model.

:shock:
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Re: 2006 Mac Pro or brand new Mac mini??

Postby benniferj » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Is Mountain Lion the most important thing ever? Based on Lion that i'm stuck with on my new Mac Mini Server it's going to be shite! They removed so many useful things from the UI in Lion that it leaves me scratching my head when doing basic tasks.

That said - Just got a Mini Server and it's pretty insane. To the point that i'm likely to bring it in to work and run it alongside what I believe is a Quad Xeon Mac Pro at work and get it to run a video render or similar and see what's better. Loving the Mini Server and i'd suggest that over a 6 year old Mac Pro anytime, even just for warranty, size and updated IO.
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