Discussion Late 2013 Mac Pro w/ D700's or Dual Titan Black SLI 4930k PC/Hackintosh?

Late 2013 Mac Pro or Custom PC Windows/Hack Pro

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onmybikedrunk

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Apr 9, 2013
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So this is a re-post from MacRumors and I stupidly realized that my responses there would be biased. I would much prefer a balanced response rather than Apple nuts telling me to just buy the Mac Pro. Despite my wordiness, this basically does come down to GPU power, so I'm in the right thread.

First of, let me start by saying that I am currently the owner of a nMP (6 Core, 512 SSD, 16GB RAM, and D700 GPUs). I've had it for 8 days now. I am a freelance Industrial Designer that's just starting out and I mostly work with Solidworks/Rhino/Flamingo/KeyShot and AutoCAD, so keep in mind this IS a work based machine, but also my daily driver which after hours is used for fun.

I have an open mind when it comes to tech. For the past 8-10 years I've always owned Mac. I am an industrial designer after all and good design, functionality and form is very important to me. This is the biggest desktop purchase I've ever made, and the decision whether to abandoned Apple for a custom PC is eating me alive!

I am impressed by the design and capabilities of the new Mac Pro, but one thing makes me wary - the graphics cards. Design, however, is a very important aspect, as I am a product designer. I've read over and over that the GPUs are refurbished HD 79** chips with the FirePro name slapped onto them. For the price, this REALLY bothers me. Not to mention if booted into Windows they are in fact described by AMD's own system monitors as Radeon HD 7900 series cards. This has been proven time and time again from different bloggers, devs and other highly respected computer nerds.

Having access to the FirePro drivers is great (in Windows), but in reality let's be honest, these are re-purposed gaming cards. Not to mention that the true capabilities of having dual cards, as of now (with the excpetion of FCP), can only be unleashed through CrossFire X under Windows. There hasn't been enough Dev on the OS X side to take advantage of the dual setup other than compute.

It also REALLY bothers me that Apple down-clocked the cards to prevent overheating/power consumption. I understand that this is always the case with workstation cards... BUT with just a little research anyone can figure out that they are running at 20% less capability of a TRUE W9000 FirePro card and at a whopping 50% less power consumption.

So for months now, since I ordered the nMP, I've been debating whether or not to build myself a Custom PC and install OS X. The infamous Hack Pro dual-boot with Windows. I have in my possession 2x Titan Black cards which I bought upon an "in-stock now!" release direct from EVGA which will be on eBay if I keep the nMP. The rest of the hypothetical system is as follows:

Corsair Obsidian 750D Full ATX Case
Asus X79 Deluxe Pro Board
Intel i7 4930K overclock to 4.2Ghz
2X Titan Black GPUs in SLI
32GB 1866 Corsair Ram
3 Crucial M500 SSD's (Mac in RAID 0 - one for Windows)
1 2TB 7200 RPM drive for Data and backups
Corsair Hydro 80i CPU cooler
etc...

This is the kicker... This build will be over $800 cheaper than the Mac Pro! After Taxes I think the Mac Pro comes out to $5,300 (although I used my Edu discount and I picked it up in Delaware - no sales tax in which I paid $4509-). This build is priced to $4300 with no education discounts and yet still no taxes (thank you Newegg). It will be double the speed GPU wise and the CPU will be 25% faster! More RAM, more storage, and upgrade-ability and expand-ability WAY beyond what the nMP has to offer, just as a few examples... BUT it will be big, bulky, kind of ugly and I won't have the Applecare warranty.

If Apple would have just made the GPU's a tad bit more impressive, there would be no question. I am completely capable of building and maintaining a Hack Pro, however I'm just nervous that I'll regret the warranty from Apple - walking into an Apple store and having a new component "day of" is awesome. If I go the ladder route, it would be my first PC adventure in a decade.

So what are everyone's thoughts on this? I know I'm not the only Mac user that feels as if a Hackintosh is their only option now for a work desktop considering the changes Apple has made. Also keep in mind a the software I use is both Windows and Mac based, but I LOVE Apple and OS X 10.

Folks that have experience with Hack Pro's please feel free to weigh in on your advice... I am pulling my hair out trying to figure this out!!!!
 

samm1551995

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Jun 16, 2014
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Just unboxed my outspeced 6 core mac pro today. rocking dual D700 GPU's, a terabyte of flash storage and a whopping 32gigs of RAM (not outspeced the ram). In ARMA III i'm getting a steady 50-60 fps with everything on ultra on a 2K monitor. As you might know, mac pro isn't meant for gaming, like any other workstation. Yet the performance in A3 is enough to say this beast can handle some pretty epic gaming next to your professional work.
 
G

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If you are gaming after hours, then go for the Custom PC build. If you are more interested in the CAD programs for work, go for the Mac Pro.
 

Hees

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Aug 11, 2014
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I'm very interested in this setup, specially in relation to playing ARMA III. I do play ARMA III on a i7-iMac but I have to raise all the fans to their maximum rotations to be able to cool the machine. And even then I get temperatures that are hot to the touch, specially on the left top side, sliding my finger to the middle. My question is, what are the temperatures when you play for some time? What about the fan, do you hear that? I just went to my new Apple Store to feel the airflow and temperature, doing nothing at the time and even then the machine feels warm (not hot) to the touch.
 

samm1551995

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Jun 16, 2014
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It stays nice and cool in almost every scenario. It gets warm but not hot. I am in complete love with the setup haha.
 

samm1551995

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Jun 16, 2014
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Btw. Arma 3 runs like a charm. I myself have been an avid Arma player for a long time now, playing mainly in realism clans (ACE). The performance was great and exceeds that of an 780 both in 1080 and 1440p resolutions. Before I got the pro I suspected it to do great in sim games though to the huge amount of VRAM and also I suspected it to run good but not amazing in non sim games (metro etc).

This is exactly what happened. It performs like a high end gaming PC in normal games, and like an enthusiast in sim games. Combine this with the portibility, sound level and thermal management and it simply can not be beaten in that field. I highly recommend it for any professional who also enjoys gaming. If you're aimed at getting this only for gaming, then you're doing it wrong. :p

 

Hees

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Aug 11, 2014
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Thanks Samm, there is not very much data on gaming on a MacPro. Your answer make me a bit more confident in even thinking of buying a MacPro. I had a message out to my dealer, asking what his price for me will be, if I want my iMac swapped for this beast.
My experience with ARMA goes back to the OFP years, mostly playing it on a PC obviously. But I sold my gaming rig to buy this lovely iMac (with a bit of balls). On the other hand, I would be more than happy to buy an Apple gaming rig, but they do not exist...
 

samm1551995

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Jun 16, 2014
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It does now :p

For your situation, and if you've got some cash to spare (and maybe a arm, leg, first born??)
The Mac Pro is a no-brainer.

Enjoy it! :D



 
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