What it costs to build your own Mac Pro in South Africa

cozinsky

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Very good comparison!! One tends to think that Apple will always be more expensive but this proves otherwise. Maybe do a similar comparison on the iMacs which is more mainstream?
 

elvis_presley

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Just a few points...

>Super Talent GS5 PCIE SSD 256GB (R12,500)

Mac Pro has a normal SSD in (benchmarks put performance the same as the MacBook Pro SSD's, which are fairly normal SSDs) - 256gig costs around R2500, so that's R10k chopped off the price right there.

GPUs are always a sticking point as the W7000's have twice the RAM of the Mac Pro's D300's and are a bit faster, and support more displays. The D300's have been benchmarked closers to speeds of "gamer" cards of half the price of the W7000.

1000W PSU is overkill. The Mac Pro uses a 450W, so 650W is more than enough. Halve that cost. R1750 saved.

Then of course you need to add R3000+ on to the Mac Pro's price to get the same warrantee as the PC parts, which will all come with 3-5 years when you're buying this level of parts.

So the Mac Pro isn't as overpriced as we'd expect, but it's certainly most costly than the equivalent custom build, if you take the time to find the right parts.
 

JStrike

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Just a few points...

>Super Talent GS5 PCIE SSD 256GB (R12,500)

Mac Pro has a normal SSD in (benchmarks put performance the same as the MacBook Pro SSD's, which are fairly normal SSDs) - 256gig costs around R2500, so that's R10k chopped off the price right there.

GPUs are always a sticking point as the W7000's have twice the RAM of the Mac Pro's D300's and are a bit faster, and support more displays. The D300's have been benchmarked closers to speeds of "gamer" cards of half the price of the W7000.

1000W PSU is overkill. The Mac Pro uses a 450W, so 650W is more than enough. Halve that cost. R1750 saved.

Then of course you need to add R3000+ on to the Mac Pro's price to get the same warrantee as the PC parts, which will all come with 3-5 years when you're buying this level of parts.

So the Mac Pro isn't as overpriced as we'd expect, but it's certainly most costly than the equivalent custom build, if you take the time to find the right parts.
The GPU's ideal for gamers are not ideal for workstations
 

elvis_presley

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The GPU's ideal for gamers are not ideal for workstations
Agreed - but one has to recognize the W7000 is a superior product, and the actual performance you're aiming for costs half the price. Split the difference in price if you're being fair about it. "Rounding up" on all the parts then saying it costs more doesn't really prove much, apart from the fact a better machine than the Mac Pro costs more than the Mac Pro :)
 

Allin

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I remember CAR magazine did something similar years ago... It cost multiple times a car's cost to assemble it from spares!
 

Jan

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Just a few points...

>Super Talent GS5 PCIE SSD 256GB (R12,500)

Mac Pro has a normal SSD in (benchmarks put performance the same as the MacBook Pro SSD's, which are fairly normal SSDs) - 256gig costs around R2500, so that's R10k chopped off the price right there.

GPUs are always a sticking point as the W7000's have twice the RAM of the Mac Pro's D300's and are a bit faster, and support more displays. The D300's have been benchmarked closers to speeds of "gamer" cards of half the price of the W7000.

1000W PSU is overkill. The Mac Pro uses a 450W, so 650W is more than enough. Halve that cost. R1750 saved.

Then of course you need to add R3000+ on to the Mac Pro's price to get the same warrantee as the PC parts, which will all come with 3-5 years when you're buying this level of parts.

So the Mac Pro isn't as overpriced as we'd expect, but it's certainly most costly than the equivalent custom build, if you take the time to find the right parts.
Interesting points all round. Have some links where we can see the benchmarks you refer to?

The other comparisons I've seen around the web use the W7000, 8000, and 9000: http://anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013. Which graphics cards do you recommend for a custom build?

Also from what I could see the standard SATA SSDs are typically somewhat slower than PCIe SSDs: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-recommendation-benchmark,3269-6.html
 

Freakboy

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Are these the same guys (Phoenix Tech) that let people pay for the PS4 upfront and then told them to (still) wait for it?
 

elvis_presley

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The other comparisons I've seen around the web use the W7000, 8000, and 9000: http://anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013. Which graphics cards do you recommend for a custom build?
I recommend the W7000, etc (but acknowledge it's better) - you're probably going to be using your workstation for CAD or something, and the gamer-level cards don't handle things like 3d rendering in multiple displays/windows properly - more because of the drivers than the hardware - some people have hacked the workstation drivers on to gamer hardware and they work fine - but if you're dropping R50k on a machine, you don't want to start doing hacks like that to save 10%.

Also from what I could see the standard SATA SSDs are typically somewhat slower than PCIe SSDs: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-recommendation-benchmark,3269-6.html
I think "PCIe SSD" in Apple's world doesn't mean the same as the PC world :) Here's Anandtech's benchies
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013/12

It's quite clear the results are close enough to the laptops (which use commodity SSDs) to conclude they're the same.
 
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Jan

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I think "PCIe SSD" in Apple's world doesn't mean the same as the PC world :) Here's Anandtech's benchies
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013/12

It's quite clear the results are close enough to the laptops (which use commodity SSDs) to conclude they're the same.
They use the same PCIe SSDs in the MacBooks as in the Mac Pro... Doesn't mean it isn't good (except for the controversy around the poor performance of the 128GB SSD, of course).

As far as I could see the benchmarks on the SSDs used in Macs were actually quite impressive. This is why I'd like to see comparative tests. Maybe it's actually the case that MacBooks have really great quality SSDs and not that the Mac Pro is using a commodity SSD.

Also, I don't think third-party SSDs for Apple's computers were actually available when they first launched them. I.e. it wasn't "COTS" stuff. The third-party stuff only started appearing recently, so I'm not sure it's fair to characterise the PCIe SSDs Apple uses as "commodity".
 

elvis_presley

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As far as I could see the benchmarks on the SSDs used in Macs were actually quite impressive. This is why I'd like to see comparative tests. Maybe it's actually the case that MacBooks have really great quality SSDs and not that the Mac Pro is using a commodity SSD.
Hard to find comparisons, but it's definitely commodity components - many sites actually say what kind of memory and controller are used on the storage, and it's the same stuff as everyone else uses. Just with a funny Apple connector.

I did a quick look around, and it looks like "PCIe SSD" is simply the SATA controller moved on to the board, I think a PC equivalent would be an "mSATA SSD".

I'm not sure it's fair to characterise the PCIe SSDs Apple uses as "commodity".
I'm talking of the components - they're commodity components soldered on to an Apple circuit board. This won't give you any extra performance.
 

Jan

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I'm talking of the components - they're commodity components soldered on to an Apple circuit board. This won't give you any extra performance.
Ah OK, I get what you mean now.

If you look at the SSD benchmarks (albeit not comparative), the Apple PCIe SSDs are much faster in terms of sequential reads and writes than the standard SATA stuff you can buy.

Unless I'm missing something?

(Here are the figures if you guys want to go hunting for benchmarks on third-party parts that might outperform the Mac Pro's):

128KB Sequential Read (QD1)
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD, QD16: 1032.1 MB/s
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD: 985.2 MB/s

128KB Sequential Write (QD1)
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD: 986.8 MB/s
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD, QD16: 971.6 MB/s

4KB Random Read (QD3)
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD, QD16: 94.9 MB/s
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD: 70.7 MB/s

4KB Random Write (8GB LBA Space - QD3) (Interestingly, many of the MacBooks actually outperform the Mac Pro here)
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD: 83.2 MB/s
512GB Samsung PCIe SSD, QD16: 78.8 MB/s

(Note that comparing benchmarks not conducted as part of the same testing regime is not accurate, but it could be indicative at least; another issue is that only the 512GB Mac Pro drive is tested, not the 256GB one.)
 

dee4dog

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A better comparison should be cost / performance, not matching the exact same hardware. R50 000 Pc, any combination of hardware and Mac Pro, then run all the usual benchmarks on both. IOW bang for buck . Or even match performance to see cost difference. Its been done by Armando Ferreira http://youtu.be/1eGYYbkbXCA
 
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i.got~issues

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A better comparison should be cost / performance, not matching the exact same hardware. R50 000 Pc, any combination of hardware and Mac Pro, then run all the usual benchmarks on both. IOW bang for buck . Or even match performance to see cost difference. Its been done by Armando Ferreira http://youtu.be/1eGYYbkbXCA
[video=youtube;1eGYYbkbXCA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eGYYbkbXCA[/video]
 

elvis_presley

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If you look at the SSD benchmarks (albeit not comparative), the Apple PCIe SSDs are much faster in terms of sequential reads and writes than the standard SATA stuff you can buy.
The sequential reads on the macs are great, but the random's about the same as a normal SSD - probably just because of the greater bandwidth you have, moving the disk controller on the other side of the PCIe bus?

Interesting to note from that video above - if you get 2x SSD's and Raid them, the sequential performance is the same; and you can get double the amount of storage in to the budget. Nice trick, that I haven't seen any of these other "comparison builds" use. It's not really cheating either, is it? if the parts you've bought offer any inherent performance bonsues, why not use them.
 
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Petec

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Awesome article and subsequent "good read" replies.
Well done MyBB and forum tech junkies :)
 

Rocket-Boy

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The motherboard, SSD and PSU are way overkill which has a large effect on the price.
That is all retail stuff where apple uses all OEM which is substantially cheaper.
Having said that the mac will look better at the end of it.
 
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