2008 MP worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by frocco, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #1
    This is the early 2008 model, with 2 Xeon Quad Core 3.0 Ghz Processors. For a total of 8 physical cores operating at 3.0 Ghz each.

    12 GB of 800 Mhz ECC Ram.

    A single 1TB 7200RPM drive with OSX Lion (10.7) installed.

    Also has a 1 GB ATI Radeon 4870 Installed for even faster photo and video editing.

    Asking 998.00

    Is this a good deal?

    or should I buy a mac mini?

    Some gaming and web development.

    Thanks
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #2
    Asking 998 what? USD? Euros? Yen? Vietnamese Dong?

    In addition, is there a monitor?
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #3
    The Mini is faster (except for the video perhaps, but seems like a non-issue looking at your work), and it will save you a crate of beers every month on the electricity bill. What kind of gaming?
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #4
    Price is USD.

    Metal of Honor type games.

    ----------

    No Monitor
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    AppleNewton

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    1 Finite Place
    #5
    honestly, i wouldnt spend that $ on a 2008 Mac anything. You can put that towards a refurb 21" or 27" and get a better experience for the type of things you want to do.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #6
    Ok, I thought it was a good deal for a Mac Pro.

    Is it faster than a mini?

    ----------

    How does the HD 4000 compare?
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    #7
    The only real downside to that mac pro is that the RAM is really expensive. Otherwise, buy a 560Ti nvidia card cheap and put it in and you'll have a great gaming computer together with the expandability of a mac pro. The mac mini might actually have a competeable processor in some cases nowadays but in general usage that mac pro should beat the mini. Especially if you want to play a game or two.

    Good price, I would NOT sell my similarly specced machine (but with ssd and 560Ti) for nearly that price. It still is a really nice computer.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #8
    Thanks, he is willing to let me see it run.

    Can AppleCare be purchased or other protection?
     
  9. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    It depends on the test, and the HD 4000 would still be slower.

    You could check squaretrade or something like that. It's too old to be eligible for applecare.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    #10
    I haven"t ever registered an account here, but I was reading this thread and wanted to dispel some misinformation.

    I very recently bought a very similar Mac Pro to you (same model and processor speed, but 16gb ram) for $600, however I think it's worth $1000 (At most at those specs).

    I couldn't say no for the price I got it for, but I have been putting the PC through it's paces.

    This Mac would DESTROY even the latest Mac Mini when it comes to games, it is not even comparable. The dual Xeon processors when measured together are better than a i7-2600, the only difference being the lower single thread performance due to the old architecture. However the single thread performance is still better than you currently need for any game.

    I installed an SSD and a GTX660 in the Mac Pro I got, and after benchmarking many games, I am getting equal FPS to other systems which are the latest i7's.

    These are the pros and cons of getting a 2008 Mac Pro:

    Pros:
    - You can install modern hard drives and 3D cards, which you cannot do with Mac Mini's and iMacs. If you compare the latest Mini's and iMacs from now, and then in 2 years you install the latest SSD and graphic card, it will beat them in performance.
    - The memory is expensive, but if you get over 10gb, it will most likely be enough for most applications outside of video.
    - The 8 cores available to you are still above most modern consumer CPU's, and more and more new applications and games are using multiple cores. As soon as an application uses all 8 cores, the importance of single thread performance decreases.

    Cons:
    - CPU's are the top range of the old CPU architecture, one CPU is equal to like an i3-2100, and the single thread performance is lower than that.
    - The ram is EXPENSIVE, you will pay $120 for 8gb more ram.
    - All the techs used are old. No Thunderbolt, no USB 3.0, DDR2 memory, no PCIe 3.0, IDE for CD Drives. My argument for this is, unless you want a thunderbolt display, the port is pointless, USB 3 is cool, but not really that important unless your work entails copying huge amounts of data over it, DDR2 is only like 5% slower than DDR3, We are hardly even reaching the capacity of PCIe x8, let alone x16 or more.
    - Possible lack of OS support from apple in the future
    - No CPU upgrade options

    Oh yeah, and you can SLI in windows, I'm planning on getting another 660 GTX, then I will get better game performance than 99% of the pc's out there :) And definitely any Mac Mini or iMac.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #11

    I think you need to do a little research before making such claims. While the 2008 Mac Pro is good machine, to say that it 'Destroy's' the latest Mac Mini, is a little misleading. The latest Mac Mini uses current CPU's and motherboards with bandwidth four to five times that of the 2008 MP, that means peripherals such as graphics for example, get much more data a whole lot faster then any current video card you can stick in a 2008 MP because the bus speed is only 1.6GHz which is very slow by todays standards. Comparing Xeon's to Core i series CPU's is dangerous too, they are built for completely different things. Mac Pro's were designed to be high end mac workstations, video/audio work horses, graphics design power houses, not for gaming or multimedia. A Mac Pro is a smaller desktop Mac, still fast and capable, but a step down from an iMac in some respects. While Mac Pro's offer plenty of expandability in terms of PCI cards, drives etc, they are long in the tooth now and lag far behind current tech. My 2008 MP is fast enough for me and as you have pointed out, memory pricing is one of the major drawbacks, but its still a capable machine; in my opinion, the latest Mac Mini would dance circles around it.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    PowerPCMacMan

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Location:
    PowerPC land
    #12
    Sources for these...

    Hi, Just some thoughts on what you wrote.

    You wrote the following:

    "This Mac would DESTROY even the latest Mac Mini when it comes to games, it is not even comparable. The dual Xeon processors when measured together are better than a i7-2600, the only difference being the lower single thread performance due to the old architecture. However the single thread performance is still better than you currently need for any game."

    Where is your source to back up this argument? While yes, the 2008 Mac Pro whether it be the 2.8, 3.0 or 3.2(3.4 X5492 DOES NOT work in 2008), along with 800 mhz FSB bus using FB-DIMMS would be a great gaming machine, it is still older technology compared to the i7-2600 and even the newest Sandy Bridge Macs. The only way I could see the 2008 Mac Pro being faster in anything compared to what we have now would be multi-core based applications and those are too far in between these days. The only such multi-core apps would be in the video rendering, and encoding, along with 3D/2D Animation type work; video in general.. Also, in Audio encoding and recording using Logic Pro 9. Final Cut Pro X also is multi-core.

    However, single threaded applications and games would crush the 2008 Mac Pro since most single threaded apps and games(most are 2 cores) would run much faster on Sandy Bridge based Macs and PCs. If anything, if one has a use for multi-core applications, then the 2008 Mac Pro would be a good choice. The same can be said for the 2009 and 2010 which use Hyperthreading.


    "These are the pros and cons of getting a 2008 Mac Pro:

    Pros:
    -
    - The 8 cores available to you are still above most modern consumer CPU's, and more and more new applications and games are using multiple cores. As soon as an application uses all 8 cores, the importance of single thread performance decreases."

    Where is your source for this one? Name me one game out on the market that is 4-8 cores or can be run using multiple cores? None. The most cores games run at are between 1-2 cores, if that. I have yet to see a multi-core/hyper-threaded game, at least to my knowledge. While yes, most modern machines of today only have Dual and or Quad Core capability, the EIGHT cores would really benefit in the applications which require them. Are you telling me that Microsoft Office's next version will be 8-core based? I don't think so. Not even Photoshop is multi-core, yet."

    I don't mean to criticize you, but please provide sources to this information. I used to have a 3.0 2008 Mac Pro Harpertown - a beast of a machine, a very nice machine at that.. but in most things today it would be defeated in single-threaded applications.. but where it shines is its 8-core capabilities with the applications it can support using all 8-cores. The only other real benefit, for now with the 2008 Harpertowns is that it is 64-bit kernel ready and can take the latest video cards by ATI(AMD) and NVIDIA. 2007&2006 Mac Pros can't be loaded into 64-bit kernel, at least not without the help of a hack or injection.




    "All the techs used are old. No Thunderbolt, no USB 3.0, DDR2 memory, no PCIe 3.0, IDE for CD Drives" - Ok, so what? The 2009/2010 and yes, the "2012 Mac Pro" ALL don't have thunderpants, no USB 3.0 built in, no PCIe 3.0.. And yes, the 2008 can be used for SATA OPTICAL devices, just that the two hidden SATA ports can only be used to boot up Mac OS X.. they cannot be used to boot any other operating systems(Linux and or Windows) without someway to enable GRUB and or AHCI drivers in Windows.


    - Possible lack of OS support from apple in the future - This could be a possibility, but I don't see how unless Apple moves from 64-bit to 128-Bit or uses some "lock out" firmware to exclude machines older than 2009.
    - No CPU upgrade options - Sad, but true.. but for those with 2008 2.8 cpus, going to 3.2 or x5482's would be beneficial.. but not for those with 3.0. And the x5492 is E0 stepping and is NOT COMPATIBLE with the Harpertown Mac Pro.

    "Oh yeah, and you can SLI in windows, I'm planning on getting another 660 GTX, then I will get better game performance than 99% of the pc's out there :) And definitely any Mac Mini or iMac."

    I thought SLI had to be embedded on the logic board, where as CROSSFIRE is software related and can be ENABLED by cross firing two video cards(Windows only).
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    #13
    To Ashman:

    The i7 processors used in the Mac Mini have improved memory bandwidth, thereby giving it better geekbench results over the dual Xeon Processors. The actual compute speed is below that. From geekbench ~18000 (top range Mini) vs ~20000.

    Looking at cpumark:
    i7-3720QM = 8585
    Dual Xeon 3.0ghz x5472 = 9222


    But anyway, that isn't that important, the system will run great whichever one you use. The main thing is that the Mini has a HD4000, and you can't upgrade it. The cheapest discrete graphics card you get (Like a 6670) will wipe the floor with it.

    To PowerPCMacMan:
    - The CPU scores are still pretty good compared to the i7-2600, I ran benchmarking software on my machine to test it. (Provided by cpubenchmark) Most of the time my cpu beat the i7's by a lot, some times the i7's one by a lot, and sometimes they were equal. Pretty much compute scores the Xeon's won. Note, you have to take the CPU's together, apart they are reasonably weak.
    - I agree single thread performance is bad, but the type of stuff you are talking about, such as office applications and such, I think the single thread performance is enough to not notice the difference between the old xeon and a modern CPU

    With regards to modern games supporting multiple cores, it's easier to name games that use single cores , than ones that don't. Every game I've tested uses multiple cores, EXCEPT Crysis.

    Yeah that surprised me too, here are other games:
    Battlefield 3 (8 cores)
    Dishonored (~6 cores it seems?)
    Crysis 2 (3 or 4 cores)
    Civ 5 (8 cores)
    X-Com (8 cores)

    I am still testing more games, but I only recently got the graphics card so I've only tried out a few. There is a good article on Tom's hardware though with regards to core usage and bottlenecks which is quite interesting.

    Also none of the games seems to have CPU bottlenecks, which is what I was worried about.

    - SLI has been done before with 2 8800gt, and 2 285s. It was reported on this forum. However, it only works in Windows, they will be treated as separate cards in OSX.


    I may have overstated how much better the dual CPU's are over the Mac Mini's, I'll retract that and say they are more equal. However, being stuck on an HD4000 is a HUGE difference to having a modern discrete graphics card.

    All the benchmarks I've done on my own system comparing it to reviews (for the gtx 660) indicate that I'm getting the same or similar fps as a gtx 660 installed with the latest i7 processor, which indicates, at least for games, the processor is not a problem at all.
     
  14. macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    上海 (Shanghai)
    #14
    For $998 you can get a very good gaming computer that is a lot better than that Mac Pro.

    RAM on the 2008 Mac Pro is very specific and expensive; it's not exactly a fast machine by today's standards.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #15
    Hi.
    I had my Mac Mini and installed SSD and max ram 8GB. It was good but I needed more ram.
    (it would boot into snow leopard in 17 seconds or so, but I needed RAM to run VMs.)
    About 3 years ago I bought early 2008 MP with 4GB ram for $2900 I think.
    Dual quad 3.0
    Not long after I expanded to 8, then 16, and now 24 RAM.
    Yes, very expensive RAM. I did not really "NEED" over 16 but it was on sale and I upped.

    I use my MP differently. I run a few VMs so I need RAM more than anything.
    And I'm super happy w my E2008.

    At work I have whatever is the base model MP which came with I think 6GB RAM but I upped that to 32.


    Now that the Mini is capable of 16GB it's nice to see.
    At work I also used the last gen white macbooks prior to unibody ddr2 and unibody plastic ddr3, and yes ddr3 is so much faster.

    My gaming rig is few years old too.
    i7 2.8, 12GB DDR3, nvidia GTX260
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #16
    yes it is faster than mini
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #17
    I am a little nervous about the lack of warranty. Do not know how good square trade is. I currently have no computer and am getting impatient.

    I was going to wait for the iMac 27"
     
  18. macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #18
    I'd bite at 1k..
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    #19
    I also could get a decent HP desktop for that price, but windows 8 instead of OSX
     
  20. macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #20
    yuppers, and you could build one that'll run OSX for less..
     

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