12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro for $2000 on eBay... Lesson Learned

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by SHELBY-GTR, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. SHELBY-GTR macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014
    I'm new to the forum. Some colleagues recommended this forum saying this is the best place for advice on anything related to Mac Pros. Just wanted to see if you guys had any experience with a eBay seller 'brgins4sale' or heard of anybody who purchased a Mac Pro from them.

    I was seeking a 12-Core 5,1 off eBay because that was the best route for me - ability to add multiple SSDs and upgrade the graphics card. All the 12-Core 3.33GHz units seemed to be around $3k. I found this user ' brgins4sale ' selling the 12-Core 3.06GHz with a SSD and 2TB Hard Drive for $2200. I noticed he also had a 12-Core 3.33GHz for $2000. I was surprised at the great price and bought it.

    Of course, as they say, "If it's seems to good to be true, it is". It was a lesson learned to not go with the lowest price.

    - It took about a week for it to finally ship. I received it 2 weeks after ordering.
    - When it arrived, I opened the package to see it had a severe bend on the leg. I would imagine a company selling Mac Pros as a business would know how to package them properly. It was just of layers of bubble. Even I know that the legs and handles are made of aluminum which is easily bendable metal.
    - I opened the case to find there was PCIe slot covers missing which was not a big deal, but not professional.
    - After research I noticed that the 2009 actually had revised firmware which he didn't specify in his listing. Kind of deceiving IMO.

    I didn't know the difference between the 2009 and 2010 versions of the Mac Pro. I did notice many people writing genuine 2010 and I should have realized there was a reason for that. I realized after the fact that the 2009 had a hacked/flashed firmware.

    It sucks that he doesn't write the year of manufacture and doesn't disclose the firmware has been revised.

    He told me that it is the first time that one of his units got damaged in shipping. I am surprised at that because he shipped a Mac Pro in a few layers of bubble wrap. I think it's obvious that it would get damaged.

    Does anybody have experience with brgins4sale or have heard of anybody with a positive experience purchasing from him/them?

    I just wonder if I just had bad luck with the transaction and specific Mac Pro...or he was just somebody to avoid from the first place.
  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    I just looked at a couple of the seller's listings and there isn't a model number or identifier anywhere. I definitely find that a bit odd.

    You can return the item but you will have to pay return shipping unless you can find something that was misdescribed.
  3. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Only buy from resellers who are thoroughly detailed in their descriptions, offer standard warranty and have a long standing reputation. It's worth paying extra for that. On eBay only Create Pro and Editbuilder are the ones to go to.
  4. iBuildMacs, Dec 29, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014

    iBuildMacs macrumors member


    Dec 29, 2014
    Ya. That's how eBay is. Any seller who doesn't post the year, it will probably be a 2009.
  5. SHELBY-GTR thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014
    Ya. It was a major hassle. I already returned it. The guy waited till the last day to refund my payment. After I left feedback, he started harassing me by continuously calling and texting me. It sucks that eBay gives other users your phone number upon request.
  6. dyt1983, Dec 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  7. sebseb macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2014
    I checked the user's account on eBay and he has 99.8% rating? How???

    I don't get why the buyer must pay the return shipping, if the item is damaged! When you buy a product from apple, they pay for return too. Doesn't matter if its damages or you're simply not satisfied!

    I have been looking at the user "macinabox-company" apparently the same as ipower resales group. Also "iSelliMac" seems good with mac pros that still have apple care!

    Anyone know any of them?
  8. maflynn, Dec 30, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    [MOD NOTE]
    Closed for moderation review

    Thread is no re-opened and let me remind everyone of the MacRumors Rules for Appropriate Debate


    Guidelines: Show respect for your fellow posters. Expect and accept that other users may have strongly held opinions that differ from yours. In other words, basic human courtesy.

    1. Name-calling. Name-calling falls into the category of insults and will be treated as such according to the forum rules, your own opinion about another member notwithstanding. You can't call a bigot a bigot, a troll a troll, or a fanboy a fanboy, any more than you can call an idiot an idiot. You can disagree with the content of another member's statement or give your evidence or opinion to dispute their claims, but you may not make a negative personal characterization about that member.
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  9. arobert3434 macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Good deal, actually

    A flashed MacPro 4,1 (2009) is just as good as a 5,1: same hardware, and the firmware is straight from Apple, not "hacked". If you were not aware of this kind of thing, you probably should not have been trying to get a used Mac Pro on eBay, but buying new from a retailer instead. $800 savings for a bent leg and some missing slot covers is a great deal. No wonder the seller is getting good feedback.

    That said, they should have disclosed both issues in the listing.
  10. reco2011, Dec 30, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014

    reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    I'm not seeing any tangible issue here. Aside from the bent leg you received what you bargained for: A 12-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro. Unless the seller advertised it as a 2010 model there was no deception. One thing that immediately raised a flag when reading your post was why a 12-core 3.33GHz system would cost $200 less than a 12-core 3.06GHz system. Were they different configurations otherwise (i.e. the 3.06GHz system had more memory, an SSD where the 3.33GHz system did not, something else)?

    I'm surprised that in your research you did not learn a flashed 2009 model is the equivalent of a 2010 model. I believe the only way to tell the difference is to look it up by serial number. Furthermore it's possible the seller wasn't even aware it was flashed. It may have been done prior to their acquisition of the system. Some of these guys buy and sell so many systems they don't have the time to do flashing.

    IMO, aside from the bent leg (shipping damage does happen even when well packed) that was a system to keep.
  11. TruckdriverSean, Dec 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

    TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    Purchased a cellular iPad Air from iSelliMac a few months ago. No problems.

    Regarding the 4,1-5,1 thing... Yes, as a 2009 5,1 owner I can tell you that they are virtually identical, except where they are not. A relative novice can replace a dead CPU in a genuine 5,1 cMP. I would NOT recommend a relative novice to change out a dead CPU in a dual tray 4,1 period. And from what little I understand listening to MVC talk about the trials and tribulations of getting a "GTX 980 Mac", there are actually some tiny differences in how a 4,1 and a 5,1 handle PCIe graphics cards. Edit to add, the thread from MVC I was thinking of actually was in reference to the 3,1/4,1 not the 4,1/5,1. My mistake. While I don't think there have been any released products with compatibility issues between genuine 5,1's and "2009 5,1's" the future doesn't guarantee that this will never be the case.

    And then we get to honest principles. Let's say you want a '63 Corvette with its one-year-only split rear window. Would you accept a converted '64 Vette sold as a '63? What's your problem? They're functionaly identical!!

    As for the seller not knowing... Well he's the one selling the product. It's his job to know what he's selling. A quick tap on the Apple logo and a click on "About this Mac" immediately shows what year it was made in, EVEN IF FLASHED TO 5,1. Yes, the seller knew dang good and well it was a 2009. That's why it wasn't in the description. Life is always buyer-beware, but dishonesty is B.S. And that's coming from a devout libertarian. (No upper case on purpose)

    And as for a bent leg... A bent leg on cMP is a great sign of the entire machine being dropped, during shipping, or quite possibly when you already know someone is being dishonest, BEFORE shipping. And with lots of fragile parts like motherboards and PCIe connectors, I wouldn't accept one either.
  12. ilikewhey macrumors 6502a

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    is everything working?

    otherwise besides the bent leg, you saved tons of cash by going with a flashed 4.1, plus if you do the mod yourself, you're spending almost 600 on the 2 cpu, and thn you run the risk of replacing the delidded chips yourself, which has a fairly high failure rate.
  13. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Maybe it´s at matter of luck.
    I bought my first MP (3,1) from Germany. No problems.
    My current MP (5,1) has a few scratches, which I barely notice. The seller (from US), stated that in the add. He also stated it would arrive with a HD 5770, but it came with a HD 5870. I didn´t complain :D
    It was so well packed, that the package might have survived a nuclear-attack at DHL-headquarter.

    Anyway, 2 grand for 12 core MP, is still a great price. Flashed or not flashed. That is, if you can live with the bend.

    I think I´d have kept it, at just searched for a new/refurbished case...
  14. reco2011, Dec 31, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014

    reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    Can you detail these differences? To my knowledge the 2010 MP identical to the 2009 MP except the processors available and the 5.1 firmware which supports those processors. Perhaps there's minor revisions of other components which often occur over the life of a product (and within a specific generation / model year). Is my understanding incorrect?

    It all depends on what you want. If what you want is a split rear window then either one will do. If you want a '63 Corvette then a converted '64 model doesn't meet that criteria.

    I suspect the OP wanted a 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro. I suspect he did not want a 2010 model Mac Pro.

    You're assuming the seller knew. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe the person listing it isn't the same guy who cleaned / tested it. We don't know however you're assuming the worst. Regardless there was no deception as he did not list it as a 2010 Mac Pro. He listed it as a 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro. Yes, it's easy to assume it's a 2010 model and not a 2009. But again no deception. The OP bargained for a 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro and the OP received a 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro.

    EDIT: I can't speak for the OP's specific auction however I do see the same seller offering a 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro for $1,577.77 (an even lower price than the OP paid) with the following in the description:


    A second auction for a 12-Core 3.33GHz system from this seller has the same information. A third auction for an unmodified system specifically states "Mid 2010" and does not mention anything about modifications. I spot checked a number of closed auctions from this seller for 12-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pros and every description stated they were upgraded.

    From reading these auctions it appears the seller is attempting to be as informative / transparent as he can with his auctions. Unless the OP can demonstrate otherwise for his specific auction it seems reasonable to conclude the OPs specific auction also specified it was upgraded.

    This is the only thing that would make me hesitate. Not because I'm worried about some other damage. After all after an initial inspection and power on you either know if there's additional damage or not. The legs on these things seem to bend if you look at them wrong. It doesn't appear to take much to bend them.
  15. ilikewhey macrumors 6502a

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    2009 and 2010+ both uses intel x58 socket chipset 1366. there is no hardware revision on them whatsoever, although x58 sockets allow ram speed up to 2200mhz (oc), apple decided to cap it at 1066mhz for 2009 and 1333hmz for 2010+, since 1066mhz is stock speed for nehalem and 1333mhz is stock for westmere, but it is theoretical to overclock ram speed way above that on the pc side.

    the single biggest difference hardware wise is for some reason, apple decided to use lidless cpu for their dual socket 2009. that was the only year mac pro had delid cpu. you can either delid the cpu u want to swap in or add washers to compensate for the extra height of the heatsink.
  16. Foggydog macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2014
    Left Coast

    If the seller is harassing you that badly, go get a police whistle, and blow it into the earpiece. Guaranteed that the harassment will cease.
  17. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    It's good that you returned the Mac and got your refund. It was a dubious deal. You mentioned it took the seller 2 weeks to ship the machine to you. I am just speculating and it could be possible the seller doesn't actually have the unit physically with him at the time of the active ad listing. And when you sent the payment, that may be the time he started getting the unit from another source or seller and probably this seller did not do the cpu upgrade himself. And no way of telling if the cpu upgrade was professionally well done with the cpus showing the proper temperatures and fan speeds. There are sellers that use recycled photos.

    Best to always inquire from the seller more details about the unit and some sellers would reveal the serial number upfront and shows a screenshot of the Apple profile, showing too if it's a Mid 2010 or early 2009. And from there you would know the manner the seller replies. If the seller harassed you maybe try to report this to eBay. Years ago I purchased a CD drive from a third party seller at Amazon advertised as brand new. The drive was not working and it looked like a used item. I left a negative feedback and the seller was rude, telling me that I should leave a positive feedback. I reported this to Amazon and they investigated. They then removed the seller and refunded my money.
  18. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    See my post (#15) above. From the research I've done I've seen nothing dubious from the seller.
  19. Macsonic, Jan 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015

    Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Reco2011. Yep I already read your post before I shared my inputs. I know people would have mixed thoughts here as some may feel the deal is fine. If you feel the deal is okay I'm fine with that. Or some people may not buy a Mac Pro if it takes 2 weeks to be shipped if they knew. Also, the OP purchased a 3.06 ghz 12 core and not a 3.33ghz. I checked the seller's feedback and the transaction and the OP's initial posting. The OP mentioned "I found this user ' brgins4sale ' selling the 12-Core 3.06GHz with a SSD and 2TB Hard Drive for $2200." Unless I am mistaken that the OP purchased a 3.33ghz and not a 3.06ghz. :)
  20. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    Ok, I found the post I was thinking of, but looks like it was about the 3,1 and 4,1. My mistake. There is the physical difference of the heatsink as well as the socket securing mechanism (or lack there of on the 4,1) and this difference is enough for some people to pay more for a genuine 5,1 over a converted 4,1.

    I'm suspecting otherwise myself.

    No offense to the OP, but the seller was preying on the... underinformed, and omitting pertinent facts of an item for sale may not be a capital crime, but it certainly puts certain businesses in my "do not buy from" list.
  21. reco2011, Jan 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015

    reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    My comments have nothing to do with whether the deal was fine or not. What I'm commenting on is if the OP was deceived. My research of other 12-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro systems by this seller led me to conclude they are being upfront that the systems were upgraded. I can't speak specifically to the OPs auction but I see no reason to believe that auction was any different.

    As for the shipping delay we only have the OPs word that it was delayed (or, if it was, unreasonably). The seller has quite a number of satisfied buyers. I believe only two buyers left negative feedback (one being the OP).

    EDIT: After reviewing another auction for this seller I see the following in the listing:

    Will ship within 5 business days of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. The seller has specified an extended handling time for this item.

    The OP stated:

    It took about a week for it to finally ship. I received it 2 weeks after ordering.​

    "About a week" could be five business days. If the Mac Pro in the auction I am viewing were to ship today it would arrive anywhere between January 9, 2015 (eight days from now) and January 16, 2015 (fifteen days from today). It seems the OPs shipment / delivery was inline with the terms of the sellers listing (at least for this listing).

    IMO the OP either didn't clearly understand what they were buying (and the terms of the sale) or he is being unreasonable.


    That's a very strong statement you've made. On what do you base this conclusion? What pertinent facts are you claiming were omitted?

    As I stated in my previous post (#15) it appears the seller is attempting to be transparent about what he is selling. I didn't see any deception on "preying" on the uninformed.
  22. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    I would definitely put non-oem firmware updates and non-standard installation of CPUs in the pertinent info camp. Things like that can be seen as too big a risk for some people. As a 2009 5,1 owner with non-standard CPUs myself, I wouldn't see it as a risk. But then again, if I was going to pay money for what I thought was a genuine 5,1 I would have specifically asked that question. Not saying the OP bears no responsibility here, but not everyone knows what questions they need to ask.
  23. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    Non-OEM firmware? To my knowledge OEM firmware is installed to upgrade a 4,1 Mac Pro to a 5,1 Mac Pro. Do you know otherwise? As for non-standard CPU's...the auctions I've reviewed clearly state which CPUs are installed:


    Again this information did not come directly from the OPs auction but I have no reason to suspect the OPs auction lacked the same level of information as the half dozen or so 12-core 3.33GHz auctions I spot checked by this seller.

    And finally if a buyer doesn't know what questions to ask how is that the responsibility of the seller?
  24. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    63 MacRumors Vette

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