2008 Mac Pro worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jsmith823, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. jsmith823 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 29, 2014
    #1
    I've been doing some research into the 2008 Mac Pros and I want a more recent opinion. I currently have a 2012 Macbook Pro 2.3 i7 with 10gb or ram and the gt650m 512mb card. I do a lot of video editing (I am a broadcast media student as well as a church media employee) and I was wondering if purchasing one of these older mac pros and upgrading the graphics card would be worth it. My MBP is EXTREMELY slow when editing in fcpx since apple updated the software to be gpu heavy. What I am wanting to do is get one of the eight core 2008 mac pros and drop two newer graphics cards into it.

    1. Is this even possible? I know it can support newer cards, but will it supports cards like the new gtx 700 series or radeon hd 7000?

    2. Will it be worth it? Are the quad core xeons any good in 2014? Will one quad core i7 be better than two quad core xeons?

    Sorry about the questions guys! I've been a lurker for a while, but finally decided to ask the question.

    Thanks!
     
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #2
    Not worth it at all. Your Macbook Pro will outperform the '08 Mac Pro in almost every aspect. Sure, it will take a 700 series NVIDIA card, but if you're really considering a card that will outperform your 650M, you're investing too much in a machine that's too old. Your i7 is actually just as powerful (in raw Geekbench score) than the 8 cores in an '08, you can use an SSD at full SATA 6Gbps without using a PCIe lane, AND you already have a reasonably nice graphics card. Not to mention, we're not too sure how long that machine is gonna last... It's currently on the backend of Apple supported OS lists, and it runs H O T. I actually SOLD mine because of how hot that thing ran. What is "slow" about your MBP is most likely the disk speed. Are you reading and writing to the same hard disk when you're editing? That's not such a great idea. Invest in an external USB 3.0 drive (or enclosure) to use as scratch disks and media storage, and get yourself an SSD for your internal drive.
     
  3. gpzjock, Oct 29, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    An Octo 3,1 might be useful.

    The MBP you have has roughly the same CPU power to a 2.8 GHz 8 core Mac Pro from 2008. The major improvement would lie in adding an AMD GFX card instead of the GT650M which doesn't do FCPX as well.
    If you found an octo Mac Pro 3,1 for a reasonable price with enough RAM on board, then a 5870 or later AMD GFX card would be the best thing to add.

    The Hard drive interface is only 3 Gbps but you can use multiple SSD and HDDs internally, which is better than external storage, unless you are using Thunderbolt connectors.

    http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-HD-5870-vs-GeForce-GT-650M
     
  4. mdelrossi macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2005
    #4
    I'm a photographer and motion graphic artist(titles for motion picture trailers).

    In 2008 I bought my 2.8 8 core macPro 3.1
    In the past 6 years I put in a usb3 card, Velocity Solo x2 (6Gbs) and a ATI Radeon HD 4870 512 MB video card.
    Still works great.

    That being said, I'm looking at replacing the beast, With either a Hackintosh or the iMac 5k. The nMpro to me is a stop gap till Intel comes out with skylake late next year. and I don't feel like drooping that kind of coin on a first gen system.

    Heck I might even move my work to a windows environment as Apple has killed off Aperture, and Ive moved over to platform agnostic adobe products.

    Reason, Longevity. while this machine will continue to work(so long as the power supply,cpu's and motherboard keep ticking) there have been major advancements in both cpu and gpu technologies.

    You don't mention your budget. and thats a major concern. you might want to build a PC for your work and keep the mbPro for all the other things you do.
     
  5. Tom-Create-Pro macrumors member

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    #5
    You'd be better off with a 5, 1. Much better options GPU wise and will be able to outperform your MBP easily.
     
  6. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    As far as I am aware any graphics card you can put into the 5,1 you can put into the 3,1. You don't say what NLE you are using but a cheap PC GTX 570 gives at least as good CUDA acceleration in Premier Pro as any other card available.

    The worst thing about the 3,1 is that the 800MHz FB-DIMMs are mega expensive so try & make sure that you buy a system with enough RAM already installed. Alternatively there is only a small mainly theoretical performance hit to installing cheaper 667MHz FB-DIMMs as specific for the 1,1 & 2,1. You can find 667MHz FB-DIMMs much cheaper used as they are much more widely available as they are also used in Xeon servers of that vintage. The commercial used RAM sellers are aware of which models will work in a Mac Pro & price accordingly higher than just general server FB-DIMMs but this should provide a guarantee rather than just taking pot luck with random used FB-DIMMs pulled from servers.

    Like mdelrossi I too bought a 3,1 back in 2008 & over the years I have upgraded the RAM, added a GTX570, a USB 3.0 card & an Apricom Velocity Duo plus a 960GB SATA III SSD so the system still flies for all my Lightroom Photoshop & Premiere Pro work. The best bang for buck upgrade wise is an SSD in one of the drive sleds. It won't be as fast as using the Apricom card but still delivers a fantastic subjective performance improvement.

    The 3,1 used is still a very good buy if it's all you can afford. A 5,1 is of course better but will cost several times the price. A dual quad core system takes a lot of beating for everyday computing use & the build quality & aesthetics of the Mac Pro make it a thing of beauty.
     
  7. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #7
    Is it really worth it? Possibly.
    16GB of RAM is cheap, 32GB is a fortune. ($50 vs $300)
    You'll most likely need a new GPU.
    The thing runs HOT.
    You'll need a keyboard, monitor, SSD, etc. so budget that into your purchase.
    Typically, this forum will recommend a 4,1 or 5,1 if you can manage it. That's typically the best option. Just don't think you're really getting into a 3,1 for the $300-400 purchase price. They almost always need more upgrades.
     
  8. Zorn macrumors 6502a

    Zorn

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    #8
    Definitely this. Hold off for a 4,1 that you can very easily turn into a 5,1 with a software update. Then you can budget over time for upgrades to really make it fly (hex-core CPU, PCIe SSD). It's worth noting that internally, the 2009 MP was vastly identical to the 2012 MP, Apple just restricted their performance options with firmware, which you can fix. Getting a 4,1 and updating it will keep your machine relevant for much longer officially, as far as OS X updates and such.
     
  9. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #9
    Again it all depends on your budget & requirements. Here in the UK on eBay a 2.66GHz 4-core 4,1 is a tad more expensive than a 2.8GHz 8-core 3,1. Personally I would rather have the dual CPU machine.
     
  10. LorenK macrumors 6502

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    #10
    There are less expensive RAM sources out there, you just need to look. It is more expensive than other RAM, but given the price it was at before, I don't think that $140 or so for 8gb is unreasonable (I bought mine from Mac Ram Direct, it's their own brand rather than Apple Factory, and that was only $20 more).
     
  11. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #11
    You may be interested in this post from another thread:

    Lou
     
  12. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #12
    Absolutely. I still have a 1,1 that's running like a dream. The only reason I sold my 3,1 was it stopped holding a Windows boot, wouldn't sleep, and it ran far too hot. My office is an extension of my bedroom, and running a 3,1 all day with 3 screens and 2 GPUs was venting about 1K BTUs/hour into a 20x20 space. That machine would have been sitting here still if it weren't so darn hot, or I had some better ventilation, and the (what I believe) to be the Logic Board having issues. Though that thing was a tank. No issues in OS X, plenty powerful, tons of room for improvement. Though OP might have parts lying around, or snag a crazy deal on ebay, or find a great Craigslist deal. It most certainly can be worth it. Just depends on your budget and constraints.
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #13
    If you want to dump upgrades into it, buy a cheap 2009 model. It works with more stuff. The 8 core from 2008 will be faster in some circumstances, but there are better options. Obviously asking price factors into it.
     
  14. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I am curious to know what can you put into the 4,1 but not into the 3,1. All the obvious upgrades work in both (graphics, SSD, USB3, eSATA). In fact the 3,1 has an advantage as you already have two free SATA sockets on the motherboard.
     
  15. Gav Mack, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #15
    My maxed out ram and CPU 3,1 8 core with Solo X2 SSD and GTX 680 still shows my maxed out late 2011 17" 1Tb 840 Evo/16gb MBP a clean pair of heels in photoshop and transcoding. Last Xmas on a drunken photoshop batch challenge it beat my pals retina 15 which was highly amusing for me at least.

    It is still plenty fast enough, about to get even quicker with the Sintech PCIe Apple SSD. Though I am on the look out for a 5,1 dual socket, its things like future Win 10 support and problems I have with the earlier Intel RST AHCI drivers in bootcamp recovering data off drives >2.2Tb that have my eye out looking for it's replacement.
     
  16. Cancaro macrumors member

    Cancaro

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    #16
    So an 8-core MacPro 2008 with SSD and 32GB of RAM and a good video card, and still powerful and veloce.giusto ??
    not as an i7 4770 K but slightly less accurate?

    it would be better a 2009 or 2010, but cost much more.
    Thanks.
     
  17. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #17
    I don't think getting a 3,1 8 core and upgrading the CPU's and ram to maximum would be economical - buying one already with that spec on the other hand may be worthwhile.
     
  18. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #18
    Hex core Xeon westmere cpu upgrades on a flashed 4,1 which are massively faster single core than the 3,1 particularly the 3.46ghz, much cheaper memory upgrades you can buy used as the ram is more common (faster FSB ram is needed for the hex installed in 3x configs) with a maximum 48/96gb for single/dual socket.

    Dual boot with bootcamp is easier too, the 3,1 is a pita in comparison.
     
  19. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Honestly, you are going around and around the same issue. A 2008 has power for the moment, yes. So buy one. You want us to tell you its ok to buy one, so its ok....

    .... but it is going to be left behind quite quickly. So money you dump into this machine now will be end-of-lifed much quicker than a newer mac pro, even if those cost a little more today.

    There is no getting around the fact that a good editing platform costs a little bit of money, otherwise you will hit roadblocks sooner or later. The less you spend today, the sooner you will hit those roadblocks tomorrow.
     
  20. Cancaro macrumors member

    Cancaro

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    #20
    I knew better to spend more and get a 2009 right?

    but a 2009 four-core (which costs less than a 2009 8 cores) and as powerful as a 2008 8 core ??

    or the power and much less ??
    Thanks.
     
  21. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Since you sound cheap, buy a 2009 four core. See how it works for you. Your three upgrades are

    1) a 6 core 3.47ghz CPU (X5690, or X5680 if you need to save)

    a GPU (dual AMD if you prefer Final Cut, Nvidia 970/80 when they get solved in a month if other editing software)

    A PCI-e SSD to boot off of. Get a 512 Samsung Apple SSD with a chinese adapter.

    That is all the power and speed you will need for a while.

    More cores for rendering video faster. That is all the 8 cores get you. Its more important for you that you don't fall behind Apple OS X, therefore FORGET THE 2008.

    Six fast cores are good - probably good enough for you

    If you buy a 8 core, you have TWO processors to upgrade some day = more money.

    After a while, if you want more cores, buy a dual processor tray and 2 x CPU. If you upgrade to a X5680 or X5690 in the single tray, then you only have to buy one more CPU later if you do this
     
  22. nigelbb, Nov 1, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014

    nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I see that we are all enjoying spending Cancaro's money:). That CPU upgrade alone will cost about as much as the system that he is proposing to purchase.

    If money is tight he should forget about upgrades in the future. His proposed purchase of a 2008 2x2.8GHz 3,1 system with 16GB of 667MHz RAM will outperform a 4-core 2.66MHz 4,1 2009 system & will edit HD video just fine with power to spare TODAY & in the future. In terms of system responsiveness & generally doing real work like video editing on a dual processor system is much much better than a single CPU even if that single CPU might be a bit faster in a single stream workload.

    BTW Are you a video editor? Have you used a dual core 2008 system for video editing as the OP wants? Never mind theoretical performance & future upgrades I am making my recommendations on the basis that I am using a 2008 8-core system for professional video editing & others in this thread who are using similar systems have chipped in. Of course a 4-core 2009 system can be upgraded further but it's not the best bang for the buck for a system to be used TODAY. The OP is upgrading from a C2D iMac so either Mac Pro will scream compared to that system.
     
  23. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #23
    W3680/90 for single socket fella - the X are duals!
     
  24. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #24
    BTW Upgrading a 2009 is not stress or risk free as this post highlights. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1812760 Graphics cards, RAM & disk drives are user upgradeable options but I think most Mac Pro users would draw the line at changing CPUs.
     
  25. Cancaro macrumors member

    Cancaro

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    #25
    info

    sorry let me clarify right not to make mistakes.
    I need a 2008 MacPro 8-core 2.8 GHz and 16 GB of RAM install Yosemite.
    later calmly'll increase the RAM to 32 GB SSD I will install a 240 gb and I will replace the video card with a GTX 750 for editing with Premiere or FCPX DC.

    my question is the following:
    (knowing that taking a 2009 would be better updated, but it costs more)

    I do not care to upgrade to future new OSX but only work well.
    I can leave Yosemite for at least five years without updates.
    you say you would be fine ??
    this MacPro I just need to do video editing and that's it!
    for the other things I have a iMac that I use for google facebook and other forums in which they are registered, so my MacPro 2008 will not even be connected to the internet, but I will use it only for video editing, say dhe will have the power to work well in HD ?
    Thanks.
     

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