2009 mac Pro or upgrade 08 octocore

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by towdow3, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. towdow3 macrumors member


    Oct 1, 2015
    So i have an 8core 08 mac pro 10gb ram gtx670 2 1 tb HDD. I am starting to see some 09 mac pros at very interesting prices. should I upgrade mine to 32gb ram with a possible dual rx480 setup, or shoot for an 09 8core with the same gpu setup? IFF i do so, will i be able to toss my windows HDD in there and keep right on rolling or will i need to start fresh?
  2. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    Go the 2009.

    You'll need bootcamp installed and set up windows through it.
    I don't believe you can just chuck I windows drive in and boot off it.
  3. towdow3 thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 1, 2015
  4. CapnDavey macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2015
    I had the same choice a friend wanted to sell me his 08 but for about the same price I got an 8 core 09 there are some good deals out there
  5. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    2008 uses older FBDIMM ram (ECC is required), older chipset, older CPU and is just slower in single threaded performance. On top of that older PCIe lanes.

    2009 and 2010 are still great. 2010 imo is the best option, since you can upgrade CPUs and RAM (non ECC) for cheap. Just make sure to get 8 core (dual CPU slot) tray so you can upgrade up to 12 cores in the future.
  6. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    your better of getting the 09 (4.1).
    i recently moved from a 8 core 2008 to a 5.1(same as the 4.1 relay) swapped the cpu out which was easy and got 32GB of ram from ebay relay cheep (the ram is a lot lot cheaper) and relay enjoying i.

    it comes down to what you want the 4.1/5.1 are a lot faster than the older ones so if you need more speed there what you want.

    one thing to ask is why you want so much ram, i got it because it's cheep and i do video editing for normal use you do not need that much.
  7. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    How much money do you want to spend? As you already have the 8-core 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 just upgrading the RAM will cost very little as 667MHz parts pulled from Dell/HP Xeon servers are cheap as chips now. $50-60 for 32GB (8x4GB). There is little performance gain from using the 800MHz parts with the massive heatsinks but even these parts are dropping in price $100-150 for 32GB (8x4GB).

    What do you want to use your Mac for? If your current Mac does all you need then there isn't much point upgrading to the old technology in the Mac Pro 4,1/5,1. While an entry level 2.26GHz 4,1 might be found at an interesting price it will be slower than your existing system & you will need to upgrade the CPUs.
  8. nigelbb, Jul 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    BTW I don't see any dual CPU 2009 Mac Pro 4,1 systems at interesting prices.. Even if you upgrade a single CPU 4,1 you aren't going to see much of a boost in performance compared to your dual CPU 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 for many operations.
  9. towdow3 thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 1, 2015
    Okay. So can you use a 2x4gb with 4x2gb ram configuration as well?
  10. hartleymartin macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    The Mac Pro 4,1 (2009) can be flashed to a 5,1 (2010-2012) and should be able to run the latest MacOS and software for at least a few more years. These machines have a greater longevity that many others.

    That said, if you have a Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) the latest version of OSX officially supported is El Capitan 10.11.x though there are patches in the words to get Sierra 10.12.x to run on it.

    I recently put an SSD in my 3,1. That alone has boosted performance significantly. I will be doubling the existing 8GB of RAM to 16GB, and if prices remain reasonable I may eventually fill it up to 32GB as finances allow. The bottleneck in the system now is the RAM, which is only 800MHz. DDR3 and DDR4 are now often 1600MHz or 1866Mhz, and some high-performance stuff is now over the 2GHz clock speed.

    From what I am reading, the Mac Pros after 2008 are a bit harder to upgrade since the heatsink bolts also form the CPU retaining mechanism and it is tricky to get it right when you upgrade the CPUs. If I buy a newer Mac Pro, it will be something from 2010-2012 with the highest-rated CPUs pre-installed and I won't touch them after that.

    If it is a speed enhancement that you want, you are probably best looking at some sort of PCIe SSD for the boot drive and retaining the SATA for storage drives. If you've got money to spend, you can get some large capacity SATA SSDs and RAID them for best speed. I would probably keep a mechanical HDD as a back-up drive. On my own set up, while I have set the SSD as the boot drive with all the applications, I have a complete installation of OSX still on the 1TB HDD in case the SSD fails.

    The fact with computers is that they eventually become obsolete no matter what you do with them, so think about the cost-benefit schema. If your 2008 Mac Pro is going to be useful for another 3-4 years despite no official support for Sierra, then I say run with it. Chances are that there will be very few programs that require anything newer than Yosemite for a while anyway.

    It may be the case that the Mac Pro gets retired from the high-end "pro" work and becomes an office desktop machine - a job which it should continue to do well for several years. Admittedly, 90% of the work that I do with mine is with an office suite and internet browser. As long as MuseScore and GarageBand continue to work well on this system, I'll hold onto it.

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