Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Barbel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 8, 2023
7
2
Hello there,
I have the opportunity to buy a Mac Pro 6.1 at a low price (about $150). The specs are one of the weaker ones available - quad-core processor, d300 and 32GB ram.
I am currently using a Lenovo Y700 laptop with an i5-6300HQ processor, GeForce GTX960m and 16GB ram along with an additional 24-inch fullHD monitor.
I would be using this computer mainly for graphic design in photoshop and illustrator (later maybe after effects). I would buy a 27 inch monitor for it (2560x1440) and leave the old 24 inch full hd one.

From here I have a few questions:
1. would I experience a significant performance increase in programs on the new Mac Pro 6.1 over my current hardware?
2. would a more powerful spec Mac Pro 6.1 (version with 12 core processor, 64GB ram and d700) be significantly better?
3. if I decided to buy a Mac Pro 6.1 in what way is the best way to connect two monitors to the computer? Display port - thunderbolt 2 cable or something else?
4. is it possible to externally connect the drives I already own (SSD Sata 3 and SSD PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4) via some kind of adapter via thunderbolt 2 cable?
5. maybe it is better to get Mac Pro 6.1, sell it, add some money and buy other model (Mac Mini m2 16gb ram or even used windows PC)?

Thanks a lot for any help!
 
Last edited:

TzunamiOSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2009
1,013
411
Germany
1. Mmmmm, hard to say. I think it is faster in multithreaded CPU applications.

2. I have added a 12-core and 64 GB to my 6,1 (was a 6-core, 16 GB, D500 as stock) and it is faster on my apps (mostly Handbrake)

3. If you want to use 4K then 2x miniDP to X adapter, WQHD or lower you can use HDMI-Port too.

4. Need more information about the drives. TB2 per adapter is complicated.

5. Maybe, maybe not.
 
Last edited:

nollimac

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2013
429
34
would a more powerful spec Mac Pro 6.1 (version with 12 core processor, 64GB ram and d700) be significantly better?
That's what I have but max RAM...it all depends on what you want to do, so only you can make that call.
 

Barbel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 8, 2023
7
2
Most of the time I'll be using Photoshop (quite a lot of layers and effects in the files, rather fullHD formats but sometimes bigger ones) and Illustrator (simple designs, no explosions haha). Quite often I use them at once (switching between programs and doing a little in one and a little in the other). There are also quite a few open projects sometimes (for example, 5 projects in photoshop and 2 in illustrator). I would also like to start working in After Effecs - simple 3D lettering projects or other uncomplicated projects. On top of that, of course, there are programs running in the background like spotify, browser (fortunately I don't use chrome haha), maybe discord.
I'm thinking to take this MacPro 6.1 and resell it right away because the prices on the secondary market in my country are quite high and I can make some profit on it. And later I'll invest in a Mac Mini M2 16GB 256GB. Will such a version be good as to my requirements? Will the drive be any particularly big limitation when using a lot of programs (I will save files to an external drive) and the amount of ram? Or will some windows PC from used parts be a better choice?
 

Phonzoxd

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2013
634
451
I just bought one myself with a quad core and a d500.

just switch out the cpu for a cpu of your choice, they are insanely cheap on ebay.

i went with the 8 core because i didnt want slow single speed cores the 12 offered, so i went with the middle. It cost only $18 on ebay. And i think the 12 cost like 25.

i havent gotten it yet, but yea there are tutorials online and its not too difficult.
 

nollimac

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2013
429
34
I'll be using Photoshop (quite a lot of layers and effects in the files
That's also what I use mine for...I have the full Adobe suit but mainly for Photoshop and Premiere. Max out the RAM and have fun with Monterey.
 

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 603
Sep 26, 2017
5,315
46,152
Tanagra (not really)
Yeah, you might consider the 8-core upgrade (E2667v2) if you want the fastest single core speeds. Once you go 10-12 core, you lose some clocks, but you do gain more L3 cache.
 

Calaveras

macrumors regular
Dec 22, 2021
112
54
I ran cinebench on my 14" Macbook pro (2021) and my 2013 Mac Pro.
They got very similar scores with the 14" getting better single core and the Mac Pro better multicore.
The differences were less than 10% though.
My Mac Pro has D700 GPUs, 64gb ram and 12 cores.
I wouldn't bother with a cylinder Mac unless it had D500 or D700.
I did the CPU upgrade from a 6 core to a 12 core a few years ago. It was pretty cheap.
It was pretty easy, but I do a lot of electronics repair. Might not be easy for someone without many tools. It requires the same kind of dexterity as working on a camera or a laptop does. It's not an easy machine to upgrade CPU like the old cheese graters were.
But the Ram and SSD are easy to get at. Kind of fun almost.
TBH I looked up prices a few days ago and almost bought a 2nd cylinder for a parts machine or to throw render jobs at when I'm doing After Effects.
 

Berenod

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2020
125
166
I just picked up a 6 core D500 trashcan for cheap (about 200€, cheap for Europe). 256GB SSD and 16GB ram.

First, SSD and ram is dirtcheap and dead easy to upgrade yourself. Don't get the expensive OWC SSD's, but the small adapter and regular SSD, comes out way cheaper!
The higher specced machines (with more memory and bigger SSD), tend to be way more expensive, then buying base specs and upgrading yourself.

I would advise however to find a D500 one, much better graphics performance then de D300 (or at least much less worse ;)), that's one thing you can't upgrade yourself, for the simple reason you can't really find the GPU's (unless at really stupid prices).

Upgrading CPU can be done, but a bit more complicated.

On mine, I'll stick with the 6-core, good single core performance, the 8 core as well has decent sinlge core performance (just a tad less then the 6-core), but the multicore performance is not that spectacularly better (about 15 to 20% increase over de 6-core).
12-core has the best multicore performance, but single core is almost 20% less then the 6-core, you'd be surprised how much stuff on your computer is still handled by a single core, 20% less can feel a lot less snappy!

Remember, you'll stay stuck at Monterey, unless you go OpenCore.

Regarding yout old drives, SATA SSD, easy, through a cheap USB3 enclosure. The USB3 is not that much slower then SATA3 you lose very little speed compared to internally connected to SATA3. I get a tad over 400MB/s, internally more like 450-480 MB/s.

NVME SSD is a bit different as obviously through USB3 you'll lose a lot of speed, the trade of with TB2 enclosures is price!
TB2 is hard to find these days, TB3 enclosures much easier to find and a bit cheaper, but you have to buy the TB3 to TB2 adapter (from Apple), and additionally you"ll have to make sure to get an enclosure with external power supply, as TB2 does not give out any power (at least not through the TB2/TB3 adapter).
Works very well, but pricey all together (have one like that for a 2017 iMac).

This would be a good one:
But you see, 149$ for the enclosure, I think another 50$ for the TB2/TB3 adapter, starts to get expensive.
You can also just get a NVME USB3 enclosure for like 25-30$, also works well but at 400MB/s.

One other thing to consider, USB3 does not allow for TRIM, TB2/TB3 does!

I got one because I always liked them esthetically, but found them to be way too expensive over my fully upgraded cMP 5.1, for no appreciable performance benefit (and not needing OC up to Monterey unlike the 5.1).

Now they are dropping price like a brick, so picked one up!

In your case, sensibly, performance wise and seeing that you'd use the machine in a production environment (if I read your post right), I think I'd rather consider a refurbed Mac Mini M1, just get a 16GB version.

Because once you have a D500 trahcan upgraded to where you'd want it and to be properly usefull, you'll bet getting very close to the price of a refurbed Apple Silicon machine.
If you do absolutely nothing graphics intensive (like you'd use a 2014 series mac Mini), the D300 ones would be perfect as well, but again, from your opening post I understand differently.

I have M1 and M2 machines and they are wonderfully fast and snappy, but I am old(er), have spare cash and lots of "nostalgic memories" of the older "beautifull" machines, so do own a fair few of those, and love them, but woulkd not be entirely comfortable doing production on them unless having a "plan B"!

Even my utterly reliable 5.1 will eventually, at the worst possible time, give the ghost, thanks to dear Mr. Murphy :cool:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BadBiscuit

bergert

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2008
265
151
paid $1000 more to have 6-core and better GPU (2014). The issue with Handbrake is that the Xeon goes into thermal protection (70C air coming out, slowdown) after about 10mins, and I had the fans cranked up to 1300rpm already. More, they get noisy and suck too much dust.

My Studio M1 max Handbrake is 5x faster (200-250fps) and 10x faster using Compressor. Does not get warm, rendering for hours.

IMHO, M1 (now M2) is the way to go. Even the M1 Mini (599) is at least twice as fast as my 6-core Xeon. Mini stays cool to the touch rendering non-stop.

I have the M1 max, paid $200 for the extra GPU, and the Compressor update earlier this year now really flies; went from same speed of Handbrake to almost 2.5x as fast. This rig is so fast, now the bottleneck is my editing speed in FCPx.

There is no software, so the dual D500 is just for the display. There is a terminal-command in BigSur to enable scaling on 4k display: 3008x1600; 144dpi.
 
Last edited:

Berenod

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2020
125
166
paid $1000 more to have 6-core and better GPU (2014). The issue with Handbrake is that the Xeon goes into thermal protection (70C air coming out, slowdown) after about 10mins, and I had the fans cranked up to 1300rpm already. More, they get noisy and suck too much dust.

My Studio M1 max Handbrake is 5x faster (200-250fps) and 10x faster using Compressor. Does not get warm, rendering for hours.

IMHO, M1 (now M2) is the way to go. Even the M1 Mini (599) is at least twice as fast as my 6-core Xeon. Mini stays cool to the touch rendering non-stop.
So true.

M1/2 is symply the most sensible thing to do.

People are attracted to the very low prices of those older machines at the moment, machines costing many thousands of dollars not even that long ago!

But once upgraded to useable specs, you quickly get very close to refurb prices of M1 machines.

That said, they are still today very useable, I own many of them beside my modern latest machines, and use them pretty much daily, they are simply too good to become e-waste just yet!

But, I am an old fart ;)

And on the lookout for a higly specced 2019 Mac Pro, them prices are also dropping like crazy!
Won't be that long before I snap one up, and sensibly, won't be the smartest thing to do, but hey, only live once :)
 

TzunamiOSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2009
1,013
411
Germany
paid $1000 more to have 6-core and better GPU (2014). The issue with Handbrake is that the Xeon goes into thermal protection (70C air coming out, slowdown) after about 10mins, and I had the fans cranked up to 1300rpm already. More, they get noisy and suck too much dust.

My Studio M1 max Handbrake is 5x faster (200-250fps) and 10x faster using Compressor. Does not get warm, rendering for hours.

IMHO, M1 (now M2) is the way to go. Even the M1 Mini (599) is at least twice as fast as my 6-core Xeon. Mini stays cool to the touch rendering non-stop.

I have the M1 max, paid $200 for the extra GPU, and the Compressor update earlier this year now really flies; went from same speed of Handbrake to almost 2.5x as fast. This rig is so fast, now the bottleneck is my editing speed in FCPx.

There is no software, so the dual D500 is just for the display. There is a terminal-command in BigSur to enable scaling on 4k display: 3008x1600; 144dpi.

But you can add an eGPU to your MP2013 and fly away:

Mac Pro with Vega Frontier and I would say a 6800 is a bit faster
Bildschirmfoto 2023-09-17 um 05.08.05.png


M1
Bildschirmfoto 2023-09-17 um 05.06.55.png


You get this speed only with Videobox who is hard limited (2 Ref frames for example).
 
Last edited:

TzunamiOSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2009
1,013
411
Germany
paid $1000 more to have 6-core and better GPU (2014). The issue with Handbrake is that the Xeon goes into thermal protection (70C air coming out, slowdown) after about 10mins, and I had the fans cranked up to 1300rpm already. More, they get noisy and suck too much dust.
No problems like this. CPU is 100 MHz over specs, so turboboost is running. Temp is 80 °C, 86 °C is Tmax.

Mac Pro 6,1, Handbrake CPU AVG 50,98
Bildschirmfoto 2023-09-17 um 05.58.49.png


Mac Pro 5,1, Handbrake CPU AVG 54,82
Bildschirmfoto 2023-09-17 um 05.37.03.png


Mac mini M1, Handbrake CPU, AVG 53,35
Bildschirmfoto 2023-09-17 um 05.38.35.png
 
Last edited:

Calaveras

macrumors regular
Dec 22, 2021
112
54
I just picked up a 6 core D500 trashcan for cheap (about 200€, cheap for Europe). 256GB SSD and 16GB ram.

First, SSD and ram is dirtcheap and dead easy to upgrade yourself. Don't get the expensive OWC SSD's, but the small adapter and regular SSD, comes out way cheaper!
The higher specced machines (with more memory and bigger SSD), tend to be way more expensive, then buying base specs and upgrading yourself.

I would advise however to find a D500 one, much better graphics performance then de D300 (or at least much less worse ;)), that's one thing you can't upgrade yourself, for the simple reason you can't really find the GPU's (unless at really stupid prices).

Upgrading CPU can be done, but a bit more complicated.

On mine, I'll stick with the 6-core, good single core performance, the 8 core as well has decent sinlge core performance (just a tad less then the 6-core), but the multicore performance is not that spectacularly better (about 15 to 20% increase over de 6-core).
12-core has the best multicore performance, but single core is almost 20% less then the 6-core, you'd be surprised how much stuff on your computer is still handled by a single core, 20% less can feel a lot less snappy!

Remember, you'll stay stuck at Monterey, unless you go OpenCore.

Regarding yout old drives, SATA SSD, easy, through a cheap USB3 enclosure. The USB3 is not that much slower then SATA3 you lose very little speed compared to internally connected to SATA3. I get a tad over 400MB/s, internally more like 450-480 MB/s.

NVME SSD is a bit different as obviously through USB3 you'll lose a lot of speed, the trade of with TB2 enclosures is price!
TB2 is hard to find these days, TB3 enclosures much easier to find and a bit cheaper, but you have to buy the TB3 to TB2 adapter (from Apple), and additionally you"ll have to make sure to get an enclosure with external power supply, as TB2 does not give out any power (at least not through the TB2/TB3 adapter).
Works very well, but pricey all together (have one like that for a 2017 iMac).

This would be a good one:
But you see, 149$ for the enclosure, I think another 50$ for the TB2/TB3 adapter, starts to get expensive.
You can also just get a NVME USB3 enclosure for like 25-30$, also works well but at 400MB/s.

One other thing to consider, USB3 does not allow for TRIM, TB2/TB3 does!

I got one because I always liked them esthetically, but found them to be way too expensive over my fully upgraded cMP 5.1, for no appreciable performance benefit (and not needing OC up to Monterey unlike the 5.1).

Now they are dropping price like a brick, so picked one up!

In your case, sensibly, performance wise and seeing that you'd use the machine in a production environment (if I read your post right), I think I'd rather consider a refurbed Mac Mini M1, just get a 16GB version.

Because once you have a D500 trahcan upgraded to where you'd want it and to be properly usefull, you'll bet getting very close to the price of a refurbed Apple Silicon machine.
If you do absolutely nothing graphics intensive (like you'd use a 2014 series mac Mini), the D300 ones would be perfect as well, but again, from your opening post I understand differently.

I have M1 and M2 machines and they are wonderfully fast and snappy, but I am old(er), have spare cash and lots of "nostalgic memories" of the older "beautifull" machines, so do own a fair few of those, and love them, but woulkd not be entirely comfortable doing production on them unless having a "plan B"!

Even my utterly reliable 5.1 will eventually, at the worst possible time, give the ghost, thanks to dear Mr. Murphy :cool:
I stick with OWC myself because they have excellent customer service. When I got an Aura X2 I ran Blackmagic speed test and it showed up as 60% of the advertised speed.
OWC replaced it with no drama. The new one posted the advertised speed, and still does. Which is the 2nd reason I pay more for theirs. It's just faster.
I also didn't feel like doing a kludge with some kapton tape and an adapter you have to file the edges on. Sure it's gotten better since.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.