3.1 dual or 4.1 single?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by CopyRat, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. CopyRat macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2012

    I have just got an offer at work to take home one of our Mac Pro's. I have 2 models to choose from but I am unsure of what model is the best one.

    First one is:
    Mac Pro 3.1
    dual xeon 3.0 GHz - 8 cores
    10 Gb RAM - 800 MHz DDR2

    Second one is:
    Mac Pro 4.1
    single 2.66 GHz - quad core
    8 Gb RAM - 1066 MHz DDR3

    I also have the option to choose between two graphic cards. nVidia GeForce 8800 GT or nVidia GeForce GT 120.

    I'm going to use the Mac for compositing, color grading and some 3D modeling.

    Please help me do the right choice.
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    It's a two part question:

    1. How multi-threaded are the applications you use?
    2. Do you get to keep the Mac Pro to do as you wish or will you have to give it back?

    If the answers are:
    A: 1. Very and 2. Yes I have to give it back: Go with the 3,1. It benches higher than the Quad Core 4,1.
    B: 1. Not Multi-threaded and 2. Yes I have to give it back: Go with the 4,1.
    C. 1. Any and 2. No I get to keep it: Go with the 4,1*

    * 4,1 is upgradable to a 6-core 3.43ghz processor and the RAM is much cheaper than the 3,1.
  3. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    I would get the 4.1 as it is much more upgradeable. Cheapest upgrade you can do is drop in a i7 970 and it should be faster than the 3.1 even in heavily multi-threaded applications.
  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    I too would choose the 4,1 the ram is cheaper and your CPU upgrade potential is huge over the 3,1 which has no CPU upgrade potential.
  5. CopyRat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2012
    Hi and thanks for all answers.

    I can keep it for my own and i can do what I want with it. I have plans to upgrade to a system more suitable for davinci resolve. Dual GPUs and more RAM. The information that the CPU is also upgradeable was new to me and is probably worth more in the long run.

    Thank you all!
  6. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    In order to upgrade the CPU for the 4.1

    1. Purchase a new CPU- the best bang for the buck cpu is the w3680, which is $586 at provantage with warranty.

    2. Upgrade your 4.1 EFI firmware to that of the 5.1, search for "netkas 4.1 5.1 upgrade" and you'll find it. It will flash your firmware to that of the 2010 Mac Pros, and doing so will allow you to use 1333mhz ram when you use the w3680 CPU.
    The first post here has the netkas link to flash the new efi

    3. Install the new CPU, relatively simple, just go slow.
    Video of how to do it
    Photo tutorial
  7. Phildo macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2011
    Perth, Western Australia
    Take the 4,1!

    It's faster than the 3,1.

    DDR3 RAM is much cheaper and more available.

    The optical drives are SATA instead of ATA (ie cheaper to buy).

    And the W3680 upgrade option is worth doing in the future.
  8. CopyRat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2012
    chiefroastbeef - Great information, thank you a lot!

    Phildo - Thanks for your input. Well needed.

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