Advice 2009 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by geraint84, May 13, 2014.

  1. geraint84 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    South Wales
    #1
    Hi All,

    Im new to the forum, I am after a little advice / reassurance. Iv just got my hands on a very lightly used 2009 Mac Pro 4.1 quod core in mint condition. It has the stock 3 gig ram installed and the standard drive. It is replacing my mac mini ( current model i5) as my needs are changing and the mess of external stuff pushed me to go for a tower from factor. This is the best I can afford for a while once I have finished renovations on my house i will get the new mac pro and a neat thunderbolt 2 caddy, but thats a while off.

    So my question is, do you think this mac pro will have a couple of years in it? I mainly use my machine for photoshop, and as a server for iTunes. I do very light occasional gaming (10 min a time due to a short attention span :) ) It has the standard graphics card in. I also do a bit with logic and traktor and the usual office stuff which I'm sure won't be an issue.

    I have ordered 16 gigs of ram for it, and a 240 gig s s d, which should give it a decent bump. So what are your thoughts? do you think its achievable to get a few years out of it with decent performance? the total cost including upgrades is about 700 pound, which i though was ok?

    Also, the ram iv ordered is in 2 sticks of 8, would it be worth leaving 2 1 gig sticks in the 2 spare slots??

    Are any of you guys using this model atm? and hows it performing?

    Thanks in advance...

    G
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    I believe only use 2x8G is a better option. 16G and 18G is not much difference in size, but the 4,1 can run faster without using the 4th RAM slot. Besides, maxing RAM may cause you some trouble which is not ideal either.

    240G SSD sounds good to me. Should be enough for the OS, applications, and as a scratch disk for photoshop (although it's prefer to use an empty SSD for scratch, but I think it's quite safe to use your only SSD for scratch as long as you have proper backup. I do this on my machine as well, has no issue so far).

    The bottle neck for you may be the graphic card, the stock GT120 (even though it was upgraded to stock 4870) is not powerful enough for modern game (unless you are running them in very low resolution, but I don't think it's "decent performance").

    It's really hard to tell how long can it last for. It depends on what you want. If purely considering the machine is capable to run Office, Photoshop, iTunes..., but no need to be screaming fast. I don't think there will be any problem.

    However, the future OSX may not support this model. From that point, you will be stuck in the old OS, and may be old software as well. The machine still runs fine, but it's your own opinion to consider if it is decent or not.
     
  3. geraint84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    South Wales
    #3
    Hi thanks for your fast reply, I notice uv got a 09 mp and flashed it to 5.1 firmware, is this something you would advise? Did you upgrade the chip?

    Cheers
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    Yes, I did upgrade the chip. W3690 is never an option from Apple. And it cannot run with the 4,1 firmware as well.

    By the way, upgrade the firmware will give you 3 extra bonus features.

    1) Able to use better CPU (e.g. W3690)

    2) Able to run the RAM at 1333MHz (if the CPU support this speed)

    3) Able to get audio from the graphic card's HDMI / display port (if the graphic card has this function)

    Since you didn't mention that you have any plan on upgrading the CPU or graphic card. I will say there is no need to upgrade the firmware. Unless your 4,1 with the stock W3580 3.3GHz CPU, which actually support 1333MHz RAM, and your new RAM also support 1333MHz. Then it's good to upgrade the firmware to get a little bit extra speed from the RAM.
     
  5. firedownunder macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #5
    Bought mine used a few years ago, runs like a champ. Added ram, ssds for os and scratch, hdds for media. Never a problem. Added an ir receiver from a macbook to run Plex with my Harmony remote. As stated above, the stock gt120 is nothing to write home about but that's easily upgraded. Runs current OS (and snow leopard for us holdouts). Has run great from day 1. No reason it can't last you as long as you want it. Cheers.
     
  6. geraint84, May 13, 2014
    Last edited: May 13, 2014

    geraint84 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    South Wales
    #6
    Thanks for the replies... feeling much better lol big jump... i'v just won a better card on ebay...NVIDIA QUADRO FX 4800 FOR MAC 1.5GB £90 pound didn't seem to bad... any advice or experience on this card? could I leave the existing card in and run the two?? probably not ey? thought id check...
     
  7. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #7
    Yes, you can, but may be no point to do so. It's because your new graphic card is a Mac edition card, it support boot screen already. Leave the GT120 in the case will have no benefit on performance (unless you plan to use multi monitor setup).
     
  8. geraint84 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    South Wales
    #8
    Thanks again, may as well leave it in then just in case i want more monitors in the future (the 120 probably isn't worth selling?) , do i need to do anything special or just install the new card along side?

    Thanks again for your help, much appreciated.

    Cheers

    G
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
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    #9
    Personally I will keep the GT120 as a backup. It doesn't worth much anyway, but may safe me from trouble later on.

    Just install it properly with the power cable. And then it should be good to go.
     
  10. geraint84 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    South Wales
    #10
    Hi, thanks for the help, just thought i would post a quick update...

    Mac pro 4.1 has arrived, i have put the new ram in along with the ssd. I have used the drive bays for all my storage i had around my desk in the mac mini days... totalling 5.5TB a 2, 2, 1, and 0.5. I managed to put the ssd in the unused optical bay (does this effect speed? or is sata consistent across the board?.

    The only hick up i have come in to is the S/H fx 4800 nvidia card that i won off ebay didn't come with a power cable to connect it so iv ordered one and just waiting. The 120 seems to be doing ok at the moment though.

    Thanks again for the help....
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    Should be no speed difference than any other SATA 2 slot.
     

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