Advice on buying a used Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Optional Field, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Optional Field macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2014
    Until today I had been intent on buying a used MP 8 or 12 core 4,1, or 5,1. However, more or less out of curiosity, I looked at the cost of 4 & 6 core 4,1 & 5,1 and of 3,1 and older MPs of all sorts.

    I looked through older threads on this topic, but could not find the information I needed.

    I am rather amazed at the price jump between the 8-12 core models and those that are older and/or have fewer cores. While I can afford a 8-12 core 4,1 or 5,1 like everyone I have finite resources. If I can do what I need to do with a $400 MP I see no reason to spend $1400 on one with capabilities I will not use.

    Whatever model I purchase will be used for some light photo & video editing, a small bit of audio production, as well as the usual word processing, web surfing, and light gaming (mostly older and less performance intense titles such as Europa Universalis IV and IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover).

    I also intend on running Boot Camp, primarily to use software that is either only available for Windows or simply less costly for PC (e.g. most games).

    I have looked at benchmarks, and I can see the difference between the more expensive and more powerful models and the cheaper but less powerful models. However, those are simply numbers. What I would like to know is, based on the forums collective real world experiences:

    Will I notice a significant difference when performing the tasks listed if I purchase an older or less powerful model ?

    Also, which model(s) would be best for my needs (e.g. would a 2009 4 or 6 core 4,1 be better purchase than a 2008 8 core 3,1)?
  2. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    For your needs it looks like you should get an iMac.
  3. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    From all I've read the 4,1 and 5,1 have a much easier time with graphics cards and other PCI related things. Considering you want to game I would start there.

    4,1 quad is pretty inexpensive, has a simple upgrade path for GPU and CPU, and will likely get OS X updates at least one OS generation longer than the 3,1.

    Just for fun:
    $450-$500 cMP 4,1 quad
    $200-$300 used GTX-680 (easy DIY flash to Mac) or new midrange PC graphics card
    $100 Used X5677 (matches the X5690 in having the fastest single core you can get in a cMP, but has 4 cores and costs 1/3rd as much)
    $90 6GB 1333MHz RAM (new lifetime warranty)
    $85 extra hard drive for bootcamp because partitions suck.

    X5690 fastest clock like the x5677 but six-cores baby! (Add $200-$250 to previous total)
    500GB SATA ssd for bootcamp (add $100 to previous total)
    12GB 1333MHz RAM (add $27 to previous total)
    It's always more fun spending someone else's money. :)
  4. Verdenshersker macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    Good options for sure!
    I totally agree... I currently have my 4.1 8 Core 2.93 Ghz for sale, but I think that is a little too powerful for you with your description.

    DO NOT get a 3.1, rather a 4.1 Quad than a 3.1 8 Core...
  5. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong

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