Advise needed on used Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by roybfr, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. roybfr macrumors member

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    #1
    I have a mac Pro 1,1 with dual core 2.66 processors. I have been looking at upgrading as aside from normal use I do a bit with Vmware, mostly POC stuff for work, so anything thing from 2 Vm's to 2 or more virtualized ESX hosts with 3-5 vms running inside of them. For the POC's the performance of the VM's is not what is being tested so in the past they system has been up to stuff. Lately as things get more complicated I have running tight on RAM and on occasion am taxing the 4 cores.

    I have been looking at upgrading the ram to 16GB (currently at 9GB) and have also been on the look out for X5355 or x5365 processors to upgrade too. This week I came across a Mac Pro 2008 2.8 Quad core for a good price, less then what 2 x5365 would run me on Ebay. So now I am trying to decide it I should pull the trigger on it.

    I guess part of what I am looking for is if a 2008 2.8 is going to be better for run heavy VMware loads vs a single CPU 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro? IMO the answer is yes as the 8GB limit is the killer.

    I look at for the same $ I could get a second system, more RAM for both and maybe an SSD for the primary to boot off of or to use for VM's.
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #2
    I'd go for the '08. Faster FSB (1600MHz), and the system uses EFI64 rather than the 32bit version. The older systems are already having problems with upgrading graphics cards, and it will prevent the use of newer versions of OS X in the near future (when it goes to 64bit exclusively, as it won't be able to run the 64 bit Kernels).
     
  3. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #3
    i know you can get X5355's for as low or lower than $300/pair, used. That's a pretty good price. and RAM is cheap. if you have open slots, you can grab 4x2GB for less than $300. For you, I'm not sure if the newer system would give you much of a speed/productivity increase, so upgrading RAM and/or processors could be the way to go.
     
  4. frimple macrumors 6502

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    #4
    One thing that the 1,1 pro's can't compete with is EFI64 that the 08 would provide you. For your (fusion, I'm assuming) work and the new version out this could make a huge difference for you.

    Off topic maybe, but fusion 3 is pretty sweet. Finally you can host 64bit guests and assign up to 4 vCPUs, not sure what the memory limit is, but I'm sure it's been increased too (probably 24-32 gigs, I forget what ESX's limit was).
     
  5. gan6660 macrumors 65816

    gan6660

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    #5
    Why not sell your current Mac Pro and put the money towards a new one?
     
  6. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #6
    Right now, other than being able to utilize EFI-64 video cards, what does EFI-64 do for you? If it limited you to being able to run 32 bit programs only, then i could see the problem, but it doesn't. people are making a huge deal out of nothing with the EFI32 vs. EFI64 thing.
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #7
    It is causing graphics options to drop off for the earlier systems, but more importantly, when OS X goes purely 64 bit (64 bit Kernel only), owners of '06 - '07 systems won't be able to upgrade their OS any longer (stuck with the last version of K32 + K64). To me, it seems Snow Leopard is going to be the only one of this kind (last to run on the EFI32 machines). It won't mean they're totally useless, but their usage will become limited comparitively speaking (no more graphics or OS upgrades, so it's software and hardware will be "stuck" with what's out now).

    So selling them off now makes more sense, as they'll draw less from selling it in the near future (likely the next OS X release; 10.7.0).

    And between the '08 and '09 systems, the '08 has a better cost/performance ratio. Not to mention fewer limitations over the '09, which include the ICH10R throttling to ~660MB/s, 3rd party adapters for hardware RAID to use the HDD bays (+ loss of the original SATA ports on the logic board), and limited memory capacity using lower cost sticks (4 DIMM's/CPU in the '09's).

    Timing to switch the EFI32 systems for newer models is going to be limited before more people realize this, and the used prices fall IMO.
     
  8. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #8
    i totally respect your opinion nanofrog, but right now, that's all you're going off; an opinion. Am I right? What makes you think that Snow Leopard will be the last version of OSX to offer both K32 and K64, beyond an assumption? I mean, eventually it could come to that, and it will come to that. But we don't know when. If it's 2 or 3 years away, for me, it doesn't make sense to get rid of my 2006 mac pro now, because it still does absolutely everything I want it to. I am not going to upgrade just because there is a possibility that the next version of OSX might drop K32 support. If the OP's machine is still capable of doing what he wants, then I wouldn't recommend getting rid of it.
     
  9. roybfr thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    The EFI64 will allow SL to boot the 64bit kernel and this Fusion to run in 64 bit mode. I am trying to read up on the advantages not really finding any thing other than

    # New 64-bit native core engine leverages power of 64-bit Snow Leopard
    # Leverage K64 kernel performance improvements for reduced overhead

    http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10957

    I posted something up in the VMTN Fusion forum and on Twitter to try and get something more detailed than that.

    Selling my Pro + the money I would put in the 2008 Pro would still put me $800 away from a 2.26 x 2 2009. I messed with a 2.26 at the Apple store, it felt no faster in normal tasks vs my 2.66. I know if actually ran something on there it would be better but for the price it is hard to justify. The 1 x 2.66 felt faster but again the 8GB limit is a killer, I think in that case I would be better off with a iMac as at least I could have 16GB of RAM.

    The only graphics part of EFI32 vs EFI64 is the ability to take advantage of OpenCL. I don't play games on my mac any more as I am strictly a console gamer these days. My current 3870 treats me well for all my current graphics needs.

    I am also not worried about future versions of OSX not supporting EFI32, Windows XP has treated many users well for a long time, so if SL is the last to support my lowly EFI32
     
  10. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #10
    You should definitely consider buying a fast SSD for your VM's.

    I recently transferred all my Windows XP VM's from a Raid0 of two Terabyte WD Blacks to an Intel SSD.
    The Raid Array was not slow, but the VM's run definitely better on the SSD due to the extremely fast seek time. Everything is as snappy as if you would sit in front of a real PC.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    I was responding to the fact that a newer machine was being considered, so the premise is they'd benefit/need the newer firmware.

    If the '06 - '07 is adequate, then there is no need to swap it out for a newer machine. The details depend on usage. I'd have thought you would have realized my position on that (from the many threads both of us have posted in :p). Sorry if you didn't, as that wasn't the intent. :eek:

    Theres plenty of uses those systems will continue to be able to do, and other OS's open up other uses as well.

    As per SL being the last to have a 32bit Kernel, I'm going by articles posted on MR's front page. They're intersted in moving to pure K64 quickly it seems, and don't have a history of long term support for older machines. To me, it seems to be around 3 yrs or so.

    It may or may not switch to pure K64 in 10.7, but the indications seem to be there it's highly likely. But as you say, it won't affect everyone, but it would for the video/graphics pros for example, that frequent this section of MR. ;)
     
  12. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

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    #12
    Hello.

    You said that you are running 9GB RAM?

    Might I advise a little experiment?

    Remove the two 512MB sticks and run just the four 2GB (2 in each card).

    This gave me a profound improvement in system speed on my MP 1.1.

    Apparently using 2 or 6 slots kicks the MP out of quad-channel memory mode.
    It's best to use either 4 or 8 slots.


    Have Fun,
    Keri

    PS. are there any chances of a 64-bit firmware update or crack for the MP1.1?
     
  13. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #13
    Snowball's chance in hell.
     
  14. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

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    #14

    Uh oh.
    I'm one of those Video enthusiasts that you might be referring to.

    Do you think it wise for me to start thinking about moving up while my MP1.1 has value left?

    This probably won't be an issue until Premiere Pro CS5 hits but...
    Maybe I should start now?

    Have Fun,
    Keri
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    See bozz2006's answer. ;) :p

    If you ever want to be able to go past an ATI HD4870 (maybe the 5870, not sure if anyone's gotten one running in an '06 or '07 model). ATI's been using EBC firmware, so it can function in either 32 or 64 bit EFI. Hopefully, this has been continued, but I'm not sure, and it's a gamble to assume this will continue to occur.

    As per the OS, if you want to be able to upgrade, then yes.

    I presume both are going to be needed to continue to use the system (upgrade where needed), so the short answer would be Yes IMO.

    The hard part is trying to determine when the K64 will become exclusive in OS X. But Apple doesn't like sticking with interim products for long, so it's going to be soon, and likely as early as 10.7 if they can pull it off.

    It helps them to sell their systems, as older ones are essentially "forced" into obsolescence early (say 3 yrs), when the rest of the computer industry will for a minimum of 5. Enterprises won't touch Xeon based servers/workstations that wouldn't be supported that long, as they invest so much into them. They can't afford to replace systems every 3 years. Apple doesn't care so much once you've paid for a computer. They want you to buy more, even if they have to make things incompatible to do it. ;)
     
  16. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #16
    I agree with you 100% about the video pros. This crowd should jump ship while they still can. My mac pro is for photography. It's getting to the point where an imac will perform as well as a mac pro for using photoshop, lightroom, aperature. If this trend continues, my next computer probably won't be a mac pro. I don't want an imac, so i'd probably say i'll build a hackintosh next, with nano's help, please!:D But for what they OP is saying he/she uses his/her computer for, I don't know if it makes sense to upgrade. I don't think you will see a performance increase for your dollar that you would want. Now, it's a completely different story for people who make their money editing HD video.
     
  17. kevink2 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    VMware Fusion 2 could support 64 bit guest OS's (on 64 bit Macs) and 4 cores on version 2. One of the upgrades bumped up number of virtual cores from 2 to 4.

    What 3 gives you is a 64 bit driver so you can boot SL in 64 bit mode (which I tried today after my upgrade). There are other updates too :)

    What I wish, but is probably difficult, is allowing multiple cores look like a single socket (with multiple cores), visible to the guest OS so you can provide 2 cores to a XP home guest.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #18
    It's fine for photography, as the graphics card requirement is modest, and the software's not so advanced it's dragging you down either. It's not 3D rendering by any means. ;)

    BTW, didn't you upgrade the processors to Quads in each socket?
    That could extend your lifespan even longer, as the software does get new versions. :)
     
  19. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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  20. roybfr thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Well the 2.8 used slipped through my fingers, the previous buyer came through with the $ so I am back to square one.

    KeriJane I took out the stock 512's last weekend. I am not sure how much difference I felt after the change, but have read about the speed improvments based on how ram is placed in the sleds/cards.

    I am going to search through 2.26 reviews and find someone that went to that via a dual core 2006 so how they felt about the performance improvement of the Nehalem vs the dual core 2.66.
     
  21. roybfr thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    Have you ran Fusion 3 yet booting SL in 64 bit mode?
     
  22. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #22
    Can you be more specific on what this means? I am a little confused. Are you saying that they have a driver that allows a 2006 mac pro (EFI32) to boot into snow leopard loading 64 bit kernel? Is this just in a virtual environment or something?
     
  23. roybfr thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    Fusion 3 runs under SL if you into the 64bit kernel, where previous versions would only work in SL if you booted into the 32bit kernel.
     
  24. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #25
    If you're interested, here's a chart that's been assembled of users system for Cinebench.
     

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