Any downsides to using MP 3,1 as server?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by glenthompson, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I have a chance to buy a Mac Pro 3,1 at a really good price. I was thinking of using it to replace my Mac Mini server so I can get ride of the external drives hanging off the Mini. The bays in the MP would give me more than enough space and I would only need to connect external drives for backup.

    I know power consumption will be higher. Heat won't be an issue as it will be in a cool basement area. How much power does a MP really draw with 2 or 3 hard drives?

    Any other issues I need to consider?
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Mac Pros draw a lot of power:
    Mac Mini stats for comparison (of course this doesn't cover the external drives but odd are good that the Mini + drives still uses far less power than the Pro does.)
    Aside from that, the Pro should work fine. RAM is expensive for these, so with luck the one you're looking at has enough. 2008s are obviously getting a bit old so it's possible that you'll have a hardware failure at some point. If you do buy it, check to be sure that the heat sinks and fans are clear of dust. This is especially true with the graphics card.
  3. uller6 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2010
    Works for me

    I use a Mac pro 3,1 quad core 2.8 as my server. I also replaced a 2011 mac mini with a bunch of big drives hanging off the back. I notice a few things:

    1. The mac pro is actually quieter than the mini/external drives. Moving the big storage hard drives into the chassis cuts down on a lot of vibration and noise.

    2. Data transfer about 3x faster using the mac pro with internal SATA drives.

    3. The mac pro is designed for 24/7 operation, and mine has been flawless for the 6 months I've had it. My mac pro is much more stable than the mini; for example bonjour don't crash once a week. I expect my MP to last me years without issue.

    4. Power consumption isn't that bad. The PM uses about 250 watts on average, which I can live with, but this is quite a bit more than the ~50 watts used by the mini. It is nice going from 5 wall plugs -> 1 wall plug.

    Hope this helps.

    Edit: You can also remove the graphics card from the mac pro to save power. You can still VNC into the server for administration when needed. I keep my graphics card attached so I can play Skyrim every once in a while.
  4. iPadPublisher macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    When I bought the NMP for my business, we kept the 3,1 we'd bought in 2010 to replace a Mini as a server for an in-house content and administrative system. We're quite happy with it, have all the room in the world to grow into it, and loads of storage options. No complaints since September.

    Just because we're paranoid, we replaced the power supply before deploying. Had no issues with the one in the unit, but it was nearly four years old and running 24/7 so we figured it was cheap insurance towards a trouble-free server run.
  5. glenthompson thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Very helpful info. My external drives are FireWire 800 but the SATA has to be faster. Didn't think about pulling the graphics card. I currently run the Mini headless anyway so that's not a change.

    I have another use for the Mini where size is an issue.

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