Base 2009 Mac Pro for $400 or Keep Upgraded 2006 Model?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacPoulet, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. MacPoulet macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2012
    #1
    Hi all,

    I work at a college and there's a bunch of base model 4-core 2009 Mac Pros for $400 (originally $700) in their equipment surplus sales. I'm wondering if I should bite.

    Currently using a 2006 Mac Pro to cut 1080p video and doing more and more After Effects and Adobe Creative Suite. The 1,1 has been flashed and I upgraded the processors to two 2.66Ghz quad-core Xeons along with 16gb of ram. I also use an nVidia 560 Ti video card, but apparently need to upgrade to Mavericks or Yosemite to enable CUDA (still running on Lion).

    My system is running okay for the moment, save for the occasional crash or kernel panic. But it is old and I'm going to finish up a project and have some downtime before I move to my next one. Should I pay the $400CDN for a 2009, do the firmware update (to a 5,1) and up the ram with the thought of upgrading the CPU, or stick with my 1,1 and be happy with it until it dies?

    This isn't a vital component of my livelihood, it's part of my artistic practice.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #3
    I would ABSOLUTELY go for the 2009 Mac Pro; it's able to run the latest software, FAR more upgradeable, and compatible with the Mac versions of the high end AMD and nVidia GPUs. You could probably even sell the 1,1 to make for most if not all of the cost of the 2009 purchase.


    Definitely go for the 2009 - for that price, it's a total killer deal.
     
  3. Harry Muff macrumors regular

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    #4
  4. Zorn macrumors 6502a

    Zorn

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    Ohio
    #5
    Definitely get one! That's a really awesome price for it. I paid $650 for mine with some upgrades and that was a great deal, this is tops.
     
  5. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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  6. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2012
    #7
    So it looks like I should jump on this and maybe sell the 1,1 to help offset the cost (or pay for some of the ram upgrades).

    Thanks. I've seen the thread, very cool. I don't like to upgrade in the middle of a project. But once I get my current project off my plate, I can do the upgrade.
     
  7. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

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    Texas, US
    #8
    You might want to doublecheck me on this, but I believe the 1333MHz ram for the 2010-2012 Mac Pro will install and run just fine in a 2009 machine, (although it will only run at 1066MHz with 4,1 firmware/CPU) It's roughly the same price, and if/when you decide go with a firmware/processor upgrade, the ram will start working at 1333 speeds, which actually makes up a big part of the 5,1 upgrade.

    Take your time on these boards and you'll have a good time with this machine
     
  8. snorkelman macrumors 6502a

    snorkelman

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    #9

    Like you say there shouldnt be any hassle sticking 1333MHz RAM in a 4,1 firmware/CPU box and running it at 1066MHz in meantime

    Hell, my home machine is a 4,1 flashed to 5,1 running RAM pulled from some 6,1's lol (rated 1866MHz, running just fine at 1333MHz on the older box)
     

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  9. knowhate, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  10. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    Aug 22, 2014
    #11
    I'd rather stick with the 2006 one. You already upgraded it, and it is capable of running Yosemite (with a simple tweak). That 2006 Mac is probably worth more than that 2009 Mac.
     
  11. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

    fuchsdh

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2014
    #12
    If you're interested in upgrading, I'd go with the 2009. You can upgrade it fairly trivially, migrate your graphics card to the new box, and it will be able to handle full HD video far easier. $400 is a steal (they're usually at least $200-300 more on eBay.)
     
  12. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #13
  13. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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    Location:
    SoCal
    #14
    ebay is a very cheaper route for memory..if you can track down established sellers you can get 32gb 8x4 1333mhz for as low as 200 bucks
     
  14. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    Jun 20, 2009
    #15
    Seriously??? The 2006 sucks compared to 2009
     
  15. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Location:
    Texas, US
    #16
    There are lots of different guides and threads here. The single-socket 2009 is a whole lot easier than the dual socket model (which used non-standard CPU construction)

    Short answer is get an X5690 when the price suites you. That is the top of the top for the classic Mac Pro.

    X5690 = 3.46GHz and six cores. The W3690 is basically the same thing, but with a lower RAM limit and limited to single-socket builds only. (The X5690 can be used for both)

    Current prices on eBay hover between $299-$350 used (six months ago they were $700 or so)

    BUT... Take my advice and spend some time here first. Lots of different ideas and setups, problems and problem solving, tips and tricks. It'll both save you money and cost you money. Guaranteed.
     
  16. s-hatland, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014

    s-hatland macrumors regular

    s-hatland

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #17
    i bought my 4,1 last January for a cool 600. back then, that was a STEAL!

    seconded, thirded, twelfthed - do it. buy the 4,1, sell the old one (sans the video card which will find it's new home in your new one), use that money from the old one for ram in the new one and that should set you for a while or until you have enough to upgrade or have the NEED to upgrade. also you're drives will transfer just fine.

    you're only regret would be not jumping on this.
     
  17. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #18
    My mom got me a Mac Pro 4.1 Dual E5520s 8 Core 2.26 Ghz, 6GGB DDR3 1066Mhz, GT 120 for 750 bucks together with a 30" Apple Cinema HD from her office.

    The GT 120 was obviously pretty bad, I upgraded to a PNY GTX 770 OC and it wont even get bottlenecked by the 5 year old Xeon CPU. And I only had 6GB DDR3 1066Mhz ram in it but the machine was still a beast.

    Running Metro 2033 Redux on the machine with Windows 8.1 Pro bootcamped:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k3GRzp4SJE&list=UUvDlCreFVOiCQd3IabgQe0Q

    [​IMG]



    Also dont worry for the ram, I tested 3x 4GB 1333Mhz Samsung rams on my 4.1 and it just downclocked to 1066Mhz, and after the upgrade it was 1333Mhz.


    [​IMG]

    Also upgrading the 4.1 is pretty easy compared to 1.1.
    Just one extremely important thing:
    There are 2 vids of upgrading a Mac pro 4.1 CPU:

    DO NOT MAKE IT LIKE THIS GUY DID
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng34AVZS8Aw

    DO IT LIKE THIS GUY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAdgT-hJuXU

    I nearly messed completely up by doing the stuff on the 1. video.

    Also you need the firmware "hack", you can install it on Yosemite it worked for me
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU8p86qHnek&list=UUR30L3xMivkmqBv2tpLNfZQ


    If you have a Single CPU slot, I wouldnt bother and I would directly go with a Xeon W3680 or 3690, they are a bit expensive but are worth it.

    If you have a Dual CPU one you can go for 2x Xeon X5650s 2.66 Ghz 12 Core or 2x 5690 3.46 Ghz 12 Coe, I went with 2x x5650s and i noticed a big difference compared to the dual E5520 i had.
    You will notice an extreme difference because the cpus in the 1.1 are extremely weak.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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  19. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2012
    #20
    Thank you everyone! This is all super amazing information and I'll go see how many Pros are left. There were like six before.

    My plan would be to use the 560 Ti in the 4,1 and try to get 24gb of ram and a six core CPU. I'll swap my SSD drive into it along with my media drives.

    Hopefully after those upgrades the 4,1 would be pretty spiffy.
     
  20. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #21
    I pretty much done the same with my 4,1 last week. W3680 and 24 Gb ram and so far it feels faster than my maxed out 8 core 3,1. About 30% faster single core but I have yet to truly test it out with Premiere yet with video. I need to blow out the heatsink with an airline first as the temps are a bit too high and I see gunk inside on the copper rods.
     
  21. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2012
    #22
    Where'd you pick up your W3680? I only see like one seller at the shipping is almost $50.00 on eBay. There's a guy in HK selling a W3690 that'll be like $30 more when you factor in shipping...
     
  22. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #23
    Got mine on a buy it now here in the UK - about $170 equivalent in USD, parts are more expensive over here. A W3670 or a W3690 will do though, and you can also find them in Dell Precision and HP Z Series workstations if you can grab one for a bargain on an auction and you get a box you can resell with your old Xeon inside! May even get one with ram also, I have done that before..
     
  23. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2012
    #24
    That's an awesome price. I've only been able to find the USD equivalent of $250 + $40 shipping. I'll start looking.
     
  24. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #25
    I have searches saved on eBay for all the Xeons as an independent Apple tech - they do crop up. This seller had 5 and went in just over a day. If you can't find anything have a rummage through the dell and hp workstations they may just be listed as six core xeon rather than the W36xx cpu code, there are loads over your side of the pond. With Dell Precision you could always ask for the service tag and look up the spec on their website.
     

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