Best "Bang for buck" second hand Pro

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 20, 2017
898
881
Edinburgh, Scotland
Hi all,

Been offered a stupid price for my 2012 MBP, which stays tethered to my desk 99% of the time anyway, figured I might move to a Pro or an iMac.

I do use FCP but my 2012 MBP has been fine for the stuff I use it for, I have another more powerful non-Apple laptop that work has given me that I use for my own stuff when needed anyway.

I like to tinker.

What is the best bang for buck Pro, in regards to processor and memory upgrades? The last time I did this I maxed a dual 2.0 PowerMac G5, flashed a 9800 Pro for it and all that good stuff - What's the bargain basement Mac Pro at the moment I can spend decent money on to get working well?

I doesn't have to run Mojave but it'd be nice...
 

JazzyGB1

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2002
228
166
UK
A 2010 Mac Pro (5.1) is probably the best value, as this is the easiest model in which to upgrade everything... including the CPU.
However, they are a little more expensive to purchase.
If you want to save money the 2009 model (4.1) is the better option - especially if you do not intend to upgrade the CPU.
The CPU in the 2009 (4.1) can be upgraded too, it's just a little more work.
The firmware has to be flashed to 5.1 (which is easy), but the CPU's in the 2009 model are de-lidded so replacing the CPU is far more fiddly than with the 2010 model which just uses normal lidded CPU's.
So ideally I'd say a 2010 model is the best option, the 2009 model is cheaper and exactly the same as the 2010 once flashed, but trickier to upgrade the CPU.
Apple has said Mojave will run on 2010 model onwards, so a flashed 2009 Mac Pro should run it fine too. :)
 

bookemdano

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2011
1,379
761
A 2010 Mac Pro (5.1) is probably the best value, as this is the easiest model in which to upgrade everything... including the CPU.
However, they are a little more expensive to purchase.
If you want to save money the 2009 model (4.1) is the better option - especially if you do not intend to upgrade the CPU.
The CPU in the 2009 (4.1) can be upgraded too, it's just a little more work.
The firmware has to be flashed to 5.1 (which is easy), but the CPU's in the 2009 model are de-lidded so replacing the CPU is far more fiddly than with the 2010 model which just uses normal lidded CPU's.
So ideally I'd say a 2010 model is the best option, the 2009 model is cheaper and exactly the same as the 2010 once flashed, but trickier to upgrade the CPU.
Apple has said Mojave will run on 2010 model onwards, so a flashed 2009 Mac Pro should run it fine too. :)
Only the dual processor 2009 models use de-lidded CPUs. If you get a single processor one it's just as easy to change out the CPU as the 2010/2012.

2009 is definitely the best bang for the buck. For all intents and purposes it's the same as the 2010/2012 and the 2010/2012 is still supported by Apple on the 2018 MacOS release (and quite possibly the 2019 release also, since Apple tends not to drop older models off the compatibility list two years in a row).
 

JazzyGB1

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2002
228
166
UK
Only the dual processor 2009 models use de-lidded CPUs. If you get a single processor one it's just as easy to change out the CPU as the 2010/2012.
Yes, of course you're absolutely correct.
I forgot as I upgraded the CPUs in my dual CPU 2009 Mac Pro a few years ago.
It was a lot trickier than I had imagined to get it all to work tbh, but I got there in the end and it's now a 12 core beast and works great! :)
A quad core 2009 model though would (as you quite rightly say), be just as easy as a 2010 Mac Pro to upgrade.
 

bookemdano

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2011
1,379
761
Yes, of course you're absolutely correct.
I forgot as I upgraded the CPUs in my dual CPU 2009 Mac Pro a few years ago.
It was a lot trickier than I had imagined to get it all to work tbh, but I got there in the end and it's now a 12 core beast and works great! :)
A quad core 2009 model though would (as you quite rightly say), be just as easy as a 2010 Mac Pro to upgrade.
Hats off to you! Did you de-lid your own, use the penny trick or buy already-delidded CPUs? I went for the quad-core because I wanted the easy CPU upgrade, but I still get envious sometimes of the folks with 12 cores :)
 

JazzyGB1

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2002
228
166
UK
Hats off to you! Did you de-lid your own, use the penny trick or buy already-delidded CPUs? I went for the quad-core because I wanted the easy CPU upgrade, but I still get envious sometimes of the folks with 12 cores :)
No I didn't de-lid, I just used the standard CPU's and put some thicker thermal pad over the heat sensor to make up the difference in height.
I had real issues on initial installation which after 2 weeks of me trying and re-trying and re-seating turned out to be a faulty CPU.
Got a replacement and 'voila' - I was good to go! :)
It took it's toll though and I wouldn't be in a rush to do that upgrade again tbh - too much stress!
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,732
1,966
If you do not care about POSSIBLE compatibility issues with OS 10.14, the upgraded/updated/hacked 2009 4,1's that register as 5,1's are likely your best bet. Longer term, the mid-2012 models would likely have the highest chances of compatibility if Apple did decide to restrict future OS installs to certain year MacPro's. Even if that does happen, I'm sure it's just a waiting game to get it enabled.
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 20, 2017
898
881
Edinburgh, Scotland
Delidding is fine, a workmate of mine makes money by delidding/applying super thermal paste for overclocking purposes - Looks like I need to buy a dual CPU 2009.

Cheers all!

This is exciting.
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
445
264
Zürich
So... How does a 3,1 XServe compare to a 4,1 Mac Pro?
The same way this:



compares to:



Well, you started this thread by looking for advice. I think you should have taken it.

Even if you had bought the 3.1 MacPro (not Xserve) it would still be a fail. I'm not knocking the 3.1 if anyone has owned it since forever, but I'm reasoning from the standpoint of buy a MacPro now, in June 2018.

See if you can return it and start over?
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 20, 2017
898
881
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'll be able to sell it for a profit, so it's not such a big deal. Was just hoping there was a microcode update to update the Nehalem's is all, with the 3,1 XServe being the 2009 model, it was sold alongside the 4,1 Mac Pro.

This should be interesting, i'll have to compare the boot firmware, Mac Pro's had an update that enabled hex-core support that the xServe missed out on.

I'll still keep my eyes open for a 4,1 however, they seem to be still asking ~$1000 for a good one...

This xServe was $300 including postage.

That's Australian dollars, so US$150. Nowhere near bank breaking.
 
Last edited:

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
445
264
Zürich
I'll be able to sell it for a profit, so it's not such a big deal.
Well, it certainly wasn't expensive. But the same is true for a normal 4.1. The problem is that even if you get a dual 4.1 now for cheap + CPUs for cheap, if you go all the way to upgrade it the costs will still add up. Not super expensive, but still.

I'm very happy with my Mac Pro, but I made the upgrade investment a few years back. The architecture is very capable but is showing its age. Mainly single thread performance and connectivity like USB/ThunderBolt are points of weakness.
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 20, 2017
898
881
Edinburgh, Scotland
I ran my G5 PowerMac (Mid 2004, 2.0 Dual) with 8GB of DDR400 and a flashed Radeon 9800 Pro until 2012.

They sure do last a long time.

If PowerPC support wasn't dropped, i'm sure it would have lasted longer, as I went to a 2012 Mac Mini with 4GB of RAM after that for a while before going to a 16GB Hackintosh laptop (and then a 2012 MBP that came up very cheap)
 
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