Best Model To Get For Upgrading?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jangoforhire, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. jangoforhire macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    #1
    I am throwing around the idea of getting an older Mac Pro with the intention of throwing in a lot of upgrades myself. More RAM, SSD's, etc.

    I'm just curious which model/processor would be the best to get to offer a good amount of upgrade options. Basically, I'm just looking for a model that will still run decently with everything that can't be upgraded - so basically the processor. The 2010's can be had for a decent price on eBay, but I'm a little wary of anything before that.

    Any input would be great thanks.
     
  2. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    #2
    If you diligently follow the lidless processor replacement guides, you could get a 4,1 2009 dual CPU upgraded all the way to 5,1 firmware and 2x 6x3.33 processors.
     
  3. zerocool42 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 1, 2013
    #3
    You'll want to start at the Early 2009, 4,1, the Nehalem models. After this revision they are all the same with just different specs and options, however everything can be upgraded. You can easily flash a 4,1 to a 5,1 so it can use Westmere processors too. Don't bother at all with the core2 era Mac Pros, no matter how cheap it is.

    The best value right now is probably finding a single cpu 4,1 that hasn't been upgraded yet if you don't need both processors. I found the best used values are the ones that are in a near base config and haven't been upgraded, as used sellers seem to raise the price in accordance with how much they paid for what's mostly useless upgrades that you can do cheaper yourself.

    I was able to get one for about $650 and then had an X5650, 16Gb ram, couple SSDs, and a 7950 from another computer to throw in. I might replace the X5650 with a W3680 for the extra clock speed, but that should be an easy buy/sell swap.
     
  4. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #4
    I concur on your choice of a 2010 Mac Pro. The Dual Process model is still available, brand new, here:

    http://www.expercom.com/product_detail.html?p=703416

    I have one, and as you have suggested I have upgraded the RAM, put in an SSD with an Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 card, and upgraded the processors with W5590s. My video card is an Nvidia GTX570 flashed by MacVidCards.

    Lou
     
  5. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    Earth
    #5
    I'd like to add, with the 4.1 Mac Pro, after flashing it to 5.1 firmware you can use a faster ram at 1333mhz. You'll just need to reset PRAM. If you're not using the optical drive bay, you can add more storage by putting in SSDs or SATA HDs in your optical bay.
     
  6. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #6
    What do you need the MacPro for? Surfing the web, or maybe CPU intensive tasks like Video encoding?
    Any idea if you want a single or dual processor configuration?
    Replacing the processor took me about 20-30 minutes. I must admit that i build several PC's before.

    I would recommend a MacPro 5.1 (2010) or maybe 4.1 (2009). The MacPro 4.1 can be flashed with a modified 5.1 Firmware, that comes in handy if you choose to upgrade the CPU.

    Edit: Just found out 4 people can type faster than me.
     
  7. adr1974 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #7
    another vote for the 2010. much less hassle in swapping chips in and out than the 2009...just my two cents...
     
  8. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #8
    Maybe not faster, you just had more to say:p

    Lou
     
  9. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    #9
    I'd suggest 2009 if you just want one CPU. Easy upgrade process and can be flashed with 2010 firmware.

    The hassle comes when upgrading CPU on dual-processor 2009. 2010 would be a good choice for dual CPU, because CPU upgrade is straightforward----no lidless processors used in 2010 5,1.

    Single-processor 2009 base configuration is the best value money-wise. Something like $800 these days.
    2010 model will be several hundred more very likely.
     
  10. jangoforhire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    #10
    Thanks for all the feedback guys. It's going to come down to either a 2009 or 2010.

    I have a fully loaded 15" 2010 Macbook Pro, but I recently got a Macbook Air to travel around with and I quickly found that the macbook pro now never leaves my desk. So I'm thinking about selling that and upgrading to something that is meant to sit at my desk and will give me some better performance and be easier to upgrade. I'm a software engineer, so I usually use the air for quick programming and big fixing etc, but the pro comes out when I'm in heavy development mode and need to be running multiple virtual boxes, photoshop, and sometimes even final cut.


    The 2009's are very attractive because of their low price point. You can find them pretty consistently on eBay for under 850 or so. I'm sure I could upgrade the processor if I needed to, but I feel like the processor is the one part of the machine I wound't want to touch.

    What would be the best processor to shoot for in the 2009/2010?

    Thanks again for the help! I know a decent amount about the hardware side of things but definitely not as much as some of you here!
     
  11. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #11
    ^^^^Depends on whether you get a Single or a Dual CPU model and wether it's a 2009 or 2010.

    Lou
     
  12. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

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    #12
    For me it sounds like you more rely on RAM for your VM than on processor speed. Maybe just look out for the 2.8 GHz quad 5.1 single processor and max the RAM.
     
  13. jangoforhire thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2011
    #13
    That is very true. But at the same time, I want something that will be relatively future proof for the next few years. I'm looking at something like this right now... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Pro-2009-QC-Xeon-W3520-2-66GHz-6GB-RAM-640GB-HDD-GT-120-MB871LL-A-/121171368651?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item1c36605acb

    However, since I don't NEED to have this immediately, maybe I'll just sit around and see if I can snag a 2010 for a good deal.
     
  14. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    #15
    How much CPU power do you want? Quad or Hex?

    If only 4-cores, then a 2009 will do just fine.

    If you are determined to add a 6-core CPU, then you can buy the 2009 Mac Pro for $800, flash the firmware to 5,1, and buy the W3680 Xeon for $600.
    You will have spent $1400 which is less than that $1500 entry-level quad-core 2010 model you've linked to.

    Of course, the 2010 comes with the 5770 graphics card, which the 2009 does not.
     
  15. stjames70 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    #16
    MacPro 3,1

    Fast, cheap and very easy to upgrade. Look at the thread on the MacPro 2008. Built like a tank and mine has been running for almost five years now without turning it off. I upgraded everything on that machine except for the processor. It is much easier to sneak in an additional power supply and a 3rd party RAID card on the 2008 than in later generation Mac Pros

    ----------

    I forgot to mention that your greatest limiting factor, or bottleneck, in any system, is your storage -- so as long as you can upgrade to SSDs and put them in RAID configuration, you will usually have a system that runs really quickly. As the 3,1 can utilize any video cards that are currently offered (I am using a non-approved GTX Titan on mine), I double down this as my top pick for upgradeable MacPro at a reasonable price.
     
  16. jangoforhire, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    jangoforhire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    #17

    Honestly, I don't see myself needing more than 4 cores. But the geek inside me want's to go for the 8...

    I will want to run two monitors, so an upgraded graphics card would probably interest me if going to the 09.


    I think this one is looking good right now. Thoughts?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Pro-3-1-2008-Eight-Core-2x-2-8Ghz-Quad-8GB-RAM-1TB-Hard-Drive-A1186-/281166185522?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item4176cf8432

    My current MBP is a 2010 with the 2.66 i7, 8GB Ram and the 500GB harddrive so this should be a decent upgrade.
     
  17. Studio K, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    #18
    A 2008 model 8-core is certainly more affordable than a 2009-2010.

    It's up to you, I suppose. What I've heard is that the Ram for 2008 is really expensive.

    Upgrading a quad 2009 can be relatively inexpensive if you don't need a hex-core. I bought a 2009 quad core (2.66GHz) and upgraded the CPU to 3.2GHz quad for only $129. The upgrade was a Xeon W3570 which came from an OEM tray.
    The machine is now spec'd slightly better than the current quad-core being sold by Apple today (3570 supports 1333MHz ram).

    Regarding graphics......so long as you install at least Mountain Lion 10.8.3, you have loads of choices. Many current PC cards will work out of the box in the Mac Pro (2008 or 2009).
     
  18. jangoforhire thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2011
    #19

    The 2x 2.8Ghz Quad Core in the 2008 seems like it should be more than enough. And as long as I can spec out the RAM and drop in the graphics cards I need I should be ok. It looks like this was still 32 bit so that explains the RAM max.

    So if I went up to the 2009 or 2010 what exactly would I be paying more for?


    Tell me more...
     
  19. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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    Jul 23, 2012
    Location:
    SoCal
    #20
    get a mac pro 5.1 under a G, buy a w3680 on provantage for 570, get watever size ssd you want id go with a 250 840 evo for 180, then buy 2x8gb ram for 180, and a 670/680 for 200-400 bucks
     
  20. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    #21
    The 2008 is likely a good choice. Those who have them report them to be stable, quiet and reliable.

    You mentioned in your initial post that you were wary of anything older than 2010. I thought a 2009 would be a nice suggestion since it's less money than the 2010 and uses the same hardware. The 2010s just had faster processors in them.

    You will have many upgrade options with whatever you decide to get.
     

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