Buying and Upgrading 2006 Mac Pro, Worth it?

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
So I was about to pull the trigger on a 2011 iMac 21.5" base model for $600, when I had an idea.
So at a local PC store, they have a bunch of old Mac Pros for sale, and they had 2 interesting models:
2006 Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 Xeon 5150, 4gb Ram, 7300 GT for $300
2008 Mac Pro: 2 x 2.8 Xeon E5462, 4gb Ram, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT for $550
So I was considering getting the 2006 Mac Pro and doing the following upgrades:
Upgrading CPUs for a pair of 2.66GHz Xeon 5355. Cost: $70ish
Adding 8GB of Ram for a total of 12GB. Cost: $50ish
Upgrading GPU for a PowerColor AMD Radeon HD 6870. Cost: Free
How will this perform compared to the iMac?
Also from what I read, the AMD 6870 should work, it will just lose the boot screens.
Im planning on using this Mac Pro for Internet, Music Production, Gaming, and maybe some Video Editing.
The Mac Pro plus the upgrades, a decent monitor, and the Keyboard and Mouse should cost around $600
Should I do it, or go with the iMac?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,439
810
Should I do it, or go with the iMac?
Comparing the 2006 Mac Pro to the iMac, the iMac is a better performer and can run the latest OS X version. The 2006 MP only supports OS X 10.7.5 or earlier and has much lower benchmark numbers.

You can compare Mac models here.
 

flowrider

macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
6,256
2,385
iMac vs Mac Pro:confused: Really depends on what you want to do, and what kind of expandability you want or need. As far as the 1,1, Apple has left in the in dust with regards to the OS it will run, as said in the post above, it's limited to 10.7.5. Hacking it to run a later OS seems to be a BIG Pain.

The 3,1 is officially Apple supported at least through Yosemite, OS 10.10. and is a much better candidate for the upgrading you outline (except you would need Intel Xeon 5400 series ("Harpertown") CPUs). As far as speed, It won't keep up with a machine with later architecture. But, it will hold it's own. It's a good trouble free machine.

Lou
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Comparing the 2006 Mac Pro to the iMac, the iMac is a better performer and can run the latest OS X version. The 2006 MP only supports OS X 10.7.5 or earlier and has much lower benchmark numbers.

You can compare Mac models here.

Well, from what it looks like, if I upgrade the CPUs to the Xeon 5355s, it should be faster than the iMac by a bit.

I forgot to mention, I am planning on "Hacking" on OS X Mavericks. From what I heard, it isn't too difficult.
I used to have a hackintosh, which was a pain to deal with, but if I can hack OSX onto a windows PC, I'm sure I can do it on an Older Mac Pro
 

LorenK

macrumors 6502
Dec 26, 2007
386
151
Illinois
From everything I've read, I would not buy a 2006 Mac Pro. It is no longer being supported in OSX, while the 2008 3,1 continues to plug along. You can also upgrade the video card to a non-Mac card, I have a GTX 660 in mine now.

Better value is the 3,1.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,961
120
So I was about to pull the trigger on a 2011 iMac 21.5" base model for $600, when I had an idea.
So at a local PC store, they have a bunch of old Mac Pros for sale, and they had 2 interesting models:
2006 Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 Xeon 5150, 4gb Ram, 7300 GT for $300
2008 Mac Pro: 2 x 2.8 Xeon E5462, 4gb Ram, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT for $550
So I was considering getting the 2006 Mac Pro and doing the following upgrades:
Upgrading CPUs for a pair of 2.66GHz Xeon 5355. Cost: $70ish
Adding 8GB of Ram for a total of 12GB. Cost: $50ish
Upgrading GPU for a PowerColor AMD Radeon HD 6870. Cost: Free
How will this perform compared to the iMac?
Also from what I read, the AMD 6870 should work, it will just lose the boot screens.
Im planning on using this Mac Pro for Internet, Music Production, Gaming, and maybe some Video Editing.
The Mac Pro plus the upgrades, a decent monitor, and the Keyboard and Mouse should cost around $600
Should I do it, or go with the iMac?

God no, do not buy a 2006 Mac Pro. I even have one, and yes you can get Maverick's running on it, but there's no guarantee that it will run Yosemite and you are buying an 8 year old machine!

Unless you really need the internal expansion slots of the Mac Pro, I would go with the iMac. At the very least, I would go with the 2008 Mac Pro over the 2006, so at least you have a machine that natively runs Yosemite. Again though, I would go iMac.
 

Riwam

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2014
1,084
244
Basel, Switzerland
God no, do not buy a 2006 Mac Pro. I even have one, and yes you can get Maverick's running on it, but there's no guarantee that it will run Yosemite and you are buying an 8 year old machine!

Unless you really need the internal expansion slots of the Mac Pro, I would go with the iMac. At the very least, I would go with the 2008 Mac Pro over the 2006, so at least you have a machine that natively runs Yosemite. Again though, I would go iMac.
......................
Maybe I had just very bad luck but my experience with a MP 1.1 was awful:eek:
After a year or so the original graphic card stopped working and had to be replaced.
After a further year it was the Logic Board according to the techs.
I suffered countless kernel panicks during 3 years although never hacked or made any modification by myself.
My MP Mid 2010 8c was entirely the opposite. Never needed the 3 year Apple Care.:)
As already said, maybe it was bad luck :confused:
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Ok so I found a 2008 Mac Pro with 2x 2.8Ghz Quad Cores, 6gb of ram, and an Ati 2600 Pro. I talked the seller down to $460. is that a good deal?
I have a PowerColor Ati Radeon 6870 that I have no use for, can I install it into the Mac Pro?
My problem is I feel like the iMac won't last me very long with the 6750m for gaming. btw my budget is $600
Looking at Geekbenches, the iMac scores a 7241, while the stock Mac Pro score a 5676.
But if I upgrade the CPU and GPU, I've seen some pretty high scores
 
Last edited:

NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,067
405
Baltimore, MD
Another vote against the 1,1. The 3,1 is for sure the better buy, at a very minimum because of the OS X computability. Sure, the multi-core performance from quad cores in a 1,1 is similar to the 3,1 - but the hacks are a pain, especially since we don't know if we'll have something as nice as Tiamo's boot.efi for Yosemite. Plus you get PCIe 2.0 and more PCIe lanes on the 3,1. However, if you don't really need all that the cMP has to offer (lots of internal storage, upgradable graphics, 8 cores, etc.) the iMac might be a good choice as well.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
Mac Pro 1,1 is excellent for server duties. Not so great if you want to actually use it as a day to day computer. It has more then enough power and speed for server usage, but for example the PCI-E ports are version 1, which means add in cards and the SATA controllers are going to be limited to about 200MB/s. It also means the video cards will be limited in full x16 mode, but that is probably not a big deal for your usage.

It also means you will not be able to use any of the newer apps that make OSX and iDevices worth while. iCloud doesn't work worth a hill of beans in 10.7. No iMessage. Don't get the free iLife suite. Apple is very good about "persuading" you to replace old Macs.

Going forward there is no Thunderbolt, nor any known way to implement Thunderbolt on an older Mac Pro. You have FireWire800 which is ok, but otherwise you're limited to USB 2. To me this was actually more of a problem with the older iMacs. The new ones have Thunderbolt, which opens up the world for upgradability and has good speed.
 

sebseb

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2014
322
16
Ok so I found a 2008 Mac Pro with 2x 2.8Ghz Quad Cores, 6gb of ram, and an Ati 2600 Pro. I talked the seller down to $460. is that a good deal?
I have a PowerColor Ati Radeon 6870 that I have no use for, can I install it into the Mac Pro?
My problem is I feel like the iMac won't last me very long with the 6750m for gaming. btw my budget is $600
Looking at Geekbenches, the iMac scores a 7241, while the stock Mac Pro score a 5676.
But if I upgrade the CPU and GPU, I've seen some pretty high scores

You're getting an 8 core machine for 450$, of course it's worth it!

Remember the benchmarks can fool you! The iMac CPU is great at handling single core tasks, which most programs out there are. Only a few will take advantage of dual cpus. So if the Mac Pro 12/8 core scores high is because it has more cores while it has a really low single core benchmark score! So an iMac will play ur games better than this Mac Pro you're getting.

Check scores and you will see that the old MP scores around 2000 in single core applications while in multi core they're around 22000! But an iMac scores above 3000 in single core and about 8000 or 15000 if it's dual or quad core!

But yes the GPU in the iMac is not the best for gaming and u can't change it!
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
Actually this card has been reported to work in a 1,1 Mac Pro:


Lou

Ahh yes, USB 3 would be an option. It's still a PCI-E x1 card (which is normal) so you will be limited to 250MB/s max on a Mac Pro 1,1.

Also I do not know if USB 3 is officially supported in Lion. You will probably need to find some 3rd party drivers in order to enjoy the full speed.
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Ok so turns out the Mac Pro for $460 was the Quad Core Model with the single CPU. If I want to get the Dual CPU model, its $540, so $80 more. My question is do the single CPU models come with a mobo with 2 CPU sockets? Or just one?
Also will the Single CPU model be fast enough? Or should i go with 2 CPUs?
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,961
120
Ok so turns out the Mac Pro for $460 was the Quad Core Model with the single CPU. If I want to get the Dual CPU model, its $540, so $80 more. My question is do the single CPU models come with a mobo with 2 CPU sockets? Or just one?
Also will the Single CPU model be fast enough? Or should i go with 2 CPUs?

The 2008 single CPU model has an empty CPU socket. The sockets are on the motherboard directly and both the single vs the dual use the same motherboard. The 2009-2012 used daughter cards for the CPU's so you have to change out the daughter card to add a second CPU.
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Ok so I think I will buy the Quad Core Model right now, and then later upgrade to the Octa Core 3.0Ghz CPUs.
 

sebseb

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2014
322
16
If you had 2500$, I would spend it on the new iMac, it does come with a GTX 780M which it's not the best card but it's really good gaming card. But still it will start to get slow in couple of years. The advantage to gaming is that your concern is not so much about cpu as long as you have a good graphics card. I think you can put a gtx 680 in the 2008 model! You can even put a Titan Black, as long as you get an external power supply!
 

lewisd25

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2007
843
581
Despite what many have told you, I think getting an older Mac Pro at that price is a great deal. I've owned a 1,1 Mac Pro since it was released in 2006 and I plan on using it for at least another few years. Over the last 7+ years I've added more RAM (now up to 16gb), upgraded the graphics card, and I replaced the original processors with 5355s. The old Mac Pros are great for doing basic productivity and design work. They still do well with more cpu intensive work, albeit slower.

My advice is to buy the older MP and use it for a few years, then maybe look at getting a new or used nMP or a retina iMac when they eventually come out.
 

gpzjock

macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2009
798
33
I have a MP 3,1. They have loads of life left in them compared to the 1,1. At $500 for a base unit you can expand it with many options including SSD drives and Nvidia 600 series GFX cards with great ease.
Take the quad 3,1 and build on it I say.
 
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