Buying Mac Pro 2009

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by El Awesome, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. El Awesome, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    El Awesome macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm checking out some offers on different Mac Pros. The price is a minor thing there, I want to get a cheap basis for upgrading them.

    Now I was wondering where I would get more power: Buying a 2x2.26Ghz and upgrade it with two W5580's to a 2x3.2Ghz 8-core or buying a 2.66Ghz Quad and upgrade it (via firmware update) to a 3.33Ghz Hex. The price is more or less the same (used W5580 cost 500$, the W3680 600$)

    I do lots of graphic design and therefore I need RAM and processor speed.

    Thanks!
    Alex
     
  2. PowerPCMacMan, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a

    PowerPCMacMan

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    #2
    My honest opinion...

    For what you use your mac pro for, I would consider getting the single 2.66 Quad. Then apply the 2009-2010 Mac Pro firmware as this will allow you to put in the hexcore w3680. Simply put, the 6-core will speed up your rendering times and also increase your productivity with graphic design, depending on which applications you use which could tax all the cores.

    But also the 3.33 is faster in computational performance which all of your applications will open up a lot faster. Most use the 6-core only for heavy video rendering and encoding, also animation and some graphic design. It will also future proof your machine for a while, thats if Apple impresses us in 2013 with another mac pro or some imac pro.

    My advice: go hexcore for what you currently use the machine for. 12-core would only benefit you in very heavy video rendering and encoding which isn't the case here.


     
  3. El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #3
    Thanks!
    I only saw that in Geekbench the 2xW5580 reach always ~16000, while the W3680 is between 13000 and 14000.
     
  4. El Awesome, Jul 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012

    El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #4
    Ok, so I just bought a 2009 MacPro 2.66Ghz Quad.
    I saw that the W3565 3.2 Ghz Quad "Bloomfield" is half the price of the W3680 - Is the Hexcore worth it's money? I mostly need it for Photoshop. I really don't care if the rendering time in After Effects is bigger with the 3.2Ghz Quad.
    Where else than in rendering speed do you see a remarkable performance boost?

    Just to add:
    I mostly deal with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also own After Effects, but I really don't care of rendering takes a bit longer there.
    I want to run a stable, really fast system. That what I will ned the MP for.
     
  5. macmesser macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I'm looking at the same system with the same idea. How did your firmware flash go? Do you know if all of the 2009 Mac Pro's are the same or is there a difference between the early and late 09 model?

    Thanks for any insights.
     
  6. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #6
    Only one set was released in 2009. I'm not sure why "W" cpus were referenced. Those are only single package compliant. As for graphic designers, unless we're talking about motion graphics, it's a waste pursuing dual package machines. Given the pricing adjustments, it's probably not worth buying something with the intention of doing drop in cpu adjustments. Some of these units cost way more in the past. For a graphic designer that's dealing with photoshop/illustrator/indesign, you get some scaling past 4 cores, but it drops off considerably. Overall graphic design that doesn't go into motion graphics isn't that intense on hardware from recent years.
     
  7. El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #7
    So far, I went another way:
    I saw that for now, my 2.66Ghz Quad is completely sufficient. So I left the CPU and got myself a Evga GTX 570 2.5GB from MacVideoCards, which boosts my After Effects.
    I decided that when I see that I need more CPU power, which will be in I guess 2-3 years, I take the biggest possible CPU I can find then. The prics will be much lower then. MAYBE I can get a Dual CPU logic board then for my MP and get a pair of W5590s.
     
  8. macmesser macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Sounds like a plan. Hope the system works out for you.
     
  9. macmesser macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thanks. For my Photography work with Photshop I shouldn't be pushing any limits with the hardware. I do want to start light video and 3D modeling work which I also doubt will be overly taxing, at least in the short term. I did hear that Aperture and Lightroom benefit from more cores.

    Regarding the firmware flash for the 09 models to "5,1", do you know if there will be any difference between early and late machines?
     
  10. El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #10
    Check your firmware. If you have MP41.0081.B07, you're fine.
    Unless you have a refurbished Mac Pro, there's no difference whether you have an early or late one.

    Photoshop runs perfectly fine with standart specs, but with big images you will profit a lot from 24 to 34GB RAM, I wouldn't recommend less than 16GB to be a bit future proof.
    After Effects uses 100% of my 16GB RAM all the time, so if you decide to do lots of video editing, then get lots of RAM.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #11
    CG and video editing in general have long learning curves in some areas. They're a more recent trend, but they can involve a lot of details if you want them to integrate properly in compositing. Modeling isn't that difficult. It's just a different approach compared to photography as small details must be represented if you expect them to hold up at high resolution.

    Aperture and lightroom benefit from more cores. Just don't assume that buying an old one and applying upgrades is the way to go. They became popular prior to some of the Apple pricing adjustments. I would suggest that you compare to see how much savings is involved before doing this.

    The difference between 4,1 (2009) and 5,1 (2010) involves board firmware, cpu choices, and standard gpu options. The board itself is based on the same hardware. I wouldn't invest well above your current needs on the basis of longevity, especially on an already 3~ year old design.
     
  12. El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #12
    Correct. Nothing to add there.

    Why isn't it the way to go? If you can get a good 2009 MP and upgrade it so that you end up with a much lower price than buying a 2012 one - why shouldn't you? The only thing is guarantee.

    Yes, but you can turn a 4.1 into a 5.1. Same CPU/GPU choices and same firmware.
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #13
    I said to make sure you are actually saving. Note the price on the 6 core dropped $800, yet the price of the W3680 cpu is the same. The price for that cpu dropped to $600 or so new in 2011. The mac pro went to $3k from $3800 in 2012. i don't know if they ever fixed their refurbished pricing. It was messed up for a while. My point was to ensure you look at available options and pricing to ensure there is savings there. These things can run into hardware problems like any other machine, so this must be accounted for in a used machine.
     
  14. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    #14
    They fixed it here last week. The 3.33 hex went from 3100€ refurb/new to 2450€ refurb and so on.
     
  15. macmesser, Aug 17, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012

    macmesser macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I am looking at 2009 Mac Pros now with the intention of flashing the firmware to 5,1 and adding disks (SSD) and RAM. I want to go as cheaply as possible for a reliable 2.66 or 2.93 machine which should be adequate for the time being. I figure CPU upgrades will get cheaper and I can go that route if need be, or get a new machine after they're out. I have seen a very tempting used 2.8 Nehalem 2010 at a local store which was a floor model and is selling with Applecare thrown in for a total of 3 yr. warranty after I activate it. This 2010 only has 3 GB RAM and is selling for about $600.00 more than the 2009 machines I'm looking at with an average of say 8GB RAM. So it's got the HD 5770 1GB (vs. the 2009's GT 120 512mb) and the 3 year warranty in its favor. The 2009s have $425 ($600-$175 for Applecare) in their favor and sometimes even a usable amount of RAM. I'd go for the 2009 and add RAM and disks if I weren't afraid of having hardware problems with no warranty. If I buy a 2009 plus a 2 year warranty for $300 then the 2009 is only $125 less. I'd be adding a new drive, SSD boot drive and extra RAM to either but less (and slower but same price) RAM to the 2009. Adding 16 GB RAM to the 2010 brings it back up to $300 more expensive.

    So for $300 difference I get Radeon HD 5770 (1GB), 3 yrs AppleCare, slightly faster RAM, made in 2010 versus GForce GT 120 (512mb) , 2 year Fairtrade warranty, made in 2009.

    Should I man up and go for a 2009 without the warranty? If the Radeon does not completely out class the GForce that seems to be what the numbers say, assuming that the 2009 will be upgradable to 5,1 with no problem. The 2009 without warranty saves $475 over the 2010 with warranty.
     
  16. El Awesome thread starter macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

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    #16
    Well, it depends. If you are upgrading RAM anyway, ignore how much already is included since mixing RAM decreases the speed.

    If you don't need to do further upgrades, go with the 2010 one.
    I upgraded also my GPU to a EVGA GTX 570 2.5GB from MacVidCards, with brought me to a 2009 model.

    Conclusion:
    If you want to do tons of upgrades, get a 2009 one as a cheap basis.
    If you want to upgrade just a few little thing, get the 2010 one with better equipment right away and with warranty. In case ofa any failure, that warranty will save you a damn lot of money.
     

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