MP All Models Can't afford new 7,1 so upgraded my old 5,1

layzarc

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2013
20
12
Bought from Apple my refurbished 12-core Mac Pro in late 2010 and it has been a workhorse ever since. As a retired researcher I can't afford the new "Cheese grater", so I've done the following upgrades instead

1. 224GB RAM (6x32GB + 2x16GB) Yes at times I need this much!
Windows 10 sees it all, Windows 7 only 192GB (MS limitation), and High Sierra doesn't recognize any 32GB modules.
2. MVC-flashed GTX 1080Ti (I depend on a couple of CUDA-enabled apps)
3. 1TB SSD
4. USB 3.0

I hope to get a few more productive years out of it running my engineering software. Who else is going this route?

Al
 
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thornslack

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2013
409
159
I parted out then sold my cMP about 6 months ago. No sense beating a dead horse and I felt any further investment would be better spent on a modern system.
 
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mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
712
220
I have a 6 core 5,1 in spec that you see and the going slow as software more demanding.

Will be donating to parents and built my self a hack.

i9 9900K
Gigabyte Z390 designate with working tb3 onboard
32Gb RAM
Samsung 970evo 500Gb
Sapphire Pulse 580 8Gb
Fenvi T919 carcbfor BT and Wifi

Can easily add newer AMD cards as support added, price comes down, add more storage etc.

Also now get the full os support

wasn't worth putting more into my 5,1 for me, and parents get a replacement for there iMac 2007.

I see that went with 1080Ti so not moving past High Sierra, for me anyone needing CUDA only software really should be able to see the road Apple on and unlikely that CUDA support coming to newer OS. MVC shortly releasing 580 Cards with EFI the unless need CUDA would be a better bet and allow newer Mac OS.

No NVIDIA drivers for Mojave still, so no matter whose fault it is then only delaying the inevitable move off Mac.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,071
4,138
The Peninsula
I parted out then sold my cMP about 6 months ago. No sense beating a dead horse and I felt any further investment would be better spent on a modern system.
I suspect that more and more people will make this assessment as well, the writing is on the wall that it will be more and more difficult to keep cMPs running current software. At some point the pain exceeds the benefit.
 
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goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
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I suspect that more and more people will make this assessment as well, the writing is on the wall that it will be more and more difficult to keep cMPs running current software. At some point the pain exceeds the benefit.
I think after November the 5,1 is going to be pretty much dead. Well, zombie like at least. But third party apps will start to drop support for it, and the software updates are ending. It's going to be like the PowerPC holdouts after Snow Leopard.

Plus almost any Mac in the lineup is faster than a 5,1 right now. You could get a Mac Mini and still be better off.
 
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msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
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I suspect that more and more people will make this assessment as well, the writing is on the wall that it will be more and more difficult to keep cMPs running current software. At some point the pain exceeds the benefit.
Even though I recently upgraded the CPU (because it was only $30), I have certainly made that decision. I will most likely move to an HP Z series and supplement with a macmini if I want to continue with Logic.
 

Pressure

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2006
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Sunken cost fallacy. The system is at a dead-end. I'm not spending more on it and will move on to Hackintosh, preferably Matisse (12- or 16-core) or even i9 9900K if need be.

It was nice while it lasted.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2015
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I think it's okay if people want to spend their money upgrading a 5,1, but that shouldn't prevent them from putting some money into a savings account each month for the eventual purchase of a 7,1. If your work and/or budget allows it, I think it would be better to temporarily use a supported Mac until then though. Should be able to get up to $500 for a 5,1 still. Even giving it away or repurposing it as art or furniture would be better than letting it end up in the landfill.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2009
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I may beating a dead horse but I can't afford the thoroughbred. Besides this, the saddest part is that the latest Microsoft OS supports this old Apple machine's upgrades better than the latest MacOS.
and how much longer is Apple going to keep working on the Windows HAL layer on the now Vintage/Obsolete status Mac Pro to keep the Windows 10 upgrades coming?

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/07/02/microsoft-windows-issue-macs/

Microsoft doesn't write everything down to the raw metal for the Mac Pro. Apple has been partially enabling that too. If they stop doing their part there will probably be an issue down the road.

There is a cabal of folks who keep saying that Apple's view of Vintage/Obsolete status doesn't matter. If creating a dependency of Apple doing work on a Obsolete system then it does.

You can take an older Mac Pro and put it in a "time capsulate" software footprint wise. ( Freeze on OS version x.y.z. and aps hooked to that OS). But Windows 10 doesn't "freeze" well over extended time. And if Apple and MS aren't on the same page as to active support status that won't end well over extended time.




The Mac Pro was not built to have 3 banks of DIMMs so the corner case upper limit wasn't supported in the first place. Windows 10 did have to deal with those kinds of systems from "day one". Actually how well macOS is going to deal with 1.5TB of the new Mac Pro is probably a potential source of a few bugs after that system launches.


As for Windows 10 supporting more old stuff. They support more stuff period. That's a dual edged sword. They get more revenue so can put more money into more broad configuration support, but also pick up more clients who just won't move and won't pay. MS has a mode where some folks pay and some of that trickles out to the folks who don't pay but over time that becomes a money pit ( that is much easier to ignore when there is high growth and/or a subscription stream. )
 
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tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2018
411
212
Newark, DE
There are a lot of choices in the current Apple hardware... does one choose the older 4,1/5,1 Mac Pro, sort-of current nMP (6,1), or the new 2018 Mac mini. Or simply pay out the ass for the latest and greatest nCMP 7,1?

Everything but the CPU and RAM on a 5,1 or a flashed 4,1 can be updated to current speeds/standards... which is circa 2011 (1333mhz speed). Do you deal with the slow speeds in the CPU and RAM, vs the faster GPU and storage, if you choose to add a standard PCI card and NVMe storage solution?

Unfortunately, there is no middle ground between the new Mini and the outgoing Mac Pro (6,1). Otherwise, workarounds wouldn't have to be implemented.

The trashcan (6,1) is both limited in the GPU department (by it's internal options, and TB2 bandwidth)... and also, storage speed is limited vs the new (2018) Mini. Finally, the CPU is limited to what came out in 2013. RAM is decent at 128GB, but is limited to 1866mhz speed.

The newest Mini is great in single/multi core speeds... and they're only 6 core CPUs. The 6,1 with 10 or 12 cores will outperform the newest Mini in Geekbench and Cinebench. Also, RAM is limited to 64GB (but at a 800mhz advantage in speed) however is NOT ECC. Let's not forget, that the integrated graphics in the 2018 Mini are severely subpar to what's installed in the 6,1. However, one can utilize ALL of the 40gb/s of a TB3 eGPU on the Mini.

One has to seriously consider their workflow, and spec what new(est) hardware is closest to matching their necessities.
 
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donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
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Italy
IMHO, the upgrade now vs save for newer Mac topic is all down to how much you think you're going to be using your current mac.
As of now, the cheapest version of the new Mac Pro is ~$6k IIRC and I believe that in 4-5 years we're going to see a price drop on official listings which will bring a drop on the second hand market as a consequence.

Depending on the use you make of the Mac Pro, upgrading with e new video card and NVMe (which you can then bring to the new Mac Pro when the time comes), you're looking at an investment of ~$500 which will carry you for another good 2-3 years (Catalina, although officially unsupported, it's just one boot arg away from working properly).

So you're looking at $150 per year, more or less which, for a professional working in audio/video/photo editing/making, is a *very* reasonable investment, not to mention that you can carry those upgrades over to the new Mac Pro.

My closing thoughts are that upgrading the 4,1 and 5,1 Mac Pros (and maybe 3,1 to some extent) still makes perfect sense, while waiting for the prices of the new Mac Pros to come down to earth.
 

msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
331
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SoCal
IMHO, the upgrade now vs save for newer Mac topic is all down to how much you think you're going to be using your current mac.
As of now, the cheapest version of the new Mac Pro is ~$6k IIRC and I believe that in 4-5 years we're going to see a price drop on official listings which will bring a drop on the second hand market as a consequence.

Depending on the use you make of the Mac Pro, upgrading with e new video card and NVMe (which you can then bring to the new Mac Pro when the time comes), you're looking at an investment of ~$500 which will carry you for another good 2-3 years (Catalina, although officially unsupported, it's just one boot arg away from working properly).

So you're looking at $150 per year, more or less which, for a professional working in audio/video/photo editing/making, is a *very* reasonable investment, not to mention that you can carry those upgrades over to the new Mac Pro.

My closing thoughts are that upgrading the 4,1 and 5,1 Mac Pros (and maybe 3,1 to some extent) still makes perfect sense, while waiting for the prices of the new Mac Pros to come down to earth.
You're assuming the old MP hardware will just keep chugging along - not a good assumption for a 10 year old computer.
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
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Italy
Do you mean that hardware will break down or that it won't be fast enough to work properly with newer software?
 

layzarc

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2013
20
12
My response to couple of issues brought up here:
1. I also can also boot Ubuntu. It sees all 224GB of ram and supports the Nvidia GPU. I'm pretty sure this does not rely at all on the Windows HAL.
2. I am stopping at HighSierra at this point because of the lack of optimized Nvidia driver. In addition I still depend on some 32-bit apps so Catalina is a non-starter. BTW I have old Windows NT apps from the 1990's that still run perfectly on Windows 10.
3. As for hardware longevity, I still use a PowerMac G5 Quad as a file archiver and for software testing (make sure my code is not "endian" sensitive). It simply refuses to die! I bet my 5,1 Mac Pro has several years left.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2015
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Funny how people are complaining of 5,1 being unsupported but planning to build a Hackintosh... go figure.
I don't think anyone should be building a hackintosh. I get the appeal of using newer hardware on the cheap, but I think running macOS on a real Mac helps Apple keep macOS more secure and stable.
 
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donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
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Italy
About hardware breaking down: that's inevitable, you just pray to the apple gods and sacrifice a virgin for some extra years of life out of your mac.

About hardware being too slow: debatable. It heavily depends on what you're doing.
IMHO, it's still perfectly usable for serious audio/video work, unless you need to edit 4k HDR videos.
It surely is still plenty for even the most demanding digital photo workflows.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
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About hardware being too slow: debatable. It heavily depends on what you're doing.
Until the tools that you want require newer CPU features -- then you're stuck at a legacy version. Unsupported OS, older software, hardware that's a ticking time bomb - what's not to like? ;)
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
90
Italy
You've pointed out already several time about newer tools requiring new CPU instructions, but let me tell you one thing: you'd be *stunned* to know the amount of people using old software either due to the newer ones requiring better machines or having to buy an "update license" or a new license altogether.
And some of those still decide to stick to older version due to interface changes that they cannot cope with and would have slowed down their work.

Those guys are working with software often older than 3-4 years and doing absolutely great, I know people still using Autocad pre-ribbon interface and doing critical work with it and being perfectly happy with it.

Unsupported OS: you can always use the older OS as a host and the newer one in a VM (or viceversa), negating internet access to the unsupported, non-secure OS.

Hardware dying: that's all there is to it, really. And it's a god awful lot, absolutely, but still...
 
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msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
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About hardware breaking down: that's inevitable, you just pray to the apple gods and sacrifice a virgin for some extra years of life out of your mac.
If I had an HP Z series I wouldn't need to pray; I would just call them and they would show up the next day to fix it. As for the virgin, lets just say I wouldn't sacrifice her for a G**D'd MacPro.
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
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Italy
If I had an HP Z series I wouldn't need to pray; I would just call them and they would show up the next day to fix it.
HP gives out support even for 10 years old machines? That would be impressive. Because that's what we're talking here: Mac Pros made ~10 years ago, not new ones.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
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I upgraded my 3,1 many times over just short of 10 years. It was a great machine and one of the best values Apple ever engineered.

But, since the day I switched heavy computing tasks to vastly-faster Linux machines, it has never even been turned on. I do still have it, purportedly for "legacy" needs, should those ever arise (not so far). My OS-X uses are handled nicely with an iMac, which was also vastly faster than my old cMP.

For me, the problem with the new mMP (aside from cost) is that, due to Apple's foot-dragging, Linux has now replaced OS-X as my main OS aside from typical office-type activities. I'm not sure I even could move back into an OS-X-only computing environment. It's conceivable that I'll still get a mMP, but not because of any strict need.

The cMP's are obsolete in Apple's eyes at the very least. Sure, they can be kept in operation or even upgraded, but by now the "sunk cost fallacy" is trending solidly into the "throwing good money after bad" camp.

I'm impressed by the OP's commitment, and I'm glad to hear it's working out for the OP, but for years my advice has been to make few, if any, further upgrades to cMP systems. There comes a day when you have to make a clean break from the past.