Considering a Mac Pro 3.1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by lumencreative, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. lumencreative macrumors regular

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    #1
    I have been looking for a few days now and initially I was going to purchase a used 21.5" iMac, however, someone on another thread advised I look at the Mac Minis (which I particularly wanted to avoid).

    Anyway, I decided to look at what was available on ebay and noticed that for the price of a 1.4GHz Mac Mini, I could get a Mac Pro 3.1 with 12-16GB Ram.

    My question is, while I know at some point Apple will stop supporting the Mac Pro 3.1, are there any major drawbacks in buying one over a new Mac Mini?
     
  2. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #2
    The Mac Pro (early 2008) is probably not getting any more OS updates following Yosemite.

    The better deal would be to save up for the 2010 model (model 4,1) if you can get a good deal.
     
  3. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks for your suggestion, however, the 4.1 model is almost double the price of the 3.1 here in the UK.

    Might just have to bite the bullet and get a Mac Mini :(
     
  4. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #4
    Why would you say that the Mac Pro 3,1 is not going to get any more OS updates ?

    What would be the limitation ? An artificial system requirement from Apple ?

    The mac Pro 3,1 is a true 64 bit Mac with pretty fast processors compared to the current (non MP) offerings from Apple . Hardware-wise, I think she'll be able to run new OSes from Apple nicely for a very long time .

    ----------

     
  5. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks for your comments.

    My next mac will become my main computer and it will be used for Web Development, Light graphics work (web related) and the day to day tasks involved in running my business.

    There is also a requirement for Parallels as I use WinSCP alot and haven't found anything suitable for OSX yes.

    I must admit though that looking at the various specs Apples new systems offer, it is very difficult to not go down the Windows route with a custom build.
     
  6. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    #6
    I think a 3,1 would work fine in that workflow. I use my 3,1 for graphic design and illustration and the only real slowdown comes when accessing hard discs (they have to spin up), but I run my OS (Mavericks) on an internal SSD RAID0 PCie card (Sonnet Tempo Pro), so system functions are very snappy.

    I have three screens (2 23" Apple Cinema Displays and a Wacom Cintiq) run from an ATI 5770 and I have no problems.

    I frequently have multiple apps open at the same time (Photoshop, Illustrator, INDesign, Painter, Filemaker, etc.) and it works great. Having 32 GB RAM helps, I think.

    Yes, the 3,1 is still a fine machine. I don't plan on upgrading to Yosemite, since Mavericks works fine for me. I only upgraded from Snow Leopard late last year. Don't let anyone tell you you HAVE to have the latest OS.
     
  7. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #7
    Perhaps I am being pessimistic, but seeing the minimum requirements for the last three OS X updates has been steady at Mac Pro (Early 2008) or Later (Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite) it may still be viable.

    Not complaining, I am still running a Mac Pro 3,1 myself.
     
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #8
    The 3,1 Mac Pro would be adequate for the type of tasks you mentioned above. There are other design and video firms still using a 2008 Mac Pro for their business and still helps them "bring home the bacon" The latest GPUs are still compatible with the 3,1 Mac Pro.
     
  9. bax2003 macrumors 6502a

    bax2003

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    #9
    Hmm....about 3.1:

    - Hottest...
    - In idle uses more power than any other mac pro...
    - Does not have same PSU as 2.1 and 1.1 (more amps on 12V rails), and different cabling.
    Worst of all 3.1 has most PSU failures...
    - FB DDR2 800 - HOT! cause of many dead RAM risers...

    Advantage that 3.1 has over 2006/2007 models is 64-bit EFI and a little bit faster PCIe.

    And one other thing 2015-2008=too old + vintage status.
     
  10. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    #10
    If heat is an issue, add a PCIe fan to circulate more air
    Vantec is picture
     

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  11. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Thanks for all the input guys. I have looked at geekbench scores and it seems a Mac Pro 3,1 will blow my Macbook Pro out of the water, so I definitely think that's the way to go, especially if I stick an SSD in there.

    I will be waiting a couple of months though to see if finances improve and if they do, may get a 4,1 instead.
     
  12. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #12

    I see in my Magic Crystal Ball that any single processor Mac Pro 4,1 can eventually be upgraded into a dual processor 12 Core 3.46 GHz , with the appropriate CPU Tray swap , new processors and bootrom upgrade . Not free , but very economical and awesome for highly threaded apps . I built one just yesterday and her geekbench came within 3 percent of a 12 Core Black Tube Mac Pro 6,1 . Tasty .
     
  13. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #13
    Way to make Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) systems cooler is to use 667 MHz DDR2 FB memory . The heatspreaders on the official 800 MHz modules are cool looking but worthless .

    Also, re-thermal pasting the CPU(s) , GPU and northbridge chip every three years helps a lot !

    And the number one reason for Mac Pro PSU failure is internal excessive dust build up. Blow out the dust on a regular basis (once or twice a year) , and the two contact plates inside the PSU will have enough of a solid contact to operate normally .

    I actually serviced a sporadically failing Mac Pro for an Apple Tech once (of all people) and it was one giant dust bunny inside . After two hours of thoroughly disassembling and cleaning her, she ran normally again . That's all I had to do . Tech was lazy ...

    Vintage and obsolete are Apple service designations . I estimate a Mac Pro's operational life at between ten and twenty years due to the quality of the components and solder used at the factory . I still have desktop "pro" Macs from 1987 purring along just fine . I collect and maintain Apple's high end computers , so I get a good idea about the longevity of these products . Consumer and small form factor stuff does not last as long .

    Just keep everything clean (dust free) , cool (fans working and new thermal paste on all pads) ,power protected (power (voltage) line conditioner and surge protector) and replace the occasional failed part . You'll think she's immortal . I still service G4 PowerMacs for four of my clients . It's like being the Maytag repairman - little to do .

    Three things in our (Mac Pro user's) favor : there's never been an official or secret recall and no sign of metal whiskering yet . Knock on wood....a miracle .
     
  14. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #14
    If you are going to use VM-ing for your web development , then it makes more sense to get a MP 4,1 . Mac Pro 4,1 (2009) have hyperthreading Xeons so you'll get two VM for every Core in the processor(s) . With the Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) you will get only one VM per Core since each Core has only one thread in that model .
     
  15. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #15
    When I had a 2008 3,1 Mac Pro, I did not see a major speed difference between the 667mhz and 800mhz ram. I chose to just stick with 667mhz.

    In one of my client's office they had a PC computer that would not turn on. What their technician did was clean and blow out all the dusts. After the the computer was alive and kicking. As far as I know, too much dust also causes too much heat in the computer.
     
  16. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #16
    Main system memory is incredibly fast , compared to the performance level of other system components . Some PC tech not long ago compared the difference 1066, 1333 and 1600 MHz DDR3 made with the performance of his system . There was no noticeable difference and it puzzled him . I came to the conclusion that all the other components in his system had yet to achieve the same level of performance of his slowest memory ...

    Yes , dust is insulation . it will retain heat and also interfere with the cooling air channels in an enclosure , which is why I remove even surface dust whenever I can in my builds . But it's greatest harm is interfering with connections (with memory module installations, for instance) or contacts from occurring in a system (such as in the plates of a Mac Pro's PSU) .
     
  17. pgrif macrumors regular

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    Eugene, OR
    #17
    worth the money?

    I'm looking at a Mac Pro with these specs:
    2.8ghz quad core dual
    16gb ram
    Radeon 2600 HD 256mb
    1tb HD
    keyboard
    Apple 24" monitor
    mouse
    1 optical drive
    no airport (can be added)
    Price is $560
    Is early 2008 3,1
     
  18. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #18
    Seems like a single processor Quad . She can take two CPU , but the second heatsink is expensive . Video card is wimpy . IS the display really a 24" LED (black bezel) or did the seller confuse it with a 23" fluorescent (silver aluminum) LCD ? Airport card is cheap but hard to add unless you've done it a lot . System needs a boot SSD , not a hard drive these days . What do you want to do with her ? They are surprisingly upgradeable .
     
  19. pgrif macrumors regular

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    Eugene, OR
    #19
    just learning about Pros

    I don't want to do anything real serious with this computer. About this Mac said there were 2 processors. I think that the monitor is the silver one. I have a wifi card in my G5 that I could use, a Sonnet Aria. Don't know if it will work.
     
  20. Jordan1990 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2015
    #20
    How much have you been seeing 3.1's for sale for? I only ask because ive recently bought a 5,1 (Also in the UK)

    It took a few weeks of paitence and constant searching but i found a good deal, i paid about double the prices i was seeing for 3.1's, and again this is a 5.1 not a 4.1. Certainly should be double the price to go up one model, unless your talking about big CPU, RAM differences etc.
     
  21. Kaspin macrumors member

    Kaspin

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    Jan 15, 2015
    #21
    For what it's worth, I got my 3,1 Mac Pro on ebay for $330 shipped with 2.8 Ghz 8-core, 10GB ram, hd2600xt, 250gb hard drive. No monitor though, and no wifi. I swapped my gtx 760 and a 120gb ssd from my pc and a friend gave me an extra 8gb ram for free.

    I typically see them going for about $300 on the low end to over $500. Sometimes you might find one with no memory or no video card for cheaper.
     
  22. pgrif, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

    pgrif macrumors regular

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    #22
    too much

    So it seems that my deal might be an expensive one.
    But here's another one that I'm considering.

    Mac Pro 4,1Â Xeon 2.66ghz quad core
    512MB ATI Grapgic 4870
    8GB DDR3 Memory
    1TB Hard Drive which replaced last year
    I used the 2.5 HD Western Digital Blue series.
    Bluetooth and USB Wifi.
    Running Yosemite OSX
    Garage Band, ilife, imovie, picture, keynote,page, number... Microsoft Office 2011....
    Also come with Bluetooth Apple Mouse and KB.
    Some scratches from being used, still good condition over all.
    I have 20" sony monitor for free if interested.

    Asking $675
    Maybe this is a better deal than the first one I found.
     
  23. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    Lancashire
    #23
    I've been seeing the 3.1's for between £300 - £400 depending on spec. 4.1's seem to be between £600-£800. Out of interest, what did you pay for your 5.1?

    I'm in no rush to buy as I still have my Macbook Pro but it's a 2011 model which is known for GPU failures and the fans get rather noisy at times so I don't want to be relying on it for too long.
     
  24. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #24
    and metal whiskering , especially around the GPU … This is in addition to GPU overheating issues in small form factor / portable electronics . I would open it up and verify this before it shorts .
     
  25. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    I have actually thought of taking the Macbook Pro apart and re-applying thermal paste, but don't want to do this while it's my only computer just in case I do something to damage it.
     

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