Do classic Mac Pro's last? (durability)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iOrbit, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. iOrbit macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 8, 2012
    #1
    will be getting a classic Mac Pro soon - a used one.

    on ebay i see sometimes a good deal on a high spec Mac Pro.. but given the nature of them are to be used more strenuously (and i intend to use it very intensively for video encoding, almost constantly for awhile) i wondered if i should get one with the warranty that some "store" sellers provide them with? but they tend to go for more (VAT difference as well). My concern is their history of use might bring them close to the 'brink' of not lasting much longer, and i might end up killing it and ending up with a massive paper weight.

    this concern stems from the fact that my first Mac was a MacBook Pro (Late 2011 15inch) which suffered the dGPU failure issue, i never did much gaming on it but i did a lot of encoding on it which i felt contributed to its death. it had Apple Care so it the logic board etc was replaced. I thought Mac Pro's may run cooler with less stress (more cores) but i think i was wrong. so hence my question and my concern - do Mac Pro's die from this kind of work after a time? how durable are they? should i bother with 'warranty' with sellers on ebay?


    in short, my question;

    MBP 2011 died from dGPU /overheating / heavy use

    Looking at Mac Pro's (12 cores)

    Do they die? are there stories or a trend of cases where they have died after heavy use? or do they just keep on going for many many years?

     
  2. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

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    Feb 6, 2007
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    newyorkcity
    #2
    anecdotal but i have a heavily used* 1,1 from 2006.. burned out a couple of GPUs and hard drives over the years but other than that, it's a-ok.

    *used it pretty much every day for 8 years.. it's been through stretches where it was maxed out processing for two weeks at a time.
     
  3. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    Depends which model it is.

    The only problems I'm aware of were with the older FBDIMM based machines. Those RAM sticks required larger then usual heatsinks attached to them, because FBDIMM ran bloody hot and Apple wanted to keep the machine quiet. If you install regular FBDIMM memory without the Apple spec heatsinks, you run the risk of having the memory eventually burn out.

    The newer machines (MacPro4,1 and above) used standard DDR RAM instead. None of that stuff comes with or requires a heatsink of any sort, so you can throw any compatible RAM in there you want.

    Other then that, Apple largely designed the classic Mac Pros with function over form. Unlike the new Mac Pro, the classics have never had a reason to underclock or downclock any of the internal components because they actually have the cooling capacity to keep everything operating at 100% load. These systems truly were designed as workstations and operate as such.

    -SC
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #4
    For 12 cores cMP, It's better to go for a real 5,1 (not the 4,1 firmware upgrade to 5,1). The real 5,1 use normal CPU rather than the de-lidded CPU. If the seller upgrade a dual processor 4,1 with normal CPU (without proper safety precautions), the chance of damaging the CPU tray (e.g. during transportation) may be greatly increased.

    cMP are just computer, of course they will die. However, most of them works fine for many many year. In fact, there are plenty of 1,1, (or even G5) still working. My own 4,1 works 24/7 since 2009. It actually works better than day 1 now (because of proper upgrade). In general, their durability is very very good because the cooling system is properly fitted. Furthermore, it's very easy open the cMP and clean the dust as well. This can further extend the cMP's life than a all-in-one Mac.
     
  5. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 8, 2012
    #5
    thanks guys, so just so I'm clear - theres not really a history of ongoing topics/lengthy topics on these forums (or even apple communities) for some specific failure pattern? that would be great.

    I really appreciate the advice on the 4.1 - 5.1 upgrade, many of them are 4,1 upgraded.

    so would you guys advice i go for a 1 year warranty on ebay? or is that a waste of time most likely?
     
  6. BeechFlyer macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

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    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #6
    My 3,1 has been powered up almost without a break since early 2008, mostly for video work. I've had a broken graphics card, and one of my two Superdrives doesn't open anymore (I suspect some mechanical problem). Other than that, the computer runs fine.
     
  7. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

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    May 24, 2009
    #7
    I have 2008 MP and my wife a 2009 MP. The 2009 fried a PSU in the last year which we replaced last week. No other problems from her unit and we think we know the conditions that allowed the PSU to die.

    The 2008 MP just hums along, getting upgrades here or there. Maxed the memory to 32GB, running a SSD and 2 HDs. It has USB 3 controller installed.

    Both are running 10.10.5 and are capable of running 10.11.2 if we decide to upgrade.
     
  8. glynster, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016

    glynster macrumors newbie

    glynster

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    Jan 4, 2016
    #8
    The beauty of a desktop/workstation like the classic Mac Pro is that you will never be "bricked" like you can be with a laptop - i.e. be left with a repair so complex or costly that you would not want to tackle it as used parts are widely available. You could in theory change out every part including the enclosure over time. Possibly the very worse that could happen is your logic board dies - couple of hundred on ebay and you have yourself a new one. Workstations are basically fancy Legos - only parts/components can die and they can easily be replaced within the useful lifetime of the machine - and because the spec and upgradeability of the classic Mac Pro (especially 5,1) was so high I see them still be very viable machines 5 years from now. That's why instead of buying the new Macbook Pro - which is technically slower and with less ports than my existing Macbook Pro - I decided to buy a used Mac Pro until such time as the higher spec Trashcan MPs can be had at a steal or (better yet) Apple wise up and bring out a newer, more upgradeable workstation in the same pedigree as the classic 5,1 Mac Pro.

    In my experience, desktop and workstation machines that were built and aimed at the pro market generally last far far longer than they are considered viable or useful.
     
  9. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2003
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    San Jose
    #9
    classic mac pros are ****ING tanks. hardware reliability is not a concern.
     
  10. RC Mike macrumors member

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    Aug 6, 2015
    #10
    I suspect my 2012 will still be running a decade from now. My 2008 was great, as were the couple of G5s, several G4s, and a G3. Still got the G3 and two G4s, and they all run. Not that they get used much, but they're all well-built machines with high-quality components.
     
  11. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #11
    Agreed - my '06 was pulled out of a storage locker after 5 years in storage and still works like a tank. A good blow out every six months or so and it's set. I've had disks and video cards fail, but that's unrelated to the actual machine hardware as far as I am concerned.
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #12
    I treat the north bridge temperature as the "dust indicator". When the cMP is clean, the NB on my machine is about 60C at idle. Once it shows above 70 all the time, I will open it and clean the dust.

    Same thing for my PSU. I realise a dusty PSU will work 5C warmer. A clean PSU Ambient temperature is more or less the same as the system ambient. So, when PSU ambient = system ambient + 5C. I will take the PSU out for cleaning.

    With proper maintenance (not over maintenance), the cMP should last for many many years.
     
  13. phillyboy82 macrumors regular

    phillyboy82

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    #13
    Although it is anecdotal, my NES from the 1980s still worked fine before I sold it, same with the SNES and Playstation I still own. One could say that the Mac Pro is generations ahead in terms of reliability of components used and the quality of manufacturing processes. Ever seen a hand-soldered circuit board anymore, in a new piece of electronic equipment?

    Electronics usually like to give up the ghost at 'random' but tend to fail more in the beginning years of their lifespan. It also helps that these machines tend to be used in non-stressful office environmental conditions as well. I'm sure you can get ten years or more out of these machines easily without having to worry about major components failing, like the motherboard tray components (capacitor, resistor, integrated circuit, etc.). Mechanical things like a fan or 3.5" hard drive would have a chance of failing sooner, but those are replaceable without a huge expense.
     
  14. Morpheo macrumors 65816

    Morpheo

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    Paris/Montreal
    #14
    My 1,1 is still going stronger than ever. This a 2006 model, and we're now in...2016 :) Never had a single issue with it. Perfectly running with El Capitan. Maybe I'll have to change the battery at some point ;)
     
  15. phillyboy82 macrumors regular

    phillyboy82

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    #15
    ^^ Good point. Add the battery to my list as well :)
     
  16. Bytehoven macrumors regular

    Bytehoven

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    #16
    Just replace the internal battery every 4 years or so, vacuum/blow out any dust build up once a year, keep in a smoke free zone, and the cMP will just keep going.

    Battery Info: ER14250 NWTBAA36VPRAM 3.6V LITHIUM
     
  17. Johns12 macrumors regular

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    Dec 10, 2008
    #17
    I have a 2006 and 2008 working constantly and no problems.
     
  18. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #18
    Wouldn't the load that you place on the power supply contribute to higher temps? For example, f your computer is loaded with two Xeon X5690s, two video cards, four hard drives, some PCI-e cards, the power supply should run hotter than a person with single CPU, GT 120 video card, SSD, and no PCI-e cards.
     
  19. phillyboy82 macrumors regular

    phillyboy82

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    #19
    I think they meant when the temperature at idle is 5 °C higher than average.
     
  20. h9826790, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Hong Kong
    #20
    Sorry for my poor wording. I forgot to mention it's idle temperature. But anyway, I found that a clean PSU's ambient temperature is relatively stable. The PSU 2 temperature change quickly when under load, but the PSU 1 temperature is not.

    Anyway, just made some screen captures @ room temperature 25C

    Stabilized at idle. PSU 1 (PSU Ambient) = System Ambient, PCIe Ambient =35
    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 00.44.03.jpg Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 00.44.18.jpg
    5min after Handbrake + FCPX rendering. So, my W3690 and 2x7950 are all under real world loading.
    PSU 1 = System Ambient -1 = PSU 1 (idle) +1, PCIe Ambient =42
    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.00.24.jpg Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.00.14.jpg
    10 min after Geekbench stress test + Open CL Nbody simulation (multi cores) + Luxmark 3.1 GPUs stress test.
    PSU 1 = System Ambient -2 = PSU 1 (idle) +2, PCIe Ambient =46
    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.38.15.jpg Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.38.10.jpg

    So, even the load increase a lot (PSU output from 10A increased to 35.2A), and the PCIe Ambient goes up for 11C. The PSU 1 and System Ambient still roughly the same temperature. Of course, the PSU fan spin up to cool down the PSU a bit, but my own setting should actually make it run slower than the native setting (under loading). In case anyone interested, here is my PSU and PCIe fan setting.
    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.51.56.jpg Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 01.52.01.jpg
     
  21. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #21
    Most quality desktops--Apple or otherwise--will last pretty much forever. They don't get tossed around like a laptop and have a much better cooling system than any laptop does, so heat related failures are minimized. You also have the ability to replace parts that do fail, unlike the average glued/soldered together monstrosity of a laptop. I would have no hesitation about buying a classic Mac Pro if it did what I want.
     
  22. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

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    May 6, 2008
    #22
    I have a 2011 MacBook Pro, and it works fine, though I'm aware of many others having hardware issues.

    My Mid 2010 Mac Pro is still working fine, though occasionally my PSU does make strange sounds, but it seems to have calmed down in the last few months.
     
  23. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #23
    Mac Pros have a reputation for reliability. Not sure there's anything else to add to that other than anecdotal stories, except perhaps from those few people here who might be managing dozens or hundreds of them.
     
  24. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    New York City, NY
    #24
    Your power supply fan seems to spin at a higher RPM than mine at idle. Our ambient temp is about the same.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 2.48.23 PM.png
     
  25. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #25
    Yes, because I make my own PSU fan profile, which is based on the PSU 2 temperature. I found that the native PSU fan speed is not based on the real PSU temperature, but more like base on the PCIe booster cable's loading. I am not happy with that, so I modify it via Macsfancontrol. Which gives me a cooler PSU in most of the time, and less PSU fan noise under high GPU loading.

    If I let it back to the stock 600 RPM idle, the PSU ambient will be stable at 2C above system ambient during idle. It's a bit higher, but insignificant. 600.jpg 600i.jpg
     

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