Good places for cMP refurbs

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JessH, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. JessH macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
    #1
    Hello all,

    Big fan of the site, reader a few years, finally had a question I would really like to get your opinions for. I know I can do searches for these, but I really highly value the opinions on this forum over most if not all.

    I would just like to start off by saying that I think the nMPs are very cool, I just prefer the cMPs. I just like the design and expandability. I currently have two, a 1,1 quad and a 5,1 12 core. I really want to use these machines for C4D / Maya / AE6 for a long time to come. I was a long lover of Snow Leopard and just this Jan upgraded to ML on the 5,1 in anticipation for a new Nvidia card. I am actually planning on bringing them offline in a year or 2 and just having my Linux/Windows boxes stay online.

    Long story short, I just got a promotion at work and have been given a budget of about 2k to drop on a Mac Pro refurb. I have always been a long time supporter of CraigsList and Ebay, but I prefer to shop with more confidence if this machine will be for work.

    I was thinking of picking up a 12 core as-is, maybe a 5,1 with dual 2.66 6 cores like I already have. I already have spares of: 32GB of RAM, some HDs for a RAID and flash drives for a 2nd RAID, as well as a budget to pick up a nice NVIDIA card later (outside of the 2k).

    But I am also intrigued by the many people who do proc upgrades. I have not pulled chips out of a mac since I supported gartists with G5s, but have built hundreds (not exaggerating) of PCs. I think that with some practice and patience, I could get it down. I would be happy to pick up, say, a 6 core or an 8 core and upgrading the tray or even the Xeons. Is this cost-effective if I do not already have the machine?

    Thank you and forgive me for the long introduction!

    Jess
     
  2. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #2
    I recently found ibuildmacs.com

    Been giving them some thought.
     
  3. JessH thread starter macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
  4. fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #4
    I bought a flashed and upgraded 2009 Mac Pro from a small builder on eBay at a great price. There was a minor issue that they took care so it's worked out well. My Mac Pro is for a home audio studio but for work I would have bought from ibuildmacs, OWC or Power Max.
     
  5. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    #5
    OWC and Mac of All Trades are the only resellers I've dealt with that have extended warranties available. I definitely recommend MoAT.
     
  6. JessH thread starter macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
    #6
    Thanks guys,

    Always a big fan of OWC for parts but have never bought a machine from there. I bet the warranties are probably pretty good. Will check out MofAT too

    Phil, which 2009 did you upgrade, a quad, hex, or octo? Is an 8 core required to do a 12 core swap? I couldn't find a thread about this in recent forums, if you know of one I would be happy to do the research. Is it possible to get away with going directly from a 6 to a 12?

    Thanks,

    Jess
     
  7. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #7
    If you want a 12 Core cMP then on the models would need to go from an Octocore, as need two sockets.

    If have a 6core cMP then will only have 1 socket and need to start swapping from single socket board to a dual socket board.
     
  8. JessH thread starter macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
    #8
    You mean the actual logic board and not the daughtercard with the processors on it right?

    Do most people upgrade by doing the whole tray or chip swaps?

    Thanks,

    Jess
     
  9. fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #9
    My Mac Pro was already upgraded to a 3.46 dual processor twelve core and I don't know what the builder started with for the upgrade but I believe if you want to upgrade a single core Mac Pro to a dual processor you'll need to find and swap in a dual processor tray. Then there is doing a successful flashing from 4.1 to 5.1 with the 2009 which probably needs to be done before investing in a dual tray or faster processors.
     
  10. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #10
    For RAID, look into using Open ZFS on OSX. It is not hard to set up, and integrates very well with OSX. I used MacZFS previously and there were some small annoyances with how the OS interacted with the ZFS file system. But OpenZFS is a big advancement. I have 10 drives with 2 redundancies totaling 20TB or useable space.
     
  11. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #11
    Hi Jess. Most users just swap the CPUs on their existing daughterboard tray. Another option is you can shop for a Mid 2010 5,1 8 core 2.4ghz that goes for around $1600+ and just buy the Xeon CPUs x5675, x5680 or x5690 as they have gone down in prices. This may probably still be within your $2K budget. If you're shopping for a 12 core 5,1 Mac Pro, verify with the seller first if the unit he is selling is a native, genuine 5,1 2010 machine before buying. You can also add further upgrades like a PCIe SSD or USB 3.0 card. Congrats on your work promotion.
     
  12. JessH, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    JessH thread starter macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
    #12
    Sounds cool. I normally just use OS X for situations like this with a simple R0, Softraid if I want to do anything with R10 or R5. Looks like a very elegant solution! I have heard stories about being limited to the optical drive bay SATA if I want to RAID SSDs, but I have seen some people who successfully do SSD RAIDs in the actual drive trays. Anything special going on there?

    Exactly! This is why I love cMPs. I have a plethora of PCIe cards including many eSata, USB3, Fiber, and SCSI. It is nice to know I can throw a card from one tower into another if I need to. Would you recommend the OWC PCIe solution? I have actually heard some bad stories about theirs. I would love to check out the one the one that holds dual SSD blades. I have a few laying around from busted MBAs.

    I am very glad to hear it may be possible to do for $2k. I want to keep these machines running for a very long time. I am the classic type of enthusiast around here with oodles of Motorola and PPC macs. Not a big fan of anything post-Jobs. Thanks for the kind words as well.

    I am not sure if this would be considered a hijack, but I would really like to figure out the video cards next. I am pretty stubborn and really do not want to upgrade to Yosemite or even Mavericks. I was just pleaded with for months to move on from SL. What is the absolute best Nvidia card I can run on 10.8.5? the 760? I would prefer to run 680s but finding anything, even refurbs, is impossible. Any locations?

    I would need 2. One for the 5,1 at home, one for the 5,1 at work and would like for them to be the same so I can make installation easy. I already have the dual 6 pin cables from the logic board for the Radeon 5870 (throwing ithe 5870 in the 1,1 when new cards arrive, so I can just use a dual 6 pin -> 8 pin adapter). With the MP for work (the one in question here), I can just buy some of the discreet cables and run them myself.

    I would be happy to post a separate thread about this.

    Thanks for all of your responses guys!

    Jess
     
  13. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #13
    For hardware RAID in the bays you would have to use the Apple RAID card, but it is limited to 2TB. It's a nice solution if it fits your needs. But you would loose a PCI slot in the process.

    ZFS would allow you to use any connection in the computer. My boot drive is an SSD in a Apricorn PCI adaptor. The 4 "sleds" and one of the Optical ports are all plugged into platter drives and are 1 ZFS storage pool.
     
  14. JessH thread starter macrumors newbie

    JessH

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Out East
    #14
    Ah, I see. I would never let an Apple RAID card into one of my machines, I have many friends with bad experiences and have read many reports about their lack of reliability.

    I guess I will just keep it simple and put the boot and render SSDs in the Optical Drive bays and do a 3 disk RAID0 in the drive sleds (with actual HDDs), with a 1 disk TM backup in bay 4.

    Thanks,

    Jess
     

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