Help me make the move to Mac!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kungfugeek, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. kungfugeek macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    So I am looking for advice on how to move to a mac pro from a PC. Specifically how to do so on a budget. It needs to be a pro because I need at least 1 free PCI-e slot for my DSP card and I'd like the video card to be good enough to play modern games using fusion/bootcamp. It also needs to be super quiet, as its main use is in my recording studio. I'd rather not shell out $2500+ on a new one, so my thought was to look for used, but I am not sure what gen/specs I need to go looking for. I am a software developer by day, and have built many many workstations and servers over the years so I am comfortable performing any necessarily upgrades a used box will need. Also, I have an SSD and 2TB Raid 5 array I can throw in to what ever I pick up as well.

  2. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
    Try looking in the refurb store for Mac Pros. Apple stands behind them.
    Max out what you get with non-Apple memory for your best bang for the buck.
    This is a good place to buy your upgrades.
    Hth and good luck.
  3. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
  4. HMI macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2012
  5. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
  6. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    Worried about the missing backplate?

    Refurbs can still be returned, if one is unhappy with the product he receives, IIRC.
  7. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Yep, they put a pic of 3,1 instead of 5,1 :p
  8. saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    OP could go the eBay route and get a 4,1 - sometimes as cheap as $1200. Then upgrade it to death as he is able. That is how I got here :)
  9. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Check out Mac Of All Trades for used Mac Pros. They have been around for many years and now offer a standard 90 day warranty with the option of an additional 12 months.
  10. karsten macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2010
    if you get a 4,1 or a 5,1 with a 5770 you can turn around and sell it for around $250 on ebay and put that towards a good nvidia card that will be able to game.

    see these threads for after-market video card info:

    if it comes with a 5870 you could still game on that and you'd have a boot screen and guaranteed compatibility too.

    3,1 are the most economical that can run mountain lion but the memory is expensive and there's no guarantee they will be able to run anything beyond that, but if you're looking for the lowest entry point that might be an option.

    i'd avoid a 1,1 or 2,1 as they are EOL and can't run the latest operating system.

    any MP 3,1-5,1 will be a great machine and i'm sure you'll find it very stable and well-built, and easy to maintain.
  11. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I just did the 4,1 (2009) to 5,1 conversion, taking the used 4,1 four-core I bought for $1,200 to a six-core 3.33 for $600 more. I also traded the stock 2009 video card for a 5770 so I can run three monitors in my studio.

    Geekbench went from 8500 to 15800. I don't think there is a better value proposition in the Mac world today.

    To go 4,1 to 5,1 you run the EFI update, available from, first, then R&R the processor. Because the processor is on a daughterboard that slides out, the job could not be easier.

    Other than video card upgrades, anything else you want to add is not Mac-specific. I added an SIG Firewire 400 card with TI chipset to ensure compatibility with my interface and an eSATA3 card for easy hook up of legacy HDs from my current system. And a bunch of internal HDs and SSDs. My UA DSP card will occupy the final PCIe slot.

    I am running 10.6.8 to start. Once I get things operating there, I will clone my startup disc partition and try upgrading to the newer versions of OSX while being able to rely on a working startup partition for daily operations.
  12. kungfugeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Thanks for all the info guys! I think I've decided on nothing older than 4,1. Perhaps I'll try and find a super cheap 4,1 and upgrade to 5,1. I wish they would just announce the 6,1 so I wouldn't have to agonize. Is there a "bang for your buck" 4,1? I plan to put my existing ssd and sata drives into whatever I buy. Also, I have 0% financing through amazon if anyone see a particularly good deal there.

  13. kungfugeek, Sep 23, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012

    kungfugeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
  14. kungfugeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Is this the chip I want to go from 4,1 to 5,1?
  15. TomTomTuning macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2010
    Central PA
    I scored a 5,1 off Craigslist this week for $1400. Deals can be found, just search around. I eventually plan to do the hex 3.33Ghz CPU upgrade as well.

    5,1 already has a 5770 GPU. A 5870 would be better but that upgrade can wait.
    First on my list is RAM, SSD and eSata card.
  16. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
  17. Phrygian macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2011
    radeon 6870 has solid drivers, support from and is best bang for buck on gaming from what my research showed. Just put it into my 2008 3.1 mac pro.
  18. kungfugeek, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    kungfugeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
  19. scott.n, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    scott.n macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2010
    No. You want unregistered (AKA unbuffered) ECC memory for the 4,1 or 5,1. I'm pretty certain those Corsair sticks are non-ECC.

    Also, the single processor Mac Pro only has 4 memory slots. That is an 8x kit.

    Faster RAM will clock down, but at present no Mac Pro can fully utilize 1600 MHz.

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