Help needed for purchasing used Mac Pro

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
Hi,
I am requesting you all to help me getting a good used 2010 Mac Pro. I have never purchased used computers before. Currently I have a 2009 quad core mac pro (16G memory and Samsung SSD) and I use it primarily for Photoshop (CS5), PT Gui pro, Nik and Topaz filters, Photomatix, Nikon NX2 etc (for hobby purpose only). I want to upgrade the cpu but my wife won't allow playing with the only computer at home. After reading multiple success stories here, I am planning to get used mac pro and upgrade to 3.33 GHZ cpu. I saw used macpros at OWC already upgraded with this cpu but obviously they are expensive. I looked at ebay and found many 2010 models on auction or for 'buy only' option. My questions:

1) How to find a good used macpro? How to know if it is a 2009 model with 4.1 to 5.1 firmware upgrade? How to find if the components are genuine? My biggest fear is that I'll end up with some salvaged wreck. Are there any other issues I need to check before purchasing?

2) How to test a macpro? I read about Apple Hardware test but never used it. Is it some thing that novice people like me can use? Are there any other tests/checks? I am sure Apple store genius guys won't help.

3) Where should I get a good 3.33 GHZ cpu? I saw Aventys systems on ebay. Do you recommend some other source? I have read the posts here (Philipma1957) but definitely I'll ask for your guidance when it comes to upgrading.

4) I read in many posts here about heating issue and excess fan noise after cpu upgrade? Is that a real problem? I do enjoy quite computers especially when I am working at night (photo editing).

My other option would be to get an Apple refurbished 6 core 2013 mac pro, which I can afford, but would prefer if I can manage with less cost.

Thanks
Krishna
 

rawweb

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2015
867
583
Hi,
I am requesting you all to help me getting a good used 2010 Mac Pro. I have never purchased used computers before. Currently I have a 2009 quad core mac pro (16G memory and Samsung SSD) and I use it primarily for Photoshop (CS5), PT Gui pro, Nik and Topaz filters, Photomatix, Nikon NX2 etc (for hobby purpose only). I want to upgrade the cpu but my wife won't allow playing with the only computer at home. After reading multiple success stories here, I am planning to get used mac pro and upgrade to 3.33 GHZ cpu. I saw used macpros at OWC already upgraded with this cpu but obviously they are expensive. I looked at ebay and found many 2010 models on auction or for 'buy only' option. My questions:

1) How to find a good used macpro? How to know if it is a 2009 model with 4.1 to 5.1 firmware upgrade? How to find if the components are genuine? My biggest fear is that I'll end up with some salvaged wreck. Are there any other issues I need to check before purchasing?

2) How to test a macpro? I read about Apple Hardware test but never used it. Is it some thing that novice people like me can use? Are there any other tests/checks? I am sure Apple store genius guys won't help.

3) Where should I get a good 3.33 GHZ cpu? I saw Aventys systems on ebay. Do you recommend some other source? I have read the posts here (Philipma1957) but definitely I'll ask for your guidance when it comes to upgrading.

4) I read in many posts here about heating issue and excess fan noise after cpu upgrade? Is that a real problem? I do enjoy quite computers especially when I am working at night (photo editing).

My other option would be to get an Apple refurbished 6 core 2013 mac pro, which I can afford, but would prefer if I can manage with less cost.

Thanks
Krishna
If you're looking for something that is from a reputable company (not an eBay user), you might want to stick with OWC, at least they include a brief warranty if anything might not work. I purchased my 2010 from them a few years ago, and it's been going strong ever since. If I had to take a guess, my thought is OWC keeps inventory by purchasing old apple lease machines. But that could be entirely off base.

Honestly, you could easily upgrade that quad '09 to a 6 core 3.46 and firmware flash it to 5,1...whaala, you've got what you're after without the cost of getting into a 2010. I've completed this upgrade to several 2009s and could do it in my sleep. I've picked up about 4 or 5 processors on eBay for incredible prices and haven't had a problem with anything I bought. Just watch sellers and look for good feedback ratings and potential warranties. It's really not that difficult of an upgrade if you've got some computer skill. I've had no issues with my firmware flashed 2009's. No fan trouble and no sleeping issues. Those machines pur.

My advice: Stay away from a 2013 nMP for now. I really don't know how one could justify the cost especially if you're sitting on a perfectly upgradable 2009 and a possible refresh of the 6,1 on the horizon. I've told folks time and time again that a nice video card, PCIeSSD and a 6 core or better 3.33/3.46 in that old cheese grater will perform with or outperform that smelly thunderbolt can.
 
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krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
Thanks for the quick reply. As I mentioned before, my wife loves the current macpro just as much as me as it has been flawless for last 6 yrs. Definitely I would prefer upgrading an old macpro over buying nMP. I did see the OWC cMPs. I am getting tempted after seeing like this one on ebay ($500 cheaper)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/APPLE-MAC-PRO-A1289-MC250LL-A-QC-3-2GHZ-6GB-1TB-1GB-VIDEO-MID-2010-OS10-9-WIFI-/151870822349?hash=item235c34d7cd:g:lN0AAOSwAYtWJ9Eb

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mac-Pro-2-8GHz-Quad-Core-Nehalem-MC250LL-A-6GB-1TB-GOOD-CONDITION-/201460270010?hash=item2ee7f7c3ba:g:BOQAAOSwAYtWN5Sc

Are there any other reputable dealers selling good used cMPs?


Krishna
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,267
6,253
Honestly upgrading a single processor 2009 yourself seems less risky to me than buying a used computer with unknown history. Not to mention that many people selling used "2010" MPs are really selling an upgraded 2009 anyway.

The dual-processor 2009 does seem to be tricky to upgrade. Many people have done it successfully, but a few have had problems too.
 

austinpike

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2008
313
44
MN
I'd have a hard time justifying spending $ on a "new" (used) single-CPU cMP. I'm not sure the speed increase you'll see is really worth the cost of the machine + CPU upgrade.

Can you get a different machine to appease the wife, leaving you free to upgrade the 2009? (mac mini, macbook?)

Do you need something now or can you afford to wait awhile...? If you are concerned about condition I'd keep checking your local Craigslist for deals you can check out in person. You'll get a better deal there or eBay than from any reseller.
 

rawweb

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2015
867
583
Honestly upgrading a single processor 2009 yourself seems less risky to me than buying a used computer with unknown history. Not to mention that many people selling used "2010" MPs are really selling an upgraded 2009 anyway.

The dual-processor 2009 does seem to be tricky to upgrade. Many people have done it successfully, but a few have had problems too.
Thankfully OP reports he only has the quad core. krishnaM...it's as easy updating the firmware taking the heat sink off and dropping in a new six core 3.33 or 3.46 and applying new thermal paste. If you're uneasy about it, I'd be more than willing to offer my services. PM me.
 
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krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
I personally wanted to avoid upgrading 2009 model as I read that I'll have to 'Delid' the cpu and this step is not needed for 2010 model. Can I get a decent 'delidded cpu'?

How to find if the 2010 model is actually upgraded 2009 or older cMP? I'll appreciate if you can educate me about all the questions I mentioned in the beginning.

Also how big is the fan noise/heating issue after cpu upgrade? I don't do video editing at present. Does Photoshop or any other photo editing software can put enough stress to cause loud fan noise? Is it noticeable even during casual use?
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,017
New York City, NY
I personally wanted to avoid upgrading 2009 model as I read that I'll have to 'Delid' the cpu and this step is not needed for 2010 model. Can I get a decent 'delidded cpu'?
You don't NEED delidded CPUs to do the upgrade. You can do the upgrade with normal CPUs with the IHS. My guess is that is how most people do it.

But, yes, there are sellers on Ebay who sell delidded CPUs.


How to find if the 2010 model is actually upgraded 2009 or older cMP? I'll appreciate if you can educate me about all the questions I mentioned in the beginning.
The only way to really tell is to ask. If the sellers are willing to give you a serial number, you can cross reference it online to make sure it's a 2010 model.


Also how big is the fan noise/heating issue after cpu upgrade? I don't do video editing at present. Does Photoshop or any other photo editing software can put enough stress to cause loud fan noise? Is it noticeable even during casual use?
Since Apple themselves shipped Mac Pros with 130W TDP CPUs on the single CPU models, there's absolutely no difference to one of these upgraded CPUs.

Apple never shipped with dual 130W TDP CPUs, so such a config may run a bit warmer than stock. But it should not be a source of concern. If it does concern you, just stick to CPUs with 95W TDP or lower.
 

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
2010 cMP did come with w3680 3.33GHZ cpu as option. So the quadcore cMP (2.8 GHZ model) should be able to deal with 3.33GHZ cpu. That is reassuring. Thanks.
 

rawweb

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2015
867
583
I personally wanted to avoid upgrading 2009 model as I read that I'll have to 'Delid' the cpu and this step is not needed for 2010 model. Can I get a decent 'delidded cpu'?

How to find if the 2010 model is actually upgraded 2009 or older cMP? I'll appreciate if you can educate me about all the questions I mentioned in the beginning.

Also how big is the fan noise/heating issue after cpu upgrade? I don't do video editing at present. Does Photoshop or any other photo editing software can put enough stress to cause loud fan noise? Is it noticeable even during casual use?
As others have re-interated the single processor 2009 models do not require removing the CPU lid. I've personally upgraded 4 of these units for friends. If you've ever done a processor upgrade before, this is really no different. It's quite easy (if you have some skill) and as long as you have a nice long 3mm hex laying around. If you get scared, I'm sure there are videos all over YouTube and guides buried in the archives here.

A little more work is required with the dual processor 2009 units, but I've never had to worry about that.
 

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
Thanks. Is this vendor as reputable as OWC? I have only dealt with OWC in past.
 

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
As others have re-interated the single processor 2009 models do not require removing the CPU lid. I've personally upgraded 4 of these units for friends. If you've ever done a processor upgrade before, this is really no different. It's quite easy (if you have some skill) and as long as you have a nice long 3mm hex laying around. If you get scared, I'm sure there are videos all over YouTube and guides buried in the archives here.

A little more work is required with the dual processor 2009 units, but I've never had to worry about that.
I helped my son this summer when he was building his new PC from parts ordered from Newegg. I have tthe experience of placing the Arctic Silver paste and placing the i4790 cpu. Also I did read the various posts (with images) here about their experience. That is why I decided to go with upgrading. Of course I'll consult with you all for your advice/finer points. I am definitely excited about it.
 

Wyvernspirit

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
712
21
Massachusetts
Thanks. Is this vendor as reputable as OWC? I have only dealt with OWC in past.
I answered this in my previous post, I don't know. I suggest doing as much research as you can about any company you plan to do business with. The place I bought my macbook from sells them at a higher price, but i can vouch for them...

Usedmac.us
 

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
I answered this in my previous post, I don't know. I suggest doing as much research as you can about any company you plan to do business with. The place I bought my macbook from sells them at a higher price, but i can vouch for them...

Usedmac.us
Where did you buy your macbook? I really prefer to deal with reliable vendors only. Thanks
 

pat500000

Suspended
Jun 3, 2015
8,515
7,386
Thankfully OP reports he only has the quad core. krishnaM...it's as easy updating the firmware taking the heat sink off and dropping in a new six core 3.33 or 3.46 and applying new thermal paste. If you're uneasy about it, I'd be more than willing to offer my services. PM me.
Would you be willing to? mp 4,1?
 

krishnaM

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 26, 2014
157
6
Would you be willing to? mp 4,1?
As everybody strongly mentioned that lidded CPU is OK in 2009 model, I'll get a mac mini for my wife and upgrade my old 2009 mac pro. In that way we'll have at least one new computer at home, instead of two old computers
 

pat500000

Suspended
Jun 3, 2015
8,515
7,386
As everybody strongly mentioned that lidded CPU is OK in 2009 model, I'll get a mac mini for my wife and upgrade my old 2009 mac pro. In that way we'll have at least one new computer at home, instead of two old computers
I was talking about upgrade service.