Help with choosing older Mac Pro

yoshiii335

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 20, 2015
6
0
Hello

If I buy a non 2014 Mac Pro, how far back is the oldest Mac Pro should I look at?

I will use the computer for graphic design, 3D design and rendering, movie editing and music production, recording, editing.
 

xcodeSyn

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2012
548
4
Hello

If I buy a non 2014 Mac Pro, how far back is the oldest Mac Pro should I look at?

I will use the computer for graphic design, 3D design and rendering, movie editing and music production, recording, editing.
The general consensus would be the 2009 models. You can easily flash the firmware to 5,1 used by the 2010 and 2012 MPs, and upgrade to the more efficient processor(s). If you are considering a dual-processor MP, then the 2010 or 2012 MPs may be a better choice assuming you are planning to upgrade the processors on your own.
 

BJonson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2010
829
108
Stay away from the 2009 if you ever want to upgrade the cpus. 2010 or bust.
 

flowrider

macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
5,542
1,965
xcodeSyn's response is correct, BJonson's is not. The 2009 (4,1) Single CPU Mac Pro is an easy CPU upgrade, not so the Dual CPU Model.

Lou
 

BJonson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2010
829
108
Ignore flowrider. He not very knowledgeable. Even if you but a 2009 single core and eventually want to upgrade to dual cores, then you are stuck with a 2009 CPU tray as the 2010, 2012 trays are incompatible. Stay away from the 2009 and flowriders advice.
 

Macsonic

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2009
1,473
17
Earth
Hello

If I buy a non 2014 Mac Pro, how far back is the oldest Mac Pro should I look at?

I will use the computer for graphic design, 3D design and rendering, movie editing and music production, recording, editing.
The oldest Mac Pro you can get is the 2009 4,1 model. A 2010 Mac Pro would also be good. One of the difference is that the dual processor of the 2009 Mac Pro is tricky to upgrade than the dual processor of the 2010 5,1 Mac Pro. The single processor of both the 2009 and 2010 are easy to upgrade. There are now many options to choose from in upgrading the cpu of a dual processor 2009 Mac Pro.

Since you are doing 3D rendering, video edits and graphic design, a dual processor would be beneficial to your kind of tasks.
 

flowrider

macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
5,542
1,965
Ignore flowrider. He not very knowledgeable. Even if you but a 2009 single core and eventually want to upgrade to dual cores, then you are stuck with a 2009 CPU tray as the 2010, 2012 trays are incompatible. Stay away from the 2009 and flowriders advice.
My friend you've been proven wrong on this forum in other posts, so why don't you just listen for awhile rather than give bogus advice. A 4,1 Single CPU Mac Pro is just fine for Upgrading. Not many Single CPU upgraders will be changing out the single CPU daughter tray for a Dual one, and those that do know so much more than you do.

Lou
 
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pixxelpusher

macrumors member
Aug 1, 2011
68
2
As far as I knew you can just update the firmware of a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro to be 5,1 and then upgrade the CPU's to any that were available from 2010-2012 (5600 series).

Am I wrong in thinking this? From what I've read it's an easy upgrade, even the dual cpu models?
 

DougTheImpaler

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2006
558
49
Central Illinois
As far as I knew you can just update the firmware of a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro to be 5,1 and then upgrade the CPU's to any that were available from 2010-2012 (5600 series).

Am I wrong in thinking this? From what I've read it's an easy upgrade, even the dual cpu models?
That's what I did. The 4,1 2009 model is very upgradeable. I only have a single-CPU version, though. My understanding is that the CPU tray requires de-lidding on the dual-CPU version, but I can't verify that myself.
 

Macsonic

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2009
1,473
17
Earth
As far as I knew you can just update the firmware of a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro to be 5,1 and then upgrade the CPU's to any that were available from 2010-2012 (5600 series).

Am I wrong in thinking this? From what I've read it's an easy upgrade, even the dual cpu models?
Yep you can use the Xeon 5600 series from 5650, 5670, 5675, 5680 or 5690 for the 2009 Mac Pro. I think the 5660 or 5677 may also work. The dual cpu upgrade is not easy in the 4,1 Mac Pro compared to the Mid 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro dual cpu upgrades. The 2009 Mac Pro cpus did not have the IHS. The 2010 or 2012 Mac Pros had IHS on their cpus.
 

flowrider

macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
5,542
1,965
As far as I knew you can just update the firmware of a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro to be 5,1 and then upgrade the CPU's to any that were available from 2010-2012 (5600 series).

Am I wrong in thinking this? From what I've read it's an easy upgrade, even the dual cpu models?
You're correct on your first assumption, but not correct on your second assumption. The Dual CPU models either requires removal of the Heat Spreader (IHS) on the CPUs or installing the stock CPUs utilizing a delicate procedure.

That's what I did. The 4,1 2009 model is very upgradeable. I only have a single-CPU version, though. My understanding is that the CPU tray requires de-lidding on the dual-CPU version, but I can't verify that myself.
As mentioned above, yes deliding is one way to install CPUs on a Dual CPU 4,1 another , another way is the delicate method I mentioned above. Details of that procedure are available in this forum.

Yep you can use the Xeon 5600 series from 5650, 5670, 5675, 5680 or 5690 for the 2009 Mac Pro. I think the 5660 or 5677 may also work. The dual cpu upgrade is not easy in the 4,1 Mac Pro compared to the Mid 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro dual cpu upgrades. The 2009 Mac Pro cpus did not have the IHS. The 2010 or 2012 Mac Pros had IHS on their cpus.
I am running X5677s on my 5,1 because for what I do, speed was more important than the number of cores. Eight cores is fine for me.

Lou
 

Macsonic

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2009
1,473
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Earth
I am running X5677s on my 5,1 because for what I do, speed was more important than the number of cores. Eight cores is fine for me.

Lou
Hi Lou. There are tasks that are adequate with an 8 core Mac Pro as I've experienced using various 8 cores and 12 cores Mac Pros. 8 cores is a good choice too. :) I remember you upgraded from W5590 to the X5677 Westmere.
 

pixxelpusher

macrumors member
Aug 1, 2011
68
2
You're correct on your first assumption, but not correct on your second assumption. The Dual CPU models either requires removal of the Heat Spreader (IHS) on the CPUs or installing the stock CPUs utilizing a delicate procedure.
Hey Lou thanks, yeah that's what I kinda meant, you don't have to swap out the tray for a 2010 / 2012 model like some are saying so it seems like a pretty simple upgrade (probably easier than my 2006 I did a while back).

I have seen quite a few put them in lids and all with good success, like this guy on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng34AVZS8Aw understand you'd want to be a bit more careful when putting the heat sink back on not to squash it.

Do you have a Geekbench on your X5677's?

From what I can tell the X5677, X5680, and X5690 are probably the best dual cpus you can get in that order (with the X5680 being the sweet spot price wise).

And the W3690 and W3680 the best single cpu you can get with the W3680 cheaper and almost as powerful per CPUBoss's comparison: http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Xeon-W3690-vs-Intel-Xeon-W3680
 
Last edited:

iamMacPerson

macrumors 68030
Jun 12, 2011
2,743
863
AZ/10.0.1.1
Ignore flowrider. He not very knowledgeable. Even if you but a 2009 single core and eventually want to upgrade to dual cores, then you are stuck with a 2009 CPU tray as the 2010, 2012 trays are incompatible. Stay away from the 2009 and flowriders advice.
flowrider's advice is 100% true. In fact, he's one person I would trust above most people for help with Mac Pros. I have a single CPU 2009 Mac Pro, its bone dead simple (for me anyway because I'm a hardware guy) to replace the processor in it. Its a standard LGA socket and bracket where you can uses lidded CPUs, whereas the dually 4,1s have the odd need for de-lidded CPUs.

True, you cannot swap the proc board in a 2009 for a 2010 or 2012, but last I checked the 2009s were cheaper and single CPU models are easy to upgrade. I have changed the processor in mine three times with no issues.

My recommendation is get the Quad Core 2009 (4,1) machine. Upgrade the firmware to the 5,1 then swap in a Hex-Core CPU. I have a 3.33GHz Hex in mine and it just slightly out edges my Quad nMP on Geekbench Multi-Core (but I found FCPX rendering and exporting to be faster on the nMP). The 4,1s have been seen recently on eBay for as low as $450. I picked mine up from a recycler for $40 but it needed a lot of work.