Is this a Good Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by chad2323, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. chad2323 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 30, 2009
    #1
    Last year I bought a 2.93 Imac for my first Mac and love it but I want something a little faster and more upgradable. I was looking at the entry MacPro but at the same time waiting for whats coming out next. So I decided to look for something used and came across this unit on ebay and just wondering is it worth it . I use Adobe CS5 apps and Final Cut pro. I'm just not sure if I should spend 2200.00 on a used computer and advice would be appreciated.

    Thank's


    Apple Mac Pro 2x 2.8GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon "8 Core"
    4GB DDR2, NVIDIA Ge Force 8800GT, 320 GB, 750 GB
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Looks to be decent deal. I guess you're talking about this. Only thing that it doesn't have is AppleCare which is IMO pretty important when buying a used machine but not crucial
     
  3. chad2323 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thank's for the reply yes thats the one. Just not sure if I should buy new or use. A friend tells me Mac Hardware last for years and I shouldnt have anything to worry about.Thank's again
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Macs use the same hardware as PCs, whether it lasts longer or not depends on your luck. Good thing about Mac Pro is that its components can easily be changed so in case something breaks, you don't have to replace the whole logic board like in other Macs.
     
  5. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

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    #5
    Please correct this post. At least qualify it a bit so as to avoid confusion on the part of any newbies present.

    tiresome explanation for the new to Mac follows:
    Macs, and in particular the Mac Pro absolutely DO NOT use "The Same Hardware" as PCs.
    Your post is misleading. Some may interpret it as meaning Macs use standard PC parts. They do not. For better or worse, nearly all Mac Pro (and iMac, Mini) parts are highly Proprietary.

    The system architecture may be similar to PCs. The "Hardware" is not.
    The only hardware that can easily be swapped between a Mac Pro and a PC are:
    Hard Drives.
    Optical Drives.

    The XEON CPUs can be swapped with other, SERVER XEON CPUs, but not consumer-level "PC" ones.
    Likewise, the ECC memory can be swapped with ECC from a different source, (certainly not from most PCs) but some models of Mac Pro need a very specific memory Heatsink for proper cooling.

    The Power Supply, Logic Board, even the cooling fans and case architecture are very, very Apple-specific proprietary parts that cannot easily be replaced with standard PC parts or even standard Server parts.

    Most of Apple's components are engineered to a high standard for a specific machine and purpose. Very few "Generic, Standard" parts are used in any modern Mac.

    "Last the same or longer as a PC depending on Luck" is open to debate, but when was the last time you looked inside a PC and saw anything but the cheapest available standard parts and poor attention to details like cooling and wire routing?

    Yes, Apple does obtain parts from the same vendors as other companies, (particularly Foxconn) but the parts are Apple-specific. Also, higher grade components such as high-quality Capacitors are frequently used.

    I'd place my bet on the Mac Pro out-lasting anything else I can think of.
    When it does fail, unlike a PC, repair options are few.


    Sorry if I sound a bit harsh. But Macs are NOT PCs. Sharing a CPU and Chipset doesn't mean they're the same.

    Have Fun,
    Keri
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    The CPUs, GPUs, hard drives, RAM, etc are all available for PCs as well. The logic board is custom, so is PSU but you can get equivalent for PC (with similar ports, wattage jadajada). Older iMacs like mine uses a custom CPU but it isn't that special, just a model between mobility and desktop chip so the only difference is the TDP. I can walk in store and build a similar machine to Mac Pro, with pretty much the same parts.

    CPUs can be swapped if they are suitable for Mac Pro. You can also flash certain PC GPUs to work in Mac Pro.

    As far as I know, you can put normal CPU to single-CPU Mac Pro but the UP version (the same chip as normal but with ECC support) costs the same anyway. In dual-CPU MP that's not possible as non-Xeons have single QPI and thus do not support multiple CPU configurations. You can also use non-ECC memory I think but then ECC will be disabled. The heatsinks are pretty specific though.

    Those are the only custom parts in Mac Pro, others are pretty normal (the GPU is the same you can buy for PC but has some custom EFI and drivers etc)

    CPUs, GPUs, RAM, HDs.... All are parts I can get from the nearest computer store.

    Last time was yesterday when I was at work, building a PC. Apple doesn't use any higher grade parts than PCs. Of course 400$ Acer will have worse parts than 2000$ Mac Pro but if you get a custom PC, you get even better quality, let alone warranty. The thermal paste Apple uses is the cheapest crap available, people who have reapplied that have gotten like 20c temperature drops. The quality in PCs varies a lot, you can't say all of them have bad cooling and wiring.

    Again, compared to what? Yes, the 400$ Acer might have worse stuff but if you compare a PC with similar price tag as Mac has, you are getting good quality, especially if you build one on your own.

    Much easier to fix something on a PC as you can use any part that is compatible. If you mobo fails, you can grab a new one from the nearest store for 100$. If Mac Pro's mobo fails, you have to hunt one from eBay and pay ~400$. Most PC components come with 3-5 year warranty, Mac Pro comes with 1-year, that's already one great benefit.

    They share almost everything but the design. What would have to be the same so you would think they are the same? They use the same technology, equivalent parts thus they are the same. The software is the biggest difference between them.

    The stuff inside Macs are what you can find from PCs, nothing special. They aren't any higher quality, infact, you have a lot more options when choosing a PC i.e. not limited to one logic board with limited ports, you can jump for an EVGA board with 7 PCIe slots. As I said, the quality varies. Macs are above the normal quality of OEM PCs IMO but still not the ultimate high-end.

    I prefer Macs but in the end, they are just PCs with fancy case and OS ;)
     
  7. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #7
    I haven't read the entire thread, but perhaps a 27" Core i7 iMac would be suitable?
     
  8. goodscoolwf macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Just do it. If you think it is necessary to do.
     
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #9
    lol kerijane I read your post with a big smile on my face. I can't believe that you believe that...... OF COURSE you have to replace the MP cpu with an equivalent xeon, they are server grade cpus! Similar with the RAM.

    Apple uses mostly foxconn for a lot of their components, hardly 'higher quality'. You can change out any MP component and replace with PC hardware and have no problems doing so, with exception to the custom motherboard etc.
     
  10. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    #10
    You most certainly can install a consumer i7 processor...

    What I did was change my order from the w3570 to the core i7-975 and ordered for a lot cheaper 6GB of non-ecc memory for my right now 2.66 quad-core single mac pro. The fact that the quad-core singles use standard oem intel processors with integrated heat spreaders is proof enough that we aren't limited to just xeon. Personally, for what I use my system for, I don't need xeon nor ecc at all..

    So the verdict: Yes, in the single-quad core 2009's only - you can install any i7 based bloomfield processor.. I chose the i7-975 as this is 3.33, and given that the xeon equivalent is the w3580 - this is Apple's top and I got the processor a hell of a lot cheaper than what Apple would charge.

    The duals, sadly are not so lucky to be upgraded, as their chips are LIDLESS commercial and specialized processors made for Apple by Intel.


     
  11. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Not True

    Just got my core i7-975 and 6GB of non-ecc memory - works like a charm.. no need for xeon and also the price of such a processor is certainly a waste..

    Orig conf: Mac Pro 2009 2.66 quad-core
    New conf: Mac Pro 2009 using desktop core i7-975 3.33(w3580 equ) with 6GB non-ecc memory..

    total out a pocket expenses: less than 600.00, if bought from Apple going from 2.66 to 3.33 - 1200.00 OUCH!

    So, yes the single-quad core 2009's ONLY can support desktop core i7 processors and also xeons, but I don't need xeon nor do I need ecc memory.



     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #12
    If you're trying to get as close to exact parity as possible, Yes. But for some, it's not needed, and the lower cost parts can be substituted (i.e. i7 version of an LGA1366 CPU if ECC isn't needed, smaller PSU if there won't be much attached internally, such as high power draw graphics cards, drives,...).

    The biggest cost savings can come into board selection (more choices, so a better fit can be had, such as one with features that do away with additional cards, like eSATA, hardware RAID (small),...), PSU, and case. While still maintaining a decent part quality. Graphics cards can be had cheaper for PC's, which helps as well, particularly if the card used hasn't just been released. If it has, you'll pay handsomely for it compared to waiting a few months (i.e. wait a full Quarter, for supply to improve).

    Assuming such a route is take, the system isn't a true comparison to the MP (becomes Apples v. Oranges). But it may be just fine for the specific usage.

    The quality of the electronic components usually varies according to the market segment the system is intended for. So the budget box systems can only meet their price points by using the cheapest available parts (capacitors, semis, resistors,... beyond the CPU and neccesary chipset).

    This usually improves on high-end consumer and enterprise products as a general rule (there are exceptions, as short-cuts are becoming more common given the lack of QC by the vendor in overseas manufacturing facilities). This may occur in the form of fewer additional features, or with the actual parts used on certain sections of the board (i.e. cheaper Ethernet controller, ...).

    You don't need absolute parity though, as your usage doesn't require ECC memory. If you were doing things like heavy floating point calculations for scientific simulations/computing, it would be another story.
     
  13. ouimetnick macrumors 68020

    ouimetnick

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    #13
    They do use the same parts. i can swap a hard drive from my MacBook Pro and pop it in my dell. The Ram works on both Mac and PC. They both use the same MODEL CPU. They both have slot loading SATA drives. Both have a same heatsink design. Both have Intel GMA 950s both have same hardware. Yes the difference is that PCs have a BIOS chip and Macs have an EFI chip. Also, when did Apple use high quality parts. They have a similar failure rate like PCs, just better costumer service. Remember iMac G5 capacitor issues. Sure high quality:rolleyes: There are plenty of issues where people went through many logic boards, top cases etc. Fact is, none are perfect. They use very similar/same parts (most compatible with each other), and they are built in China by Foxconn.
     
  14. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    #14
    To be honest that 27" iMac just just great. The only reason I still run a Mac Pro is that I need the PCIe slots. I know the iMac is not as "assessable", however it is a solid computer, and besides from RAM upgrades I doubt there is much you'd need to do to keep that beast running.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    It's not a difference in the actual chip type (Flash ROM), just the code contained on it (BIOS and EFI are different firmware standards, but accomplish the same fundamental task).
     
  16. ouimetnick macrumors 68020

    ouimetnick

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    #16
    Ok. Thanks for clearing that up. :)
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #17
    i never said that you couldnt replace with consumer grade CPUs - but given the requirements of professional users we assume that they require the use of ECC etc.

    also, you fail to remember that the dual-quad MPs CANNOT use the consumer grade (i.e. i7) CPUs. ;) - not for DP anyway.

    for the SP - yeh sure! it all depends on the end users requirements. the differences in quality from Apple to the 'other' manufactures of PCs (Gigabyte, Asus etc) wouldn't be overly significant.

    so apple use higher quality products? or arent they enterprise enough?
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    Normal CPUs cannot be used because they lack dual QPI which is needed for dual-CPU configurations

    At least Bloomfields are equally priced, no matter is it i7 or Xeon. Gainestowns are more expensive but they have lower TDPs and dual QPI :cool:
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #19
    thats exactly what i was indicating haha :D
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #20
    Given the MP v. iMac posts, SP was implied to me, as comparing a DP MP v. an iMac, is just wrong, as they're totally different animals. :p

    There's options when designing a board, based on a mixture of market segment and component budget (BOM = Bill Of Materials).

    There's a couple of basic methods to reduce board costs in any given segment. One way to reduce the part count, is to lower/simplify the design to use fewer parts (i.e. use a 2 phase voltage regulator instead of say 16). Big difference in part cost as a result.

    The second way is to use less expensive components in areas that can't be eliminated/reduced to a simpler design (i.e. resistors, capacitors, inductors, and the cheapest semi's that could be used where needed).

    Now this has to be balanced with the market segment to achieve an acceptable design (i.e. lowest cost, performance and reliability have to balance for the intended purpose).

    In enterprise gear, reliability is supposed to rank high, but they can and do take shortcuts (ODM supplier situation doesn't help, as component changes may occur without full disclosure of the compromise involved, if there's even notice at all - design and later, during manufacturing as a means of increasing the ODM's profits, not the vendor's).

    The above issues definitely apply in an increasing occurances as you move down the product's MSRP scale.

    In the MP for example, such short cuts seem to be the case with the board (missing features compared to competing system boards, such as eSATA and SAS), the PSU (non redundant unit, and the power rating is peak, not continuous), and graphics cards (cheap card). It's all done to lower their costs and keep their margins high (better quality components/parts would push the base MSRP too high, and reduce sales of upgrades offered).
     
  21. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Hey Nano, you wrote:

    "You don't need absolute parity though, as your usage doesn't require ECC memory. If you were doing things like heavy floating point calculations for scientific simulations/computing, it would be another story"

    My response: Who on here would use such programs other than those who are scientists and or physicists?


     
  22. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Well you see..

    I am not a professional user, so therefore I wouldn't have a need for ecc at all. I don't plan on running my mac pro as a server 24/7 and nor do I plan on using scientific advanced floating point software either.. I use my mac pro as a PC.. and also tinker with it as well.. In essence, I got the mac pro for possibly, just maybe.. learning to do a little bit of video rendering and or editing.. but mainly for everyday use. And I esp like the expandability of this machine.

    While yes, an Imac would have suited my purposes, it does SEVERELY limit my upgrade options, as this maybe my last mac - possibly mac pro though given that I could always trade up my system for a 2010 or 2011, and so on.. at that point, I might just go with my own PC or if I wish to stay with mac os x, a macbook pro or macbook.


     
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #23
    Not many at all. It's just that with previous Xeon based workstations and servers had to use it, as that's what Intel implemented in the designs.

    This has changed with the Nehalem architecture however (design crossover into both Xeon and Enthusiast Desktop families using the same socket), and has sparked questions on who does/doesn't need it (it has to do with systems engineering and manufacturing techniques = cheaper to do it this way).

    Papers directed at the need for ECC I'm aware of are old (late 70's - mid '08's IIRC), and don't take into account the use of ECC in the processors or newer manufacturing techniques. I'd love to see some recent studies, but haven't the time to put into looking (expect it would be mentioned in industry articles if it occurred).

    I'm thinking Intel may have taken a good look at this recently, and determined that ECC is more of an option than a necessity (usage statistics = fewer need it than do, but those that do, have to have it, so it's possible to do so), and why they went ahead and took the current design approach. It definitely makes financial sense. Otherwise they'd have stuck with a separate design strategy for the Xeon (not allow non ECC RAM to be used with Xeon processors, as you can now do).
     
  24. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #24
    rawr? ;)

    you'd think that apple would consider such technologies - a simple upgrade such as eSATA or USB3.0 (i know its not on Intels cards yet, but im sure there are ways around this) might bring in lots of potential switchers onboard.

    if you dont need them then thats yourbad for buying the machine. you could have haved yourself 70% of the costs and went with a computer with PC - then hacked if you see the need. as nano said - the actual % that require ECC (as opposed to those who think they need ECC ;) ) is VERY low. used for scenarios where non-earthly contact comes into play at high altitudes, and for when accurate calculations are required. its a wonder its still sold, even to the prosumer/professional market (as opposed to just the enterprise).
     
  25. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Agreed.

    But the way I see it from my point of view, until the day comes that I can walk into a Best Buy and buy any computer, and I mean any.. and be able to install mac os x on it, I'd rather wait until hackintosh installations become standard that way should I ever retire from a real mac, but wish to take os x with me, at least I can do it say on a 350 dollars laptop from HP or Acer for instance..

    What will be even more interesting is when the 2010 mac pro DOES come out, how one would be able to extract the microcode needed to run B1 stepping gulftown processors on the 2009's? That would certainly prolong any 2009 for many more years.. but, unlike the PC world.. this is not BIOS and its not some easy modification.. though my theory would be is to construct a efi flash utility to flash the microcode over to the existing efi firmware of the 2009s - enabling B1 to be recognized.. thus a 980x or its xeon equivalent would work on it.

    A plan in theory, though I doubt it could ever be brought into fruitation.


     

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