Just got a 2009 Mac Pro - was it a good choice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Roman23, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. Roman23 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    Hello and Pryvit to all my Ukrainian friends out there.. I currently own a 3.0(close to 3.2 in speed and performance) mac pro. It has 8GB of memory and two optical drives using the odd ports. I also have the radeon 4870. I just made the jump to a 2009 mac pro by selling my current one for 2000.00.

    My question: Did I make the RIGHT choice of getting the single 2.66 quad core? Before you all lambaste me let me explain what I use my mac pro for:

    I primarily got the mac pro for its expansion capabilities, meaning to allow the computer to grow with my needs. I am a single 23 yr old individual that does no pro apps what so ever. I use my computer as a PC, meaning - I run Windows 7 bootcamp and play hard core games on it.

    I know I would be better off with a PC, but I really did get a great deal on this 2009 model. Since my Harpertown 3.0 was an 8-core I decided that it was too much overkill for my needs. At first, I looked at the 2.26 and then decided not to go with that as it is very slow and compared to the 3.0 harpertown I still have in single threaded apps it would appear the 3.0 is faster in clock speed and cores.

    Now, my out a pocket expenses were only 150 + tax with the guy buying my 2008 3.0 mac pro.

    Can someone tell me based on my everyday usage of the computer that I did the right choice by going with Nehalem or even a 2009 mac pro? Again, I don't use audio or video pro apps.. I might delve into light video editing and rendering, but nothing VERY EXTREME.

    One more question.. If I manage to find a tray with two processors on it(say 2.26 or 2.66), are the trays interchangable? Meaning, can I take out the single 2.66 quad core tray and replace it with the dual tray?

    Here is an outline of my current uses with the mac pro:

    Sending, reading email
    Hardcore gaming
    Windows 7 - apps and games
    Mac OS X
    Microsoft Office
    I do use quicktime pro for some rendering, again - nothing really significant requiring me to get the 8-core(16 cores virtual) machine.

    And other everyday stuff.

    So, how about it - did I do a mistake by getting rid of my 2008 Harpertown 3.0 ghz mac pro for the 2.66 quad-core single Mac Pro? The 2.93 was a bit too steep for me, otherwise I would have gone with that.. but even with turbo boost, the 2.66 goes up to 3.00 which matches my current machine.
  2. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm pretty sure the processor tray swap "trick" doesn't work.
  3. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010

    Has anyone tried it or attempted to try it? But coming from a 2008 3.0 harpertown and not having any use or needs for extensive pro apps, do I you think I did the right choice?? Other factors played in the role of me getting a 2009 mac pro - one of them is the fact that I am in and out of windows a lot and the odd ports on the 08's weren't bootable for windows at all.. 2009's are.

    I just couldn't see myself spending the money (2000 for my machine currently) for a 2.26 as it was out of my price range.. besides, apple didn't have any 2.26's in refurb.

    Also, I hear that the 2.66 like the 2.93 and 3.33 all have 4 cores + 4 virtual cores(hyperthreading) for a total of 8 cores. Will this help me in gaming per say?

    Dude, I just want to make sure I am not going to get lambasted by everyone on here for getting a single versus dual system. Again, i use my mac pro currently for wordprocessing, playing hard core games, some iphoto work and maybe light video rendering and editing.. NOTHING TOO EXTREME or anything requiring me to go to a dual system.

  4. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    For what you are doing, an imac would have been the better choice.
  5. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010

    Yes, but the imac is a DEAD-END type of mac where the processor can't be upgraded, the video is soldered to the board.. the screen is all enclusive. While I like the imac, I like to tinker and one of the reasons for the mac pro was for me to tinker with it.

    As I said... I sold my 2008 3.0 harpertown 8-core for 2000.00 and since the 2.66 refurb was 2199.99, I spent very little out of pocket money.. I couldn't justify the jump, however from 2.66 to 2.93 since thats like going from the 2.8 2008 to the 3.2 for very little speed increase. The 3.33 w3540 was completly out of my price range all together.

    As for the dual mac pro? The only one I could have gone with but would have cost me more money in the end would have been the 2.26 as the 2.66 and 2.93 are way too high.

    Also, like the 2.26 where one can remove the tray and get a tray with 2.66 or 2.93 processors, can't I also remove the tray of the 2.66 if I decide to go with 2.26 later on when the processors and trays come down?

  6. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    An increase in the number of cores aren't really going to help improve games - not many developers decide to use a lot of multithreading in games. Some might have one thread for sound, another for physics, but in the grand scheme of things, 2 cores is enough. They usually use multiple threads to decrease the complexity of a linear-event based system (although increasing the complexity of a multithreaded system) to make it easier for themselves, not necessarily make a game "better".

    So you'd want to be, instead, looking at graphics processing power to play games - something that the Mac Pro doesn't really have by default.

    And as mentioned above, an iMac would probably be a better choice - especially with it being able to support 16GB of RAM, it's actually quite powerful for an enthusiast device.
  7. gundam789 macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2008
    A Mac Pro for hardcore gaming makes no sense.
    No SLI and no Crossfire and if you can't take advantage of this 2 you are not really an hardcore gamer :D unless you are playing some really old games.
    You also have very limited options for GPU's with only the 4870 and an overpriced GTX 285
    I use a PC for gaming and keep my mac for video and music.
    I would not even run windows on my Mac since i have a PC for that.
  8. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
    I would have just got an Xbox and big screen tv. But thats just me.
    Seriously though, you buy a top end mac just to play windows games? Dude.... From the sound of it you need an OSX box for your daily needs, maybe a Mac Mini hooked to a nice monitor, and then as you put it AN EXREME pc.

    Mac Mini
    Extreme PC

    There. That would probably make you very happy. You can upgrade all you want and play all the EXTREME games. EXTREMELY. With some EXTREME fun. Sounds like you like Windows games, so get a Windows box.

    Heck or a Mac Mini, Extreme PC, and an XBOX.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You can use Crossfire when booted into Windows (bridge connector has to be attached of course). But there's no special hardware needed on the board (it's in the drivers for Crossfire), unlike SLI, which does require a chipset/bridge on the system board that supports it (nF200 in the case of the PCIe bridge).

    That's fine if you've a separate PC as you do, but for others, it makes more sense financially to use a single system for both (Windows for gaming, OS X for applications).

    All that's really needed is a copy of Windows at a bare minimum, and better yet, a better graphics card (i.e. PC version only used under Windows). And as already mentioned, Crossfire is possible in this situation.

    But it would be impossible if more than a single nVidia card were desired, forcing the use of a PC system that can support SLI.
  10. madwolf macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2009
    You payed over 2000USD for a computer meant mainly for games?
    8 months ago I got my PC:
    Core i5 2.66GHz
    4GB DDR3 ram
    4x500GB HDD
    nVidida GeForce GTX275

    for about 800USD (2500PLN, hello from Poland ;-) )
    1100USD together with a Dell 24" monitor.

    WHY did you buy a MP for gaming?
  11. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    That wasn't the smartest buy...

    I would build myself a PC. And a 700-800 € PC would beat out the **** from you Mac Pro in terms of gaming. Especially with a Radeon 5850 or something similar

    I did not even mention Crossfire or SLI, nor did I mention any of the Dual-GPU cards, you can buy out there for you PC.
  12. MeAngry macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Well aside from the fact you could've better just bought a PC...

    Your new Nehalem Core i7 is quite a bit faster in games than your old CPU. 8 cores has no use for games. You should be happy if any game takes advantage of your 4 cores now.

    If the 150 bucks upgrade also mean you got upgraded to a Radeon HD4870, then you've done a great deal, for sure.
  13. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    Thanks.. Well, the good news is that I already had the Radeon 4870 HD in my 2008 Harpertown and other goodies such as a USB 2.0 card, an additional USB hub, plus another SATA drive which will complete my two sata drive setup. I do burn multiple disks at once under both Windows and Mac. The 2000.00 for my Harpertown was money coming from the person who bough my computer, and all I had to do was lay out an additional 100 dollars to cover the cost of the rest.

    But, I do believe that the 2009 that I got does certainly outpace the 2008 Harpertown 3.0 esp in the limitations of the firmware. The firmware in the 08's have serious flaws, such as: No AHCI support under Windows using the 2 ODD ports; they only are for mac and mac os x use. 2ndly, the IDE bus is gone on the 2009's, where on the 08's its present.

    I also run virtual desktops and virtual software to take advantage of VT-X something the 2008 doesn't fully support. When you cold boot into Windows vt-x is disabled(I let the engineers know this at Apple, but I don't think they will create a new firmware update for the 08 to fix this even though 1.3 firmware for 2008 mac pros should have fixed this).

    Plus, I just think for my purposes 8-cores was overkill as I was really never using the machine to its utmost potential. I am sure there are some on here that are saying I should have kept my 2008, but looking forward I see Nehalem as the future and not Penryn.

  14. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
  15. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    Ok, so this means..

    Say I found on ebay just the processor tray with two 2.26 processors. I could easily remove the single quad tray from my mac pro and replace it with the dual tray? So, IT does work... this would be in case I ever wish to future-proof my mac pro even further.. Kind of like taking a single G4 and making it into a DUAL processor system.. except this time with more cores.

  16. KeriJane macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009

    You made a GOOD choice and have gotten good value.

    Yes, you are going to get pelted with the "could have built a better PC for less" crowd. They are probably wrong. Here's why:

    As you've noticed, Mac Pros have good resale value. Even though your '09 quad is often compared to an i7 PC, it's not. It's still a Mac Pro and still extremely likely to hold onto much of its value for a long time.
    Those Gaming PCs? Good luck getting anything for them after a year or two, AND they won't be as cheap as many would have you believe.

    Also, your Mac Pro will run OSX just fine without the Hackintosh headaches.
    You as a "genuine" Mac Pro user get seamless, well supported OSX use and if you do use iLife, FCE or any other app you can count on Apple's full support.

    The "should have stuck with your '08 Octo" crowd will also speak up. That argument may have some merit IF you could benefit from more Cores but it sounds like you don't need them. Your '09 quad has its own set of advantages and it sounds like you'll be able to exploit the '09 better.

    Have fun with that Pro and don't worry about if you made a mistake. You didn't and anyway it's too late now!

  17. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    I agree and also think you made a GOOD choice.

    You only need one machine, you like to tinker so a Mac Pro is the ONLY choice for this.
    You can also upgrade the CPU's, reading this forum people have successfully upgraded to the top end Xeon's so you can wait for those to be cheaper and end up with a dual CPU 3ghz machine.
    Your graphics card will work fine too, I just love how people write off a 4870 as crap!! You in NOW WAY WHAT SO EVER need 2 high end powerful graphics cards just to be classed as a hardcore gamer, it has NOTHING to do with games, all it says is that you are a hardware junky or you feel you HAVE to have the latest and greatest or you feel your machine is rubbish, or you have to have a 30" monitor or two of them. I can't think of any game the 4870 cannot happily play.
    If you have some good ram and you have a dual CPU setup then you may even get away with using virtual machines for playing games too.
  18. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    Good choice continued...

    Hi, you wrote:

    If you have some good ram and you have a dual CPU setup then you may even get away with using virtual machines for playing games too

    Are you talking about a PC or the Mac Pro? I am not exactly sure even how much say 2.26 processors are and the tray even if I wanted to go with 8-core/16-vc, but really if I have never used any of the cores past 2 or 3 on my mac pro currently, I seriously doubt I will even go beyond 4 or even the virtual 8.

    There were many reasons for me moving from the 2008 harpertown to the 2009 - mostly due to firmware limitations and ODD ports not being bootable to be used with other OS'es such as windows and Linux, Solaris etc.

    All I do know is that looking at the bechmarks, I don't think I would see very much speed and performance increase between 2.66 and 2.93(price diff was 500).. 3.33 is out of question as I don't need that much.. besides, when turbo boost is on, the 2.66 goes to 3.00 anyway which beats my 2008 mac pro anyway.

    Since I never will go into video editing as a career or even audio recording and rendering, there is 99.9 percent chance that I will never utilize Apple's pro apps(audio and video). Yes, I do some small lite rendering.. but thats it.

    Idk, as you say.. I am a tinkerer and I enjoy also Mac OS x over windows. Yes, I could have gotten a PC, but I did not want to go down the hackentosh route.

    I am sure now that I have a 2009 mac pro, windows AHCI will be easy to install and work over the 08's.

  19. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    In response to your thread

    Hi, you wrote:

    The "should have stuck with your '08 Octo" crowd will also speak up. That argument may have some merit IF you could benefit from more Cores but it sounds like you don't need them. Your '09 quad has its own set of advantages and it sounds like you'll be able to exploit the '09 better.

    Have fun with that Pro and don't worry about if you made a mistake. You didn't and anyway it's too late now!

    --> I would have stuck with the 2008 Mac Pro Harpertown, but there were too many firmware problems with it. One being the fact that the odd-ports on the board don't support booting into other os'es which I use a lot of on my mac pro. 2ndly, the virtual VT-X is another reason. According to Apple, firmware 1.3 was supposed to fix this problem. The problem is that if you want to use vmware workstation in windows you first have to boot into mac os x, then go into Windows.

    If you try to boot into windows first from a cold restart or cold boot, it won't work and say its disabled. A royal pain in the butt! I called Apple about this a few weeks ago and they told me there would be a firmware update to fix this like on the 09's, but so far I have yet to see anything coming about - even though the engineers duplicated the problem and told me that most likely there will be a new firmware update to address this problem.

    3rdly, since I don't use pro apps and probably will never use pro apps, I really have no need for 8-cores.. though I thought like on the G4's that the duals hold their value much longer than the singles. It does not appear so with today's machines however.

    4thly, while ATI did say that they will continue to provide support for EFI32/64 based mac pros, Apple might not, as evidenced by the GT120 being only for a 2009 mac pro only(later, this was incorrect as it will run in the 08 due to EFI64).

    So those are the reasons for the change.. Had of the 2008 allowed me to boot off the ODD SATA ports, then possibly I would have kept it as this is plenty of computer for me. But, I realize that the 2009 may be my very last mac pro, as I can't keep shelling out money for keeping up with things.

  20. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    IMO I thought you should have kept your 3.0GHz Harpertown since it already has the ATI 4870. Also there would be no benefit from your harpertown to the current 2009 Mac Pro in gaming as it has the same GPU. I would have held out until Sandy Bridge + a PCI 3.0 compatible GPU with your machine!
  21. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    I was talking about the Mac Pro, you can wait for prices to drop or use ebay to buy components second hand to add a second CPU, it's only a if you wanted to do it suggestion.

    Have a look at this:

  22. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010
    Harpertown 3.0

    By the time the Sandy Bridge comes out, the harpertown will be a lot less than what I got for it now.. Eventually, all the mac pros come down in price. Right now the efi32 based systems can be had for under $1000.00 some places. Plus, since I am on SSDI and I really can't work too much after this temporary job I have, I seriously doubt I will be able afford a 2011 mac pro.

    I think this will be my last mac pro.. If anything, I might have to go to a PC afterward since I just can't keep up with the mac pro though according to Nanofrog, the mac pro's days are numbered meaning sometime in 2013-2014, possibly Apple might ditch it all together as its not making Apple any real money and not cost effective. By then, Apple will be mostly all consumer electronics(ipad, iphone, etc) and mostly mobile with one desktop - the imac.

    So, at this point I am not looking forward to 2011, as 2011 is probably going ot be another year of mass unemployment, severe shortages, etc..

  23. Roman23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2010

    Are you saying that I wouldn't be able to do what the guy on youtube was doing with the single 2.66 processor? I am confused! I now am feeling this might have been a WRONG purchase. Maybe I should have gotten the dual 2.26 but I read all the benchmarks and the 2.66/2.93 singles even beat the 2.26 including the Harpertown 3.2 and 3.0 mac pros.

    Its too late now.. as tomorrow my new system will be on my doorstep.

    I just don't believe that the system I will be getting won't be able to do virtualization gaming very well... I am not sure if the Harpertown I currently still have would be able to do it either.. Remember, that the single is 4-core + hyperthreading of 4 more cores for a total of 8 cores.


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