Looking for 2010-2012 Mac Pro-Need Help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Noctilux.95, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Noctilux.95 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    I'm looking to buy a nicely loaded used Mac Pro tower to replace my current 2009 Mac Pro 2.66 Quad-Core. Currently have 16gb Ram, 2-240gd SSD HD's, and a 5770 video card. I'm a professional photographer and my main software use are CS5 (soon going to CS6), Aperture 3, Hasselblad Phocus, and Photo Mechanic. My cameras vary from 22-40MP in file size.
    I'm looking for a machine that will give me a noticeable bump in performance.
    Which MP do you recommend? What kind of price should I expect to pay?
    Also how much can I get for my MP?

    2009 (4,1)
    16gb RAM (OWC)
    5770 Video Card
    Keeping the SSD HD's

  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    I would upgrade your current system. There is a netkas utility that you can use to flash your firmware from 4,1 to 5,1 - allowing you to upgrade that 2.66 GHz Quad Core Xeon to a 3.33GHz Westmere Xeon Hex Core. That would be the maximum CPU upgrade that machine would take, costing roughly $600 (just browsing Ebay for the W3680 Xeon) and that would bump your Geekbench score by about 6000 points. Of course, you don't need to get that CPU, there are cheaper upgrade options for CPU performance. You should look into getting a PC NVIDIA card to use for CUDA in CS6, as this speeds up rendering/processing significantly. You could even hold on to the 5770 to use as a boot screen, if you don't need the PCIe slots.

    Just my take on your situation, and I apologize if this didn't really answer any of your questions. I am of the mindset where you upgrade and upgrade until you run the thing into the ground or it can't be upgraded further. Good luck, man. Hope I helped.
  3. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    Yes, don't bother buying a 2010 Mac Pro. What you have now (the 2009) is essentially the same machine. The 2010-12 version just had faster CPUs and GPUs (both easily replacable by you) and a Boot Rom firmware that was revised to accomadate the 6-core CPU offered in the top-of-the-line factory configuration.
    As NOTNICE stated, the firmware on your machine can be easily replaced with the 2010 version, allowing you to add the faster 6-core processor if you want.
    You can also upgrade to a faster quad core cpu (no firmware flash required).
    OS X now has drivers allowing you to add the latest nVidia graphics cards (not just the Mac Editions).
  4. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    I recently got a 2009 Mac Pro and souped it up so I could assemble genomes from the comfort of my home. If funds permit or you can sell your current one, I really recommend getting a dual socket version. An alternative would be to just source the dual socket processor tray and swap that into your existing system. Not only are upgrade processors absurdly cheap, the boost is much more significant than you'll get over adding even the best single processor Xeon. Just google it; the upgrade process is easy as can be and heavily documented (be sure to read carefully about using processors with IHS in the 2009 version).

    To my knowledge though, 2010 and 2012 processor trays are compatible with the 2009, so if you went that route, you could avoid the minor niggles with CPU upgrades in the 2009 version. Don't quote me on this though, I could be wrong about the compatibility. Anyone else with authoritative knowledge on this?
  5. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States

    I am not certain that you can pair a 2010 processor tray with a 2009 backplane board. I've never tried it, but it has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum that doing this could cause the Mac Pro's fans to run at full speed because of the mismatch between the SMC firmware versions.

    Each board has the SMC firmware and both must (as stated elsewhere) have the same version for the SMC to run properly.
  6. Thomaspin macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2013
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Two easy and cheap options

    From a fellow photographer (D3x, 24mp RAW files become 80mp TIFF/PSD when round-tripped to PS CS5 from LR5) my thoughts are:

    1 - Cheap and easy. Replace CPU with 6-core used 17-980 for $350. >50% CPU speed bump. No need to overpay for 6-core Xeon. You lose error checking RAM feature (ECC RAM will still work fine - mine does) just like every other Mac, so no loss. CPU swap is easy. Must flash the firmware to 5,1 to recognize the replacement 6-core CPU. Geekbench 16,000.

    2 - Sweat a bit. Sell your 4-core ($850), buy 2009 8-core base configuration ($1100 - GT120, 6GB). Upgrade CPUs to W5590 3.33GHz 8-core (12 core option still too costly) for $400 used a pair. Keep your 5770, swap stock GT120 into machine you are selling. 2009 CPU upgrade is a tad tricky but not nuclear physics. Net outlay $650 + some sweat equity. Only flash the upgrade if you want 1333 RAM to run at full speed. Otherwise it will run at 1066, effectively only 2% slower. You do not need to flash the firmware to 5,1 for 8-core CPUs. Geekbench 20,000.
  7. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    Option 2 way to go
    keep us posted

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