Mac 4,1 on a student budget...

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Hello All,

I've recently (it's still in shipment) purchased a cMP 4,1 off of ebay and wanted to make sure I'm on the right track. After reading and reading about potential upgrades for it and what would be most beneficial for my needs - Graphic Design, primarily Adobe CC Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign etc no video. Plus some software dev (VS Code). I do not game or watch media beyond youtube.

Here is the current spec on my cMP - Single core 2.66Ghz, 16GB 1066 RAM, GT 120, 1TB HDD with HS already installed.

My plans after quite a bit of reading here and a few other places is as follows. (in order of priority/importance)

1. CPU - X5677 ~ $35 (seen a few members recommend this over a 6 core to save money)
2. Wifi - 661-5946 ~ $10 (recommended by a few members here)
2. HDD - OWC Accelsior S with 120GB SSHD (ordered the card but haven't picked the SSHD yet) ~ $100
3. RAM - Add another 8 or 16GB ~ $30 - $50 (for doing composites in PS)
4. USB 3 card - ~ $30
5. Video Card - Not really sure on this. Thinking a GTX 260 as they are super cheap on ebay (used) OR do I need one at all? Consensus is not really clear whether this is needed or not. ~ $40

I bought the cMP for $375 so all in with the upgrades it will be about $650 or less if I skip the video card and RAM upgrades. I've looked at so many video cards my brain is half fried. There are so many options that are better than the GT 120. I am not really sure I need anything better but for 40 bucks... it's not going to kill me and might make my life better with adding masks and filters in PS.

I need this to last me about 2 - 3 years. Since I don't do video editing or gaming I am thinking this is feasible but would love to hear others opinions on my above hardware choices. My budget is cheap and cheerful - like $650 to $700. I'm in Canada so that's about $850 - 900 in Canadian dollars. I suspect it will be close to $1K CAD once all shipping and import duties are paid.

I guess I'm looking for someone to say " 'atta boy, you didn't waste your money. Your upgrade choices look good, skip the video card and add the ram (or get both and thank yourself later?) "

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

EDIT: I meant single cpu quad core 2.66GHz
 
Last edited:

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,357
696
At least here in the US, the Inateck KT4004 (which I have) is not available, having been so for the last few months. The Sonnet Tech card is $20 more. I recently installed one in a friends 5,1 and it seems to work well.
I don't have wi-fi in my cMP. It's not very portable, so leaving it wired works for me.
You'll probably want to spend some time researching the 5,1 update (netkas.org). You'll need the GT120 (or equivalent) for this.
If you have spare disk bays, or a spare optical bay slot, you may want to stick the SSD in there. There is essentially no performance difference for pcie. I have the card you mention, and boot time and benchmarks show that as far as performance, no difference. PCIe booting does free up a bay for storage, though, and that may be what you're after.
Whatever you do wrt a graphics card, make sure it does what you want - improve performance for your apps. For example, it may be that Adobe CC doesn't leverage a GTX 260. (Not saying it does or doesn't - just check this before buying.)
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,240
6,843
Hong Kong
Hello All,

I've recently (it's still in shipment) purchased a cMP 4,1 off of ebay and wanted to make sure I'm on the right track. After reading and reading about potential upgrades for it and what would be most beneficial for my needs - Graphic Design, primarily Adobe CC Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign etc no video. Plus some software dev (VS Code). I do not game or watch media beyond youtube.

Here is the current spec on my cMP - Single core 2.66Ghz, 16GB 1066 RAM, GT 120, 1TB HDD with HS already installed.

My plans after quite a bit of reading here and a few other places is as follows. (in order of priority/importance)

1. CPU - X5677 ~ $35 (seen a few members recommend this over a 6 core to save money)
2. Wifi - 661-5946 ~ $10 (recommended by a few members here)
2. HDD - OWC Accelsior S with 120GB SSHD (ordered the card but haven't picked the SSHD yet) ~ $100
3. RAM - Add another 8 or 16GB ~ $30 - $50 (for doing composites in PS)
4. USB 3 card - ~ $30
5. Video Card - Not really sure on this. Thinking a GTX 260 as they are super cheap on ebay (used) OR do I need one at all? Consensus is not really clear whether this is needed or not. ~ $40

I bought the cMP for $375 so all in with the upgrades it will be about $650 or less if I skip the video card and RAM upgrades. I've looked at so many video cards my brain is half fried. There are so many options that are better than the GT 120. I am not really sure I need anything better but for 40 bucks... it's not going to kill me and might make my life better with adding masks and filters in PS.

I need this to last me about 2 - 3 years. Since I don't do video editing or gaming I am thinking this is feasible but would love to hear others opinions on my above hardware choices. My budget is cheap and cheerful - like $650 to $700. I'm in Canada so that's about $850 - 900 in Canadian dollars. I suspect it will be close to $1K CAD once all shipping and import duties are paid.

I guess I'm looking for someone to say " 'atta boy, you didn't waste your money. Your upgrade choices look good, skip the video card and add the ram (or get both and thank yourself later?) "

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!
You may go through the sticky upgrad thread. Lots of useful info at there.

1) your CPU option is good, but you need to flash your cMP to 5,1 BEFORE you install the CPU. BTW, single processor is not single core, they are very different.

2) I bet you mean SSD, but not SSHD, they are different. For SSD, IMO, the best low cost choice is to pick a cheapest SATA SSD that you can afford and then plug it into the optical bay’s SATA cable. OWC is almost the very last choice when you looking for budget upgrade. But if you already ordered it, unless you can get full refund, there is not point to change your mind now.

3) add another 8 or 16GB RAM may not work for you. There are only 4 slots in your Mac, if the current 16GB is 4x4, there will but no empty slot for you to install extra RAM. You may be force to buy all 24GB (or at least 16GB) in order to upgrade properly.

4) don’t rush for the video card. Try the GT120 first, if you there is no majoy UI lag under your normal workflow, then you don’t need any upgrade.

5) Unless you can’t run LAN, I may further save that $10 WiFi card. There is no point to spend more money and get lower network speed (also less stable).
 
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tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Kohlson and h9826790 Thanks for the great input.

I'm a little surprised on the OWC card. I thought the cMP only supported sata2? Hence I picked up the OWC card thinking the bump up to sata3 would be worth it. That sucks. They already shipped it so I think I'm SOL on cancelling that. I am OK with flashing to the 5,1 firmware. BTW if the system already has HS on it, does that not mean it would have the 5,1 flash done already? (thought 4,1's couldn't do HS). The KT4004 is available here on amazon for about $40CAD so I'll grab it when I can.

I think I am OK on the ram. The pictures of the cMP I bought show only 2 banks being used so assuming the pics are real (they look real) I think there's 2 X 8GB installed.

I did mean SSD (my bad). I'm bummed about the OWC card. I should have skipped it and then I could get a 256GB SSD rather than 128. Oh well, not much I can do shipping it back would be pretty expensive (good money following bad money lol!).

I'll need the wifi since i have no access to a hardline at the moment. That may change in the next 6 months though. I might be able to sell it later for the same as I paid for it. Mac parts are few and far between locally so you never know...

Thanks again for the solid responses.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,240
6,843
Hong Kong
Kohlson and h9826790 Thanks for the great input.

I'm a little surprised on the OWC card. I thought the cMP only supported sata2? Hence I picked up the OWC card thinking the bump up to sata3 would be worth it. That sucks. They already shipped it so I think I'm SOL on cancelling that. I am OK with flashing to the 5,1 firmware. BTW if the system already has HS on it, does that not mean it would have the 5,1 flash done already? (thought 4,1's couldn't do HS). The KT4004 is available here on amazon for about $40CAD so I'll grab it when I can.

I think I am OK on the ram. The pictures of the cMP I bought show only 2 banks being used so assuming the pics are real (they look real) I think there's 2 X 8GB installed.

I did mean SSD (my bad). I'm bummed about the OWC card. I should have skipped it and then I could get a 256GB SSD rather than 128. Oh well, not much I can do shipping it back would be pretty expensive (good money following bad money lol!).

I'll need the wifi since i have no access to a hardline at the moment. That may change in the next 6 months though. I might be able to sell it later for the same as I paid for it. Mac parts are few and far between locally so you never know...

Thanks again for the solid responses.
Yes, the cMP only has SATA 2 ports, bit it won’t affect OS responsiveness. All you need is just the high IOPS which is not SATA 2 bandwidth limiting.

Even a 3,1 can install HS (via patch). But it’s totally possible that your 4,1 is already flashed.

If the current memory config is 2x8GB, then make it 3x8 or 4x8 is a good option for budget upgrade. HOWEVER, make sure you buy the correct DIMM. You can’t mix RDIMM with UDIMM. Make sure you know the current DIMM spec before you order anything.
 
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tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Yes, the cMP only has SATA 2 ports, bit it won’t affect OS responsiveness. All you need is just the high IOPS which is not SATA 2 bandwidth limiting.

Even a 3,1 can install HS (via patch). But it’s totally possible that your 4,1 is already flashed.

If the current memory config is 2x8GB, then make it 3x8 or 4x8 is a good option for budget upgrade. HOWEVER, make sure you buy the correct DIMM. You can’t mix RDIMM with UDIMM. Make sure you know the current DIMM spec before you order anything.
Got it, will be careful on the RAM.

Thanks very much.
 

KevinLG

macrumors newbie
Jan 18, 2012
4
0
A used (or even a new one sometimes) ~250GB SSD is around 60-70 dollars. I'd highly suggest getting one of those rather than the SSHD.

EDIT: Typed it up before you mentioned it was actually an SSD and not an SSHD. Hit reply too late.
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
662
329
Ocean State
... BTW if the system already has HS on it, does that not mean it would have the 5,1 flash done already? (thought 4,1's couldn't do HS).


You can do a quick check by going into System Profiler and it will show you which revision MacPro you have whether or not it is a 4,1 or 5,1.
 

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
You can do a quick check by going into System Profiler and it will show you which revision MacPro you have whether or not it is a 4,1 or 5,1.
I was wondering about that, good to know. Thanks!
[doublepost=1518730179][/doublepost]
A used (or even a new one sometimes) ~250GB SSD is around 60-70 dollars. I'd highly suggest getting one of those rather than the SSHD.

EDIT: Typed it up before you mentioned it was actually an SSD and not an SSHD. Hit reply too late.
Funny aside - I had originally written SSD but changed it to SSHD thinking that was more accurate (as in solid state hard drive) but it turns out H is for hybrid :D
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
662
329
Ocean State
Just select "About This Mac" then click on "System Report..." at the bottom left and a dialog box will come up showing your system information (just look at the second item "Model Identifier:" and it will be there. :)
 
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tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Just select "About This Mac" then click on "System Report..." at the bottom left and a dialog box will come up showing your system information (just look at the second item "Model Identifier:" and it will be there. :)
Thanks!
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,240
6,843
Hong Kong
A flashed 5,1's (original 4,1) system report will look like this.
Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 07.14.42 copy.jpg

Model Identifier shows MacPro5,1. And SMC version shows 1.39f5.

Furthermore, if High Sierra was installed properly. The Boot ROM version should shows MP51.0084.B00.
 
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orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,884
391
UK
looks like your super organized :D i got my ram on ebay 32GB (4x8gb sticks) for less than £50 pulled server ram, been fine last few years.
id skip used storage media (HD/SSD) data is not worth the risk + in the UK used SSD's are so close to new prices that amazon sales undercut eBay.

GPU can wait as your not doing anything that needs it, WD blue 1TB drives are super cheep + 250GB SSD sounds like all you need.

ps use Firefox if you can at the start as chrome eats ram like the Cooke Monster
 

Ih8reno

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2012
1,363
179
I have a 4,1 flashed to 5,1 with the quad 2.66ghz single cpu. I got a pcie card and added a 240gb ssd for the drive, 16gbx3 1333mhz ram, USB 3.0 card and a pc gtx 680 (flashed it to a mac version for boot screens). I didn't swap the cpu's as I don't do anything cpu intensive and the system with the upgrades I have done is plenty fast.
 

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
looks like your super organized :D i got my ram on ebay 32GB (4x8gb sticks) for less than £50 pulled server ram, been fine last few years.
id skip used storage media (HD/SSD) data is not worth the risk + in the UK used SSD's are so close to new prices that amazon sales undercut eBay.

GPU can wait as your not doing anything that needs it, WD blue 1TB drives are super cheep + 250GB SSD sounds like all you need.

ps use Firefox if you can at the start as chrome eats ram like the Cooke Monster
Thanks. I hope I can find a sweetheart deal on ram like you :D

Yeah I can’t seem to find anything used that is cheap enough to warrant buying it. It’s got 1tb in it already su I’ll keep that and get the ssd for the boot and apps drive.
[doublepost=1518747938][/doublepost]
I have a 4,1 flashed to 5,1 with the quad 2.66ghz single cpu. I got a pcie card and added a 240gb ssd for the drive, 16gbx3 1333mhz ram, USB 3.0 card and a pc gtx 680 (flashed it to a mac version for boot screens). I didn't swap the cpu's as I don't do anything cpu intensive and the system with the upgrades I have done is plenty fast.
I just figured with the price of the faster cpu and the fairly intense utilization of it in certain Photoshop tasks it would be worth it. Apparently Photoshop doesn’t do much with more than 4 cores and even with 4 it’s fairly lightweight. That’s why I opted for the x5677.
[doublepost=1518748135][/doublepost]
A flashed 5,1's (original 4,1) system report will look like this.
View attachment 751375
Model Identifier shows MacPro5,1. And SMC version shows 1.39f5.

Furthermore, if High Sierra was installed properly. The Boot ROM version should shows MP51.0084.B00.
This is perfect. I’ll be sure to refer back to it once my cMP arrives. Should be here early next week. I’m strangely excited about buying a nearly 10 year old computer :D must be the Apple koolaid.
 

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Good Evening All,

Not sure if this is the right spot to post but... I received my cMP 4,1 a few days ago. Everything is going OK except I went to attempt to flash to 5,1 and didn't get very far. I can't get into the recovery. There is no Apple logo on boot up. I thought this strange since I have the GT 120 in there (I pulled it to confirm (Apple In. Model No: A1310). Any idea on how this could be remedied? I don't have my new processor but it's on the way here. I was hoping to flash it now so I'm ready when it arrives. I did some searching and not much comes up for my predicament. I did contact the seller to ask what's up with the no boot logo but no response yet. They did put HS 10.13.3 on there. I am wondering if that has something to do with it?

EDIT - I am using a mDP to DP 2K @ 60hz

Just my luck :D

Thanks for any and all advice.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,675
1,948
too late to check to see if you’re using DosDude or some other hack for 10.13 install? there’s probably documentation on those site FAQ’s.
 
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tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
too late to check to see if you’re using DosDude or some other hack for 10.13 install? there’s probably documentation on those site FAQ’s.
Thanks

I got a little farther. I hooked up a dvi to hdmi and the Apple logo showed up! I tried to get into recovery but more bad luck. The firmware is locked with a password.

Do you happen know if the cMP 4,1 efi password can be reset by removing the ram trick?

Thanks!
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,675
1,948
You would not need that on a 5,1 or 4,1 flashed to 5,1.
Typically, yes. But buying a used machine that has non-standard hacks and upgrades, there’s no guarantees about what you’re getting into. Hopefully the seller can provide some info.
[doublepost=1519955750][/doublepost]
Thanks

I got a little farther. I hooked up a dvi to hdmi and the Apple logo showed up! I tried to get into recovery but more bad luck. The firmware is locked with a password.

Do you happen know if the cMP 4,1 efi password can be reset by removing the ram trick?

Thanks!
Can you get into recovery mode at all? Would try the firmware password utility if you can. Sometimes there was no password actually set.

If not, the ram trick should probably work on a 4,1. Make sure you don’t have any extras connected and get your boot drive in SATA sled #1.
 

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
Typically, yes. But buying a used machine that has non-standard hacks and upgrades, there’s no guarantees about what you’re getting into. Hopefully the seller can provide some info.
Ok Thanks

I’ve already contacted them. Hopefully they have some good news for me.
[doublepost=1519955839][/doublepost]
Typically, yes. But buying a used machine that has non-standard hacks and upgrades, there’s no guarantees about what you’re getting into. Hopefully the seller can provide some info.
[doublepost=1519955750][/doublepost]

Can you get into recovery mode at all? Would try the firmware password utility if you can. Sometimes there was no password actually set.

If not, the ram trick should probably work on a 4,1. Make sure you don’t have any extras connected and get your boot drive in SATA sled #1.
I can get to the screen with the padlock and password entry. That’s as far as it goes.
 

tompeij

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 10, 2018
16
6
Canada
I got the password from the seller on eBay. Disabled it. All good! Upgraded to 5,1 without issues and installed new CPU.

Not sure if anyone has time to answer this but I have a strange issue when booting up. I am connected to my monitor via mini display port and when I boot I get no Apple logo. Just goes almost directly to the login screen I say "almost" since it briefly (1 sec) shows a grey screen with apple logo right before going to the login screen. This is on a stock GT120. If I connect to the DVI port (using a DVI to HDMI cable) it will show the Apple logo during boot but when I get to the login screen things get weird. The screen flashes on and off (1 sec on and 4 - 10 sec off). Mini DP works fine.

Is my video card cursed? I tried zapping the pram but no difference. If I hook up both connections (DVI and MiniDP) the mini DP stops working. The DVI keeps doing the weird flashing on and off. So basically now I am stuck using the DVI to get into the boot utility (if I want to see the apple logo).

Anyway just thought I would ask.

Thanks to everyone for their input!
 
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