Mac Pro 1,1 vs 3,1 vs 5,1 for server/media hub

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ashok77, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. ashok77 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    I have wanted a Mac Pro for a very long time and recently 3 models have popped up on the local craigslist. My main purpose is to use it as a media hub, server and doing some video editing. I'll also be using it to backup my extensive dvd collection so the optical drive and 4 storage bays are very appealing. It will be under a fair bit of load using handbrake to make backups of my dvds.

    Here are the specs (excluding hdds because i have several that i'll add)

    Mac Pro 1,1 (Quad)
    2x2.66 dual core
    4 gb of ram
    ATI X1900
    The tinkering side of me likes the idea of picking up a couple of 3 Ghz quads, turning it into an 8 core, and adding local sourced ram for ~$250 all in. Limited to Lion

    Mac Pro 3,1 (Octo)
    2x2.8 quad
    12 gb of ram
    ATI 2600 XT & ATI 5770
    I feel like there's limited options for upgrades here other than ram

    Mac Pro 5,1 (hex)
    1x3.33 hex
    32 gb of ram
    ATI 5870
    I believe it's a 5,1 but could be a 4,1. Hex's seem to rip through handbrake encodes. The guy is including 4x2TB hdds in

    I'm not saying money isn't a concern but the 5,1 is an option. USB3 and thunderbolt aside i would like some longevity so 1,1 is sort of out even though i love the idea of tinkering with it. The 3,1 seems the most reasonable price wise but the 5,1 hex's seem to dominate a lot of the benchmarks.

    Now I do have a 2.0 quad i7 Mac Mini but I just don't find the mini handling the handbrake load very well let alone multitasking.

    Any thoughts that would help me make up my mind? Thanks!
  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Actually Mavericks is possible and (probably) also Yosemite.

    With a 1,1 you could also go for very inexpensive low-power versions of the 5150 ("SLAGA") and save 32W when idling. Might be interesting when being used as server/media hub with 24/7 duty cycle.
  3. ashok77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2008
    wow, that's seem like a pretty good idle wattage.

    I've sort of looked at Mavericks/Yosemite on a 1,1 and i'm not entirely confident in that option.

    I may have jumped the gun a little saying would be primarily a media hub/server. I still would like to use it on a regular basis and it won't be relegated to the basement or anything. I'm still going to use it almost like my daily computer (i have ipad mini for just general surfing around and stuff). Multitasking would be the priority with little slow down or hangs would be ideal. Think i could get that out of the 1,1 still? Are my dvd backups using handbrake going to still take a long time?
  4. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Pretty sure you could! I still regret selling my 1,1 some two years ago. As a quad it is around the 5.000's in Geekbench, as Octo it's around 9.000ish - either of it being plenty. The two achilles heels of the offer you mention is the little Ram included (expensive!) and the X1900 - hot, loud and perhaps not that long-lasting (though it's far better than the 7300GT that came standard with those machines).

    However - as you still are some $450 below the 3,1, you may be able to get the difference in Ram and have some cash left for new processors and a SSD (mounted e.g. in the 2nd optical bay).

    If you don't want to tinker or save on the power bill with dedicated CPU's, the 3,1 is probably the better offer overall (more Ram, already octo, better graphic card, no tinkering required for Mavericks).

    Depends on what machine you are used to. Of course an Octocore or a newer MacPro will be faster. The question is: Are the saved minutes worth a couple hundred dollar to you?! You probably have to rip the DVD's anyway prior to converting them with Handbrake. That's easily the most tedious work anyway and and I'm not sure a faster computer is that much faster there.

    So you could rip your collection completely onto hard disc and then let the MacPro work through it around the clock with batch processing. Doesn't really matter then if you save a couple of minutes for each movie...
  5. Parigot macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    You should look even more on craigslist. Might find a better deal.
    I just got a 4.1, dual Quad core 2.26Ghz, 8GB RAM, 4TB storage in mint condition for $800.
  6. ashok77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2008

    Thanks Neodym! All good points. I think I am leaning towards the 3,1 at this point. Wish the 3,1 could be upgraded to hex's down the road but knowing it's already near the high end of it options (don't see much difference between 2.8 vs 3.2) feels good.

    While a few minutes really doesn't make a difference more often than not my wife wants a movie on her ipad that i haven't backed up yet so if I can encode it in a few minutes faster i'm on board. happy wife, happy life? The thing i notice about Mac Pro users is that they tend to hold onto their computers for awhile and that's my plan as well. Say if I can get 5+ yrs out of the machine then on a $/yr basis i don't mind spending the extra couple hundred today.

    Parigot: that's awesome! i wish i could be that lucky. there are very few mac pro's that come up in my area so when they do people tend to ask a little more for them.
  7. ashok77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2008
    So I ended up getting a good deal on the 3,1 and now I have another question. In my head it seams silly to ask but here it goes. The boot up is painfully slow after having SSDs and I'd like to take the SSD from my mac mini and put it in the Mac Pro.

    I just can't put it in can I? I would have to back up the Mini, install the SSD in the Pro and then re-install/transfer back everything correct?
  8. haralds macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I would buy a 120GB SSD for $90 and create a Fusion drive with one of your standard HDs. On my 5,1, I switched from using a 960GB SSD with other 4TB drives to create a Fusion drive with one of the 4TB Hybrid drives and the SSD. Hard to tell the difference from a pure SSD and not messing with what to put where. The main drive it 5TB. I did the same on my wife's 3,1 with a 120GB SSD and 2TB internal drive.
  9. dschmittler macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2014
    Late reply but I got a 2,1 for 450 with 6tb of hd 8gigs of ram. I since add a 120 gig boot ssd upped it to 32 gigs of ram added usb 3.0. Things a beast
  10. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Only caveat I would have is using it for a media server/hub - that's a tremendous amount of excess energy. My missus would kill me when the electricity bill came through the letterbox for that leaving that powered up a lot! My Mac Pro does all the transcoding and hard donkey work but that is not full time on.

    A mini with external storage would be more sensible for that - though I went Microsoft and use a pair of hp ex495 micro server boxes and I've upgraded the cpu's to low power core 2 quads (q9550s) for Windows server 2011/2012e. Both have 4 SATA bays, port multiplier SATA to connect to an array and combined consume a fraction of the energy of a cMP.
  11. dschmittler macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2014

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