Mac Pro 2008 (used) or Mac Pro 2009 (new)?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Xanix, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Xanix macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2011
    Hello and good day. I've found two good deals on EU and I wanted to know watt world be the best one.

    Option a:
    Mac Pro 2008
    2 x 2.8 GHz
    Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB
    320GB Hard drive
    16x Superdrive
    BT 2.0 + EDR
    1 year warranty
    1.299,00 EUR + 49,00 EUR for shipping

    Option b:
    Mac Pro 2009
    2 x 2.26 GHz
    Nvidia 120 512MB
    640GB Hard drive
    18x Superdrive
    BT 2.0 + EDR
    1 year warranty
    (New. sealed in box)
    2.046,63 EUR + 34,29 EUR for shipping

    So, watt is the best option? Does the 2009 deserves the extra money?

    Best regards,

  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Major differences are CPU/architecture and Ram.

    The 2008 model requires FB-DIMM's which are more expensive than the standard Rams in the 2009 model. Also the 2009 MacPro switched to a new architecture (Nehalem) which is said to have noticeable performance improvements over the formerly used Core-architecture (Woodcrest/Harpertown). From the two machines you mention the 2009 one weighs in around twice the speed according to these Geekbench scores. Rule of thumb is that you as user actually notice speed improvements only if they roughly reach or exceed the threshold of 100% increase (which would be given in your case).

    The perhaps biggest advantage of the 2009 model is that you can flash its firmware to the current MP model and exchange processors to get a machine that runs circles around the 2008. However those CPU's can be quite pricey.

    In theory you could also upgrade the 2008 model to 8-core CPU's, but iirc the 2008 was the only MP model to use CPU's without integrated heat spreaders, making a DIY upgrade a real adventure (suitable CPU's hard to come by and the exchange process is much more dangerous than with earlier or later MP's, as you can easily ruin the unprotected dies).

    For further differentiations see the Wikipedia entry.

    TLDR: I would probably either go for the 2009 model or (to save money) find a 2006/2007 machine (MP 1,1 / 2,1) and upgrade that to an octocore. With a good deal on the machine you may even stay below 1.000,- € for an octocore (however: 32bit EFI limits do apply!). The latter could also work as stop-gap solution until a new MP is being released next year (probably lowering prices for now current models).
  3. fabriciom macrumors 6502


    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España
    I was following a 2009 just like that in ebay and it ended for about 1600€.
  4. G-Force macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2006
    That 2009 Mac Pro is too expensive. I bought a new one (same specs) sealed in the box about 6/7 weeks ago for 1600 Euro+60 Euro shipping. It was an eBay auction for 1800 Euro Buy Now, but I've made a Best Offer of 1600 Euro and it was accepted.
  5. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I believe the 2009 was the one without heat spreaders on the CPU. I have one, and every guide I can find about upgrading CPUs warns of this.
    I've never taken the heat sinks off to confirm.

    2008 used standard CPUs, i think.
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The 2.26 is slow, slow, slow. A new iMac i7 Quad is faster on single and multi threaded tasks for same amount roughly.
    What are you using it for?
    A server would be an OK use or pure background crunching. But that's it. Adobe stuff runs better on my Macbook Pro core 2 duo for instance.
  7. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    My advice: Sit and wait!

    The new Mac Pro is just around the corner and will arrive in about 6 to 8 weeks. Because of this, the market for used MacPros will be flooded and the price on them will drop at least 200$, compared to todays prices.

    Give yourself this time and buy in the early December time frame. I bet you will thank me regardless which decision you will make.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The key question... finally. :D

    Seriously though, without an answer to this, the correct answer for the OP isn't really possible as we've no idea as to usage (whether or not multi-threaded or single threaded performance is the primary need <get the right balance for the specific usage>).
  9. Xanix thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2011
    Thank you for the wise recommendations.
    Well, I've a budget I need to respect. I can't buy a new, 2010/2011 model. The costs for de Mac Pro and a companion monitor would be far from watt I want to spend.
    So, a old, 2008/2009 model would be a good solution. Add to it "as new, sealed" wit 12 mouths warranty and I think it's prefect. If it doesn't brake during the warranty, I think I can rely it will last some years.

    The mainly use would be light applications and Photoshop & Autocad on Mac OS X.
    Maybe Autocad and 3d Studio on Windows. Add some good games on windows too.

    Best regards,

  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I truly understand how budgets fit in. ;) :D

    In terms of your software usage, can you provide additional details (light applications; presume it's things like browsing, email, and word processing), and how much you use each (% would be ideal)?

    I ask, as from what you've posted so far, it sounds like clocks will be more important than core count (i.e Photoshop is only good for 2 cores; filters can use additional cores, but I've no idea how you're using it). Where core counts could help, is with AutoCAD.

    From what I currently gather, I'm thinking along the lines of a 2009 base quad (refurbished if you can find one), flash it with 2010 firmware (there's a free firmware update utility that will allow you to do this), and add a W3680 (Hex core).

    It's cheaper than a new system from Apple, and might be able to fit your budget. This route will also get you a better graphics card than what's in the 2008, which is always a good thing (= may not need to upgrade it immediately).

    BTW, other upgrades such as memory and additional HDD's need to be planned as well (not sure if you've figured for this or not).

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