Mac pro 3,1 Early 2008 questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Lloydos, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Lloydos macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2011
    Birmingham, Uk
    Hello all,

    First of all please be patient I am new to building machines and will ask some stupid questions along the way (mac user but always macbook pro).

    I have been given a 3,1 Mac pro. unfortunately its not in a working state and is missing parts. I have narrowed the parts down to:

    Graphics card
    2 x ram riser boards
    1 x HD bay
    Front fan unit
    Airport card
    Heat sync cover

    My plan is to upgrade this machine into a little bit of a beast/Family home computer/work station. I am assuming that being this model still is able to take the most current version of software that it is worth my money getting this to work. The risk I guess I will have to take is spending money on these parts not knowing if the machine is working or not. Looks to be in good condition although I am aware this isn't the full story.

    Could you give me a brief dream build of parts and maybe a more budget choice with regards to ram/graphics cards and also processors(if this is even worth upgrading).

    I am assuming this is the quad core 2.8 model and nothing more as i can't really find any specs on it.

    Many thanks in advance

  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    You can tell easy enough the processors in it if you see two heat sinks then you have eight core model not four. Or looking at the back where you see the serial number it has summary of everything that it shipped with there. Now on to the worth it to buy parts if it even works most times when someone cannibalizes a machine like this has been it is because it no longer works so yes you will be taking chance on getting the parts to find out if it does indeed work. It will still be very capable machine if it does work not much for processor upgrades in that model 3.2ghz is the best you can do not a lot of improvement over the 2.8 stock shipped model. Ram minimum to go for is 8gb with 16gb being the sweet spot. Graphics well you could go crazy and buy high end card for it or get something like an 8800gt that model did ship with for the cheap option. Really with amount of parts missing probably cheaper to buy used fully working machine in the long run then you have possibility of having parts for it if it ever goes titsup.
  3. stjames70 macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2009
    Is the 3,1 still a good computer? For my uses, yes. It is fast, stable, and runs everything I want it to run properly and without lag. We have six of these in our office at various states running CAT scan 3D manipulations as pure Windows 8.1 machines, as the main server in our office, and as workstations. It has been about 7 years since their original introduction, and I am still impressed at how it has never felt slow.

    It is worth it to rebuild this computer only if the proprietary parts (parts unique to the MP 3,1) are worth less than a functional MP 4,1. The MP 4,1 can be flashed to a 5,1, it can accommodate extremely fast XEON hexacore chips (so you can have a 12 core computer), the memory is much cheaper on the MP 4,1 and frankly, I will be looking on the secondary market for replacements to our vintage 2009 iMacs when they become unusable and use them as target displays.

    I have never had a Windows computer last more than three to four years before they became totally unusable, so kudos to Apple for building these great machines.
  4. Lloydos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2011
    Birmingham, Uk
    Many thanks for the reply's, I did wonder about the heat syncs as mine has two and found it odd when a serial number checker told me it only was the 4 core model. I suppose that clears that up then so I have a 8 core model :) (checking the back it does seem to suggest 8 cores too.

    The people I got the machine off were throwing out about a combination of 8 Mac pros/power mac g5's and I got to take home a Mac pro. The G5's have been tested working just fine with making 3 work out of the 5 thrown out (others missing parts), so I can only assume that mine will work FINGERS CROSSED!

    I shall get 16gb's of ram as this seems to be going for fairly cheap now, with regards to the ram riser boards were there different models as I have found 1 on the web for £4

  5. Lloydos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2011
    Birmingham, Uk
    Many thanks for that it does seem that it will cost quite a bit less to get this running than a 4,1 i have found

    drive bay
    fan unit
    heat sync cover
    airport card

    all for £130 delivered

    Leaving just
    ram risers
    graphics card

  6. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Before sinking a lot of money into this do bear in mind that you can buy a fully functional 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 for around £350. Also make sure that you have sourced all the parts before buying anything. You can live without an airport card or drive sled but things like RAM risers may be difficult to find. Your best bet may be to find another dead system sold for spares/repair & cannibalise the two to create one functioning machine.
  7. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2007

    Your best bet would be a friend with another 3,1 you could borrow some parts from (RAM, RAM Risers and GPU) to make sure your machine is working. The only reason I can think of to rip a MacPro apart is that it's simply dead, so I'd be very careful.
  8. filmak macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2012
    between earth and heaven
    Imho it is very wise to follow Florian's advice.
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Personally, I wouldn't invest any money in to a Mac Pro 3,1. The 4,1 and 5,1 models offer much better performance and can often be found at very low prices now.

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