Mac Pro 3,1 Move to What ????

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cpeek, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. cpeek macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    I have a cMP 3,1 (Early 2008 with 2 x 2.8 GHz, 16 GB RAM, SSD). For several months, I have been researching what the next machine should be. The new Mac Pros are out of the question because the performance is just not worth the price. The other Macs are nice, but again the performance is not worth the price.

    Thus I considered keeping the cMP 3,1 possibly with additional upgrades; buying a 2012 cMP 5,1; or building a Hackintosh. I pretty much ruled out keeping the cMP 3,1 just based on age; and now that Apple has dropped support for it in macOS Sierra that is not an long term option for the future.

    I have done extensive reading on the Hackintosh. Based on the costs being similar to a 2012 cMP 5,1 for like performance, I was leaning towards the 2012 cMP 5,1 so as not to have to deal with compatibility issues. I was going to do the higher end machine (e.g. dual processors, 48/64 GB RAM, upgraded video card, SSD, WiFi w/ BT4, etc.) and figured that I would get another at least 4 years out of the machine.

    However with Apple dropping support for the cMP 3,1 and cMP 4,1 in one shot this year; the concern is the cMP 5,1 is on the chopping block for next year or two at most. I am not happy about what Apple has done, but that is a whole other discussion.

    I am a huge Apple fan and have used Macs extensively since 1985, but am beginning to lose faith on their direction and hardware.

    The thought is that a Hackintosh may make the most sense. I might have to mess around with hardware and drivers more than I wanted to, but at least I would have some modern hardware at a reasonable price. And it pains me to say say this, but the other advantage is that I can always switch to Windows if it continues to get worse.

    What are you doing for future machines? Any thoughts on the subject?
  2. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)

    Since you're using a 3,1 which is roughly as powerful as this 2011 laptop I'm typing this post on you might just give the the higher end MM w/ eGPU a shot
  3. now i see it macrumors 68030

    Jan 2, 2002
    Macs are for wealthy people. Those of us who aren't wealthy are very frustrated with Apple's offerings.
  4. drasl macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Im going through the same thing.

    I have a 3,1 as well, and trying to decide on the next machine, and having trouble deciding.

    I installed Sierra, and even with a great guide on how to do that its not something I want to do on a regular bases for a computer that is getting up there in age.

    After 15 years of Macs Im actually getting to the point that I am probably going to try to make a hackintosh, and if it fails or is too troublesome to maintain, just to use it as a Windows computer.

    Just wait, in a couple of years people will need to jailbreak their macs…….
  5. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Now that you have Sierra installed you shouldn't need to go through any contortions for subsequent updates until macOS 10.13 & can just let the Mac do updates to 10.12.x from the App Store.

    I see from your .sig that you also have a 2012 Mac Mini that is supported in Sierra so the simplest way of installing Sierra on your 3,1 was to boot into target disk mode connect to the Mac Mini via Firewire & do the install from the Mac Mini. Once the installation completes you just need to edit PlatformSupport.plist to add the board id of the 3,1.
  6. gpzjock, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Any i5 or i7 iMac produced after 2013 will more than adequately replace an 8 year old Mac Pro for most duties, I reckon. The higher GFX spec ones, preferrably with a fusion drive, do the best job. You will be forced to use Thunderbolt for expansion but Apple expect this on the nMP too.
    Here in the UK a brand new 5k iMac (£1849) is a better buy than the base level nMP (£2499) if you don't need 2 AMD GFX cards and you would rather get a nice 5k screen thrown in.

    Disclosure: I didn't follow my own advice, I have an i5 Hackintosh running El Capitan, built for about £1200. It hammers my MP3,1.
  7. nigelbb, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    An entry level 5K iMac is actually £1449 for a 3.2GHz i5 model although that is with a HDD & only 8GB RAM.

    Running Handbrake which scales well multithreaded & maxes out the processors I find that jobs complete faster on the four cores of the 2.6GHz i7 in my Retina MBP than on the eight cores of my dual 3.2GHz Mac Pro 3,1 so I am sure that the top of the range iMac with a 4GHz i7 will be way faster for Handbrake. For other workloads my 3,1 could be faster as it has 56GB RAM & a GTX680 not to mention 28TB (3 x 8TB & 1 x 4TB) of internal disks.
  8. gpzjock, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    As I said, most duties, if you need 12 core operations the nMP has it at an insane price (£5699).The right 5k iMac for those duties would be the i7 (£2049 or £2249 with 4GB gfx). Take your pick.
    Personally I'd save the £3650, but that is just my opinion.:)
  9. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    I don't understand why people are surprised, or dare I say frustrated - to the point they consider switching to Windows!!! - that Sierra doesn't support the 2008 MP. I mean, did you expect Apple to support those machines indefinitely or something? It's always been that way.

    As you can see in my sig, I have both a 1,1 (flashed to 2,1) and a 5,1. When Mountain Lion came out, it was only after 6 years the 2006 MP (and its 32bit efi...) was released. OS X or macOS or in fact Apple has never been a big advocate or backward compatibility, because they're in the business of selling hardware.

    The way Sierra can be installed on a 3,1 is roughly the same procedure that we've been using to install 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 and 10.11 on our 1,1s and 2,1s - actually it's even easier. 3,1 is now 8 years old and people are freaking out because the latest OS dropped support for these machines? Like I said, I don't understand...


    It's not about being wealthy, it's about measuring your needs, saving money if you need, and buy the computer you want. It's not like maintaining an Aston Martin. Macs were never cheap, so what? Saving for a few months can buy you a Mac Pro - yes they are expensive machines (and yes the Mac Pro badly needs a refresh), but that's because they are expensive that I can type this on a 2006 2016, and I will keep this computer for many years even when I buy a new Mac. As for the OS, I'm lucky I'm able to run El Capitan on it, but imo, the OS compatibility shouldn't dictate the decision of upgrading or not. Your 3,1s can run El Capitan natively, which will be supported until 2018 or so, and with a little tweak they can also run Sierra with no issue, which will be supported until 2019 or 2020, who knows... And even when it's not supported anymore, these machines won't magically stop working. That leaves plenty of time to save money for an upgrade, and guess what, you don't even need to be rich for that.
  10. Synchro3, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Yes, multi core performance of the Mac Pro 3,1 is significantly lower than on your MacBook Pro. Below for info some data from the Mactracker app for different models:
    Mac Pro 2008.png MacBook Pro 2013.png MacBook Pro 2015.png Mac Pro 2012.png iMac 5K.png
  11. cpeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    I agree that the nMP is not worth the price. My challenge with the iMac is the cost vs performance. The 5K iMac with 4.0 GHz i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and 2 TB fusion drive is $2799. Throw in the $200 OWC memory upgrade to 32 GB and you are up to $2,999. My 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 64 bit GeekBench score is 11,300 vs the new iMac is 16,600. That does not seem to be a big performance jump for the $3k.

    The 2012 cMP with 3.06 GHz processors, 64 GB RAM, and SSD can be had for around $2,000 with a score of 27,800. The big issue with this one is what will Apple do in regards to future OS support.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2016 ---
    Personally I am not frustrated with decision to drop the early 2008 Mac Pro as it is an 8 year old machine and different from the newer machines, but the 2009 seems very arbitrary. The 2009 hardware is more capable than several of the models that they kept supported. The 2009 is almost identical to the 2010 except for the firmware. Why drop support if the hardware is the same?

    The 2010 and 2012 are identical. My concern is what happens next round - do they keep supporting the 2010 as long as they support the 2012; do they drop support for the 2010 and keep supporting the 2012 for two more years; or do they drop support for both of them at the same time?
  12. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2010
    Mountain Lion (four years ago) was the last time OS support was dropped for any Mac. And unlike the 64-bit CPU requirement for Lion, or the 64-bit EFI requirement for Mountain Lion, there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason to drop support for these machines.

    And as for Windows: if one wanted to replace his 2008 Mac Pro with a new multiprocessor workstation or wanted to run the latest GPUs, what other choice would he have?
  13. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    You sure these numbers reflect multi core performance?

    My 8 core (2x 3.0 x5365s) is more in the 12000 range and it's a 1,1 (2,1 flashed), I would expect a 3,1 to be slightly above. 8166 for example seems odd...
  14. cpeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    I was shocked at the numbers as well because they don't match my own testing on my machine. I noticed it said Geekbench 2 at the bottom of the screenshots whereas I look at the Geekbench 3 numbers.
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Seems arbitrary how? Apple's Vintage and Obsolete Mac hardware support policies have not changed in over 10 years (getting closer two 20). Before you could have bought the 2008 Mac Pro the policy was/is the following:

    ".. Vintage products are those that have not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago. Apple has discontinued hardware service ...
    Obsolete products are those that were discontinued more than 7 years ago .."

    The Mac Pro 2009 is sitting there right on the list. The Mac Pro 2008 has been on the list. The surprise should be why there is a macOS update for something on the Vintage/Obsolete list not they got dropped as supported. Unsupported hardware cannot possible be part of a fully supported system ( hardware + software). "Half" of the system is unsupported so not huge leap for the whole system to fall into the same category.

    That is arbitrary not even in the slightest. It is called arithmetic. 2009 replaced by 2010 in 2010. 2010 + 5 = 2015. That means the 2009 model can go on the list in 2016.

    Is the 2010 model going into the desupport status next year? Probably, No. Even if Apple hand waves the 2012 as a "end of manufacture" point 2012 + 5 = 2017. Like the 2009, it would probably get a year to transition onto the the when eligible. So 2018. Technically the 2010 and 2012 carry the same model number. So if looking at the end of 5,1 manufacture status then that is 2013. 2013 + 5 = 2018. It would not be surprising to see it get dropped right away since went 3 years in service before manufacture stop. That is probably going to shorten the window. [ Intel has dropped the CPUs in these models at this point. Apple isn't way out of industry and legal norms here. ]

    Has far more to do with being obsolete and being the documented and openly stated policy of the company. There is no separate category break out for the Mac Pro from the rest o the Mac hardware line up. The initial warrantee periods are the same. The "end of life" window/policies are the same.

    Obsolete hardware gets pulled from "build and test" labs. If the software is not being tested on the hardware it shouldn't be released as supported is running any kind of industry standard software quality process. No test; no coverage. Very simple and nothing arbitrary about that at all. If the new OS "happens to work" fine, but Apple isn't going to officially endorse that.

    Has the overall software quality of the OS X releases gone up or down since Apple has "froze" the hardware coverage the last several releases ? I think the consensus is that it is down. The only source of their problems? No. A contributing factor? With the likely fixed sized allocation of development and testing resources, probably yes.

    "But Windows supports a broader time window"..... yeah and Windows as probably has an order of magnitude more resources applied to the bigger problem which is funded by a much larger revenue stream.

    People buying used Mac contribute $0.0 to the development costs of the new macOS. So Apple not particularly being pressed about giving them a free operating system.... not arbitrary in the slightest. Pay nothing, get nothing. Pretty straight forward.
  16. Synchro3, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Mac Pro 2006.png Mac Pro 2007.png

    Please note that Mactracker refers to Geekbench 2 (32 Bit) results, but nevertheless MacTracker results give a good overview. Geekbench 3 (32/64 Bit) results may differ.

    Only with Geekbench 2 you can compare all Macs. Geekbench 3 does not support old Macs, e.g. Mac Mini 2006.
  17. nigelbb, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2016 ---
    I think that the Geekbench scores scraped from the Primate Labs website can get hopelessly messed up because of the inclusion of Hackintosh systems that are spoofing a real Mac system ID

    The benchmark figures from

    MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.6 15" Late 2013 (IG)2.6 GHz Core i7 (I7-4960HQ)

    Geekbench 2(32-Bit All Cores): 13659 Geekbench 2(64-Bit All Cores): 15242
    Geekbench 3(32-Bit One Core): 3342 Geekbench 3(32-Bit All Cores): 12576
    Geekbench 3(64-Bit One Core): 3700 Geekbench 3(64-Bit All Cores): 14596

    Mac Pro "Eight Core" 3.2 (2008)3.2 GHz Q. Core Xeon X5482 x2

    Geekbench 2(32-Bit All Cores): 10157 Geekbench 2(64-Bit All Cores): 11850
    Geekbench 3(32-Bit One Core): 1724 Geekbench 3(32-Bit All Cores): 11637
    Geekbench 3(64-Bit One Core): 1850 Geekbench 3(64-Bit All Cores): 12490

    I haven't done a formal benchmark myself but my impression was that running Handbrake that the 2.6GHz i7 was faster by 15-20% which is supported by the Geekbench 3 result.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2016 ---

    Personally I would find sinking $2000 into an old system with no warranty more of an issue. The iMac also comes with a a lovely 5K monitor. The multithreaded benchmark scores of the 4.0GHz iMac are about 65-70% of the 12-core Mac Pro but single threaded score for Geekbench 3 is double the 3.06GHz 5,1 & nearly treble that of the 2.8GHz 3,1. Most applications don't scale over 12 cores (Handbrake is a notable exception). You will likely appreciate the single stream performance in day to day use much more than multi-threaded.

    iMac "Core i7" 4.0 27-Inch (5K, Late 2015)4.0 GHz Core i7 (I7-6700K)

    Geekbench 2(32-Bit All Cores): Pending Geekbench 2(64-Bit All Cores): Pending
    Geekbench 3(32-Bit One Core): 4050 Geekbench 3(32-Bit All Cores): 19507
    Geekbench 3(64-Bit One Core): 4474 Geekbench 3(64-Bit All Cores): 17368

    Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 3.06 (2012/Westmere)3.06 GHz 6 Core Xeon X5675 x2

    Geekbench 2(32-Bit All Cores): 22180 Geekbench 2(64-Bit All Cores): 24980
    Geekbench 3(32-Bit One Core): 2388 Geekbench 3(32-Bit All Cores): 25208
    Geekbench 3(64-Bit One Core): 2277 Geekbench 3(64-Bit All Cores): 26146

    Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.8 (2008)2.8 GHz Q. Core Xeon E5462 x2

    Geekbench 2(32-Bit All Cores): 9162 Geekbench 2(64-Bit All Cores): 10564
    Geekbench 3(32-Bit One Core): 1531 Geekbench 3(32-Bit All Cores): 10383
    Geekbench 3(64-Bit One Core): 1650 Geekbench 3(64-Bit All Cores): 11214
  18. cpeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    Thanks for the link - I had not seen it before. The support article only references hardware support - parts and service. I understand the reasons behind dropping hardware as parts must be stocked, and it does not make sense after a certain point.

    However, we are talking about OS support. There is no mention of the OS support in the article.

    If we follow the logic you laid out, then we should see the following:

    Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) - Discontinued on March 3, 2009 - OS support dropped in Fall, 2016 - right at 7.5 years
    Mac Pro 4,1 (2009) - Discontinued on July 27, 2010 - OS support dropped in Fall, 2016 - right at 6.25 years
    Mac Pro 5,1 (2010) - Discontinued on June 11, 2012 - OS support should go into until 2017 at least
    Mac Pro 5,1 (2012) - Discontinued on October 22, 2013 - OS support should go into until 2018 at least

    I think that is the problem though - there is no official stated policy on OS support. There is only a policy on hardware. We have to wait for each OS release to see what Apple is going to do. Even Microsoft has an official published support schedule for their software.

    Using the cases laid out, it is clear that they are not using 7 years (the 2009 Mac Pro was discontinued before 7 years even though it is the same hardware as the 2010).

    I think this underscores my point. We are all sitting in limbo land - either buy a expensive Mac Pro that is already at least 3 year old technology and has the same performance as the 6 to 7 year old Mac Pros; buy another Mac model that has the same or less performance as a 6 to 8 year old Mac Pro; buy a used Mac Pro for a less money but gives better overall performance; or try to cobble together a Hackintosh.
  19. drasl, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    drasl macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Just want to make one thing clear and that is that “not supporting” certain hardware is a very different thing than actively going out of your way to make sure that one cant use that hardware to install an OS .

    Sierra does not warn a user that his hardware is not supported and that hardware might not work and so on, it simply does not allow even capable machines to install because ……well …1984.

    I have a MP 2008. I installed Sierra (pretty much a hassle since Apple is blocking it).

    But everything works except wifi, and since I don’t use the wifi, I don’t care.

    Lets make this simple:

    Support = Helping the old lady cross the road

    No support= Not helping the old lady cross the road.

    Apple “no support”= Raise a wall with alligators on the other side so the lady can never cross the road.
  20. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    To get back on topic, which is now off topic, the 2008 Mac Pros were "obsoleted" in 2009 with the release of the 4,1. the change in the chip and system architecture, and the benefits that spread throughout from those, made the 2009 release a major step up from the previous Mac Pros. now in December of 2013, not so big a jump.

    That Intel kept developing and releasing CPUs for years that were effectively drop in replacements for the 4,1 and 5,1, that the cost of compatible RAM and other components have been steadily dropping since those machines were released, that newer graphics cards and other peripherals (such as PCIe SSDs and USB3 cards) can be added to those systems, that all the Mac Pros are tanks and just keep working all these years later and that used systems and all the parts and upgrades have been available at very compelling prices on eBay, since about 2011, that anyone is still using the now 8 year old 3,1 and complaining that Apple doesn't care about them anymore, well, you could have had your much improved and much better supported system, for a bargain price, at any point in the past 5 years. in fact, it's still not too late.

    If you really can't afford anything at all, then maybe you don't get the latest and greatest. it's a reality for almost everything else, why not operating systems too. (sparing you the , 'when I was a kid' story). and what are you stuck with if you accept Apple's position? an all of one year old operating system that is still being updated. I think you will be okay. But you must have the latest OS the day it's released? for what? Messages? Apple Music? anything Apple crapped out in the last 5 years will do that for you just fine. You don't need a Mac Pro for using OS features.

    A note on up updating old Mac Pros. I've purchased and upgraded over 20 with all parts (excepts hard drives and SSDs) purchased used on eBay. only one Mac Pro eventually failed (logic board) and a couple 5870s (bad fan design, prone to failure regardless). yes, it's a risk, if you don't want risk, buy a new machine and keep it under a warranty. potential has a cost.
  21. ITguy2016 Suspended

    May 25, 2016
    I have no issues with Apple including code to block the install on unsupported systems. It's a clear signal to the user the OS is unsupported on that hardware. It would prevent accidental installation of the OS on that hardware. Those who wish to work around the block do so knowing is unsupported and accept the risk of problems.
  22. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
  23. limes666 macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016

    I am a new member to Macrumors, this is my first post; I am a bit of a novice to forums in general.
    So firstly, apologies if I am meant to start a new thread, let me know - but my question relates to this thread so I thought maybe I ask here?

    I read through a lot of stuff here yesterday, as I also consider upgrading my Mac Pro 3,1. I bought the machine when it came out and I do video and animation work mainly, so it's great to have 4 drives (2 x HD, 2x SSD) where I can spread footage/exports/media caches/apps over the drives. I like to upgrade the machine casually, it works really well and I upgrade when I get some money occaisionaly.
    I also play some games on it every now and then, so sometimes think about future GPU upgrades.

    I can see there are lots of options and opinions and personal preferences, and also the debate around the new OS, which got me thinking. I guess my question was, do I spend more money to upgrade the machine? And then I saw this ad at saying they swap your 3,1 bits into a 5,1 machine. Wondered if anyone had used them / heard of them before? I haven't got a quote from them yet so maybe not cost effective.

    As you can tell I am fairly casual when it comes to upgrades etc as I dont have too much spare time, but thinking about GPU seems 5,1 can support more.

    Hope this post isn't too naff - I know it's a bit vague.

    My current machine is Mac Pro 3,1, 16GB 800Mhz Ram, 2 x SSD (250 + 500) , 2 x HD, (500 + 1tb), GTX680 2GB mac edition

    Thanks ......
  24. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    Get 2012 or 2010 ( which might end support next year.) but it's up to you. Do you to stay current?
  25. devon807 macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2014
    Would the rMBP be a feasible option? I'm in the same boat, the old 3,1 is starting to show its age a bit. I was thinking about the rMBP 2012 13 or 15 inch, but can't decide between the two. Does anyone have a 13in that drives a 4k monitor?
    Is it smooth?

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