Mac Pro 3,1 question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by crazyeyes, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. crazyeyes macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hi guys, I have a Mac Pro 3,1 2.8ghz quad core, 8gb ram, 320gb hdd, nvidia geforce 8800gt 512mb ram. I am thinking about selling this machine and buying one of the newer mac pro's what do you guys think the value of this computer still is? Gazelle and the other sites that say sell us your mac are offering about $400 for it, I would like to think it is still worth about $600-$700, its got a fresh install of mavericks on it.

    Just looking for some guidance from you guys.
     
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #2
    Go on Ebay and buy a matched processor, in your case, a Xeon E5462 SLANT processor, and a '08 heatsink and install it in the empty socket on your board. The upgrade here cost me about $70 and a few hours of time, and ups your selling price by about $200. With that upgrade, I would suspect you could sell the machine for closer to $700-800. Keep in mind, if you want to put some effort into it, the 3,1 is still a reasonably capable machine, and can be brought up to speed with a few upgrades. New GPU and a PCIe SSD makes a 3,1 fly.
     
  3. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    I've heard the 3,1 is still capable but I feel the 4,1 is a better investment? I mean what gpu is recommended? PCI-e based ssd's are expensive for the Mac Pro
     
  4. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #4
    My octo 3.2 32gb 3,1 is absolutely fine for my uses, more than powerful enough for me at the moment. It will last until I pick up a dual socket 4/5.1 up cheap and then I'll sell the 3,1 chassis and transplant all my upgrades (GTX 680, Solo X2, SSD's, USB 3 card) inside the newer tower for even more horsepower.

    Buy all ram and CPU upgrades used for the 3,1 off eBay, they are pretty cheap. Just make sure they have a returns option so you can test them thoroughly.
     
  5. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Is the GTX680 a direct drop in or does it need to be flashed? I don't think I will need much more than 16gb of ram really! I have been wanting to get an ssd drive. Which USB 3.0 card did you use?
     
  6. pitabox987 macrumors member

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    #6
    I have a very similar machine, getting a little old now but still working well.

    IMHO the processor configuration you have is fine, there really isn't much that needs more, unless you're doing hardcore graphics or video work. — I would probably upgrade the hard drive(s) though and the RAM to 32GB

    As for the graphics card, the 8800GT was nice five years ago, upgrade it to an ATI Radeon HD 5770, It's the best graphics card the machine is capable of supporting to my knowledge, I may be wrong.

    Depending upon how much you use them, you may also wish to consider upgrading your optical drive(s) to SATA drives as IDE is becoming difficult to find. (Unbeknownst to most users the Mac Pro 3,1 has two additional SATA ports hidden below the front fan box.), It's a bit of work but will prove useful in the future.

    As for the OS I can't comment, I still run Snow Leopard.
     
  7. Gav Mack, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #7
    PC version works fine without a boot screen, think it has to be 10.8.3 or newer for drivers through. Takes 5 mins to flash mac EFI in bootcamp.

    Usb either the Inateck card if you're in Europe or the Orico if you're in the states, you will need to run a long power cable from the optical bay to power the usb 3 card card which in my case also powers the second SSD port on the solo card.

    There are large threads related to the usb 3.0 cards, power cabling and the GTX 680's in the forum, not too far back as they get bumped very often!
     
  8. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Alright, now not to sound too ignorant, I used to build my own pc's and I know a great video card was a requirement for gaming, but over the 8800GT, what performance boosts am I possibly looking at with a video card upgrade?
     
  9. Gav Mack, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #9
    For my case I don't play games it was adobe CS6 - it was a huge boost in performance from my 8800GT. The only game that gets played on it was Minecraft by my son. The frame rate at 1920x1200 I think went up by a factor of 5 or 6, he plays it with the maximum settings and the beastliest shader pack and the fan doesn't even rev up! :D
     
  10. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Alright, I will be doing some decent photoshop work with my machine. Now the question is, do you think the gtx680 is worth double the cost over the radeon hd5770?
     
  11. Gav Mack, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #11
    If you have an upgrade path in mind like mine eventually going to a 5,1 eventually then definitely. But if it's a stop gap until you can get a nMP it might be prudent buying a cheaper card.

    Spend half the money saved on up buying used ram cos 8gb for photoshop isn't enough by far. I have 8gb in my MBP and even with the 8800GT with 32gb and the images I work with do not slow it down at all, I would say 16gb as minimum but used ram I would just max it out. The gtx 680 really kicks ass when you start to use the GPU heavy stuff like Gaussian blurs which it just laughs at compared to the 8800GT! Then there's rendering in Premiere lol.
     
  12. NOTNlCE, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #12
    I use a 3,1 myself, and even in casual use I have noticed a great performance increase when dropping in another processor, especially for something as trivial as $70 off Ebay. Any PC NVIDIA GPU will work in OS X, though without a boot screen. Like Gav Mack said, since there is a GTX 680 Mac Edition, the EFI Rom is readily available and easy to flash should you need a boot screen. I use a GTX 660, and it's worlds better than the Radeon 2600 XT that came with my machine. I recently got another 1080p monitor, which I drove off the Radeon for a few hours, until I tried to watch a video on it, and noticed that the Radeon was offloading the load onto my CPU because it couldn't handle it.

    PCIe SSDs are not expensive at all, honestly, I was able to pick up a Velocity Solo x1 for $45 and a Samsung 840 EVO SSD for another $80, and my machine boots crazy fast off of it. Threw in another 1TB and configured a Fusion Drive. I have 14GB of RAM, though running at 667Mhz, and that's plenty for me. I rarely use it all.
    I do casual video editing, 720-1080p in Premiere Pro, and the CUDA acceleration in my video card helps to render faster for sure. If you don't mind me asking, what do you use your machine for? If you don't need the super horsepower of a nMP, adding another processor will give you roughly a 40% performance increase in CPU related activity.
     
  13. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    I can understand that actually, if that is the case though, I haven't run into many issues where 8GB of ram isn't enough and due to cost of ram for the 3,1 might hold off on adding too much more ram. I would like to get a 5,1 but it seems at the amount of money spent on upgrades to the 3,1 and then the cost of the 5,1 I could have just bought a nMP?

    ----------

    I use my Mac Pro for photo editing, full frame raw files from a canon 6d. It is just a hobby right now, but hope to start making money from it.
     
  14. Gav Mack, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #14
    Used ram for the 3,1 is cheap, forget new it's outrageously priced cos they don't make it any more. I used to think ram wasn't important too till I got my 3,1. Most photoshop users running macs I know think 16gb is the bare minimum and I agree, and for a 3,1 user on a budget I would max it right out to 32gb.

    ----------

    I edit raw from a cheapo Nikon D90 as a non pro and I can tell you for certain that 8gb ram for you is certainly not enough! Add an SSD for boot drive and if you're greedy another for scratch though I just use my 840 evo it's an eye opener.

    Give you one quick example - a friend of mine brought his 2012 retina 15 inch MacBook Pro round 16gb ram with nvidia GPU at Xmas and after bragging about his retina and mocking my old bucket we decided to leave the ladies to it and play drunken Photoshop racing with his raw files from his 5D and lots of layers. He lost and wasn't amused being well beaten by my old beast :) I've been taking the mick so much since he's thinking of getting a nMP lol
     
  15. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #15
    I would go ahead and upgrade the 3,1 as opposed to getting a nMP. You'll get more performance per $ upgrading your 3,1 than you will buying a nMP. For sure go with another 2.8 Xeon in your empty socket; if you're up for it, get 3.2s and replace both CPUs. Regardless, you'll need another heatsink. Get a new GPU, 600 series NVIDIA cards are great, I find refurb or used ones on clearance at my local Micro Center for up to 50% retail price. Keep in mind, your Mac Pro will only deliver up to 2 6pin Power Connectors to the GPU without routing power from the optical bay or using an external PSU. RAM is great if you can get a good deal. Like Gav Mack said, new FB-DIMMs are absurdly expensive, but you can sometimes find them cheap on Ebay. IMHO, I think a nMP would be overkill for what you're doing with your machine, and your Mac Pro has a ton of potential that ~$300 will unlock.
     
  16. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

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    #16
    Gazelle is a rip off ... sure, they will be quick to give you bottom dollar for your equipment. Sell it on eBay, you will get more for it.

    That is what I am doing with mine.
     
  17. Mac Gus macrumors regular

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    #17
    I'd be hesitant to invest a lot in a 3,1. I'd do the bare minimum to allow you to hold out until you can get a nMP. If you had a 4,1 or 5,1 I think it's worth putting some money into those machines but the 3,1 is a different computer architecturally. That's just my opinion though. It's still a good computer but not one I'd want to max out especially if I wanted to get a nMP in a year or so.
     
  18. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Yeah I guess but in the event if moving to a 4,1 or 5,1 instead of a nMP all the upgrades would transfer over!
     
  19. Mac Gus macrumors regular

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    #19
    Do you really wanna go 3,1 to 4,1/5,1, than to nMP? Seems like a lot of jumps that could get expensive and time consuming. I'd hold off for a bit and save up for a nMP if that is really what you ultimately want. Or just get a 4,1/5,1 now and commit to that for a several years. That's basically what I'm doing with my 4,1 that I'm dumping close to 2 grand into upgrading now...
     
  20. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #20
    If the 3,1 owned is quick enough then I dont see why not for far less than 2 grand. The memory and CPU wont cost much used on ebay, the Solo X2, used GTX 680 GPU and USB 3.0 card in my case came to about 500 USD equivalent. The dearest outlay was the pair of 840 EVO 750 and 250 which can be used in anything. This can all be transplanted in a newer tower when one comes along cheap with the old chassis sold on ebay. My 3,1 octo 3.2 with 32gb cost 640 bucks, 540 after I sold the raid card.

    Upgrading on a shoestring is fine and certainly works for me!
     
  21. Mac Gus macrumors regular

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    #21
    Agreed, for $500 it's probably worth it for another year or two of use to hold you over till the nMP.
     
  22. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    Alright so I am looking for the heatsinks on eBay for the second processor and I see ones with a shield and ones without a shield, the ones with a shield are about $50 and the ones without are $20 they are the same part number just the ones with shield say they are for the 3,1 and the ones without say they are for the 1,1 and 2,1 is the shield imperative for the 3,1?
     
  23. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #23
    You have a shield currently in your Mac Pro attached to the bottom heatsink. It's not necessary at all, my Mac Pro doesn't even have the shield installed at the moment. Just be careful ordering the heatsink - on the '06 and '07 heatsinks, the cutouts are just slightly different, which doesn't allow that heatsink to be placed in the top socket. I got an '06/07 heatsink when I ordered, and I had to remove the existing heatsink from the bottom socket and move it to the top. That's basically worst case scenario, which honestly isn't that bad.
     
  24. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

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    #24
    I have seen 3,1 on ebay tank and loose about $250 in value lately. Especially the single socket units.

    FWIW recently I sold 3,1 on CL
    2x 3.0
    24GB
    500GB
    500GB
    160GB
    GT 120
    20" LCD
    Mac Keyb and Win Mouse
    Case and inside in pristine condition

    I sold it ofr $950 next day. Machine was ROCK SOLID for years but I was moving to 4,1 and needed to sell quick.

    When buying online make sure you have shipping warranty etc as the handles are easy to bend etc.
     
  25. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    Thats interesting cause when I was looking on ebay for them the part numbers were the same. I will search a bit more and see if I can find one that is meant for the 08. I think I am just going to put the second 2.8gHz chip in. I was thinking of looking for two of the 3.2gHz chips but decided it probably wouldn't be too much of a performance boost over the 2.8 and not worth the money.
     

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