Mac Pro 5.1 differences?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by olegunnar, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. olegunnar macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2013

    I've been trying to read up on Mac Pro, but there's so much I'm still unsure of.

    First: Is any 5.1 mac pro identical in basic hardware, i.e. can I reach any configuration by exchanging the CPU daughterboard (if it's a single CPU board), CPU(s) and graphics board (excluding memory and storage)? Are there only one kind of mp5.1 motherboard?

    I'm looking to replace my late 2006 iMac with something that will last me at least as long. The iMac would still be fine for me if it didn't have the Apple ignored bad solder joints (frequent freezes) that this model suffered from, and if it was upgradeable to new versions of OS X.
    I've been waiting for a mini update, but then I spotted this ebay ad:

    which seems like a great deal. That's what makes me suspicious :)
    About 1600 USD for an entry level 5.1 with a year of warranty and free shipping. Isn't that pretty good or is there a reason for avoiding this model?
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    The Mac Pro 5.1 has a common logic board for all the models, so you can interchange the various parts.

    The warranty supplied by them only covers parts they supply, if the logic board goes on the machine then you are not covered. As well that machine never shipped with the 2.66 GHz processor or 640gb hard drive the 4,1 did, looks like someone trying to pull a fast one to me.

    Edit: The video card is the gt120 not the 5770 it should be same as a 4,1 too.
  3. Studio K, Nov 4, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    That eBay offer appears to be a 2009 4,1 that has been flashed with 5,1 firmware.
    Flashing is something a lot of people do and works quite well, but the seller does not appear to disclose this (unless I overlooked it). So they are selling a 4,1 for a 5,1 price.

    A 2009 Mac Pro base-model (2.66GHz) is not worth $1600. They can be had for less---even in the UK where the prices may be a bit higher than North America.

    The 4,1 or the 5,1 can be upgraded easily. Both models use the x58 motherboard (which cannot be upgraded). But the Processors can be upgraded (up to 6-core 3.46GHz) as can the graphics cards and ram.
    Additional PCIe cards can be added for USB 3 and eSata and SSD.

    I would look for a different offer from another seller. You can buy a 4,1 and flash it yourself to 5,1 for less money than they are asking for.
  4. olegunnar thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2013

    That's really great posts from both of you. I'll pass on this one and find a more honest seller. Thanks for pointing out the 4.1 stuff (and that the warranty is useless).

    Good to know that the logic board is the same.

    What would be a reasonable ballpark figure for a 4.1 and 5.1 entry model in Europe? Just so I have something to go by. Remember that we're always screwed in Europe price-wise. The UK doesn't seem to be hit as hard as e.g. Germany where prices are just insane, though.

    You touched upon it slightly, but I would be right in assuming that en entry level 4.1 or 5.1 should last another 6-8 years, perhaps with an upgrade here or there, right? I understand that you can't guarantee that, but just your best guess. Support was allegedly dropped for my iMac, because there isn't any 64 bit drivers for the gfx chip. That wouldn't happen if I could upgrade the gfx board as on the pro, I guess. I'm well aware that in eight years, it may be considered slow, but that's not that big a concern. My c2d is still usable (although more speed wouldn't hurt).

    Am I on the right track or should I wait for a new mini? I'm not going the iMac route again as I'd like to separate monitor and computer when I upgrade.
  5. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    6-8 years might be a bit of a stretch depending on what you do with it, but I have a 4,1 Mac Pro that I bought in Dec 2009, and I've changed to the 5,1 firmware, 6-core 3.33GHz CPU, and other upgrades, with even more planned ahead, such as a GTX 780 perhaps. My plan is to keep using it until it really can't keep up any longer, which I guess will be about 2015 or 2016.

    My guess is that a 5,1 can keep up for another few years in the 1080p & 4K video / photo / audio / graphics design world.
  6. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    Look around on eBay to get an idea of the current prices for these models.

    I purchase a 4,1 from eBay 6 months ago.

    A 5,1 is going to cost several hundred more I would think.

    Try to get a basic, entry-level model so you don't pay more money for original Apple factory upgrades that you will probably upgrade yourself anyway.
    BASE MODEL specs:
    4,1: 2.66GHz, Gt120, 3-6GB ram
    5,1: 2.8GHz, 5770 Radeon, 3-6GB ram
  7. olegunnar thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2013
  8. fabiovirgi7 macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Yeah, totally agree.

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