Mac Pro 5.1 still a good purchase option in 2016?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gdourado, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. gdourado macrumors 6502

    gdourado

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #1
    Hello, how are you?
    The tittle pretty much says it all...
    Is a six year old machine still a good option if bought today?
    The prices are still rather high...
    But I seem to find 2010 Mac Pro 8 core (2x E5620 CPU) and 16gb of ram for 850-900 euros.
    If I add a plextor M6e pcie SSD for system and some 3tb hard drives for storage, how will it handle general every day use and some photography use?
    Also, in the future, it can be upgraded to a pair of X5675 cpu's for around 250 euros and more ram.
    Is this still a good machine?
    Where does it lack today? And for how long will it be supported and have OSX updates?

    Thank you.
    Cheers!
     
  2. h9826790, Jun 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    For Photo's work, you don't need the 8 cores machine. In fact, due to the clock speed usually is lower on the dual CPU model, you photography software's performance may be a bit lower than the single CPU model.

    For photography work, the 5,1 still a capable machine, but TBH, not as good as the new iMac. Which has a very nice 5K display, fastest CPU in all the Mac, that's what you need in photo's work (plus some decent amount of memory, of course).

    IMO, it didn't lack of any important thing, unless you need thunderbolt for some reason. The biggest limitation in the cMP now is actually the CPU (more precise, the CPU single core performance). If that's fast enough for you, then you should be fine.

    If you are budget tight, you should consider the single CPU 4,1, but not dual CPU 5,1. The 4,1 can be flash to 5,1 for free. And then a W3690 (or W3680 / X5677 if that's significantly cheaper in your town) will make it the fastest photoshop cMP.

    I never use the M6e, so no comment on it. But yes, you need a SSD to make it run smoothly. The best CP ratio option is just buy a SATA SSD (e.g. 850Evo) and then plug that into one of the SATA slot (e.g. the lower optical bay), for small files read / write, the high PCIe bandwidth usually won't help anything, SATA 2 is good enough for most of the job (unless you deal with multi GB size photos everyday, then the PCIe SSD may able to speed up your workflow).

    I don't know how much that will cause in Europe, but what you are looking for should be something like

    1) Mac Pro 4,1 (Single CPU model), which can cost as low as $400.
    2) RAM, start with 3x8G DDR3 RAM is recommended, should be well below $100. You may go for 4x8G or even 3x16G. However, DO NOT go for 4x16G if you are using W36xx CPU (It won't boot!).
    3) CPU, W3680 usually is the best CP ratio option, as low as $150 (but seems the price went up a bit in the last months). And all X5677, X5680, X5690, W3690 are good CPU upgrade.
    4) A 1TB 850 Evo, $300 (or 500GB if budget tight)
    5) May need a GPU upgrade, a used 7950 can cost as low as $100, and able to self flash to be the Mac graphic card. Even though you don't flash it, it still work OOTB, but just no boot screen.
    6) USB 3.0 card is a useful upgrade as well, Inateck KT4004 is a good option, around $25
    7) few multi TB HDD as you wish

    This should cost much less then the dual CPU 5,1, and actually perform better than that for photo's work.

    From memory, I never see any photography software use more than 6 cores (may be not even 4), even it does, it's only a matter of seconds, and should be only able to do that very occasionally. There is no point to buy a dual CPU model for much more money and let the cores stay idle for 99% of the time, but not buy a single CPU model with faster single core speed which is really useful in most of the work.

    Also, once you go for the dual CPU option, the cheaper W36xx CPU upgrade is not your options anymore. That's another disadvantage (if you don't really need more than 6 cores).
     
  3. tuxon86 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    #3
    Not really worth it at this point. You're better off with an iMac like the previous poster said.
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    Well, a new 5K iMac is quite a different budget, not anywhere near 900 Euros.
     
  5. tuxon86 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    #5
    But it's a better investment. At this ppoint, and if it's only for using Adobe applications I would even recommend a standard i5 based PC with a middle of the road GPU.
     
  6. pat500000 macrumors 603

    pat500000

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    #6
    2010 is nice. If you super grade it you don't need nMP 2013.
     
  7. kucharsk macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    #7
    Eek - I wouldn't wish Windows on my worst enemy.
     
  8. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #8
    Any rational, defensible reason for that?
     
  9. tuxon86 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    #9
    You must have stop at windows XP then...
    Beside, once your in your applications, the OS is irrelevant. Photoshop on windows work the same as in OS X without the Apple tax on top.
     
  10. mattspace macrumors 6502

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    Personally, I don't believe any pre-thunderbolt3 machine has an advantage as far as being "newer" tech, when talking about it as an investment, or having any sort of futureproofing.

    TB3 is shaping up to be a major change in the architecture of systems, given that it's the first TB version which is truly as versatile as a PCI slot, and my suspicion is that unlimited nature isn't going to be backported to TB1&2, which are going to be the new Firewire / SCSI ie legacy connectors.

    IF you want a machine for any reason other than "need it now, and can totally replace it in a couple of years" there's nothing in the current range that'll offer a more futureproof option than a 4,1 / 5,1.
     
  11. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #11
    A narrow, slow PCIe slot....

    On topic, though, the cMP is really sounding its death rattle.

    If you depend on FCPx, buy the cylinder. If you want power, RAM, connectivity - get a Precision or a Z-Series.
     
  12. mattspace macrumors 6502

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    true, but from what I've read so far, the performance difference of a GPU for example in a 16x internal slot vs a 4x TB attached enclosure is in the realms of the error bars in terms of blind testing.

    But I'm more directing it towards is an iMac more futureproof than a cheesegrater, and I'd say probably not.
     
  13. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #13
    Its just that we have to restart the PCs daily to keep them stable, and its unpredictable when they decide to misbehave. The OSX machines not so much. The password/unlock/security and call home "features" on the newest windows boxes are troublesome. We lose so much productivity dealing with it, unlike the older windows OSs that could be user modified/patched. The constant near daily "security" updates are a real pain.

    Works the same, not in our experience. ... oh and lets not use the typical windows fanboy blame the creative users for not being technocrats :)
     
  14. kucharsk macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    #14
    Speaking of outdated concepts, "Apple tax?" Macs have been pretty comparable price-wise when you include all features between them and the equivalent PCs.

    But that aside, my objections include:
    • Microsoft. Just not a fan of their software and underlying architecture. I don't like NTFS, and keeping system settings in a registry is IMHO heinous.
    • The interface. Still don't like it, never liked the Windows 8/10 "I'm on a PC, not a tablet, #$@! it!!" interface. I don't want a half screen of self-updating icons/tiles when looking at the OS. It doesn't matter if it looks like Windows Phone as I would never own one of those, either.
    • Driver updates. Never want to deal with them which is why I don't have a non-Apple supplied graphics card in my Mac Pro 5,1.
    • Viruses. Having to use a third party solution or Windows Defender, or even think about such things is something I can do without.
    • I love Time Machine and its backups to my Time Capsule.
    • I prefer Safari as a browser and like iCloud integration.
    • I prefer Apple Mail to MS anything or Thunderbird.
    • I prefer the OS X Calendar interface.
    • I 100% prefer the fact that OS X is built atop of a UNIX variant; if Macs didn't exist I'd try to get by with Linux except for when I needed to use commercial software.
    • I love Apple's keyboards and especially their trackpads; I have a Magic Trackpad 2 for each of my Macs. I prefer not to have a multi-button trackpad, though deep clicking my trackpad and gestures are awesome.
    • if I'm logged in as an administrator, there should be very little I don't have "permission" to do. OS X has some of these issues too, but in my experience, not as often as I've had them with Windows.
    • I love the way if an app crashes in OS X or even if the OS panics I can look at the resulting core file and intuit what went wrong.
    I can keep going, and I realize most of those are preference, but in general OS X is still an easier to use, easier to administer, and easier to use day to day than any flavor of Windows I've seen.

    I realize others may feel differently and hey, God bless; I just won't go there and could never bring myself to recommend to anyone else that they use it.
     
  15. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #15
    I would not spend that much on what is in essence and 7 year old used computer.
     
  16. kucharsk macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    #16
    It all depends; for example if you have multiple hard drives you can stuff in the case or otherwise have a use for what a Mac Pro 5,1 offers, it's hard to beat that for under $1000 US; going plug and play with four 8 TB hard drives is a hard story to beat as with an iMac you'd need to budget $300 - $400 extra for a multi-bay external Thunderbird or USB3 drive enclosure.

    I'm also one of those who likes the idea of my computer and monitor being two different pieces of hardware (though the 5K iMac is so drool-worthy I might be willing to bend there. ;-))
     
  17. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #17
    He's already over $1000 just in the purchase
     
  18. kucharsk macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    #18
    He said 850 - 900 Euros for the Mac Pro.

    At least as of this posting, that's US $962 - $1019, so it's pretty close.
     
  19. MultiFinder17, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #19
    I purchased a 2010 Mac Pro for myself earlier this year. I'm a high school teacher, and I was looking for something to be my main general-usage desktop, as well as have enough beef to it for creating videos for my class. I settled on the Mac Pro for a few reasons:

    1. Price. As a teacher, I am very price conscious. I bought the Mac Pro for $650, purchased RAM to bring it up to 40GB for $120, got a W3670 3.2GHz 6-core CPU for $90, a USB3 card for $40, and a second 20" ACD for $50 to match the one I already had. I also had a 480GB SSD and several external HDDs around that I put inside the machine. I then sold my previous iMac for $500. For about $950 ($450 once you take out the sale price of the iMac), I have a machine that is even more powerful than I reasonably need, and should last me many years to come.

    2. Convenience. It reduces the clutter on my desk by not needing several external HDDs. It's also vaguely handy to have USB ports on the front of the machine, not just on the back.

    3. Upgradability. It has a GPU that I can easily upgrade should my gaming habits ever evolve past WoW (the stock 5770 1GB plays it fine), and can take even more RAM and internal storage should my needs require it in the times to come.

    All that for less than the price of the cheapest refurbished iMac straight from Apple? Sounds like a winner to me! Given how well the community has done with regards to keeping the 1,1 and 2,1 going with the last several versions of OS X, I'm not terribly worried about what might happen when Apple decides to officially drop support for it :)

    Desk.JPG
     
  20. tuxon86 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    #20
    Again, this is false... You should try a newer version.
    And if you think Apple isn't spying on you just as Microsoft does, then I have a bridge to sell you.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 10, 2016 ---
    • Drivers update : You have them with OS X also, they are part of the patch that apples tells you to install. And you do know that you don't have to update your drivers if everything is working fine on any OS that you chose beside Apples, since in Apple case they are part of the patch and you can't unselect them.
    • Virus : Every OS as vulnerability, OSX, Linux and Windows. You are just as suceptible to malware and root kit as everyone and are living in a fantasy world if you think that OS X is safe and secure.
    All the rest are just personnal preference and in no way put OS X above Windows.
     
  21. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #21
    It does include a lovely 5K monitor & warranty
    The iMac does include a lovely 5K monitor & warranty. However 900 Euros is just the start as you could easily spend double with the usual upgrades to CPU, graphics RAM & SSD. Here in the UK the going price on eBay for a 3.33-3.46GHz 12-CPU 5,1 is the equivalent of 2000-2500 Euros. Unless really strapped for cash in the OP's position I would rather put the 900 Euros towards the purchase price of an iMac.

    It might be a different answer if you already own a cMP that you can upgrade or can buy one at a really cheap price. I have a 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 with dual 3,2GHz CPUs that is pretty much maxed out with 2 x Evo 850 1TB SSD in RAID-0 on Apricorn Velocity Duo, 56GB RAM 3 x 8TB HDD 1 x 4TB HDD, HighPoint RocketU 4-Port USB 3.0, 2GB GTX680 flashed for Apple boot screen, 40" 4K monitor. The only possible upgrade would be an Amfeltec Squid PCI card with 4 x SM951s. If you add up all the upgrade costs it's quite a lot of money but I have owned the 3,1 from new & the upgrades have been done bit by bit not in a big bang. Much could be moved over to a 4,1 or 5,1 but it really isn't worth me spending money on another Mac Pro that won't be that much faster than my current system which handles all that I throw at it in terms of photo & video editing including 4K video.

    I recently bought a used 16GB/512GB 2.6GHz i7 15.4" Retina MBP still with AppleCare for the equivalent of about 1250 Euros a price which would have bought me a 5,1 but not a dual CPU one. I needed to replace my 2008 17" MBP in any case as it overheats too often now despite having two fans replaced (it's the noise that drove me to replace it). The new MBP gives me stuff that a cMP lacks e.g. Thunderbolt, a quad core 2.6GHz i7 which is 60% faster in single stream & has a higher throughput than the dual quad core 3.2GHz Xeons. I can connect the laptop to my 4K screen & use it as a compute engine.
     
  22. pat500000 macrumors 603

    pat500000

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    #22
    Sorry for quick off topic: but I didn't know teachers game. Lol

    Upgradeability it is.
     
  23. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #23
    Haha, indeed we do. I'm only 27, and I work hard to ensure that my students never find me in Azeroth :p
     
  24. raymanster macrumors 6502

    raymanster

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    Multifinder17, great looking setup. How do you like your 20" ACD monitors? I'm always so tempted to buy on eBay, the design looks great, but then hesitate because they have been out for a long time.

    To the OP, I have a 2009 4,1 which I bought early this year from a graphics design company who was retiring it. I got an amazing deal. Upgraded it to a single processor x5670 (2.93 ghz hex), 32 GB RAM, USB 3.0 card, a couple SSDs, and a few spinners. I couldn't recommend them more. It's my multipurpose desktop but I also use it as my test lab running multiple VMs on VMware Fusion. Such a versatile desktop that will keep going.

    Keep an eye out on eBay and bargains do show up every now and again. In fact I actually I have two, my first was a 3,1 purchased in November last year, also a good deal on eBay.
     
  25. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #25
    Thanks mate! They're old LCDs, but they still look great to me. I've had one for years and years now, and I came across the opportunity to nab a second cheaply around the same time that I got the Mac Pro, so it was a no brainer to me. If you don't already have one, or you're not obsessed with having everything perfectly matching, it's getting harder to recommend the older ACDs to people now, simply due to their age. I just like them because they work well, they look great, and they match the aluminum tower perfectly. And a matching pair of any LCD is always nice to have :)
     

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