Mac Pro 5.1 Upgrade Question.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Kooki9, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Kooki9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
    Hello All!

    I am thinking of buying a Mac Pro 5.1 (see details below) and upgrading it. However, my question is, is it the right mac pro to get. I am not sure if this is the right Motherboard version. But not sure which would be the best option here. I don't really want to end up in a situation where I buy the thing and find out it's the wrong model.

    It's a Mac Pro 5.1 (mid 2010) without graphics card & without hard disk.
    CPU: Intel Xeon W3530 2.80 GHz 8-core
    Memory: 4 x 4GB DDR3 RAM
    Motherboard: Mac-F221BEC8
    For 550 Dollars

    Alternatively, I have found:
    CPU 6 core 3.47 GHz (Turbo boost 3.6 GHz)
    32 G0 RAM
    500 Go SSD
    carte USB 3.0
    For 750 dollars

    Regards,

    Kooki
     
  2. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #2
    If it's truly a 2010 8-core (and not a 2009 that someone flashed with 2010 firmware) then updating CPUs is quite easy. You can replace them directly without de-lidding.

    Since there is no graphics card, you will have to purchase one. Have you put in any thought and research as to which one to buy? If you want to run macOS Mojave you will need one that is Metal-compatible. Apple recommends the Sapphire RX 580 8GB or the MSI RX 560 4GB cards. With the 580 you will need a Y power cable such as this one: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Dua...322.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.4e514c4dZBEMhz

    I think the 6-core for $750 is not a good deal.
     
  3. fhturner macrumors 6502

    fhturner

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL & Atlanta, GA
    #3
    The first one you listed, if it indeed has a W3530, is a single-CPU model. The W-series Xeons don't support dual-processor arrangements. So probably only a quad-core and not a great deal since it has no graphics card or HD.

    The second one looks better outfitted, with a nice amount of RAM and faster SSD, but since it's also a single-CPU system, maybe a bit overpriced at $750 (at least, in USD it is...). Since that is either a flashed MP4,1 to support the CPU upgrade or a native MP5,1, being a single-CPU design and essentially identical, I wouldn't value a 2010/2012 much over a 2009 in that case.
     
  4. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #4
    Good catch on the Xeon not supporting dual CPU config. OP said 8-core so I just assumed, but yeah, a single CPU cMP with no GPU or storage @ $550 is not a good deal.
     
  5. skizzo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    #5
    to put this into perspective of what I would consider a good deal....

    I just got a dual processor 2009 (2.26ghz 4-core CPUs) with a GPU, with a HDD, with 8GB RAM, for $380. Spent another $100 on a pair of X5680's (3.33ghz 6-core) that I delidded myself using the vice method, which was very very easy in my opinion. I made my purchase for the sake of obtaining a dual CPU tray since I already have another cMP per my signature. So should I chose to setup this "new" system I will either keep it for other uses and spare parts for the main cMP, or could potentially sell it for a profit or at least cost to justify acquiring the dual CPU tray.

    I would personally pass on both of those purchases but we also don't exactly know what your end use is.

    Though $550 may sound tempting, you will likely spend that same amount getting better CPUs, GPU, drives, RAM, etc. again depending on your needs.
     
  6. fhturner macrumors 6502

    fhturner

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL & Atlanta, GA
    #6
    While I agree w/ your assessment on value not being great for these, since the OP is in Switzerland, I'm not sure if it's harder to come up with cMPs there and/or if higher shipping costs or tariffs play into it if they're not local options.
     
  7. Kooki9 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #7
    Hiya, I was thinking the Sapphire RX 580 8GB actually.

    I can check for flashed version. That's not something I would have thought about. Thanks!

    --- Post Merged, Oct 3, 2018 ---
    Actually all the shippers are in Switzerland. But the prices range really high here from like 800 to 1700 dollars for the models. Which I think is crazy and as I'm new to this I don't want to be screwed let's say.
     
  8. Kooki9 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #8
    So from what I understand, neither seem to be a good option? For those who asked about the usage, I am a photographer who might start going into some video editing, but outside of that that's about it. Don't think I will use it for gaming tbh.

    I don't have the budget for the new Mac pro, hence the question for the upgrades etc.

    Thank you for your inputs btw! It's really helpful.

    K
     
  9. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #9
    One thing you can do to get a feel for pricing is look on ebay but search for "sold listings" instead of current ones. You could also do a search of "completed listings" which also includes listings that ended without any bids. If no cMP has sold there for under $550 then maybe that first listing is a good deal for Switzerland.

    The second listing is only a deal if it includes everything you would want (i.e. you wouldn't have to buy any additional components). For instance, is a 500GB SSD enough for you, or were you wanting a 1TB? Because it's a waste of money to pay for a 500GB SSD if you're going to buy a different storage device anyway. Some people here are foregoing SATA SSDs anyway now that NVMe drives are coming down in price and (via a firmware hack) can be booted on the cMP.

    Also crucial to evaluating price on that second listing is what GPU is included? Because if it includes a Metal-capable GPU like the RX 560 or 580 then you wouldn't have to spend $150-$250 USD to buy one after the purchase. Chances are though that it's probably got one of the stock GPUs--GT120 or 5780, etc. Those are fully usable (although underpowered for modern use) up to 10.13 (High Sierra) but will be useless in Mojave.

    So basically you need more info on those two systems. Did the seller list the $550 system as 8-core? Because if so it seems they are wrong (or they misidentified the Xeon model). So you should get clarification on that, as well as whether or not it is a 2009 or 2010 (ask them to send you a screen shot of the  > About This Mac screen).

    2009 cMPs are usually a slightly better deal, and can be converted to a 2010 with a simple firmware flash. So if you find a 2009 at a better deal, you should strongly consider it (especially if you prefer a single CPU cMP).
     
  10. Kooki9 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #10
    See, now I feel way out of my league when I read something like this. :)

    So, with regards to the 2nd option: I will ask more details about the CPU. I remember reading that it's a late 2009 model, but will come back to it. The guy says he's willing to lower the price to 600 with no graphics card and no USB 3 card. Which I am not so bothered about as I will update the card I figured already. As for the hard drives, I have 3 external LACIE drives that I am currently using, which is fine for now.

    Unfortunately we don't have ebay here, so it's hard to compare unless I am looking at France or something. The end model I have a print screen of attached here. I've asked the seller the other questions too.

    I am just sick of my iMac 2.9g 2012 for photo editing. It's really slow and I can't run Mail and Chrome with another program. So I am thinking get something that I can update along but something solid and worth investing.





     

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  11. bookemdano, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018

    bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #11
    In all honesty, unless you enjoy tinkering I really don't recommend the cMP. And for photos, a newer Mac with better single-CPU performance (not to mention QuickSync) would probably be of more benefit. The strength of the cMP is in multi-threaded tasks, or tasks that can make use of a powerful GPU. Video editing is one of those though, so if you really think that's something you will delve into then the cMP could be of benefit to you.

    If I were you though, I would wait a few weeks for Apple's Mac hardware event, which is surely coming this month. There is a lot of speculation that Apple will release an updated Mac Mini, which could be ideal for your needs, since your drives are all external anyway, and the Mini will have Thunderbolt 3 ports, which would allow use of a powerful GPU externally. Pricing is not known yet, of course, but it's likely it will be under $1000, maybe well under. And then you're getting a machine that has excellent single-core performance for photo editing (along with a very fast SSD built-in). If you decide to get into FCPX/Video then you could buy an eGPU down the line which would massively boost performance of those tasks.

    The cMP is venerable and has certainly stood the test of time. It's really incredible that Apple still supports it with the newest macOS. But that support is not 100%--there are sacrifices cMP owners must make to run Mojave, and absolutely no guarantee that the cMP will be supported with next year's macOS release. It can probably be made to work once Apple drops OS support, but that will require more hacks and compromises, etc.

    That's why I think that the cMP is mainly just a hobbyist/tinkerer machine at this point. I really wouldn't recommend it to most people as in some ways its as frustrating as running a hackintosh.

    Just my 2c.

    Edit: $750 down to $600 is definitely better. The GT120 video card is the stock card in the 2009 and it will not work in Mojave (and is weak and underpowered even in previous versions of macOS). They sell for about $50 US. USB 3 cards can be had for $20 US or so (you can also buy more expensive ones, but basic models are very cheap). I still say that $600 is too much for a single-CPU cMP though. It's entirely possible the new Mac Mini will only be $100 or so more than that--of course it will also have less RAM (and non-upgradeable RAM), so that will be a consideration too. But I still think it's worth waiting to see what Apple announces in the coming weeks.
     
  12. Kooki9 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #12
    Hi. So I did a mini research on the suggestion about the mac mini idea. It's sounds interesting for sure. However, Apple has been increasing their prices over the years (I think it's crazy what the iPhone costs these days). Combine that with the external GPU ($300+), keyboard, monitor and mouse, it would cost rather a lot at that point. With the annoying part of not being able to upgrade the ram. But maybe that's the point, upgrade things bit by bit.

    Is there a date on when they might annonce the new Mac mini?

    I don't mind tinkering here and there, but as you said, there's no guarantee that Apple will continue to support the old Mac Pros either.

    I'm even tempted to look further at the old imac 27 inches and upgrading the ram. But that would see me through a few years maybe.

    I'm a hi-fi music fan and I feel that like Apple has become like the Hi-fi industry. Where old amps and speakers are actually better than the new stuff made these days.

    One thing is for sure, that I'm so happy and grateful that I asked and that you guys/girls responded. I probaby would have made the mistake of buying the wrong Mac.

    I'm always very open to thoughts and ideas.



     

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11 October 3, 2018