Mac Pro but which one?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sutty100, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. sutty100 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2014
    We got given top spec Macbook Pro's at work about a year back, being (and still am) a Windows fan I begrudgingly handed over my trusty Lenovo thinkpad however I've discovered OS X to be quite a nice OS and apple computer hardware to be pleasing to use (still not sold on iOS however!).

    For home use I purchased a white 2010 macbook on ebay to use for about £200, I added in an SSD and its great for lightweight work eg bit of front-end web development. However I want something at home with a bit more grunt and I can't really install my own stuff on the macBook Pro/do work for people other than my main employer plus it's nice to keep things separate, in my mind at least.

    So I think a secondhand Mac Pro is the best route to go as being able to upgrade later on down the line is a big plus for me. I have around £1000 to spend ideally want a dual CPU option so I'm not constrained in terms of upgrades. Which year to get confuses me a little, I know I want > 2008 but is there any advantage of a 2010 over 2009 other than the fact it would be a year newer? How slow in terms of CPU can I get away with and will I really notice the difference between say a 12 core 2.4Ghz and say a 12 core 3.06Ghz.

    My use case for it is programming which would involve running a few potentially heavy VM's eg IBM Websphere Application Servers, a bit of video editing and maybe a little bit of gaming but I have a Windows desktop for that really.
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Apart from the firmware, SMC, and CPU (in the dual processor model), there is almost no difference between 2010 and 2009.

    The 2009 (4,1) can in fact flash to be a 5,1. And install the same CPU (up to X5690) as the 5,1 (but the dual processor model default to use de-lidded CPU. So, you either get a pair of de-lidded CPU, or use normal CPU but take the risk to damage the CPU tray).

    Since the SMC version is difference, even though both machine is virtually identical, you can't use the 2010 CPU tray in a flashed 4,1 (real 5,1 use normal lidded CPU). Otherwise the miss match SMC will cause the fan run at full speed.

    If you are happy to go for single Hex core 3.46GHz setup, £1000 may be enough to get a 4,1 + W3680, + 32G RAM, + a decent used GPU (e.g. R9 280), + a 850 Evo. (For single processor model, both 4,1 and 5,1 use the normal lidded CPU, so no risk to damage the CPU tray by using the "wrong" CPU).

    The dual processor 5,1 will be much much more expensive (relatively) than the single processor 4,1. Just the machine itself may use up all your £1000.

    A dual processor 4,1 is a bit cheaper than the 5,1, but the upgrade is not easy at all. If you did something wrong, you may need to pay a lot to get a replacement CPU tray.
  3. glynster macrumors newbie


    Jan 4, 2016
    I picked up a great 2010 8 core from for £800 - they have the 2010 single core in stock for under £500. You could try giving them a call and see if they can source you a twin processor model - so far I have added more ram and an SSD and it is way faster than the new macbook my partner has. In a few months I will upgrade the processors to a pair of x5680. A fully tricked out 5,1 Mac Pro is still one of the fastest Macs money can buy - faster than 90% of Apple's current offerings and even some of the trashcan models at a mere fraction of the price - and who cares about lack of Applecare when they are so easily upgradeable and fixed - its basically digital lego.

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