Mac Pro for 175 dollars - worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by malthe, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. malthe macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    Okay so I have the opputunity to buy a used mac pro 1.1 2.66 ghz - with 4 gb ram and a 250 gb harddrive..

    I was about to buy the 4.1 version for around 1000/1200 dollars..

    But then I got this opportunity.. Should I buy it?

    I will have it running adobe cs6 and some other programs.. but mostly photo oriented..

    Can it handle that? I guess I have to upgrade the graphic card and add some ram till it reaches 16 gb at least - but will it fare okay?

    Or should I pass and just buy the mac pro 4.1 2.66 for the added cost?

    Right now im on a macbook pro i5 from 2010 - and a cinema display.. I have some 1/2 tb harddrives laying around.. :)

    Regards M!
  2. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I suspect your MBP will outperform it if you have 8GB of ram (and 8GB is worth all of about 40 dollars) (simply because the CPU is way too old).

    I'd save your money for something better.

    Sure you can probably add a bit more RAM to the Pro 1.1, but the CPU is way behind the curve, and xeons aren't really cheap.

    I'm not sure if the 2010 MBP can handle 16 GB? If it can, I'd spend the money on upgrading your MBP to 16 GB instead - rather than going for the old Pro.

    If you're willing to stump for the newer model though, go for it.

  3. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    If nothing else, it would make for a handy file server.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I wouldn't. The price makes it really tempting sure, and a 4,1 isn't massively better, but it is still nearly 7 year old hardware that is limited to an older OS version, older graphics cards, slow memory system. You can add a 3.33GHz 6-core for $500 to the 4,1 and that puts it on a similar level to any non-overclocked single CPU system available. Not to mention 32GB of RAM for $240 - you can even buy two 16GB so you can add a third later for 48GB. Add in the ability to use the latest graphics cards and that extra initial $900 will take you a lot further. A 4,1 will remain a viable production choice for a good few years yet.
  5. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Just go for the 2009 4,1 Mac Pro. Sometimes in saving more money you might end up spending more.
  6. fiatlux macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2007
    Based on your initial post, I wouldn't either: the MP4,1 would be a much better starting point to build a performance workstation is you can afford it.

    175$ is a steal for an old MP, and you could upgrade it fairly cheaply (I upgraded my own MP 1,1 to an 2x4c @ 3GHz), but it will remain a 7y old machine that could fail at any time, and is no longer state of the art.
  7. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    I'd LOVE to have a 1,1 MP for $175, if for no other reason than file storage (gobs of desktop drives instead of 2x 2.5" in my Mini). Where are these deals for me? Geez...
  8. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    Thx guys

    Okay thanks for the replies guys!

    I was just about to go pick it up - but now I have to reconsider..

    Indeed the mac pro 4.1 is more of a beast and the newer option - but it all depends on the use :)

    I will make up my mind later this week and properly go with the 4.1 and upgrade it :)

    And "js81" its from a danish site - so I guess its a little far from where you are right now :)
  9. fiatlux macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2007
    If that danish site ships to the rest of EU I'm interested!
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I would make sure you can even run CS6 on it. You may find that CS6 needs a newer OS X than is supported on this machine. Also, price out the memory upgrade. I had a Mac Pro 3,1 - and the RAM very expensive.
  11. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    A handy file server that doubles as a toaster and sucks down massive amounts of power, sure.
  12. frjonah macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2009
    Almost Heaven... WV
    I would definitely buy it if I were you... At the very least, these go for $400 or so on eBay. Alternatively, you could drop in a couple x5355s like I did and the machine is quite snappy. I would still prefer to upgrade to a 4,1 or 5,1, but my upgrades have at least tided me over to the end of the year when we should have more information about the future of MacPro.
  13. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
  14. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2013
    Selling it off as parts would get you more than $175.00
  15. mus0r macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2005
    I have a non-functional one up on eBay. You can send me a private message for info, if anyone's interested.
  16. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    If you could use a spare computer, can live with Snow Leopard or Lion (maybe load it up with spare hard drives and use it as a file server, use it to burn DVDs or compress videos without clogging up your main machine, stick Windows or Linux on it etc) - or if you are skint and your budget can just stretch to $175 + a cheap monitor - then it is a bargain for $175.

    If you already have a Mac Pro 1.1 that you want to keep going, its almost worth $175 for the parts.

    Otherwise, it is a $175 doorstop which won't run the latest OS X, may not accept the latest graphics cards and needs the most expensive RAM in the universe (go look up the cost of FBDIMMs!)
  17. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    If you don't buy it, let me know who is selling as I would be interested in it. Thanks
  18. Tesselator, Mar 5, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008

    Mmmm, I think it's more of a cost consideration. And you're being misled on the prices actually.

    True the MacPro1,1 is a little less than 1/2 the speed (all things considered) than a MacPro5,1 but it's actually the same speed at just about everything as the MacPro3,1. A little less in some areas but nothing you would actually notice - even in benchmarking. The upgrade path for the MacPro1,1 beyond Lion is a little troublesome but doable.

    So how do the costs actually break down differently from the 1,1 to the 3,1? I'll base it on my own machine which represents actual current prices and not the usual disinformation:

    • MacPro1,1 System Unit - $175
    • 32GB FB ECC DDR2-667 PC2-5300 - ($250 - $300)*
    • X5365 3.0GHz dual CPU 8-core upgrade ($180 - $220)
    • Flashed cards and Drives are as you already may know.

      NOTES: You may have to flash a card or walk thru a 1hr tutorial in order to make the system 64bit bootable.

    • MacPro3,1 2.8GHz 4-core - ($750 - $950)
    • MacPro3,1 2.8GHz 8-core - ($950 - $1300)
    • 32GB FB ECC DDR2-800 PC2-6400 - ($320 - $380)*
    • CPU Upgradable to dual 3.2GHz 8-core - ($250 - $320)
    • Flashed cards and Drives are as you already may know.

      NOTES: Apple GPU offerings will all work AFAIK but something more powerful (or same power but 1/2 the price) still needs to be flashed. It already boots up in 64bit mode so no system patching is needed.

    Total average price for equal system speed (before storage and GPU options):​
    • 32GB MacPro1,1 8x3.0GHz Cores ...... $650
    • 32GB MacPro3,1 8x2.8GHz Cores ...... $1,450

    Slight Speed advantage:​
    • 32GB MacPro3,1 8x3.2GHz Cores ...... $1,700

    * The RAM you select these days does NOT need those Apple crazy finned heat-sinks! That was the case for most early modules pre 1GB DIMM. Since then it's no longer the case and no notable temperature difference occur. Some but not all Apple approved memory modules have onboard thermal sensors which are passed to the system when present. The riser boards also have a thermal sensor each - which is what the SMC system actually uses in it's cooling profile - so the fans still increase or decrease appropriately when not using SMCFanControl. Of course when using SMCFanControl the Apple profile is still active but typical settings (1200RPM or more) are usually higher than Apple is ever willing to rev so you won't actually ever see the results of it in action. Some unofficial RAM also has the thermal sensors on-board tho so this is actually a non-issue. My current and extensively tested 32GB cost me $280 and doesn't have the sensors nor the fins. ;)

    Sure if you want to pay almost exactly double those RAM prices you can get the unneeded finned heat-sinks which look cooler but offer no advantage. Although it's kinda hard to see the coolness through the aluminum case. :D
  19. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2011
    If that's Confederate greenbacks, I'd say you've got yourself a bargain.
  20. EGS1550 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2012

    I am currently using a 1,1 with 7gb ram 10.6.8 and cs6. I have not had any issues with the cs5 or cs6 software.
  21. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    Damn 19 replies.. :)

    Sorry I been doing a lot of research the last days.. I just bought a mac pro 4.1 with 16 gb ram and a 3 tb hard drive..
    But I still reserved the mac pro 1.1 just in case I might need it - as many of you pointed out its still a worth while buy either as a resell after a upgrade - if you can get the parts for the right price or just as a replacement for my dad's old macbook pro :)

    Im glad for all the answers that helped me put things in perspective.. And in the end its always up for the needs of the buyer :)


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