Mac Pro Question - Need opinions!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacNerd1239, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. MacNerd1239 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I've been trying to figure this out in my head for a while and I wanted to get the thoughts of some you on what I should do.

    I come from a family background of IT people, and they refuse to buy used equipment on sites like eBay, no matter how immaculate it appears. So, this is where I come to my issue --

    I want a very specific model computer (either the 2.26GHz 8 core 4,1 with specific upgrades or one of the quad core 5,1's...still not sure if either is the right choice, but that's a separate issue.)

    I currently don't have the money to buy one of these machines, and my main reason for buying one over a 27" iMac is upgradeability (hard drives, PCIe graphics, etc.) Am I better off just buying the 6,1 when I save up or buying one of these off eBay or Apple refurbished? What are your opinions on the procs/cons of either option?

    I have terrible luck with hardware and having an IT background myself the thought of having a system that I can get my hands in like the iMac sort of frightens me (I went back to Windows after having my 2007 iMac become too outdated for this reason.)

    Any opinions are welcome, as well as those regarding my issue of what used model to buy. If going used I'd like to stick under the $2,499 price range. I'd ideally end up dropping 3 grand on the 6-core 5,1 if I could, but that's a bit of a stretch with my financial situation.
     
  2. Studio K, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013

    Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    #2
    One thing you can do is buy a used quad-core 4,1 with the most basic specifications (2.66GHz cpu) and transform it into a 5,1 hex-core.

    The Mac Pro 4,1 goes for $800 on eBay currently. And they seem fairly plentiful these days.
    The W3680 CPU will cost $500 or thereabouts.

    What you need to do to make this work is run a free utility that flashes the boot rom with the 5,1 firmware. This enables your 4,1 Mac pro to use a 6-core processor. Loads of people have done this and it's not difficult at all.

    That's much cheaper than the $2500 you are expecting to pay.

    There is always risk buying used from eBay, so your other option might be.....play it safe and buy a refurbished, entry-level 2010 5,1 Mac Pro from Apple for $1800 and swap the $500 hex-core cpu into that. That's just within your budget, I suppose.
     
  3. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #3
    The 2.26GHz is terrible. Worst Mac Pro for today's times followed closely by the 8-core 2.4GHz 2010. It would work for a 5U server. That is it. Get something else.
    Studio K's advice is much better.
    Filling the 2.26's 2 sockets will cost too much for the return imo.
     
  4. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #4
    I work in IT and buy used equipment all the time. A computer is a computer is a computer.

    You can save a lot that way.
     
  5. MacNerd1239 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    #6
    This upgrade path seems to solve all of my problems with budget and the 6,1 in one fell swoop. Thank you, and same to the person who provided the link to the upgrade path.

    Is it true with this you're able to flash back to the old firmware and pop the old CPU back in just in case you need to bring it in under AppleCare?
     
  6. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    #7
    Yes, this is true. The Mac Pro Firmware Utility (from Netkas) flashes both ways. 4,1 to 5,1 and back again.

    Below is a link demonstrating in not too much detail the process of upgrading the CPU in the Mac Pro.

    http://junipermonkeys.com/swapping-a-333-6-core-into-a-2009-266-4-core
     
  7. MacNerd1239 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    #8
    Thanks a ton! I'm happy to see that I can expect performance above my current i7 PC for such a low price. :)
     
  8. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #9
    Relax on the used computer worries

    Although it is possible to get burned on eBay, I feel like it's about as likely as any other retailer. They actually have pretty good buyer protection. I agree with K's upgrade above - it's probably the best value for a Mac Pro right now.
     
  9. azentropy macrumors 68000

    azentropy

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    Surprise
    #10
    Maybe you don't realize you can get a pair of W5590s for $400-500 and get geekbench scores of 20k.
     
  10. flowrider, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #11
    I echo this response. I am running an upgraded 2.4GHz 2010 Mac Pro upgraded with W5590s.

    The 2010 MacPro Dual CPU is available, bgand new, @ http://www.expercom.com/browse_by_category.html?CATEGORY_ID=306

    for $2,100.00 - I found this to be a tremendous value. Apple sells refurbs of this machine for more money. The beauty of this machine is it's upgradability.

    Lou
     
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #12
    I actually didn't realize that W5590's were so cheap nowadays. But as a stock unit it SUCKS. So $1400.00 and some elbow grease gets you 8-cores at 3.33GHz? Pretty nice. I withdraw my comment if buyer has skills and isn't typical Mac user. Thanks for quick info.
     

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