Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by monty77, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. monty77 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    UK, South Coast
    Looking at the 'old' Mac Pros.

    I've got a late 2013 rMBP 13" and an Alienware X51 for gaming and ideally I'd like to go to a single box solution.

    Is there a sweet spot for cost/value? I don't need anything crazy on the CPU front but I would like a GPU that can play modern games well.

    What would be on your shopping list?

  2. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    Look through the forums, there is a lot of opinion out there.

    A few key points.

    It must be 3,1 of later, 1,1 and 2,1 do not do Mavericks without some help and from what I've read are not worth the effort.

    You can use non-Mac graphics cards, I have a GTX660, so long as you don't mind not having a boot screen, but also be careful about power, some cards are power hogs and would require additional power to the Mac Pro.

    Be careful about RAM. A 3,1 uses DDR2, and some think that it is expensive, but the price has come down, so it is about the same as DDR3 now, just not as easy to find, but that's what the internet is for.

    The nice thing about the old Mac Pro is that it takes pci-e cards, so it is expandable, but not every card will work, so you need to be careful. You can also swap out the processors, but you need to make sure that what you buy will fit, there are differences in them that means that they are not usable in each model.

    Look at the benchmarking sites to see what type of performance you can expect. While Mac Pros are generally fast machines, they have their limits and you should be aware before you drop your money and go down a route that limits your build.

    I bought 3,1 in 2008 and have upgraded it with a second quad processor, a new graphics card, more RAM, USB, lots of internal and external memory, and I am thoroughly happy with the result, knowing that I will get a few more years of use out of it.
  3. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Well, you can still get a quad 3.2 5,1 Apple refurb, and then your GPU choices are only limited by YOUR imagination, not Apple's.
  4. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    With the old Mac Pros the video card is upgradable so it can be changed out. Most newer nVidia PC cards will work with the oMP off the shelf with no flashing needed, however ATi cards more then likely will need flashing. The only downside is that these video cards will not show the Apple logo at boot due to the PC ROM. They will work just fine once booted with 10.8 and later however.

    If you are looking for something cheap, go with the 3,1 Mac Pro. They are the oldest Mac Pros that will nativity run OS X 10.8 and later, with the 1,1 and 2,1 being left on 10.7.5 unless you mess with some OS files (in this case, some have reported being able to run 10.9).

    Your best bet would be the 4,1 2009 Mac Pro. They were popular when they first came out and due to their age a lot of owners of these machines are looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest Mac Pro. Because of this, these machines are going relatively cheaply. If CPU power doesn't mean that much, a quad core will suit you needs just fine with a nice video card. If you do need a bit more power, then get the 8-core model. Both of these machines can be upgraded to the 5,1 firmware to use Nehalem/Westmere chips found in the 2010 and 2012 Mac Pros. This means the quad-cores can go up to 6-cores and the 8-cores up to 12 cores. This is something I recently did with mine. Bumping from 4-cores to 6 increase the speed in iMovie exporting.

    RAM is going to be cheaper with the 4,1. It uses the newer DDR3 (PC3-1066) RAM, and if you upgrade the firmware and put in a compatible CPU, you can utilize the power of newer DDR3 PC3-1333 RAM. The nice part about the 4,1 is that it can use registered RAM where as the older models cannot. Another plus is that they use regular RAM where as the older models use FB-DIMMS (fully buffered).
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Think about an Imac

    From your usage I'd say go with the Imac which may well be updated next week, max out the GPU for gaming, it should get thunderbolt 2 for fast external storage and secondary monitors and 4K, it's cheaper than the mac pro and should perform better for gaming.
  6. thinksomuch macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2014
    good,This means the quad-cores can go up to 6-cores and the 8-cores up to 12 cores. This is something I recently did with mine. Bumping from 4-cores to 6 increase the speed in iMovie exporting.thanks[​IMG]
  7. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I agree that the latest max out GPU iMac is a good choice for gaming. However, I don't think that is cheaper than a Mac Pro 4,1 + PC gaming graphic card.
  8. monty77 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    UK, South Coast
    ...I've had an iMac in the past, nice machines but the thought of binning a perfectly good monitor down the line sickens me, plus I have 2 perfectly good monitors already.

    A new Mac Mini with a half decent GPU would be nice, or a Mac Midi with some limited expansion options :)


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