MacPro 1,1 vs. MBP 5,3

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SubaruNation555, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. SubaruNation555, Sep 3, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    SubaruNation555 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2007
    Arlington, VA USA
    A friend asked if I wanted to buy his MacPro 1,1 for a couple of hundred bucks. I'm curious if it would offer any significant performance gains over my current machine. Specs of the two are below:

    MacPro 1,1
    Dual 2.0 GHz Xeon
    12GB RAM
    250GB 7,200rpm
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT w/ 256 MB

    MacBook Pro 5,3
    2.8GHz C2D
    8GB RAM
    512GB SSD
    NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT w/ 512MB

    Primary Use
    Heavy CS5 use, some very light video editing, and everyday tasks.

    The MBP is serving me fine but I am beginning to reach the limits when working with large Photoshop and InDesign files. I know the MacPro 1,1 cannot run Lion and it's nearing the end of its official support but the increased max RAM and more ports are tempting.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
  2. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    The Mac Pro 1,1 benchmarks slower than the 15-inch Early 2010 MacBook Pro. I am not sure where your machine sits in relationship to that... but taking that in context I don't think you are going to see a stellar performance increase.

    Also, keep in mind that while the 1,1 can take a lot of RAM, the RAM for the older mac pros is expensive because it needs to be sever-grade FB-DIMM ECC. It looks like RAM for the gen. 1 and 2 mac pro costs twice as much as RAM for later machines... I did a quick lookup and an 8GB 2x setup is around $250.

    I had one of these and it was a great machine... but today a newer mac pro would be cheaper to build up/upgrade than an old 1,1 I think.
  3. SpinThis! macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2007
    Inside the Machine (Green Bay, WI)
    ^^ What he said. I can't think the performance is going to be much improved at all even with more RAM. You really have to be pushing Photoshop since 8 Gigs is a pretty good amount for most work. Just check the efficiency status at the bottom of the window to see if you're swapping.

    Also you're running an SSD in your laptop which as you know helps tremendously. You would definitely want to throw one in the MP or it'll easily feel more pokey in general compared to what you're used to. I put a ssd in my '08 and the speed difference really is understated.

    What the Mac Pro does offer is storage capacity. Being able to RAID a couple drives together for a scratch disk in Premiere or Photoshop may come in handy for video. If you can pick one up for a couple bennys, that could also make a relatively decent media/file server even if it's not your primary machine. Load it up with a few drives—which you can always throw into a new machine later.
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    As is, I don't think you would notice a whole lot of increase. With that said, you can swap the processors in the Mac Pro for quad core's up to 3.0ghz. You can get it to Octo 2.66ghz for about $100 on ebay (do a seach for X5355's or if you have money to burn you can get it to Octo X5365 but they are considerably more expensive). A Mac Pro with eight cores at 2.66ghz should beat your 2 core 2.8ghz C2D. Plus you can slap just about any Nvidia card into the Mac Pro from the 9XXXX series all the way up to the 6XX series by downloading the drivers from Nvidia for Macs (although you will lose the very initial boot screens).

    If you can buy it for just a couple hundred bucks and drop 300 in upgrades it will kick your laptops butt, but that's up to you if you have the cash (remember it is a 6 year old machine though). I should also point out that it can't officially run Mt Lion. There is a hack to get it to work, but it can't run it out of the box.
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    For a couple of hundred bucks, I'd do it.

    You won't have to buy more memory, so you won't have an expense there.

    As another poster said, you can upgrade to octo for not much money (I did it) and have a reasonably capable machine.

    True, the video's a bit lame but you can upgrade that.

    It does run Lion (10.7) just fine (perhaps a typo on your part).

    But I think the best reason for picking it up is what SpinThis said: storage capacity. You can get what you need all in one box, including your Time Machine backup.

    You can stuff a lot of terabytes in that puppy without spending too much money. And if it doesn't work out, you can put them in external enclosures, so you won't have lost anything buying the drives.

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