Newbie Question Regarding Mac Pro Purchase

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by scca325is, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. scca325is macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    #1
    I have never owned a Mac Pro before but I have been shopping around for my first purchase. There are a few machines within my area that I am interested in and I have noted them below. Some of my Google searches revealed that these first generation intel machines are limited. Can anyone validated these issues? Also, are there any major differences between the 2006, early 2008 and early 2009 machines that I should be aware of? Thanks for everyones help!

    Are these real issues or concerns for the first gen 2006 Mac Pro's?
    -Will not run Mountain Lion?
    -Won't read any drives larger than 500GB?
    -Won't run boot camp? Windows XP?
    -Will it run OSX Server?
    -Any other issues I should be aware of?


    Mac Pro's I am looking at:
    -MA356LL/A 2x 2.66GHz Dual-Core (4 Cores) Xeon
    -MA356LL/A 2x 3.0GHz Dual-Core (4 Cores) Xeon
    -MB871LL/A 2.66GHz Quad-Core (4 Cores) Xeon
    -MA970LL/A 2x 3.0GHz Quad-Core (8 Cores) Xeon
     
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Location:
    DMV Area
    #2
    The first gen Mac Pros will not "OFFICIALLY" run Mountain Lion. They use 32bit EFI, which is incapable of booting ML's 64bit kernel. There are workarounds to bypass this, but they can be glitchy. As far as I know, the remainder of your questions are false. They will run Boot Camp, they can read drives over 500GB. They will run OS X server, up to Lion, officially. There are several workarounds in these forums, etc, that allow you to use ML/run 2007 processors/ etc, but as an Early 2008 owner, I would recommend a 2008. The Quad Core 2009 does NOT have an extra socket on the logic board like the 2008, restricting it to below 8 cores, but I would imagine the 8 core you're looking at is considerably more expensive. Hope this was helpful.
     
  3. scca325is thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    #3
    So then do the early 2008 models run Mountain Lion? and what are the key differences between the 2006 and 2008 models that would warrant the upgrade?
     
  4. DPUser, Oct 20, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013

    DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #4
    The Quad 2009 (4,1) is the simplest to upgrade and can be converted to a hex 201/2012 (5,1.) The hex Westmere smokes 3,1-compatible Xeons and is much faster than any 8-core 3,1. The 4,1 Quad 2.66, which is just a tad slower than the fastest 8-core 3,1 is $700 at Macofalltrades lately. Long-term compatibility with future OSX versions is likely the best with a 5,1 or 4,1 > 5,1.
     
  5. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #5
    Hi scca325is. DPUser's suggestion on getting a 4.1 2009 Quad for Hexcore upgrade is one of the best option. And the Nehalem/Westmere have turbo boost and Hyperthreading. All PCEi slots are version 2 and has support of almost all mainstream GPU cards.

    The 2006-2008 Mac Pros rams are more expensive than 2009-2012 Mac Pros. If your budget is limited, would suggest try getting the 2008 3.1 model. Mountain Lion and if I am not mistaken, 10.9 Mavericks will also run in the 2008 Mac Pro. Plus it has a wider support of most video cards compared to the 2006 MP. Prices have also gone down to about $800 -$900 on some sections of the market. Try checking MacofAllTrades.com or eBay. Good luck
     
  6. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #6
    I am currently putting together a 2006 Mac Pro (2.0Ghz - 4GB) built off of Ebay parts, and have had good luck so far. Got the unit shipped for $270, bought 4GB (2x2GB) of FB-DIMM memory for $10 shipped. And looking at upgrading the dual core 2.0Ghz to quad core low voltage 2.0Ghz (L5335). Have 8 cores and use less power. Those will cost $15 each.

    I plan on using it as a ZFS server, so I do not need Mountain Lion since I won't be interacting with the server much. I had to use maczfs because ZEVO ZFS requires 64-bit kernel which 2006-2007 cannot do.

    One of the biggest limitations of the 2006 units is the SATA2 and PCI-E 1.0. Your going to be limited to about 150MB/s per drive on a PCI addon controller. For me, as a server thats fine as the gigabit network will bottleneck before that.

    I did put a fanless ATI HD5450 in for $30 from Microcenter and all I had to do was change a line in one of the kext files. No display until it hits the desktop, but it's been ok so far. I still have the NVidia 7300 handy in the event I have to change boot drive or something. I also wanted to take out the 7300 while it was ok, so I always have a known good backup card and not have to pay the "Apple tax" to get a backup card. The HD5450 isn't fast by any means, but it's still silent and does use DDR3 instead of DDR2 on the 7300 in addition to a better overall graphics chip.
     
  7. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #7
    I have a MP 3,1 octo 2.8, it is a fine beast but will be the next one Apple make obsolete. If you are planning to go long with your purchase I wouldn't invest in anything older.
     
  8. Macdctr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    #8
    OP, as NOTNICE posted… first gen MacPros do not run ML unless you do a workaround but it is possible.

    First gen MacPros can run Boot Camp, or virtual PC software such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion. I currently run VMWare Fusion 5.0.3 on my first gen MacPro without any issues and have set up Windows 2008 Server as well as W7P. I currently have 7TB of storage set up in my MacPro, and even have Mac OSX Server set up on one of my hard drives.

    I have had my first gen MacPro since 2006 and have not had any issues with it thus far. I have since upgraded my two dual core 3.0 GHz Xenon processors to two quad core 3.0 GHz x5365 Xenon processors and have upgraded my firmware from 1.1 to 2.1, not to mention hard drive/memory/video card upgrades. Overall, my MacPro does everything I need a desktop computer for so I have no need for a newer system at the moment. I do have a MacBook Pro 9.2 that I use if I need to run anything more current.

    For the most part, I'm very pleased with the performance of my MacPro so the point is get the desktop that will best suit your needs. As Macsonic posted earlier, a 2008 3.1 MacPro would be a good choice since you won't be as limited in architecture as I am using my 1.1 MacPro and will have access to better choices of video cards. For what he states on pricing ($800-$900) this is the best "bang for the buck" in my opinion. Good luck!
     
  9. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #9
    Hi Dude. That's a cool deal on the 2006 Mac Pro. There are still users who use older Mac Pros since it's adequate for their needs and most important, gets the work done at the end of the day. And the older models are also durable Other users have developed some sort of "attachment" with their old machine too
     
  10. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #10
    True (but there are some unofficial work-arounds). Lion is the newest you can run officially.

    Nonsense. Mine has 2TB and 3TB drives in.

    Runs XP fine. You can actually stick in a Windows or Linux CD and install straight to a blank hard drive.
    Yes (but not Mountain Lion server, obviously). Mine has Lion Server.
    - Restricted choice of graphics cards (at least, officially supported ones) c.f. newer models.

    - 2006-2008 models use FB-DIMM RAM, which is (still) ludicrously expensive.

    Although its still perfectly usable for most purposes, I wouldn't go for a 2006 model if I had a choice.
     
  11. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #11
    If you buy it *retail* yes it is hundreds of dollars. BUT, because it was popular in servers, which get replaced, there is tons of the stuff in the used market.

    Right now there are over 100 auctions on Ebay for FB-DIMM's that are under $10. I just got 2x2GB-667-ECC for $10 shipped. Just make sure you match the specs.

    There's more of the stuff being recycled then there are people who want it. Thats why you can build these things for kind of cheap if you are willing to go used.
     
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #12
    the easy way is a 2009 or a 2010 quad core up grade to a hex core.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551

    the thread has legs but some prices are no longer true.

    a new under warranty cpu is 573 =

    http://www.provantage.com/intel-bx80613w3680~7ITEP374.htm

    same cpu is 456.00 from hong kong.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-...sor-/400591581567?pt=CPUs&hash=item5d451e717f
     
  13. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Location:
    DMV Area
    #13
    The 2008 will certainly run Mountain Lion, my 2008 is running Mavericks at the moment. However, with the insight above, the 2009 certainly looks like the better buy, unless it somehow becomes exceptionally more expensive. Plus, 2012 Hex Core Xeons can run expensive, but will absolutely kick the pants off any socket 771 (2008) Xeons. And I can certainly vouch that the RAM is expensive. FB-DIMMs DDR2 are a fortune, even on Ebay. And I'm still nervous that my 2008 is gonna get axed next year, but I'm all for workarounds to run the newest system. I would totally invest in something better than a 1,1 or a 2,1. They've technically already been axed.
     
  14. tripitz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2013
    #14
    Can confirm this is the "easy" way. 3 weeks ago I was also a Mac Pro newbie; I found a great local deal on CraigsList for a fully loaded 2009 MP Quad core. The flash from 4.1 to 5.1 is incredibly easy. It took me 20 minutes to replace the CPU with a Westmere hex core (3.33) and upgrade the 5770 video card with an EVGA GTX680. All in all, a great upgrade and super happy with the results. Strongly recommend this route...
     
  15. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #15
    yeah that upgrade has been done by a lot of people. very easy high success rate 99% had no issues. I believe 1 person purchased a dead cpu chip from amazon. He got a replacement and the upgrade worked for him. I think everyone else just go it right on the first try.

    When the new pro comes out If it can be maxed I will do another thread.
     
  16. scca325is thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    #16
    Thanks everyone for the great advice! I am still looking on eBay and macofalltrades (MoAT) for a 2008 or 2009 model. I have found few choices on MoAT that I could use some familiar advice on.

    This 2009 model has 1x2.66 Quad-Core and seems like a great choice but I am concerned about upgrade options in the future. Does this specific machine have an extra CPU slot on the board if I want to add another down the line?

    http://www.macofalltrades.com/Mac-Pro-1x-2-66GHz-Quad-Core-4-Cores-Early-2009-p/mp-266-4c-e09a.htm

    I also really like this machine but am slightly concerned that the 2008 models may become obsolete with the new Mac Pro's coming out soon. Any thoughts?

    http://www.macofalltrades.com/Apple-Mac-Pro-2x-3-0GHz-Quad-Core-8-Cores-Xeon-p/mp-30-8c-e08a.htm

    I have been checking eBay and Craigslist as well but I feel that MoAT would be a safer route considering the warranty they come with and the good reviews.
     

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