Possible purchase of 4,1 or 5,1 Mac Pro, any advice appreciated

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by craigmartin, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. craigmartin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi folks, my first post and it regards the possible purchase of a Mac Pro 4,1 or 5,1.

    I'll provide some info on my background and what I'm into.

    About 4 years ago I got into video editing using Final Cut Express. At the time I had 15" 2.2Ghz QC MacBook Pro.

    Apple released Final Cup Pro X and Adobe countered with the CS5.5 Production Premium suite which they offered at half-price to everyone currently using FCP, so I purchased the Adobe PP Suite and have stuck with it since, upgrading to CS6 and getting very much into After Effects.

    About 18 months ago I sold my 15" MBP and got a 17" 2.2Ghz MBP from the Apple refurb store. I also started learning Cinema4D using their free demo version. However, I recently purchased the full version and have been enjoying that immensely the last month or two. I've also been learning a third party plugin for C4D called TurbulenceFD.

    Needless to say the MBP struggles when rendering out of C4D, it gets very hot and can take a huge amount of time (sometimes days) so I don't imagine it's doing the laptop any favours.

    So I've been reading up on the various MacPro models in an attempt to figure out if buying one is the right choice for me, at the moment I'm thinking it is because of the following.

    1: With 6 or 12 cores my C4D render times should be quicker and I'm thinking I shouldn't have a problem leaving the machine rendering overnight, which I won't do with the MBP due to how hot it and it's PSU gets).
    2: I can put a reasonably quick GPU in one of the more recent MacPro which should speed up my use of TFD, something like a GeForce GTX 680 with 4GB of VRAM.
    3: Hopefully, there might be some good deals on 4,1 or 5,1 models in the near future once the new model is released.

    I've probably missed a ton of stuff out but a question that springs to mind is if I do fit a GTX680 (if I'm able to, which I'm assuming I would be) would I be able to fit a second graphics card so the GTX680 can be used for simulating TFD scenes and I can continue working on the other card?

    Is there any substantial difference between the 4,1 and 5,1?

    Am I correct in saying that RAM is less expensive for the newer models too?

    I've obviously been keeping an eye on eBay UK and a firm called Scrumpymacs has caught my eye and I'm wondering if anyone can advise on whether or not they are reputable and/or good value.

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for any information and advice.

    Regards

    Craig

    ps. I don't think I'll be able to afford the new one <whispers> and I don't fancy the styling of it much either TBH </whispers>
     
  2. Studio K, Sep 12, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013

    Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    #2
    The 4,1 and 5,1 are almost identical. The main difference is that the 5,1 has a different Boot ROM firmware to accomadate 6-core CPUs. Only the top-of-line model actually had the 6-core processors, though.
    It's the firmware, not the hardware, that prevents the 4,1 from working with the hex cpu. But this problem has long since been overcome. It's very easy to upgrade your 4,1 with 5,1 firmware.

    So, if you want single-processor, buy a 4,1 (it's more affordable than 5,1), and install the 5,1 firmware. Then add a 6-core CPU.

    If you want the dual-processor mac pro, things get more complicated. 4,1 machines used lidless CPUs, so replacing those with conventional lidded ones presents challenges when reattaching the heat sinks. The 5,1 machines used lidded cpus in all machines, so upgrading those is easier.
    Buy 4,1 DP if you like a challenge. Buy 5,1 DP is you prefer a less risky time upgrading processors.

    RAM is relatively affordable for these models. When compared to 2008 mac pro. 5,1 firmware flash allows you to use 1333MHz ram.

    I've heard good things about Scrumpymacs. Prices are probably less on eBay, but Scrumpy likely has warranty.
     
  3. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    Feb 17, 2013
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    #3
    Regarding the GTX680 you mentioned...it has its problems I've heard.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1635375

    And the Radeon 7950 for Mac has been yielding disappointing performance.

    But there are many choices. You don't have to use a 'for Mac' card.
     
  4. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    A decent time to buy

    I think you have two decent options. You mentioned that cost is an object, although you can buy a current Mac Pro.

    I think one of the best buys out there right now is a Mac Pro 2009 (4,1) 8-core 2.93 MHz. Geekbench scores are over 15,000 (only 15% below a 12-core 2.4 GHz), and they can be had for $1649 from OWC at the moment. Granted, this is a used machine, but I don't think that would make much of a difference. It is a little more expensive than a 4,1 with low end processors, but it saves you the hassle of what many in these forums have found to be a tricky upgrade.

    Secondly, get a 2.4 GHz 12-core. I use FCPX a bit, and watching 12-processors chug away at some of the edits is pretty amazing. Prior to this, I was doing it on a maxed out current Mac mini (not so fun to watch as the fan speeds up, the processors max out, the system heats up, then the program slows down enough that I became convinced that the processor was going into overheat mode). Once in a while, you'll find a current 12-core for a decent price (I got mine from an Amazon price mix-up a while back).
     
  5. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

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    #5
    Fr good used kit in the Uk, I would suggest a call to scrumpymacs. While you can save a few £ on ebay; you will get a years warranty as standard and the option to up it to three years ( any time within the first year just like applecare).

    If you phone and speak to the sales chaps they are actually knowledgeable and can help you decide on the exact spec you want, and they'll configure it however you like.

    The graphics card options are out there. I too am staying away from the 680 mac edition mainly due to price. I am toying with a 7979 3gb flashed for the mac. There are a fe places to get them. Scrumpys also carry a range of cards if your budget allows.
     
  6. fiatlux, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013

    fiatlux macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    #6
    I'm considering this option too, as it offers the most bang for the bucks (with the possible exception of the upgraded 2006 Map Pros, but those are getting really old...). I understand you can possibly save a bit more money by going for a Core i7 in LGA1366 socket and non-ECC RAM.

    I'd love a dual-processor, 12 cores machine but those remain, at least for the time being, very expensive. Maybe when the new Mac Pro arrives...
     
  7. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

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    Germany
    #7
    The GTX680 seems to need 2 x 6 Pin PCIe power connectors. So you are out of PCIe connectors with one card - do not use splitters as you could fry your Mainboard. Someone here in the forums linked to an external GPU PSU, but i can not find it anymore. I can not give any comment about how two cards will be utilized.
     
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #8
    Hi Craigmartin. Since you will doing video editing, a multi-core cpu Mac Pro would benefit. A 4.1 2.66ghz or 2.93ghz 8 core or a 5.1 2.4ghz 8 core then upgrade the processor. Or like what others suggested, get a 2.66ghz 4.1 and upgrade to a hex core 3.33ghz.
     
  9. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #9
    im on the fence about what to do. I currently have a maxxed imac but I have been wanting to get a mac pro for awhile now. Not sold on the new one. Dont like the idea of having everything external. I would really like a 12 core but the prices are still too high.

    edit

    it looks like all the 8 core 2.93s are sold out
     
  10. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #10
    You can have the 2.66ghz 8 core as an option as its speed is not too far from the 2.93ghz and runs cooler.
     
  11. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #11
    2.4GHz, 8 core is available here:

    http://www.expercom.com/product_detail.html?p=703423

    Upgrading the CPUs is a 30 minute job, and the OEM CPUs have value on eBay.

    Note: I'm running 3.33GHz 8 core W5590 CPUs.

    Lou
     
  12. jetjaguar, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013

    jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #12
    how much are the 3.33 cpus ?

    also they are an easy swap ?? not like the 4,1 duals?

    edit

    thought you were running dual 6 cores .. the 3.33 quads go for about 180 each on ebay it looks like
     
  13. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #13

    Attached Files:

  14. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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  15. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #15
    ^^^^Not really. I run smcFanControl and run my BoostA and BoostB fans up around 2200RPM. I run my Intake and Exhaust fans at about 1250RPM A wee bit more noise (a slight hum), but certainly not objectionable. At idle my CPUs are @ about 100° F and under load they reach maybe 130° F. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Lou
     
  16. craigmartin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    UK
    #16
    Hi folks, many thanks for the information given, I'm still not sure how to proceed.

    I'll keep reading up and await the arrival of the new MP and see how it effects prices of 4,1 and 5,1 second hand units.

    Thanks again

    Craig
     
  17. DavidG328 macrumors regular

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    I'm in the same boat. After playing with an older Mac Pro at school, I found that it really held up pretty nicely to what I was throwing at it, and I do like the idea of being able to expand. I found a 4,1 quad 2.66 for a pretty good deal. How much do these upgrades typically run? Are there decent choices for the 4,1?
     
  18. justreason macrumors newbie

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    Jun 5, 2010
    #18
    I also found a nice 4,1 quad 2.66 for a good price.. I was thinking a simple gpu and ram upgrade and i'm good.. need it for simple video editing and basic gaming..
     
  19. DavidG328 macrumors regular

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    Portland, OR
    #19
    The prices I'm finding had me worried about expandability. Doesn't seem to be too bad from what I'm reading in other threads. Seems like the expensive part is the processors running ~$600.
     
  20. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

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    #20
    Upgrading to a 6-core CPU is $600 or thereabouts.

    If you don't need 6 cores, then I found a quad-core W3570, 3.2GHz CPU for $129 (brand new from OEM tray) on eBay. That upgrade will get you spec'd slightly better than the current 3.2GHz quad that Apple sells (W3570 is faster connection speed than W3565 and supports faster 1333MHz ram). The Geekbench isn't as good as the 6-core, but it's a nice speed-bump over the 2.66.

    You have many options for Graphics card upgrades since OS X now contains drivers for many new PC cards.
     
  21. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #21
    i got a 3.46 hex for 599 off ebay .. 3.33 hex goes for aroud 550ish
     
  22. fiatlux macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2007
    #22
    I too finally got a MP 4,1 for a very good price. Coul not find a cheap hex Xeon, certainly not here in Europe. One option was to buy a used PC workstation, swap CPUs and resell but as I already have to resell my old MP 1,1, I coul not be bothered.

    I eventually decided to go for a Core i7 980x and non- ECC RAM. Functionally and performance wise equivalent to a W3680 (ECC excepted) but much cheaper in my case.
     
  23. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #23
    Congrats on your Mac Pro. 4.1 is still quite good and adequate for our needs and very similar to a 5.1 It's stable and efficient. Enjoy. :)
     
  24. DavidG328 macrumors regular

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #24
    It sucks to wait, but I think I'm going to wait for the new one to come out and see if I can snag a 4,1 or 5,1 at an even lower cost than they are right now. Up until a month ago I didn't realize you could upgrade the processors on these things. That's what I get for skipping this forum the entire time.

    *wink wink* at those of you who will be offloading yours when that time comes.
     
  25. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

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    Central CA
    #25
    I think that is a good strategy. MacPro's 4,1 & 5,1's are still darn useful, and so not everybody has unloaded theirs. Once the new models hit, I'm sure more people will start the "in with the new, out with the old" cycle.
     

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