Purchase used Mac Pro or Used 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Grubster, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Grubster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #1
    Hi,
    I am contemplating purchasing a used 2008 Mac Pro, 3.1. The machine has dual 2.8 quad core processors, 10 gb ram, upgraded video card to 1gb, (2012 model - ATI Radeon HD 5770). Only comes with 160gb HD, I have to basically get my own drives. Also has a Blue Ray Drive. He is also offering for extra 2 23" cinema displays. He wants 1500, plus 150 per monitor. Now of course I will try to negotiate.

    My dilemma is, It looks like I can get a nice 2011 27" iMac for 1100-1500 range, and I would have everything I need, plus it would be a newer machine.

    My thought is, even the older 2008 Mac Pro will out last the 2011 27" imac and be more reliable in the sense that if something breaks I can much easier just swap out parts.

    Now I don't do any video editing, my 2007 24" Aluminum iMac is maxed out at 2.8 gz and 4gb RAM, and I just had a baby. My most intesive work is Aperture. While it works, I can see it's starting to slow down a bit. I also run a virtual Machine for my wife so she can do her work on IE.

    Anyhow, I doubt I would take advantage of the power of the Mac Pro, it will last longer and still be able to keep moving FAST, where the 27" iMac will run out of power\upgradability before this one.... ( I think so, or am I wrong)

    For day to day processing is a newer i7 faster than older Quad Core Xeon Processors?

    Thanks!
     
  2. MajorPain, Apr 5, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013

    MajorPain macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    Everymac.com says you should be able to get 6 gigs of RAM working in that machine. That might extend the life by a few months, and when the new PowerMacs are released, I presume all the old ones will come down a bit in price. You have a beautiful 24" monitor built into that iMac, one that is still pretty much state of the art! Shame to let it go before you must.

    On Everymac.com, check out the Geekbench score of the new Mac Mini i7 compared to that 2008 dual Xeon Mac Pro---- they are the same. The i7 is a monster!
     
  3. sarthak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #3
    If you're in the US, that machine is worth less than half of what the person is asking for it. You'd be looking at spending a fortune on CPU and RAM upgrades in the future.

    I'd say that you try and get a 2009 Mac Pro, those can be upgraded to outperform the latest 6 core or 12 core models for less money than even refurbished ones. Go for a Mac Pro!
     
  4. Tesselator, Apr 5, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #4
    It sounds like you already know what you want/need. But yeah, the MacPro is a workstation grade system and not really a desktop although I'm sure a lot of folks use it like one. I like the macpro because i can quickly, easily, and cheaply retask the system for specific jobs. For one example I can easily set up a 4-drive RAD0 for a month of video editing cheaply for just the cost of the bare drives. When done I could buy a 4-port USB3.0 card and put those drives in $50 cradles for a different task. So to me it's this kind of dynamic configuration/reconfiguration which make the macpro or really any decent multi-core tower system these days, the choice pick.

    If you have no need for that then of course you shouldn't pay the extra cash for it. I personally have some trouble understanding why people like or select iMacs tho. They're stylistic. But I can't think of anything else good to say about them. It would probably be different if there was no mini and no such thing as a hackintosh. For like $800 or so I believe a shuttle PC can be put together with all the strengths of the newest fastest iMac and yet none of the weaknesses. They can even run OS X just by running a few little setup utilities. <shrug> With a new baby in the home I'd rather spend the moony on a swing set or some other thing like that.

    And finally "for day to day processing" like mail, page layout, web surfing, web-mastering, music and video playback, you-tubing, and so on, yes, a newer i7 is faster than an older (MP3,1 and prior) Quad Core Xeon. :)
     
  5. Grubster thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #5
    I know I can go to 6gb, but I heard that it won't run dual channel and might actually downgrade the performance slightly when I am not using all of the RAM. Not sure it would bring much more life out of the machine. And yes, it is a beautiful machine. The particular machine in question definitely is over priced so I will keep looking for now. My machine works fine so I am in no hurry.

    ----------

    Thanks for the tips. I will se if I land a deal on something. I think I can still sell my 24" iMac for 500 or so. If I only have to spend another 500-700 on something, I would feel pretty good. I might look into the hackintosh route as well.
     
  6. wypor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    #6
    I do think you should get a SSD drive first and replace your HDD for your imac to see whether the improvement satified by you.

    The SSD, anyway, will not be wasted in your future replacement of your computer.
     
  7. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502

    Baunkjaer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #7
    I was in the same situation last year.
    Went the MP-way, as i allready had screen and SSD´s, from my previous Windows-build.
    I´ve had an i7 iMac, and that is a great machine, but I´m not a fan of the glossy screen. And it was a pain in the a... to swap the original drive with a SSD.
    I´m so happy with my MP, that at I threw hard earned $$ on a GTX 570, even though I don´t really game.
    The new iMac´s are awesome, and I don´t think the MP can keep up in pure CPU-power. My MP scores around 11,5K in (64-bit) Geekbench.
    If you don´t care about flexibility go the iMac-way. If you do, then MP.
     
  8. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #8
    I would do a whole lotta nothing.

    Your not using full 4GB of RAM and you're likely still on the original HDD you don't seem to be a Mac Pro candidate. If you want a tower though, you want one and that's that.
     
  9. Grubster thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #9
    I assume with my imac I have to replace my HD with SSD, meaning I can't run dual internal drives. If so, the bigger SSD seem pretty expensive. Any easy way to continue running my current drive and just get like a 65 or 128 gb internal SSD? To run the OS and other apps?
     
  10. MajorPain macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    "I know I can go to 6gb, but I heard that it won't run dual channel and might actually downgrade the performance slightly when I am not using all of the RAM. Not sure it would bring much more life out of the machine. And yes, it is a beautiful machine. The particular machine in question definitely is over priced so I will keep looking for now. My machine works fine so I am in no hurry."

    Seems to me that if the non-dual channel reduces performance from 60 nanoseconds to 120 nanoseconds, that is still much better than 8 milliseconds that it takes to do page outs to your hard drive. (all numbers approximate)
     
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #11
    With your 2007, it is possible if you nuke the ODD. ( sounds like any windows installer that wanted to "see" an internal DVD drive would only be dealing with a virtual one anyway. So, there is relative no huge upside to having it internal. )

    A 2011 iMac you can.

    ".... Configurable to 2TB hard drive or 256GB solid-state second drive only at the Apple Online Store. ...."
    http://support.apple.com/kb/SP623

    The "only at the Apple Online Store" is pure Apple hyperbole. For example OWC could fix you up with their "turnkey" offering.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/iMac

    It is reasonably cost effective if sent in to swap out 2-4 things (like RAM, HDD, and SSD/or want eSATA ).


    If on a tight budget then a SSD just of OS+App should be sufficient.


    P.S. The 2008 Mac Pro doesn't have much upgradbility left in it unless primarily heavily 3D graphics card focused workload which Aperture isn't. The CPUs are being retired. The RAM is already more expensive because it is an older and declining standard. It is just not a good long term investment to buy into. Having one already is a different issue but buying into one at this point is dubious. It is less than a year away from being eligible for Apple's "Vintage and Obsolete list". If major parts die off you could easily be on your own in the used parts market.
     
  12. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #12
    Being a current 3,1 owner, I'd say save a little more and avoid buying a used 3,1 altogether.

    First off (as mentioned previously), that guy is overvaluing his machine. In base form, it's worth maybe $700-800 in flawless condition. The extra 8GB of RAM, 5770 and Blu-ray drive simply aren't worth the premium he's asking. The base model also came with a 320GB hard drive from the factory, and somehow this machine now has a 160GB hard drive. Check recently sold eBay auctions for similar machines and you'll see what we mean.

    Secondly, RAM is expensive for 3,1s. Very expensive. FB-DIMMs cost over twice as much as the unbuffered DDR3 ECC DIMMs the newer models use.

    Finally, the 3,1 is also a dead-end platform for CPU upgrades. The X5482 ("SLANZ" spec code) is the fastest CPU it will support, and it's hardly worth the trouble even doing that swap.


    If you're buying used, there's no better value than picking up a base 2009 (4,1) quad-core, flashing to 5,1 firmware and swapping to a hex-core CPU. It will handily outperform any 3,1 by a wide margin and you'll spend a fraction of the money upgrading it.
     
  13. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #13
    If the threadstarter is considering a 2009 2.66ghz base model, he can upgrade the cpu to a 6 core 3.33Ghz as an option.
     
  14. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #14
    I know it doesn't seem like much to many of you but those W36** processors are $600-$1000 still and 1366 is just as dead as 771..If the OP never upgrades the 3,1 is faster than all but the newest 5,1 quads.
     
  15. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #15
    Thanks for the headsup. You're correct.
     
  16. lewdvig macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    South Pole
    #16
    My last MP was a 1,1 that I got stupid and sold (which benchmarked faster than this MP). I got it in my head that an iMac would be better (more self contained, better monitor, fast enough). I was using a 27" i5 2.7 GHz with RADEON 6770. I hated the screen, and my desktop turned into a external HDD construction zone.

    So I traded it away to a pal when I found a 4,1 recently for $950 on my local kijiji. Stock except 20 GB RAM and 4 TB of HDD (2+1.5+.5).

    I just threw an old 7870 Radeon in there, installed all my drives and now have a great PC made 100x better by the fact it runs OSX natively.

    My experience: The MP is a better rig for most people. Lots of storage, runs cooler, very serviceable and added benefit of not staring at the horrible Apple Cinema display (IMO the worst headache inducing premium monitor in existence). If you stick with it, you will find good deals on these rigs. You need to find someone who is not in fantasy land when determining value.
     
  17. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #17
    Like others have stated, they're good machines, but you would be better served by going a generation newer and finding one that carries a reasonable asking price. There is nothing terribly special about that configuration. The main practical upgrade item is the drives relative to other options. Ram for it is expensive relative to the cost of the machine. You're buying used to save money, so it is a factor. New they were $2800. I don't remember how much 4GB sticks cost at the time. It sound like original ram + 2 x 4GB dimms added. The original owner must have spent over $3000, so he is trying to recoup as much as possible. If you already owned one, there wouldn't necessarily be a reason to give it up. It's just not worth spending that much today. If it was a 4,1 around $1000 that might be worth it. The 4,1s are likely to be supported significantly longer, and for me that would be a consideration if you're still dropping a significant amount of money on it.
     
  18. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    DC
    #18
    So I am not the only one with a 2007 iMac drooling over the prospect of a MP!

    I maxed out the specs when I bought it and the only reason why my drive is not full is I wanted to have less to migrate to a new machine. Also on 4 GB ... with the problems of 6 GB I did not think it worth it (even though it would solve some problems) for now.

    A 2007 iMac is DEFINITELY showing its age! Especially since I have a habit of doing random things on it that are really meant to be done on a machine with much higher specs. Depending on your needs though the best option would be to wait for a MP upgrade. I worked out that, given the upgrades I wanted, it was roughly comparable to do it to a new MP as it would be to an iMac (well, if the 2012 had been upgradeable).
     

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