Refurb cMP buying advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Zeke D, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Zeke D, Dec 1, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

    Zeke D macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #1
    Hello, hive mind,

    This is a long one, so bear with me.

    I've been running my cMP1,1 for a while now. I have an install of Yosemite, but I mostly still use Lion because of compatibility with an nVidia quatro Q600 1GB video card. I primarily use it for designing book covers in Photoshop, and every once in a while I'll play runescape, or Skyrim. On the windows side, it's mostly just tools for formatting and editing eBooks and paperbacks.

    The specs of the cMP 1,1 are a pair of Intel Xeon E5345 SLAEJ Quad Core 2.33GHz, 16GB of RAM (8x 2GB), a pair of cheap SSDs and the Q600.

    It's getting to the point where Lion just doesn't cut it any more. I need more and more ebook programs, and they're just not compatible with Lion. I could use Yosmite more often, but then I lose the Quatro, and have to go back to the Geforce 210 1GB that has way less CUDA, and will slow down my photo chopping.

    I have a few hundred bucks coming my way very soon, and I was thinking it was time to bump to a cMP 4,1 or 5,1. Since the hardware is practically identical, I'll likely end up getting a 4,1. So, here's my conundrum, and what necessitates advice from all you fine people:

    Which unit do I get? I can get a single-CPU Xeon 2.8Ghz QC with a 5770 for about $550. 16GB of ECC ram is about $40. I'll likely use one or both of my SSDs from the cMP1,1.

    Now, I can get an i7 950 for about $45, but then I think I'd need to get different RAM... not sure. But, the performance between the i7 950 and the Xeon W3530 are practically identical. So, is spending the $100 to get the i7 and RAM practical?

    If they're not similar in performance, should I just spend an extra $200 and get a dual-CPU cMP 4,1 with a pair of E5620? I'm not too keen on dealing with lidless CPUs, though. I assume that with the exception of the clock speed, the dual Xeons will be about the same compared to the i7 or W3530 for gaming and every day operation, but the E5620s will allow more processing power when using photoshop.

    The last option is to spend another $100 and get a single 6-core Xeon W3680 3.33Ghz, but that's $300 over my initial cost of $550 plus I'd still need RAM. I have this money now, and it's unlikely that I'd have spendable cash in the future, so I'm hoping to get about 4 years out of whatever I buy.

    Advice? caveats? suggestions?
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    For Photo's work, single processor should be good enough. Photography software can hardly use all 8 threads. You will definitely benefit more from a faster CPU than 2x slower CPU.

    One of the biggest difference between i7 and Xeon is the ECC ability. You don't need specific RAM for i7, the ECC RAM should still work, but just ECC will be disabled.

    If you need CUDA, there are lots of Nvidia card to choose, no need to stay with the Q600.

    W3690 is a good CPU option, another cheap and fast option is the X5677.
     
  3. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #3
    a quad core 4,1 with a newer graphics card (such as the RX 460) will be a definite and sizable improvement over your current setup. for Photoshop, 24 or 48GB RAM (3 x 8 or 3 x 16). I wouldn't bother with the CPU swap to a gen 1 i7. the W3680 you mentioned is a fine upgrade (I would consider the slightly more expensive X5680 as it will let you go to 64GB RAM). or for a truly budget upgrade, the X5677 (quad at 3.46Ghz).

    the dual socket system will let you go to 8 or 12 cores but likely your greatest benefit is through a newer OS and a better GPU followed by faster storage. I'd say, if your machine isn't meant to make money for you, the dual socket is money better spent elsewhere.
     
  4. TheStork macrumors regular

    TheStork

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    #4
    The RX 400 series boots to a black screen due to lack of appropriate drivers. I'm using a flashed 280X will excellent results on my 5,1. Support for the newer cards from both AMD and Nvidia is non existent. Unfortunately, I think the Mac Pro series is at end of life. So, plan accordingly.
     
  5. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #5
    At this point, if you're going for a cMP, the the beefiest one you can. 12 Core Dual 3.33 or 3.46 all the way.
     
  6. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
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    #6
    smart people agree!

    this is true, however the 460 does have native support in OS X 10.12 as that GPU is in the new MBP. support for the 470/480 will hopefully show up by mid 2017 when they come to the MBP or Mac Pro. remains to be seen.

    also true that the R9 280x is a good card, I have one in my Mac Pro. but it should be flashed and modded for the best compatibility, just like with the RX 460. flashed 460s may not be available yet but it will happen. and yes, I'd be wary of going with Nvidia at this point unless you are willing to keep up with which card, which OS and which drivers work best with your intended use.

    and as a note in general (and I think the OP already understands this), getting one of these machines now assumes the owner expects to do a little work in setting it up and maintaining it. that it is not an out-of-the-box experience.
     
  7. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #7
    Thanks, all y'all. I think the way to go is to start off with the 4,1 with the 2.8Ghz W3530 and 16GB of ECC Ram, and in the future upgrade it to W3690 or i7 990X.
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #8
    Are you sure about that? I didn't think Photoshop used CUDA. In fact it only uses GPU acceleration for a few specific features, so unless you are using those features, Photoshop isn't dependent on GPU processor power at all.
     
  9. devon807 macrumors 6502

    devon807

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    Location:
    Virginia
    #9
  10. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #10
    Personally, if it were me, I'd just upgrade the machine you have now. My Mac Pro 1,1 has been amazing with El Capitan on it. And upgrading the CPUs is easy on this machine. Likewise you could throw a faster GPU card in there. You'd probably save a bit of money in the end.

    But that's me.

    I am the original owner of my machine. It's been a great computer for the last 10 years. And I've run everything from the original 10.4.x to lion before I jumped to El Capitan.

    I agree that lion is a frustrating release. I preferred 10.6.8 on it over Lion.

    I have a multi boot arrangement of Lion, El Capitan, and Windows 10 Pro 64-BIT. And all work great. Honestly it is rare for me to drop back to Lion. I just haven't found the need to. El Capitan does the job so smoothly on my machine, and compatibility has been great.

    So, personally, that's the direction I'd go. Upgrade the CPUs, update to El Capitan, and if you feel it necessary, upgrade the GPU if you like.

    I'm expecting to get another 5 to 10 years out of my system after the update. At least until El Capitan is as obsolete and unsupported as Snow Leopard is now. That was what finally drove me to update my system. When software support for snow leopard and lion fell so low that no new titles supported it.
     
  11. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #11
    Check out https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cs6-gpu-faq.html
    The Quatro 600 and Radeon 5000 series are both listed as supported. If I stick with the 5770, I'll lose the CUDA cores of my quadro, but I think the OpenCL 1.2 performance of the 5770 will do better than the CUDA cores of the Q600. I do have an eVGA Geforce GTX480 Ti that seems to work in windows machines, but I couldn't get it to work in my 1,1 under Lion or Yosemite. I'm hoping it'll work in a 4,1.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 2, 2016 ---
    I've not had the best of luck with MoaT. Units DOA, missing components, etc. I ended up paying an extra $150, and ordered a 2010 unit from Gainsaver: https://www.gainsaver.com/used-mac-pro-2-8ghz-quad-core-xeon-1tb-hd-3gb-ram-2010-mc250ll-a $40 for RAM on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C7YYR4Q/ I'll wait until I have the cash and pick up a W3670, or wait until I can get an i7 970 or better for under $100.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 2, 2016 ---
    It's frustrating running 64-bit OSX on a 1,1. I upgraded mine to dual E5345s from the stock 5130s. My issue with the 1,1s is the funky RAM daughter cards, and the offset cooling fan. My 4x 2GB sticks get crazy hot, and I think a sensor on one of the daughter cards is bad. It's done me well, but I'd rather upgrade to a unit that natively supports Yosemite. The voodoo that I have to do with the 1,1 isn't fun anymore. I expect my Win7 pro x64 install to be pretty much the same. I may repurpose the 1,1 as a windows machine for my daughter, and she can get out of her 2008 iMac.
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #12
    The page you quote clearly stated that PS CS6 does NOT use CUDA.

    Mercury Graphics Engine
    The Mercury Graphics Engine (MGE) represents features that use video card processor, or GPU, acceleration. In Photoshop CS6, this new engine delivers near-instant results when editing with key tools such as Liquify, Warp, Lighting Effects, and the Oil Paint filter. The new MGE delivers unprecedented responsiveness for a fluid feel as you work.

    MGE is new to Photoshop CS6 and uses both the OpenGL and OpenCL frameworks. It does not use the proprietary CUDA framework from nVidia.

    MGE requires a supported video card and updated driver. If you do not have a supported card, performance is degraded. Usually, the acceleration is lost and the feature runs in the normal CPU mode. However, there are some features that don't work without a supported video card.
     
  13. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #13
    Hey everyone, DO NOT buy cMPs from gainsaver.com. They have them on their website available for purchase, but they don't actually have any. They tried to get me to accept an i3 imac as a replacement... as if...
     
  14. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #14
    Yeah, if you do a search for "gainsaver" on this forum you will see many comments about scams, bait and switch, double charging, faulty hardware, and the like.

    If you gave them any credit card information, I would watch your statements like a hawk for a long, long time (assuming you don't already do that).
     
  15. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #15
    The good news is that after about 3 hours of screwing around with my cMP 1,1, I finally got the Q600 working on Yosemite.
     
  16. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #16
    I can offer personal experience that gainsaver is essentially a criminal enterprise and you will end up disappointing and unfulfilled. it's the generally held perception,
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/buying-from-gainsaver.612588/page-2

    GPU compute in Photoshop is limited. however, as with all programs and the OS, a newer and better graphics card will lead to a better experience and offer more potential.

    the 1,1 and 2,1 Mac Pros can still be useful but no matter how much they are upgraded, modified, tweaked, they will never get close to what the 4,1 and 5,1 can be. the 3,1 is a little more usable and adaptable but performance wise is closer to a 1,1 than a 4,1.
     
  17. pat500000 macrumors G3

    pat500000

    Joined:
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  18. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #18
    That is good news. Best of luck to you in whichever direction you decide to go.

    As a side note, I do have a pair of dual core 2.66 GHz Xeons from my 2006 Mac Pro. They work great. I upgraded to dual quad core 3.0 Ghz. But if you do decide to stay with the 1,1. Then we could probably work out a cheap deal. But you have quad 2.33 in there now so this might not be much change for you. Mine are dual 2.66 for a total of 4 cores.
     
  19. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #19
    Yeah, my pair of E5345s are 2.33 quads for eight cores. I have a GTX 480, so I think my plan will be to get a 2010 or 2012 and move the 5770 to my 1,1 and use the 480 in the new-to-me cMP. I'll keep my eyes on MoaT and when there's a good deal on a 2010/2012, I'll pounce.
     
  20. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #20
    Sounds like a plan. Best of luck to you.
     
  21. Zeke D thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
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    #21
    I'm trying to convince myself to pay $1000 for a 2012 5,1 with 16GB RAM, 5770, 2TB, 3.2Ghz QC Xeon.

    Is the 5770 2x 6-pin? Any theories on how long the 2012 will be upgradable to the latest OS X? I saw the 2009s were dropped from Sierra...
     
  22. devon807 macrumors 6502

    devon807

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Location:
    Virginia
    #22
    I don't know how long the 2012 will be supported, but im pretty much 100% sure there will always be a workaround to update your mac. The ATI 5770 is a single 6-pin btw.
     
  23. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #23
    That's very expensive for a quad core 5,1.
     
  24. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    Location:
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    #24
    It would seem so. But then remember that it is a Mac Pro and it's only one generation old. And consider what the current model is selling for.

    I'd expect it to be good for a few more revisions of OS X.

    It was made until 2014. So it should be supported until at least 2019.

    I think someone else answered with regards to the power connection on the ATI card. I thought it had two plugs on there, but I've never personally had that card in my hands. So I'll defer to those who have.
     
  25. devon807 macrumors 6502

    devon807

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    Dec 31, 2014
    Location:
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    #25
    I agree, but you may be paying for additional support as opposed to the 4,1 which is already "obsolete" in Apple's eye.
     

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