Specific websites for information on upgrading/buying second-hand Mac Pros?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by samtasticra, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. samtasticra macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    #1
    hey guys,
    simple question...

    Looking into buying a second-hand MP (probs Quad 2.66Ghz - can't find any 8-cores in my price range, locally - which is Melbourne, Australia). So rather than bore you all with questions regarding upgrading the RAM and CPUs (in the future, would like to hold on to this computer for a while, upgrading it rather than replacing it), is there a specific website that has information on upgrading/buying second-hand Mac Pros?

    Cheers : )

    :cool: :eek:
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    What exactly are you asking for? If you want to buy it locally, take a look at Craigslist. What RAM and CPUs you need depend on the Mac Pro you get. It's not boring to ask or answer those questions. Come on, free posts :D
     
  3. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    #3
    ok if you're sure : )

    well Im currently working from a 2008 Macbook (2.1Ghz, 4gb RAM, OS 10.5.8). I use it for audio production (http://soundcloud.com/myfriendsamuel - the first two tracks, by Soul Trip, are a recording project at uni, not my production work). At the moment Im regularly hitting my CPU's limit when it comes to mixing and producing audio (working with audio and MIDI - as well as sending/returning audio through outboard hardware). I already use it with an external screen, mouse and keyboard at home, so a Mac Pro seems the way to go (especially including future upgrades).

    Craiglist isn't as popular here (Australia), so my options seem to be on gumtree.com.au or ebay.

    My budget is around AUD$1600-1800, which is in the range the 2.66Ghz Woodcrest MP's sell for. I'd love to get an 8-core Harpertown/Clovertown, but I can't find any for sale, let alone in/near my range. And in all honesty, going from my 2.1Ghz Macbook to a 2.66Ghz Quadcore will feel amazing anyway.

    So my thoughts/ponderings regarding the older 2.66Ghz Mac Pros:

    -the CPUs can be upgraded, but can these be upgraded to the latest CPUs (in the future)?
    -being a few generations old, is it still easy enough to find parts for them?
    -are there any quirky reasons I should aim for one generation of Mac Pro over another? Two obvious reasons that I can see (going by MacTracker) are the larger caches and faster RAM.


    PS I plan to keep the Macbook. It'll be used for live work, while the real grueling production work will be carried out on the tower.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #4
    X5365 is the best CPU you can use in Mac Pro 1,1. That is the same CPU that is used in Mac Pro 2,1 (2007), i.e. the 3GHz quad core making it an 8-core. Those CPUs seem to go for around 1000AUD each. You can use X5355 as well which is 2.66GHz quad core and they seem to go for around 400AUD each. That would make it 2.66GHz 8-core.

    From eBay, yes. RAM can be bought from many stores, e.g. OWC and Crucial but CPUs are harder to find but again, there are several deals on eBay.

    2006/7 Mac Pro has 32-bit EFI which may be problematic in the future regarding to GPU and OS X updates. For example, 10.7 may drop support for 32-bit EFIs so that would make it a bit obsolete even though 10.6 would still be just fine.

    I would try to get my hands on 2.8GHz 8-core from 2008, it's great deal though might be more than your budget allows. If your budget is unstretchable, then 2006 Mac Pro is a decent deal but make sure you understand the bottlenecks
     
  5. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    #5
    cheers. some food for thought there. So in regards to your first comment, there are quad-core version of the 2.66Ghz CPU that will fit in the original 2.66Ghz Mac Pro? I read elsewhere on this forum that these have to be replaced as pairs, making it an 8-core 2.66Ghz (like you said). Let me know if i've misunderstood you.

    Regarding the EFI, which generation onward use a 64-bit EFI?

    So the bottlenecks of a 2006 Mac Pro (Woodcrest) would be:
    -CPU limited to two 2.66Ghz quadcores (resulting in an after-market 8-core)
    -8MB cache total (would this increase to 16MB, if the tower was converted to an 8-core, as you mentioned?)
    -667Mhz RAM
    -Possible that won't be upgradeable beyond OS 10.7

    I'm still running OS 10.5.8 on my laptop, and wasn't planning to change it. have just got it all running stable (might have to consider compatibility issues between a desktop running 10.6 and my lappy on 10.5).

    Ok, apart from the above question about the cache, I have a few more questions regarding the internal hard disks.
    There are four slots inside. These hold 3.5" SATA HDs, but with a bracket can hold 2.5" (I have several 2.5", which my Macbook is backed up on).

    I've been advised - that if you have the opportunity (and with a Mac Pro, I will) - to have a disk for all your system data (OS, applications, documents) and another for audio (sample libraries and recordings). This way, when you're working on audio, the computer/application will be running off one disk, and reading audio of another, rather than reading the same drive at once, for both processes.

    So assuming this is a good idea, and assuming that SSDs have a faster access time (which Im sure i've read that they do), which of the two disks (if I can only afford one SSD at first), would I be better off using an SSD for (with the other being a standard HD)?

    Thanks so much. Have been amazing : )
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    It can be upgraded to 2x 3GHz quad-core, making it a 3GHz 8-core. They have to be installed in matched pairs so you cannot use e.g. 3GHz quad and 2.66GHz dual.

    2008- i.e. Mac Pro 3,1 and newer.

    As I said above, two 3GHz quads, resulting a 3GHz 8-core (2.66GHz 8-core is better value though, 800$ vs 2000$)

    Cache isn't that big issue IMO

    Same as above, not that big issue. I doubt you would notice difference between 667MHz and 800MHz, only handful of apps can take advantage of the extra memory bandwidth

    This is the biggest concern. However, nothing has been confirmed as of yet so 10.7 may support 32-bit EFIs as well, we don't know yet.

    Yeah, that can be done. There are even enclosures for dual 2.5" which fit in 3.5" bay but I'm not sure how well they work with a Mac Pro. You can always add SATA PCIe card to get more SATA ports.

    SSD for OS X and apps is the most common setup and it works pretty well. Then get a fast HD for audio, Caviar Black or VelociRaptor for example. Even a couple of HDs and then put them in RAID 0 for increased performance.
     
  7. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    #7
    Thanks Hellhammer : )

    think you have answered all my questions.

    I'll see if I can find a 3,1 Mac Pro that I can stretch my budget out to. Otherwise, a 2,1 or 1,1 should suffice. I think I've done pretty well with my Macbook so far, so Im sure that whichever generation MP I get, it will be amazing (for me).

    And I won't worry too much about the cache or RAM. better off concentrating on the CPU and EFI.

    you said not to worry about the cache, but out of curiosity, if a 1,1 quadcore 2.6Ghz (8mb cache) was expanded to 8-core, would that result in a doubling of the cache (as in 8mb per CPU)?


    Will let you know if I have any more questions
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    Yeah, the cache will double if you use quad core CPUs as they have 8MB per CPU.
     
  9. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 22, 2010
    #9
    hey again Hellhammer,
    one more question, where did you get your prices from? Do you know a good Mac Pro parts seller in Australia (or a good international dealer that posts?)?

    cheers : )
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #10
    eBay Aus. It's likely that you have to buy it from US seller as those CPUs aren't that easy to find, especially for reasonable price. Most of the sellers are just fine so if you're familiar with eBay, you shouldn't have any issues.
     
  11. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 22, 2010
    #11
    I've managed to find an 8-core : )

    A 2xQuad 2.26Ghz 2009 Mac Pro.

    it's outside my original budget, but I might be able to stretch (and the long-term benefits may make it worthwhile).

    In terms of upgrading the CPUs in the future, can the most recent CPUs go in these boxes?

    cheers
     
  12. samtasticra thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 22, 2010
    #12
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #13
    You can use Xeon 55xx CPUs in that Mac Pro unless Apple releases an EFI update (very unlikely) that adds support for B1 stepping and thus for Xeon 56xx CPUs. However, you can put two W5590s in it which are 3.33GHz quads, making it a 3.33GHz 8-core.
     

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