The Most Adaptable Secondhand Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by matteodv, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. matteodv macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hey all,
    I better give a small background before asking any questions, so if you don't want to read this just skip to the question and refer back to this.
    So in a few weeks I will be starting a Digital Animation Degree in the UK, the first half of this first year (of 3 years in the degree) will focus on mainly 2d animation and fundamentals, then gradually in the second half and full on in the 2nd and 3rd year 3D animation will be the main focus (using products such as Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, After Effects and Nuke).
    I currently have a Power Mac G5 (DP 2.0Ghz etc) which for the first few months will be my main machine; I also have a 13" Late 2008 Macbook (alu) but that has been intensely used since I got it new so I don't want to give it too much processing any more.
    Through various sources of money over the next few months, importantly including the sale of my Power Mac, I will be looking to buy a Mac Pro with a budget of about £1200 absolute maximum of £1400.

    The Question:
    So, my question is, baring in mind that I want a machine that will last me passed university (hopefully into my first job) I need something that has the biggest upgrade line possible. For example, the Mac Pro with the most cpu upgrades available.

    Any ideas on the Mac Pro model I should go for?

    Thanks all for putting up with the whole story! :D
     
  2. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    Sweden
    #2
    If you want a machine that will last, get a hackintosh.
     
  3. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thats a good idea, but after just building one myself for a friend I really don't like the idea of owning one, their just not for me. Thanks though
     
  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 20, 2010
    #4
    Can you elaborate on why they aren't for you? It really comes down to budget doesn't it? From what you've listed as your budget, I just checked on Ebay and there is this Mac Pro 5,1 listed

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Macpro-de...esktops_CV&hash=item3cca33ba54#ht_1352wt_1156

    You would have up the RAM but that is not too expensive (hopefully).

    I should think for the same money you could build a fantastic Hackintosh running Mountain Lion.
     
  5. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #5
    If you want to get a Mac Pro now, get a 4,1 or 5,1 single-CPU. You can upgrade it to a 3.33GHz 6-core for ~500 bucks ATM; might get more expensive in the future when the LGA1366 6-core CPUs become less readily available.

    The dual-CPU Mac Pros are way to costly to upgrade.
     
  6. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I can kind of, its a bit stupid, but firstly like I said I will be buying it after the first half so around the winter holiday (December, Jan) so In this time I wouldn't have the time to build a working hakintosh and set it up especially with all the variables that could go wrong, i know there are great sites like tonymac that help you. Secondly, i know its soooooo stupid when money is tight but having the Power Mac I love the design and would need something close, the only thing I could do is use the case and house a hakintosh but thats a lot of work involved to get it perfect.
    Oh and thanks for the link.

    Right that makes sense, as in getting a single cpu model over a dual, so is it a general consensus that the 4,1 and 5,1 are the best secondhand models to get at the moment?
     
  7. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I would also recommend getting a 4.1 MP, I've had a 2.93 quad-core 4.1 MP for almost three years, have a 3.33 hex core CPU coming in three days so I can upgrade to 5.1 3.33ghz hex-core. I've already upgraded to SSD for boot drive, Nvidia 670 GPU, and 24gb of ram. I will be good for another 3 years definitely. :)

    I agree with you about Hackintosh, I hope I don't ever have to resort to that... even though you will get a substantially faster machine at the same price. I just need something that works (and looks good :p ).
     
  8. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    That's awesome, so I'm guessing there is no physical difference between the 4,1 and the 5,1 if you can convert one to the other?

    Sounds like an awesome machine, the 670 does it work in Mac natively, I haven't really reasearched putting pc cards into the mac pro, well actually I haven't really researched the mac pro at all :p don't really have the time with getting ready and work etc.

    Finally someone with the same thought as me! So many other people (outside the forum) just say "get a hakintosh" or "get a pc for better gaming" as they assume that digital animation requires high end gaming specs but actually it doesn't (of course it helps though).
     
  9. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    NYC
    #9
    You have to run a third party firmware updater to convert a Mac Pro 4,1 into a 5,1. Easy to do. I bought a couple of off-lease 4x2.66GHz 4,1s just a few weeks ago and upgraded them to 6x3.33GHz 5,1s. Also easy to do.

    Being limited to four RAM slots is a bit of a bummer, though you can still go up to 48GB.
     
  10. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Oh thats cool, something to keep in mind, im guessing the hex core 3.33 is insane! Weird though how you have to convert to a 5,1 if both of them are identical.
     
  11. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #11
    The hardware is identical, but the 5,1 firmware is needed for the 3.33GHz six-core to work.
     
  12. dhro1 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #12
    Have you seen the cost of a new one with student discount?

    I note that your upper limit is £1400.

    Just to put it out there though - a new base one with higher education discount (which includes a 3 year hardware warranty which can be upgraded to applecare for £54) is £1720.80.

    Obviously a bit more than you want to spend, but bearing in mind you will need it to work for the duration of your course more than anything and a fault could be devastating with work to hand in, is saving a little more something you would consider?
     
  13. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    I mean its not out of the question but I would have to either sell the macbook or wait until mid summer of 2013 (rather than this winter holiday) to get it which I wouldn't mind doing. Its an option, really this thread was to figure out which model to get so I could research it before buying, by the winter holiday anything could happen financially.
     
  14. bigp2, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    bigp2 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 15, 2009
    #14
    I've got a 4,1 I'm about to list on eBay. Just can't get into the roof space to get the box as my leg is in a cast...
    2.93GHz Quad, 8GB, 2x 640GB, 4870, wifi. I can let you know when it's listed if you're interested.

    Phil
     
  15. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Sounds amazing, not the cast thing (i hope you recover well) the spec of the machine i mean! Well like i said i wouldn't be buying till winter, at a push november (as I need to sort out how much money im spending in uni and how much of my overdraft i can spend on a computer!), but by all means please do send me the link when you post it; box would be nice but not a necessity especially not worth hurting yourself more!

    Thanks
     
  16. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2007
    #16
    2009 2.66/2.93 quads, or the 2010 2.8ghz quad.

    1. Upgrade to 5,1 firmware (in the case of the 2009 MP).
    2. Place W3680/W3690 in it = 3.33/3.46Ghz 6-core.
    3. Place 16GB 1333MHz Ram in it.
    4. 6870/Macvidcards GTX570 or a GTX670.

    Done.
     
  17. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    I shall bare that in mind, very nice upgrade path then on the 2009 models! I have heard though something about the W36xx Xeon's that they don't perform highly in single threaded tasks? Not sure really though how many applications don't do multi-threading in modern computing
     
  18. bigp2 macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Will do. You can see what price it goes for as a rough guide too. There aren't that many 2009s on eBay in the UK.
     
  19. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #19
    The only reason to buy new ATM would be the warranty since there haven't been any real new models released since 2010. In my opinion the warranty, though extended, isn't worth ~500 quid.

    ----------

    The newer LGA2011 Xeons are clocked a little higher plus are faster per clock. There are, however, no LGA2011 Mac Pros, so there's no point discussing this in regards to Macs.
    And as you say yourself, most software relies on parallel computing.
     
  20. dhro1 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #20
    Yeah, I guess it's a case of more financial outlay at purchase time versus the security of knowing you've got a warranty if anything goes wrong.

    It's not something I'd normally suggest to anyone (ever). But as it's for studies and you have a clear plan for how to generate the funds over time, have you considered a 0% credit card to purchase it? Obviously only do this if you're sure you can manage to pay it off during the 0% term.
     
  21. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    It passed my mind a few times but the troubles that are linked with credit cards, especially for students where anything can happen financially. But again its something to consider if I only need an extra few ££
     
  22. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2007
    #22
    Hah, no!

    I wouldn't call 3.33Ghz slow and to have a dual core turbo boost of 3.6Ghz means it isn't slow there either...

    The W3680/W3690 or 980X or 990X arn't slow, they are still one of the top 5 or at the very least top 10 non-overclocked CPUs you can buy...
     
  23. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Wow ok yeah I think I need to do a little digging into these W36xx CPU's, just wondering though seeing as you seem to be quite knowledgeable on the Mac Pro CPU's, there are other people in this forum and others that are putting in the X series Xeon CPU's, can't remember the full model but you may know what im talking about.
     
  24. Garnick macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #24
    I don't know what the situation is in the UK with Apple, but have you explored the possibility of a Refurb Mac Pro. I just purchased a 5,1 MP, 3.2 GHz and have loaded it with 24GB RAM and four more HDDs, (total 5). I paid $2099 Canadian and that seems to relate nicely to £1300 for you. Of course from there you would still have to upgrade RAM and HDDs as necessary, but that's going to be the case regardless. Also, the refurb units carry a full year warranty and 90 days of AppleCare. Again, it may be somewhat different in the UK, but it might also be worth looking into for you. I've included the link for the Canadian AppleStore refurb site and there are two 3,2GHz machines there now. They seem to be quite popular and don't last long on the site, but keep looking if you are interested, they come back eventually. Hope this is of some help.

    http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/mac_pro
     
  25. matteodv thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Wow thats an excellent deal! Well I just checked and well theres nothing from there that is as competitive as the ebay deals, although the fact that I can get student discount on refurbs (i think) and that they are checked over and in great quality is a very appealing; when I come to purchasing I will check the refurb store. Thanks for the great idea!
     

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