The usablilty of 2008 Mac Pro's

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by LiamHD, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. LiamHD, Jun 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

    LiamHD macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    I see a lot of people saying "Should I buy 2008 Mac Pro" myself included so when I purchased and received my Mac Pro I decided to start recording some data for research purposes. I have typed it all up into a document which you will find attached below. I would only advise opening this document if you are serious about doing your homework before you buy as it is a 1000+ words. I have included info on HDD's, Upgrades and also the usability of Digital Design applications.

    EDIT: as pointed out by Flowrider, I am using Mavericks/10.9.3

    Attached Files:

  2. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
    You should add the OS that you benchmarked in.

  3. Korican100, Jun 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

    Korican100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
    I love my Mac Pro 3,1. It's a very capable machine! Can chew through HD video, and large photos for the average user. However, a bottleneck exists in which it uses frontside bus. The 2009-on towers used quickpath interconnect.

    I feel as if I have a loaded Mac Pro 3,1 per my sig. Due to the limitation I just mentioned, my top geekbench 3, 64bit scores (running on 10.8.5) are around 12500. Which is not bad! Just not great.

    Its a great computer and does video editing quite well, especially with my GTX680 M.E. in there. However, I do tend to feel the strain sometimes. Which is completely understandable - this is a 6 year old machine! But it still can handle some heavy loads. Especially now 4k video is making a scene, and RAW video.

    So I've taken a little step to the next MP. I actually came into a good deal for a mint 2009. And A good deal for a w3690. So I plan on flashing the 4,1 to 5,1 and throwing that hex in there. That seems like it will give me a geekbench score of 16000ish. Also, gives me 2 more pcie2.0 slots. Which the MP3,1 has only two pcie2 slots.

    Very good write up though, on a still very powerful machine. In which you can find at great prices these days (Including mine which I will be selling once my mp09 gets here!)
  4. LiamHD thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks, Have just been doing some 4K rendering myself Mac Pro handles it really well.
  5. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    I actually enjoyed reading this, thank you. I'm using a 3,1 as my main workstation, and I'm always looking for upgrades - but I just can't justify getting rid of my 3,1. It's too reliable and plenty powerful for my needs. Video editing, (1080p not 4K), some audio work, VMs, and some casual Windows gaming. Sure, a modern machine might be a bit better for newer tasks, but with my Velocity Solo SSD and tons of internal storage. And hey, for $450 (and that's AFTER upgrades) I've got a machine that's gonna last me a few more years. Long live the 3,1!
  6. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    Hear hear!
    Many users look at bench marks as numbers that make or brake a machine. The questions to ask one's self:
    1. How do you now use the machine?
    2. What apps do you use?
    3. Is it possible to perform certain tasks with one app and not with another of the same type on the same machine? Yes!
    4. If you don't know how different apps use ram, drive speeds and the gpu in a different manner, can you find yourself chasing hardware? Yes!

    A scenario: User A has a 2008 3,1 MP and tries to edit 4K footage. They are using video software "Y". The footage barely plays even with loads of ram, a good gpu and fast drives. User A gets frustrated and buys an nMP. 4K footage is now editable $3000.00 later!
    User B has a 2008 3,1 MP and tries to edit 4K footage. They are using video software "P". The footage plays without a hitch with loads of ram, a good gpu and fast drives. User B does not get frustrated and does not spend $3000.00 to perform the same task as user A!
    To get real comparisons you would have to read posts on Premiere v. Edius v. FCPX v. Avid v. whomever

    But there are tasks using 3D modeling software where staying on a 3,1 when you could have an nMP would be insane!

    It is quite possible to chase hardware when it is the software! :D
  7. LiamHD thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    I would like to say thanks to those of you who have complemented my write up. I have plans to do another at the end of the year after I have had a good 6 months of time to do my daily tasks on the machine and then I can truly say whether or not it's a good idea to hop over to the Mac side on a budget. I have just installed my Nvidia GT 210 only a matter of minutes ago and it has made a world of differences. My Mac Pro actually recognises my Display by it model number and is also set itself to the correct resolution which the 2600XT just couldn't do. I have a few more upgrades planed so hopefully when I come to do my write up at the end of the year I can give a run down of some recommended upgrades and parts.
  8. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    Not to rain on the parade, but I just upgraded from a loaded MP3,1, to a loaded 6-core nMP, and the difference is SIGNIFICANT:

    There is HUGE difference in responsiveness, in working through picture editing, in video manipulation, as well as just overall feel. The oMP3,1 is NO slouch, but the nMP6,1 is simply faster. It is simply evident there is 6 years between the two...
  9. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    The oMP's were great systems for their time (I think the eight core 3,1 was probably one of the best values ever for this class of system) and because such I think owners don't realize how fast technology moved since then. I bought a quad core 3.0GHz Mac Pro 1,1 but my quad core 2.3GHz Core i7 Mac Mini walked all over it for any CPU intensive work...single or multithreaded. Even the later revisions (2009 onward) of the oMP were left behind technology wise.
  10. stjames70 macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2009
    mp 3,1 as office workhorse

    Six years ago I bought my first 3,1 as the server for my office and various iMacs as workstations. We also had many legacy dell workstations. Today, the Dells are gone because of hardware failure or simply my unwillingness to update those machines (I was not going to waste a Win 8 license in a machine that was at best marginally acceptable speed wise). I was prepared to spend upward of $25k replacing and getting new workstations for our office -- standard thinking is that hardware should be replaced every five years.

    Well I was ready, but then I realized, that my 3,1 was in perfect condition and running perfectly well. I looked in Craigslist and realized that if I did a little work, I could have fairly well equipped 3,1s and 20" cinema displays for the same cost or less than the just announced low cost iMac which is barely upgradeable.

    In short, I strategically replaced computers with 3,1s, bought one 4,1 which will go from a octocore to a 5,1 equipped with two x5670 for 12 cores, splurged on a few 20", 23", 30" used aluminum cinema displays, as well as two new 27" LED cinema displays (last of their kind) and have spent less than $10k to update my office. And when the time does come for our existing iMacs to retire, I will just buy mac minis and use the excellent displays from the iMacs as target displays.

    Yeah, really, long live Apple hardware -- and I am not even mentioning how amazingly fast it was to set up those machines by simply cloning existing workstations and VMs. OSX can be upgraded for free, so no problem with licensing, and Win 8,1 can be easily cloned -- we just made sure to buy sufficient number of licenses in case anybody ever asked but I never had to enter more than one license key for the fifteen computers or so that run Win 8.1 VMs.

    I love :p :apple::apple:!!
  11. LiamHD thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    I never said my 3,1 would kick a nMP's a** however for those who can't or don't want to drop 6K on a machine that looks like a plastic office bin the 3,1 is still a very attractive option.
  12. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    I absolutely appreciate that, and I even agree, if you add that the MP3,1 can be upgraded (with GTX video cards, PCIe SSDs or ordinary SSDs, USB3 cards, lots of RAM) to somewhat get up-to-date performance... I am just afraid that it is too easy to oversell that option. It is expensive, and you're still stuck with a 6 year old computer. This is self-evident when you see that even adding an SSD disk has limited gain, since the bus is to slow. When you realise that you need to add a card to get USB3. When you find that the latest videocards will not run in the MP3,1, without hardware mods to get enough power.

    And BTW - the nMP does not look in any way cheap;) It actually looks like a million bucks, a very slick piece of hardware/furniture.
  13. LiamHD thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    If you look at it this way though

    nMP- 4K
    oMP- £500 + £500 upgrades it's still only 1K and will give you good enough performence to run all sorts of apps for at least the next 2-3 years.
  14. hualon macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I am replacing my 3,1 with a 6-core nMP and I agree with what you're saying here.

    The 3,1 is no slouch, for sure, but I have also been pouring money into it ever since I bought it to keep it performing. Video cards, SSD, RAID, more RAM, Wi-Fi, etc. I am tired of searching for hardware upgrades to eke out modest gains.

    The other problem not yet mentioned is that of resale value. At best my hunch is that I'll see about 30% of the value I put into 3,1 upgrades back when I resell it. That's pretty painful when you talk about putting in a $500 SSD, $500 video card, etc.
  15. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    That's looking at it with cheapo glasses. I do not think you can outfit an oMP3,1 with bells and whistles for USD1K. I know mine, with Accelsior, GTX680, USB3 card, HDDs and SSDs, and 16GB RAM) is selling for about USD1500, and that's cheap.

    And, you CANNOT compare an oMP3,1 with an nMP6,1!!! It is in a different class. Sure, if all you do is MS Office, perhaps Aperture (if the libraries are not too big), and Internet browsing, you won't see the difference. BUT, it is a different beast when it comes to pretty much everything else...
  16. LiamHD thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014
    but that is exactly what has already been done. I have said you can still use MP 3,1's in this day and age for things like video editing and graphic design and then people have said well it's got nothing on a nMP. apart from looking like something I would actually want on display the 3,1 has nothing on the nMP. Most people can't just go smacking a card into a machine in an apple store and go i'll take a nMP, it just doesn't happen. There are many advantages to using a oMP over a nMP like upgradeability. I'm not saying its better than a nMP because it isn't but when you are on a budget and looking for a computer to use for design/creative work 3,1 MP are still very good machines. I made this purely for those who come onto the forums saying "I have been offered a 3,1 at ... price should I take it" or "I want a workstation but I am on a budget can 3,1 MP still be used" I highlighted the pros and cons in my report and feel I have provided enough to at least give people a little help in choosing whether or not to come to the mac side or stay with windows when buying budget workstations.

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