Thinking about replacing 2006 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by myosh, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. myosh macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    I currently have an original 2006 Mac Pro (dual 2.66GHz) which has served me well over the past 4+ years but I'm thinking that the time has come to look for a replacement.

    Here are the replacement machines I've been looking at along with my thoughts...

    2010 MacPro - 2.8GHz Quad
    While I like the price point ($2500), I'm not sure how much of a performance boost I will get over my current machine. Also the processor architecture is the previous generation (Nehalem vs Westmere). Is that a legit concern?

    2010 MacPro - 3.2GHz Quad
    Once again, chip architecture and performance (to a lesser extent due to the higher clock speed) are concerns but $2,900 is doable from a financial standpoint.

    2010 MacPro - 3.33GHz Hex
    This is the one I really want but $3,700 is out of my price range. :(

    2009 MacPro (Refurbished) - 2.93GHz Quad
    This configuration drew some interest when I saw it in the refurbished section of the Apple Online Store mainly due to the $2,500 price tag.

    The computer will be mainly used for graphics creation/editing (Photoshop) and web development (Dreamweaver) as well as for web surfing, e-mail, photo and music management and MS Office applications. I also run Parallels because there are a couple of applications that I need to run that are Windows-only.

    So my question to the MacRumors' community is which of the above machines would you recommend or should I just stand pat with my 2006 MacPro and wait for the next refresh.

    FWIW, I did consider an iMac but the 21" is a little underpowered IMO and the 27" will not fit on my desk.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I think the base Mac Pro is just fine. You can upgrade the CPU in the future if needed. Westmere is just a die shrink of Nehalem (45nm vs 32nm), i.e. they both use the Nehalem architecture
  3. myosh thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    Thanks for the response Hellhammer. I guess the question then is how much of a performance boost will I see with the 2.8GHz 2010 Mac Pro vs 2.66GHz 2006 Mac Pro? Do you think the $400 upgrade to 3.2GHz is worth it?
  4. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    we are updating one of our machines ? seems worth it for us to get rid of the 1,1 at this point since its our income so the time savings will pay off

    when the computer is doing its thing its quite a bit faster but a lot of layout is not taxing the machine ? so the speed comes in when generating pages or working with large files and certain actions etc..
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Take a look here. ;)
  6. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Depending on what you do, upgrading your video card to one of the new 5770s or 5870s may result in quite a performance boost, due to the new cards having support for all the latest GPU acceleration Snow Leopard and various applications have.

    You might want to consider the 5870 first, and see how it helps out your applications. Then, if it's not enough, you'll already have a 5870 for when you buy your new Mac Pro. :)

    Moving from an X1900XT to a 3870 (which is a lot slower than the 5770 and 5870!) made a MASSIVE difference on my 2006 Mac Pro, especially in Aperture. So, just a suggestion!
  7. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    one thing about video cars and Photoshop ? things are quicker if you turn off the GPU !!!!!

    they might fix it someday but its got some major issues ? I know I have updated cards a few times and in PS it never helped ?

    it did help in Aperture though :) but I would say do research on the programs you use and if a card helps or not ?

    so not saying they do not help :) just saying they might not :)
  8. myosh thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    Wait, the new 5770 & 5870 ATI cards are compatible with the 2006 Mac Pro? I thought all newer video cards were incompatible with the 2006 Mac Pro because of the EFI32 vs EFI64 issue.

    A few months ago, I did upgrade my video card from the stock 7300GT to the 8800GT. I also have a 120GB SSD on order from OWC.

    @Nanofrog - thanks for the link to the benchmarks. That really helps.
  9. seek3r macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2010
    Newer nvidia cards are incompatible, but newer ATI cards use a firmware that supports both 32 and 64bit EFI, so they work fine.
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    They're capable, but there's been some confusion with the 2006 models that may not have been entirely figured out yet (some got them to work, others didn't, and I'm wondering if it's the result of the system's firmware revision).

    Barefeats for example (same site the benchmarks came from), got it to work in both 2006 and 2008 machines. But there's an entire thread on those cards that have others saying they had problems (5870 is really unknown IMO, as separate units still aren't available - the only cards shiped so far, are part of CTO systems).

    :cool: NP. :)
  11. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    honestly, any of the models since '09 would be a big improvement, since they all use the Nehalem architecture (vs Core 2).
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Not only that, but the fact the 2006/7 systems are EFI32. Which means that there's already limited graphics card choices for those systems (newer nVidia products will not work), and the ability to upgrade OS X will be short lived (Apple's already stated they're going to go K64 only). When could be 10.7, but 10.8 at the latest.

    That doesn't bode well for someone that wants to use the system for any length of time, unless they change it over to either a Windows or Linux box (can use any current graphics card), and the OS will be upgradable longer.
  13. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    Nothing you listed requires a new Mac Pro.

    Web surfing, email, music... you could do that on a 10 year old Pentium 2.

    If you're doing web development, the 2006 Mac Pro is ample.

    If you're editing large photoshop files... the 2006 Mac Pro is still more than capable.

    No reason to upgrade. Buy some SSD's, more RAM, and maybe a few Velociraptor 600's and call it good.
  14. seclusion macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2007
    I'm in the same position.
    I use a Mac Pro 1.1 now mainly for Logic Pro.
    I've done the SSD upgrade for OS, which really helps with everything just working with a click.
    Logic Pro boots into 64 bit which has helped me access more of my Ram now which is great.
    what I want to do though is have a Logic "template" which loads all of my instruments that I tend to use in a song.
    Will I use all of those instruments in every song... No.
    But to have them loaded where I can just try stuff is where I get bogged down.
    CPU goes into the roof when I do this too.
    But $2500 - approx $1000 after I dump my ol Mac Pro...
    PLus I have to get more Ram too...
    I'm on pause for the moment.
    I saw a refurb 2009 2.66 base model for $2100 that caught my eye too.
    Too many choices and not enough $$ to just go all out!

  15. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    I would suggest selling the 2006 while you can still something for it. Get a refurb 2009 octo if you can afford it. Yeah, it will suck spending the money for ram but the speed difference will be worth it. Plus, you can change the processors later down the road when your ready. Sell it while you can.
  16. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    Why would you sell a perfectly fine used Mac Pro.... to buy another perfectly fine USED Mac Pro that is a little faster?

    If you're going to sell it, get the newest and the fastest so you're not automatically shaving a year or 2 off the "feels snappy" life of your new used purchase, or next year you'll be selling the 2009 refurb you bought because it doesn't feel snappy enough.
  17. seclusion macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2007
    Ya tough call.
    I've had my 06 Mac Pro for just over 3 years and have recently just pushed it's limits using Logic Pro
    Seems as though I just need a bit more CPU power to do what I need.
    Going all out on a brand new Mac Pro $$ wise won't happen for sure.
    But if I can spend $1000 - $1500 to upgrade I think that'll meet my needs.
    Also offer some Apple Care if I'm lucky.
    Yes I would like a 64 EFI capable system as well, of course my Sound Card/Control system is unlikely to offer 64 bit OS drivers so that'd have to be replaced as well. (But that doesn't have to be done immediately as I can still boot 32.
  18. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I have the 2.93GHz 2009 Quad-Core Mac Pro and love it. Bought it refurbished from the Apple Store with the 4870 and added a 120GB SSD and 16GB of RAM (now running 12GB for triple-channel). VERY fast machine indeed. It's a pleasure to use this computer everyday. Fastest computer I have ever owned.
  19. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    I have the same machine and did extensive Logic Pro editing for a band (sound mixing was one of my hobbies) a few months ago.

    What is your RAM amount, do you have any SSD's, and do you have any Velociraptors?

    CPU is rarely a bottleneck that is more of a constraint than DATA ACCESS. Until you MAX OUT your Mac Pro 1,1 on RAM and DATA ACCESS, how do you know you're really not waiting on hard drives or RAM?
  20. seclusion macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2007
    I have 12 gigs of Ram
    I use a 160 SSD for the OS only at this time
    2 separate hard drives for samples and 1 for audio.
    $$ I need big SSD drives for all my samples, I'd go through $$$ to house all of them.
    No the bottle neck is my CPU power, she goes up into 75-80% and performance starts lacking. That's with my template of...

    2 SD 2 Drums loaded,
    1 EZ Drummer loaded
    2 Omnisphere's
    3 NI, 1 Kawai Piano
    2 EW Strings
    + a whack of third party plugs loaded.

    Again this is my template, so technically I don't need everything loaded.
    But it's nice to have everything loaded ready to use...
    Logic in 64 bit is really running well.
  21. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I had a 2.66GHz MacPro1,1 back in 2006, and it was a very fast machine. In some aspects I feel the dual processor machine felt faster than my quadcore Nehalem. Maybe it's because I was upgrading from a PowerMac G4.
  22. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Just went through this mental exercise .............. see sig for results. :cool:

    My purchase might have been different if FCS supported multicores. I'm assuming that situation will change in the future but I'm a FIRM believer in NOT buying a computer based on future needs. That's a total loser prospect. IMO. ;)

    We're probably looking at next gen MP's before most SW "catches up" with multi-core support.

  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I agree, as it's a waste of funds.

    Better to put the funds into upgrading areas that can actually benefit current usage, such as addressing system bottlenecks like RAM and disk throughput. The only valid exception IMO, is if the software used is known to get a new release that will be able to utilize additional cores soon after the equipment purchase (say 3 months).
  24. myosh thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    Thanks guys for all the input.

    With regards to upgrading my current MacPro to squeeze a little more performance out of it, here's my current configuration...

    CPU --- Dual 2.66GHz Xeons
    RAM --- 12 GB (4 x 1GB, 4 x 2 GB)
    Drives --- 120 GB SSD (on order), 2 TB HDD for Data, 250 GB HDD for Windows
    Video --- GeForce 8800GT (upgraded from 7300GT)

    While I'm OK with replacing processors on my home-built PCs, I'm not very comfortable with trying to replace processors on my MacPro (go figure) so I'm ruling that out as an upgrade option. Other than that, I really don't see anything else I can do to upgrade my current Mac.

    Also, is the EFI32 vs EFI64 going to become an issue in the near future (as in OS upgrades, hardware compatibility, etc)?
  25. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    If you replaced chips before, you won't have any problems doing it in the Mac pro. Just more patients required. I did my 2006 2ghz Mac pro to 2.33 and definately saw a nice boost. Sold it later though for a 2008 2.8 Mac pro (sold that recently). Only problem is the clovertowns are still expensive but worth it if you want to hang on to it a little while longer. Not 100% sure but expect OSX 10.7 to be 100% 64 bit.

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