thinking of buying a 2008 mac pro

firelighter487

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 30, 2014
135
8
The Netherlands
hello everyone,

i'm thinking of buying a 2008 mac pro second hand, and i wanted to know known faults etc. so i know what to watch out for when buying one.

thanks in advance
 

m4v3r1ck

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2011
2,341
347
The Netherlands
Perhaps getting a cMP 4.1/5.1 will give you a much better future upgrade horizon! Do have a search here on MR for the various threads.

Cheers
 

firelighter487

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 30, 2014
135
8
The Netherlands
my budget is quite limited. i have about €450, and that is just enough for a 3.1. most 1.1 mac pro's are listed for €300 where i'm from.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
510
417
They are solid machines (I have one). A few thoughts:

* Eight core is obviously better than 4, but I'd take a 4 core 4,1 over an 8 core 3,1.
* Make sure the DVD drive works (can read/burn), as these do go bad over time.
* Make sure all the fans spin at normal speeds (none are revving up all the time) and don't make any unusual noise (should be smooth, no rattling). That includes the graphics card.
* If you have the time, make sure that the drive can be booted from all 4 bays.
* Look out for excessive dust ("dust bunnies" clogging anything).
* Cosmetic deficiencies drastically reduces value. Original packaging tends to increase value a little, but don't pay more for it unless that's important to you.

Don't pay extra for useless frills. Like with cars, "upgrades" often don't add much value. Personally, a machine with a lot of extra spinning drives (as opposed to SSDs) is not interesting to me, at least if you are asked to pay for them. Used disk drives are basically worthless, and these days most people would want SSD's anyway (don't pay too much for those either!).

On the other hand, a good upgraded graphics card, especially an official Apple 5770, would be nice and is worth a few extra Euros. Extra memory is good and worth a little money too (but, again, not too much).

Good luck.

hello everyone,

i'm thinking of buying a 2008 mac pro second hand, and i wanted to know known faults etc. so i know what to watch out for when buying one.

thanks in advance
 

scott.n

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2010
336
70
Yes.

8 core 3.2 GHz Mac Pro 3,1 -> Geekbench Multicore 8565
4 core 3.33 Ghz Mac Pro 4,1 -> Geekbench Multicore 9884

Mactracker: http://mactracker.ca
I don't think those scores are correct. 2008 Mac Pro with dual X5482 should have a 64-bit Multi-Core Score of around 13,000. 2009-10 Mac Pro with single W5590 (?) should have a 64-bit Multi-Core Score of around 10,000.

That being said, a single-processor 4,1 is still the better option if you plan to keep it for a while and upgrade it.
 
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Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,946
810
Mactracker uses Geekbench 2 (32 Bit). Do not compare with Geekbench 3 results.
 

Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,946
810
Yes, it was a big performance leap from Mac Pro 3,1 to 4,1. And yes, 4,1 use DDR3 RAM. But SATA 2 on internal bays, not SATA 3. You can see all information with the MacTracker application.
 

G4DPII

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2015
245
295
Yes, it was a big performance leap from Mac Pro 3,1 to 4,1. And yes, 4,1 use DDR3 RAM. But SATA 2 on internal bays, not SATA 3. You can see all information with the MacTracker application.
It wasn't a big jump at all. What tosh. It was the expected 10 - 15% speed increase. You also 'forget' the 2009 machines came with hyperthreading CPU's.
 

nigelbb

macrumors 65816
Dec 22, 2012
1,019
188
Don't forget that for all practical purposes you cannot upgrade a single CPU 4,1 to dual CPU as the necessary dual CPU tray is either unobtainable or more expensive than buying a dual CPU system in the first place.
A dual CPU 3,1 is still a very decent system if you are on a limited budget.
 
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IowaLynn

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2015
1,306
288
2009: ease of cpu upgrade, 6-core is very nice, popular.
Besides DDR3 and get past using FB-DIMMs.
GPU and other PCIe cards run better and better supported, plus 2008 still has two PCIe 1.1 4x slots that can hurt.
Even EFI 2.0 has downside.

Would need good reason. Save and go with something else.
If you were to want wifi or Bluetooth or USB3, or eSATA, the can be added but reason to look for something modern.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
510
417
No, they are NOT faster (at least not at everything). In fact, for tasks using all 8 cores (handbrake, etc.), an 8 core 3,1 will destroy a 4 core 4,1. (A faster-clocked 4 core 4,1, if they made them, may be marginally faster than a 3,1 in every-day single-threaded tasks.)

The real point: A 4 core 4,1 is a better long-term proposition since you can install a fast 6 core processor down the road. There are a few other advantages too, as some have mentioned. My point was mainly the long-term value proposition if the up-front cost differential is minimal.

If budget is important (as it is to most), then don't overspend. These are all old machines now, and a 3,1 is just as well-built as a 4,1. I've kept mine these last 8 years and it has served me well. That's despite easily having the budget to buy something newer.

why a 4 core 4.1 over an 8 core 3.1? are they faster?
 
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Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
510
417
Please note that 4 core 4,1's as supplied by Apple were 2.66 GHz, NOT 3.33 GHz (3.6 Turbo) as the W3580 is.

That said, I would indeed take a 4,1 with a W3580 over a 3,1. But why stop there when you can get a 6 core version at that same base speed? Of course, they will come at a fairly-high premium, probably well past what the OP has budgeted. Let's give him a break, folks, and respond to his actual question. :)
 
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Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
510
417
Uh, wait, did Apple produce upgraded 4 cores!? Seems they did after all.

As I suggested, he might prefer a 4 core 4,1 over an 8 core 3,1. But he's operating under a budget, and that's fair. A 6 or 8 core 4,1 will cost considerably more.
 
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firelighter487

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 30, 2014
135
8
The Netherlands
i just checked. a 3.1 2.8 ghz with 32 gb ram, radeon 2600 and a 640gb hdd was listed for €500, and that's the maximum i can afford. a 4.1 isn't going to do it, those cost around €600.
 

skwareman

macrumors newbie
Apr 4, 2016
7
2
Oostvoorne
Firelighter487; The 4.1 is the better choice, but also more than twice as expensive in The Netherlands (second hand). But for 250 euro's a 3.1 can be bought, you could expand it with cheap memory (from the 1.1/2.1) and a better GPU. SSD can give you more "speed"! I can not think of a better 2nd hand system to buy!
 

Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,946
810
No, they are NOT faster (at least not at everything). In fact, for tasks using all 8 cores (handbrake, etc.), an 8 core 3,1 will destroy a 4 core 4,1. (A faster-clocked 4 core 4,1, if they made them, may be marginally faster than a 3,1 in every-day single-threaded tasks.)
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