Thinking of buying a used Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TheiPodPerson, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. TheiPodPerson macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2008

    So Im thinking about buying a Mac Pro off eBay to do some video editing (Avid), photo (CS5) work and other rather large tasks on a college budget. My question is, is a 2008 3.0Ghz or 2009 Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz enough power wise? Considering I upgrade the RAM and HDD myself. Or should I just go with a MacMini maxed out?

    Thanks! :apple:
  2. NeverhadaPC macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2008
    Those 2008 and 2009 MacPros are left in the dust by the new iMacs. If time is not on your side and you must purchase very soon and cannot wait a couple months, then:
    1) If those MPs cost less than $500, go for it.
    2) If MP costs more than $500 and you need to stay within $1000 budget, get maxed out quad-core Mac Mini
    3) If you have $1500-2000 to spend, get top iMac. You can alway sell it later to recoup.

    Recall, new MPs are rumored for Spring 2013, which is soon. Of course, time and money would both need to be spent for new Mac Pro.

    Choice choice choices... :cool:
  3. smokescreen76 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2010
    For raw power a new Mac Mini is probably more powerful than a 5 year old Mac Pro.

    However - the reason you would get a Mac Pro is if you need the extra PCI slots. Additional GFX cards, Fibre cards, eSata, Blackmagic or Kona cards, Mojo DX connectivity, RED Rocket and additional Firewire or USB.

    Another cool feature is the ability to have 4 internal Sata drives and RAID them together. Also the 2 drive slots on the front allow you to have a DVD drive and a BluRay drive.

    An extra ethernet port and digital audio is also necessary for some people.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    The Mac Pros, even the old ones, are far better for adding all sorts of "stuff" externally or internally. Lots of internal drives, Two ethernet ports, Add a 2nd GPU, etc etc.

    However, a "new" Mini comes with a warranty, that can be extended to 3 years.... so, if something happens there is no extra cost. Old Mac Pros are probably outside their warranty coverage. If something goes wrong my rule of thumb is that it is going to cost either $100 or $1,000 to fix. An exception is if you bought the Mac Pro off the refurbished pages. More expensive, but the warranty is there.

    Apple is moving a fair number of Mac Pros through the refurbished pages right now... and occasionally a really good deal pops up. The other day a well specced system was up for $1800 and change. It didn't last long. A Mac Pro bought this way will see you through for at least 3 years with no extra repair costs. At that point whatever Apple is bringing out next will be well established.

    Mac Pros also tend to keep their resale value, so in three years your next system will likely be subsidized.

    Just some more food for fodder....
  5. Giuly, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040



    Except for the second GPU. And depending on how old the Mac Pro is, it has SATA-I or SATA-II, which doesn't make it better than a Thunderbolt enclosure with SATA 6GBit/s.

    You get Pegasus R4/Pegasus R6.

    And no, a DVD nor a BluRay drive is particularly cool. That's why any 2012 Mac (except for the cMBP) has them.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Sorry? The PCI slots in a Mac Pro make it easy to add another video card and/or upgrade the existing one. There are, of course, some limits on what you can add... but for some people this feature can be more important.
    Which may or may not be important...only the OP knows what they need. I'm not trying to argue a Mac Pro is the best system, period. But it may be the best system for what the OP needs - so I pointed out some features that they may not be aware of so that they can make a better informed decision.

    .... that 2nd quote was not me, so I can't address it...

    Except to say that having a writeable DVD drive is crucial for me, and I like having it internally handy. But that is just me...
  7. Giuly, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    What I meant is that you can't add a second GPU via Thunderbolt, yet. That's the only thing that the Mac Mini can't do, but you can buy computing time on servers for programs that support it (i.e. Final Cut and Logic).

    And as far as DVDs and BluRays go, you can always hook up a Apple USB Superdrive or an USB BluRay Burner to the Mac Mini - if you desperately require one and can't get by with SD cards or USB sticks.

    For everything that doesn't require Workstation graphics, get the Mac Mini. If that's not sufficient, there is always the iMac, which steps it up a notch. Maybe try out a Mac Mini, if it isn't sufficient for you switch it out for an iMac (and give one more refurb Mac Mini to the people in the process). For most users, dual-core graphics in SLI is simply overkill, anyways.

    For comparison, the OP stated that he has a 15" MacBook Pro with an i7 2.66GHz CPU. A top-of-the-line Mac Mini is about 3-5x as fast (Dual-Core vs. Quad-Core and 1st-gen Sandy Bridge vs. 2.8GHz Ivy Bridge, the same goes for the dedicated graphics)
  8. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    You should wait a little cause the 2013 Mac Pros are gonna be released soon, according to several rumors on this site and metions from Tim cook
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I don't want to fight a mini-vs-MP battle with anybody, but while it's certainly true that the mini is a potent little machine all those add-ons are needed to give it decent and decently-fast storage.

    Those Pegasus enclosures must be very nice. And how much do they cost?

    I have two Mac Pros (a 1,1 and a 5,1). The 5,1 has 12 tb in it, and the 1,1 has 9 tb. No external enclosures, no cost beyond the cost of the drives. No cables. One AC cord.

    Any new mini would spank the 1,1 and maybe even the 5,1, in terms of raw processing power, but in terms of getting real-world Avid and CS work done, not so much, without those high-priced add-ons.

    And the OP's on a budget.
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    One more bit of info for the blend. The RAM for the 2008 can more expensive to buy. I believe Apple moved to a different and less costly type of memory with the 2009s. I had a 2008 (the 3,1 model technically) and the RAM was pricey.... but I'm pretty sure they used a less expensive type starting with the 4,1 model in 2009. If you go with a Mac Pro, that might make a difference for you or explain a price discrepancy.
  11. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    For some of us, the Mac Pro is the only option.
    Until Thunderbolt has GPU support, a Mac Pro with multiple PCI slot option is the pro choice :)
  12. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    Is this a good configuration for an used Mac Pro (Apple's refurbished page): $1819 :

    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Eligible for OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program

    Originally released August 2010
    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor
    3GB (3 x 1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory
    1TB Serial ATA 7200 rpm
    18x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 memory

    I am looking also at a few used (no warranty) 2009-10 Mac Pro machines on the $750k-$1000 range in Ebay, are they any good?


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