To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by crashwins, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. crashwins macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Hi folks. A friend offered to sell me a 2009 2.66 quad-core Mac Pro for $400. It has the Nehalem processor, 8GB Ram, and a GeForce 120 (512). For some reason it has a 250gb HD - should be more I'd think? So I'm guess maybe there was a hd failure with the previous opener (it's from a college). Wondering: good deal? I figure I could add another GeForce 120 and I'd need a wifi card (do they make non-apple ones that aren't $100!?). Also, I'd boost the RAM a bit I'd guess. I see the geek score for this is ~9000. Maybe with the upgrades it could do better. Thanks!
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    HD's available 640 Gb 1 and 2 TB, so the 250 GB is not standard.

    Think $400 is not that much for a ~3 year old MacPro

    Oh, and there are wireless USB sticks for much less than $100.
  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi crashwins. Seems a good deal for $400. Just make sure to test the unit and ask the seller if there are issues he encountered.
  4. bsbeamer macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2012
    great price if the logic board is fully functional without issues. for reference, the 2.8GHz Quad from 2010 is going for $1819 from Apple refurb.

    what type of work do you need it for? probably just upgrade to an SSD and add some RAM and you'll probably be in decent shape.
  5. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks folks. I would be using this for Lightroom and occasionally FCP. I figured I could add an SSD, but I'm guessing it's SATA 2 and not SATA 3, which would be a 2GB/Sec chokepoint on it -- so not crazy fast. I think I'd be looking at like $600-700 before this thing was up to speed power-wise. That's sort of concerning I guess for a 4-yo computer.
  6. bsbeamer macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2012
    FCP7 or FCPX? RAM will help run multiple applications much more smoothly, but FCP7 can only utilize so much since it's a 32-bit application.

    look into the PCIe SSD adapters - opens up a larger range of speed options. also can look into adding CalDigit VR2 (for larger storage needs) or the AV Pro. both can run off from the USB3/eSATA PCIe card, which I believe works with the 2009 model...

    even with a new/refurb machine you'll end up spending some money on upgrades, so that's something to consider. also consider how long you want to hold onto this machine. RAM may not work in a newer machine, but an SSD and PCIe cards generally will.
  7. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks folks for the advise. Very helpful. Based on what I'm seeing on eBay and Craigslist seems like $400 is a steal for this Pro, no? Curious what kind of Geekbench marks it would get with an SSD and, say, 16 gigs of RAM. That would be like $200 out of my pocket.
  8. cyber16 macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2013
    $400 is just over 50% off used street prices on a good day.
    Normally selling for around $900-$1100 usd
  9. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Buy it NOW before they sober up.

    That machine can be upgraded to be faster than anything available from Apple right now.
  10. deconstruct60, Mar 9, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    the Mac Pro 2009 came minimally with a 640 GB drive.

    A 250GB drive sounds like one pulled from a 2006 era Mac Pro.

    You can snag the SMART stats to see what the operating hours are that drive has seen but if it is that old I'd dump it unless it has "only driven on Sundays by a nice old Grandmother from Pasadena " kind of low milage on it.

    Check the operating "mileage". This also could have been the old replaced drive that is now being pulled off the shelved to be sold. The one currently used could now go to the emergency back-up on the shelve status.

    I'd say $50-80 of the lower than average pricing here is likely tied to that being a drive you probably don't want to use long term.

    If "friend" is acquaintance or BFF probably makes a difference. A true friend might unload a Mac Pro at its true depreciated price. It has paid for itself, so just priced to move as opposed to a profit making exercise. Someone you really don't know well may be trying to unload their "Frankenstein lab" computer they'd done experiments on (many devices can I pack inside and run them all that the same time. )

    Wifi card or USB dongle ? Dongle probably works better.
  11. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks again for the feedback...

    Yes, I'm guessing it was an old HD or maybe the original HD kicked and they just swapped it out. But he sent me screenshots of the hardware profile -- it's an 09, quad 2.66, no doubt about it. I think the "2009" on the "About Mac" proves this -- not to mention the GeForce 120. The only thing out of place is the HD. But, still, for $350 (that's what he's saying now) is a pretty darn good deal, no?! I mean, worst case is it kicks and it's not like I lost a lot.

    It's tough - I'm not one to typically buy stuff that's too used, but 4 years isn't that bad. I basically want something I could get a solid year out of. Lol, I sort of need the approval of the experts here it seems.
  12. cyber16 macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2013
    Likely the original 640GB drive was removed by the original owners "The School" for security reasons, its easier/faster to do that than scrub the drive clean.

    Why have you not yet purchased it?
    Last time I was reading a thread like this a month ago here, the buyer waited to long and missed out on it.

    It is a NO BRAINER! Buy it and if for some reason you don't like it.
    Flip it for 2x + what you paid for it

  13. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I bought the same machine used in July for $1200, flashed it to a 5,1 and upgraded the CPU to a W3680 and GPU to 5770. Very simple to do. My machine is now equivalent to the current 3.33 hex Mac Pro.

    Buy that computer now! Unbeatable deal with great upgrade potential.
  14. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
  15. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Haha...The difficulty in actually GETTING the computer is that it's owned by this total doofus college kid. Nice guy, seems honest, but hearing that he was unable to do the deal Saturday because he was blacked-out from a "day drink" doesn't exactly inspire business confidence. He literally texted me this..

    That said, I believe the computer is in fine shape as he claims it to be. It's easy to tell when someone is trying to BS you..

    For upgrades, I wouldn't try to change the Xeon - I'm not that dedicated. However, could I update the RAM with 1333 instead of 1066 after updating the firmware to 5,1? Figured I could throw another GeForce 120 in there too, bringing the VRAM up to a GIG. That would be like a $200 upgrade...Not bad?
  16. cyber16, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013

    cyber16 macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2013
    Unless you planned a ram upgrade, the 1333 will not do you any good with the original CPU, even after the 5.1 efi update. The cpu will clock the ram back down to 1066. Even if you upgraded the CPU to a W 6-core, the performance increase from 1066 to 1333 is minimal.
  17. kenetic macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2006
    The deal seems too good to be true. Make sure the machine has no issue before paying.

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