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Trash Can Mac Pro 2013 Worth It?

Mimiron

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
167
152
Hey, so I need a Mac Pro for work, and I figured here's the right place to ask around.

  • First, my budget is around 2K, and there's no way I'm buying and overpriced iMac, Mac Mini with subpar specs, or the newest iMac Pro or Mac Pro 2019.
  • I already own a Macbook Pro, but I need a desktop Mac as I'm looking to completely ditch Windows for macOS.
  • I want to connect two or preferably three screens to the machine.
  • I do not want a Hackintosh.
I want an upgradable device that I can purchase and max out using third-party components, so either the Mac Pro 2013 or the older ones (towers) come into questions.

Which one would you prefer, and why? I've done some research myself, but from what I read, the trash can Mac Pro is hard to upgrade and people like the older one (2012/2010 models) better, but I am not sure if there's a big difference when it comes to CPU Power.

Found a trash can Mac Pro for 1,601 EUR with the following specs:
  • Intel Xeon E5 with 10 MB L3 Cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz;
  • 64 GB RAM;
  • AMD FirePro D300 GPU x2 GPU (2GB each).
The deal is when that GPU gets damaged, replacement costs 1K on eBay. On top of that, the trash can Mac Pro seems a bit overpriced to me because I also found a fully maxed out 2012 Mac Pro for 2,288 EUR with the following specs:
  • Intel Xeon 3.46 GHz 12-core;
  • 128 GB RAM;
  • Radeon RX 580 8 GB GPU;
  • 512 GB Flash SSD;
  • 12 TB Raid Storage;
  • 1TB Time Machine.
So effectively, for 600 more, I've got double the RAM and GPU power +4 more cores.

Which one do you think is better? How's the FirePro GPU performing in the trash can version? Is the older one more upgradable and a better choice overall? I'm mostly here to find out some apparent issues that I may not be able to recognize on my own, such as software support on the 2012 and the 2013 versions, or maybe not buying any of those listed because they're outdated. Thanks for any advice and reply.
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
7,074
1,203
The Finger Lakes Region
I would go for the Mac Mini with at least and I-5 in it or better and I-9! This way you can use one of Four Thunderbolt 3 ports on it for other externals!
 
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ares1849

macrumors newbie
Sep 25, 2015
16
1
Pittsburgh
One thing to consider is that the classic tower Mac Pros (like the 2012) cannot run the latest version of MacOS anymore. The 2013 Mac Pro can run Big Sur (and possibly future OS's but that remains to be seen). So if software support is important to you, that's a big deal. You will have at least several more years of OS security updates if you get a 2013 and stick with Big Sur. The 2012 and older Mac Pros will soon no longer receive such updates. You can upgrade the RAM and SSD in the 2013 very easily and even the CPU with some work. However, the Mac Pro 2012 can do all that and have a better graphic card too. I had a 2009 Mac Pro for years and now own a 2013 and was very happy with both. I would not pay that much for a 2012 Mac Pro. I paid roughly $600 US years ago for a 2009 which I was able to upgrade extensively for much cheaper than that. Maybe get a 2010 and max it out yourself?
 
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Mimiron

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
167
152
One thing to consider is that the classic tower Mac Pros (like the 2012) cannot run the latest version of MacOS anymore. The 2013 Mac Pro can run Big Sur (and possibly future OS's but that remains to be seen). So if software support is important to you, that's a big deal. You will have at least several more years of OS security updates if you get a 2013 and stick with Big Sur. The 2012 and older Mac Pros will soon no longer receive such updates. You can upgrade the RAM and SSD in the 2013 very easily and even the CPU with some work. However, the Mac Pro 2012 can do all that and have a better graphic card too. I had a 2009 Mac Pro for years and now own a 2013 and was very happy with both. I would not pay that much for a 2012 Mac Pro. I paid roughly $600 US years ago for a 2009 which I was able to upgrade extensively for much cheaper than that. Maybe get a 2010 and max it out yourself?

Thanks for clarifying. This is really important to me, I want to use the latest macOS for at least a few more years while also having a decent machine, so the trash can version seems like the way to go.
 
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ruka.snow

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2017
770
2,149
The Mac mini 2018 is faster in just about every way. I would only get the 2013 Mac Pro as something to sell for stupid money in a few decades or if you are a collector.
 
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pldelisle

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2020
1,794
1,217
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
First, my budget is around 2K, and there's no way I'm buying and overpriced iMac, Mac Mini with subpar specs, or the newest iMac Pro or Mac Pro 2019.
The top tier iMac 2020 is simply better than anything previously mentioned in this thread. Upgrade it with i9 10 core, 1 TB SSD and 128 Gb of Crucial RAM and it’s a compute powerhouse. For additional 2 4K screens I’d chose the Radeon Pro 5700 8 GB.
You might end up slightly above your budget, but you will have the ultimate Mac computer (even better than iMac Pro) for fraction of the price of the actual Mac Pro.

For storage, consider a NAS. This is the best way to store files.

You might end up slightly above your budget, but you will have the ultimate Mac computer (even better than iMac Pro) for fraction of the price of the actual Mac Pro.
 
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Mimiron

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
167
152
The top tier iMac 2020 is simply better than anything previously mentioned in this thread. Upgrade it with i9 10 core, 1 TB SSD and 128 Gb of Crucial RAM and it’s a compute powerhouse. For additional 2 4K screens I’d chose the Radeon Pro 5700 8 GB.
You might end up slightly above your budget, but you will have the ultimate Mac computer (even better than iMac Pro) for fraction of the price of the actual Mac Pro.

For storage, consider a NAS. This is the best way to store files.

You might end up slightly above your budget, but you will have the ultimate Mac computer (even better than iMac Pro) for fraction of the price of the actual Mac Pro.

The iMac 27 3.1 GHz 6-core I5 with 64GB of RAM and 256 SSD costs 3349 EUR, I haven't even upgraded the storage or GPU yet and I don't want to pay 5K for an iMac that I can't upgrade, so that's a no can do.

I'm looking to buy a Tower like the 5.1 one, but I am not sure which one to buy if the 2010 version or 2012 would be better. I want to buy the best possible core for that and I assume the newer model (2012) supports faster processors. Trash can seems hard to upgrade and when the FirePro gets damaged, a replacement costs 1K on ebay...
 
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pldelisle

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2020
1,794
1,217
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The iMac 27 3.1 GhZ 6-core I5 with 64GB of Ram and 256 SSD costs 3349 EUR, I haven't even upgraded the storage or GPU, I don't want to pay 5K for an iMac. I don't want a Mac Mini either.
One must be real crazy to order an iMac with Apple RAM. You can get 64 GB of Crucial certified compatible RAM for a fraction of the price.

If money is real concern, I'd just pick top tier + 1 TB SSD and you should be fine.

Up to you to buy old tech then. I think buying something old (especially that price) is always worse than buying new tech, even if you have to pay a premium for it.

There's a lot of contradiction in what you say. You want an upgradable Mac, but you target a trash can 2013 to which only RAM (now obsolete DDR3 ECC) and storage were accessible (and upgraded storage sometimes makes trouble with macOS with deep sleep or whatever).
And it's still 7 years old tech with incredibly poor GPU performance. I don't know what you wanna do with your computer, but I hope it's nothing graphics intensive because you'll be disappointed. And it had very poor reliability. This was literally a freaking trash can.

2010 is a 10 years old computer. I don't see any reason why buying this except to look at it under the desk, really. Even if you change Cpu you will still end up with 10 year old technology because CPU socket only match CPUs from this generation.

I think you don't understand the concept of a Mac. The concept is "buy the current model now, BTO-it with the highest upgrades you can afford, and keep it like this until the end of its life". Buying a 2010-2012 computer in 2020 is just ridiculous. The iMac 2019 is modular by design, but you say it costs too much. You don't want a Mac mini. You don't want a laptop. You don't want an iMac. I think you want nothing else but a PC ..........
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,154
2,404
New Jersey Pine Barrens
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Mimiron

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
167
152
One must be real crazy to order an iMac with Apple RAM. You can get 64 GB of Crucial certified compatible RAM for a fraction of the price.

If money is real concern, I'd just pick top tier + 1 TB SSD and you should be fine.

Up to you to buy old tech then. I think buying something old (especially that price) is always worse than buying new tech, even if you have to pay a premium for it.

There's a lot of contradiction in what you say. You want an upgradable Mac, but you target a trash can 2013 to which only RAM (now obsolete DDR3 ECC) and storage were accessible (and upgraded storage sometimes makes trouble with macOS with deep sleep or whatever).
And it's still 7 years old tech with incredibly poor GPU performance. I don't know what you wanna do with your computer, but I hope it's nothing graphics-intensive because you'll be disappointed. And it had very poor reliability. This was literally a freaking trash can.

2010 is a 10 years old computer. I don't see any reason why buying this except to look at it under the desk, really. Even if you change Cpu you will still end up with 10 year old technology because CPU socket only match CPUs from this generation.

I think you don't understand the concept of a Mac. The concept is "buy the current model now, BTO-it with the highest upgrades you can afford, and keep it like this until the end of its life". Buying a 2010-2012 computer in 2020 is just ridiculous. The iMac 2019 is modular by design, but you say it costs too much. You don't want a Mac mini. You don't want a laptop. You don't want an iMac. I think you want nothing else but a PC ..........

I wanted the trash can because to me it looks really good and for what it's worth it can be upgraded unlike the Macbook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Minis. I've no experience with it though so can't tell if it's really "trash" or not.

I also outlined my other solution which would be to buy an old 5.1 tower for like 200 Euros and upgrade it with completely new internals, similar to what this guy did ->

I'm thinking of doing something similar and max the Mac Pro 5.1 out, so I can put as much storage in there as I need, the same goes for GPUs so that it can handle GPU-intensive tasks and upgrade RAM. So the only concern is the CPU limited by 10-year technology.

I also had no clue you can easily plug in RAM to the iMac without actually prying open the display.
 
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pldelisle

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2020
1,794
1,217
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
So the only concern is the CPU limited by 10-year technology.
Which will obviously bottleneck everything else you could upgrade in the Mac Pro. So it doesn't worth it.

Believe me. I run a 9 year old workstation (i7 2700K, 32 GB DDR3, SATA SSD in RAID 0, 2x 2080 RTX) and the GPUs are bottlenecked by the whole platform. Fortunately for me, my use case is not *that* CPU intensive and most of the work is distributed directly over the GPUs (machine learning), so it doesn't impact *that* much (maybe 20%). I did this because I knew my specific use case and it's a very particular one. And I had to thread everything to use all 8 threads of my CPU, if not I would be severely bottleneck even more. But I wouldn't do this again and do not recommend it at all.
 
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