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pat250

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 13, 2018
2
1
Hey everyone,

I'm looking into buying a used 2008-2009 Mac Pro on ebay. I want to smoothly edit HD videos on FCP, so I was thinking I should upgrade the internals.

-At least 16gb RAM
-At least 2gb VRAM (graphics card)


Here's a link to the Mac I found (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-2008...70LL-A-B-Grade-/132497107346?oid=132643508325) and here are the current specs for that listing:

Apple 2008 Mac Pro (MA970LL/A)
2 X 2.8GHz (8-cores) Xeon
320GB HDD
4GB RAM
256 MB ATI Radeon HD 2600


I don't have too much experience with upgrading Macs. I know that the memory upgrade shouldn't be a problem, but the graphics card upgrade will be tricky if I don't know what I'm doing (card support and lack of drivers, etc).

Any recommendations on what to buy to get my project started? Also what would be the newest OS that I could run? Feel free to recommend a different Mac if necessary. My budget is $700 max for everything, but I can go over if needed.

Thanks!
 

Partridge

macrumors 6502
Jul 28, 2007
355
81
Going for “2008-2009” doesn’t make sense. The real divide with the pros seems to —2008, then 2009-2012. The 2009 is able to be firmware upgraded to more or less be a 2010, and that’s when you gain the ability to officially install high sierra. If keeping up to date with the OS isn’t a concern for you at all, then the price premium for a 2009 may not make sense. There are a lot of bargain 2008 and prior Mac pros out there. Hit 2009/2010 onwards and the price goes up a lot. I’m not sure how much of an advantage a 2008 would hold over earlier years but the jump definitely isn’t as big as between 2008 and 2009.

Keep an eye on ebay for deals. I recently scored a six core 3.33 2010 with 32GB, 1TB hd, and a 5870 card for 500. And it came with a pristine 27 inch LED Cinema Display as well as mouse/keyboard/trackpad. So there are bargains to be had out there. You’ll get good at spotting systems. In my case the seller didn’t mention any hard specs on the actual configuration of the tower or the model of the display but I was able to figure it out by looking at the picture of the label on the back and the design of the monitor. If I had just been searching based on keywords I would have missed it.
 

MisterAndrew

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2015
2,878
2,363
Portland, Ore.
I agree. Spend a little extra for a 2010 or 2012. Faster and supported by Apple with firmware updates and the current OS (High Sierra, Mojave, and maybe even beyond).
[doublepost=1528955335][/doublepost]Quite a few in the $5-600 range on eBay, and plenty of good enough graphics cards in the $1-200 range (newer cards like Pulse RX 560 and flashable GTX 680 or HD 7950 / R9 280) so within your budget.

Check your local Craigslist too. That's how I found mine.
 
Last edited:

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2009
1,939
1,169
Pacific NW, USA
If you need dual cpu’s, a 2010+ Is better than a 2009. 550-650 beefing upgrades.

A single cpu 6-core 2009 is faster than a dual cpu 2008

2009’s in need of an upgrade can be picked up for 325ish most days on Craigslist. Upgrade firmware to a 2010 & add NVMe ssd support.
Replace ram, cpu, storage video card.

On eBay.
16gb R2x4 rdimms cost about 40 each.
A x5690 can also be had for 80.
storage ? Depends. For video it’s best to have a boot, rendering and archive drive.
Efi video card supporting Mojave 680/770/7950 $100.

Good luck.
 
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pat250

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 13, 2018
2
1
Thanks everyone. I followed Partridge's advice and diligently looked through ebay for 2 hours. I decided that a system with El Capitan was good enough. I got a deal for $390 including shipping. The computer fit my description pretty well, I just hope it arrives OK!

"My teenage sone thought he wanted to be a video editor. He changed his mind. Surprise. So . . . . 32 Gb Apple authorized RAM with heat sinks, a 2TB Seagate Barracuda hdd, an Nvidia GeForce GTX680 2GB Video Card ($300) which is a Mac flashed card with Apple boot screen, and a modern dual external antenna PCI wifi card capable of 150mbps speeds. Comes complete with power cord, and original dual usb apple keyboard and mighty mouse. It is an Early 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 mobel a1186. The case has some minor imperfections/scratches but it is not beat up at all. Computer is fast, and everything works great."
 
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OS6-OSX

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2004
945
753
California
"My teenage son thought he wanted to be a video editor. He changed his mind. Surprise.

The other (three) 2008 3,1 members and myself would like to welcome you to the club. It is a small but vibrant faction of the MacPro community. When your son changes his mind again this weekend after watching endless hours of YouTube, return to this site. We can help you setup the 3,1 so you can edit footage (4K, 6K) seemingly beyond it's capabilities. If you two are ever in town feel free to stop by our headquarters. Make sure to bring your 3,1 ID. No 1,1 1,2 4,1 5,1 or iMac Pro's allowed. Membership does have it's rewards! :p
2008 HQ.png
 
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mcpryon2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2008
505
88
The other (three) 2008 3,1 members and myself would like to welcome you to the club. It is a small but vibrant faction of the MacPro community. When your son changes his mind again this weekend after watching endless hours of YouTube, return to this site. We can help you setup the 3,1 so you can edit footage (4K, 6K) seemingly beyond it's capabilities. If you two are ever in town feel free to stop by our headquarters. Make sure to bring your 3,1 ID. No 1,1 1,2 4,1 5,1 or iMac Pro's allowed. Membership does have it's rewards! :p
View attachment 766274

Checking in:

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 1.46.33 AM.png

When do we meet?
 
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ZazenZach

macrumors member
Dec 23, 2009
98
1
@pat250 If you got a 3,1, a 680 wont work properly. It needs more power than the computer's stock psu can provide.

@mcpryon2 that 970 is going to waste in the 2008. The 2008 Mac Pro cant even use a 770 to its full potential. The CPU(s) are a major bottleneck.
 

tsialex

Contributor
Jun 13, 2016
12,946
13,171
@pat250 If you got a 3,1, a 680 wont work properly. It needs more power than the computer's stock psu can provide.

@mcpryon2 that 970 is going to waste in the 2008. The 2008 Mac Pro cant even use a 770 to its full potential. The CPU(s) are a major bottleneck.

You're just wrong.

Mac Pro 3,1 power supply is rated for 980W, GTX 680 needs 75+75+75W, and never puts even dent on a 3.1 power supply.

I have a MP3,1 with a eVGA GTX 680 for Mac and never had a problem, even running benchmarks for hours to test it.
 

mcpryon2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2008
505
88
@pat250 If you got a 3,1, a 680 wont work properly. It needs more power than the computer's stock psu can provide.

@mcpryon2 that 970 is going to waste in the 2008. The 2008 Mac Pro cant even use a 770 to its full potential. The CPU(s) are a major bottleneck.

Don’t hate the mad scientist, hate mad science.
 
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