Upgrading/Purchasing a Mac Pro 3,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by thefredelement, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. thefredelement macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    Hi, I'm looking at purchasing an older Mac Pro 3,1 with some lack luster components.

    It only has 2GB of RAM (Apple FB ECC Ram), however I have 8GB of DDR2 RAM from a PC, would I be able to use this until I purchase some Apple RAM upgrades? The cost for the RAM from macmemory.com isn't super bad at all, I'm buying a house and will be closing in the next 45 days so, the cheaper the better, for the mean time).

    The Mac Pro has a very dated video card and I know with Lion and the new Nvidia drivers, it's possible to use a ton of different Nvidia cards. I have an Nvidia GTS 250 (dual DVI) 1GB PCIEx16 card that I'd love to just throw in there for the mean time. Two questions about this, would I be able to install Lion via USB stick on this video card? And will it be fine with acceleration, sans boot screen?

    With the EFI64 of the 3,1 am I future proofed for Mountain Lion?
     
  2. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #2
    I don't think the RAM will work, you need ECC....It's one of the downsides to the 2008 models.

    You can either put in an official 5870 card that will have EFI or you can install a Nvidia 5xx card and use the drivers they released recently. Alternatively you can wait to see whether Apple release a new Mac Pro soon and if they do, hope that you can upgrade the GPU to the one in that model. In theory you should be able to, but Apple have a history of being unsupportive of attempts to extend the life of their products longer than they themselves think is appropriate.

    The 2008's will work with Mountain Lion, partly because they have 64 bit EFI....It seems to be the cutoff.

    The 2008s are good machines...a bit long in the tooth but if you can pick one up for a decent price they're still very capable.
     
  3. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #3
    It's not about ECC, but about the type of Ram. The MacPro up to the 3,1 needs FB-Dimm type of Ram, which is probably not what the OP has from his PC. 8GB FB-Dimm today cost around 185€ new, which is significantly more expensive than the normal DDR-Ram found in standard PC's or more modern Macs.
     
  4. thefredelement thread starter macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    I don't know what to do honestly. Now I'm thinking about getting a 2009 Mac pro with dual quad 2.93 Xeons with no ram, hdds or a video card. I got a price of 2800. I see I can get 16 gb of ram for that box for 138.99 from macmemory.com, then I'd drop in a SSD boot drive and whatever dual DVI video card with 1gb of VRAM that works natively.

    I don't know what a near future release of a new Mac pro or equivalent line will do to these prices, any thoughts?
     
  5. Gomff, Apr 28, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012

    Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #5
    Personally I'd say it comes down to price: If you can get a really good deal on any Mac Pro from a 3,1 onwards then it's worth going for if you want a Mac Pro. They're great machines but they probably hold their value a little more than they should given the technology in them.

    I don't think you've mentioned what you plan to use the machine for, which is also a pretty big factor in recommending a model or product line.

    ----------

    Ahh, OK...Thanks for putting me right on that....I knew there was something picky about 2008 memory and I thought it was the ECC bit.:D
     
  6. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #6
    _If_ Apple should introduce a new MP (or equivalent), no one can say now what this exactly means for the prices of the 2009'ers except that they will go down. Maybe even over-proportionally, as more 2010 models will become available and the 2009 models then are less attractive than today due to the missing heat spreaders on the CPU's, making DIY upgrades a little bit more tricky.

    As it should only be a matter of weeks now I would wait and keep an eye of Apple's refurb store as well as other second hand markets once the new model is introduced.

    It's a little gamble though, because _if_ Apple should instead cancel the line (or make clear they're not interested in updating the MP anymore), then prices are likely to even rise...
     
  7. thefredelement thread starter macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #7
    I'm in a bit of a tight spot with holding off. I'm moving in a few weeks and there will be plenty of other things to spend money on.

    There are a few things going in to the Mac Pro purchase. I don't want to spend bad money, and for every 1k spent I'd hope to get a years of decent use, so value and a smart purchase are big concerns for me. I don't mind paying a slight bit more for something that I know will be cheaper in the future, I just don't want to waste any money either.

    I have a 2.8ghz quad core Xeon now with 8gb of ram and an nvidia gts 250 video card with 1gb. It mostly suits my needs but often I come close to maxing the ram out. I know sooner rather than later I will be feeling how dated it is. Given the pending onslaught of mortgage payments from the above mentioned move, it'd be easier for me to pull the trigger now. I'm hoping with a 2009 8 core Mac pro I can buy a few years, and with some value minded upgrades can see a decent performance boost.

    What are any readers thoughts on paying around 3,500 for a 2009 2.93Ghz 8 core with 16GB ram, the 1gb Apple ATI video card, and a 128GB SSD boot drive (using existing drives for storage) ? Am I just asking for buyers remorse?
     
  8. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #8
    I think if you look hard enough, you should be able to find a 3,1 for between $12-1500 and thats with at least 8GB of RAM if not more. Dropping over three grand is going to get you buyers remorse as it sounds like way more machine then you need. A 3,1 will last a good while, I would think 3-4 more years at least by the sounds of how you use your machine.
     
  9. thefredelement thread starter macrumors 65816

    thefredelement

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    I think I'm just going to go for broke:

    2009 MP w/dual 2.93Ghz Xeons
    24GB RAM
    Ati 6870 2GB VRAM
    512GB SSD (hardware raid0 of 2x256GB)
    4TB / 3TB usable eSata raid5 enclosure

    I should have it all in place by early-mid summer and hopefully by then new MPs come out and I get a good deal on a stripped down 2009.

    I think that would get me through 2015/16, hopefully 17 without much of an issue.
     
  10. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #10
    One of the biggest issues that will decide if your machine makes it to 2017 is the components. If you get lucky and things like your logic board remain sound, then you should get quite good longevity.

    I suggest looking after it by blowing the dust out every few months, making sure it can ventilate properly and keeping your fingers crossed.....Good luck!
     

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