Used Mac Pro Advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sarantosser, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. sarantosser macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Hey all,

    I'm a long time reader! Usually I can find the info i need through other posts, but this time I'm struggling.

    I'm in the market for a Mac Pro. I'm your standard poor uni student, so that puts a new system out of the question. So I've placed my budget at around $1400 for a used Mac Pro system.

    I'm in the early stages, but I remember reading a while back that going for the Mac Pro 1,1 is not such a good idea. So what would you guys recommend for me?

    I'll give you a breakdown of my requirements and needs.

    So my plan is to have a OSX boot installation, with programs such as Adobe Suite and other design oriented programs installed on a small sized SSD, and then storing majority of my other files on another HDD drive. However, I am an industrial design student, and so will require various graphics and processor intensive programs such as Solidworks and 3DS Max. So my plan would be to have a Windows installation on another HDD.

    So keeping this in mind, I hope you can answer some of my main questions:

    1. For this kind of use what is the minimum processor i should aim for.I would think the QuadCore 2.66 setup is sufficient in this respect, but as i mentioned earlier, remember someone warning against this model for todays use.

    2. I would hope for around a minimum 6GB RAM, with the possibility of upgrade in the future. Is there a severe increase in RAM performance with the change from a used models DDR2 RAM to current DDR3 RAM models?

    3. I have no idea which graphics card i require for my uses. But am I limited as i require something that can handle intensive Solidworks?

    So based on all this, which model of Mac Pro should I go for?

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for the long post, but i had a lot of questions.

  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd say go with a 2008 system, but given you budget (presume that even if the posted figure is converted to USD from AUD), it's not going to be enough for an Octad version. Quad core (only one processor), maybe (spotted one in the US for just over $1100USD). For this model, you can add a second CPU at a later date (just needs to be the same CPU model).

    Nothing on when I checked (just before posting), and the units on eBay in the US I looked at won't ship to you (2008 units only). Not sure where you'd even find one locally. :(

    Not sure about the Nehalem Quads in terms of availability to you, but that's an option as well, so long as your actual usage won't get to the point you must have more cores (not sure it will; but if it does, you cannot add in a second CPU from 2009 on to the board). Best you can do here, is get a faster clock that will fit the machine (Hex core parts will not work in the 2009 systems at all).

    You can get boards that will allow you to convert one system to another, but its highly unlikely to be cost effective for you.
  3. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
  4. sarantosser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Ok thanks for the info, but i'm not really into putting my own extra processor in, and if its costly and difficult to come across anyway, whats the point?

    So in this case which model would you recommend for me? Should I just go with the 1,1 version?
  5. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    If you will be using a lot of multithreaded apps, I would say just look for a few different Mac Pros you can afford, then look up their score on geekbench. Then get the most powerful system you can buy.
  6. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    I would second a 2008 model - the 06/07 Mac Pros use EFI32, which can be a real pain in regards to GPU upgrades, installing a 64bit version of Windows via Bootcamp and so on. The 2008 models are EFI64, which is great.

    Definitely keep an eye out for a 2008 Quad, even though you won't plan to add a second CPU. You'll be getting a faster (2.8Ghz opposed to 2.66Ghz or less) CPU right off the bat, along with the benefits of EFI64. If you can stretch your budget you may even find a cheap Octo.

    The difference between DDR2 and DDR3 speed in the real world is minimal, you won't notice. 6-8GB is a good spot to aim for.

    GPUs? If you get a 2008 you'll have either a 2600XT or an 8800GT. Neither are great in this day and age, but they'll work. You can look at upgrading to a 5770 in the future.
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010

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