Used Mac Pro buying advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by knbpixels, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. knbpixels macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2017
    Hello All, I'm currently using a 2009 Mac Mini 2.0Ghz with 4gb of RAM. I've already upgraded to a 7200RPM drive a while back and that helped my speeds somewhat, but it's time to replace it. I'd really like my next Mac to be better with gaming. My budget is about $700. So here's what I'm looking at:

    I have a 2006 Mac Pro Dual Core 2.66Ghz x 2 machine that I think would be available to me for free, then I would upgrade the RAM, change to a SSD, new graphics card, and change the processors to a pair of Xeon 5365 3.0Ghz Quad Core. I could do all of this for around $525.


    Spend about $600 on a 2009 (maybe 2010 but they're harder to find) Mac Pro single processor around 3.0-3.33Ghz...probably have to upgrade the RAM and graphics card eventually, and maybe a SSD. So it would cost a little more in the long run.

    The third option would be to buy a much newer Mac Mini, however I've been using minis for years and I'm tired of not being able to upgrade them.

    The games are mostly Steam games being played, and there's a little bit of video and graphics work done as well. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013

    To be honest for gaming you can get a fairly good Windows gaming rig for that money rather than a 8year old Mac that is optimised for pro apps not games. It's not really worth your effort for modern games, not to mention USB 2, old wifi and Bluetooth cards.

    To be fair as long as you have a quadcore processor it's the graphics that count so if you have that 2006 free if you can get a decent graphics card to run on it, it might be worth it but ddr2 ram will not be the best.

    I would honestly say just get a new Windows gaming rig and keep the Mac mini for daily computing on OSX a new SSD will be breathe new life into it too.
  3. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Being brutally honest for games an Xbox one or PS 4 will run circles round that old Mac for a fraction of the cost. This isn't an 'anti-Mac' post, just an honest assessment of how Macs are at gaming - there are better platforms for games.

    If I were you and you want to keep a Mac for your every day stuff and play games, then keep the mini and just get a console unless there are games you want to play that aren't available on a console. In this case just get a PC .
  4. knbpixels thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2017
    Thanks for the advice, a pc isn't something I'm interested in, though I may end up running a pc disk in a Mac Pro as a supplement at some point.

    I already have a couple of xboxes, but they cannot serve as a substitute for several reasons. Not really looking to change the way we work and play, just find a better Mac for doing what we already do
  5. MattA macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    If you're looking for longevity, the 2009 Mac Pro is your best bet. The firmware can be updated to a 2010-2012 version, and the last processors that were available can be installed in them. They're pretty much the best bang for the buck.

    The 2006 Mac Pro will be cheap, but even fully maxed out it won't be a speed demon. You're also stuck with Lion (unless you use the workaround).

    I have a 2011 Mac Mini, and for gaming it isn't too bad, but you're right... it would be great to be able to throw a new video card in. The 6630M that I have is getting a bit on the slow side.
  6. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Hello OP, agree with MattA, the 2009 Mac Pro would be my choice. Worth spending a little bit more, as it will last a whole lot longer than the 2006 Pro. Plus, you can upgrade bits as & when.


  7. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    A few things you should consider. One, most games, even modern ones do better with a higher clock rate rather than more cores. It is true that many are now able to take advantage of multiple cores, but to my knowledge, none take advantage of hyper threading and definitely none know what to do with dual processors. But, the CPU is seldom the bottleneck in PC gaming, it's all about the GPU.

    You weren't very clear about what you mean by better at gaming. If you want to play games in macOS, I'm not going to be able to help you because the macOS is abysmal at gaming.

    There is the possibility of having a mac be a decent game machine, but that only will take place if you are running Windows under boot camp.

    Any 2009 or 2010 Mac Pro will be a capable gaming machine if you are running Windows and put a real video card in it.

    There are no macOS supported video cards that are worth a crap for gaming. You would need to get an nvidia (like a GTX *70) card which means you will lose your boot up sequence.

    I know you said you aren't interested in a PC, but to my ears that sounds like you aren't really that serious about gaming. In which case probably any of these will be fine for your needs. I agree that you are not likely to get a mac to perform better than an Xbox without Windows and a superior video card.
  8. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    I found a decent deal on my 2012 5,1 on ebay i think... It had some little scratches and such, but was in good condition. Ended up getting it for something in $800 range... If I was looking again, I would consider the 2010, that could be flashed to the 2012 spec.

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7 February 27, 2017