Want to buy 2012 5,1 Mac Pro - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Harry322, May 22, 2014.

  1. Harry322 macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I currently have a 3,1 Mac Pro 8-Core that I use for video/VFX work. It's performed like a champ for all these years, but it's starting to show its age.

    I want to upgrade to a nMP, but aside from the computer itself, I'd have to upgrade to a Thunderbolt RAID and thunderbolt peripherals.

    I though a reasonable compromise would be to find one of the last generations of traditional towers off Craigslist. I'd love a maxed out 12-core 5,1 with plenty of RAM. That should give me a boost in power and hopefully stay useful until the price on thunderbolt accessories drops.

    Does this sound like a solid plan? And if so, how much would you spend on a 2012 Mac Pro?

    There's a very tempting offer on Craigslist right now for a 12-Core 2.6 GHz with 32 GB of RAM. It's apparently new and includes another year of AppleCare. Asking price is $3200. Is that worth jumping on?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    You can get a similar machine from Apple's refurb store for $3,240. Only 12gb of memory but you get a full year of AppleCare and can extend to 3.
  3. Harry322 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Wow - that's interesting. I saw that in the refurbished store, but I was under the impression that you couldn't buy AppleCare to extend refurbished products. I thought they were limited to one year of coverage.

    If that's not the case, I would rather buy the extra RAM myself and get 3-years of coverage from Apple.

    But, just asking again, is it worth putting $3K+ into a discontinued machine?
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    If you consider the 2nd hand market. Its much cost effective to buy the 2009 Mac Pro.

    The 2009 Mac Pro (4,1) and 2012 Mac Pro (5,1) are basically the same. However, the dual CPU 2009 is much cheaper than the 2012 on eBay.

    For the Mac Pro 4,1, you can flash the machine to 5,1 firmware, and than install the X5600 series CPU + 1333MHz RAM.

    The cost to build that is about:

    $1000 for the dual CPU 2009 Mac Pro
    $200 for 32G 1333MHz RAM (for best performance, use 4x8G, otherwise 8X4G will be cheaper)
    $450 for HD7950 Mac edition graphic card (you can lower it to $300 for flashed card)
    $100 Samsung 840 Evo 256G SSD
    $200 for dual Xeon X5650 2.66 Hex core
    $50 for misc e.g. Thermal plaste

    You can end up have a more powerful machine (much better graphic card + SSD) which cost you less than $2000 in total.

    However, if you consider this path. Make sure you know how to upgrade the processors. The 2009 Mac Pro dual CPU upgrade is quite tricky. If you damage the processor tray. It will cost you an extra $400 to get another one.
  5. Harry322 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Very interesting idea h9826790 - I hadn't considered doing this.

    I'll keep a look out for these 2009 models online and try to snatch up the first reasonably-priced one I can find.

    Thanks for the advice!
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Came here to give you the same advice, but he's covered everything!

    Look for the 2.4GHz 8-core 2010 models too as these can go for low prices also and you might get a decent(ish) graphics card you can resell if you're up for that. Also take in to account that some will have 16GB or 32GB RAM already and factor in that price too.
  7. bin90a macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have done exactly that. Recently picked up a dual quad core 2.4GHz 2010 5.1 for $1100 and have just upgraded the CPU to dual hex core 2.93GHz for $450, USB3 PCIe for $35, RAM and SSD to come.

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