Which Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Lee82, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Lee82 macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2014
    Hi all, I'm new to this forum although I follow mac rumours on Facebook :), I'm after some info on models of Mac Pro,s ie 3.1 - 4.1 ect ect, I want to buy one but don't no which model to go for, I would like one that I can boot camp with and upgrade parts if need be and also would like to know about possibly gaming on one so any help or advice would be much appreciated :) thanks.


    Currently own 3 iPads 2 iPhones and a 27"iMac :).
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    Hi there,
    I think most people will tell you to try to find a 4,1 minimum. Honestly, as the owner of a 3,1 and a 1,1 Mac Pro, I will verify that recommendation. The 3,1 and lower use DDR2 FB-DIMMs which can get expensive and are slow, and have a limited Front Side Bus architecture. The 4,1/5,1 machines are a bit more upgradable. If you're going to save for a Mac Pro tower, get a 4,1 or 5,1. Unless of course, you get a steal on a lower model. I grabbed my 3,1 and a 1080p Acer monitor for $200, and my 1,1 "non-functioning" for $70 and gas.

    As far as gaming goes, it depends on the game you are playing. My Dual Quad 2.8GHz 3,1 runs BioShock Infinite at 60FPS with my GTX 660 2GB SC, however it only uses 2 cores of the available 8. I've found that the Xeons in my 3,1 are about comparable to a Q9550 Core 2 Quad, if you're looking to compare models there. The 4,1 and 5,1 use a different socket, but the higher end i7 CPUs from that generation (Nahalem architecture) with similar clock speeds. In my experience, if you have the GPU power to run the game, you will be happy at 1080p at a reasonable frame rate, especially on the 4,1+ models.

    Keep in mind, the 4,1s can be upgraded to 5,1 processors with a firmware hack for future upgradability. There is a thread in this forum HERE that is very useful for processor upgrading instructions.

    tl;dr - get a 4,1 or a 5,1 unless you come across a really cheap 3,1. Don't go near a 1,1 or 2,1. Gaming is pretty decent with a new modern GPU.
  3. Lee82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2014
    Thanks for the reply and info notnice greatly appreciated, think I will look for a decent 5.1 then think that's going to be the way forward for me and will last me a long time hopefully.
  4. bin90a macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    my 2c, I recently got a cheap dual CPU 5.1, its easy to upgrade CPUs and other bits. CPU upgrade on the 4.1 is a bit trickier. Just depends on how much you want to spend I guess, but I would go for a 5.1 again. And its a lot of fun doing it :D
  5. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    What 27" iMac do you have? If it's the model with the Nvidia 680 or 780, then you have your gaming machine right there.

    If it isn't, then I'd look at selling your current 27" and using that money + whatever you want to spend on a Mac Pro and getting a 27" with 780 CPU.

    If really wanting a Mac Pro then a 4,1 single CPU that you flash to 5,1 firmware, then install a 6 core W3680, W3690 or X5675, X5680 or X5690. Whatever you can get the cheapest really.
    Grab an Nvidia 780 or ATI7970 and you're good to go.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    It sounds like you want a Mac Pro for BootCamp to game, so run Windows?

    In that case, I would suggest a gaming PC that isn't so old and expensive. Invest in a fast i7 processor, a good amount of RAM, and a fast GPU (maybe a 780 or a Titan).

    Getting any Mac Pro would have a few limitation such as:
    1) Be expensive to maintain due to lack of warranty on older units;
    2) "Server" parts, so more expensive upgrades.

    For example if you buy an early 2006-2007 Mac Pro, you're buying very expensive RAM.
  7. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    I'm assuming since he didn't mention it, he's not interested in getting a gaming PC.

    As for maintenance, I'm not sure that's a huge issue (haven't replaced anything in my Mac Pro aside from a bad 3rd party DIMM and upgrading the graphics.)

    The price point is of course salient, although the big savings are going to come from rolling his own kit from scratch and that's a big obstacle for most.

    To echo the above, my 3,1 serves me well but you get faster RAM, less FSB bottlenecks, and more official support for graphics cards, etc with a 4,1 or better. Since you mention gaming as opposed to graphics or video work, buying fewer, higher-frequency cores is a better use of your money than more, slower cores.

    You can get refurbed Pros from reputable dealers for around $700-1200 for a Mac like what we're talking about:
    * http://www.macofalltrades.com/Mac-Pro-1x-2-66GHz-QC-Xeon-Early-2009-p/mp-266-4c-e09a.htm

    Just be sure to factor in that you'll probably want to up the graphics card (a stock 5770 still does 1080p gaming capably but there are better options now) and add a boot SSD at least. A PCIe USB3 card might also be wanted since the I/O on Mac Pros is outdated.

    On eBay you can find base models even cheaper, although you'll have to wade through custom builds or damaged SKUs :)
  8. Lee82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2014
    thanks for all the reply guys,

    my iMac only has the ATi radeon 5670 graphics card inside hence gaming isn't very good and i can't upgrade anything other to my knowledge other than the memory to which I have already done, this being one of many reasons for the upgrade to a pro, Im not a heavy gamer but I would at least like to play a game where it doesn't freeze and stutter.

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