Which mac pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Alaska_guy, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Alaska_guy macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2018
    #1
    My wife needs a newer computer. She mainly facebooks, surfs the web, plays itunes music, checks email etc.

    I can get a 3,1 2008 2 processor version 2.8ghz with 16gb ram, two 2 tb drives and a 8800gt for $300. I think this would be fine for the wife. I would plan to upgrade from El captain to high sierra and call it done.

    Is there something else I should be looking at in the $300-400 range?

    I want a mac because she has a laptop currently and she is good at messing up windows and I'm always her tech support.

    I am a tech guy by trade but have been out of the mac world for some time.

    I own a i7 4770k hackontish and it rocks!

    My old man currently owns the same mac pro above with the same specs but he wont sell me his.

    My i7 hackintosh scores 16k in geekbench. Would the 3,1 score around 11k?
     
  2. abdyfranco macrumors regular

    abdyfranco

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    #2
    If you take the time to search eBay, you can find a Mac Pro 4,1 for $400 and then upgrade the firmware to 5,1. I bought my dual-processor (8-core) Mac Pro 4.1 for $450 on eBay. :)
     
  3. Alaska_guy, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018

    Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I really preferred a 4,1 for the upgrade ability down the road but I already decided to commit to the 3,1 this owner has for sale. The 4,1's cost $150 to to ship to my State. So that ups the price point quiet a bit. My wife has been limping along on a crappy HP laptop from 2006 and she doesn't complain, but it kills me to see her use the darn thing. It's unbelievably slow. I plan on putting a SSD into the 3,1 tomorrow as well. :)

    The Mac Pro's of this era always gave me a sense of pride with Steve Jobs in charge. The quality of the case of these MP's were above their time and I have always wanted to own one. I figure for $300, there are worse things I could waste my money on. ;)

    Mac Pro's in the 3,1 and above very rarely come up and they usually are like Gold here. So figured I better commit before someone else beat me to it.

    This is the only other Mac Pro for sale locally. It's spendy!

    https://anchorage.craigslist.org/sys/d/mac-pro-dual-zeon-32gb-ram/6498198277.html
     
  4. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    Jun 13, 2004
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    California
    #4
    Just keep an eye on that ole 8800gt. If you read through the forum you will see where heat is not a friend of it. Years ago when I had an 8800gt in my 3,1 I placed this fan to blow across it and the entire PCIe section. The 8800gt never failed but I replaced it with a Quadro 4000 Mac several years ago

    Fan1.png
     
  5. Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
  6. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
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    #6
    Go for it!

    You can upgrade the firmware to 5,1, use Sierra/High Sierra and even upgrade the processor without trouble, since the 4,1 uniprocessor version uses the standard lidded Xeon. 4870 it's a good old GPU, you can use it and spend the GPU money on RAM/SSD.
     
  7. Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2018
    #7
    Just to verify, your saying I should go with the uni 4,1 over the dual processor 2.8ghz 3,1?

    I don't see upgrading the hardware of any MP realistically as the wife isn't a high end user. More interested in OS support down the road.
     
  8. FilthyMcNasty macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2014
    #8
    He's not wrong!

    8800GT failed here, fortunately I had the original GFX card as backup for installing point updates etc. I recommend you keep your eyes peeled for a replacement (or firmware update a more modern card) whilst yours is working. Alternatives turn up, but it's hard to find one when you're in a hurry.
     
  9. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #9
    El Capitan Security Updates probably end this year post-WWDC, this week one was a surprise to me. If you look at Apple Security Updates page, the previous one for ElCap was on January 2017.

    Go with MP4,1, update the firmware to 5,1 and install High Sierra if you want macOS software support for some years.

    You can run Sierra/High Sierra on MP3,1, but you have to first change the AirPort wireless card to a more recent one/supported and use a hack, more or less easy one, to install macOS and updates. No go on a install and forget wife Mac, at least to me.

    Other thing, I have both 3,1 and 4,1 Mac Pros - 4,1 ones are a lot easier to keep clean on dusty environments. MP3,1 are a dust bunnies heaven around CPU/memory fans and heatsinks.
     
  10. tpivette89 macrumors 6502

    tpivette89

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    Newark, DE
    #10
    Definitely spring for a '09+... I have a 4,1 (flashed to a 5,1) and a 3,1 and the 2009 is faster in every way. I even upgraded the 3,1 for the fastest single core performance available (a pair of 2 x 3.4ghz CPUs) and the stock 2.66ghz '09 still outperformed it in Geekbench scores (2243 for the upgraded 3,1 vs 2532 for the 2.66 '09).

    If you're planning on upgrading, then the gap gets even wider. A single, hex core 3.46ghz CPU scores over 3000 single-core and 15000 multi-core.
     
  11. Alaska_guy, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Thanks, looks like in 2009 they also got hyper threading and ddr3 ram, that's a huge upgrade. I assumed the 2008 models had hyperthreading. Good thing I researched! A 4,1 makes much more sense.

    I can get a 4,1 with 6gb ram, 2.66ghz processor for $380 shipped. I have a bunch of ddr3 server modules at my work I could probobly throw in to upgrade the ram if needed.

    I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the eBay one. Hopefully it works as expected and is the 1066mhz ddr3 module as described. Looks like there are a few more cpu options to upgrade to as well if needed. It also has the upgraded video card.
     
  12. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #12
    One more thing, on 2009 Mac Pros Wireless/AirPort card was optional item. Ask the seller if this Mac has it, if not and you need Wi-Fi, you need to buy at least AirPort BCM94322MC from MacBooks/iMacs to run Sierra/High Sierra, $10ish or less.

    Original Apple Wireless kit for Mac Pro MB988Z/A, with the needed screws and instructions, sells for $30ish on eBay.
     
  13. Alaska_guy, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Thanks, I messaged the seller about the wireless. I will more than likely go the BCM94322MC route since that sounds cheaper and I plan on running Sierra once I receive it.

    I figured I would plan on flashing to 5.1 and then installing Sierra so it would be pretty bullet proof down the road for the wife. I figure she can get a good 5 years out of this machine.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 31, 2018 ---
    15,000 is a high multicore score... Wow. That's with the Westmere processors though correct? I believe the one I bought is a Nehalem and I can't put a westmere in...? Here is my hackintosh score using an I7 4770k on stock clocks.

    https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/7721746

    I figured for the wife, around 11,000 multicore would be plenty. I have had my hackintosh for around 3 years or so and its PLENTY machine for what I do.
     
  14. tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #14
    Bought recently at this eBay auction. It's genuine Apple AirPort Extreme, maybe from MacBooks, and came with the 2 needed screws.
     
  15. Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
  16. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #16
  17. Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2018
    #17
    Thanks again Alex for being so helpful. I can purchase that second card you linked.
     
  18. tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #18
    Glad to help!

    Just a note: one of my 2009 Mac Pros is a Apple refurb, bought late 2010, and came with AirPort BCM94321MC from factory. Had to change it to have wireless on Sierra.
     
  19. tpivette89 macrumors 6502

    tpivette89

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    Newark, DE
    #19

    Yes, thats a Westmere CPU (X5690). When you perform the flash to a 5,1, you will be able to not only install Westmere CPUs, but run 1333mhz RAM as well. Here’s what mine did just this morning with a single X5690 after I updated to 10.13.4:


    http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/7722973
     
  20. Alaska_guy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2018
    #20
    Super respectable score! I assume since I purchased a single proc MP that I can't just add another processor? IE: The motherboard is either a single socket motherboard or it's a dual socket motherboard? At work all our servers are dual socket boards, but you can decide to only populate a single side if you wanted to be cheap. :)

    Just trying to understand the potential or not of the upgrade path.
     
  21. kschendel macrumors 65816

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #21
    Correct, you can't drop a dual CPU board into a single CPU backplane. I wouldn't worry about it though. The single CPU boards are easy to upgrade and the W3680/W3690 (or X versions) CPU make for a very capable machine, even if they can't match later models. The nice thing IMO about the 4,1 / 5,1 Mac Pro is that you can beat it up for days and they run just as fast. I use my 2009 single CPU, flashed and upgraded to a W3680 (and SSD, etc), for software development and it pays the mortgage. I will eventually get a faster machine, but dependability is important too...
     
  22. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #22
    Nope, it's the same backplane for both versions, I can exchange my CPU tray with my uniprocessor and dual-processor any time. All components but the CPU trays are identical on Mac Pro 4,1/5,1.

    You just can't exchange 2009 with 2010/2012 trays, or mix-match 2010/2012 backplanes with 2009 trays, SMC diff and fans will go on full RPM/full time, but you can exchange every other component - they're the same.

    Mac Pro 2009 backplane with 2009 tray. 2010/2012 backplane with 2010/2012 tray.

    If you need, you can buy a 2009 dual processor tray and install on your 2009 single processor Mac Pro.
     
  23. kschendel macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I was under the impression that single/double CPU trays were not interchangeable on the 4.1, but if that's incorrect, ok.
     
  24. tsialex, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

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    #24
    It's the same backplane/power supply/etc. You can buy a dual processor tray anytime - just buy a 2009 tray on 2009 backplane or 2010/2012 tray on a 2010/2012 backplane.

    Attention for the detail: 4,1 to 5,1 firmware upgrade do not upgrade the SMC, so Mac Pro 2009 backplane with 2009 tray. 2010/2012 backplane with 2010/2012 tray.
     
  25. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    #25
    A lot easier to keep clean..... What's the word I'm looking for? Subjective! :p

    Spring Cleaning 2.jpg
     

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