Which Mac Pros To Avoid?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VeganHipster, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I am thinking about getting a Mac Pro, the main appeal to me is how you can upgrade any part, which is why I am coming to you guys. I am planning on getting the Mac Pro, putting a 5770 in there for now for some light gaming, and use programs like Logic and FCP. I don't need the fastest processor right now, but I would like to be able to at least get a new processor later down the line to put some new life in the machine. I would buy a brand new one now and not even question it, but my funds won't let me do that!

    So, again, I want to buy a Mac Pro that will give me good upgrade options to maybe an 8-Core in the future. Which Mac Pros would give me this ability? Thanks.

    Btw, I am planning on sharing this with my brother and we plan to keep this for as long as we can.

    Note 1: I will not build a gaming rig
    Note 2: I will not build a gaming rig
    Note 3: I will not build a gaming rig
    Note 4: I will not build a gaming rig
    Note 5: I will not build a gaming rig
    Note 6: I think you are getting the picture now?
  2. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    So..... what's the deal with the repetitive notes? a bit insulting while asking for help IMO. Plus, if you do your due diligence in the forum, you'll see that almost everybody here agrees that a MP is NOT a gaming rig anyway.

    Honestly, perhaps we should let morons respond to your questions, since clearly that's who you are aiming your questions to.... :p

  3. bpeeps macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2011
    I personally think you should get a Power PC and install Lion, since you don't need a gaming rig. Then your graphics card doesn't matter.
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    what is your budget for a none gaming mac pro? hint 2k helps 1.5k maybe any lower save some more.
  5. VeganHipster, Sep 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

    VeganHipster thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Not sure how it is insulting, sorry if you were offended. I actually put that in there as a sort of inside joke to my self :p When I asked help on another forum with a similiar subject, I said I need OS X as I am going to an Apple certified performing arts school where we will be using Mac and Logic, FCP. I just want a machine that can play games ok (I only play KOTOR and Starcraft II) and has upgradibility. I said I don't need a gaming rig, I just want to play those two games, and maybe WoW, on decent settings. I could not care less if the FPS were 200fps or 30fps, as long as it looks good and it runs good. I do not want to build a gaming rig because it will not fit my needs either way and I don't want to go through the hassle of troubleshooting single parts due to lack of experience.

    I guess because I like OS X more and I need Logic and FCP to succeed in my school and further my education for what I want to do as a career, they recommended me build a PC gaming rig which I don't want to do, and I don't want to bother with windows. Sorry if my question comes of 'moronic', but I never said I needed a crazy gaming rig, I only need a 5770 for my needs.

    Power PC doesn't support Lion. Not sure if you are being sarcastic or not.
    I wish Power PC would go up to at least snow leapord, my powerbook g4 still runs great with leopard!

    Around 1.8k, lower would be nice. The main thing I am looking for is being able to upgrade to a six core or eight core down the line and putting in a 5770. I have found an 8-core Mac Pro from 2011 for the 1.8k, is this a good deal?

    Sorry if my original post offends you in some way because I am just the meanest person ever, but I would like to stick to the topic of which Mac Pros I should avoid when I am looking for upgradability as far the CPU goes.
  6. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    2010 2.8GHz. can upgrade that later if you want to hex core
  7. hammten macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    you found a 2010 MP 8 core 2.4 for 1.8k? That is a steal, you probably should have bought it because it is probably sold bynow...
  8. VeganHipster thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Crap, I don't know why I put 2011. It was a 2008 model, so I don't think it was that crazy of a deal? I have seen them on ebay for that much.
  9. diazj3, Sep 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

    diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    really? not to make too much of it... but since you ask: the way you put it, it comes across as saying "I'll repeat this 5 consecutive times 'cause you morons are too stupid to get the picture if I only say it once...", or something like that...

    No problem... being a personal inside joke, perhaps that's why it was not funny to anybody else. Anyway, forget about it.

    I'd guess bpeeps' Power PC remarks are in the same spirit of sarcasm.

    Personally, I'd look for a refurbished hex. There is no such thing as a 2011 Mac Pro yet. The newest model you can get as of today is a 2010 model.

    EDIT: btw

    I'd also recommend you research a bit more about the so-called upgradebility of a MP. In the MP, it's almost a myth: in reality, it does not come even close to the upgradebility you get in the PC world.

  10. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    yeah, Mac Pro upgradability is pretty much limited to PCI expansion and hard drives. and memory, I suppose, but the only difference from any other Mac is that it can support more.

    GPU options are, and always have been, crap. useless Mac Quadro drivers, few and mostly poor NVidia options otherwise, and some decent ATI/AMD options.

    CPUs are limited by the socket, so you're limited to the same generation of CPUs. 2009 models can be hacked to support 2010 Westmeres, but that's about it.

    best option is a 2008 model. better option is to save for a 2009 2.26, if you actually intend to upgrade CPUs. 8 cores and a (hacked) path to a 12-core Westmere.
  11. Neodym, Sep 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

    Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Even the first generation MP's (1,1 / 2,1) are still quite competitive when it comes to performance. You can run a 5770 in those (even a 5870, though you don't need a gaming rig, do you? ;) , you can retrofit a SSD to speed up the system in general, you can upgrade to 8-core with up to 3GHz and you can upgrade Ram up to a still comfortable 32GB (though that slowly becomes a little more expensive due to FB-DIMM's being outdated by now).

    Biggest Plus: They can sometimes be purchased for really little money these days, so price/performance ratio may even be better than with more recent revisions.

    Some people shy away from those revisions due to the 32bit-EFI or PCIe 1.1, but in reality this makes no big difference by now.

    So in my opinion you should go for a bargain MP 1,1 / 2,1 (which would probably already suit your needs - depending on how intensely you would use FCP(X)) and wait for the introduction of the next model expected in the coming months. After that introduction the prices for 2010 models will fall and you could then still decide whether to upgrade to the latest and greatest or go for a - then much more affordable - 12-core machine (for example).

    Going the MP 1,1 route for now would also leave you financial room for nice addons like e.g. a nice big display to work on or some big DAS to store away your data, without exceeding your budget.
  12. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Let's see, what we can upgrade:

    * Optical drive(s) - Check!
    * Hard drives - Check!
    * Ram - Check!
    * CPU(s) - Check!
    * Graphic card - Check!
    * Adding PCIe cards - Check!
    * PSU - not necessary in the first place!
    * Retrofit USB3 - Check!
    * Retrofit eSATA - Check!
    * Retrofit SSD - Check!
    * Mainboard - difficult!
    * Housing - difficult!

    In my book that does not look like a myth. Granted - mainboard and housing are not exactly what a PC user might call "upgradeable", but on the other hand the MP has such a well-designed thermal and noise management that i have a hard time imagining someone would really want to do that (if you want blinking lights or watercooling or something like that you would probably not go for a comparably expensive Mac anyway - yet it could be done with some effort).

    Maybe i overlooked something really important, but for me the MP upgradeability is given - albeit sometimes with less options maybe than with a PC (though that sometimes is simply due to the fact, that the MP already has top-of-the-line components - like e.g. the CPU's - and it was all about upgrading, not downgrading... :D
  13. zuurbekje macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2010
    You cannot upgrade the processor in a Mac Pro at a later date. That is, not with off the shelf Xeons. While the ones Apple uses are very similar to their off the shelf brothers and sisters, they have no heatspreader. Regular ones do. AFAIK, Xeons without heatspreader are nowhere to be found on the "free" market, and it is *very* risky to try and remove the heatspreader yourself.

    Apple may or may not sell these processors as a sparepart, but even if they do you can expect to pay a gazillion down the road.
  14. GlynJones macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2005
    Only on the 8 core 2009 model. All others have the heat spreaders for off the shelf upgrades (as long as you get the correct steppings).
  15. VeganHipster thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Like I said in the post above you, it was a typo. I meant to put 2008. And regarding upgrading the components in the Mac Pro, I obviously do not expect to put two i7 2600k's in there, I know they have limitations, but I am saying the option is nice. And nowadays you can use a lot of different GPUs thanks to the hackintosh community.
  16. kudukudu macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    for what it is worth I wasn't offended by the repetition. I have read other posts where the author clearly stated they did not require a gaming rig and there are always a bunch of posts saying that if you want to run the latest XYZ game at 200 fps then you need a different machine.

    I would stick with a mac pro 3,1 or later which is the late 2008 model. the earlier 2006 1,1 model has EFI32 rather than EFI64. This limits you from using certain 64 bit hardware/software. I am not sure about all of the negative implications, but you can google it.
  17. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    You're not even sure, but you recommend to shy away just due to a diffuse gut feeling you can't even backup? :confused:

    The MP 1,1 can run any 64bit software without problems - even Lion is no problem at all! Only the kernel itself needs to run in 32bit mode for a proper startup (this limitation is even artificial, because Apple doesn't want to invest resources to release a - possible - 64bit EFI for the MP 1,1), but that's only a theoretical issue and nothing you would note during practical use.

    The only currently valid concern regarding EFI32 would be the urge to use an off-the-shelf gaming-class(!) graphic card like the 6970, which would be a problem due to lacking EBC firmware at _this_ point in time (though Netkas & Co do expect that to change once Apple officially supports 69xx graphic cards in the MacPro - and for light gaming a fully working 5770 is more than sufficient anyway).
  18. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    It's hard to recommend without knowing your budget.

    If you have to buy now and you want the greatest options in possible future upgrades, get a 5,1 (2010-2011). The base 5,1 will already include the 5770 you want. A single proc model can be upgraded in the future to a fast hexacore.

    Alternatively you can get a 4,1 (2009) and flash it to a 5,1 model. The problem is that any savings from getting a 2009 might be negated once you add the 5770 and possibly wi-fi if you need that too.

    A 5770 is fine for the games you mention. It's what I have.

    The 5770 is only officially supported by Apple in the 5,1. Most people have success installing it in older MPs, but I have seen a few posts here from people who have problems.
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Is the school you're going to mandating the software you've listed (actual versions), or is that a personal choice?

    I ask given the mention of them telling you to build a gaming rig indicates to me they're using Windows versions of the sorts of software you'll be running.

    The reason I think the question is important, is for two reasons:
    1. Windows versions could be getting new features faster than their OS X counterparts (could keep you from completing an assignment on your own machine if such a feature is necessary to get it done).
    2. It will be harder to change over in the future in terms of cost.
    Take a look at the complaints on FCP X (not unexpected IMO to see similar complaints with the new Logic Pro X).

    In terms of what MP to buy, the 2006/7 machines are too long in the tooth IMO given what you plan to do (get through school and then presume it will be passed to your brother), so a 2008 would be the bare minimum IMO. Unfortunately, it uses DDR2 FB-DIMM, which is expensive.

    So I think the 2009 DP would be the best choice for a DP model (can get up to 6 cores per CPU). But if you look at most recent software, the vast majority of it can't utilize all the cores. Thus the 2009 SP would be the best way to go IMO (can flash the firmware to a 2010, and stuff a Hex core CPU in there at a high clock frequency). It also uses DDR3, which is currently inexpensive (very much so vs. FB-DIMM).

    Just a couple of thoughts, based on what information you've offered. ;)
  20. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    So you're building a gaming rig?

    I've already shared my thoughts on FCPX, so I won't repeat them again here, but I would not expect Logic Pro X to make a similar transformation. The reason for FCPX's transformation was the move from Carbon -> Cocoa which required a complete recode of the UI. Logic is already Cocoa, so it doesn't have this issue. I'd expect the UI to remain mostly intact.

    (And the rumors seem to agree.)

    As far as Mac vs. Windows versions of stuff like CS Suite, they're pretty much in lock step now. I wouldn't worry about the Mac falling behind.
  21. namethisfile macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2008
    i think an 8-core mac pro from 2008-2010 are pretty good. as for future upgradability, the 2010's will obviously have the most potential for getting the most performance down the road, if and when, the price for the 6-core chips come down because you can upgrade to it, later. this will enable you to chug on through the new mac pro's that will come out later in the year.

    as for fcp x, it is a point zero release so it isn't as polish yet but it has a lot of potential. right now, fcp x feels less cluttered, simpler and more modern than competing nle softwares. i have used premiere pro cs 5 and avid media composer and fcp x just feels like a step above them as far as what you want in a modern software. like being able to handle metadata, for example. since you are a student, i think it's safe to assume that fcp x will not affect you in terms of the missing pro features that everyone is complaining about. and some of those missing features has a work around, too.

    regardless, i think going mac is safer than going pc because of bootcamp and virtualization softwares available for the mac that let's one use windows if needed. on the pc sides, you can't run os x unless you hack it. and, it seems backwards to me to get a pc just to make it into a hackintosh. and it seems a lot more complicated than running bootcamp.

    just my 2 cents.
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I mentioned it as a means of encouraging a search.

    As per why, it was to demonstrate the features that were cut. It was premature by most user's opinions, and that's not irrelevant IMO (they're pros = those opinions have weight/merit).

    Granted, the OP's a student, but it's not inconceivable that a professor will demand an assignment that would use a feature that isn't present if they're basing said assignment off of the windows versions, or more probable as to differentiation, equivalent software rather than the same suite running on multiple platforms (not good to presume that each platform is identical IMO without researching it first).

    It may not always be the case though, especially if the software being compared isn't the same suite under multiple platforms (equivalent software from another vendor is more likely to generate staggering differences than something that's been ported from one platform to another).

    Hardware wise, the 2009/10 systems are essentially identical (Intel meant for the same hardware to be used for 2 CPU cycles, aka Tick-Tock via firmware change).

    Apple did make a few minor changes, but it wasn't to the primary components (fan and cooler changes IIRC in terms of hardware, and firmware).

    Since there is now a way to get 2009 systems flashed with 2010 firmware, the 2009 systems can represent a better bargain (should be able to find one cheaper, even one that still has Extended Apple Care remaining), particularly if the user plans on swapping CPU/s.

    Something to consider if on a tight budget anyway. ;)
  23. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    In the video field, FCPX and FCP7 are currently dealt with as entirely different unrelated programs. I would assume a professor would assign something in FCP7 or FCPX. You would not want to mix and match. I don't see the FCP7 vs. FCPX feature gap being a problem in academics because the version of FCP you use would probably be assigned.

    Either that or the professor wouldn't care and would just want a composition using whatever features. It really depends on the (academic) program.

    It depends. In the video field, I'm not aware of any programs with significant feature gaps. All the big players (Apple, Adobe, Avid) keep their programs in sync.
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    We don't know if the school has mandated a platform and application suite or not. But assuming they have, there could be issues for a user that decides to go another direction, such as use a competing application and equivalent application suites (especially if there's a class that teaches the interface as part of it's instruction, as it won't match up = additional learning curve at best, possibly an inability to perform the assignment if a feature isn't there or doesn't produce identical output; not sure if they use comparative algorithms for grading assignments).

    The actual algorithms of similar features might be a bit different (if they're not pulled from the same public domain source; see above as it could pertain to grading = a means of seeing if they know how to use the UI properly or not).

    Another potential issue IMO, is the UI almost certainly won't be identical between platforms, even between application suites that are developed on more than one platform. Particularly if the class is concentrating on teaching the UI of applications the school uses (wouldn't expect them to teach multiple applications simultaneously for the same purpose; platform agnostic approach if you will, as it would take additional credit hours to teach).
  25. goMac, Sep 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

    goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Again, it entirely depends. If a professor requires FCP7, it would be the OP's own fault for not using the assigned program. It would be the same deal with the prof required Premiere and the OP used FCP7 instead.

    FCPX != FCP7 and you can't substitute one for the other, even if they were feature equivalent. Which is certainly something OP should be aware of. But I don't see an academic situation in which this would be an issue, especially in since OP wouldn't be able to hand in a FCP7 compatible project if he was using FCPX, and thus probably wouldn't even be able to hand in his work.

    Basic lesson: If you're in a video editing class, and the professor requires a specific package, use the package required. If the professor isn't teaching to a specific software set, FCPX will be fine. I've known film majors and film students who've even used iMovie.

    I don't see why they would be different. That's a processor issue, not an OS issue, and we're all on the same processors now. Compilers can be slightly different, but with vector processing and GPU acceleration, most algorithms are being run on hardware that is not compiler dependent.

    I haven't seen any significant UI differences between Mac and Windows in either CS suite or Avid. Sure, the OK button is a different color. Not a big deal.

    Also, generally cross platforms suites guarantee the same output, as editors pass files back and forth across platforms. If they don't output the same, it's a bug.

    It would be very hard to grade on output though, as the color would shift between displays, especially on Windows.

    I haven't seen any significant UI differences in video editing suites, and I've worked on both platforms.

    The Mac is a big platform for video editing. No one is gimping their Mac clients. This is a non issue.

    Heck, a lot of video editing classes are taught on Macs. You're assuming that in an academic setting OP would be on Windows, which is a big assumption.

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