MP 1,1-5,1 Would a cMP 5,1 a good choice for me?

Mastropiero

macrumors member
Original poster
May 26, 2016
39
1
Hi everyone.


I have been using a cMP 1,1 since September 2007. Over the years I've invested in the usual stuff, more RAM, better spinning drives, a nice SSD and also, since I found this forum, tweaked it so I could run El Capitan on it. Plugged also a PCIe USB 3.0 card and, obviously, upgraded the GPU to the ATI Radeon 5770.

I mainly use it for consumer photo editing, Affinity Photo is my preferred photo editor, and once in a blue moon I will dabble a bit in video editing using Final Cut Pro.


Well, I am starting to notice its shortcomings, it takes ages to import pictures to Lightroom, editing in Photo could/should be quicker and smoother, not to mention that it is most likely not a power efficient machine and if I leave it running for a while it does get warm under the desk.



So I wouldn't mind replacing it. I am quite fond of the system and I wanted to ask you if you'd consider getting a 5,1 a good investment and I'd also like to ask your opinion regarding what configuration I should go for considering my needs.

I am not the most technically savvy person, it would be fair to say that I'd directly assume "bigger is better" but that is also a sign of not having a clue regarding certain things, specifically about CPU's. It would be rather stupid if I went for an expensive 12 Core unit if the programs I use don't make the most of it.

I am also not a gamer, although I might be interested in using from time to time Microsoft's Flight Simulator via BootCamp or a VM (less ideal, or at least it used to be on my computer).


All this considered what would be your recommendations? What would be a decent set up for me? On a side note, would be useful for me to keep my current GPU and run a dual GPU set up on the 5,1?


Many thanks,
Stefan
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
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I don't know what your budget for an upgrade is, but I would not consider a cMP to be a good investment anymore. (Well, if you can get one for essentially free, then fine.)

The pro's in your situation would be that some of your accessories may transfer over.

The cons include poor power efficiency, lackluster single-thread performance, and the fact that Apple has or soon will consider the machine obsolete (no more official updates or patches, etc.).

Take a look at what you can afford in the way of an iMac or Mac Mini. Something like a 2017 27" iMac, perhaps, would be great for your kind of tasks.

(I don't know if a dual 5770 is viable, but it's probably not worth it as a perk for upgrading to a 5,1 anyway.)
 
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DPUser

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Jan 17, 2012
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I recently built a second 12 core 3.33gHz 5,1 for very few dollars, picking up a used 8 core 5,1 for $150 (admittedly a very nice deal locally on Craigslist), two X5680s for $90 and an RX460 for about $60 from eBay. I already had enough RAM and storage lying around, so my total cost was $300, but RAM and storage is not terribly expensive these days. Allowing for the fact you can move your SSDs and HDs and PCIe cards, a 5,1 might be a good choice for you.

It really is hard to imagine the bang for buck being any better for my primary use case: audio recording.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2015
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Portland, Ore.
I wouldn’t purchase a 5,1 or older Mac Pro now unless you plan to use it disconnected from the internet. The CPUs have serious security vulnerabilities that cannot be fixed. They’ve been abandoned by Apple and Intel. Besides that they are very old. Budget for a newer Mac.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
381
181
Hi everyone.


I have been using a cMP 1,1 since September 2007. Over the years I've invested in the usual stuff, more RAM, better spinning drives, a nice SSD and also, since I found this forum, tweaked it so I could run El Capitan on it. Plugged also a PCIe USB 3.0 card and, obviously, upgraded the GPU to the ATI Radeon 5770.

I mainly use it for consumer photo editing, Affinity Photo is my preferred photo editor, and once in a blue moon I will dabble a bit in video editing using Final Cut Pro.


Well, I am starting to notice its shortcomings, it takes ages to import pictures to Lightroom, editing in Photo could/should be quicker and smoother, not to mention that it is most likely not a power efficient machine and if I leave it running for a while it does get warm under the desk.



So I wouldn't mind replacing it. I am quite fond of the system and I wanted to ask you if you'd consider getting a 5,1 a good investment and I'd also like to ask your opinion regarding what configuration I should go for considering my needs.

I am not the most technically savvy person, it would be fair to say that I'd directly assume "bigger is better" but that is also a sign of not having a clue regarding certain things, specifically about CPU's. It would be rather stupid if I went for an expensive 12 Core unit if the programs I use don't make the most of it.

I am also not a gamer, although I might be interested in using from time to time Microsoft's Flight Simulator via BootCamp or a VM (less ideal, or at least it used to be on my computer).


All this considered what would be your recommendations? What would be a decent set up for me? On a side note, would be useful for me to keep my current GPU and run a dual GPU set up on the 5,1?


Many thanks,
Stefan
I bought the Mac Pro 5,1 (essentially a 4,1 upgraded to a 5,1) as my upgrade from my Mac Mini 2011. I also do photo editing with DXO Optics Pro, Photoshop and Topaz Labs AI soft (the latter which prompted me to upgrade to the Mac Pro 5,1 to use the Radeon RX580 GPU for AI stuff). Photoshop and Lightroom also benefits from a nicer modern GPU, though to a lesser extent.

My current Mac Pro 5,1 dual CPU setup is running in between the Mac Mini 2018 Core i3 and i5 in terms of real world multi-core performance. Most modern photo editing software are multi-core and multi-threaded. DXO Optics Pro, HDR software and Topaz labs as well as affinity photo, and while the lower single core/thread performance may be a problem a few years back with older software, it is "NOT" a problem with modern multi-threaded photo editing software.

The main reason I chose the Mac Pro 5,1 is because of the lower cost in RAM, RAID options (really speed up photo editing and loading), NVMe blade options (REALLY SPEED IT up loading lightroom photos up to 80MP and up) and you can add as many NVMe blades or as few as one. SSD can also be RAIDed. If I am to get a RAID SSD and a RAID HD external enclosures, it would add more money to the stock Mac Mini 2018 Core i5 setup, which then make the 5,1 even cheaper to run. Plus the Mac Pro 5,1 will allow you to add a better GPU without needing an eGPU enclosure. An eGPU enclosure is an extra cost and when you turn that on will suck more power than a Mac Mini alone. There is no need to use the dual 5770 GPU. You can get a RX580 or a Vega 56; they are more powerful and better supported under High Sierra and Mojave and you can't use the 5770 GPU under Mojave; only AMD metal capable cards. Though you can use the 5770 in the Mac Pro 5,1 under High Sierra. Most of the used 5,1 come either with a GT120 or a 5770.

The downside of the 5,1 is its age and it being discontinued. But if you can get it at a really cheap price, which I did, then it's a worthwhile investment.
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
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Obviously, you managed just great till this point to work with the MP 1,1 - so I really don't see a big argument why you could not work with a lot faster MP 5.1 for another 3 - 4 years. Mojave will be good for at least another three years. Security updates and important updates are save for at least 4 more years, as well as all the rest of it. You most likely will be fine till 2024. I absolutely agree with the approach of DPUser. Take your time, search intelligent, buy cheap, re-use what you have, upgrade wisely and use it for 3 ++ years. Nobody in the whole Apple community is as happy as we are, - the 5.1 MP club.
However, I have to disagree with Mr. Andrew on the CPU-Security-Angst. Nobody in the whole wide world has time to develop a fancy high tech virus for Westernised End Users to theoretically, academically pull some data from someone's decade-old Xeon Mac Pro, - just because of some political Intel article a full year ago of a highly theoretical threat on 8 - 10 year old Xeon CPU's. (Its called Product Life Cycle Management & Obsolescence). - A classic first-world problem.

Those machines work flaw-less for a full decade now (which is the crime) and people don't store nuclear launch codes on those.

On top of that, its all about the content in the end, not the used hardware.
If you can afford to wait till the new Mac Pro 7.1 hits the store this year, a month after that might be the right time to get a very reasonable 5.1 cMP. At least for me, the 5.1 has been an awesome tinker & tune-up project that I absolutely don't want to miss. It's a keeper.
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
381
181
"Investment" is not the correct terminology to describe putting money into these old Macs.
I don't see anything wrong with using the word "investment" with these old Mac Pros, because the majority of the components aside from CPU and RAM are transferable to other newer Macs. These investments I made -- The Radeon RX580 GPU, SSD, NVMe, RAID class hard drives and the PCIe cards can be moved to external PCIe enclosures and RAID boxes and voila, these investments will still work, albeit on a newer Mac computer until Apple said it can't be updated anymore. My actual investment on the bare Mac Pro 5,1 alone is very low for the CPU box and RAM; roughly the same price I would had paid for a used Thunderbolt 3 eGPU bare enclosure to house my Radeon RX580 and that is the key the OP needs to look at. Unlike a used iMac, Macbook Pro and Mac Mini, used Mac Pros advantage is its expandability and use of common parts. As prices of the 5,1 continue to fall; it'll be conceivable in the future to buy a full on 12 core X5680/X5690 for cheap.

A computer is just a tool and you make an investment to realize your needs. If you buy too much of a computer, which some people do, then all you are realizing is a loss of investment as the computer's strength and power will never be 100% realized, and hence basically subsidizing someone else's cost when you sell your computer. Most people do that anyhow not only with computers, but with cars, bicycles, musical instruments etc..
 

Mastropiero

macrumors member
Original poster
May 26, 2016
39
1
Gentlemen, that's a lot of useful info, much appreciated.

Obviously, you managed just great till this point to work with the MP 1,1 - so I really don't see a big argument why you could not work with a lot faster MP 5.1 for another 3 - 4 years.
That is one of the main points behind my reasoning. I've been using what's widely considered an obsolete machine for 12 years now and I've been very happy with it. Yes, I have tweaked it to adapt it to the "modern era" but it is still a bit of a dinosaur. However, considering that my needs and demands aren't that high, that the work I do is purely recreational, I don't have the need for the latest or the fastest.

I know that a 2012 cMP 5,1 would serve me pretty well for the next few years. I mean, I know it NOW, after reading your opinions, before that I had assumed it but without any real knowledge.

If you can afford to wait till the new Mac Pro 7.1 hits the store this year, a month after that might be the right time to get a very reasonable 5.1 cMP.
This is great thinking. I am in no hurry whatsoever but it's excellent advice, otherwise I could've jumped the gun and get something nice looking only to kick myself in the nuts in three months time.

used Mac Pros advantage is its expandability and use of common parts.
Well, there's not much in the way of common parts I can use, barring the storage drives and the USB 3.0 blade, but expandability is something I very much like about this set up.

I haven't looked thoroughly for offers but it seems that for 1200 euros (roughly) nowadays I could get a beast of a machine, here in Europe. I've seen also lower prices for machines that I guess I could upgrade, although I have to say that replacing CPU's is something I'd prefer not to get into, I'd rather pay more for higher specs rather than risk screwing something up. In any case, if prices are about to fall with the arrival of the 7,1, well, that's money I am very happy to part with in order to enjoy another few years of usage of a computer that will very much cover my needs.




When I got the 1,1 I did it for two reasons (I was -still am- an absolute illiterate regarding computers and technology, to some extent): I wanted a machine that I wouldn't have problems with, and that would last. Well, both boxes have been ticked. These priorities still stand, but now I know just a bit better what I need, the use I would make of the computer, and reading your opinions I do think it is a good choice for me.



Now, considering what I use it for and the programs I use, what CPU setup would you recommend? Is it wise to go for a the-bigger-the-better option in my case or is there a setup beyond which it would be overkill (and overspend) to go?

Again, many thanks for your help!!!
 

orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,880
391
UK
Hi everyone.
I mainly use it for consumer photo editing, Affinity Photo is my preferred photo editor, and once in a blue moon I will dabble a bit in video editing using Final Cut Pro.


Well, I am starting to notice its shortcomings, it takes ages to import pictures to Lightroom, editing in Photo could/should be quicker and smoother, not to mention that it is most likely not a power efficient machine and if I leave it running for a while it does get warm under the desk.
Stefan
get an imac with the 'Retina 4K/5K P3 display' (not the sRGB one).
if you can look at the 27" one as it has user replaceable ram (and i love that) and if you can an SSD and 16GB ram or more.

i gess the only snag is what version of OSX your software supports if your stuck on old versions but used imacs can be got at good prices just check what display they have.

if you do get a cmp 4,1/5,1 id relay not want to spend more than £500 total on it!

1200 euros is way to close to a new computer

also want to point out my sisters macbook pro from 2017 is faster than my 5,1 cmp with 3.33ghz 6c/12t CPU and her laptop is only a 6c/6t and under load the CPU is only hitting about 3GHZ all core yet it's faster using a lot less power (had to run tests when she got it :rolleyes: and yep time moves on) never mind the speed from the SSD and general system advances in hardware that have happened over the last 10 years (better WIFI/Bluetooth/power saving/AVX/DDR4 and all that jazz)

PS if you have a good display look at the macmin maybe

edit
i did some hard all core loads from video exports to cinbench (with lots of runs to make it hot in hope my cmp 5.1 may win :oops:)
in lightly threaded tasks the 2017 macbook pro she has is a lot faster than my cmp5,1 the single core speed is relay fast in comparison of hand i think it was about 4ghz+ on light threaded workloads or short jobs
 
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thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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i did some hard all core loads from video exports to cinbench (with lots of runs to make it hot in hope my cmp 5.1 may win :oops:)
in lightly threaded tasks the 2017 macbook pro she has is a lot faster than my cmp5,1 the single core speed is relay fast in comparison of hand i think it was about 4ghz+ on light threaded workloads or short jobs
500 euros is still too much for a machine in the 5,1 age range, but anyway, check multi-threaded and keep an eye on battery status. I'm skeptical as to whether that laptop can keep going on all cores for a long period of time without draining the battery, even while plugged into an outlet.
 

orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,880
391
UK
i was talking total cost so cmp+ all needed upgrades so
computer + ram + cpu upgrade etc = £500 ish,
1200 euro is way to close to the cheapest imac with a good display was my main point.

for a used mac that you can upgrade there are not a lot of mac options so for about £500 im ok with it.
but for anything close to the price of a new computer it's not worth getting a used 10 year old computer.

in the UK gumtree is the best place to look, if you do try ebay just send people low offers and look for local computers to skip postage if you can.

edit
want to make clear this is from the point of view that you wont look at a windows or Linux box
a £600 new hand made PC will be much faster than a cmp 4,1/5,1 but if that is not an option then ~~

the new imacs relay do have good displays just a pain that they dont have an SSD by default (why apple? why)
 
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