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Deciding on a used Mac Pro...

884 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2013 1:53 PM by bubbamj RSS
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bubbamj Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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Feb 16, 2013 10:57 PM

Hello everyone! I finally decided to ditch all my PowerPC Macs and get a Mac Pro! I've gotten tired of having a gaming PC next to and old Mac and want to get one that can be both, so I decided on a Mac Pro.


My budget is $1200. I've narrowed it down to two models, the dual 4 core 2008 model, and the single 4 core 2009 model. I want to use this Mac for heavy gaming at 1080p or lower resolution with games such as BF3, World of Warcraft, Black Ops 2, Borderlands 2, and other titles.


I plan on running Windows 8 alongside 10.8 or 10.9 when it releases.


I am under the impression I can max out the 2008 model (single or dual CPU setup) with dual 3.2ghz quad core xeons, while a single CPU 2009 model can accept up to a 6 core Xeon if flashed to the 2010 Pro firmware. Please tell me if I am mistaken!


I am also told that *any* Mac Pro can use any GeForce GTX 500/600 card with no mods, using Mac 10.8 or higher as long as the power cables for the GPU are dual 6 pins or less, not 8 pins.


Like I said, my main plan is to game on this. I plan on getting a good CPU upgrade and possibly a GTX 670.


My question is, which of these two models would be better for me, considering their max upgrade potential.


Thanks in advance!

  • BitterCreek Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 12:55 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    If your sole intent is gaming, you will get FAR more power for your money building a PC.


    Those 3.2GHz quad core Xeon X5482 CPUs will cost $800 and a GTX 670 $375.

    For the same $2400 budget, you can build a PC with a 3.5GHz Quad core Ivy Bridge CPU with a GTX680, faster RAM and an SSD that will downright embarrass any Mac Pro in gaming power, even the  6 and 8 core models.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,545 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 6:57 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    not with that pc budget you won't

    wait for Ivy Bridge PC about to drop

    forget any 2009 or definitelynever ever 2008

    $1800+ 2010 4 core maybe

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 8:08 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    The memories for the 2008 and previous are way too expensive. Don't spend today's money on a 2008 or older.


    The 2009 and later feature Multi-Threading and some memory speed improvements so that they benchmark close to twice as fast as the previous models at the same processor speed and number of processors.

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,545 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 8:52 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    You are still stuck in pc jargon


    The bugs and limitations and future proof rto says save and uppe your base price

  • BitterCreek Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:32 AM (in response to The hatter)

    Hatter, obviously if you want to buy a complete PC, $2k will not fit. But a simple google search will reveal many "budget" gaming PC parts lists for you to assemble yourself for a far better value.

    And my budget is $1200, not 2400.

    $1200 Mac Pro

    $800 CPU upgrade

    $375 GPU upgrade

    = $2375 (2400)


    Here is one under $1200 that will beat your Mac Pro:,3276.html

    Here is a $2000 build that will blow your Mac Pro out of the water:,3277.h tml

    And another, this one with a GTX 680:***_ivy_bridge _gaming_pc_step_step


    I appreciate your input, but I do NOT want another gaming pc.

    Why is that? The Mac Pro is a professional/server computer, NOT a game computer. You're paying for  3 year old hardware, two of the most expensive bits (CPU and GPU) of it you will be throwing away!

    Gaming PCs do not need server grade parts, so you're basically paying a huge premium for the case and you're still stuck with 3 year old technology.


    So the 2009 single processor quad core with 8 threads will outperform the dual quad core/8 threads 2008 model?

    Not even close. The 2009 model has 8 theoretical threads while the 2008 model has 8 physical threads. At best, you'll see 75% the performance of the 8 core.

    The single CPU 2009 is a very poor value since you're stuck with one CPU. You're better off finding a low-spec dual CPU if you plan to chuck the old cpus.


    What bugs and limitations? To what?

    To a 3 year old computer running an unsupported GPU, which means you will never be able to run OSX unless you reinstall the old 5770 GPU  before you boot into the Mac side.


    If you plan on never booting into OSX, you're throwing away half the computer's value. Which is why I suggested you build a PC.

  • BitterCreek Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:45 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    I'm sorry, but I said I will buy the CPU, RAM, and GPU upgrades LATER, so my budget stands at $1200 NOW.

    Then I suggest you buy a PS3 and wait to save up the money you need to build a PC with the specs you want. Buying hardware below specs with the intention of upgrading them soon is a big waste of money and time.


    From the research I have done, Mac OS X 10.8 will NATIVELY support *any* GTX 500 or 600

    No, it won't. You will be able to boot, but OSX does not support the cards (does not have native drivers) which means you will not get any game performance from them.


    I picked a Mac Pro because I want a MAC, not a PC or some lame hackintosh computer...

    FYI, by changing the GPUs and CPUs to unsupported parts and flashing the EFI to an unsupported firmware, you're building exactly that!


    Also, would the 2009 Pro outpace the 8 core 2008 model with the 6 core in it after I upgrade? The difference in architecture and what not (i7 vs Core).

    That strongly depends on what you're doing; If and how well the game supports multithreading and hyperthreading and what version of Windows you will be running (XP and Vista for example will have poor hyperthread support).


    How am I throwing away the CPU?

    You are physically removing a fully functional CPU from the computer and replacing it with a different part.

    The market value of the CPU you're removing is very low (being low-end 3 year old part) so you will be unlikely to sell it, even on eBay, for more than $75.

  • BitterCreek Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 21, 2013 8:24 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    I'm sorry, I was misinformed.

    No apology needed.

    GPU is supported as Apple let nvidia publish drivers for them, though

    That is incorrect.


    Also, the EFI is only from the next Pro. which is nearly identical from the 2009 model anyway.

    Also incorrect.

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