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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Used Mac Pro or new iMac?
    Hello, I'm looking at upgrading my 15" 2009 MPB 2.53ghz. I am making the move from a laptop as I think an iPad can replace my laptop needs.
    I was looking at a top 21.5" iMac however for around the same price I could get a 2.66/3ghz or 2.8ghz mac pro used of course!
    I mainly use my computer for photo editing using aperture and CS4. Of course storage is a big thing so that leans me towards the mac pro even more!
    The only thing that puts me of the mac pro is that it is used, I have only ever owned new macs (appart from an old g4 which didn't end well!) I do also do some light video in iMovie. I also expect my computers to last around 3 years.
    A well known beater has a 2.66ghz mac pro with 8gb ram and 1 years warranty, for £850. Would that be a good option or is it to old?
    So all in all what's the best option? A new iMac or used mac pro.
    Thanks Chris

  2. #2

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    G'day and elcome to the forums Chris.

    As a Mac Pro user, re commend going for the 2.8GHz Mac Pro. The beauty of a Mac Pro is it has four hard drive bays, memory can be improved up to 64GB and faster, more powerful graphics cards can be install, certainly the ATI 5700 series, and perhaps the 6800 also.

    Apple do sell refurbished Mac Pros from time to time which come with the latest operating system and a twelve month warranty. Mine was refurbished and purchased from Apple Elk Grove CA. Since 2007 has been heavily upgraded with Quad Core CPU's, SSD, faster graphics etc etc.

    There are two models of the 2.66Ghz. The Mac Pro 1.1 originally released in 2006 and the mid 2009 Mac Pro 4.1. if it is a 4.1 grab it, but at the price suggest it is the older 1.1.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  3. #3


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    It is a 1.1 Mac Pro, would it still be worth it?
    On geekbench a 1.1 base mac pro scores around 5200 abd a 2.8ghz 2008 Mac Pro scores around 5700. Either of these would be a good upgrade from my MBPs 3500!
    I can't really see that the extra 500 points for the 2008mac pro is worth it considering they usually go for a lot more than an 06! However I'm willing to be proved wrong!

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Yes I think so. Upgraded the CPU's in my Mac Pro to Quad Core 2.66GHz using second hand Intel X5355. Cost $300 on eBay Australia for a matched pair and if you look through today's threads you will find a link to doing it yourself.

    Apart from the four hard drive bays, the thing I like about the Mac Pro is the tray loading optical drive. The iMac, like MacBooks, using slot loaders and boy they have an extremely high failure rate. Go through the threads and see the number of posters who cannot use the optical drive.

    When you look at Geekbench tests, consider this. I upgraded my CPU's, installed an SSD, an ATI Radeon HD4870 1GB graphics card and with then 8GB memory came in at 9214, a 92% increase of where it was when a Dual Core.

    The mid 2009 2.66Ghz 4.1 Mac Pro comes in with a 14,458 Geekbench score!
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    In case there's some confusion...some Geekbench scores quoted are for 4-core Mac Pros (<6000)...and others for 8-core Mac Pro's (>8000).

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6


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    So which ever one I get it should be a decent upgrade! The main points for me are, condition, age and possibly a warranty.

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gibbo6991 View Post
    So which ever one I get it should be a decent upgrade! The main points for me are, condition, age and possibly a warranty.
    Forget about any warranty if you're thinking about getting a Mac Pro 1,1. These "guys" came out in 2006 & were discontinued in Jan, 2008...so even of an owner purchased extended Applecare on one of these in Jan, 2008...it would have expired Jan, 2011.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Don't the current iMacs outperform the older Mac Pros, and not insignificantly? I have a mid-2010 model iMac i3 that I upgraded from a first-gen Mac Pro and my iMac runs circles around it, and the Mac Pro had the GPU upgraded as best as it could go. And the current iMacs knock mine out of the park.

    The only advantage I see to the Mac Pro is the expandability of the storage and the increased amount of RAM it takes. The question is if you would even benefit from that extra RAM if you maxed it out (16GB max on iMac vs 64 GB on MP). And with the current iMac, you could just get an external drive (FW800 or, better yet, Thunderbolt). And don't forget… a Mac Pro that old comes with no warranty at all. It could go belly up in 6 months and you'd be SOL.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac » Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    Don't the current iMacs outperform the older Mac Pros, and not insignificantly? I have a mid-2010 model iMac i3 that I upgraded from a first-gen Mac Pro and my iMac runs circles around it, and the Mac Pro had the GPU upgraded as best as it could go. And the current iMacs knock mine out of the park.
    It's the old issue with the number of cores and the software used. If (for example) someone has a 2.8ghz 8-core Mac Pro...and are using software that may only take advantage of 1 to 2 of those cores...then a newer iMac with a Core 2 Duo or quad-core at say 3ghz or faster should be faster than an older Mac Pro.

    The newer iMac will probably have:

    - better graphics hardware (or at least comparable)
    - possibly faster logic board architecture
    - possibly faster ram
    - a faster cpu

    So if someone has an older 8-core Mac Pro & someone else has a newer iMac...and both are using software that only takes advantage of 1-2 cores...then the newer iMac will probably be faster.

    Of course if someone is using software that does effectively take advantage of as many cores/threads that you can throw at it...then the Mac Pro will win hands down. And of course the Mac Pro has the expandability advantage.

    - Nick

    p.s. I had a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 quad-core...sold it...and purchased a 2009 8-core Mac Pro...and I struggled with this decision (to get an older used Mac Pro or a newer iMac).
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    So if someone has an older 8-core Mac Pro & someone else has a newer iMac...and both are using software that only takes advantage of 1-2 cores...then the newer iMac will probably be faster.

    Of course if someone is using software that does effectively take advantage of as many cores/threads that you can throw at it...then the Mac Pro will win hands down. And of course the Mac Pro has the expandability advantage.
    Great points. But doesn't the original Mac Pro have a Quad Core processor, as do the current iMacs? With all the other architecture improvements, I would think that today's iMac would still have the edge in this respect, leaving the Mac Pro with the edge in expandability.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac » Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  11. #11


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    In terms of a warranty it is the sellers own warranty (he is a dealer scrumpymacs) not a apple care warranty! The real benefit of a mac pro to me is the expansion (I'm really not a fan of external drives!), I'm not that disatisfied with the power of my MPB, so over all power isn't a huge deal.

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    Great points. But doesn't the original Mac Pro have a Quad Core processor, as do the current iMacs? With all the other architecture improvements, I would think that today's iMac would still have the edge in this respect, leaving the Mac Pro with the edge in expandability.
    The fact that the original Mac Pro's had a quad-core processor (actually 2 x 2 dual-core cpu's)...makes the performance gap between it and a newer quad-core iMac even larger (in the iMac's favor)...since then we are comparing 4-cores vs. 4-cores.

    Geekbench Scores:

    - a 2006 2.66ghz "quad-core" Mac Pro...5190.
    - a dual-core 2011 i3 iMac 3.1ghz...6665
    - a quad-core 2011 iMac i7 3.4ghz...11,648

    Clearly the 2011 iMac's (even the low end i3 dual-core iMac) will outperform a 2006 quad-core 2.66ghz Mac Pro...leaving the 2006 quad-core Mac Pro with only the expandability advantage (which can be a big deal for some users).

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Dec 06, 2011
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    Is this worth buying?
    I don't know much about computers, but i am using an iMac from 2008 right now, i am trying to buy a used mac pro because the iMac is just not cutting it. I am using the computer to record music in my home studio. With the iMac i use logic and it keeps saying system overload. I found a mac pro from 2006 on ebay and i was wondering if it's worth buying and putting a little money into it to upgrade it. Here is my imac info:
    Intel core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, one processor, 4mb cache, 4mb memory, 800 MHz bus speed.

    Is this mac pro worth buying and upgrading a little or is my iMac better to use. if there are any more questions please ask, i don't know much about computers but i can do my best to answer them. Here is the link to the mac pro. I am trying to buy this rather soon so answers asap are much appreciated. Apple Mac Pro Desktop; 2.66 GHz DC x 2 "Quad", 4GB RAM, BT, 500GB Hard Drive | eBay

  14. #14

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    And the biggest advantage over the iMac is the tray loading optical drive. Slot loaders have always been the laptop and iMac weak points.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Dec 06, 2011
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    so d you think it's worth it to buy this 06 mac pro instead of my 08 iMac

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