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Looking for tips on used Mac Pros

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So I've decided that I'm going to sell my MBP and grab a used Mac pro off E bay and I have a few questions. First, are there any series of Mac pros that are prone to breaking that I should try and steer clear of? Second, how upgradeable are they? And lastly, what type of CPU should I be looking for? It will be used heavily under windows and mac os. Graphics is a plus but i can always upgrade that later. One last question, What happens if you throw a windows GPU in the mac pro? Any other suggestions are also welcome.




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most "generic GPU' cards are not going to "just work" in a Mac Pro. there are a few that can work but you have to "flash" them with a compatible firmware. to get a better idea of what you can get working dig into the "hackintosh" lists that give specific details about what works and what doesn't.


it's rare that every Mac has AppleCare. and if it does it will be close to expired. the problem is that 2 or 3 year old parts are going to be very expensive. although any electronics product that has lived that long will likely run perfectly the rest of it's useful life. take my 12 year old G4 for example it has been in continuous use all that time. search eBay or do a search for "Mac Pro Parts". this is not usually a problem but it's something to be aware of.


be sure to compare older Xeon based Mac Pro with new iMac with an i7 processor. there are several benchmarking tools that show you the results of every Mac Pro. brand new processors outperform CPUs that are only a few years old. so it's a good idea to compare this to that before you commit to older hardware.


sometimes a Mac is being sold because it has a problem that the owner is tired of dealing with. such problems may not be apparent on a boot and look around. and most sellers are not going to guarantee anything after it leaves their sight. so you wouldn't know that it had a problem until you ran it for a N hours under load. you might think that people wouldn't stoop to something so unethical but it happens.


finally, never meet somebody in a parking lot to make a purchase. basically you are giving your money away. you always need to check out a Mac (or anything electronic) that you are buying used before you finalize a deal.


1) turn it on.

2) listen for odd noises. hum, squeak, whine.

3) put it under load. open 400 pictures using the finder icon view. the resize is done by the GPU so it will overload it for a moment. if there's a problem you might see it there.

4) check all the ports. all of them. the most common problem that I've seen is the sound IN connector is broken. as this is not a warrantee repair this wouldn't have been fixed.

Edited by johnfoster

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hey mark, i've got a mac pro i've been considering selling. quad 2.66, 5GB, RadeonX1900 512MB. it's about 4 years old now, but still in perfect working condition. let me know if you are interested.

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