Better is NOT Perfect

February 4, 2009

A Question for Gamers: Used Mac Pro, Yes or No?

Filed under: I Hate Apple Users, I Love Apple Hardware — Gerald @ 2:02 pm

The PowerMac G3 and G4 each had a long upgrade life, with CPU upgrades from Sonnet and other manufacturers and a host of expansion card makers giving the community what Apple wouldn’t. Many of these machines are still in use, a decade after they were built.

The PowerMac G5 upgrade market never blossomed. It was cut short by the once-every-ten-years architecture switch. (I should have seen it coming. I did own an Apple II in the 90s! I even tried buying a 640K upgrade card in 1992 to keep it alive.)

My barely-a-half-decade-old Dual 2.0 won’t play Spore, it won’t play Sims 3 when it comes out, and it won’t run Boxee. It definitely won’t be able to run Next Year’s Latest And Greatest OS: Snow Leopard.

So it’s time to upgrade.

A big complaint among the gamer community is the Mac Pro’s price tag. Until the subject of money comes up, techie people can argue both ways as to if it’s a good machine or not… and the upgradability of the machine renders many of the points moot.

Unfortunately, it always devolves into one side complaining how you can get twice the machine for half the price complete with links that only prove that they don’t know how to squat about speccing out a machine (or think that 15% less is “half”) and the other side talking about how much the “free” OS X and iLife are worth should be counted for Apple’s side and the price of MS-Office, yearly Anti-Virus software, and yearly tech calls should count for the PC side. NO HELP AT ALL.

So I ask the gamers out there, would you buy used? Fully upgradable used Mac Pros can be had at a very good spec-to-dollar ratio if you’ve got the Google Fu to find them.

More importantly, if you DO own a Mac Pro, would you ever get rid of it? Can you swap out motherboards if CPU/RAM/HD/Video upgrades aren’t enough? Have Mac Pro motherboards changed AT ALL since introduction? Are there any “bad models” I should avoid?

I keep looking for a FrankenMac (the opposite of a Hackintosh) community to spring up around the Mac Pro like it did around the PowerMac G3 and G4 and the Mac Mini… but so far even my Google Fu has failed me.

So I’m throwing this out into the ether: Should I buy one of the affordable used Mac Pros online, or should I save my pennies and buy new and even get AppleCare? It’s like a thousand dollar difference.

Oh, and one other thing: This will be both my primary machine AND my media center. (Yes, I live dangerously.)

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