I’ve been using an ageing MacPro 4.1 Quad I bought in 2009, at the time it was 1 year old, over the years I've added some major upgrades, additional RAM, 3 additional internal drives, an upgraded GFX card plus an additional GFX card, a SATA card and more recently the main boot drive was switched to an SSD, it had 2 boot drives, one for El Capitan and another SSD for Snow Leopard with Final Cut 7 as I had many FCP 7 projects, some of which are still live.
It was at the point where I couldn’t install High Sierra and many Apps were now out of date because of the limitation of El Capitan, including FCPX so I’ve been looking around to replace it. I needed a 2010 or later MacPro 5.1, there were many on offer on eBay that were 2009 4.1 machines where the Firmware had been upgraded to 5.1, had newer, faster processors fitted and were in the the £850 - £1000 price range and one of these looked to be an option.
I did spot a 2010 MacPro 5.1 with a starting price of £600, it had High Sierra, 32Gb RAM and a 1Gb Radeon HD 5770 GFX and looked to be ideal, I was prepared to go to £700 on it, with 8 seconds to go on eBay and without any bids on it, I put in £700 and got it for the original £600 as there were no other bidders.
Due to circumstances it didn’t turn up for over 12 days (long story!) but yesterday it arrived. First thing was to plug it in to make sure it all worked, the 32Gb RAM was there, the HD 5770 worked and the seller had installed a new 640Gb hard drive with a fresh install of High Sierra. With everything looking OK It was then a matter of adding my existing El Capitan SSD into it, booting to it and forcing the upgrade to High Sierra which went well. The 640Gb drive that came with the Mac was formatted and is now a Time Machine backup, I then added a Blackmagic Intensity card and 2 more hard drives with my working projects and data from my 2008 MacPro, the seller had only included 1 Mac hard drive caddy so I’ve ordered some more from eBay.
Starting up it all worked, it then downloaded all the High Sierra updates for the Apps I had including FCPX, Motion, Keynote, Pages and some minor Apps, with a working High Sierra MacPro it was then time to put the 2008 Snow Leopard machine back together to be able to use FCP7, I now have 2 MacPro’s, one for FCPX, RapidWeaver etc and another just for FCP7 which, to be honest I still prefer to edit long form projects on.
It’ll take a few days to get both to where I want them to be, some serials are motherboard referenced but I was able to de-register them from the 2008 MacPro and then re-register on the 2010 machine, just one minor App needs to be re-registered and I have a support ticket in for that. Obviously I needed more monitors now with two MacPro’s going, I’d spotted a 27” Samsung with DVI, VGA and HDMI recently in a local cash converter type shop, the guy was asking £35 which to me seemed a bargain so I bought it and it works fine with no blown pixels on my new High Sierra machine.