1415292259978In this inaugural article in a proposed series of posts that will hopefully guide the frugal tech heads to better decisions, I present my current gaming rig and Apple Mac Pro 4.1.

Now I know some of you may be scratching your heads wondering how I dared put Mac, Gaming, and Budget in the same sentence. I too would have reacted that way yesteryear, but experience with this capable machine has completely opened my eyes to the reality that not only can you game on the Mac, but you can game well and for a very, very, very long time.

Let’s start with the obvious, budget.

Normally, when people hear the word Apple, budget isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, Apple computers though they are expensive initially, you more than make up for the cost in value over time. For instance, my first Mac Pro that I used for gaming and very capable computing was a 2006 Mac Pro 8 core. It’s still working and still very capable. Now I know budget still sounds iffy, but here’s how you can get a budget friendly Mac Pro: Craigslist/eBay

My 1st Mac Pro is a 2006 1.1. Model upgraded to 2.1. with 8 cores, 16 GB DDR 2, and AMD 7870 Graphics. I paid 300.00 on Craigslist for the Mac, 120.00 for the GPU on eBay, and 84.99 for a 250 GB Samsung Evo 850 from Microcenter. This Machine runs both OS X El Capitan and Windows 10 though it takes a few tricks to make that happen and still has room to grow. Ram can be upgraded to more than 32GB, Graphics can be upgraded to AMD R9 280x and beyond, and SSDs continue to get faster. Games in both OS X and Windows run on high settings EASILY and Photoshop, Final Cut, etc. all current versions run without issue or lag. Considering that you can get your 1.1./2.1 Mac Pro to run both Windows 10 and El Capitan, you should be able to run modern operating systems for at least the next several years. So following this path you can have a 8 core beast running all modern software and games on high settings for about 504.99 TOTAL Cost. Let’s say you already have a compatible AMD or NVIDIA card and existing hard drives and that cost goes down to 300-400 dollars depending on how lucky you get on eBay/Craigslist. I still own this Mac and will continue to use it. Remember this is a 9 year old computer!!! So if you bought this new for about 2k you would only have paid 222 dollars a year for a Mac Pro and over the years just change the GPU and HD as technology advances, plus you can still upgrade the ram and install faster CPUs from 2.66 Ghz to 3.0 Ghz. Geekbench scores are nothing to laugh at for a 9 year old computer.

My current Mac Pro is a 2009 4.1 Model. It has 8 cores, 32 GB DDR 3, and AMD 7970 Graphics. I paid 529.00 on Craigslist with 16 GB DDR3 and a NVIDIA GT 120 installed. Still a capable machine in it’s own right, I threw in my old AMD 6870 until I bought a AMD 7970 for 140.00 and 32 GB DDR 3 ram for 110.00 on eBay. Same as before, yet a mere 6 years old instead of 9, I currently play Fallout 4 on Max settings without a hiccup. So again 529.00 with existing equipment or 779.00 with a few upgrades. I already owned a 250 GB Samsung Evo 850 and other existing HD. Here’s the current geek bench scores for my Mac Pro 4.1. *Geekbench scores can be influenced by OS X version, if often run beta software as a developer so as you can see, prior to my ram and GPU upgrade, my scores were higher 2173/16671 prior 2033/15621 current. Benchmarks are a guide. Real world performance, boot time less than 5 seconds, games all in ultra settings with ZERO fan noise. There’s also room for growth as the 4.1 can be upgraded to a 5.1 with a 12 core CPU and 1333 Ghz DDR3.

I run use my Mac Pro with 3 Dell S233MX monitors.


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