Frequently Asked Questions
If you do not find the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us. We are here to help.
Condition - Refurbished
The Cylinder and Tower (Original) Mac Pro's are pre-owned. They arrive to our facility in functional condition from professional environments.
We acquire our Mac Pro’s from educational and government facilities, as well as larger corporate post production companies. We frequently get the question, “How do you get this many Mac Pro’s” or “Why do these companies sell these systems?”
These entities typically replace their workstations every two to four years. The replacement of the systems is within their budget, so they must do it. Also, the purchase of new systems provides them with tax benefits. Some companies actually lease the systems from Apple or a third party company.
- Some of the larger post production companies purchase a set of workstations for one job. Once the job is complete after 6 months or a year, they sell the extra systems. This is common with the Mac Pro cylinders.
Condition - Chassis
The Apple Mac Pro towers are no longer in production by Apple, so it's not possible to find them in new condition. Cosmetically, the units are in good condition. Our vendors know that we are paranoid about the cosmetic condition we acquire. They know that we will complain if they send us poor condition units, so they directly pass it on to our competitors. We never sell units with bends, dents, or dings. Units might have light scratches and/or scuffs. If you would like to know the condition of the specific unit you will receive, please contact us with your configuration as our inventory changes on a daily basis.
The Apple Mac Pro cylinders are no longer in production by Apple, so it's not possible to find them in new condition. Cosmetically, the units are in excellent condition. We attempt to stock cylinders only in like-new (almost perfect) condition. At most, they will have one or two scratches. If you would like to know the condition of the specific unit you will receive, please contact us with your configuration as our inventory changes on a daily basis. Also, depending on the configuration, some of the units are still covered under Apple warranty. If you would like to know if your configuration will have Apple warranty, please contact us.
- We purchase only from professional, government, and educational facilities. We never purchase individual units from home users because we found the condition to be lower (excess dust / stench of smoke). The companies we purchase always have non-smoking, clean, and air-controlled facilities.
- All units are examined, tested, and cleaned when they arrive at our location. Once configured, they are tested again.
Condition - Components
Storage: 256GB to 1TB pre-owned; 2TB new
Graphics Card (part of chassis): pre-owned
- Processors: pre-owned
- Memory: new
- Solid-State Drives: new
- Hard Drives: new
- USB 3.0 cards: new
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce pre-owned; AMD RX580 new.
Pre-owned components - Unfortunately, these components are no longer in production from the manufacturer, so it's impossible to find them new. We acquire our components from professional facilities that part out workstations. 1) They have experience to pull the components correctly. 2) The workstations are acquired from large corporations that maintain equipment very well. We stress test the Mac Pro after completing the configuration.
Since you upgrade the Mac Pro to higher performance components, what happens with the original components?
- Processors - sold to refurbishing facilities
- Memory - sold to our competitors
- Hard Drives - sold to our competitors
- Graphics Cards - sold to our competitors
- Mac Pro's in poor cosmetic condition - sold to our competitors
Chassis - Tower - 2010/11 vs 2012/13
The architecture in the 2010/11 is 100% identical to the 2012/13. There is no difference internally. The only difference is the year of manufacture. The chassis (case, power supply, logic board, and processor board) are a couple years newer on the 2012/13. If performance is most important for you while maintaining a budget, go with the 2010/11. If you want the absolute latest, go with the 2012/13.
Please note that regardless of the year, we only acquire systems from larger studios and corporations. The systems are utilized in air-controlled locations and are shut down / put to sleep after hours. Plus, we clean and test each system thoroughly.
Processors - Performance - 3.33GHz vs 3.46GHz
The performance between the 3.33GHz and 3.46GHz is minimal. Here are the average 64-bit multi-core benchmark scores using Geekbench 3:
12-core 2.66GHz: 25,500
12-core 2.93GHz: 26,500
12-core 3.33GHz: 30,500
12-core 3.46GHz: 31,500
The 12-core 3.33GHz is most cost effective. However, is you want the absolute fastest, go with the 12-core 3.46GHz.
Graphics Card - Video Editing - Recommendations
Year 2010/12 Model 5,1: (our rating score out of 10)
AMD Radeon 5770 1GB (2/10) - Compatible with Snow Leopard 10.6 to High Sierra 10.13. Minimal performance. Fine for office tasks and audio production, but not sufficient for video editing. Supports two displays.
AMD Radeon 5870 1GB (3/10) - Compatible with Snow Leopard 10.6 to High Sierra 10.13. A more powerful than 5770. Fine for light photography. Photoshop requires performance, but not as much as video editing. Supports two displays.
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB (8/10) - Compatible with High Sierra 10.13+. Excellent performance. Newest card compatible with the Mac Pro tower. The only card that comes standard with the new 2019 Mac Pro Tower and is compatible with the original Mac Pro tower. Since not NVIDIA, does not have CUDA cores. Not the best for Adobe Premiere. Excellent for Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and moderate video editing with Adobe applications. Supports four displays.
GTX 680 2GB (4/10) - Compatible with Mountain Lion 10.8 to Catalina 10.15. Moderate performance. Decent performance, fair price, and quiet. Supports 4k resolution and four displays.
GTX 780 3GB (4/10) - Compatible with Mountain Lion 10.8 to Catalina 10.15. Identical features of the GTX 680, but a bit more powerful. Comparable performance to the GTX 970.
GTX 970 4GB - (4/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Yosemite 10.10 to High Sierra 10.13. Recommended for photo editing if limited to Yosemite 10.10 or El Capitan 10.11 macOS.
GTX 980 4GB (5/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Yosemite 10.10 to High Sierra 10.13. Recommended for photo editing if limited to Yosemite 10.10 or El Capitan 10.11 macOS.
GTX 980Ti 6GB - (6/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Yosemite 10.10 to High Sierra 10.13. Recommended for video editing if limited to Yosemite 10.10 or El Capitan 10.11 macOS.
GTX Titan X 12GB (7/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver which requires Yosemite 10.10 to High Sierra 10.13. Recommended for video editing if limited to Yosemite 10.10 or El Capitan 10.11 macOS.
GTX 1070 8GB (6/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Sierra 10.12 and High Sierra 10.13. Recommended for moderate video editing and extensive photo editing.
GTX 1080 8GB (7/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Sierra 10.12 and High Sierra 10.13. Excellent performance NVIDIA card. Lots of CUDA cores. Recommended for Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Resolve.
GTX 1080Ti 11GB (8/10) - Requires the NVIDIA driver. Compatible with Sierra 10.12 and High Sierra 10.13. Highest performance NVIDIA card. Highest CUDA performance. Recommended for Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Resolve.
Graphics Cards - NVIDIA vs. ATI
The benefit of NVIDIA cards is the CUDA cores which Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, and Divinci Resolve take advantage of. If you're using these applications, a NVIDIA GeForce GPU is optimal. The downfall is that Apple has a contract with AMD (the competitor of NVIDIA). The higher performance NVIDIA GPUs (900 and 1000 series) are not supported on the newer macOS. The highest macOS supporting these NVIDIA GPUs is High Sierra 10.13. The GTX 680 is compatible with all macOS, but is an earlier generation with moderate performance.
AMD GPUs are optimal for Final Cut Pro video editing and Photoshop/Lightroom photo editing. The AMD 5770/5770 are original to the 2010/12 Mac Pro tower. Due to the earlier technology, they have minimal performance. The AMD RX580 is original to the 2019 Mac Pro, so it has excellent performance. The card is priced fair, current model in production, and has native macOS support.
NVIDIA GTX - Boot/Option Screens
We work directly with MacVidCards, the creator of the Mac firmware for graphics cards. All our graphics cards are flashed personally by the owner of MacVidCards, and have full Mac OS supprort displaying the boot and option screens.
iBuildMacs is the ONLY Mac Pro reseller that works directly with MacVidCards. Our competitors, in order to save money and maximize profit, buy their graphics cards from individuals who have stolen early versions of the MacVidCards firmware which may not perform properly. These individuals who have stolen the graphics card firmware from MacVidCards are not able to steal the latest, most compatible version, because MacVidCards has placed passwords on the new firmware. If you make a purchase of a Mac Pro GeForce graphics card off eBay or another Mac Pro seller, you are likely to get a graphics card with an earlier firmware which may show symptoms (artifacts on screen of ports not functioning as they should)
Thunderbolt is not compatible with the 2010/12 Mac Pro tower. The PCIe 2.0 slots on the tower max out at 8GB/s. Thunderbolt 2 is 20GB/s. The PCIe slots cannot support the bandwidth of Thunderbolt.
The 2010/12 Mac Pro tower supports USB 3.0 or USB 3.1, Type-A or Type-C.
USB 3.0 ports perform at 5GB/s. USB 3.1 ports perform at 10GB/s.
USB Type-A connection is the standard rectangular USB connection.
USB Type-C connection is the tiny that Apple has made default on many Apple devices such as the Macbook, iPhone, and iPad.
Note: USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same physical connection, but are internally different. USB 3.1 Type-C performs at 10GB/s. Thunderbolt 3 performs at 40GB/s. Thus, USB Type-C devices work on a Thunderbolt 3 port. But Thunderbolt 3 devices will not work on a USB Type-C port.
SSD vs PCIe SSD
The Mac Pro drive bays have a SATA2 controller which has a maximum speed of 3GB/s or 300MB/s. The new technology SSDs are SATA3 which have a maximum speed of 6GB/s or 600MB/s.
SSD on the drive bay performs at 275MB/s.
SSD on the PCIe slot performs at 550MB/s. Installing the SSD on the PCIe slot allows the SSDs to perform at it's full potential.
The Mac Pro tower has four PCIe 2.0 slots. One will be occupied by the graphics card.
Systems ship with a fresh install of the operating system you select on the configuration tool.
Snow Leopard 10.6 is the earliest operating system available for the tower.
Mavericks 10.9 is the earilest operating system available for the cylinder.
For the following hardware, we preinstall the following applications:
Solid-State Drive or Flash Storage- Cindori Trim Enabler in Yosemite 10.10 and earlier operating systems. Enables TRIM on the operating system which maintains the efficiency and performance of the drive. For more information about TRIM, visit here. Trim is natively enabled in El Capitan 10.11 and newer operating systems.
GTX 970/980/980Ti/Titan X/1070/1080/1080Ti/Titan Xp Graphics Cards - NVIDIA Web Driver. Since these are newer graphics cards, the driver is not included in Mac OS. The NVIDIA Web Driver is required for the graphics card to perform properly. Please note that the NVIDIA driver installed is specific to the revision of your current operating system. If you update your operating system, you must update the NVIDIA Web Driver as well. Please visit here for updates.
Blu-Ray Player - Blu-Ray Player application.
1) PayPal - PayPal is our primary merchant because of their excellent customer service - representatives in the USA quickly come to the phone. Also, they offer both Buyer and Seller Protection. Thus, you can feel comfortable that your payment and purchase are protected.
2) Amazon Pay - If you are a frequent Amazon customer, paying by Amazon may be convenient since you already have your payment and shipping details already stored in your Amazon account. Note that Amazon sometimes automatically declines higher value payments. If this happens, we will send you a notification that a call to Amazon is required to authorize the payment.
3) Credit Card - PayPal is our credti card processor. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can simply checkout as guest. Select PayPal on the checkout page. Then choose the "Pay with Credit Card or Debit Card" option on the PayPal popup screen.
4) Check / Wire Transfer - If you would like to save 4% on your order, you can mail us a check or submit a wire transfer. We use Wells Fargo. We typically prepare the order the day after the payment is received. Contact us for the mailing address. We also accept cash if you are local.
If all the components part of your configuration are in stock (most cases), we will ship your Mac Pro within 1-2 business days. If a component must be ordered, it can take 4-6 business days. If you are in a rush to receive your Mac Pro, please contact us with your exact configuration and we will provide a more accurate time frame. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you also have the option of picking up your computer from our location the moment it is prepared.
Unfortunately, we do not offer direct financing. We have found that our interest rates would not be competitive, so we have not pursued this option. We do however accept all major credit cards, cashiers checks, and government and educational PO's.
PayPal has a financing program called PayPal Credit. Once you are approved, PayPal will release the funds into your PayPal account. You pay us for the order. You receive your Mac Pro, then pay monthly payments to PayPal. Visit here for the application and details.
"With PayPal Credit, you can enjoy special financing offers like this one: No Payments + No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more." PayPal Credit also advertises:
- Get a credit decision in seconds
- No annual fee
- Easy account management
iBuildMacs is based in Los Angeles, CA -- just a few miles from the intersection of the 101 and 405 freeways near to Sherman Oaks . At this time, we operate as an internet business only, but you are welcome to stop by our location and chat! Without the cost of sales clerks, the monthly rent for a retail facility, and all the associated costs, we are able to greatly reduce our margins on every system we sell. This means lower prices for you. At the moment we are doing quite well in this position, and have no intention of opening a retail facility. It is our primary goal to provide quality systems and great customer service at the fair prices.
Plus, if you are local in Los Angeles, you are welcome to pick up. For volume orders, we sometimes offer free local delivery.
- Apple Mac Pro Cylinder - since it's a recent model, the unit will typically ship with the original Apple packaging. We will also place the original packageing in a larger box, so the Mac Pro will be extra secure.
- Apple Mac Pro Towers 2010/12 - we use custom double wall 24" x 24" x 13" boxes with custom manufactured foam molded for the Mac Pro.
- We have shipped thousands of Mac Pro's to many countries across every continent. We are positive your Mac Pro will arrive safely.
FedEx Ground within the US:
- West Coast: 1-2 business days
- Central States: 3-4 business days
- East Coast: 4-5 business days
If you would like next-day or second-day air, please contact us for a quote.
Shipping options to Canada (Tower / Cylinder):
- FedEx Express (2-3 business days): $200 / $150
Shipping options to all other countries (Tower / Cylinder):
- FedEx Express (2-3 business days): Depends on region. See Shipping Rates Table below.
Enjoy your purchase without the additional cost of sales tax. iBuildMacs is located in Los Angeles and is registered with the California State Board of Equalization. However, since we have several competitors nationwide, we cover the sales tax internally to stay competitive within the marketplace.
Our Apple Mac Pro's with a:
- 14-day return period - if you are not happy with your workstation(s) for any reason, please contact us immediately. We will work with you to resolve the problem.
- 90-day warranty period - you can be comfortable with your purchase knowing that in the rare case something happens, we will take care of it. Even after the warranty period, we will be here to assist you. Please see 'Warranty' and 'After Warranty' sections below for more information.
Our Mac Pros come with a 90-day warranty period. You can be comfortable with your purchase knowing that if, in the rare case something happens, we will take care of it. Even after the warranty period, we will be here to assist you.
We acquire our Mac Pros from professional facilities and our components are primarily new. Further, we test our Mac Pro's thoroughly prior to and after the customization. We are confident our Mac Pros will perform fine for years to come. In the rare case there is an issue, it will typically occur within the first day or two of starting to stress the unit. If the unit performs fine for the first few days, it will be fine for years to come. This is because if there is a faulty component installed, it will quickly become apparent. Otherwise, the Mac Pros are resilient systems and will run strong.
Our competitors install used components, so it is important for them to offer extended warranty periods. If they don't, they will have big problems. For us at iBuildMacs, having a faulty component after 6 months or a year is slim to none.
Whether you purchased a Mac Pro from us a week ago, a month ago, or 2 years ago, we offer phone and email support for the duration of you owning the system. We have a tremendous amount of experience, thus can easily diagnose issues...typically faster and easier than the Apple Store Genius Bar. If your warranty period has expired, we will help diagnose the problem, help locating the replacement component or offer the replacement component directly at cost, and even provide replacement instructions.
We stand by our product 100%. We sell only Apple Mac Pro's. It's what we deal with all day, every day. When it comes to expertise in the product, other companies cannot compete.
iBuildMacs was founded in 2012 and iBuildMacs.com was launched in 2014 by Jonathan Soliemon. Currently, iBuildMacs is a registered S-corporation in California.
- Track Record
Customizing Mac Pro's in volume can be more time efficient, so we can pass along those savings in the form of a discount. We consider those discounts on a case by case basis. Contact us for pricing if you are ordering 5 or more computers at one time.
Normally, a volume order does not significantly lengthen our standard 2 to 6 day preparation time. Usually, we request only a few additional days on 10 or more units.
International customers are responsible for all brokerage fees, taxes and import duties. iBuildMacs is not involved with determining or collecting those costs. These costs vary by country, so we cannot tell you how much cost to expect. Your local customs agency can provide this information. Your shipping carrier will communicate your final costs for collection just before delivery.
International customers are responsible for shipping costs for warranty repairs or part replacements. iBuildMacs is proud to be able to offer our Mac Pro's internationally, but the high costs of shipping mean that we can only service other countries to individuals who are willing to accept the potential of these costs.
The Apple Mac Pro power supplies are manufactured per international specifcations. They are compatible with all international voltages and outlets.
The power cords we provide are for US style wall sockets only. If you require a different style power plug, you must source that cable locally.