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Old Feb 14, 2013, 11:25 PM   #1
CognitiveBias1
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Best bets for an upgrade

First post but I've been reading the site for years.

I run a lot of java programs and it slows things down. Aside from that, the machine could really be sped up. I'm using mostly word, excel, java programs and parallels. I'll also use lightroom. My specs are below but if you could recommend some upgrades that would be great, thanks!

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor): 12 MB
Memory: 8 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 5.86 GT/s
Boot ROM Version: MP51.007F.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.39f11
SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f11
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:17 PM   #2
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1. Something like the OWC Mercury Accelsior OCI Express SSD.

2. CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 PCI card.

Do you have BlueTooth or Airport wireless card installed?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:14 PM   #3
deconstruct60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CognitiveBias1 View Post
I run a lot of java programs and it slows things down. Aside from that, the machine could really be sped up. I'm using mostly word, excel, java programs and parallels.
....
Memory: 8 GB
....
I doubt it is the java programs. If running one or more operating systems at the same time it is likely that 8GB is rather lightweight if running anything that is also substantial in those virtual machine (VM) image(s). [ multiple VMs for sure. ]

You can figure up activity monitor but quite likely that your swap usage is not relatively small and your virtual memory page outs in a similar state.

You may want to look at addressing that at least partially before tackling augmenting with SSDs. SSDs can help mask misconfigured RAM issues.

You can look at what kind of disk rates are being reported in Activity Monitor also. Again with multiple OS running at the same time a single HDD spindle can be the bottleneck. Even tightly coupled spindles (in RAID 0) are not so good if have several different access patterns happening at the same time defacto putting into a highly random I/O context.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 08:02 PM   #4
CognitiveBias1
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I have bluetooth and wireless installed. Use BT for the mouse but prefer using lan cable over wireless for internet.

Here's my memory configuration. Would going to 16g or ram be enough or should I go for 32g? This thing is turning into a slug. Granted, I don't always run parallels but there are times when I do have to have everything running but I mainly rely on the java programs and they are getting crazy slow. I did run onyx today and that helped but only slightly.

The ram came with the machine when I bought it new. I'm looking at OWC for new ram.

Memory Slots:

ECC: Enabled

DIMM 1:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3 ECC
Speed: 1066 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x80AD
Part Number: 0x484D54313235553754465238432D48392020
Serial Number: 0x2B45ED13

DIMM 2:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3 ECC
Speed: 1066 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x80AD
Part Number: 0x484D54313235553754465238432D48392020
Serial Number: 0x2B45ED01

DIMM 3:

Size: Empty
Type: Empty
Speed: Empty
Status: Empty
Manufacturer: Empty
Part Number: Empty
Serial Number: Empty

DIMM 4:

Size: Empty
Type: Empty
Speed: Empty
Status: Empty
Manufacturer: Empty
Part Number: Empty
Serial Number: Empty

DIMM 5:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3 ECC
Speed: 1066 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x80AD
Part Number: 0x484D54313235553754465238432D48392020
Serial Number: 0x35925D5E

DIMM 6:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3 ECC
Speed: 1066 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x80AD
Part Number: 0x484D54313235553754465238432D48392020
Serial Number: 0x2B45ED0A

DIMM 7:

Size: Empty
Type: Empty
Speed: Empty
Status: Empty
Manufacturer: Empty
Part Number: Empty
Serial Number: Empty

DIMM 8:

Size: Empty
Type: Empty
Speed: Empty
Status: Empty
Manufacturer: Empty
Part Number: Empty
Serial Number: Empty
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 07:45 PM   #5
CognitiveBias1
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I'm not quite as teched up as I should be. What should I do first?

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by deconstruct60 View Post
I doubt it is the java programs. If running one or more operating systems at the same time it is likely that 8GB is rather lightweight if running anything that is also substantial in those virtual machine (VM) image(s). [ multiple VMs for sure. ]

You can figure up activity monitor but quite likely that your swap usage is not relatively small and your virtual memory page outs in a similar state.

You may want to look at addressing that at least partially before tackling augmenting with SSDs. SSDs can help mask misconfigured RAM issues.

You can look at what kind of disk rates are being reported in Activity Monitor also. Again with multiple OS running at the same time a single HDD spindle can be the bottleneck. Even tightly coupled spindles (in RAID 0) are not so good if have several different access patterns happening at the same time defacto putting into a highly random I/O context.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:01 PM   #6
phoenixsan
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I believe.....

the less daunting upgrade of a Mac Pro is the RAM. After goes SSD, GPU and CPU. I also second the another poster about the RAM upgrade, based in the use of virtual machines. The SSD can help in boot/launch times also. But if possible, max out the RAM. In some cases, you can get up to a 20% faster machine.

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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:33 PM   #7
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I would also like to add a good upgrade to these machines is usb 3.0 cards its so simple to install one even my little bro can do it
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 09:32 AM   #8
deconstruct60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CognitiveBias1 View Post
I'm not quite as teched up as I should be. What should I do first?
Measure usage first.

Then 'fix' what measurements indicate is a likely bottleneck.

It is not a technical thing, but more a process.

Apple and other sources have articles on how to measure. For example this one on Memory and Activity Monitor

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1342

(there are also a set of related articles on right hand side )

There is "help" in Activity monitor also. there are some command line tools to do low level "blame assignment" on which applications are using lots of disk accesses. ( likely candidate in your listed group is lightroom. If there is lots of relatively slow disk activity when using lightroom that would strengthen that likelihood. )


There is no magic bullet piece of hardware that solves everyone's problem. Some tactics advocate just adding stuff which is a good way to spend alot of money; not particularly to solve the problem.

If your Lightroom disk acceses are very slow then more RAM isn't going to help much. Similarly moving the VM images to their own dedicated drive can also help if disk bottlenecks show up when they are heavily engaged.
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Old Mar 2, 2013, 02:35 PM   #9
CognitiveBias1
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Thank you very much for the advice. I'll measure the usage and then take a two pronged approach. I'll check the usb 3.0 cards and add some ram.

I've thought about placing some of the software on a dedicated drive but haven't gotten to it. Sounds like that could also do the trick.

The help page looks good, I'll start there.

Thank you for the advice, it's very much appreciated.

Last edited by CognitiveBias1; Mar 2, 2013 at 02:48 PM.
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