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Old Dec 10, 2012, 04:43 AM   #1
Batemans
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2008 Mac Pro upgrade options

So after happily gaming away on my early 2008 mac pro Iíve decided to take a look at upgrading. Specifically Planetside 2 is a real underperformer on the machine. Iím look for a bit of help/advice as Iím not very clued up on the hardware side of things, especially with the compatibility of certain aspects of the MP, Iím sure these are really simple questions for you guys .

So currently Iím running Windows 8 only, the machine has a single quad 2.8, 8GB ram and a HD 5770.

Firstly, the graphics card obviously is a bit outdated now, am I correct in assuming that I can upgrade to any card that requires a 2x6pin power connection? Specifically something like a 5770 or GTX 690? Also would I eventually be bottlenecked by the CPU at a certain point?

Secondly Iíve seen some references to overclocking the 2.8 to 3.24, which I think would be a nice performance enhancer, however from as far as I can see it cannot be done under Windows due to lack of a BIOS? Iíve tried with SysTool which wonít run and I cannot do the OC in MacOS and restart to Windows.

The overclock Iím talking about is this one:
http://www.zdnet.de/39192217/exclusi...ce-of-mac-pro/

Again Iím sorry if these questions come up a lot, thanks for any help guys.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 07:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Batemans View Post
So after happily gaming away on my early 2008 mac pro I’ve decided to take a look at upgrading. Specifically Planetside 2 is a real underperformer on the machine. I’m look for a bit of help/advice as I’m not very clued up on the hardware side of things, especially with the compatibility of certain aspects of the MP, I’m sure these are really simple questions for you guys .

So currently I’m running Windows 8 only, the machine has a single quad 2.8, 8GB ram and a HD 5770.

Firstly, the graphics card obviously is a bit outdated now, am I correct in assuming that I can upgrade to any card that requires a 2x6pin power connection? Specifically something like a 5770 or GTX 690? Also would I eventually be bottlenecked by the CPU at a certain point?

Secondly I’ve seen some references to overclocking the 2.8 to 3.24, which I think would be a nice performance enhancer, however from as far as I can see it cannot be done under Windows due to lack of a BIOS? I’ve tried with SysTool which won’t run and I cannot do the OC in MacOS and restart to Windows.

The overclock I’m talking about is this one:
http://www.zdnet.de/39192217/exclusi...ce-of-mac-pro/

... .
See http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1333421 , especially post #1.I.1.-3. In sum, having little RAM speed (its very difficult to overvolt it to overclock it), little CPU and little bus overhead (its very difficult to overvolt it to overclock it) are the barriers to the highest overclock; so your mileage will vary. I have my three Mac Pro 2007s (dual X5365s - factory at 3 GHz) running at from about 3.4 to 3.6 GHz using that utility - here's the math that you have to consider:

Using that utility increases ram and bus speed at the same rate as the CPU overclock {Another bad side effect is that it overclocks my chronological clock, until I cold re-boot}. The other givens in my cases (CPU factory speed is listed above) are that my ram was 667 MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMMs and my bus speed was 1333 MHz. So in my cases, getting my systems up to 2008 specs was my goal, i.e., to get the ram up to 800 MHz (In the end I had to buy 800 MHz ram) and the bus speed up to 1600 MHz. 800 / 667 = 1.19940029985007 or nastily 1.2 and 1600 / 1333 = 1.20030007501875 or nastily 1.2. Also, 3.0 GHz X 1.2 = 3.6. Thus, in the case of my CPU, ram and bus speed my goal was a 1.2x increase. In sum, each of the systems had different overhead potential and not each one made it to the goal, varying from about 3.4 GHz tops for one to 3.6 GHz for another and the other in between. Since I do not have your system, I can't tell you what speed increase results to expect, but I hope that this gives you a good idea of what you will be up against.

Sticking with 2x6 pin video cards is wise, unless you install another power source for an 8 pin card - from my research that eliminates the GTX 690 - that bad boy needs 1x6 and 1x8 pins, but if you can find one that doesn't need a 1x8 be sure to let me know.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 08:40 AM   #3
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See http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1333421 , especially post #1.I.1.-3. In sum, having little RAM speed (its very difficult to overvolt it to overclock it), little CPU and little bus overhead (its very difficult to overvolt it to overclock it) are the barriers to the highest overclock; so your mileage will vary. I have my three Mac Pro 2007s (dual X5365s - factory at 3 GHz) running at from about 3.4 to 3.6 GHz using that utility - here's the math that you have to consider:

Using that utility increases ram and bus speed at the same rate as the CPU overclock {Another bad side effect is that it overclocks my chronological clock, until I cold re-boot}. The other givens in my cases (CPU factory speed is listed above) are that my ram was 667 MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMMs and my bus speed was 1333 MHz. So in my cases, getting my systems up to 2008 specs was my goal, i.e., to get the ram up to 800 MHz (In the end I had to buy 800 MHz ram) and the bus speed up to 1600 MHz. 800 / 667 = 1.19940029985007 or nastily 1.2 and 1600 / 1333 = 1.20030007501875 or nastily 1.2. Also, 3.0 GHz X 1.2 = 3.6. Thus, in the case of my CPU, ram and bus speed my goal was a 1.2x increase. In sum, each of the systems had different overhead potential and not each one made it to the goal, varying from about 3.4 GHz tops for one to 3.6 GHz for another and the other in between. Since I do not have your system, I can't tell you what speed increase results to expect, but I hope that this gives you a good idea of what you will be up against.

Sticking with 2x6 pin video cards is wise, unless you install another power source for an 8 pin card - from my research that eliminates the GTX 690 - that bad boy needs 1x6 and 1x8 pins, but if you can find one that doesn't need a 1x8 be sure to let me know.
Thanks for taking the time to reply Tutor.

I've had a look through the thread and my mind started to melt, I think its a wee bit over my head at present!

From what I can make out the only way to overclock without Mac OS is to install a new MB? Or alternatively to upgrade the CPU?

I'm think I'm going to go down the GTX660 route now, seems to be getting good reviews for price/performance ratio, although the HD 7850 seems to come very close also.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 09:34 AM   #4
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... . Or alternatively to upgrade the CPU?

I'm think I'm going to go down the GTX660 route now, seems to be getting good reviews for price/performance ratio, although the HD 7850 seems to come very close also.
If your motherboard has two working CPU sockets as I believe it does, you could buy and install another 2.8 GHz CPU or alternatively buy two 3.2 GHz CPUs [ http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Xeon/I...574KL088N.html ]. I've seen sales of used ones like this one on E-bay for a couple of hundred dollars: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-S...item43b68d3c36. If you need more speed for operations that use CUDA assistance, such as 3d rendering and certain Adobe CS6 functions, then by all means consider getting an Nvidia CUDA GTX card in the 500 series [generally performs better than 600 series], but make sure that it has 2x6 pins, unless you want to deal with installing another power source. CUDA + CUDA aware 3d app/some CS6 functions => almost real time rendering/functionality with app like Blender or CS6 {or for most other 3d work a software tool like Octane [ http://render.otoy.com ]}.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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Also 3.1 upgrade,but?

I no longer photoshop to the extent I did when I purchased the computer and I never was into gaming. My noted loss of video signal on several occasions. While many graphic card options are available, I have no need for their power and speed. If I replace card with one that requires only one PCI 2.0 lane (5770), I could use the second one for a Caldigit card and add USB 3 and add 6G eSATA.

The other option I have for the 2nd lane is to add a Sonnet Technologies Tempo SSD Pro 6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.5" SSD Host Adapter in order to add 1 or 2 6G SSD's.

I already own a 2010 and 2011 Mac Mini's, but I prefer better graphic capabilities than they provide. I also prefer stand alone monitors.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 06:33 AM   #6
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If your motherboard has two working CPU sockets as I believe it does, you could buy and install another 2.8 GHz CPU or alternatively buy two 3.2 GHz CPUs [ http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Xeon/I...574KL088N.html ]. I've seen sales of used ones like this one on E-bay for a couple of hundred dollars: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-S...item43b68d3c36. If you need more speed for operations that use CUDA assistance, such as 3d rendering and certain Adobe CS6 functions, then by all means consider getting an Nvidia CUDA GTX card in the 500 series [generally performs better than 600 series], but make sure that it has 2x6 pins, unless you want to deal with installing another power source. CUDA + CUDA aware 3d app/some CS6 functions => almost real time rendering/functionality with app like Blender or CS6 {or for most other 3d work a software tool like Octane [ http://render.otoy.com ]}.
Yes I've considered it but it's just quite a blow having to spend that much to get to speed which can be achieved with overclocking from Mac OS. Also how does the Xeon 2.8 actually compare to the latest CPU's (i5 2500k for example)? These two benchmarks seem to be very contradicting:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?...62+%40+2.80GHz
http://community.futuremark.com/hard...n+E5462/review
One places it very low, and one very close to the i5's performance? I think I may look in to trying to source a second 2.8 if the second benchmark is accurate!

Interesting you should bring up the CUDA on the GTX, my job actually involves offline and real time rendering on a daily basis and we do indeed use 100% CUDA cards, however this machine is purely for gaming and I'm really drawn to a 7850/70 for overclocking potential.

Also, just a thought regarding the overclocking of the CPU, obviously I know nothing of Mac OS works but is it possible to boot the OS without using the installed GFX card (as it is incompatible), enable the overclock and then boot back to windows? May sound stupid but I really wish to avoid replacing the CPU if I can get away with it!
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 07:24 AM   #7
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Yes I've considered it but it's just quite a blow having to spend that much to get to speed which can be achieved with overclocking from Mac OS. Also how does the Xeon 2.8 actually compare to the latest CPU's (i5 2500k for example)? These two benchmarks seem to be very contradicting:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?...62+%40+2.80GHz
http://community.futuremark.com/hard...n+E5462/review
One places it very low, and one very close to the i5's performance? I think I may look in to trying to source a second 2.8 if the second benchmark is accurate!


Interesting you should bring up the CUDA on the GTX, my job actually involves offline and real time rendering on a daily basis and we do indeed use 100% CUDA cards, however this machine is purely for gaming and I'm really drawn to a 7850/70 for overclocking potential.

Also, just a thought regarding the overclocking of the CPU, obviously I know nothing of Mac OS works but is it possible to boot the OS without using the installed GFX card (as it is incompatible), enable the overclock and then boot back to windows? May sound stupid but I really wish to avoid replacing the CPU if I can get away with it!
If it's purely for gaming build a gaming computer. You'll never get the MP in games to perform like an OC'd i5 or i7.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 07:40 AM   #8
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If it's purely for gaming build a gaming computer. You'll never get the MP in games to perform like an OC'd i5 or i7.
Well that is an option, and its one I'm considering, but since I have the MP I would like to make the most out of it without having to invest in putting an entirely new rig together. It was originally put together as an editing/CGI/rendering machine and it was excellent but I just don't need to do this work at home any longer.

The only reason I want to draw comparison to an i5 is because that is what my machine has at work, thus I have a good idea of its relative performance.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:05 AM   #9
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Well that is an option, and its one I'm considering, but since I have the MP I would like to make the most out of it without having to invest in putting an entirely new rig together. It was originally put together as an editing/CGI/rendering machine and it was excellent but I just don't need to do this work at home any longer.

The only reason I want to draw comparison to an i5 is because that is what my machine has at work, thus I have a good idea of its relative performance.
Ok, Geekbench on your machine is 6483..a stock 3570 will be near 10,000 a stock 3770 will be about 13,000. My i7 2700k (sandy) was at 19,k in Windows. Clock speed is very important in games far more than core count you are in essence comparing a C2Q to a modern CPU. That is not to say the MP is bad or slow it's just that your not using it for it's intended purpose.

The gaming PC also will have PCI 3 while not important now will be important in the future. I just bought 32GB of DDR3 for $100 that'd be $800 in the MP not as important now but will be going into the future. Obviously graphics cards are better supported and the list goes on.

If it were my MP I'd just put the second processor and heat-sink in it and take my worse gaming performance but I don't play games.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Ok, Geekbench on your machine is 6483..a stock 3570 will be near 10,000 a stock 3770 will be about 13,000. My i7 2700k (sandy) was at 19,k in Windows. Clock speed is very important in games far more than core count you are in essence comparing a C2Q to a modern CPU. That is not to say the MP is bad or slow it's just that your not using it for it's intended purpose.

The gaming PC also will have PCI 3 while not important now will be important in the future. I just bought 32GB of DDR3 for $100 that'd be $800 in the MP not as important now but will be going into the future. Obviously graphics cards are better supported and the list goes on.

If it were my MP I'd just put the second processor and heat-sink in it and take my worse gaming performance but I don't play games.
Yeah I'm under no assumption that this MP will last forever, I've got 4 good years out of it but I'm pretty sure I can push enough to get the most out of the current gen (Farcry 3 / Planetside 2, maybe even Crysis 3).

I think my current plan is to take another go at overclocking the 2.8 as far as it will go in Windows (have some ideas as to why I was not successful previously), and throw an overclocked 5850 in there. Then add another 2.8 if I'm still not satisfied like you say.

Also I also just saw how prices for DDR3 compares to DDR2...
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:34 AM   #11
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Yeah I'm under no assumption that this MP will last forever, I've got 4 good years out of it but I'm pretty sure I can push enough to get the most out of the current gen (Farcry 3 / Planetside 2, maybe even Crysis 3).

I think my current plan is to take another go at overclocking the 2.8 as far as it will go in Windows (have some ideas as to why I was not successful previously), and throw an overclocked 5850 in there. Then add another 2.8 if I'm still not satisfied like you say.

Also I also just saw how prices for DDR3 compares to DDR2...

The other option is to sell it while it still has value and build a computer that'll due what you want. But then again Haswell will be out soonish and the socket will change..
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 12:50 PM   #12
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I have a 2x 3.0ghz Early 2008 Mac Pro with a gtx660. I've done a lot of benchmarks and I get the same FPS as a computer with a i7-3770 and a gtx660. This includes Crysis, which only uses one thread.

From this I would conclude that the CPU doesn't bottleneck the system for games. In fact I am getting a second gtx660 tomorrow.

I would just get a second CPU and a 660ti or a 670, and you will be good for a few more years.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 03:34 PM   #13
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This includes Crysis, which only uses one thread.
Dual cores were just kicking off when that game launched. It's another reason why Crysis does badly with multi GPU setups. Unless you have 7970s and GTX 670/80/90s since the raw speed of the hardware rips through the poor coding.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 08:53 AM   #14
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Well I went for a 7850, MSI version, it immediately over clocked to a stock 7870, absolutely amazing card, going to push it some more tonight .

However, in Planetside 2 this only gave my like a 5fps boost over the previously installed 5770. I think is due to combination of really bad optimisation on behalf of Sony, and my CPU just not being up to it. I did do some benchmarking which I'll post if anyone is interested.

Also, attempted overclocking the 2.8 Xeon ended in failure, I don't know if anyone has actually managed to pull this off but I'd love to hear how!
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:34 AM   #15
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Also, attempted overclocking the 2.8 Xeon ended in failure, I don't know if anyone has actually managed to pull this off but I'd love to hear how!
ZDnet Clock was a nice utility for this bot it does not work in newer OS X versions. However, I can easily overclock my 2008 MP in Windows 7 using the utility SetFSB (http://www13.plala.or.jp/setfsb/). I cannot tell you the limits of my MP, but a little bump from 2.8 to 3.1 GHz has always been possible without any problem.
A "hot" reboot to OS X keeps the overclock. It falls back to stock settings if you shut the MP down or put it to sleep, though.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:42 AM   #16
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BTW, this is how the OC is detected in CPU-Z...
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 02:31 AM   #17
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I played around with setFSB, at the end of the day it wasn't really worth the hassle, thing didn't really perform much faster, but it did work.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:22 AM   #18
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ZDnet Clock was a nice utility for this bot it does not work in newer OS X versions. However, I can easily overclock my 2008 MP in Windows 7 using the utility SetFSB (http://www13.plala.or.jp/setfsb/). I cannot tell you the limits of my MP, but a little bump from 2.8 to 3.1 GHz has always been possible without any problem.
A "hot" reboot to OS X keeps the overclock. It falls back to stock settings if you shut the MP down or put it to sleep, though.
Yeah I was attempting the overclock using setFSB (I only run Windows) but it would freeze seemingly at random. It may actually be a Windows 8 issue though so I need to look in to that.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:47 AM   #19
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However, in Planetside 2 this only gave my like a 5fps boost over the previously installed 5770. I think is due to combination of really bad optimisation on behalf of Sony, and my CPU just not being up to it.
Check their forums. People are using core unparker and disabling morphological filtering to gain some performance. Might be worth a try.
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