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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:32 AM   #1
ben37
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2008 8 core: How should I upgrade?

Hey guys,

Well, just got a "pre-brand-new-2013-mac-pro" Mac Pro, a 2008 8-core. I got it from a friend and hardly paid anything for it. Should tie me over nicely until the new "whatever" is announced! I've been saving my money.

I produce commercial music and mix (PT, Logic) so here are the problems that need addressing:

-not enough ram (only 6 GB... weird, was supposed to have been 8! I'll need at least 16)
-HD probably should be upgraded to an SSD


Just wanted to ask: What exactly would you do to *economically* optimize this decidedly "interim" computer for audio production?

Thanks in advance for your ideas.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 02:20 AM   #2
tB0nE
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You are going to have problems finding ram, as it is really expensive. I was lucky and got a 2008 pro with 16gb ram, so I didn't need to get more.

Getting an SSD is a must! And I also upgraded to a GTX 6XX card which is supported by mountain lion.

With the SSD you will have to get a drive dock so that it can sit in the drive bay.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 03:42 AM   #3
gpzjock
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Logic probably doesn't need a $200-300 GFX card so spend the money on RAM and an SSD instead. If it has 6 GB in it then you probably have 2x1GB and 2x2Gb modules, buy 6x2GB to get to 16 GB spread over all 8 slots $226 from MemUSA:
http://www.memoryamerica.com/apple-m...70ll-a--a.html

An SSD is not a lot nowadays but you will need an adapter to fit it in a 3.5" bay:
http://www.amazon.com/Mushkin-Chronos-2-5-Inch-Solid-MKNSSDCR240GB/dp/B005D0AE8K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357115860&sr=8-1&keywords=Mushkin+240+GB+SSD

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Icy%20Dock/MB882SP1S2B/

About $400 to make your MP run sweeter and faster.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 03:52 AM   #4
throAU
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I'd buy a heap of RAM and an SSD as you are considering.

Also, for what you're doing - I doubt you'll see a massive benefit from upgrading an SSD+enough RAM 8 core Mac Pro to whatever comes out this year - CPU wise your 2008 Pro will have plenty of power for audio processing I would have thought? the killer AFAIK is RAM and storage throughput...

I suspect you may well be happy with the performance on offer from this machine once it is upgraded - and I'd consider holding off until it is EOL'd in terms of OS X version support or it breaks (and buy the new machine then).
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:53 PM   #5
violst
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There are not a lot of upgrade options for the 2008 mac pro. for the 2009+ mac pro you have much better CPU upgrade paths.

Your best bet is more ram and the SSD, a GPU upgrade is good but you really won't feel that big of an improvement.

I saw a great improvement with the SSD upgrade. The boot times and app launch times are great.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 03:35 PM   #6
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The 2008 3,1 Mac Pro I/O is bottlenecked at 3GB/s SATA-II so even the cheapest slowest SSD will max out the bus. I have a Crucial m4 in mine & don't see more than about 250MB/s R/W so I just ordered a Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 which should give 6GB/s SATA-III speed as it puts the SSD onto a PCIe card. A used GTX570 from eBay for 120 ($150) was a great upgrade for the graphics. Sadly there is no cheap way to upgrade RAM on this particular model.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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You can also put a pair of SATA-II SSDs in the spare optical bay area and cable them off of the motherboard SATA ports in RAID-0 for good performance. Or, get a Velocity Solo x2 card and put a SATA-III SSD on it (although boot is a little longer since external drives seem to be checked last). I have used both methods on my 2008 with no problems.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 07:15 PM   #8
CCT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelbb View Post
The 2008 3,1 Mac Pro I/O is bottlenecked at 3GB/s SATA-II so even the cheapest slowest SSD will max out the bus. I have a Crucial m4 in mine & don't see more than about 250MB/s R/W so I just ordered a Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 which should give 6GB/s SATA-III speed as it puts the SSD onto a PCIe card. A used GTX570 from eBay for 120 ($150) was a great upgrade for the graphics. Sadly there is no cheap way to upgrade RAM on this particular model.
Would anyone recommend buying ram from eBay? I seen a few sellers with 3,1 ram. I also have 6gb's with 4 slots available and would like to get over the 10gb mark.

Would something like this be an ok purchase?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/8GB-4X2GB-ME...item4d05b41ce6
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 07:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by violst View Post
There are not a lot of upgrade options for the 2008 mac pro. for the 2009+ mac pro you have much better CPU upgrade paths.

Your best bet is more ram and the SSD, a GPU upgrade is good but you really won't feel that big of an improvement.

I saw a great improvement with the SSD upgrade. The boot times and app launch times are great.
You hit that nail squarely. Moreover, a used top of the line cpu for that system [ http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Intel-Xeon-X...ssor-/74066341 ] could set you back as far as a new much more powerful cpu for a 2009+ [ https://www.eoptionsonline.com/p-128...d=bx80614x5680 ].
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 01:20 AM   #10
throAU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelbb View Post
The 2008 3,1 Mac Pro I/O is bottlenecked at 3GB/s SATA-II so even the cheapest slowest SSD will max out the bus. I have a Crucial m4 in mine & don't see more than about 250MB/s R/W
This may be true, but audio doesn't need massive throughput, so long as the drive can handle random access OK.

Even 24 bit DVD quality audio streams are only a few gigs PER HOUR in terms of throughput required.

If we were talking uncompressed video it might be different, but uncompressed audio really isn't hard to keep up with these days in terms of actual I/O throughput.

If the disk was a spinning disk with read/write head that had to move then random IO to read samples from disk at the same time as writing a finished product would kill it (a disk can only do around 150-200 random IOs per second).

And SSD can do over 10,000+ even for a slow one - so even though the throughput in terms of theoretical MB/sec isn't heaps quicker than a spinning disk, the real world throughput when dealing with non-sequential IO (e.g., multiple data streams) is massively improved. This is why even a SATA2 SSD will murder a SATA 3 spinning disk and most real world tasks...
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