2008 8 core: How should I upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ben37, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2012
    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.
  2. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2012
    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.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    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:

    An SSD is not a lot nowadays but you will need an adapter to fit it in a 3.5" bay:


    About $400 to make your MP run sweeter and faster.
  4. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    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).
  5. macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    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.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2012
    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.
  7. hfg
    macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    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.
  8. CCT
    macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    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?

  9. macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    You hit that nail squarely. Moreover, a used top of the line cpu for that system [ http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Intel-Xeon-X5492-3-4-GHz-Quad-Core-AT80574KL096N-Processor-/74066341 ] could set you back as far as a new much more powerful cpu for a 2009+ [ https://www.eoptionsonline.com/p-1287-bx80614x5680.aspx?keyword=bx80614x5680 ].
  10. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    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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