Another Mac Pro 1,1 Eight-Core Upgrade...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by frjonah, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

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    #1
    I recently brought my 2006 Mac Pro back from the brink of ruin following a hard drive failure (thanks to those who assisted me, btw!) by throwing in an ssd and 16gb of RAM. While going through all of that joy, I perused many of the threads about the 8 core CPU upgrade and they really got me interested in doing that upgrade as well. As a matter of fact, 2 Xeon 5355s are merrily on their way to me as I type this...

    But now I'm having second thoughts about the CPU upgrade on the grounds that my Pro is functioning so much snappier than it ever has before... most of my work is gigapixel manipulation in Photoshop... I routinely work with .psb files in excess of 3gb. On the other hand, I don't use Final Cut or any of the other programs commonly mentioned on here as being able to really benefit from 8 cores and, furthermore, my current setup is the 2 x 3.0 Ghz Dual Core variety. Installing the 5355s, while it would be fun, would drop my clock speed down to 2.66 Ghz, while adding an additional 4 cores.

    So, for those with expertise in these areas... will I see a performance bump at all from installing the 5355s or should I just call it good as-is and resell the 5355s? I'd love to do the install, but not at the cost of performance.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    cal6n

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    #2
    It might be worth installing MenuMeters in order to keep an eye on what your processors are doing during common tasks. If you see much multi-threaded behaviour, then you'll benefit from the upgrade. Otherwise, stay with the higher clock speed.
     
  3. macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

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    #3
    I upgraded mine to 8 core. Best $100 upgrade ever...literally doubled my machine's performance.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    What role does the video card play is PS performance? I see you upgraded that as well on your Mac Pro.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Video card helped with phocus amd capture one. Photoshop likes ram and cpu - it's worth it.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

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    #6
    I do a lot of After Effects work, definitely improved that over the stock card I had.
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    I just upgraded a mac pro 1.1 to 2.1 with the firmware update program and installed 16gig of ram with 2 X 3g quad core CPU's and a PCIE-SATA-3 card and vertex 3 SSD drive. Ati 6870 GFX card and also installed the Bluetooth card while i was at it.

    It has transformed this machine into a very lively mac pro! geek bench of 10.800 yes it can only run lion and not M lion, but lion flys along and with tracker pad and magic mouse this Mac Pro has a new lease of life which can only be described as Fantastic!

    Its an easy upgrade, and not to expensive considering the gains, geek bench score is higher than the 4.1 5.1 quad core machines.

    Great upgrade highly recommended to get a few more years out of the original Mac Pro. It might take that long before a new mac pro is released:rolleyes:
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #8
    It depends on Photoshop version you're using. For huge files the more RAM is the better. Especially in CS5+. Fast storage is second nex in a row.
    Not all PS functions are well mulithreaded, some could benefit from higher core count, other not that much. If you're using third party plugins, check these for multithread support and other acceleration (such as OpenGL and CUDA). Here you can find some PS functions test: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/adobe-cs5-cuda-64-bit,2770-7.html

    If you've already bought CPUs, just install them and see if there will be a significant difference in your daily work.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Excellent link... Thanks for that! I'm on CS5 and the article shows some fairly respectable performance gains via multiple cores and their analysis only goes up to 6, whereas I'll be at 8. I'll definitely go forward with the upgrade in light of this info.

    I think I'm down to just a couple of questions at this point:

    1. I'm on SL 10.6.8 right now... Should I look into upgrading to Lion? Any performance gains for my application from upgrading?

    2. I'm still undecided on the GPU upgrade... This is a workstation that I will not be using for games or anything of the like... The machine is usually not even connected to the web... Basically, Photoshop only, with some other Graphics related stuff occasionally (Perfect Resize, Autopano, etc). The GPU seems to be quite a costly upgrade and I'm not sure how to analyze cost-benefit for my application.

    Thanks for the help... You guys are a wealth of useful info!
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #10
    1. IMHO no. SL is fine for this kind of usage. Lion "feels" slower than SL on my 1,1
    2. Here you have a list of GPU accelerated PS CS5 functions. http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/gpu-opengl-features-preferences-photoshop.html
    If you still have 7300GT in your MP, even 4870 or 5770 will give noticeable performance boost in above. GPU upgrade does not have to be costly. You can grab used 4870 off eBay and flash it or refurbed 5770 from Newegg (under $100) and do that same. 4870 will give you bootscreen via DVI, 5770 only via VGA. Check threads about flashing 4870 and 5770 here on MR and netkas forum.
     
  11. macrumors regular

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    Canada
    #11
    Every year I do an upgrade my Mac Pro because of necessity (video card), because I see a good deal ( 128 GB SSD ) or as a hobby when it is -30 deg outside (CPU) . I did the CPU upgrade about two weeks ago.

    Everyone who does this upgrade reports major increases in Geekbench scores but I wondered if that increase was for "bragging rights" or if it translated into real world application performance so before the upgrade I timed my 4 core 2.66 GHz Mac Pro on a number of tasks e.g. Handbrake, Photoshop, Aperture, FCPX, Fotomagico, Compressor,... Then after the upgrade I repeated those tests with the now 8 core 2,66 GHz Mac.

    Sure the Geekbench score almost doubled but not every operation became significantly faster. It seems obvious to say that those apps that make use of the 8 cores showed the greatest improvement. There was little or no difference in those tasks that depended more on disc speed or the video card.

    e.g. Handbrake - before 26 mins after 15.9 mins
    FCPX to Compressor to iPad file 23.3 mins 17.4 mins
    Capture NX2 1m 13 s 1 m 13 s
    Aperture export 41 s 35 s
    DxO processing 5.7 min 3.25 min
    Fotomagico 49m 2 s 42m 31 s
    Aperture book preview 15.9 min 12.7min
    Photoshop CS6 speed Test 26 s 21 s
    Cinebench score 2.87 5.65
    FCPX clip sharpen 3m 14s 2m 58s
    FCPX clip stabilize 2m 50 s 2m 2s
    Repair Permissions 40s 37 s

    So, don't expect all operations to be twice as fast.

    The machine does seem a little snappier but I am not sure how real that is or if it is my imagination. I am glad I did the upgrade, it was interesting to research and then do it but I am not seeing a machine that is twice as fast as it was before.

    I have had no problems with heat in the CPUs but installed SMC Fan Control, did the firmware upgrade from 1.1 to 2.1, used SLAEG stepped CPUs and was very careful with the application of the thermal paste.

    I viewed a lot of Youtube videos for this upgrade but by far the most complete, best in quality of the video and in attention to detail in the upgrade was

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmz7gPw31L0&feature=relmfu

    My Mac Pro has a 2 x 2.66 GHz quad core CPUs, 128 Gig SSD master drive, Radeon 5770 video card, 16 Gig Ram running OS 10.7.5, 4 x 2TB WD hard drives.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I do still have the 7300GT. I have looked into the GPU card flashing threads but wasn't sure about my competence to see it through without issues :) Here is the only refurb 5770 I could find on Newegg... is this card doable?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202016

    Thanks!
     
  13. nilk, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #13
    This is slightly tricky decision, as your single-threaded performance will take a slight hit. For me it was a no-brainer, as I had the 2.0Ghz CPU (the cheapest and slowest they ever made for the Mac Pro), and I increased my single-threaded CPU performance going to a pair of e5345's (2.33Ghz) while doubling my Geekbench score, and I use FCPX and do video encodes often enough that it makes a difference. Personally I'd take more cores in exchange for a slight hit in single-threaded performance, but you really have to look at your workload and see if you'll benefit. Also, my e5345's cost only $18. What you paid for your 5355's and how much you can sell them back for might make a difference in this.

    If you do go through with it, just make sure you have a good hex tool where the hex bit won't detach from the driver. I had trouble with that because my hex bit kept getting stuck when I went to pull it out.

    I second the GPU upgrade if you don't already have a decent GPU. If you have a 7300GT it is without a doubt holding your machine back. When I went from 7300GT to a 5770 it felt like a whole new machine. With the 7300GT, you don't have OpenGL(*) (edit: I might be wrong about this) and OpenCL. I don't have specifics on what apps make use of that, but I noticed a dramatic difference in, for example, iPhoto. I know FCPX uses the GPU, but you said you don't do any video editing.

    I bought the official 5770, and don't know too much about flashing. Apparently there are even better (unsupported) PC cards that work without having to flash (ATI 6000 series?), but I don't have specifics. Might be worth looking into.

    * Lack of OpenGL with the 7300GT is actually a limitation of the OS X drivers and not necessarily the graphics card itself. In Windows you will have OpenGL with the 7300GT. Edit: I might be wrong about this. It may be specific OpenGL extensions that aren't supported, not the entirety of OpenGL.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #14
    Yes...

    Please keep in mind that you are about to pile money into something that will likely not return it. I have what you are building and I'm adding more it is coming as I type this. I already have more wrapped in my Mac Pro than I did in my hackintosh which had a 80% better performance and ran Mountain Lion. I have 5355's and my GB is 10470 so I'm 1500 points behind most modern Mac's I'm finally mostly at peace with it but you may be disappointed when it's all said and done.

    ----------

    How do you like your 5345's I'm about to trade my 5355's for G0 SLAEJ 5345 to try to save some power.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Thanks for the tip! I purchased a long 3mm hex tool for the upgrade so I believe I'm set on that front. I paid $110 (incl. shipping) for the 2 processors, and I also added an SSD and 16gb of RAM. My hope is to sell the old processors and RAM for whatever that will yield (even if it's only $50 or so)... I should be able to get something for the 7gb of RAM (including a couple of 800Mhz sticks) that I removed.

    I believe OpenGL might work with the existing card in Photoshop, at least it allows me to check the box in preferences (see img). In looking at the linked functions in PS that use the GPU, though (in one of the posts above), I don't use most of those features on a regular basis. I think I'll just start looking on ebay to see if a fantastic card comes along at a good price and only upgrade if I happen to see a really good deal.
     

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  16. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #16
    ^^^I'd recommend 5770. Anything above would be an overkill for PS-only usage. 1GB framebuffer, quite good in OpenGL and OpenCL, low power demands, quite cheap. That one form Newegg is flashable. Avoid ones with single DVI and these made by Asus.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Yeah, I think SSD makes the biggest noticeable difference of any upgrade, at least in normal usage; so that was a good choice. I've yet to put an SSD in my Mac Pro yet, but I will this year! I'm waiting for prices to 512GB SSDs to come down, while enjoying the SSD in my rMBP in the meantime.

    I think I may be wrong about OpenGL being completely absent for the 7300GT -- it may just be specific OpenGL extensions that were missing in the OS X drivers (but not in the Windows drivers). Pretty sure OpenCL is absent, though.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

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    #18
    The E5345's (SL9YL) have been great for me. I Geekbench at around 9000 (64-bit). I didn't measured this, but my fan speeds sound the same as they were with my 2.0GHz 5130's (noise levels are very low).
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    I did it! The fan assy was a bear to get off for sure, but I'm typing this on my new 8 core Mac Pro 1,1... I'm looking for the flashing tool for the EFI on netkas... anyone have a link handy!

    I was so excited on reboot that I forgot to put the boot drive back in... ridiculous! Also, my the IDE connector on the MB side was NOT properly connected... I may have just gotten my optical drive back... I'll let you know soon.

    So excited here... my 10 year old son assisted with the upgrade and he's stoked too :)
     
  20. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Upgrade went smoothly overall

    The boot time is MUCH faster after the upgrade... Overall, everything seems snappier though, as has been pointed out by others, some of that could be optimism :)

    The firmware upgrade was a cinch and everything is showing up properly now.

    One weird thing... One of my 8 ram dimms is throwing an error now, an error that resolved when I used some other ram in place of the offending stick, so not sure what caused that, but no huge deal, really. The iDE channel was unseated and is working again, though the Sony DVD drive was fried, probably from being connected to a half seated IDE cable for months on end.

    I'll post some PS observations when I get a chance to stress test the machine a little.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  21. macrumors member

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    #21
    It's a cheap and fairly easy upgrade. Just the long T handle wrench is a pain to find. A 5770 and pair of 5355's will do you right.
     
  22. macrumors regular

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    #22
    Congrats on the upgrade. I did mine a few months ago and am very happy with the results.

    For some reason the 2,1 firmware upgrade doesn't work. I keep getting an error message that I need to be connected to the Internet, even though I am. I think my work blocks needed ports.

    My next upgrade is an SSD which has been sitting around since my mini wants nothing to do with it and I found a brand new evga gtx 560 for $125, so I might bite.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Yeah, I found a 7" t-handled wrench at Ace, which is fine for the top heatsink but it bumps the edge of the case on the bottom one... Due to the design, however, I was able to contort it into a shape where it was usable.

    I'm still keeping an eye out for a good 5770... I'd love to find an Apple one on the cheap on eBay, but it's not very likely given the premium that Apple-specific stuff brings... Maybe I'll start trying to figure out this efi flashing thing :)

    ----------

    Hmm... That would drive me nuts :) Could you temporarily tether to your phone or something to get around that? You don't need to be connected to the net for the firmware flash, just for the creation of the ramdisk, which took about 60s on my slow dsl connection...

    Of course, the big question behind all of this is: is performance hindered in any way by using the 5355s with the Mac Pro 1,1 firmware? I suspected it might be given the "unknown" designation of the processors in About This Mac, but don't have a clue if that would translate into underutilization somehow.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #24
    Thats what I am hoping for quieter, cooler and less from the wall.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #25
    It could only affect some software that needs specific CPU recognition, but it's extremely rare.
     

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