2008 Mac Pro worth upgrading?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by turtlebud, May 9, 2016.

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  1. turtlebud macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I have a 2008 Mac Pro that is working pretty well, but i'm starting to run out of space on my boot drive (80gb SSD from 6 years ago). I'm looking for advice - if I upgrade it, how many more years of useful life will I get out of it?

    I mainly use it for photos, with occasional videos and games (starcraft2). I am considering upgrading the RAM and the boot drive, but I just don't want to regret spending the money to upgrade if it makes more sense to just get a newer machine.

    Currently has:
    - 8GB RAM (had 10, but the stock 2x1GB sticks went bad). Considering bumping it up to at least 16GB or maybe more.
    - 80GB Intel X25-M SSD. With installing starcraft2 (~30gb), my free space is down to 2gb. Considering getting a new SSD (at least 240GB).

    Not a fan of the new Mac Pro because storage expansion is primarily external, which I don't like. Thought about getting a 27" iMac, but I like having my 27" apple display because I can plug my work laptop into it and work off of it when I'm working from home.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ultracyclist macrumors regular

    Ultracyclist

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    #2
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    Definitely get a new SSD. The fact that you have an old SSD with only 2GB of free space is already a huge bottleneck in performance as SSDs, especially old ones, slow down when they get full. SSDs are also cheap now and you can reuse or sell the SSD when you retire the Mac Pro.

    I would also upgrade RAM as 8GB isn't much for pro work nowadays. I'm assuming you have 4x2GB installed at the moment with 4 slots being empty? If so, I would get 4x4GB to fill those, leaving you with 24GB of RAM in total. 4x4GB seems to be about $75 on eBay, so in total you would be looking to spend about $150 to put some new life into your Mac Pro.
     
  4. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I will definitely look into upgrading the SSD and bumping up the RAM.

    @Ultracyclist, not sure if i'm comfortable trying to upgrade the CPU, but it's an interesting thought that I'd hadn't considered.
    @Hellhammer, yes, I currently have 4x2GB installed so I have 4 slots empty.

    do I have to worry about using the right SSD from a compatibility standpoint? I recall when I was researching drives 5 years ago, there were some that people didn't recommend (maybe because of trim support?). Do all SSD drives work relatively well, or are there some (like the samsung evo) that recommended for mac?

    also, is buying RAM and/or SSDs from reputable sellers on ebay pretty much the same as buying it from datamem, crucial or macsales? (i've bought from those retailers in the past, haven't bought from ebay for computer upgrades)
     
  5. Ultracyclist macrumors regular

    Ultracyclist

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    #5
    RAM is easy to buy from eBay at a fair price, SSD i would buy directly from a store. Having all slots files a speed increase of %15 is to be expected.

    As for the "right" SSD I would choose the EVO or pro line from Samsung, these give a good speed at a fair price.
    $90 for 250GB with 550MB p/s R/WR

    A CPU Upgrade isnt that hard.
    This could give extreme speed increase
     
  6. TheStork macrumors regular

    TheStork

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    #6
    Concur that one or more SSDs are very satisfying to have as they definitely give one the impression that activity has speed up. I have them in my two Mac Pros and late 2005 G5 PowerMac. Good bang for the buck.

    I've considered updating the processors on my 2008 Mac Pro with the dual 2.8GHz processors. I've read lots of upgrade stories that were successful, but I also read that, in today's environment, a dual processor upgrade to compatible Xeon 3.2GHz processors for $100-$190 (the latter is a kit offered on eBay) could only help you in the short term. (The cost to upgrade is a lot less today than the posts I read going back several years ago.) I'm still trying to justify spending the money on a processor upgrade for either of my Mac Pros. YMMV.

    Since the 2008 is at end of life, and we don't know if 10.12 will run on it (probably will), you have to ask yourself if you want to spend $200 on a processor upgrade. IMO, it's the last of upgrades I would do. (First, SSD and, Second, graphics card.)

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck!
     
  7. Ultracyclist macrumors regular

    Ultracyclist

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  8. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    #8
    I feel like if you are truly interested in upgrading the CPU(s), you're probably better off with a Mac Pro 4,1 or 5,1, which gives you a lot more options. RAM is easier to find and much less expensive for those models, as well.
     
  9. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    667MHz FB-DIMMs pulled from Xeon servers are dirt cheap used & you will see no difference in real world performance compared to the expensive Apple only 800MHz parts.
    If the 3,1 is a single CPU then it's worth upgrading to dual but it's hardly worth upgrading from 2.8GHz to 3.0 or 3.2
     
  10. Ph.D., May 11, 2016
    Last edited: May 11, 2016

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I'd suggest 2 SSDs in RAID 0 (e.g. 2x128 or 2x256 GB), with a spinning HD for Time Machine (bigger than the sum of all your SSDs). For your fourth bay, keep your existing SSD untouched as a backup boot device or for Boot Camp.

    You can consider adding a little memory based on your needs, though 8 GB is fine for every-day stuff. I have 12 and have never had any complaints. More ram does not make a computer faster until you need more than you have.

    Don't bother with the CPU upgrades, as the performance increase will hardly be noticeable.

    You didn't mention what kind of graphics card you have. If yours is still the original, a genuine Apple 5770 or something else that is decent but not outrageously power-hungry would make a nice difference. Watch out for compatibility based on your OS-X version.

    A 3,1 is a very reliable machine (I have one), but it's 8 years old now. Minor investments are worth-while, but recognize that one day soon it will be too old to be worth much more effort.
     
  11. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    appreciate the input. I think for now, the way to go is RAM (4x2gb or 4x4gb) + SSD (250gb samsung evo). I don't think I'll get as much of a boost from the processor upgrade since it's a dual processor model.

    my Mac Pro is a 2x2.8Ghz processor model.
    the graphics card to an Apple ATI 4870 (upgraded from the stock).
    my current bays are filled so I don't think I'll be able to do a RAID.
    - boot SSD
    - photos (2TB WD Black)
    - videos (4TB WB Black)
    - home/downloads/etc

    hopefully I'll be able to squeeze a few more years out of this one. I doubt apple is going to make another model that has internal expansion options for HDD, so my next desktop will probably be an iMac (with a Mac Pro as an outside possibility). In any case, I just hope that the external drive options will be better in a few years. I just hate to have a bunch of external drives connected to my desktop (already have a drobo for backup).
     
  12. Ultracyclist macrumors regular

    Ultracyclist

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    #12
    Off course I can't speak for your cMP 3,1 , but my cMP really benefit from the CPU upgrade X5355 (2,66) to X5365 (3.0) My graphics card made a 22% increase of performance after the CPU upgrade! The real CPU increase of performance was about 12%.

    My cMP 1,1

    2x X5365
    32GB RAM
    Sapphire 7950 3GB (flashed)
    Samsung evo 850 250GB (bootdrive)
     
  13. TheStork macrumors regular

    TheStork

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  14. TheStork macrumors regular

    TheStork

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  15. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    no worries stork - if you guys are having a productive convo, it doesn't bother me at all.

    speaking on the original question - when you upgraded your ssd, did you just use something like ccc to clone your original boot drive over? I have the ssd installed in a bracket so it fits in the drive bay, but I'm wondering if I'll need a second one (or an external enclosure) in order to clone/copy my boot drive over. alternatively, I could do a time machine backup/restore I guess.
     
  16. Ultracyclist macrumors regular

    Ultracyclist

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  17. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    got the 250gb samsung evo850 ($85) and 16gb (4x4gb) from efetcher ($80). everything up and running. i think i'm good for a little while now (and for not too much $$). :)
     

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  18. bin01123 macrumors newbie

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    Atlanta, GA
    #19
    I have a Mac Pro Model 1.1 and I bought it in 2006. I've upgraded the CPU, RAM, & it's currently running Yosemite. I'll probably upgrade to a model 5.1 in 2-3 years so I say keep your Mac and upgrade it. I've gotten a decade out of mine and its still running strong without any issues.
     
  19. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

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    #20
    Dear turtlebud

    I'm had 08 cMP too and already upgrade to 512GB pic-e SSD and GTX680, I'm happy to had this over 6years, now I'm afraid my cMP can't install the 10.12, so I'll keep waiting unit June.
     
  20. beanboy89 macrumors regular

    beanboy89

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    Pennsylvania
    #21
    I've currently got 20 GB RAM (4x4 GB, 4x1 GB), a 250 GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD, and an (admittedly low-end) Nvidia GeForce GT 610 occupying my early 2008 Mac Pro. It does everything I want it to do, and seems speedy enough.
     
  21. ColdCase, May 28, 2016
    Last edited: May 28, 2016

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #22
    I've owned a 2008 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quads since new. It used to be a video and photo workhorse. I upgraded to a larger SSD for boot drive years ago along with 20GB RAM and a Radeon 5870 video card when my OEM failed. Works just great for photos and such, drives HDMI to the TV monitor for watching movies, drives several monitors providing lots of space for photo and web page development work. Basic transcoding is OK.

    Its a nice machine but my late 2013 2.6 GHz I.7 performs video editing (FCPX) way better, especially when applying effects like stabilization.

    I agree with those here that upgrading the CPU it hardly worth the effort. So install a bigger SSD, that can always be used in other machines. You can't really make it more powerful in terms of processing speed, just better drive performance. Otherwise just enjoy it until the power supply wears out or the performance starts to leave a lot to be desired. Then it becomes a fix or abandon decision.

    So what I'm saying is that its not work upgrading if you find you are lacking CPU performance, but certainly update the hard drives.
     
  22. zoomfinder macrumors member

    zoomfinder

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    #23
    Hi,

    I'm a MacPro3,1 user and I wanted to write about the experience I have had with my machine.

    Back in 2008, I purchased a new shiny tower by CTO and I knew the life of a computer was getting shorter and I decided to get the most out of it by building the fastest machine. So my Mac Pro initially came with 2x3.2GHz processors, 8GB RAM (8x1GB@800MHz) and a Mac Pro RAID (in Slot 4). The original HDD was a Seagate Barracuda 750GB (7200RPM) and GPU a Radeon 2600 (in Slot 1) which had just enough power.

    During the several years that followed, I increased the memory to 16GB RAM (8x2GB@800MHz), filled the rest of the bays with 6TB Barracudas (3x2TB@7200RPM) and replaced the GPU with a 8800GT (in Slot 1) and an Eizo CG241W monitor to go with it. Needless to say the added three new hard drives were set up in RAID 0 to take advantage of a fast handling of big image data while the original 750GB drive was in JBOD and assigned a boot drive. In retrospect, this constituted my first phase of upgrades and for several years my expanded MacPro3,1 worked quite well for my work which was mainly photo editing with Lightroom and Photoshop.

    Then came the second and latest phase. A year ago I started feeling my Mac Pro’s age when I compared its performance with new iMacs which I was using in my offices and the fact that a high-end Mac Pro was being outrun by popular iMacs was unbearable. So for the rest of last year and early this year I gradually souped up my Mac Pro with the following ingredients: 40GB RAM (4x8+4x2GB@800MHz), Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro with 2x960GB OWC Extreme Pro 6G configured in RAID 0 as a boot drive (in Slot 3), a flashed GTX680 for the GPU (in Slot 1), a CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 Pro for eSATA/USB3.0 connections (in Slot 2) and a writable LG Bluray optical drive (in ODD bay 2).

    Only the 2 quad core Xeon X5482 3.2 GHz CPUs have remained as original and therefore the basic processing power has not been upgraded but I made all other upgrades to obtain quick responses of SSDs and HDDs, fast graphic processing power and fast throughput of data transportation to and from storage devices. Even Photoshop is making use of Cuda processing capability available on NVIDIA's GTX680 for certain jobs. I also replaced the WiFi card to a newer AirPort Extreme spec and, to say the least, now my MacPro3,1 is fully loaded.

    So what I wanted to say is that a MacPro 3,1 is still a very effective machine if configured right. True, I have had fast 8-core 3.2GHz processors to start with but people tell me that 2.8GHz processors are just as quick and I understands that the same goes with the high-clocking memory modules. Also, I have ended up spending much more than I first planned over the length of time but I feel good having added an extended life in my old machine and put it to a good reuse for four or five more years. This is a comfortable justification to the investment I have made.

    So my conclusion is that if you are going to do serious video work you should choose the latest black cylinder MacPro6,1. If you are obsessed with buying a classic Mac Pro for the first time, then you should go for a MacPro4,1 or a 5,1, just as people say, but if you already have a 3,1 machine, stick to it and work on it. To be honest, I have a spare machine, a MacPro5,1 Mid 2010, sitting beside me as well but my MacPro3,1 is working great and, for now at least, I don't feel the necessity to start another round of upgrading and make a faster machine out of it.
     
  23. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

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    #24
    I'm thought when my 3.1 need to quit is not the hard ware problem, is not support the 10.12. But I'm love cMP outlook more than nMP, so if 3.1 start not support 10.12 I'll go to 4.1 and upgrade to 5.1 and upgrade the cpu.
     
  24. skwareman macrumors newbie

    skwareman

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    #25
    Thoughts?

    I upgraded mine with a xp941 256gb ssd (RW 1100/800). It really gives the mac a boost. Further upgrading will be adding 16gb memory, which brings the total to 24gb ram. Next step will be upgrading the cpu's with a pair of e5472 at 3ghz per core.

    I still think it is a upgrade worth the money!
     

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