2009 Mac Pro upgrade questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DHKaplan, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. DHKaplan macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Current System:

    Early 2009 Mac Pro
    2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 512 MB
    Yosemite 10.10.2

    Originally with 8G of memory which I've doubled. Originally with HDD, replaced with Samsung SSD 840 EVO 1TB to try to get some extra life out of the Mac Pro.

    I do light HD video editing, audio editing, Photoshop, and have 42K photos in my iPhoto library taking up 117G. The mac is used as a server for the house (although running normal Yosemite) to periodically share files from a second internal SSD. I also have an internal HDD used a a scratch drive for video work.

    Firewire attachments: 2 Drobo units (for Time Machine and video storage) and 4 G-Safe raid units for backup, storage. I always want at least 2 copies of important files).

    As time goes by and I use new programs and have more in the background processing seems to slow down.

    Future machine questions:
    1) Given my usual software mix mentioned above will adding extra cores above the base 4 get me anything? I dream of a 12 core, but would it get me more meaningful performance than 4, 6, or 8?

    2) Do I want 16G or 32G of memory (or something else)?

    3) Given the tiredness of my old machine now, do I wait for some future processor refresh with the rumored V3 chips, or buy a current model because the difference between the V2 and V3 won't matter that much for what I do?

    All comments, suggestions, and thoughts gratefully appreciated.
  2. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    I recommend opening activity monitor (found in "/Applications/Utilities") and using it to track the usage of CPU and RAM utilization.
  3. Machines macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2015
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    Your Mac model , properly upgraded , is used by professionals for rendering still image and videos . So, it's not like you need a brand new computer .

    Photoshop likes just one powerful video card . What video editing program do you use ? FCP X ? Audio editing programs typically like lots of cores and threads .

    Check to determine if your 840 is reducing it's performance due to using an old firmware . There is a new firmware out for that drive . Some 840s after a month of usage have severe degradation in performance (up to 90 % reduction in speed.) Please read this article :


    And the download site for the fix is here (Samsung SSD 840 EVO Performance Restoration Software) :


    If the above doesn't help, do a fresh re-install of your OS X and apps . Don't clone, restore from TM or use migration assistant . Do an install from scratch . It's a lot of work, but it may be as simple as that . I've advised local clients to do this and I do a fresh install of my drives once a year . Usually , the system is much faster afterwards .

    If that doesn't help , then a few inexpensive hardware upgrades surely will improve performance .

    Upgrade your Mac Pro 4,1 into a 5,1 and then install a X5675 Xeon (6 Cores at 3.06 GHz.) Install a PC Edition AMD 7950 3GB video card . That's a serious upgrade from your 4870 . Buy a Velocity Duo PCIe card and another 1TB 840 EVO . RAID 0 them together . Very fast boot device with 800 MB/s throughput .

    Good Luck !

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