2009 Mac Pro Video Upgrade Option

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mwhities, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #1
    I have a MacPro 4,1 that needs a video card upgrade (I think.)

    This is the system and it's all stock minus an upgrade to 8GB ram:

    http://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/specs/mac-pro-quad-core-2.66-early-2009-nehalem-specs.html

    The way it's being used now, seems to really slow the switching from PresentationPro, PowerPoint, and to others and it lags pretty good. It's locked up three times and each time (same day) it had to be restarted again.

    I've been asked to see if the card should be upgraded. I figure since the card is only 512M, something at a 1GB or more would be better. Currently attached to the card is a dvi to analog adapter which connects to a video splitter. From there, it is displayed on two monitors on the desk top and 4 projectors in the building, powered by a switch scaler. The main monitor is being driven from the mini display port on the video card.

    I assume a SSD upgrade and ram will help somewhat but, will a video card really help? I figure the switch scaler only needs one input from the MP's video card and the rest is powered by the splitter and switch scaler.

    When switching from PresentationPro to PowerPoint is when it delays if it doesn't lock up. Usually 10 - 30 seconds of delay.

    What might you all recommend for something like this? Thanks for any suggestions or comments on this.

    (They mentioned they want to MP to be faster in general.. so I recommended a 256G SSD drive for apps and scratch space (maybe 2X256SSD in Raid0?) and then their current 1TB for storage of projects. Upgrade the ram from 8GB to 20GB (Buy 4X4GB and use 2X2GB that's already in it.) Comments? Suggestions?)
     
  2. Mac Hammer Fan, Jul 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013

    Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Belgium
    #2
    I think an SSD will give the most improvement in speed. That was my experience on my MacPro. Opening apps and docs will give a significant speed improvement. But the Quad 2,66 has only 4 RAM slots. Or is it an Octo?
    I guess you should see more speed improvement by switching to a 5,1 with the firmware updater and installing a Hex 3.33 if you don't do much video-editing or don't play games.
     
  3. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    Start with more RAM, definitely. Your lagginess isn't down to the GPU being bogged down, more like the system not having enough RAM to juggle everything appropriately.

    You'll get a little more RAM throughput by buying and installing your DIMMs in a bank of three. We have a lot of Mac Pro 4,1s still in use and our base configuration is 24GB of RAM (3x8GB). Even with the stock GT120 video card, it more than gets the job done.

    I've done the 5,1 firmware flash and installed the hex-core 3.33GHz Xeon in some of our low-end 4,1 Mac Pros. It really does work nicely, but you're looking at spending $500-600 for the proper Xeon CPU, and you'll still want to upgrade your RAM.
     
  4. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #4
    You have another problem that a GPU won't fix.

    Try a different OS disk and see if problem stays or goes.
     
  5. canon1243 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #5
    MacHammer:

    I have the same system, 12GB Ram, GT120, Quad 3.32ghz. Any recommendations on SSD's for Hard Drive 1 in my system?

    Thanks!
     
  6. mwhities thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #6
    I see its a 3G, I'll definitely get only a 3G. I'm not sure they will upgrade the tower anytime soon so, 6G would be a waste.

    It think it is only 4 slots. I didn't get a chance to look inside but, after my Apple store appointment tonight, I'll head up there and look.

    No major upgrades here. It's just (sorta) fast enough to do what they need and anything more, I doubt they'll do it.

    I'll see tonight. I read that my MP1,1 needs to be installed in banks of two. I assume the MP4,1 will allow for three, as you stated wit yours... I appreciate it.

    Not going to do any upgrades that big for sure, although, the person I'm talking with did mention he'd like to look at getting the new MP when it comes out. :)

    OS disk as in SSD over HDD? I'm looking at going with 2X256 SSDs in a Raid0 with a 1/2TB HDDs for storage.

    Thanks for the inputs all. I believe that are bent on getting a new card still. What might y'all suggest for that?
     
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #7
    plug in a different boot drive and see if a different OS install has same lags.

    Since there are no fewer than 6 SATA ports and also firewire & USB that can be booted from, an easy test.

    Firewire target disk mode, or just plug in drive.
     
  8. mwhities thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
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    Mississippi
    #8
    Ok. I can try that tonight. Heading there now.

    It is running Snow Leopard, would you recommend Mountain Lion? If so, I'll need to make sure all of their software works on it too.
     
  9. mwhities thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #9
    Didn't get a chance to test that night. I'll head out tonight or tomorrow night and try it.

    Also, the current system doesn't lag when running normally or when it running the apps, it's just the switching from one app to another. I won't have the same software loaded. So, I'm not sure they will be a fruitful test.

    They have decided to go ahead and get the upgrades I've recommended. 2X256GB SSD, 24GB ram (3X8GB), optibay adapter, and an ATI 5770 video card.

    They currently have a 1TB data drive and the stock 460GB system drive. They are wanting to upgrade to Mountain Lion as well.

    I'll put the two SSD drives in a Raid0 and install ML on that and keep the data on the 1TB drive. I'll keep the 640GB drive as it is incase something goes wrong, we can add it bak quickly.

    If anyone has any more suggestions, comments, or input, I'd greatly appreciate any of it.
     
  10. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Belgium
    #10
  11. mwhities thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #11
  12. canon1243 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #12
    The OWC 6G Extreme sounds like a good drive just from their website. What other options are out there, to compare pricing?

    Mind you I will be using 1 of these for my HD1 - OSX/Apps and HD2 - Working Images ( I am a wedding photographer, I.E. On my desktop now I have a 200GB "2013 Images" folder that contains weddings I am currently editing, etc)

    Does doing large dumps of GB's of files to and from these SSD's affect them negatively? Will they slow down?
     
  13. mwhities thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #13
    Upgraded the ram tonight. Currently cloning the big 1TB drive. :| 1 hour and 52 minutes thus far....
     

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