2010 Mac Pro upgrade options for performance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by GMunroe, May 29, 2012.

  1. GMunroe macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    Purchased a new (refurb) baseline 2.8 Mac Pro + ACD ($2900 + tax). Works fine so far, a lot of hand wringing whether to buy now or not as there hasn't been a refresh, but my job requires a more substantial computer and 15" i7 MBPro was affecting productivity for Flash CS5 animation (broadcast)/1080p exports, etc. I automatically navigated to the Mac Pro as the workstation to have both power and OSX. I am within the return period if it doesn't work out for my situation.

    Assuming there may be a more powerful iMac on the horizon, I have looked at a few options that will prevent this baseline Mac Pro being left in the dust, and having to repurchase in another two years. Any opinions? I have sited a few of my options should I stay the Mac Pro route. (and cure it's whirring noise)

    1) upgraded 6 core CPU, @$599?, likely voiding warranty..not ideal. Changed plenty of CPU's on PC's but still, will it make that much of a difference in my work to be worth that risk.

    2) The 5870... expensive again, and two GPU generations old. I think we are in the 7xxx's now. Games like Portal 2 run great with 5770 as it is... unless the 5870 is a good help to Flash CS5.5, there isn't a rush.

    3) Load up on RAM (4 x 4 for 16GB; or 3 x 8GB sticks for 24) and a PCIe SSD like the Accelsior (bootable) to give the Mac Pro 6Gb/s speed as opposed to the 3 Gb/s speed in the Drive trays from what I understand. (?)

    4) Something to stop the constant fan? hum from the tower. I thought the Pro's were very quiet, or is this to be expected from the towers? Mine sits about two feet from me. Whatever it is, after sitting at the desk for 8 hours working, it's a bit grating. HMMMmmmmMMMMMmmm... and so on. I am coming from an iMac/MBPro, so it might just be normal in the Pros.

    Worth it or better off with a newer machine like a DIY PC workstation or new iMac should it appear?
  2. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    Other than ram, the best place you could spend for instant gratification would be SSD. This is a noticeable pop on even the fastest machines out there.
  3. freeflywing macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    ur Mac Pro 2010 has at least 6gb ram, it is pretty good enough for you to start with. open couple programs, paraelle, CS6, gaming, no problem...you may only consider to upgrade the RAM if you do video editing.

    you should mainly concern to get a SSD as xgman mentioned: raid them if you can, hardware raid is awesome (note, apple raid card SUX & slow, highly recommended Areca, less budget go for highpoint), software raid isn't bad too (simply raid them in Disk Utility @ Raid 0 and install OSX, make sure have a copy of ur OS using superduper!).
    ###The way to install OS on hardware raid ssd/ hdd is weird, first, install OSX on a blank HDD, then, superduper! the OSX to the hardware raid set which mean you need a flesh OSX, a running OSX to copy the flesh OSX, the hardware raided SSD/ HDD.

    price & performance wise of upgrading to SSD is a lot more efficient than upgrading the CPU & RAM.
  4. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    My water cooled hackintosh is no quieter than my MP but almost twice as fast..

    Honestly I'd leave it alone..none of the things your talking about will make it significantly faster..yes the SSD will make it feel faster but won't really help the processor.

    Use it for a couple days if it's not meeting expectations take it back, it's not a cheap computer.
  5. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Upgrading the Quad core 2.8GHz will really make a difference. Especially if you go 3.33GHz or better yet 3.46GHz 6 core. 24GB of RAM is nice too and not even that expensive. HD5870 will help too but overpriced. Sure it's not the latest and greatest but it is from Apple. SSDs are cool but don't offer a whole lot of capacity and won't do as much for rendering as a CPU upgrade. As for noise... mine has 2x 6 Core, 4 internal HDDs and all 8 RAM slots filled with HD5870 and it's very quiet. Not sure if yours is exceptionally noisy or if it's just the same but seems loud in comparison to your other Macs. My MBP 2.66GHz i7 from 2010's fan gets super noisy when the CPU kicks in... way louder than the Mac Pro ever gets during heavy use.
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    the machine can alter fan speeds with istat menus 3 this is the deluxe program cost bout 15 16 bucks. there are some free fan speed programs.

    I assume you looked at my quad to hex core upgrade thread.




    the 3.33 at 610 is far more cost efficient then the 3.46 at 999.

    if you save the quad core to swap back into the mac pro in the case of a broken mac pro

    who is to say that it was ever removed in the first place?

    this is the upgrade thread.


    it is easy less then 1 hours work. this will boost your machine a lot .

    I assume you know how much ram you need by looking at your page in to page out ratios.

    adding ram is not that costly.


    these work add 3 or 4 if you are a big ram user 24 or 32 gb ram 170 to 220


    or 3 or 4 of these for 12gb to 16gb ram 110 to 150

    last drop in a ssd


    around 235

    basically the cpu is 400 after you sell the quad core 12gb ram is 110 and the ssd is about 230

    total of 740 if you sell the oem quad core or 940 if you don't,

    I think the best gpu may be a gt 570 not sure about that.
  7. nREMfan macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2010
    You don't think applying/re-applying arctic silver paste will "expose" to Apple the processor had been swapped? I would love to do this to my quad 2.8, as well. But having 18 mos. left on AppleCare has kept me away for this reason.

    But if not, I will go this route. Thanks.
  8. wildgiles macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    IF your main thing is to speed up the exports of animation,

    upgrading to dual CPU's, OWC has a program to swap out the logic board,


    Ram, as already mentioned, if you upgrade to dual CPU's you can put up 96GB of RAM for OSX, 128GB of RAM for bootcamp.


    Upgrading the graphics card to 5870 will improve performance to.

    An SSD drive will help too here is a really good option from OWC again.


    BTW your pro should be wisper quiet compared to a MBP. So you may have a hardware defect with one of your fans.
  9. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    The CPU swap is easier than swapping most modern PC configurations. The heatsink/fan retention mechanism is incredibly friendly. Regarding the Arctic Silver, I don't recall the factory thermal material looking any different really.

    And as others have stated, the fans should be whisper quiet. My MBP is much louder and I have to press an ear to the MP to determine if it's even running, even when I am pushing all cores.
  10. GMunroe thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    At the moment from working today, memory is at 850K page outs : 570K page ins. Seems a bit high. Think I need a bit more.

    Was the 2.8/3.2 quad really that far behind the 3.33 six? I guess considering the RAM speed increase and the extra two cores, must make the price a worthwhile apart from benchmarks.

    Regardless, I am tempted by the processor upgrade to the 3.33 six core, as I would also purchase 1333 MHz RAM as well to match it instead of 1066. I think the Ram speed is related to the processor not the motherboard, but I may be wrong? I have changed processors in the past with a clamp type feature on the MB, never had a problem but what always made me anxious was the proper application of the Arctic Silver etc. Either smear it on thin, or drop a rice sized amount on the middle of the CPU, reinstall the heat sink and cross my fingers. All I remember from that time is not put too little on the CPU or too much. I am not as worried about force on the heatsink, as I think tightening till its snug and firm is probably good unless the 3.33 sits higher than the 2.8?.

    Is a static strap recommended?

    Would the processor say Mac compatible or is there only one 3.33 xeon six core?

    Also is a tray loaded SSD preferable to the PCIe based ones that advertise 6Gb/s? They seem to be half the storage, but better speed.

    But from what I can ascertain, the upgrade path goes like this, CPU -> RAM -> SSD -> Video card. Good starting point. It's going to be fun.
  11. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    It's been a while since I did mine but I'm sure there are some guides out there for the 6 core package. Just follow the guide at the Arctic Silver website. There's nothing to be anxious about.

    You'll need the tool to remove the heatsink. From there it's terribly easy. Both CPUs have the same heatspreader so there is no height difference. Just move back and forth and secure it until it stops. There is no guess work on this.

    And yes there's a huge difference in the quads and the hex, assuming that you push the CPU with threaded software. If you don't then the 3.2 quad is fine.
  12. GMunroe thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    Thanks, I ordered the superbiiz RAM today, (3 x 8GB) 1333Gb/s though I can only use 1066Gb/s of it at the moment, I will eventually upgrade the processor to the 3680 where I will be able to take full advantage of the extra speed.

    Mac went back as I purchased a like new Pro 3.2/6GB RAM with a 5870 for 2K locally. :)
  13. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    2k is a good price now if you sell the 3.2 quad and put in the hex you are at 2400 plus the ram you are at 2570.

    if you just keep it with the quad you are at 2170. with a quad 3.2 the better gpu and 24gb ram. still overpriced compared to a pc but a good mac pro price. don't forget the machine can run snow ,lion, windows ,linux and mountain. a good point if you want to sell it.
  14. GMunroe thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    The six is going to be on its way eventually. Thought it was a good price for the pro as well in that shape that was a BTO.

    Although i quite enjoy building a pc from scratch, in the long run going Windows only would cost more I think despite the lower average retail, considering the cost of switching software, and aggravation of things I have become accustomed not supported on another OS. The depreciation is seemingly slower on the Mac Pro's from what I see on eBay, not that it is a big issue as this will be a 75/25 work/leisure computer that will likely be kept as some sort of server once it's no longer efficient for my work.

    I lasted a while on an 09 core2duo iMac, but at 3x the benchmarks, I am really enjoying working on a workstation like this. Even more so once the ram gets here, an ssd and a CPU upgrade down the road.

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