5.1 upgrade path - Diminishing returns?

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
2010 5.1
3.46Ghz W3690 CPU
OWC 3x8GB 1333Ghz Memory
EVGA 980ti Hybrid (ext Corsair RMX550 power supply)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD in Sled 1
2x6TB WD Black in Sled 2&3
1TB WD Black (backup) in Sled 4
Bootcamp Windows 7 x64
El Capitan MacOS

Any way to squeeze more from it whilst awaiting the new Mac Pro?

I could swap the 980ti for a 1080ti although that's probably overkill for the 5.1?

The only other way I see is using a pcie-ssd card but I've not seen any consistent method of how to get one of those running with Bootcamp?

I don't do much heavy lifting in MacOS but like the flexibility of dual boot, plus gaming in Win.

One guide I read put a Accelsior E2 as first drive for Win10 only, then a Sata2 SSD in an optical drive?

I don't mind separate SSDs for the two OS, that seems to bypass some issues?

I've read about the Kingston Hyperx predator, plus Samsung XP941 and SM951 though it seems all who use these are solely running MacOS? I need the dual boot.

Thanks in advance!
 

pertusis1

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
420
111
Texas
I think your system is pretty well optimized. I have almost the same thing except I do have the XP 941. I don't generally dual boot, so that limitation doesn't affect me. I've heard that the difference between a solid-state drive and XP 941 is negligible in real world use. At this point, I have concluded that my single thread processing speed is most limiting. Not much I can do about that other than waiting for the iMac or modular Macpro.
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks pertusis1.

Doing some further reading, I think I need the native boot-screen to use a pcie card for Windows regardless of Bootcamp or not.

This is not possible without a Mac efi card or similar in at all times. I suppose therefore I could put my 680mac into slot 3, then use a accelsior e2 in slot 2 solely for Windows 10(accepts external drives), with the macos in a standard sata 2 slot.

Or I could send my 980ti card to MVC UK and get them to flash the bios to enable said screen and 2.0 speeds...

I'm just not sure of the performance increase vs cost from either of these 2 approaches...
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,054
332
What sort of "more" are you looking for? i.e. what application / game / workflow are you looking for more performance from?

If I/O is the bottleneck, you can maybe look at the Amfeltec squid with multiple PCIe SSD's, which is the fastest I/O that I have read about for the cMP. A single PCIe SSD such as the HyperX is also faster than the SATA 2 SSD's, but my experience is that you have to be doing something fairly significant and I/O bound to actually notice the difference. And no, I have no idea how any of them might work with bootcamp; you might have to ignore them from the OS/X side and format them in Windows.
 

InuNacho

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2008
1,465
602
In that one place
Diminishing returns on Macs is far different than it used to be. Back in the pre-Intel days we'd pay quite a bit for any kind of upgrade and ultimately it would mean dragging out an imminent death as we'd lose vital software support (68k to PPC or PPC to Intel). I dragged a 500 MHZ Sawtooth G4 from 1999 to 2008 and even with a bunch of upgrades and that was a hard road. I can see myself getting 15 or more out of my 3.33 09 if I keep to my current software and don't care about Mac OS updates.
It really boils down to what software you're using and how you see yourself using it in the future. Mac OS is going to leave all of us cMP users in the dust but there is always still Windows.
 
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rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Many thanks for the kind responses,

I suppose most of my system taxing stuff occurs gaming in Win (Witcher 3 for example) as opposed to any video editing/professional work in OS.

I'm now leaning towards the Kingston running solely win 10 in pcie slot 4 and either my 680mac in 2 as well as my non-efi 980ti in 1 or getting it flashed on its own.

Having read loads of previous threads yesterday I am unsure whether I'd notice any speed increase with the Kingston pcie in those situations, since the boot times are similar.

Flashing the non-efi card would allow pci to run at 2.0 rather than 1.1 and gives normally ~10% increase (for £180 if they can do my hybrid..)

But the Kingston 1tb is 500... for ? Over an 850Pro via sata2...

Thanks again
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
For the lifting above, where is the bottleneck do you think?

I'm tempted by the Sata 2 -> pcie upgrade.

But it'll cost only slightly less than moving from 980ti -> 1080ti?

Opinions please :)
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
For the lifting above, where is the bottleneck do you think?

I'm tempted by the Sata 2 -> pcie upgrade.

But it'll cost only slightly less than moving from 980ti -> 1080ti?

Opinions please :)
For gaming, unless you are playing at 4K max setting etc. You are most likely CPU single thread limiting.

SSD won't help much. I did try run few games from RAM drive, really can't feel the difference then running from just a low cost SATA SSD (connected via the native SATA II port). It seems the loading time is not purely drive speed limiting. So, PCIe SSD may not help much. I suspect modern games are not optimised for super high speed SSD yet. In fact, they may still assuming the games run from a HDD. Or simply because the cMP is too old, even loading is CPU single thread limiting.

But if you are able to 100% utilise your 980Ti now, then I assume 1080Ti can give you few more FPS. The remaining question is if it worth. e.g. Improve from 70FPS to 100FPS at max setting can be quite meaningless.
 

InuNacho

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2008
1,465
602
In that one place
For the lifting above, where is the bottleneck do you think?

I'm tempted by the Sata 2 -> pcie upgrade.

But it'll cost only slightly less than moving from 980ti -> 1080ti?

Opinions please :)
I ran the latest Metro Redux on both an ssd and on the latest batch of WD Blacks and tbh I never noticed any real world difference. I'm only playing on 1920 x 1200 so that might factor into it, but either way a better card will go farther than a faster drive.
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks to both for your replies. So in summation for my type of lifting the default sata 2 bus is still not the bottleneck 7 years after purchase - is that the general consensus?

Since I have maxed out the Gpu on witcher 3 and andromeda recently (2560x1440) I think 1080ti is the way forward.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,510
6,750
Any way to squeeze more from it whilst awaiting the new Mac Pro?
For your purposes, no, not anything that would be noticeable or worth the price.

I went about as far as you did. There was nowhere else to go. Some of the suggestions in this thread will show improvements in synthetic benchmarks, but have no real world change.
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks ActionableMango and the others, that's moved me away from the pcie ssd option and the consensus seems to be I'm at that point already.

I still may get a 1080ti but I'll see if I can get the 980ti flashed first.

Thanks again
 

nigelbb

macrumors 65816
Dec 22, 2012
1,031
199
The Amfeltec Squid card with M.2 SSD is an expensive option that may not benefit you all that much but putting your SSD on an Apricorn Velocity Duo PCE-e card is a reasonable low cost option to give you SATA-3 I/O. You could even add another Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD & create a 2TB RAID-0 stripe set.
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks nigelbb,

I'm not sure that sata 3 or pcie ssd would improve my real world speed much considering I only do light work in OS and gaming in win7 via Bootcamp?
 

itdk92

macrumors 6502
Nov 14, 2016
499
180
Copenhagen, Denmark
Thanks pertusis1.

Doing some further reading, I think I need the native boot-screen to use a pcie card for Windows regardless of Bootcamp or not.

This is not possible without a Mac efi card or similar in at all times. I suppose therefore I could put my 680mac into slot 3, then use a accelsior e2 in slot 2 solely for Windows 10(accepts external drives), with the macos in a standard sata 2 slot.

Or I could send my 980ti card to MVC UK and get them to flash the bios to enable said screen and 2.0 speeds...

I'm just not sure of the performance increase vs cost from either of these 2 approaches...
In MacOS Pcie 2.0 for Nvidia cards has been enabled by webdrivers since El Capitan (or even before that)
In Windows you still need flashing
[doublepost=1500980333][/doublepost]
The Amfeltec Squid card with M.2 SSD is an expensive option that may not benefit you all that much but putting your SSD on an Apricorn Velocity Duo PCE-e card is a reasonable low cost option to give you SATA-3 I/O. You could even add another Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD & create a 2TB RAID-0 stripe set.
Price should be beyond the point, unless the upgrade is an hobby.

If it's for professional use, and if you actually need the speed (for example with video editing), then the Amfeltec is the more sensible choice.
With the x16 card you get up to 4 drives (= up to 8TB Pcie SSD) and up to 5000+ MB/s read/write in RAID 0, especially with the High Sierra support for NVME drives.
 

rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks itdk92, it's not for professional use such as editing but for light work and gaming.

Would you recommend a pcie ssd such as the Kingston or is it likely to be the 980ti or alternatively the 3.46Ghz CPU that's the bottleneck?
 

itdk92

macrumors 6502
Nov 14, 2016
499
180
Copenhagen, Denmark
Then a regular SSD in a regular SATA II is all you need, and more than that is going to be a waste of money :)

The 980TI is a good choice, and the W3690 is also great.
GPU will be (in almost any case) slightly bottlenecked by the drivers and older CPUs, when in macOS.

Windows performance is as expected.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
Thanks nigelbb,

I'm not sure that sata 3 or pcie ssd would improve my real world speed much considering I only do light work in OS and gaming in win7 via Bootcamp?
For this kind of use, probably not. At least not to a level that can really tell the difference (except file copying etc).
 
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rahaney

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 18, 2014
27
0
Thanks again itdk92, h9826790 and earlier responders.

Looks like I'll start my 7.1 fund at this point :)

Much obliged.
 

fendersrule

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2008
418
318
You have a fairly maxed out Mac Pro. While sure, a 1080 or a 1080ti will provide more FPS in gaming, if you're expecting something drastically different, you won't get it.

I've yet to see substantial evidence that a 3.46 westmere has a substantial bottleneck when 1440p or 2k gaming. But id love to be proven wrong.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
You have a fairly maxed out Mac Pro. While sure, a 1080 or a 1080ti will provide more FPS in gaming, if you're expecting something drastically different, you won't get it.

I've yet to see substantial evidence that a 3.46 westmere has a substantial bottleneck when 1440p or 2k gaming. But id love to be proven wrong.
CPU demand won't change with resolution. It's about how many moving objects on the screen, but not how many pixels need to handle.
 

Blakehoo

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2016
39
11
Do you have 3 sticks of ram installed?

There is a chance that peak demand would need a fourth.

The first slots do get the bulk of use, ...however occasionally more is required.

I'd put a 16Gb stick in the first slot and move that stick to the fourth slot.


Using all 16GB memory could not hurt, depending on how much is on your plate at any one time.

Price is down, these days. I've got it in all eight slots.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
Do you have 3 sticks of ram installed?

There is a chance that peak demand would need a fourth.

The first slots do get the bulk of use, ...however occasionally more is required.

I'd put a 16Gb stick in the first slot and move that stick to the fourth slot.


Using all 16GB memory could not hurt, depending on how much is on your plate at any one time.

Price is down, these days. I've got it in all eight slots.
W3690 cannot boot with 4x16GB, but only up to 3x16 + 8 = 56GB RAM.
 
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