A 3,1 Upgrade Path for FCPX

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mdindestin, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. mdindestin, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    mdindestin macrumors member

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    #1
    I just bought a used 3,1 with dual quad core 2.8s for $450. It has 12 GB of ram and a regular HDD. The video card is an 8800 and it's running Yosemite.

    I've been reading about upgrading and see that it doesn't make economic sense to go very far.

    I'm new to Macs and would like to use this for running FCPX only. I'll use other computers to surf the internet, since it might run better not connected to mail servers, etc

    It appears these upgrades make sense:

    -A fresh install of the OS on an SSD
    -Upgrade the video card to at least a 5770 although I'm considering the value of a 7950.
    -A USB 3.0 card

    The first question is how well would it run Final Cut?

    The second question is whether this is the biggest bang for the buck for under a grand?

    For me, the alternative is to sell it, abandon this experiment, and continue using Windows and Sony Vegas. There are just too many exciting new cameras right now to be spending a bunch of money on hardware.

    I do kind of like tinkering under the hood.
     
  2. gelid macrumors member

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    Dec 17, 2008
    #2
    I'd also recommend an Apricorn Velocity Solo X1 card to connect the SSD to. That card works great in my MP 3,1 with Samsung Pro 840.

    I also recommend filling all the RAM slots for best performance (I think Barefeats had the benchmarks on this).

    As far as USB 3.0 card, I use an Inateck 2-port USB 3.0 card, which is fairly cheap and seems to work fine.

    No clue on the FCPX performance, but with a decent video card, I think it should do fine.
     
  3. mdindestin, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Just read the reviews, what a great recommendation. I had previously read somewhere about the OWC Mercury card. That card is very expensive and got me thinking I was wasting my time attempting to upgrade a 3,1. The Apricorn card is only $46!

    I see where only the first two slots on a 3,1 are PCIe 2.0 speed and that the graphics card should go in slot 1 with this card in slot 2. Does anyone have a recommendations for a video card that takes up just one slot? One reviewer said the ATI Radeon 5770 takes up a lot of space, but does fit with this card. That decision may be critical for success with FCPX. Not sure if the 5770 is up to the task of smooth timeline performance with effects in FCPX.
     
  4. 128keaton macrumors 68020

    128keaton

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    #4
    Can't chime in too much here, but my 1,1 runs FCP7 smoothly, but FCPX not so much. I need to try with my new SSD and GFX card when it comes in.
     
  5. mdindestin, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    I'm lucky in one sense in that I've never used FCP7. That should be make it easier to learn X without too much frustration.

    I realize my "how well it run" question is relative. Motion pictures in Hollywood were probably made with less computer power than a dual quad core with a SATA III SSD, 64 GB ram, yadda, yadda. And one could always use proxies if necessary.
     
  6. MDangerous macrumors member

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    #6
    I have the same Mac Pro and I edit with FCP X.

    A few things to consider:

    1. Slot 1 is a double-wide slot so a double-wide video card won't get in the way of slot 2.

    2. I would also recommend the Velocity X1. I bought an X2 over the holidays but it had problems with my 3,1. The X1 has been solid with no issues with the 3,1.

    3. I would not buy the 5770. I would do a little research and buy either the 7950 that you mentioned or get a one of the PC cards that are known to work with the MP. I have a GTX 470 that I bought like 2-3 years ago. I have no gray boot screens but otherwise it works fine.

    4. I would put my boot SSD on the X1 and add 2 more drives (spinning or SSD) in two of the SATA bays and RAID 0 them. This is where you would store the video projects that you are working on.
     
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #7
    Highly depends which films we're talking. I assure you that there are examples of films that've required a well powerful machine.
    However, to answer your question, the suggested GPUs, SSD, RAM, etc would all work brilliantly with FCP. Out of all that, all you could hit upon was the RAM speed, but it wouldn't be noticeable really. However, the CPU is a wee slow for FCPX. With the software able to offload a lot of compute to OpenCL GPUs it isn't like it's the end of the world, and you'd probably experience rather fine results, but it is something to consider. I don't think it'd be idiotic of you to go with the upgrades and use the setup
     
  8. mdindestin, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I just know I've seen some fabulous work cut on FCP back in the 2008 era when the 3.1 was state of the art. Maybe not motion pictures, I don't know, but certainly commercial work and artistic personal projects.
     
  9. mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    That's great news about the video card space. Thanks for all the info. I'll do the raid.

    ----------

    Was wondering where the bottleneck would be.
     
  10. mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Looks like a flashed R9 280X is probably a better choice for graphics card.
     
  11. MDangerous macrumors member

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    #11
    That sounds good. Are you editing SD, HD, or 2K/4K?

    Also, here is some data from a couple years ago. The software has changed in that time so I can't say how valid it is anymore but it was a good read at the time. http://barefeats.com/gpu680v4.html
     
  12. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #12
    If you are considering a R9 280X, I could suggest the MSI "Radeon R9 280X Gaming OC Edition" version as being a solid, highly-compatible card. Be aware that you must delete two KEXT files for it to work at full speed on a 3,1. See the big 280X thread for more information.

    My understanding is that the Velocity Solo X2 has very good compatibility including being bootable with 3,1's and above. By comparison, the X1 uses a single PCIe lane and hence maxes out below the speeds of the fastest SSD's, but it is compatible with 1,1's and above.
     
  13. MDangerous macrumors member

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    #13
    I had a Velocity Solo X2 in my 3,1 before I bought the Velocity Solo X1. The X2 caused my 3,1 to randomly freeze and beachball. I have no issues at all with the Velocity Solo X1.
     
  14. Ph.D., Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #14
    That's a shame.

    Which slot was it in, the one next to the graphics card? Did you have any other cards (other than graphics) in the machine? Was the SSD partitioned with bootcamp? I'm asking because I have been considering PCIe SSD solutions for a while and most other reports have been fine.

    The speed hit from a single moderately-fast SSD (e.g., 840 or 850 Evo), going from X2 to X1 would be roughly 20%, but ~50% if in RAID 0. SSD's are getting so fast that a 2-lane PCIe card like the X2 is the bottleneck now, and 1 lane (X1) is kind of pathetic. Some 4-lane options are needed.
     
  15. mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Interesting test. Glad to see the test included Davinci Resolve because it is another program I hope to use. I'll be editing and grading SD and 1080p footage.

    I do not expect to be acquiring 4K footage for about a year, but when I do, it will be high mbps 10-bit files. Knowing that has me wondering if I shouldn't bite the bullet and get a 4,1 machine before I get too invested. However, this 3,1 has dual quad core 2.8s. That may be expensive to buy an equivalent 2009 box.

    ----------

    I did notice one has to be careful with the R9 280X. Some are proven, some are not and no matter which one is used, there are a few hoops to jump through. I appreciate the specific recommendation.
     
  16. MDangerous macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #16
    It was in slot 2. No bootcamp. I moved it to slots 3 and 4 to test and got the same problem. I have a GTX 470 in slot 1 and the orginal 2600 XT (sometimes I use the 2600 as a GUI card for DaVinci Resolve) in slot 3 when I had the X2 in slot 2. I then tested with one of each graphics cards in, same problem. That is when I returned the X2 for the X1. The SSD is a Seagate 600, in case you are wondering.

    ----------

    I would imagine that you would be doing the same upgrades on the 4,1.
     
  17. mdindestin, Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015

    mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
  18. MDangerous macrumors member

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    #18
  19. mdindestin, Jan 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015

    mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Older, but great article on all this. Loving the free Black Magic Disk Speed Test app that is centered around video. I'd like like to know what graphics card he was using: http://m.imore.com/turbocharging-mac-pro-ssds-heres-how#comments‏
     
  20. mdindestin thread starter macrumors member

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  21. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    #21
    Obtain a PC Edition 7950 reference for around $150 . rethermal paste the GPU and install . You will get 30-100 % faster performance than the factory 5770 . You won't have EFI, but you can keep the card you have now, if need be .

    From the invaluable barefeats site :

    http://barefeats.com/tube05.html

    ----------

    Orico USB 3.0 card , native drivers built in OS X 10.8.3 + No need to internally power it, although you can . Remember to always turn on external devices with AC power before connecting them to the card's external port . 16 USD .

    http://www.amazon.com/Compatible-OR...UTF8&qid=1422756964&sr=1-9&keywords=mac+usb+3
     

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