Before SSD, was the Mac Pro slow?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rondocap, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. rondocap macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Okay, question here. I had the newer base Mac Mini, with eight gigs of RAM and a crucial M4 256 gigabytes SSD hard drive.

    In terms of response, it was very quick, apps will open very quickly, and it restarts a good amount of time as well.

    Recently I picked up a 2010 Mac Pro, the 3.2 Quad core with 12 gigs of RAM. I'm waiting on my SSD hard drive to arrive in the mail, but for now I have the OS installed on the regular 500 GB hard drive.

    Oh my goodness, it feels extremely slow! I had forgotten how big of a difference the SSD drive makes. Programs take a few bounces to open up, the system takes longer to restart, when you do start it up, it takes longer to load everything up.

    Is that normal? Shouldn't this Mac Pro feel fast even with a regular hard drive? I know the SSD makes a big difference, but this does not feel like a very fast computer with the regular hard drive.

    Could it be that I restored the OS from a Time Machine backup? What a clean install make a difference, and make it faster?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Since the HDD is the slowest component, it does feel slow especially if you are used to an SSD. The better CPU and GPU and faster RAM will not make up for slow random access times to the HDD, which an SSD just excels at.
  3. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    It all depends on how you define "fast" (or, conversely, "slow"). For disk intensive tasks SSDs are great. Especially in the case of random reads / writes. Boot and application loads can be disk intensive and cry random in nature therefore an SSD can load an application much faster than a traditional hard disk.

    The core "i" series Mac Minis use 6Gb/sec SATA interface and the 2010 (and even 2012) oMP is limited to 3Gb/sec SATA interface. Under high disk utilization the Mac Mini has more throughput capability per SATA channel than the oMP.

    I hate to say it but the oMP fell sorely out of date technology wise and later non-pro systems can be quite competitive when you work within the constraints of the non-pro systems (i.e. using four cores instead of eight). It's for this reason why I'm not surprised to see buyers of the nMP exclaim "Oh my God! It's so fast". While the nMP is certainly a very fast and capable system I suspect those owners would have made the same statement about the current Mini and iMacs (of course within the constraints of those systems).
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Your computer is absoutely normal. My Mac Pro has a SSD (SATA 3 via PCIe) as the primary boot disk, and a stock HDD that as a back up boot disk. Both disk has exactly the same OS and obviously using exactly the same hardware, but the booting and apps loading speed difference is day and night.
  5. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    That's exactly what I thought. So even if the 2012 Mac Pro with 12 cores, 32GB of ram had a normal hard drive - it may still feel a little slow compared to a Mac Mini with 6G SSD for tasks like opening apps and restarting right?

    Impressive what a big difference SSD makes.
  6. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    That is correct. I feel this is a fairly useless metric given how infrequently both are done.
  7. deluxeshredder macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2013
  8. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    That depends on the task.
  9. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    And do you even know if your HD is 7200rpm and not 5400rpm! :eek:
  10. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    Depends on the OS installed. My 4,1 booted 10.6 quickly in the standard 7200rpm HDD. as we moved through 10.7 and 10.8 things slowed down a lot.

    I have an SSD installed in my Mac Pro (did it 3 years ago) and it flies. The HDD is a backup drive containing a clone of my SSD and it's pretty slow to boot/open apps.
  11. Killerbob macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2008
    For oMPs one of the best upgrades surely is the one from HDD to SSD.

    HOWEVER, as someone points out, you are still limited by the SATA interface. One way to circumvent that, is to install a PCIe SSD solution, like the Sonnet Tempo Pro card, on-where you can install 1 or 2 SSDs (in Raid0), or the Mercury Accelsior PCIe card.

    I always had two HDDs in Raid0 in my oMP3,1, but when I migrated to an SSD it was a BIG improvement. When I replaced the SSD with an Accelsior card, it was a HUGE improvement.
  12. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    That's how bottlenecks work.

    Though in CPU and GPU heavy tasks, the Mac Pro would run rings around the Mini.
  13. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    You'll be amazed at the difference an SSD will make, even through the SATAII interface.
  14. echoout macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I teach a college motion graphics program in 2 labs full of 8-core 4,1s that are bone stock outside of a 16GB RAM upgrade.

    Boot-up, launching apps, and general responsiveness (to some actions like AE RAM preview looping) are pretty painful compared to any of my computers; PC, laptops or MacPro. However, most other tasks we perform in Adobe CC and Cinema 4D are really reasonably fast, minus GPU intensive tasks of course.

    Encoding, multi-core rendering, compositing, editing, etc. are all fantastic, once the programs open!
  15. adww12321 macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2012
    This is the truth -- a 2010/2 MP with an Accelsior (or tempo pro) card in RAID0, paired with a more modern video card, like a Radeon 7950, will feel just as fast -- or faster -- than any modern mac.

    That's the beauty of having an expandable chasis with PCIE slots :)
  16. echoout macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I was out of space on my primary Mac Pro so I installed an SSD RAID in my optical bay. Not as fast as my Sonnet SSD RAID card in my other one but still really fast and saved me a slot.
  17. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    This depends on the task and model of Mac Pro. My 2010 quad 2.8GHz Mac Pro is comparable in speed to the current i7 Mac Mini when it comes to processing speed.
  18. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    I found that if I pushed the Mac mini processor for more than about 2 minutes at a time, the fans whirred and the processor slowed considerably.

    Regarding the original post, I have a 4 year old MBP that I stuck a SSD in, and it seems 'snappier' than my 5,1 MP. The SSD makes a huge speed difference in that department. You'll be happier with your MP with a SSD. For what it's worth, though, don't expect a speed difference opening programs, navigating the finder, or other trivial tasks. Your MP will shine when it's pushed, but it'll seem about the same as anything else otherwise.
  19. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    I didn't have any problems with my Mini slowing down.

    I am not a big fan of installing an SSD merely to get faster boot / application launch times. Given the cost / capacity tradeoff I feel neither of those two metrics were something to focus on improving. But I have to say with 240GB SSDs now in the sub $100 price range that position is changing.

    For my Mac Pro I'd love to install a true PCIe SSD. Anyone know of a manufacturer that makes one?
  20. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
  21. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Not sure if the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD qualifies as purely PCIe SSD storage. From quickly looking it appears to be. Don't confuse the added eSATA that the card offers with the internal PCIe storage.

    That is a valid point. Although if the speeds are comparable I am not sure how much of a difference that makes. But technically you are right.
  22. handheldgames, Jun 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014

    handheldgames macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2009
    Pacific NW, USA
    Any spinner is painfully slow when compared to a SATA III SSD. The XP941 PCIe M.2 / NGFF SSD takes the performance crown on the cMP leaving any other single disk solution in the dust.

    NGFF/M2 - PCIe Express in the 2009 MacPro

    Great value on the MX100 512GB 6G SSD from Crucial

    Plextor PCIe - with a less than steelar showing

    Regarding your 2010 MP, there are plenty of CPU options coming available on a regular basis that can make your box surpass the 4C nMP and come close to the 6C nMP. I picked up a i7 6 core 990x at Frys last fall for $475.

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