Bought first Mac Pro (Mid 2010) 12 core - how to stress test it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iOrbit, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. iOrbit macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    so i just bought my first Mac Pro from eBay. It doesn't come with Warranty, but i was assured on here before that Mac Pro's are pretty dependable and durable, especially if you take good care of them (Which i intend to)

    so i have some questions:

    How can i stress test every part of the Mac to make sure it doesn't already have some issue that the seller might have not mentioned? i.e. the Ram / Motherboard and Graphics Card? can anyone recommend some apps that will tell me if theres anything wrong or damaged in the Mac? I'm wondering if there are apps that can tell if something is damaged from static or other issues due to mishandling.

    can anyone recommend any good upgrades and stores (uk/europe based here) for this Mac Pro?

    its a 2010, 12 core 2.66ghz Mac Pro with 16GB of Ram, and 5770 ATI Graphics card. 2xTB HDD's.

    an SSD would be one cheap way to boost performance. do i need a special tray for the Mac Pro to fit one in?

    i would like to upgrade the Ram but it is more expensive than i thought. have many of you had good experiences upgrading your ram at a cheaper price via Ebay?

    the Graphics card.. i would consider upgrading it, I'm not a heavy gamer and I'm not insistent on playing at the highest settings exactly either or the very newest games. if there is a graphics card that under £180 and can play current gen games at moderate settings then i would be interested.

    any suggestions on the GFX card?

    Mac Pro usage profile:

    Photoshop (very high/large resolution images/multiple layers)
    Heavy intense encoding of blu rays to build my own iTunes film library from my own BD collection

    light gaming now and again.

    lastly i wondered if anyone can recommend the best way to take care of this Mac Pro..

    i.e. keeping it dust free regularly, any specific brand or type of compressed air?
  2. raymanster macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    I use Geekbench, there is a stress test feature on there. Run it for a couple hours or longer if you wish. Ran this first for a few hours on both Mac Pros I bought recently from eBay, lucky for me both were fine.

    Have a good read of this forum, lots of info that you need. I have a 2008 and 2009, got good RAM from ebay. The 2009 uses the same RAM as your 2010, I bought upgraded RAM from eBay, it is 1333 mhz ECC HP server RAM made by Hynix. Find a seller with a decent rating, who accepts returns and you should be ok.

    I have an EVGA Nvidia 750ti, bought for just under £100. Good enough for casual gaming and no need for extra power (some cards require a power cable plugged into the board). You won't get a boot screen but IMHO not an issue if you keep the older original card.

    SSD can plug in without the tray, but I like the Newertech Adaptadrive which allows you to mount the SSD on the tray:

    I use Fellowes air duster bought on Amazon, I think any brand should do. After buying this I noticed you can get a 6 pack from Costco for a lot cheaper.

  3. Squuiid macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Graphics card, I'd recommend an EVGA GTX680 2GB, pre flashed to Mac Edition, or you can flash yourself on a Windows PC. eBay is your best bet. Guides to flashing on this forum.

    As for SSD, this is the best bang for your buck at the moment, in the UK:

    You'll also need one of these to mount it:

    I'd also get a USB 3.0 card, Sonnet Allegro range are very good.

    Finally, upgrade Bluetooth and WiFi from here:

    Good luck!
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    You can easily stress test the CPU and GPU by OCCT in Windows. This software will show you the error count, so that you don't have to keep your eye on the monitor during the test.

    Any current SATA SSD (e.g. 850Evo) is the cheap way to improve the Read / Write performance. Just plug that into the lower optical bay, leave it there without any adaptor is fine. There is no moving parts in the SSD, no need to pay anything to secure it. If you want to install them in the HDD bay, you can just plug them in without extra support. My friends 4,1 run a SSD like that for few years already, zero issue. The SSD is just so light now, the connector itself can hold it without any problem.

    For RAM, you may consider upgrade to 6x4G normal PC DDR3 non ECC RAM (if that's significantly cheaper in your country). They will work fine, but just with ECC disabled. However, if you can get the ECC RAM in more or less the same price, it's much better to get the ECC RAM.

    GFX680 4G is a good OOTB card for 5,1. However, you have to flash the card by yourself, otherwise no boot screen. If that's expensive, you may check the 680 2G's price. Or AMD 7950, this should be well within £180.

    For cleaning, any compressed air good for PC use should be fine. I personally don't recommend dust filter because that will restrict the airflow. From other users posts, it seems the dust filter will cause the components run few degrees warmer which may increase the fan noise as well.

    AFAIK, photoshop is largely base on CPU's single thread performance. So, you may consider upgrade to dual X5680 / X5690. However, this will cost quite a lot at this moment. You may hold this upgrade until you feel that you really need it.l
  5. Squuiid macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Excellent recommendation. I have one of these that I use for a SATA SSD that I use to run Windows on, in BootCamp.

    However, a PCIe SSD like the XP941 is probably the best option for running OS X on.
  6. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Running handbrake will push all the cores.
  7. Machines, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016

    Machines macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2015
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    The Mac Pro was manufactured with premium parts by Apple , so they are built like tanks . A properly maintained Mac Pro should easily have a life span of 15-20 years, with occasional component repair . I collect high end desktop Macs and some of my gear is around 30 years old in good operational shape . As a technician , of course, I do service my own gear :)

    As an user, you only need to worry about three basic things to keep your Mac Pro in good shape :

    1) Buy or make a filter for the front of the Mac . You must keep dust out of your Mac . It artificially raises component temperatures, clogs connectors and can impair the function of the PSU . TransIntl makes a filter . You can also make your own with a 1/16th to 1/8th inch thick piece of polyethylene foam . Make certain it's not too thick to impair airflow into the Mac . .

    Do not use a vacuum cleaner , a hair drier or canned air . There are ESD concerns here and canned air has chemical propellants in it that might hurt PCBs in the long term . The solution is to use a compressor at 60 PSI and nozzle 6 inches away . Drying time before starting up your gear again can range from 1 to 12 hours depending on how much mist or liquid drops of water were blown . But it is the best and safest method of cleaning .

    2) Power protection . Use both a surge protector and a line conditioner . A surge protector will protect your Mac from a one time catastrophic event , like a lightening strike . A line conditioner will smooth out the voltage entering your Mac, placing less stress on it than using your AC (mains) outlet alone . Big studios and shops have rack mounted protection like this . A good pro-sumer line conditioner is made by Tripp Lite .

    3) Religiously and periodically re-thermal paste all the chips with heat sinks in your Mac Pro, including all the CPUs, GPUs and any controller chip (Northbridge, Southbridge, IOH , etc) . Generally , every 2.5 to 3 years if your system is place under load frequently . Every 5 to 7 years otherwise . There are exceptions for high performance components . If you don't know how to re-thermal paste, hire a tech . Use a high quality synthetic that is electrically non-conductive , but thermally conductive (e.g. Arctic MX-4) . Spread evenly and thinly .

    I would rebuild your used Mac before placing it under load conditions , but here are some stress tests :

    Paid version of Geekbench 3 has a processor stress test .

    Memtest for Mac will utilize almost every memory cell of all your memory modules , concurrently . It's a memory re-certification utility , but doubles as a stress test .

    Heaven , Valley and Luxmark v. 3 make good GPU stress tests .

    Running all these programs concurrently will be a good stress test for your PSU .
  8. JimmyPainter macrumors member


    Nov 13, 2015
    I can find no better Stress Test than Furmark. Heaven is another good one. The Game Dirt is Fun way to test but, if you want to walk away and let the hours burn ... Furmark.

    For a Video Card... I Really love my PC version AMD/ATI 7970. I use it with my ATI 2600HD for boot. I had to order the Cables from eBay to power the 7970 from the motherboard (Internally). You could use one of these with your 5770 and really go to town if you Don't need CUDA.

    If you do need CUDA... Get you a used GT120 Boot card from ebay and then get a PC version (Cheaper) of whatever you can afford GTX960, 970, all the way up to 980TI.

    I also like everything "Machines" had to say. Congrats on landing a 12Core ;)
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    These are all GPU tests. I don't know if that's all the OP wants to stress test.
  10. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Diagnostics are the best way to 'tell if theres anything wrong or damaged'. That is completely different from the other request - stress.

    Stress testing is performed by heating a room to the computer's maximum room temperature (typically 100 degrees F or 40 degrees C). Then execute diagnostics.

    Next cool the system to its lowest maximum temperature. Repeat diagnostics.

    Heat is not something that causes failure. Heat is a tool to find defective parts. Many times, a part is completely defective. But works in a 70 degree F room. If it fails in a 100 degree room, that failure will get worse with age; eventually become an intermittent at 70 degrees.

    Many naive consumers see if fail when hot. Then use wild speculation to blame heat as destructive. They don't get it. Heat (and cold) identifies an already existing defect. Your computer must be perfectly happy at spec temperatures (maybe 40 degrees and 0 degrees C). If not, it is defective ... even if it works just fine in a 20 degree C room.

    BTW, heating and cooling should be performed in a ten + minute period. Apple would not provide that spec number. Do not change temperatures too fast.

    Another powerful diagnostic tool to find with part of a system is defective - hair dryer on highest heat setting. Any heat that does not burn skin is an ideal temperature for properly working electronics.
  11. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    i apologise to everyone for being slow to get back to you. its been a hell of a week for me. the Mac Pro arrived but was damaged in transit, i had to also wait for a cable to arrive to hook it up to a monitor. I've just set it up today. it seems to be working fine but now I'm going to move on to running these stress tests and diagnostics tests.

    out of the bag I've done one handbrake on a blu ray: The Walking Dead S1E02 was my test, did it on the Apple TV 3 preset and was getting 25-30 minutes for a 1080p/ 20 RF / Medium Preset / Same As Source FPS VBR.

    really impressive compared to the 2-3 hours i would get on my old MBP. more impressively its very quiet and the fans aren't kicking up. CPU Temps are: CPU A = 65-70c / CPU B = 50-55c. again impressive compared to my 89/90c MBP.

    so Mac Pros are really everything a i hoped for - a real Truck for steep mountains (of work load).

    I have maybe a week before i must decide to keep it or return it (i'm either going to negotiate a price reduction for the damaged handle, or return it and look out for another equal spec mac pro).

    my questions now are:

    Would this mac pro likely be okay from a fall? it appears to have landed on the handle. I'm guessing from waist height.
    Could that really break or damage a Mac Pro? or is it really a tank and should be okay? @Machines

    @raymanster, i will run geek bench today, is it Geekbench 3 or some specific one? a direct link would be appreciated if possible.

    so heres the following list of apps/tests i will use:

    Furmark? (are these almost the same?)
    OCCT (Windows) @h9826790 is this free? i haven't installed windows via bootcamp in a long time. I'm gonna have to look up how to install it. will windows 7/8 be fine? i don't have a legit copy so i will probably use a unregistered/trial version.

    @pastrychef do you know if theres any specific settings i need to adjust in handbrake for it to take full use of all 12 cores?

    @westom everything you said makes perfect sense about how components work with heat and stress. I really like discipline involved in a thorough test that you outlined. I'd like to ask, how do i perform a "Diagnostics" test? are you talking about the official one used by apple? i don't know how to perform this test or what software i need to get to perform it (sorry, I'm kind of out of my depth on this side of things)

    with all these Apps and tests, I'm wondering what would be the best way to go about this,

    should i run a diagnostics test first at idle temps/load, then perform simultaneously memtest/geekebench/furmark? then run diagnostics during or after?

    im not sure how i should do this, but i want to test this Mac adequately because if there is an issue, then i want to return it in the window of days i have before i have no right to return for refund.

    all of the replies have been really helpful, thank you to everyone. i will book mark this page for the foreseeable future, thats for sure.
  12. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    The mac pro can definitely handle a fall from about 6ft onto concrete without issue; but if it was damaged in transit, it's very likely that he didn't package it right, and it's the seller's fault. Depending on how much you paid, I would keep it if you got a great deal; but send it back if you paid about fair market value and get another in good physical shape.

    Then again, if the handle isn't too bad, and you don't want to use that gap between the body/handle for a custom card reader/etc. then I wouldn't worry about it.

    Also, don't worry about getting a pre-flashed mac card; you'll overpay without a doubt. You can get several great graphics cards for under $200 USD, and flash them yourself if you really need a boot screen.
  13. raymanster macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    Yes that's right, Geekbench 3, it's the Stress test option in one of the menus, you can't miss it.
  14. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
  15. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I'd return it, but that's a personal issue of mine. I know that the damage would always bother me forever. And every time there's any sort of hiccup or problem, I'd wonder if that fall was the cause.

    If you are not as neurotic as I am, then taking a partial refund for the damage might be a good idea IF everything checks out.

    If you intend on keeping it then I would do all of the following:
    • Remove and reseat all of the PCIe cards, SATA drives, and memory modules. These may have bumped out of their slots and bays.
    • Push down on all wiring connectors to ensure they are still connected well.
    • Run the suggested stress tests.
    • Observe that all of the fans are running.
    • Check the error LEDs on the logic board.
    • Use temperature monitoring software to see if anything is unusually hot. A heatsink may have partially popped off somewhere and not have a good thermal mating any more.
    • Run memtest86 overnight from a bootable disk (not from within OS X) in order to fully test all of the RAM. If you run it from OS X, then the RAM reserved by the OS cannot be checked.
  16. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    There's nothing special you have to do. Just convert a few videos. It should automatically take advantage of all your cores.
  17. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    A diagnostic is software that talks directly to hardware - without even an OS. It may boot from a CD-Rom, USB, disk diagnostic partition, etc. It may test hardware functions that neither your programs nor OS use. Only better manufacturers (ie Apple, Dell) provide comprehensive diagnostics that test every component; one at a time.

    For example, your disk drive manufacturer provides a comprehensive hardware diagnostic only for that disk drive. It does not test anything else. And it is the best test of that disk drive. But that is only one test.

    Computer manufacturer diagnostics do that for every component. For example a manufacturer's diagnostic will even have one test only for memory. It will do what Memtst also does.

    Running multiple diagnostics simultaneously does little that is useful and does not increase stress. And means diagnostics are running under the OS - that is bad. Diagnostic must run directly on hardware - which means no other software can execute.

    Search for and download "Apple Hardware Diagnostic" for your hardware. Best is to first execute it at room temperature - as is. Also best is to execute that diagnostic when hardware is good - so that one knows how to execute it and can recognize a defect (change) later if necessary.

    Most of your questions will be answered by just doing it.
  18. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    In general, just pick one of the profile, and convert a Full HD video, then Handbrake should able to use all cores.

    There are lots of setting in Handbrake, but those advance setting usually will only cause less CPU loading (speed limited by something else).

    Also, low resolution video may not able to fully utilise all CPU cores as well.
  19. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    Okay, I'm going to run them today. i shouldn't have too much issue getting diagnostic software for this machine since it appears to be the original built/components from the factory.

    @MacStu09 @ActionableMango

    Yes, i did get what i believe was a good deal. i got the Mac for £870 + £40 Shipping. (£910). usually i see these Mac's begin at £1000 at the cheapest, and those tend to be other very poor condition macs that may have been rebuilt from 2009 models. (Inc scratches galore, and bent handles)

    The Mac landed on the corner of the handle, the one closest to the ROM Drives. It ended up popping off the handle a bit from the main frame on the other side. see pictures. The sellers first offer was to reduce price by £50. but i'd rather more like £80-£100.

    In all honesty, its not been my intention to keep this Mac Pro - i'd like to own one for keeps, but i want one in immaculate condition with the original Box. I bought this one with the intention to sell it in about 6 months or a year max. just to build up my blu ray collection into a digital collection. so its never been my concern about how great the condition of the Mac is, but mostly its functionality - as i want to trust it won't die on me and is also fit for resale when I'm finished with it. When i have a bigger budget i will be looking for one of this mint condition ones.


    specs are 12 Core 2010 (Original not 2009) Mac Pro / 2.66ghz / 12GB Ram / 5770 / 2.5TB. no mouse/keyboard/monitor included.

    I wouldn't mind some opinions on what should be the right price reduction for this damage?
    it will be hard to come by this type of Mac for that price again, most buy it now prices for £800 are just for 8 core Mac Pros. 12 cores are usually 1200 or more.
  20. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Oh, it's handle, not a foot. That's not too bad.

    Others who have had theirs damaged was on the bottom and so the MP didn't sit straight.
  21. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I bought a 4,1 pre-damaged (bent foot) for a $200 discount (this was three and a half years ago, when MPs were going for a lot more than they are today), named it Stephen (as in Hawking), upgraded the CPU and RAM and threw in a bunch of SSDs, shored it up as required, placed it in an air conditioned machine closet and its been rocking steadily ever since, out of sight but definitely not out of mind.
  22. firedownunder macrumors regular


    May 5, 2011
    If it checks out clean I wouldn't worry about the damage. I bought my 2009 4.1 5+ years ago, one handle was crushed in shipping. I got a hell of a deal (@ the time) so I let it go. Lot's of upgrades since, still runs like a tank :)

    Regarding cleaning, I agree with Machines, don't used compressed air. Slight chance of moisture. This does the job quite well:

    Word to the wise, use outside :cool:
  23. iOrbit, Mar 29, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016

    iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    depending on wether i get much in the way of responses to this new reply, i may make a new topic.

    but so far:

    Diagnostics test / AHT - no issues found (will repeat this after the systems stress tests have run some more)
    @westom my MP is still running GeekBench 3 (going to stop when it reaches 24 hours) but i stopped running Heaven (i'll probably give the machine another round of GPU testing) after 2-4 hours of some GPU testing (with geek bench 3 still running) would that be a good time to shut down and run the AHT test after heavy use?

    Memtest all 2 + Memtest all = no issues detected (I will run this a couple more times)

    Geekbench 3 stress test - 22 hours - no crash or issues otherwise. @raymanster

    Heaven (mac gpu stress test) - 16 or so hours on max settings i think - no crashes or issues, just very low FPS

    @Machines did you mean i should run Valley/Haven/Luxmark simultaneously at the sometime i.e. per "space" on os x? for how long?

    @JimmyPainter - regarding Furmark, is using "Geeks3D - GPUtest "FurMark (OpenGL 2.1 / 3.2) the right one for the job?

    some comments;

    The Superdrive appears to not be working - wouldn't the Diagnostics/AHT reported this? everytime i pop a disc in the tray, it attempts to read it once or twice momentarily before ejecting the disc (tried multiple discs).

    GPU Fan is a bit noisy - seller says giving it a clean (compressed air i assume) will probably solve it.

    there is a low pitched noise (just about noticeable) emitting from the PSU at the back where the power cable goes in - it sounds electrical, hasn't failed during these stress tests but probably isn't normal?

    can anyone give any comments and advice on these findings?

    I'm very surprised that the Mac Pro fans have not been spinning loud throughout all this - including the GPU fan.

    the CPU Temps running geek bench 3 stress tests remains at 64c CPU A and 54c for CPU B - is this temperature difference normal?


    GeekBench Benchmark result;


    Geekbench 3 stress test

    Heaven settings that i did the stress test on

    1st memorytest

    1st AHT / Diagnostic
  24. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Noise from a fan usually indicates bearing failure. One can remove fan blades and carefully grease its sleeve bearing if wear is minor. Lot of work. But also educational.

    A failed fan often does not start on startup and without warning. Too many want to solve things by cleaning dust. A computer can be very dusty and still work just fine - as long as a hole still exists in any dust blockage. Dust typically does not cause noise.
  25. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    well its not failed to start so far, but there a consistent noise to it. when i put my finger on the fan (to stop it moving) the sound goes away completely.

    just so i'm clear, are you saying the sound indicates that the fan is failing, or the card itself?

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