Buy a nMP or max out RAM on 5,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacProFreak, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. MacProFreak, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014

    MacProFreak macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    #1
    I have a MP six core at 3.46GHz that I use mainly to render movies and mix audio using Logic. I don't have much RAM at the moment on this rig, but I was thinking should I spend around $700 to max it out at 32GB or just sell it and bite the bullet on a nMP?
     
  2. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #2
    What are your pain points?

    Suggesting upgrades would be easier if you explained what you're trying to improve from the current config.

    Offhand, I'd suggest that if you're not seriously in pain from the current system and just want a bit of a lift - upgrading the current system with RAM may help.

    The MP6,1 is getting long-in-the-tooth. Intel will soon release better processors in the line that the MP6,1 uses - so taking the big step now might be something you'll soon regret. As soon as Intel starts shipping those new processors, either Apple will update the MP6,1 or they'll be selling "last generation" systems.

    In April I bought a Dell T3610 with the same 6-core CPU that's in the MP6,1. My pain point was that my Core i7 940 system had a hard limit of 24 GiB of RAM, and my workload needed more. I got the system in April (knowing that an upgrade was coming in fall) because with its 80 GiB of RAM my stuff was much, much faster.

    You didn't say what your current RAM size is - perhaps something less than "maxing it out" might tide you over until the next revision. Workloads that are short of RAM sometimes respond dramatically to relatively small increments. (If your jobs need 10 GiB to run comfortably but you have an 8 GiB system - you may find that an upgrade to 12 GiB or 16 GiB is nearly as fast as going to 32 GiB.)
     
  3. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    Hi MacProFreak,

    It seems like a 32GB RAM upgrade would be closer to half that price US$ if you're starting from scratch? If it's really $700 for some reason, I don't think that would be a particularly wise investment as far as value goes.

    If you decide to upgrade the RAM, I think Aiden's last point is super important - make sure you really know how much RAM you need, because too many folks just throw a ton of RAM at the problem when just a little more RAM would go a long way.
     
  4. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #4
    Exactly. Put the rest of the money into SSDs for boot drive and sample storage, or GPU if video rendering is the primary concern.
     
  5. MacProFreak thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for all the replies. My current 5,1 has just 8Gb of RAM. I thought about using OWC memory - I can go all the way to 48Gb with the processor I have, and the price for 48Gb is around $700. I also have an older (but still fast) graphics card that supports two 30in DVI monitors at native resolution (2560). Monitors are HP. Rendering movies takes more time than bouncing audio mixes, my RAM increase idea is to see if rendering times would go down. I'm using Mavericks. BTW I already have a SSD boot drive and another 1TB "data" drive where my Home folder resides, also SSD. I have a 3rd HD for time machine, and a 4th that boots Windows 7.
     
  6. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #6
    What is the estimated time for the newer processors. I'm about to buy a nMP but I can wait a few months if necessary.
     
  7. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #7
    What editing software are you using ? In general upping the RAM will have little impact on video render times. If that's what you are looking for, you might be better served with a terabyte SSD for your media or a better graphics card if your NLE uses that.
     
  8. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #8
    Soon

    My server/workstation vendors are telling me Sept/Oct for the refreshes.

     
  9. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #9
    Seems like a no-brainer to me. You have a kicking' 5,1 machine, and the 8 GB RAM is definitely a weak point. I'd just ask yourself whether pushing the RAM all the way to 48 GB is likely to be helpful, or if your workflow would get by reasonably well with 24 GB (< $300, even from OWC).

    Overall, though, I agree with the above posters. Don't upgrade to a 6,1 now, especially since you have a pretty good machine already.
     
  10. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #10
    I run Digital Performer on my hex 3.33 with 24 gigs (3 x 8 GB) of RAM and it is very happy and extremely snappy.
     
  11. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #11
    Just want to point out that the myth that W3xxx Mac Pros can't use 4th slot has been busted a few times already.

    I use 3 @ 16 and 1 @ 8 and get 56Gb running at 1333. If it has actually downclocked itself to 1066 it doesn't know about it.

    Not necessarily relevant to OP but I like to add it anywhere I see the "max is 48gb" myth typed out. It is tough to break the inertia of an oft repeated old wives tale but I think it is worth trying. Replacing the W3690 with an X5690 would allow 64gb if that ever is needed.
     
  12. MacProFreak thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    #12
    Thanks again for the replies. I think I'll go with 32GB of RAM at first and see how it goes. Is there any noticeable improvement on switching my W3690 to X5690? Both are 3.46GHz.
     
  13. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #13
    No noticeable difference at all, essentially the same thing. The X5690 just lets you use 64GB RAM.
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #14
  15. MacProFreak thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 14, 2013
    #15
  16. Sharky II macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #16
    Isn't that mac going to be 'happier' with 24GB, 3x8GB, or 3x16GB (for 48GB)?

    Triple memory and all that.

    Certainly for Logic, your machine is the sweet spot.
     

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