Dr.Pants MASSIVE upgrade plan and Spanish Inquisition thread

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Dr.Pants, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Alright, so I have an "upgrade" plan for my Power Macintosh G5 over the course of the next half-year. They consist of RAID/HDDs, Graphics/Monitors, RAM, and XGrid/Network. I'm going to lay down the plan here in a semi-ordered manner :D

    1. RAID/HHDs;
    Currently intending to use four WD1002FBYS drives and the ARC 1680-ix8. My main question is the SAS->SATA connections; should I distribute the HDDs connections over the two internal connectors, or would one expander work fine for my setup? (BTW, RAID5) For that matter, can anybody recommend an expander from experience? Also, should I be worrying about power draw from the four HDDs I'm fitting in since the G5 wasn't made for running five total drives?

    Speaking of which, to fit in five drives? Four go into the optical bay. I have plans on making the internal enclosure fit where the optical drive sits - just need the school plasma cutter. My BIG question on hard drives is this - How can I make the already included internal G5 bracket more secure? Recently was dragging and dropping some large files and the thing sounded like a chainsaw! Pushed it in a little more and the sound died down, but in the meantime its a little disconcerting.

    2. Graphics/Monitors
    Well, I'm going to plan on running a three-display setup as my last priority - and instead of buying another graphics card, I was planning on using the dual-link DVI port on my 7800GT to power a TripleHead2Go for running two 1900x1200 monitors. The single-link DVI port would then power the third monitor. I assume there is nothing wrong with doing this on a 7800GT?

    Also, I know the best card for a PCIe G5 is the Quadro, but should I consider trading the 7800GT for an X1900 XT? I know there are different gaming benchmarks on Barefeats, but I'm going to be using FCS2 with the system; gaming is not important AT ALL! I just want to know which will be better for applications like Final Cut and Adobe CS4 over the three monitor setup.

    And as for monitors go, I was planning on getting two more DS-263Ns with a certain polariser used - probably hoping to spend for them $1100-$1200 shipped. I could get some PX2611s, but at the same time I'm also trying to match my current monitor which has said special polariser (A-TW, as for as I know). I know TheStrudel has one of these :p

    3. RAM
    Simple. I have 4GB now and want to expand myself to a good 16GB; preferably ECC, if the G5 supports it and if the "price is right", for lack of a better term . Any suggestions? I've used some non-G5 RAM in it before, but that turned the machine buggy as it was then running at two different RAM speeds.

    4. XGrid/Networking
    Alright - so there's the potential I may be getting another computer specifically to send render jobs to - first, would I NEED XGrid, or would simply opening the project in the other computer do? It would have to access my RAID array that I would be putting in my G5 in the first place; furthermore, networking is also a problem. Should I consider port teaming my G5 and the other computer? In that case, would I need a router that supported 9k jumbo frames or could I just connect NICs?

    Also, for XGrid, would I need OSX server on one/both machines?


    Thanks for taking your time to answer my questions.
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Use one of the included :)D) fan-out cables. :)

    Each drive gets it's own port, so you don't sacrifice any of the bandwidth. :D

    You can run an SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 cable from the remaining internal port out one of the PCI brackets to an external enclosure. Combine it with the SFF-8088 port on the back of the card, you can run up to 8 drives externally this way. ;)

    Or do you mean to use more drives than that (9+) externally (presumably for future expansion), and actually do need SAS expander(s) + enclosure(s)? :confused:

    If you want more drive externally than you can do with this card, you might want to consider getting one of the other models with additional ports. It's going to be cheaper than a SAS expander (rather expensive items).

    If you can give the details about this, it would help significantly. ;)
  3. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Nano, by the time I need more then 8 external drives I will have upgraded my system completly to a MacPro.;) Which I should be doing in the first place, but I want to work and expand with what I have.
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Quite understandable. ;)

    At least you can transfer the RAID gear when you manage to get another system. :D
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008

    I bought my Quad with 4Gb Apple Ram (4x1Gb) and added 2 x 2Gb Kingston Value Ram 533Mhz.
    It runs absolutely stable and all modules run at the same speed with exactly the same timings.

    Just ensure that you by 533MHz Ram, 667 could work, but the G5 is pretty picky in terms of Ram.

    ECC Ram is still very expensive and from my point of view not worth it. The 4Gb Kingston Ram cost me about 70€. If you planing to buy, just do it, the prices for DDR2 Ram won't fall.
  6. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    ARGH! Should I go up to a 1680ix-12 then? Nothing like an upgradable DIMM as a cache - is there a limit to the DIMM size on that model? Furthermore, what could I expect as a performance difference as the cache increases :confused: Just a point of interest.

    Thanks. I was wondering if I should stick with something off of OWC or just hit Kingston. Thanks for the expirience. :D
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I would do it. :p

    Extra ports are a good idea to have for future expansion (less frequent card replacements, which get expensive). The cache limit is a 4GB stick (DDR2-533 ECC UDIMM) on the 12 port or larger. Make note of the arrangement (x4 won't work, so use x8 or x16).

    Just look for the correct specs, and go by price. :)
  8. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Well, fortunatly my machine's spare PCIe lanes are pretty empty, so there's plenty of room. I did note that from looking at the specifications previously. :D

    Okay - just wondering if it was that simple. I'm always making things too hard!
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    What are thier operational lane capabilities though?
    It's an x8 PCIe 1.0 card, so if you run it in a smaller operational slot (i.e. x4), it will slow you down in terms of max throughput.

    This time, yes. ;)

    Other things, such as the RAID details, will cause all kinds of aggravation if you get it wrong. :eek: :D :p
  10. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Well, my G5 has labeled an x16 slot (where the graphics card lives), two x4 slots and an x8 slot. They probably are PCIe1.0; can't find info from Google, MacTracker, or System Profiler to prove otherwise. (I may not be searching all of the Profiler, though).

    Currently I don't have plans for any other expansions that go beyond x8, so I think I'm fine in that aspect.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's PCIe 1.0 ;)

    The 2.0 variant is just arriving now. Boards that support it are out, but few peripheral devices yet. Atto has already released a few cards that are x8 PCIe 2.0. PCIe based Flash drives are potential candidates that could make use of it as well.

    At least you do have an x8 slot available. :D
  12. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    Not it isn't. The X1900 is better than any of the NVIDIA cards, even with half the vRAM.

    Absolutely. The X1900 walks all over it. Even a flashed 7800 GTX with 512MB can't keep up.
    I've tried the X1900/7800GT/7800GTX and ended up keeping the X1900.

    There isn't much point in doubling your ram costs for nothing.
  13. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Thanks a lot! If somebody else chimes in on this, I'll probably end up with the X1900.

    Alright, nix on the ECC RAM ;) Thanks for your opinions on this.
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Well, which Quadro were you referring to?

    From everything I know the X1900 is something like 1.8 times faster than the GeForce 7300GT at some things. At least on the 2006 Mac Pro. It was initially faster than the 8800 too but I've read people here saying that driver updates which came later, "fixed" that. ;)

    Seconded. ECC is just slower and more expensive. I read that the G5 can use either ECC or Non-ECC. At least for the Xserve G5 anyway.
  15. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    The Quadro FX 4500.

    Well, the VRAM size halves for some reason - and its versus an OpenFirmware 7800GT. Games perfer the 7800, but I'm not playing games on the machine.

    Same on the Powermac G5. It says in the manual to install ECC and non-ECC RAM in pairs and not to mix and match the two, ergo it must take both. ;)

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