Early 2008 Mac Pro upgrades

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by essenceofwar, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. essenceofwar macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Hey everyone!

    My girlfriend is a professional video editor at a university's communications dept, and her work rig is pretty nice, but her home editing stuff is getting pretty out of date which is making her freelance work harder. She wants to get a few more years of use out of this computer but I was hoping to help her make a few upgrades that would put some spring in its step.

    She has basically the standard config early 2008 mac pro

    In summary:

    Early 2008 Mac Pro
    Quad Core 2.8ghz Xeon
    2gb RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 video card (2x DVI)
    1x 500 gb Serial ATA HDD

    She's got both an Apple 20in Cinema display (1680x1050) and an Acer 20in H203H (1600x900) display.

    She uses both Final Cut Pro 7, and After Effects.

    Her birthday is coming up soon, and I was wondering what the most bang-for-the-buck upgrades I could get/help her with. So far I've come up with:
    • RAM - she has 8 slots supporting up to 32gb, unfortunately Mac Pro Ram (DDR2 w/ ECC) is kinda expensive, it's about $250 to go from 2x 1gb to 2x 4gb. I feel like this would make her editing work feel very different.
    • Video Card - Apple and OWC both sell upgrade kits to the ATI 5770. Again, in the $200-250 range.
    • Monitor - I think she'd really like a 1080p monitor, but I don't know if that would really help with the editing experience as much as other hardware upgrades.
    • SSD - She has 3 open bays, so putting in an SSD to use as a final cut scratch disk seems like that would be helpful.

    I'm leaning towards the RAM at this point, does anyone have any suggestions, or think any of these ideas is particularly better or more efficient than the others? I was hoping to stay in the $250ish range if possible.

  2. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    RAM first, SSD next... others dont matter so much.

    The SSD should be an OS disk and the 500gig drive into the scratch disc.
    128GB SSD's are about 100 bucks now, that works for my OS disc.
  3. rodedwards macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    Upgrade Ram

    Hi !

    It's your lucky day !!! I've just upgraded my 2008 Mac Pro from 16Gb ram to 32Gb ram and not noticed much difference in my Final Cut Pro 7 render times.

    The good news is I'm selling my 16Gb ram !!! It's 8x 2Gb chips DDR3 1066Mhz and was originally supplied with my Mac Pro when i bought it. If you're interested email me rod@rodedwards.com.

    I'd also suggest an SSD upgrade for your main hard drive and use one of the other bays for scratch disc etc. That's what i've been doing for my FCP 7 videos.

    Hope this helps !!! Also, she may like to try FCP X ... it's completely new video editing software from Apple and not to everyone's taste but is much faster than FCP 7.
  4. boch82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2008
    You wont really see much of a difference in FCP 7 with an upgrade in RAM as its a 32-bit program and can only use, (i believe) 3gb of ram. The major difference will be in the 64-bit programs like after effects (cs 5 and higher).

    A SSD as the system and application drive will make a big difference in load times of the programs and overall speed of the application.
  5. essenceofwar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thanks for the advice everyone, I think I'll try to get her the RAM first, at least 2x4gb of it, and then maybe make a move on an SSD in a bit.

    SSDs can be filled to about 75% capacity before they start noticeably slowing down, right?

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