How Long Will It Last..?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mrmeister, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. mrmeister macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm going to be moving soon, and I'm looking to buy a new (old) Mac. To save some money I was thinking that I'd buy either a Mac Pro 4,1 or 5,1 and do a CPU upgrade, likely to dual X5690's (2x 6 core 3.46GHz) and either 64gb or 128gb of RAM (both the CPUs and the RAM will be bought on ebay, so it depends on the offer at the time).

    The main use of this machine will be music composition in Pro Tools, with lots of instruments by EastWest and others hosted in Kontakt - hence the high RAM count.

    Other than this, the computer will be used for some video conversion, photo editing, web design/development and some general everyday tasks. I was also thinking about buying a GTX960 and using the Nvidia web drivers, so that I could power a 4k monitor (the Philips BDM4065UC looks really nice as the PPI is that of a 27" monitor at 2560x1440, so no funny scaling issues).

    Doing this, I've worked out that I can still get a full machine (I already have all the hard drives I need to get me going) for less than a Trash Can Mac Pro, and with a bit of waiting and patience on ebay or craigslist that can easily a LOT less. I just wonder how long you think something like this will last? The latest 5,1 came out in 2012, we're already in 2016 now. That's longer than any applecare that could've been bought with the computer at the time. How long do you think it will stand up against the current Trash Can Mac Pro? I get a feeling that there won't be any major changes to this design for a long time. I hope I'm wrong there, but It's been a while since it was released.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #2
    I would wait to see what June brings and then make a choice either way. I'm still rocking my 2012 and unless I am blown away at WWDC I'm holding on to it for at least another year and probably just upgrading my processors.
     
  3. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 26, 2010
    #3
    What speed CPUs are you currently running? I see 12 core in your signature. What kind of work do you throw at your mac?
     
  4. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #4
    Currently still on stock dual 2.4. I do video editing, FX, grading. Working now with Red Weapon 6k.

    Probably upgrading to dual 3.46 and getting a GTX980ti from MVC.
     
  5. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #5
    You got THAT right!
     
  6. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

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    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #6
    Upgrade to dual 6 core 3.x GHz CPUs (as you said), max the RAM, get a fast PCIE SSD solution and a couple of top of the line Titans and you will smoke (in most benchmarks) or at least keep up with a maxed nMP. The tower will probably outlast the cylinder in usefulness - non upgradable GPUs are a crippling factor, especially since Apple seem intent on crippling eGPU until Thunderbolt 3 hits the market.
     
  7. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #7
    My cMP still has AC for another year or so so it is possible to find them with it.
     
  8. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for your help guys. I think I will go down this route. The only thing that I will miss will be thunderbolt.... It would be nice to have a thunderbolt dock. I was thinking of having the computer in a different room and running an optical thunderbolt cable through the wall to a dock at my desk to run all my peripherals and monitor. Absolute silence.

    Any other suggestions for this?
     
  9. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #9
    Don't forget that if you are thinking of upgrading to dual hex-core that you need to buy a dual CPU 4,1 or 5,1. The dual CPU trays are almost impossible to find & ludicrously expensive. Buying a single CPU system with the intention of upgrading to dual is not an option.
     
  10. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #10
    Well, the nMP (Mac Pro 6,1) is basically an optimized FCPX and Logic editing machine and runs most other programs in a sub-optimal fashion or not at all . It's also basically an appliance with very disappointing upgrade options . And it's still horribly expensive with the cheapest used model for sale , the last time I checked a BIN on eBay, at 2800 bucks . You can build a very impressive rig for that kind of dough (either a cMP or a PC) .

    How long will a cMP last ? You mean, operate ? For the next decade with the proper preventative maintenance and the occasional repair . They are built that well . Learn from the forums here how to maintain and properly operate your rig - it's a bit like replacing the fluids and spark plugs and setting the engine timings on your car .

    How long will a cMP last , in terms of running your favorite programs in a useful manner ? I'm not certain as I'm a hardware tech and I do not use the programs my clients do . From feedback from most of my clients , the cMPs seem to do a decent job with most OS X editing apps - especially non-Apple apps - once properly upgraded .

    The Nehalem cMPs in particular have a lot of usefulness and future proofing . They have x16 PCIe REV 2 slots that are so nice there isn't a peripheral card you can install that will saturate its bandwidth capability (8 GB/s aggregate ) . The drive controller cards shine installed in these slots . The Amfeltec Squid is probably the most demanding card I can think of and even it won't use more than 6 GB/s . A nice mSAS RAID card from NewerTech uses 4 GB/s . These exceed 4K RAW no latency video editing speed requirements, easily . And you are primarily editing audio , which is not as demanding . And this drive throughput simply blows away the Mac Pro 6,1 .

    I would get the factory 2010-12 Dual CPU Mac Pro 5,1 if you are doing the processor upgrade yourself . It's a lot easier than upgrading the factory 2009 4,1 > 5,1 model . There is no performance difference, otherwise , between the two once upgraded , Remember to use a SMC fan utility with the 12 core @ 3.46 GHz configuration . She burns hot at load and you'll need to raise the fan rotationals properly .
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    For dual X5690, you better go for the 5,1, upgrade a dual processor 4,1 to X5690s may be harder than what you expect (unless you go for de-lidded X5690s).

    If 96G RAM is enough for you, you may consider this option, which will gives you better performance.

    You don't need a Maxwell card for just drive a 4K monitor. It's overkill and not worth to deal with the trouble if you don't need those power. I will prefer something that can run with native driver. Black screen after OS upgrade is not fun at all. But if you know how to deal with the Nvidia web driver, it's totally nothing wrong to do that.

    If you want to put your Mac in another room, you can still do it. One cable for the monitor, another USB cable for a hub, then it's done. Of course, not as good as the single thunderbolt cable option, but it's feasible.
     
  12. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #12
    I've built computers before, so hopefully maintenance won't be an issue. As for the whole 5,1 being easier than 4,1, I agree with you there, but I have been in touch with someone who offers a delidding service on CPUs, so if I did end up with a 4,1, I would just send my new CPUs to him and he will send them back bare, making it easy to reinstall.

    I am interested in what you said about temperature though. I have seen that the faster chip has a higher power draw, but I didn't think too much into it considering the size of the heatsinks. Is it really that much hotter? Can any fan upgrades be done on the machine? I recall Apple using an awkward analogue 4-pin controller, rather than the standard PWM (they can never just use standard technology, can they?). Some nice Noctua fans would be good, I have complete faith in the ones in my PC currently, I just prefer OSX. And I've already tried the Hackintosh route too, I got it working, but I really don't trust it and will not be doing it again, at least for my main rig.

    As the X5690 has a 130W TDP @ 3.46, I'm assuming that the hex core one step down (X5680 @ 3.33) also isn't worth it because it has the same TDP? Basically I either go for the highest 95W chip, the X5675 @ 3.06, or I deal with the extra heat and get the X5690. About on the money there?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 17, 2016 ---
    I'm curious as to why 96gb RAM is better performance? I thought that after Mavericks was released, OSX could utilise all 128gb RAM within the OS? It's also 8 channel. 96gb would only be 6x 16gb sticks, whereas 128gb would be 8x 16gb sticks.
     
  13. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #13
    There are only 6 channels, you can check the spec of the CPU, only 3 channels per CPU.

    It's all about can you fully utilise all 128G RAM, if yes, go for it. Otherwise, may be better to stay at 96G for optimum performance, and only go for 128 when needed.
     
  14. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #14
    Re-thermal paste every chip in your Nehalem cMP : CPU, GPU, IOH . Buy or make a filter for the front of your Mac . Get a line conditioner and a surge protector .

    The 12 core 3.46 GHz is around 30 percent hotter than the hottest chip from the factory , I have not seen any third party heatsinks used (and it's really not necessary when you can use the fan utility .) It is possible to liquid cool the 2010-12 model (the 2009 might prove trickier due to its IHS-less processor . 2 x X5675 Xeons are the fastest factory configuration and will accept factory SMC instructions for fan rotationals . So no need for the utility , unless you want to experiment .

    It's not the 96GB memory configuration , per se . It is using three identical memory modules per processor with a Nehalem cMP . Three channel memory optimization feature is activated .
     
  15. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 26, 2010
    #15
    I'm a little confused, I thought it was quad channel memory, 8 slots, 4 per CPU?
     
  16. scotttnz macrumors 6502

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    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #16
    There are 4 slots per CPU, but 2 of the slots share the same channel. So if you fill all 4 slots, the channels are no longer balanced, and memory performance is reduced a bit.
     
  17. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #17
    Thanks for the explanation, not to change subject too much, but I noticed in your signature you are using the Philips 40" 4K monitor that I've been looking into buying. How are you finding it and what kind of work do you do on it? Also any films/games?

    Thanks!
     
  18. scotttnz macrumors 6502

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    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #18
    I love it! It's the main reason I will keep the old Mac Pro for the foreseeable future. I don't do anything that a mid range iMac couldn't handle, but I couldn't handle a puny 27" screen after using the 40".

    I use it for general office work, and some photo editing. But I tend to have a lot of windows open, switching between apps, and just prefer to be able to see them all at once. I moved from 3 smaller screens, and much prefer having one big screen, and I use divvy to keep all the windows tidy.

    I'm not a big gamer, but do play Diablo 3, and Elite:Dangerous among others from time to time. It awesome on the big screen! Although obviously I don't game at 4K. My poor old GTX760 would melt.
     
  19. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    Jan 23, 2015
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    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #19
    There are four memory slots per Nehalem cMP processor . But this particular Xeon (X56xx) has three channel memory optimization . And yes, it really will affect performance . Try this little test with matching modules : Install in all the four slots of the same processor . Run GB3 . Then , remove one module (from slot 4) and run GB3 again . You should get a higher benchmark score , although with a lower amount of memory . Leave slots 5 - 8 empty for test purposes , in dual processor Trays .
     
  20. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #20
    Just curious, for those of you with upgraded Mac Pro's, the higher spec the better I guess, because that's what I'm after - how is the general use and OS performance? I've heard some people say that they just can't cut it anymore on recent OS's, just "outdated hardware and slower storage". Apparently the OS and browsing etc can feel sluggish.

    If I'm to spend this much upgrading the computer, I definitely don't want it to feel sluggish in day to day use.

    I'd appreciate if people could post their specs, OS version and generally how they feel with the system as a whole. I'd be looking to use Yosemite as its what I'm used to on my MacBook, I don't really have any interest in El Capitan, I would only use that if new software requirements forced me to upgrade to it.

    Thanks!
     
  21. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

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    Jan 23, 2015
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    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #21
    Install a fast SSD (Sammy 250GB+ 850 EVO) for your OSX and apps in HDD Bay 1 . Install another SSD (Sammy 250GB+ 850 EVO) for a scratch disk and maybe plug ins (any HDD Bay) . And a brand new 1 TB+ HDD (Western Digital Black) for your audio workflow data (any HDD Bay). A 12 Core 3.46 GHz for OS X Pro Tools is about as fast as you can expect . I'm a hardware tech, so I don't have experience with software very much . But based on creative client feedback , this is probably a very good configuration for you. There is an issue with some cMPs not being optimizable very well with Apple pro apps (FCPX and Logic) , but you should be good for Pro Tools . This processor configuration is overkill for general purpose use .
     
  22. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 26, 2010
    #22
    Yeah I figured that'd be the case. I don't really want to get my hands dirty with Apple's "Pro" apps. Since I discovered pro tools and Adobe, I've never really liked the apple versions.
     
  23. mrmeister thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 26, 2010
    #23
    Ohhhh dilemma... Sorry to keep adding to this thread, I'm just trying to make up my mind. This will end up being my most expensive and fastest computer to date (most I've ever spent is $1600 on my MacBook Pro, and $1100 on a desktop).

    I much prefer working in Mac OS X, but can't help but think I'd get more for my money if I went with Windows 10 (I already have a license too). I would be spending around $2500 on the desktop, and just feel like I have much more access to better things with building my own. SATA 3 for a start, and the option for more than 6 hard drives in this method, plus more pci slots (not having to waste one on a USB 3 card is a big bonus), but then it's Windows... And I prefer OS X.... Not sure what to do here...
     
  24. Ph.D., Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #24
    In my opinion, general day-to-day use is where the cMP does or will start to feel old (production work on a high-end build should remain excellent). A 5k iMac feels vastly faster than my nearly maxed-out 8 core 3,1. A 5,1 can be put together that will nicely outdo mine, but there will come a day when you will feel that it's slow relative to newer machines, and probably sooner than you might expect (out of the gate, even). It's all the many little improvements that add up.

    I looked at upgrading to a 5,1 myself. But no, I don't see doing that anymore. The wait is painful, but I'm holding out for the next generation. It will likely include 14 nm graphics (2x speed increase), faster SSD, Thunderbolt 3, USB-3, etc. The cMP is a true workhorse, but by that point it will feel old and tired by comparison, and all those goodies will need third-party hacks to get running, if they are possible at all. The nMP's smaller dimensions, much lower heat output and much quieter design come as bonuses. For production work, an iMac wouldn't be my first choice due to the possibility of fan noise ramping up, but a current or next-gen 5k one would crush my cMP as well.
     
  25. VinnyVincent macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    #25
    Is there a significance to installing the SDD in bay 1? I just installed mine, but I left the original HDD in bay 1, but the computer still restarted using the SDD automatically after I installed OX X onto it. Does it run faster if it's in bay 1?
     

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