Just purchased a 3,1...what next?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Twimfy, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Twimfy macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Although I love my 13" MBP I've been wanting something more powerful and stationary for my development work. The mass of cables and USB hubs required to get a good setup going while in clamshell mode is driving myself and the missus crazy (the beautiful array of cables is a mess apparently).

    So with a limited budget I've taken the plunge on a 3,1 on eBay for £225.

    It's the 2 x Quad Core model with 10GB Ram and it's still sporting the stock XT 2600.

    What I'd like to know is what sort of things I should be checking up on when it arrives? The seller says it's in good condition but we all know what that can mean sometimes.

    I'd like to make sure it's got at least another year left in it so any common failure points/ dust traps would be good to know. Would new heatsink paste on the CPU's be a benefit?

    As for performance I have a spare GTX 650 to go in it...I'm assuming that it'll work ok?

    Lastly, is there any penalty for running odd combos of ram in a MP? I have no idea how the 10GB total has been achieved.

    Any other useful hints and tips would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    #2
    That's a good price. I sold mine a couple of weeks back for £500

    Just check the temps are good, no odd noises. You might want to replace the hard drive if it's stock, it'll be due to fail soon.

    RAM wise it needs to matched pairs. Most people seem to use 667Mhz instead of 800 as it's practically as fast, but much cheaper to acquire. Look for used server pulls is my recommendation.

    If I had to guess I'd say the 10gb was 2x1GB (stock ram) and 4x2gb (add-ons)

    You could run prime95 and rember if you really want to give it a work out? That's what I do with used machines.
     
  3. Twimfy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

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    Sep 11, 2011
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    #3
    Thanks for the tips.

    My current MBP SSD will be going in for now while I see how I get on with the machine. I understand it'll be throttled to 4GBPS but to be honest my previous machine was a 2009 White Unibody with the same limitations and the performance was good enough.

    As for the RAM. The current owner has stated that it's all 800 and I'm freaking out about the temp issues this can cause. Would it be worth stripping it all for some 667? Or am I just being paranoid?
     
  4. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    #4
    Great addition.

    I'd just add more 667, that's what I did when I had my 3,1. The 800 will just run at the lower speed. You need to put it in in the right order, 667 in the primary 2 slots. You can just fiddle 'til it works, wrong way and the machine wont boot if I remember right.

    EDIT: I'm not sure about the 650 graphics card, but upgrading that is something you definitely want to do ASAP. I'd say SSD - GPU - RAM in that order and it looks like you'll have 2/3 sorted already.
     
  5. VikNomad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    #5
    SSD will add most "speed" to your Mac. Memory past 8Gb won't have any noticeable impact unless you run memory heavy apps. For modern gaming CPU is fast enough to give you very pleasant experience (I can tell based on my MP)

    Video card depends on your budget. Do some research but from what I found 3.1 MacPro is capable of running most of recent games in highest settings without a hitch (in win)
     
  6. bisserwesser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    #6
    I replaced the worthless native card with a Radeon HD 7950, added a crucial 480 GB SSD startup disk complementing 2x3+1 TB mechanical drives, and bumbed up memory to 22 GB (I'd go for 64 GB non-standard if starting from scratch). This has made my 3,1 good for another five-six years.
     
  7. Twimfy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

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    #7

    Thanks for all the tips guys. SSD is sorted as it's been on quite a journey with me from existing machines...hackintosh to iMac to MBP. Couldn't do without an SSD these, it's painful watching my GF's MacBook start up.

    The 10GB Ram should be enough but I'm often maxing my 8GB in Xcode + other dev tools in my current setup so it's nice to know I can go higher for not much.

    Done a hefty bit of googling as well and the GTX 650 should be compatible OOB. The only thing I'm waiting on now is the machine itself which I was hoping would arrive before the weekend but it's not coming until Tuesday :-(
     
  8. VikNomad macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2009
    #8
    To me 650 looks like a weak point. Better invest a bit more into your GPU to make your MP last for few more years. Spend $150-200 and you get enough juice to keep it going (gamewise for 2-3 years). Plus I noticed when you add more that 1 hi-res monitor video memory becomes a bottleneck. My 5870 was okay for 3x30" but far from great.
     
  9. VikNomad macrumors member

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    #9
     
  10. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68000

    bladerunner2000

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    Jun 12, 2015
    #10
    Won't matter. The CPUs are a bottleneck. Moving from 660 GTX to a 960 GTX provides only a 5% performance increase. I know firsthand as I have a 2008 Mac Pro with those cards.
     
  11. VikNomad macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2009
    #11
    With 960GTX being generally about 7-10% more powerful than 660GTX I would say you are right :) However playing on my MP I never noticed CPU being used more than 50% for any game so CPU not a bottleneck for sure.
     
  12. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68000

    bladerunner2000

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    Jun 12, 2015
    #12
    No, GTX 960 performs more like a GTX 770 (significantly faster than a 660). I built a hackintosh with the GTX 960 and my frame rates are significantly higher than they were on my mac pro.
     
  13. VikNomad macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2009
    #13
    Maybe that's the case. I never really bothered checking FPS on mine. All looks fine with my config. If I get 80fps vs 60fps I don't really bother :) Its already fast enough to run all on ultra in native.
     
  14. Twimfy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

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    Location:
    UK
    #14
    In the long term I'll likely bump up the GPU for better multi-monitor performance but seeing as I have the 650 anyway I'll live with it for a while. Really don't want to spend too much money on this thing until I know it's all up together and working ok.

    Man you need to add this to your signature, I've done a lot of MP thread reading over the past few days and you've mentioned it in almost every thread.

    I know you're only being helpful but there are people saying the opposite with proof to back it up. I'm curious to know why you're so adamant it's the case. Surely it's game and engine dependent?
     
  15. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #15
    My 3,1 has the following upgrades: Samsung SSD in IcyDock, 24gb 667 RAM, flashed ATI 7950 3GB. The thing flies in OSX and in Windows! I do play some games (though never over 1080P as it's usually on a TV), and it performs very well. I don't spend hours benchmarking games and measuring FPS, I just play them, so I can't give you any random stats. But I generally just crank the settings and it never bats an eye.

    I know it's not the experience a lot of people have, but I've never had good luck using Nvidia GPUs in either my 1,1 or 3,1. I've tried multiple and they always have issues in OS X, including random reboots. The web drivers help but then you're at the mercy of Nvidia to release timely updates. The ATI cards have been flawless in OS X and Windows.
     
  16. Twimfy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

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    #16
    Cool. I've always been an Nvidia person since I bought my first TNT2 way back in the day so have never known much about ATi cards but I'm not against switching to one soon. At the end of the day though I don't do a great deal of PC gaming, at most a bit of CS:GO if I'm not busy working. As long as I've got decent system responsiveness in OS X I'll be happy.
     
  17. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #17
    I got my 7950 on ebay for under $200. Works with boot screen and everything, so I consider it a good value.
     
  18. LorenK macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #18
    Did you put the SSD in a PCIe card to install? There is a difference between adding it by eSATA and with a PCIe.

    The other thing that I would suggest is make sure that your fan and the fan cage is clean. My 3,1 is a dust magnet and keeping it clean will keep it cooler.
     
  19. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #19
    Claiming this in literally every thread about upgrading a 3,1 doesn't make it become more true.
    I believe you that it's correct for certain heavily CPU-bound games/engines, but it certainly isn't true as universal statement. Currently I have a MacPro 3,1 here for testing, so I just took the time to benchmark my old HD 5870 (approx. the same level as your GTX 660) against my R9 280 (approx. the same level as your GTX 960). Didn't do any mods to the cards so they were both running @ 2.5GT/s. Results:

    Unigine Heaven: 1920x1200, medium settings (default)
    HD 5870: 38.5 FPS avg.
    R9 280: 54.6 FPS avg. (+ 42%)

    CS:GO: 1920x1200, everything maxed out, 4x FSAA
    No improvement at all, both cards 115 FPS

    Tomb Raider: 1920x1200, everything maxed out
    HD 5870: 42 FPS
    R9 280: 58.6 FPS (+40%)

    Metro: 2033 Redux: 1920x1200, everything maxed out, 2x SSAO. This game sadly doesn't offer a benchmark or a FPS counter, so I can only describe the change with words
    HD 5870: unplayable, looks like 10-15 FPS to me (gets playable without SSAO though
    R9 280: Way better, doesn't feel like constant 60FPS but for me it's playable. I guess it's around 25-30 FPS in average.

    Everything tested in latest Yosemite with trashed AppleIntelCPUXYZBlahBlah.kexts to restore the full performance of the R9 card (got crippled by Apple some time ago...).
    When I find the time, I'll do a more comprehensive benchmark with some more games and a Windows comparison, maybe also difference of PCIE 2.0 mod.
     
  20. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68000

    bladerunner2000

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    Jun 12, 2015
    #20
    Nope, I tried NFS Hot Pursuit (2010), Battlefield 4, Cinebench and Unigine, etc. All showed poor results no matter how high end of a GPU i put in. Lanes were set to 16x so it was set to maximum. PCIe 2.0 doesn't get saturated anyway so it wouldn't be a problem, as the differences between PCIe 2 and 3 are marginal with flagship GPUs.

    So yeah, it's definitely a CPU bottleneck.
     
  21. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68000

    bladerunner2000

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    Jun 12, 2015
    #21
    You're moving from an extremely old and very poor card like the 5870 to the 280, which is mid-tier... try moving from the 280 to a 290X or something significantly better. You won't see much improvement.
     
  22. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #22
    3,1 MP has slow memory bus (FSB) but I think its nice to have a desktop.
     
  23. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #23
    The 5870 is old, yes, but definitely not more or less "poor" than your GTX 660. They deliver exactly the same performance in many PC benchmarks, variations go up to only ± 10-20%. I'd expect the 660 to perform worse than that on OSX due to buggy Kepler drivers.
    the R9 280 is on the same level as your GTX 960, so my comparison is totally valid. Look up some benchmarks.
     
  24. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68000

    bladerunner2000

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    #24
    And both our cards perform at their full potential with even a basic CPU like a Core i5 4690.
     
  25. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #25
    Sure, I own a Hackintosh, too, the MacPro isn't mine. ;)
    For a lot of games, imho it still would be worth the money though to upgrade the GPU in a 3,1, since we aren't talking about some $1000 TitanX (my card was 190€ earlier this year). As I said, it heavily depends on what you want to do...
     

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