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mk3s

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2020
5
0
Hello! - MacPro noob here. I just received a MacPro6,1 with Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5, 12 GB ram and 256 GB ssd. I'm interested in upgrading it but wanted to know what would be the best "bang-for-the-buck" upgrade to start. I'm familiar with this guide (http://blog.greggant.com/posts/2019/05/07/the-definitive-mac-pro-2013-trashcan-guide.html) and will likely use that to figure out what I can upgrade and what to upgrade each component with but that guide doesn't (at least from an initial read of it) really go into what to upgrade first. I'm interested in any and all upgrades. I don't have any real plans for the device other than to look cool on my desk but if I could get it to an acceptable place (relative to a modern MacBook) performance wise Ill likely use it for some home-lab type stuff. For those out there who have this same model, what did you upgrade first? What do you think gave you the biggest performance boost? Is there anything I should avoid upgrading or maxing out such that I don't run into additional thermal issues?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!
 

MikkelAD

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2018
188
30
Hello! - MacPro noob here. I just received a MacPro6,1 with Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5, 12 GB ram and 256 GB ssd. I'm interested in upgrading it but wanted to know what would be the best "bang-for-the-buck" upgrade to start. I'm familiar with this guide (http://blog.greggant.com/posts/2019/05/07/the-definitive-mac-pro-2013-trashcan-guide.html) and will likely use that to figure out what I can upgrade and what to upgrade each component with but that guide doesn't (at least from an initial read of it) really go into what to upgrade first. I'm interested in any and all upgrades. I don't have any real plans for the device other than to look cool on my desk but if I could get it to an acceptable place (relative to a modern MacBook) performance wise Ill likely use it for some home-lab type stuff. For those out there who have this same model, what did you upgrade first? What do you think gave you the biggest performance boost? Is there anything I should avoid upgrading or maxing out such that I don't run into additional thermal issues?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

I bought the same model 1 year ago and have pretty much searched for every possible upgrade regarding CPU, RAM, SSD and GPUs.

My machine is not used for professional work but I upgraded the CPU, RAM and storage option. I had fun upgrading it, gained some performance and the value of the machine is of course better in a sale situation.

I expect your machine to be equipped with D300's. They are fine for most tasks and switching to D500's or D700's is very expensive and makes no sense in terms of gained performence in most cases. If you don't need a really capable GPU I wouldn't bother searhing for eGPU options via Thunderbolt 2.

I would say changeing the CPU will give you the biggest diffrence in terms of performance. Any 8-core, 10-core or 12-core option are a viable options and shouldn't give you thermal issues. In most cases I would let price determine my choice of CPU. If you find a good deal on a 8-core and don't need a little extra multi-core performance from the 12-core I wouldn't hesitate.

In terms of RAM getting a total of 16GB and taking advantage of quad-channel memory will probably give you a little performance boost. If you don't need a whole lot of RAM I would look for 4*8GB sticks which can be bought pretty cheap these days.

In terms of storage options it depends on external vs internal solutions and speed vs capacity:


Hope it helps...
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Sep 15, 2015
2,223
1,707
Portland, Ore.
Upgrading the RAM to 32GB or 64GB is the easiest and most cost effective upgrade you can make. The flash storage is the only other thing I recommend as user-upgradeable, but there's no point unless you need extra capacity.

Apple support documents on upgrading memory and flash storage:

Mac Pro (Late 2013): Installing or replacing memory

Mac Pro (Late 2013): Removing and installing flash storage

I strongly advise against upgrading the CPU. It is not a user-serviceable part. Not even Apple's own technicians are allowed to replace the CPU. It is available pre-installed on a new CPU riser card only. While some people have had success upgrading it, others have not. Several people on this forum have reported problems with their 6,1 after installing a new CPU that range from intensive resource use, overheating, and failing to boot. Special tools are required for dissembling and assembling the 6,1. Please don't follow a 3rd party tutorial or YouTube video for working on the machine. Only Apple's instructions in the technician guide should be followed. Someone uploaded the guide to a thread on this forum with "LED diagnostics" in the title.
 
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MikkelAD

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2018
188
30
I strongly advise against upgrading the CPU. It is not a user-serviceable part. Not even Apple's own technicians are allowed to replace the CPU. It is available pre-installed on a new CPU riser card only. While some people have had success upgrading it, others have not. Several people on this forum have reported problems with their 6,1 after installing a new CPU that range from intensive resource use, overheating, and failing to boot. Special tools are required for dissembling and assembling the 6,1. Please don't follow a 3rd party tutorial or YouTube video for working on the machine. Only Apple's instructions in the technician guide should be followed. Someone uploaded the guide to a thread on this forum with "LED diagnostics" in the title.

If you don't have a little experience and the right tools or willing to buy them I would also suggest keeping the original CPU.

That being said, a little patience and thoroughly following guides on iFixit goes a long way...
 
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ek9max

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2011
201
24
I'm in the same boat. I just upgraded my storage to an XPG SX8200 PRO 1TB. I have an e5 2667v2 8 core in the mail to replace my 6core processor. Gonna sell that once I replace it.
 
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mk3s

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2020
5
0
Thanks every one! I'm thinking ill start with the RAM and move to the SSD after that. For the RAM, does it make sense to get two 32 gb sticks so that I can eventually upgrade all the way to 128 gb of ram? Also for the SSD, does using a non-Apple SSD (like the one from OWC) result in any known issues? As for the CPU, if I was NOT to upgrade the CPU (which is the quad core), would upgrading the ram by A LOT have minimal effect since the CPU is only quad core? Thanks again!
 
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ek9max

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2011
201
24
Thanks every one! I'm thinking ill start with the RAM and move to the SSD after that. For the RAM, does it make sense to get two 32 gb sticks so that I can eventually upgrade all the way to 128 gb of ram? Also for the SSD, does using a non-Apple SSD (like the one from OWC) result in any known issues? As for the CPU, if I was NOT to upgrade the CPU (which is the quad core), would upgrading the ram by A LOT have minimal effect since the CPU is only quad core? Thanks again!

Do you see yourself needing more than 64gb? I have 32 gb and can't see myself needing more.
 
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MikkelAD

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2018
188
30
Thanks every one! I'm thinking ill start with the RAM and move to the SSD after that. For the RAM, does it make sense to get two 32 gb sticks so that I can eventually upgrade all the way to 128 gb of ram?

Again it depends on your future use of the machine. Look at this:


but keep this in mind:


Also for the SSD, does using a non-Apple SSD (like the one from OWC) result in any known issues?

It shouldn't give you any problems but maybe consider installing a heatsink so the SSD won't thermal throttle. I don't think anyone has made extensive tests of heatsink vs no-heatsink but a separate heatsink is pretty cheap...

As for the CPU, if I was NOT to upgrade the CPU (which is the quad core), would upgrading the ram by A LOT have minimal effect since the CPU is only quad core? Thanks again!

Tough to say. The effect will most likely vary depending on your workflow, but getting 64/128GB makes no sense in my head if you won't upgrade your CPU now or down the line...
 
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mk3s

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2020
5
0
Do you see yourself needing more than 64gb? I have 32 gb and can't see myself needing more.
I'd like to put a bunch of VMs on here and run them simultaneously. I know this can eat up quite a bit of RAM. I mean 128 seems like a lot even for 10 VMs (for example). I also just think it would be cool to have a machine with that much RAM haha.
[automerge]1594403980[/automerge]
Again it depends on your future use of the machine. Look at this:


but keep this in mind:




It shouldn't give you any problems but maybe consider installing a heatsink so the SSD won't thermal throttle. I don't think anyone has made extensive tests of heatsink vs no-heatsink but a separate heatsink is pretty cheap...



Tough to say. The effect will most likely vary depending on your workflow, but getting 64/128GB makes no sense in my head if you won't upgrade your CPU now or down the line...
This is what I figured - if I want to put 64 or 128 ram in this machine I better be willing to upgrade the CPU somehow. OWC has a mail in option that I wouldn't be above doing. But I've watched the CPU upgrade video by a few people and it seems doable - even for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience. I'm patient and good at following directions so it doesn't seem out of reach.
 
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MikkelAD

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2018
188
30
This is what I figured - if I want to put 64 or 128 ram in this machine I better be willing to upgrade the CPU somehow. OWC has a mail in option that I wouldn't be above doing. But I've watched the CPU upgrade video by a few people and it seems doable - even for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience. I'm patient and good at following directions so it doesn't seem out of reach.

Well, get on eBay and look for E5-2697v2 CPU, 64GB or 128GB suitable RAM and don't look back :)
 
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nosajgames

macrumors member
Apr 28, 2015
35
7
Long Island, NY
Receiving mine tomorrow, looking forward to upgrading the SSD from the 500gb to 2TB if possible as I have a HD enclosure with 4 drives that was pulled from my Mac Pro 1,1

3.5 GHz 6 Core Intel Xeon E5, 64GB Ram, Dual AMD FirePro D300 2GB cards
 
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yellowbunny

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2010
169
119
I went from the 4 to 12core. I’ve never done anything like this before and found the process very easy following ifixit guide. Also got 64gb ram and 1tb ssd in si tech adapter. All very straight forward.
 
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Macinsquatch

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2015
79
26
I went from the 6 core to the 10 core E5-2690 V2. I chose that over the 12 core for single core performance and higher sustained turbo frequencies as more cores are used. Easy install, take your time and it'll go well. CPU's can be found rather cheap on Ebay these days.

Source for turbo scaling: Mac Pro CPU Scaling
 
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nosajgames

macrumors member
Apr 28, 2015
35
7
Long Island, NY
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GlynJones

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2005
325
2
A couple of days ago I got a Mac Pro 2013 6-Core 3.5GHz, Dual D500, 16GB RAM 512GB SSD machine and so far quite pleased with it.

I'm the same in that I would like to do some upgrades to it. Happy with the 6-Core 3.5GHz and Dual D500 but would like to upgrade the memory at some point.

What I would really like is to upgrade the SSD to an 2TB NVME but have read conflicting reviews on the Samsung sticks with heat being a problem. Can anyone recommend any 2TB sticks that don't have heat issues that are compatible with the Sintech adapter?

Thanks.
 
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