late 2006 MacPro upgrade - pointless or not?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sepp, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Sepp macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #1
    Hi community,

    I have been a MacPro user for almost four years now - very happy so far.
    It's a 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon model with 3x250G hard drives (maxed out - need bigger ones anyway). Only 4 x 1G RAM.

    I did use the machine for the whole Adobe CS package in the first place, storing foto's and of course surfing the web.

    The latest development is that I started doing video editing. I'm learning how to use FCP, but for now I'm just doing the simple cut & past plus editing sound.
    That may change in the future.

    There's three options for being future proof:

    1. buying the new top of the line iMac!

    2. buying a new MacPro (8 cores max - the 12 core is by far out of my reach)

    3...this needs some more explanation:

    I would hate to see my old MP go! I could sell it for 1100 euros, but asuming that a new 8-core costs at least another 2000 euros, I am seriously looking in the possibility of upgrading CPU, RAM and HD's to make it work for me another four years.

    Can you give me advice on, whether...:

    - ...it makes sense financially (compared to e new 8-core)?

    - ...it is feasible from a technical standpoint (I have people who might be able to help me on that)? How about Compatibility?

    - ...I really could get a fast machine, which compares well to a new MP?


    Does anyone of you have experience with upgrading MP's? Any cost estimations?

    What kind of bugs me, if I buy another MacPro, is that it looks exactly the same as the old one (don't get me wrong - I love that design). That's why I would hate to sell my beauty. Would like to work on a durable relationship, haha...

    Thanks for helping,

    Joe
     
  2. Ravich macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    Do you use multiple hard drives for any reason in particular, or do you just want plenty of space?

    Honestly, if you dont have a reason for using multiple internal hard drives, and you dont use the PCI slots, then you should consider the iMac.



    The Mac Pro is more upgradable, but it is apparent that you havent really been putting that feature to all that much use.

    Are you happy with your display? If you are, then I would just stick with your Mac Pro. Buy a sizable HDD for storage, and then get a small SSD for applications and the OS. Also upgrade to 8GB RAM. If you can wait, why not wait? Most applications cant even use all of those cores on the recent Mac Pros anyway.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #3
    You could upgrade your current Mac Pro's CPUs to dual quad cores making it an 8-core. X5355 goes for 300-400$ each and it runs at 2.66GHz. The 3GHz X5365 goes for 500-600$ each in eBay. Then add 4x2GB of RAM for 270$ and spend a hundred or two for some HDs. So you would be looking at a total of 1000-1200$ for the upgrade. Another 200$ if you want better GPU (ATI 5770).

    Those upgrades would make it a totally new machine and would bump its resale value in the future.
     
  4. Detig macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #4
    I'm sitting more or less on the same fence (not considering the iMac though).

    My decision on upgrading a similar Mac Pro 2006 or move on to a newer machine in the near future depends on the possibility of slapping a Radeon 5770 on my current machines. The Radeons on the new iMacs are no longer EBC but efi64 and not supported on our Mac Pro. The jury is still out on the actual upgrade cards Apple will sell shortly. A couple more weeks and we should get that sorted.

    Having said this though, the upgrade on the base Mac Pro is underwhelming to say the least and Sandy Bridge processors are just around the corner.

    Anyway, if you are keeping your current Mac Pro get a SSD even if a small one. It makes a heck of a difference on the day to day usage.
     
  5. jsurpless macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    #5
    I've also got this machine and am wondering what I want to do... for me, I think that the processors are fine - the only thing is the graphics card... really hoping that the ATI 5xxx is released by Apple and is compatible with our machines...

    Off topic question - I posted another thread about CPU power usage... for some reason, mine do not idle like they used to... do you guys know what your CPUs (5150) are drawing (like via Hardware Monitor)? If you can tell me, I'd really appreciate it because I would very much like to figure out what's "wrong" with my MP...

    Also, I wonder if I were to upgrade to 5355 or 5365 - would the power issue go away? Or is it something to do with the MP itself? I wish I knew :-(
     
  6. Sepp thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #6
    I got the different HD's because I wanted to separate Windows from OSX< and have one disc for the operating system/applications only, so I guess the SSD makes sense, as you suggested.

    I'm not the kind of guy who expands all the time, but I like the fact, that the MP allows me to do that, when I want to do it. That's what worries me about the iMac.

    I am happy with my display, but I definitely want to go bigger - I am strongly leaning towards the upgrade option, rather than buying an iMac.


    So I need two of those CPU's you mentioned? Those need to complete the current CPU's or replace them?
    As far as RAM and HD's go everything seems clear to me...
    Does the ATI 5770 fit in my old MP? - any compatibility issues I might face?


    Are you saying that it makes little to no sense upgrading my MP (not sure what you mean by underwhelming), or were you referring to the new MP base models?

    Thanks!
     
  7. jsurpless macrumors member

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    Aug 6, 2009
    #7
    Also, what's the difference between buying it on eBay, as opposed to somewhere else?
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #8
    You need to replace the current CPUs with the new ones and yes, you need two of them.

    Still unsure but I would expect it to work. Wait for some confirmations before buying.

    The CPUs OP needs are discontinued meaning that they can only be found from eBay though some resellers might still have them but they are cheaper from eBay

    @OP: Even if you upgraded to 3GHz 8-core, it would be about as fast as 2.93GHz quad is so personally, I would sell it and get a new one or just put some more RAM and wait a year for Sandy Bridge. Not really worth it to spend over a grand for upgrades on old machine

    http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/
     
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #9
    I would suggest upgrading your processors and wait for sandy bridge next year. This and add more ram and an SSD. Should put you over for awhile. I got rid of my 2006 Mac pro after I upgraded from 2ghz quad to 2.33ghz octo and grabbed a 2008. The upgrade is definitely noticeable. I just wanted the 64 bit EFI. Allot depends on your software your using.
     
  10. Detig macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #10
    I was looking at the pros and cons of both options. There are valid reasons to go either way, it really depends on; i) use given to the machine; ii) budget; iii) whether you want the machine to last you another year or longer.

    I was referring to the Mac Pro 2010 base model. The differences regarding the Mac Pro 2009 are small (slightly speedier cpu, bigger hdd and better graphics card) and you will not be able to upgrade to Sandy Bridge cpu's next year since they will use a new socket.
     
  11. Sepp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    #11
    ok, back at my initial question...I don't understand why a 3GHz octo would be about as fast as a 2.93GHz quad? Are there limiting factors inside my old MP's body, which don't allow for more output?

    That would answer my question if it makes sense to upgrade? If I do upgrade, I like to believe that I again would have a state of the art machine, or are there other components which are not changeable, or too expensive (whole motherboard e.g.). My question sound a bit naive, but I'd like to figure that out, as the investment for something new is quite a big one...

    Also: what's the story with the Sandy Bridge? Just e new CPU generation I guess, like every year, or something major?
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #12
    The 2.93GHz quad is newer architecture which provides better clock for clock, core for core performance. It also supports Hyper-Threading which means that every core can handle up to two threads. HT can boost by up to 30% in some tasks. The new ones use faster RAM as well, it also boosts in benchmarks at least.

    Is the current machine fine for you in terms of processing speed? You could add more RAM and buy a new HD or two as HDs you can use in the new machine as well. If it serves you fine, don't upgrade the CPUs. Use it as long as you can, possibly for next Mac Pro update and then do the upgrade.

    Sandy Bridge is new micro-architecture, just like Nehalem was an upgrade from Core micro-architecture. It will again provide better clock for clock, core for core performance i.e. better overall performance. It's annual so nothing revolutionary but better performance for same $
     
  13. Sepp thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #13
    ok, good explanation - Thanks.

    Right now I have FinalCutPro running in the background, and it takes forever to do some clip analysis. Rendering same thing - I guess those things are relying on processor power, aren't they? Or would do lots of RAM do the trick for me?

    Other then FCP I use photoshop, illustrator, but never had issues there.
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    Yeah, those are relying on CPU power. However, FCP is single-threaded AFAIK so 3GHz 8-core wouldn't be that big upgrade because it's only 330MHz faster than your current is. However, 2.93GHz quad would be faster because it goes up to 3.2GHz due Turbo plus better architecture means faster performance.

    IMO the best deal for you would be the 2.66GHz quad refurb, it's 2149$ so you only pay few hundreds for it (assuming there are refurbs in your country).
     
  15. qaq macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    #15
    In same boat

    I am getting
    2X Xeon 5160 they are dual core but 3Ghz and for your app load they would only be slightly slower the the new shiny quads
    You can get them off ebay for about 100+/- for a matched pair
    you can pown your current CPUs so the total cost of upgrade would be $50+/-
    A decent SSD for boot/apps 60GB OCZ Vortex 2 is about USD 170

    4GB RAM will be about 115 +/-

    if you need a videocard you can get 4870 for about $250

    So total cost of upgrades will be $320-$570
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #16
    Only $100 for the pair?

    That sounds mighty low.

    I did that upgrade a year or so ago.

    It is important to factor in what you can get for the matched 2.66s (5150s)

    I bought my two 5160s each separately for about $150 each. but was able to get $300 for the matched 5150s as I could rightly claim they were Mac Pro units, likely a 2.0 Quad user bought them.

    So my only real costs were shipping and EBay/Paypal fees/taxes/charges/commissions. And that will be more than covered some day when I sell it for more than a 2.66 Quad would fetch. An upgrade that paid for itself.

    FYI, in many apps, my older Quad 3.0 feels snappier than my much pricier Octo 2.26. Most apps are still single threaded, and that "Mhz" number isn't just a myth. (bigger is better !!!)
     
  17. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Location:
    Mannheim, Germany
    #17
    I am also considering my options here. I own a first generation Mac Pro with 16GB RAM and I am planning to upgrade in a year. I plan to spend max. 4000€ on the new machine, but on the other hand my Mac Pro does what I want and it is fast enough. I don't do any graphic intensive stuff, sometimes I convert films but that's it...i use a lot of VMware, so I need the RAM and I like the expansion capabilities, so an iMac cant be an option for me. I have 4 HDs inside the Mac Pro, giving me a total of 5TB of storage. The question is, how future proof is this machine? Do you guys think that Apple will drop support on 10.7? If not, then I think I should keep it for two more years and then upgrade.
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    The issue with it is that it runs 32-bit EFI meaning that if the 10.7 will be 64-bit only (no 32-bit kernel like in 10.6), it won't run 10.7 but we know nothing about 10.7, not even its schedule so it will last you for at least another year.

    It's hard to say atm because we don't have the information we need :( However, it will run 10.6 so even if it didn't run 10.7, it would still work
     
  19. qaq macrumors newbie

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #19
    100 is about going rate

    Got mine for 89 for a pair
    there are a bunch buy it nows for 120 for a pair
     
  20. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    Mannheim, Germany
    #20
    How do you know that 10.7 won't support EFI32? I don't believe that Apple would do that...
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #21
    I didn't say 10.7 won't, I said IF 10.7 won't support it. None of us knows does it so it's just guessing.
     
  22. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #22
    I HAD the same machine as the OP and ran into the opportunity to sell it, so I did. The reason I sold mine was that it was getting too old to update and I couldn't justify spending money on discontinued processors. If I were to dump new processors in the machine, I might as well spend a few hundred more and get a new one. I also didn't like the fact that the older models did not support booting into 64bit and they run hotter and (slightly) nosier than what Apple is currently offering. And the video card options are extremely poor unless you are okay with flashing a PC version. I wasn't.

    Final Cut Studio in it's current status, doesn't take advantage of the extra CPUs when it comes to rendering. Until it does (if ever), it favors a faster more efficient processor. I really think the iMac i7 will smoke the Mac Pro 2.66 in Final Cut Studio, and it costs only a little bit more than the value of a used 2.66. And to me it is sad that an iMac is somewhat better computer performance/value wise than the entry level Mac Pro.

    As for storage, I don't think that is a justifiable reason to buy a Mac Pro. There are just too many other external options that work great. For example, you can buy a new iMac and send it to OWC and have it fitted for eSata. Then you can run an eSata raid if you need speed or multiple drives, or buy a Voyager and have the ability to swap out bare 3.5 inch drives using FW800 (fast), or eSata (faster). I'm using the Voyager on my Macbook Pro now and it's working flawlessly and it's just as fast as the system drive. I have a collection of drives and I am able to quickly swap out a drive whenever I need to and I am able to cheaply expand my storage collection. Whenever I see a sale on hard drives, I never have to wonder "where" it's going to go in my computer. The thing I like about it the most, is that I don't have to have a drive installed into a computer spinning when I don't need it.

    If I were the OP, I would up the ram to 8GB and wait to see what Apple does next year. It's not like he's using the full potential of the machine! And, for what he's doing, he might not need anything faster in the near term. If anything, his current computer is over-kill for what he's using if for. I think he is going through that "I want a new machine justification" stage that we all go through when new ones come out. But if he MUST buy a new machine, then I think the iMac i7 is a better value (over the current Mac Pro's) for the type of work he is doing.
     
  23. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #23
    If that happens, the resale value of the 2.66 is going to plummet. Or, at least it will be hard to sell it to people that know the OS is at the end of the line. I certainly wouldn't give full value to it.
     
  24. GiantDolphin macrumors member

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #24
    Just to chime in as a MP 1,1 owner who took the aforementioned upgrade route.... I had the same machine as the original OP. I took out the 5150's and replaced them with a pair of x5365 I bought on ebay for $500 each. I also replaced my original nvidia 7300GT video card for a flashed ATI 4870. Did this several months ago. Not had a single problem yet, and it has much improved performance for intense 3D work and 4k film editing. I'm very happy with the upgrade and fine to keep using this machine until something truly special finally comes along. I don't think the new mac pros are it IMO.
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #25
    Apple's not into supporting interim products long given their history (i.e. PPC users couldn't upgrade to 10.6), and there was a front page article on MR or Ars some time back (2009). So OS X retaining support for 2x Kernels (K32 + K64) will be short-lived.

    When it goes K64 exclusively is the question. It may occur in 10.7 or 10.8, and 10.7 seems to have been delayed as the developers were pulled for the iOS project as I understand it.

    Combine this with already shrinking graphics card support, you would be advised to really sit down and examine your usage (whether or not your existing system would suffice for a long enough period of time to justify dumping anything into upgrades v. getting a new system of some sort; iMac, MP, whatever).

    I'd expect so.
     

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