Late 2008 Mac Pro seems slow

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ooglek, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. ooglek macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2010
    Maybe I expect too much, or need to learn about some networking or other tweaks to help things along, but I feel like my Mac Pro has disappointing performance.

    I've got an Early 2008 Mac Pro, dual quad core Intel Xeon 2.8 GHz processors, 12 GB of memory, 1.6 GHz bus, gigabit ethernet to a 25Mbps/25Mbps fiber (Fios) connection, have run namebench to find the fastest name servers possible, and I still feel like my Mac Pro is slow. Just popped in a 500GB Momentus XT Hybrid Drive to replace the 78Mbs 320GB drive that came stock to help things along. Helped speed boot times and common app load times a lot, but after things are loaded, not much is notably faster.

    OK, so I let Firefox get out of hand sometimes and I have 100+ open tabs, 4 open browsers (and sometimes 2 or 3 versions of Firefox running different profiles) -- Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari -- ssh tunnels and sessions galore, Evernote, Time Machine, and VMware running some video monitoring software (Dog Poop Cam -- gonna catch whomever is letting their dog crap in my yard).

    Even shutting software hogs down and then trying to play Team Fortress 2, granted at 1920x1200 pushing to limits of the ATI Radeon HD 2600, things are still feeling slow. TF2 in Windows seems much faster and more responsive on the same hardware -- maybe that's just the fault of Steam or Apple's lack of up-to-date drivers, but frustrating nonetheless.

    Load average is usually 0.5 to 1.0, sometimes reaching 2.0 (full load would be 8.0), memory usage is at 50-60%, and disk activity is reasonable. What is wrong? What can I tweak to improve things? Are my expectations simply too high?
  2. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2007
    I have the same machine as you, however, mine was sluggish before the new OSX update past few week came out.
    now its fast as a train and smooth.
    Some of the things that bugged me before was opening programs would stall, beach ball when right clicking and going to open with etc.

    now its all gone.
    geekbench score is 11200 still.
  3. Freis968 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2007
    Winter Park, Florida
    I agree, mine has been slow since Snow Leopard.
  4. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Not sure if this would really help, but have you reset the PRAM? Also, I'm thinking about getting a Momentus XT, how do you like it?
  5. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Intel X25-M G2 160GB SSD (or third gen, whenever its out). I had one in my 08 Mac Pro, dual quad @ 3.0GHz, 18GB RAM, GTX 285. I'm not sure what the 500GB drive you mentioned is, but I've moved on to a 27" i7 iMac, and although its fast. Having a hard drive is NOTHING like having a good SSD, makes things feel so fast.

    Also, I was unaware the 08 Mac Pro could choose an HD 2600? I thought the NVidia GeForce GT 8800 512MB was the stock choice?
  6. iamcheerful macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2008
    Information which you may find useful ...
    The 500GB drive mentioned -

    The HD2600 -

    In short
    a) the 500GB drive is a hybrid drive.
    b) the stock configuration of the graphic card in the 08 Mac Pro is an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB.
  7. ooglek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2010
    cpnotebook80: Do you mean 10.6.4? I did not see any noticeable improvement over 10.6.3.

    Freis968: Snow Leopard didn't make things slower for me, but I don't recall it getting faster either when I upgraded.

    strausd: I have not reset the PRAM recently -- I shall do so and report back.

    MythicFrost: Check out the OWC Mercury Extreme drive. If I had the money, I'd get one. It avoids the need for garbage collection (TRIM et al) by putting aside either 7% or 28% of the drive space so it can move stuff around, avoiding the 10-20% performance loss that other SSDs experience during normal use.

    The Seagate Momentus XT is a hybrid 4GB Flash + 500GB spinning disk. The firmware watches what blocks from the spinning disk you use the most and copies those to the Flash drive. Since most of the OS files, your most used applications, and other such things probably fit in that 4GB, you get SSD-like performance at boot and launching often-run apps. For everything else it's just a 500GB drive with expected speeds. The trade off is worth the $600+ fewer dollars spent.

    As an aside: While I think SSDs are great, and they definitely remove a bottleneck, I'm not sure if normal use, beyond app launching or game level loading, is really going to be that much faster. Then again, I don't have one.

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