Looking to upgrade from MBP 8,2 to MP 5,1...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by csd, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. csd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Location:
    Ireland
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm looking to sell my long-serving early 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro 8,2 and replace it with a Mac Pro 5,1.

    My reasons for upgrading are:
    • I've started using VirtualBox to run a couple of VMs (Windows 10 and Ubuntu), and am finding the 16GB memory limit restrictive
    • Same as above (but to a lesser extent) goes for CPU threads
    • The MBP has had two replacement logic boards due to the design fault with the discrete GPU implementation. However the early 2011 models are now officially obsolete, so I'm unlikely to get another replacement should it fail again.
    • The MBP spends 99% of its time lid closed attached to a Thunderbolt display, so I'm not really using the mobile capabilities anyway. Because the lid is closed, I'm convinced the thermal performance isn't as good as it could be, hence the worry about the GPU failing again
    My use cases are pretty much everything except software development or gaming. Any video editing I do is with FCP X. I'd also like to get that Retina feeling with a 4K display and a suitable GPU. Budget for the Mac and monitor is about €1,450/£1,300. My research on this excellent forum and elsewhere has led me to a 5,1 with roughly the following specs:
    • Westmere W3680 3.33 GHz six-core CPU
    • 32 GB RAM
    • RX 560 GPU
    • AngelFire PCIe SATA-3 HBA
    • LG 27UD58 4k IPS monitor
    I'd love to stretch to a 12-core system but can't justify the budget.

    32GB sounds like plenty for now and I can always upgrade later. Am I likely to see much of a performance hit using four DIMM sockets instead of three? I understand the Westmere CPUs are optimised for 3-channel use.

    Will I be able to take my Crucial CT960 SATA-3 SSD out of my MBP, plug it into the AngelFire, and slot it straight into the Mac Pro (it has 10.12.6 installed)? Life would be a lot easier this way, though I understand there may be performance benefits to a fresh install. The reason for the AngelFire is that I don't wan't to drop back to SATA-2 and lose SSD performance. Is this something I'd ever notice in reality, though?

    Given the only GPU-intensive work I'm likely to do is using FCP X, I reckon going the AMD route is best. Has anyone any experience of the RX 560 driving a 4K panel? Will I get boot screens/recovery partition etc? The whole area of 4K and HiDPI display seems to be a bit of a minefield, but I'm not sure which were legacy problems now resolved, and which still apply.

    Thanks for any advice.

    /csd
     
  2. devon807 macrumors 6502

    devon807

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    I'm pretty sure the RX 560 will have no issue driving a 4K display. I have on the way and should be here later on this week. Everything else seems to look just fine to me. A solid plan indeed. If you can manage to find a stock 5,1 with a quad core, you can upgrade to the W3680 for a lot less if you can find a 5,1 from €350-500.
     
  3. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #3
    No, unless your daily use is running benchmark. You should not able to tell the difference.

    Not sure about this card, but if your SSD is for OS, applications, etc. You won't notice any significant difference. SATA III speed is mainly for large file copying (including zip / unzip), but not for OS ops / apps loading (small files read write). I have SATA III card, I can tell you that apart from copying large files, it's quite impossible to notice if there is any difference.

    Most likely you can never get boot screen on this card. If you looking for something good in FCPX, OOTB, and to provide bootscreen, 7950 is actually the way to go. It can drive 4K display (recommend via display port).

    And both RX560 or HD7950 should allow you to access recovery partition.
     
  4. csd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Location:
    Ireland
    #4
    Thanks for the tips! Hopefully I'll be posting in the "I've just ordered..." thread soon.

    /csd
     
  5. csd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    Well I'm happy to say I'm the now the happy owner of a 2010 cMP 5,1 - details per my sig below. Some random observations:
    • The RX 560 runs pretty well. Gets 63 fps on Cinebench and 37 seconds BruceX, which compares rather favourably with the 13 fps and 110 seconds+ I experienced with the MacBook Pro.
    • Having successfully got to recovery mode and used the Sierra installer, I'd begun to think I wouldn't miss the boot screens at all. Then the HS firmware upgrade issue raised its head, so it now looks like I'm going to have to spend £60 to get a GT120 just for this. Not ideal.
    • Day-to-day general use is pretty much the same speed as my old MBP (3045 vs 2906 on single core GeekBench). RAID0'ing the two SSDs means I'm not penalised by only having SATA-2, and the single core performance is only very slightly faster than the laptop. Where it really shines is having a few VMs open (which soon pegged either the RAM or the CPU on the MBP), and when doing rendering tasks. Another example, a simple Blender project went from taking 32 seconds to 18. Multicore GeekBench is 14,054 vs 9,277 on the laptop.
    • Unfortunately the 4K screen I ordered arrived smashed. From the small part of the screen that was working, the picture quality looked great (IPS and 4K seem to be a good combination). Looking forward to plugging the replacement in.
    • I'm really enjoying having all that internal storage. The desk is a lot tidier (no more external drives)!
    • While there's an audible background hum, it's not obtrusive. Even under load, the machine stays at the same volume level. This is a huge improvement over the MBP, whose fans used to go into warp factor 9 just to play YouTube videos.
    Overall I'm delighted. Should have done this ages ago!

    /csd
     

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4 September 3, 2017