Mac Pro 3,1 Upgrades or not?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by KingJosh, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. KingJosh macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2012
    My mac pro 3,1 has 6gb of ram 800mhz(which is expensive as hell), 2 x 7200rpm hdds, 8800gt, 2x2.8ghz quad core.

    I was planning on getting more ram, an ssd for os and apps and perhaps an upgraded graphics card.

    SSD - I only have sata2 so is it worth it

    graphics card - I see the 5870 but that costs $500!!!!!!!!!! I can get the latest and greatest for pc at that price. I could get 5870 for pc at $70! Is there any other options?

    Ram - I have no page outs and the 2008 mac ram is so expensive

    question: Do you think it would be worth upgrading my components or just get the next iMac top specs when it releases?
  2. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    If you don't mind a bit of tinkering and you have some technical savvy, look up how to install a PC card into your Mac Pro. They are WAY cheaper than Mac-ready cards. I read the 6870 works right out of the box, but you can flash other cards to make it work. Personally, I have the MSI GTX550 Ti.

    Two things to warn you about this (from my experience):

    - for most cards, they use two power cables. With the 8800GT, you only have one cable in there. You can buy another cable for $5-10 on Amazon or eBay. One of the main reasons I went with the GTX550 Ti is because it only needed one cable to power it and it's still a great card.

    - You will likely lose the boot screen (no big deal?) and some software like DVD player or Steam. This depends on the card (mainly 6870 I think). I'm not sure if there's been fixes for that.

    RAM is SO expensive. I want to upgrade so bad but my 6GB is still holding up.

    It depends on what you do. If you're gaming, graphics card should definitely be #1 on your list, especially since the 8800GT seems to die out eventually (like mine and many others). If you use pro apps, then maybe the SSD or RAM upgrade will be more beneficial.
  3. Namjins macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Same Setup

    I have the same computer. I can't comment on the SSD disks but my understanding is they will still read and write much faster than the 7200s that you're using even though it isn't using SATA3.

    I upgrade to XFX 6870. I flashed mine and it works flawlessly. It is true that it will work right out of the box, but you won't have DVD playback, boot screen or support for Steam games unless it is flashed.

    I would check how much memory you use as throwing more memory in won't help you unless you actually use it. I have 10gb and have no need to upgrade right now as I don't use all of it as is.

    I'm very happy with my rig and for what I do the upgrades were much cheaper than a new mac and will carry me forward for a long time.
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
  5. longmover macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Wales, UK
    I can, the SSD upgrade is amazingly effective even with SATA II. Even better if you slot one of these babies in:

    As discussed extensively here:

    You too can have bootable SATA III glory...
  6. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2008
    The SSD (for example the Samsung 830 or some other stable one) will be the best upgrade you can make, probably. If you want the problem free solution you will not try to use a pci-card though. It has worked good for me but several friends of mine have had troubles with theirs. Long boot times etc.

    The 8800GT is still an ok card for many games actually, but buying a HIS 6870 for example is a pretty cheap affair and will be very easy to install. Just remember to buy the second cable.

    And you don't need to flash the 6870 for steam/dvd-player to work. Just follow the instructions here:

    and it will work like a charm (but as already posted, without the boot screen).
  7. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    I have the same macpro 3,1, and I think the same... "I sell or I keep and upgrade...

    I today buy the 5770 video card, works great, but yes expensive $250

    the SSD from sansung is the same if you have the new macpro... so the ssd is the same for the macpro 3,1

    BUT!!!!!!!!! the %#$#$%$# memory ram :mad: is really really expensive... 8gb is $270 on OWC... with that price if I have the new macpro I can buy 32gb!!!!

    I dont want pay $270 for 8gb ram, what a waste of money... mmm

    so I just think if I keep or sell it, total for upgrades, 8gb ram, 5770 video, 256 ssd, total = $700 :eek:
  8. gpzjock, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    OWC charge too much.

    $270 what a rip, Memory America will sell you 8 GB for less than $200:

    Or 4 GB off Amazon for $84: So $168 for 8 GB.
    Tell OWC to poke it.

    I put a 120 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB of Memory America RAM and a flashed Sapphire HD5870 Vapor-X card in my Octo; it runs sweet, fast and just the way I like it.
  9. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    thank you, I dont know memory america, is good? I see too on newegg a mushkin for $209

    about the SSD I go to a 256 samsung... that is upgrade that price is the same for any macpro, my 2008 or the latest... same price for both

    about the video card... well I brought the 5770 apple... expensive $250... I dont want flashed cards...

    but yes the real expensive thing here... is the memory ram! a complete rip off


    oh! big question, maybe a stupid question

    what happend if I buy a ram of the 4,1 model or 5,1 model for my 3,1 model? dont works? or works?

    I hear some people buying ram of the 8,1 imac model for the 7,1 model :eek:
  10. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Memory America offer lifetime warranty.

    I was happy to buy MemUSA RAM as it has a great lifetime warranty on it.

    I bought 2 sets of 8 GB from them, in 2008 and 2009. EEC RAM runs hot in my Mac Pro and module B2 hits 80ºc when stressed, so I considered failure a possibility.

    In 2010 1 RAM module failed and MemUSA replaced all 4 modules of that set for the price of postage, to make sure the pair matching was observed after replacement.

    A second module failed in 2011 and they replaced all 4 of that set again for postage cost only. I must say I am extremely impressed with their no quibble replacement service. The replacements have worked fine ever since and still hit 80ºc on a daily basis. I can't recommend them enough. :)
  11. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    thank you! I thinking on buy the mushkin on newegg for $200 8gb... is the more cheap
  12. kaputsport macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Carlisle, PA
  13. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Nice price and good RAM, Hynix are a decent brand. $70 cheaper than the same kit from OWC.

    They also have 4 GB sticks for a good price:
  14. Michael Perez macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2007
    Worth it.

    I've got a 2x2.8 3,1 to which I added 16 GB of Mushkin RAM and an EFI-flashed NVidea GTX 570.

    Smooth as butter and fast as hell on Mountain Lion.

    I'll see what the 2013 Mac Pro looks like, but at this moment, I'm more than fast enough for HD video production and a bit of gaming, which is fine by me.

    I'd say go for it.

  15. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    Hynix? page say Apex, I dont know any brand...

    a guy offer me 16gb for $200, used... maybe I buy it ;)


    wow yes, I have 2gb, more 16gb = 18gb total... more a SSD, more mountain lion, nvidia 5770 = fast as hell.... yes I want see the 2013 but for now Im more than OK, I used for web design, photoshop, some video editing... not much gaming... but I like run fast!

    how put the ram?
    4 + 4 on the bottom card
    4 + 4 + 1 + 1 on the top card


    top holds more ram, pairs etc...
  16. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    The seller is Apex, the manufacturer is Hynix if you read all the discription. 2nd hand = no lifetime warranty, walk away.
    Put the 2x1 GB in the first slot pair for fast access, then pair up the 4 GB sticks 1 set on each board.
    Nvidia make a GTX570, the 5770 you mention is AMD made and much lower performance.
  17. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    The ssd is one of the best upgrades for he mp I've ever done. There is no need for 256gb ssd, I use a 60gb drive and I get by just fine. My home directory is stoed on a wd black 300gb drive.My boot times went from around 30 secs to 9 secs. Gotta love it.
  18. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    yes I go for 128gb is enough for me...

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