Mac Pro 3,1: What can I do to make my Mac Pro Faster?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Korican100, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Korican100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
    I do a lot of video editing, and even with my older setup, I still feel like it's lagging behind for what I've put in it. Do you guys have any suggestions other than to upgrade to a newer model? I'm afraid that won't be an option for a while.

    So I'm all ears, what can be the next step to make this puppy faster? I do a lot of video editing in Final Cut Pro X, and After Effects which make use of my SSD, GFX, and CPU.

    So a high level breakdown of my system is:
    • 480GB SSD sata 6.0 via PCIe (velocity solo x2) as my scratch disk/media drive
    • 2 x 3.2 GHz (X5482) processors
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 680 MAC 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 Video Card

    also, I have a boot drive that my applications are housed on that is a raid 0 setup w/ two 120gb ssd's sata 6 r(but running @ sata 3 each).

    Also, I would add more Ram, but per Activity Monitor, my RAM is never maxxed out, even when during intense sessions. However, let me know if this is still a bottleneck, please let me know!

    Im all ears guys, I really appreciate anything you can do to help me make this better!
  2. azentropy macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    Looks like hardware wise you are pretty maxed for the 3.1 (you don't mention the amount of RAM you have). Any thing else you would do you wouldn't realize much bang for the buck.

    You can of course do some software cleanup...

    Looks like it is time to upgrade.
  3. UncleSchnitty macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2007
    Im going to assume you mean render times are slow? Realistically with that set up thats the only thing that can be slow hah.
    Unfortunately the render times are almost 100% CPU and what you have for the most part is what you have (unless you rip out the cpus but then you need to change the mobo... that would be a new computer anyway)

    Do you ever run handbreak? It converts video files to other files. If you do(or wana try) You'll see that when video is coded it used CPU almost exclusivly. You could change every pice in your computer and it only cares about cpu. My point for talking about handbreak is that final cut rendering is doing the same thing. It converts what you have to what you changed it to using...CPU.

    Im sorry to sound like a downer here because you have a great machine (same as mine :) ) Sadly CPU is your bottleneck here and not a reasonable/cost efficient thing to change.

    If its not render times you were talking about and I just went off on a rant for no reason please excuse that too.
  4. Korican100 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
    I have 16gb ram, but again, I've never witnessed it get near using all 16gb

    (sigh) ...I wonder how much my rig would go for towards a new Mac Pro?

    Yea its render time in after effects, and final cut pro x

    I wonder if I can overclock these 3.2's....hmmm
  5. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Time to sell your 3,1 chassis, transplanting your bits inside to a 4/5.1 cos you've hit the 2008's horsepower barrier.
  6. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    One way to see that it is "not" your hardware is to download Premiere 6 demo. That's if you can get it without going through the whole CC thing. Actually view this video and see what he did on his Mac. I downloaded premiere 5 in the summer of 2012 and saw 1st had what can be done. There are ZERO tricks in what you see in the video. If the next version of FCPX will work on your 3,1 it may be cost effective to try it first. Since they are rewriting it for the nMP, you may also gain by it.
    I tweaked my system to offset what Avid has been slow to change.
    When you try PP6 you will come to say "there is absolutely nothing wrong with my HW setup"! "It's the software"! :eek:
  7. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    I so Agree
    5.1 or 4.1 will give you a large boost
  8. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    CPU/MHz is not the only bottleneck. Bus speed is a major bottleneck.
  9. Korican100 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
    Thanks guys for the replies. Yea i think all signs point to BUS speed, even though I'm not maxxing out my ram, communication from the cpu's to ram just isn't fast enough? Am I in the ballpark there? lol

    I guess i have to sell my car to get a new mac pro. :(
  10. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    2009s are not that expensive. The university I work at sells them for $1200 from labs that are upgrading. If you wanted, I could look into get you one at cost, though I'm not sure how much shipping would be to where you live, so it could be prohibitive.

    To upgrade to the dual hexacores I have cost me well under $400 from eBay. It was $100 for 6x4GB of 1333 ECC RAM. Factoring in the proceeds from selling your 3,1, this could be a rather affordable upgrade that should last another several years.
  11. Korican100 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
    Well I won't probably be buying anything soon with the christmas season upon us.

    I am interested in the dual hexacore upgrade though, for when I do decide to upgrade. Do you have any breakdown on how to achieve this, when I get my 2009 mac pro?
  12. ilandmac macrumors member


    Mar 25, 2012
    Remote island
    Just upped my 2009 4.1 to 5.1

    Went thru the same path. My 3.1 Mac is maxed at 2 X 3.2 Ghz Quad core.

    Got an "early 2009" Mac pro on ebay for 850$ brought it up to 5.1 thru a procedure that's quite available on the web, just ordered two Westmere Xeon W3670 3.2 Gig 6 cores for 654$ total. Soon as that's running, will look into
    faster ram. Looking good, my 2009 thinks it's a 2010/11 !
  13. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I agree. I am using Premiere Pro CC (previously used CS6) on my 2x2.8GHz Mac Pro 3,1 with 12GB RAM & a GTX 570 plus SSD & RAID array. Rendering out Blu-ray video takes time but I doubt that it would be that much faster on a 4,1 or 5,1 that it was worthwhile upgrading. Apart from rendering out the final video everything else is as smooth & fast as I could hope so it couldn't be any faster on a newer model.
  14. gpzjock, Dec 12, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    There are many reasons to move to a newer Pro.

    A quick inspection of Geekbench scores shows the largest disparities between a 3.1 and a 4,1 or 5,1 MP are the multi-core performance (13k vs. 32k) and the memory (1500 vs. 4600): 3,1 octo, 800 MHz DDR2 ECC RAM. 4,1 12 core, 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM.

    With nearly 3 times the score on both counts you should find some speed gains in rendering.
    Does the CUDA on your GTX680 help much?
  15. Tutor, Dec 12, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013

    Tutor macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    In addition to the other great suggestions previously made to you on how to improve the system that you have, I'll make these:

    1) First, to improve Final Cut Pro X performance (if you have the PCI-e slot space), I'd consider adding an R9 280X for about $400 from here: 600473876&IsNodeId=1&name=Radeon R9 280X . You'll also need something like the $80-$120 FSP Booster to power it. Make sure that you get the next few upgrades for Final Cut Pro X as they will probably improve OCL performance significantly, just to showcase the nMP. That card may give you OCL performance in Mavercks like one of the new nMP's high end GPUs. If you later replace the system, just move the GPU to the new system.

    2) Secondly, to improve AfterEffects CUDA performance, you might sell the GTX 680 and get a GTX 780, but not one with the GK110B GPU, for about $500 to $550 from here: 600440544&IsNodeId=1 . For right now, make sure it's the GK110A GPU, unless the Open CL issues surrounding the use of the GK110B GPU with Mavericks have been resolved. Currently the GK110B causes certain applications that make OCL calls to crash. If those issues are resolved, then I'd recommend the 780 Ti which uses the GK110B, but performs CUDA renders faster than a GTX Titan. GTX cards also support OCL and should benefit you Final Cut Pro X performance. Like the earlier GPU, if you later replace the system, just move the GPU to the new system.

    3) Lastly, I'd consider getting two of these CPUs used - Intel Xeon X5492 3.4GHz 12M 1600MHz Socket 771 SLBBD. They're $300 ea., e.g. from here: . This particular seller has a 30 day return policy - so I'd recommend that you keep your X5482 CPUs until you're satisfied with the upgrade, before selling your them. Unlike the other two suggestions, these X5492 CPUs won't do you any good if you replace your system, but it you add another system you can still take advantage of the upgrade.


    I hope that the two Westmere Xeon W3670s aren't for a dual CPU system. If you have a dual CPU system, you need the 5600s because you'll need QPI communication between the CPUs - which the W3670s won't have.
  16. davew128 macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2010
    5492s won't work in a 3.1.

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