Mac Pro 4,1 Single 2.66 Frugal Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pointvicente, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. pointvicente, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015

    pointvicente macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #1
    I bought a Mac Pro 4,1 with 4GB Ram last year for $500 that came with (2) 21" monitors. It seemed like a good deal. The price for a Multi-Core was so much more expensive so I opted for the frugal approach. My questions today are how can I upgrade this mac pro for less than $300? I was hoping to get some confirmation so here goes:

    1. $89+tax Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 Extreme(VEL-SOLO-X2)

    2. $129+tax 250GB Samsung SSD Pro from Fry's

    3. $150 ebay 16GB (4X 4GB) DDR3 1066MHz Memory Apple Mac Pro 4,1 2009 Quad-Core 2.66 2.93GHz

    Wow that's about $400 with the tax and shipping. Add that to the original purchase price and that's $900. Hmm. I guess i could have got a 8-core 2.26 for $900 not sure if that would have been much better. I guess its easier for me to justifiy $100 upgrades at a time:)

    I have heard horror stories of the x2 not booting as a primary boot drive. Also I've heard the trim debate and for now I'm I'll opt to turn off kext signing and enable trim to ensure speed and longevity from what I've read. Does anyone have any recommendations for drive preparation and sequence of installation? Trim no Trim?

    As far as memory I'd like to get at least 16GB for casual video editing in FCP6 (not ready for spending $300 for FCPX, although that would be nice). It looks like memory is very expensive so many different combinations could work what do people recommend 4X4GB or 2X8GB? When I read this I figured more RAM good 1333MHZ too expensive for me.

    "I edit video, and I use four sticks. I had 4x4GB and recently switched to 4x8GB. It makes a big difference. More RAM is far more valuable than triple channel, if you ask me. It's still double channel, and 1333MHz RAM is fast so unless you can afford 3x16GB, I'd do 4x8GB. "

    Anyways.. Any additional thoughts on a graphics card would be great too. I'm thinking of trying something people have had confirmed without trouble like a GTX 660.
     
  2. Pieterr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2015
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #2
  3. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #3
    The 8-core 2.26 would make sense if:
    You plan to upgrade to 3.2GHz (8 or 12-core) / Want to have 8 DIMMs

    The approach you took allows for upgrade as you can afford rather than all up front.

    Prices for some upgrade options are cheaper now, or there are better choices in GPU, processor, and SSDs.

    I would never in your situation invest in 4GB DIMMs, and start with 8GB DIMM or two and mix with 4GB if those work.

    Go with 6-core 3.4GHz or even 3.3GHz instead of 8 or 12 core.

    Go for 500GB SSD even going for an Apple/Samsung blade, costs more but faster and no issue with TRIM and good investment.
     
  4. Parigot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Location:
    Montreal
    #4
    Got the 2x2.26Ghz for $800.
    Added the Velocity with an Intel 330 SSD 180GB and it boots fine. Trim works too using Trim enabler.
    Also added 2x4GB 1066Mhz ECC RAM form memoryx for less than a $100, to bring it to 14GB total.
    Overall got no issue with the machine. Runs very smoothly.
     
  5. flowrider, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #5
    IMHO, the OPs upgrade scheme is just fine. Except I would get RAM capable of running @ 1333Mhz. This:

    http://www.datamemorysystems.com/dm61-768-x-4/

    So that in the future, if you decide to, you can upgrade the firmware to a 5,1 Mac Pro and the CPU to a 6 core 3.33 or 3.46 GHz. The single CPU 2009 Mac Pro is simple to upgrade, unlike the Dual CPU Model.

    The 850 EVO SSD is cheaper here:

    https://www.atdcomputers.com/samsun...2DuFMBrgh_iAbZm6WrJq1wfOLEopzfOPLqhoC1obw_wcB

    I've bought from ATD without incident.

    As far as TRIM goes, I use TRIM Enabler (I have 4 SSDs on two x2 Duos). I use the proper precautions outlined in this forum and have had no issues.

    As far as a Video card is concerned, I have a GTX 570 that's been been modified by MVC with an EFI. I would be willing to let it go cheap.

    Lou
     
  6. Arron Rouse macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chichester, UK
    #6
    Ditch the Apricorn and you'll be back down to your $300 limit. The 4,1 is fine with an SSD and 16GB. I've edited plenty of 1080p videos on mine (both Final Cut and iMovie) using the GT120 that came with it. I upgraded to a 7950 after four years but haven't noticed any real difference to the pace of my workflow.

    Don't sweat TRIM, you'll have a new machine long before it becomes an issue.
     
  7. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #7
    I run DU from another drive from time to time anyway to make sure all is well, which invokes TRIM. But I have also read, not experienced, SSDs slow down - sometimes over time, sometimes quiet quickly and sudden as from cloning operation. So no first hand knowledge but, I would not run an SSD w/o unless the particular device and on Mac OS X etc does not drop down in its read or write performance is all.

    Apple policy on TRIM and 3rd party is one of the reasons I pretty much have avoided even using OS X, I just don't like policy or how OS X has become iOS-on-desktop though maybe that is my age and how the world is moving (Windows 10 on phone, Surface, desktop also)

    Did not realize OP had a $300 budget for any upgrade.
     
  8. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #8
    As explained above, I agree with neither of these recommendations.

    The Solo x2 is not really that expensive, and it certainly is a good bit faster than just using standard SATA speeds. And the x2 expense would be partially offset by the cost of the needed adapter necessary for the SSD to mount in one of the drive bays.

    There has been much discussion on this forum on the value of TRIM. Using TRIM Enabler as recommended, again on this forum, is necessary for top performance of your SSD.

    Lou
     
  9. pointvicente thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #9
    I can understand that the apricorn may not be a high priority over the Ssd alone but it does push the limit up to 500mb/s read/write which might make a difference but do agree we tend to upgrade every couple years or so. My only concern is it may require some time to setup. Also i am aware that boot options (ALT) are disabled with apricorn just like my inateck USB 3.0 card. I have to pull out card temprarily to have boot options. Still have not been able to boot from a usb thumb drive. I am hoping this wont be the case with the apricorn x2 hmmm maybe i should have disabled kext signing. Great feedback so far. Great discussion.
     
  10. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #10
    ^^^^You do have boot options with the Apricorn Cards. The SSD mounted on one will act just like another storage device be it SSD, SSHD, or HDD.

    Lou
     
  11. pointvicente, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015

    pointvicente thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #11
    Yes i know it has boot capability through the OSX startup but iam talking about booting while holding down alt like this video.

    http://youtu.be/Jxnj3hq7Wg8
     
  12. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #12
    ^^^^Though I never use it, my Mac Pro will show the drives with OSs on them if I hold down the Alt (I don't use a Mac keyboard) and restart. I just did it! In the past, I've only done it to upgrade SSD software. An SSD software upgrade can not be done with the drove on an x2 card however.

    Lou
     
  13. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030

    iamMacPerson

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    AZ/10.0.1.1
    #13
    Ok this is interesting because I had that card and it kept the boot selector from showing up at all. I finally sold it as I was sick and tried of it.

    ----------

    I just clicked on that link and realized thats my video. :eek:
     
  14. Arron Rouse macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chichester, UK
    #14
    It all depends on how often you're going to be moving huge amounts of data around. I've got two Samsung 840 Pros in my 4,1 at the moment and I'm happy to have the extra SSD for $100 instead of a theoretical extra transfer speed. 300MBps works well for me. To my mind, the biggest benefit from an SSD for a boot drive is not transfer rate but random access performance which you get whether it's SATA II or III.

    How about some actual measurements instead of some-blokes-on-a-forum-said and me just being another-bloke-on-the-forum-disagreed?
    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storag...w-NAND-Goes-3D/Performance-Over-Time-and-TRIM

    I've had my 4,1 for six years now. It's always on -- less than 24 hours switched off in six years. It's always had an SSD boot drive.
     
  15. DavNeil macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    #15
    Mercury Accelsior 480gb PCIe Card Apple Mac Pro OWC Model OWCSSDPHWE2R480

    I had this (Mercury Accelsior 480gb PCIe Card Apple Mac Pro OWC Model OWCSSDPHWE2R480) card few days back and I was booting fine from it.
    I think except USB 3.0 hubs rest should be bootable. Why would one will spend 90 dollars to not able to boot? I have seen all sorts of prices on Blade Sticks as well as Accelsior cards on eBay but all these need faith and patience.
     
  16. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #16
    Do you have some real life evidence to back this up? What is the impact of not using TRIM? 1%? 10%? 50%? I have had a 256GB SSD in my Mac Pro 3,1 for a couple of years now without TRIM & performance in benchmarks & real life applications appears identical to when it was new.
     
  17. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #17
    ^^^^Of course I don't! I rely on the research and real world testing others have done. There has to be a reason MOST SSD manufacturer's recommend TRIM and that the Mac and Windoze OS utilize it.

    You're free to do whatever you want, makes no never mind to me, and certainly no skin off my nose. However, it does go against industry experts and experts on this forum.

    Lou
     
  18. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #18
    I'll split the difference… ditch the expensive SATA card and use trim.

    You don't need a mount for ssds; you can put a bunch in the optical bay. I moved my optical drive to the lower bay and use it as a shelf to support four SSDs, two of which used the optical bay SATA port and two of which connect to an inexpensive SATA3 card (ASM1061) which provides theoretical close to SATA3 speeds for a single drive.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PCI-E-Expre...673?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item564bcb4721

    Also, consider that upgrading the CPU to W3680 or 90 or X5680 or 90 (about $200) will make your single CPU Mac Pro faster than the dual-cpu 2009 MPs, with a geek bench score of about 16k.

    My Mac is the heart of my recording studio. Still running ML, so no concerns with trim issues that arose with Yosemite.
     
  19. pointvicente, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015

    pointvicente thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #19
    Interesting. The amount that someone can spend on upgrades is almost limitless. As for me i'm looking for the practical knowing that i am only looking at a year or two because I like selling and buy used. Because the technology is always changing. I put an order in for just an SSD 850 PRO for $129+tax. I suppose for now I'll pass on any cards but for $13 that does sound affordable. But just how much speed to I gain for OS/apps probably not much? Can't find any Blackmagic speed test comparisons. As for CPU upgrades cool but for now I'll save up for 16GB 2x8 RAM. I'm hoping for $100. Either 10600 or 1333MHZ will do as long as its 2X8=16.

    A couple of interesting threads below discussing both type of upgrades. I like how this guy summed it up:

    Just reading your post again, I got it!

    So using ssd or usb3.0 and getting the speed i want from those interfaces depend on "how" i will use them. So ill benefit if i use them for moving/writing purposes such as moving larger files but running apps wouldnt matter because they dont use that 500,600mb/s speed advertised on the boxes.

    Thanks so much for your explanations. Now it's clear


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1553242



    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4591431?start=15&tstart=0
     
  20. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #20
    ^^^^If you had used the link I posted above you would have saved $23.00 plus tax on the EVO (No Sales Tax at ATD). As far as the Velocity x2 is concerned, Im extremely happy with the performance of my 2 Duos. I wouldn't be without 'em. I've run my SSDs WO the Velocity cards, and my machine did not feel as snappy.

    Lou
     
  21. pointvicente, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015

    pointvicente thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #21
    Thanks Lou. This is exactly why i wanted to post here to get that first hand experience. Did you perform speed tests on the before an after or have you seen some tests done? Would like to know that on the SATA card as well. Just like to do specifically what the numbers were. As for the saving of $23 bucs. When i saw the link it was to a 850 EVO but not the pro. Typically the pros are $175. So I'd thought i'd spring for something that is known to be a little faster (so i've read) and that has a longer warranty.
     
  22. lewnworxx macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    #22
    First, the ram:

    For $25 more you can go with 3 8GB sticks from Data Memory Systems and be triple channel enabled if you later upgrade the CPU's. It makes about a 13-15% decrease in render speeds and almost a 20% decrease in memory heavy operations (baking fluids in blender for instance). Well worth the 25 bucks and you can never have too much ram.

    Graphics cards wise, I'd go with a GTX970. It's only 13-15%ish slower than a GTX980 for less and 2/3 the price, and only only 20% slower than a Titan X for 1/5 the price, and the best bit is you can put 2 of em in the box without power supply modifications or a 2nd power supply needed (and the 2 970's running concurrently are faster than a single 980 or titan and STILL cost less than a TitanX. Pends on what you're planning to do with it, but after some very careful thinking about all this I ended up:

    1st: Put an EVO 850 in to replace the boot drive.
    2nd: Put a single GTX 680 4GB mac flashed video card in.
    3rd: Returned the 680 as it was having problems and put a single GTX-970 in for less than the cost of the cost of the GTX 680.
    4th: Upgraded to 24GB (3 8G sticks) of triple channel ram to get more ram in the box, and to be ready in case I upgraded CPU's.
    5th: Put a second GTX 970 in and ran both via splitters of the stock 6 pins.
    6th: Upgraded from the 2 4 core 2.4Ghz Xeons to 2 6 core 3.46 GHz Xeons.

    For less than 1/5 the cost of a low end nMP I have one that's every bit as capable, and in several areas outperforms a nMP.
     
  23. pointvicente, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015

    pointvicente thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #23
    $436 For the GTX 970 on ebay. If I bought two of these the total would come to $872 dollars almost double what I paid for the machine. However, I totally understand the point that this still cheaper than a new low end Mac pro (MacMall $2799+tax). When you add in the cost of the used mac pro the total build would be around $1978.
    How much speed will the $13 SATA card provide exactly? Is there any Blackmagic speed tests reported on this? Thanks for the info.

    part 1 (done)
    $500 mac pro (single core 2.66, MB871LL/A)

    Part 2 (almost Samsung 850 Pro on backorder)
    $13 sata card (still considering)
    $129 SSD 850 PRO

    part 3 (still looking for reliable reasonable source)
    $200 1333MHZ 16GB RAM

    part 4 (watching one on ebay)
    $200 6-core W3680 (wow didn't realize how easy with firmware)

    part 5 (if I decide to get serious about video editing)
    $436 GTX 970
    $400ish GTX 970
    $100 CA tax
    __________
    $1978
     
  24. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #24
    ^^^^You have mentioned EVO Pro twice now. AFAIK, there is no such thing. There is the 850 EVO and the 850 Pro.

    As for the RAM, I would, again, recommend Data Memory Systems. I have been using their RAM since 1986 and have never received a bad stick. They are Mac specialists and only sell quality stuff with a Lifetime Warranty.

    http://www.datamemorysystems.com/dm61-768-x-4/

    Lou
     
  25. lewnworxx macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    #25
    Dunno bout the guys at eBay, but I bought both of mine local at Fry's and they matched the newEgg prices. Paid $332 for the SC and $345 for the FTW, both had mail in rebates, which will return $20 eventually when they are processed.
     

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