Mac Pro 4.1 (Worth Upgrading?)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Stageshoot, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Stageshoot macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #1
    Ok,

    First of all I know everyones needs are different but I am looking to see if people think this system is worth upgrading of if I should cut my losses and buy something new

    First, Most of the work I do is Photo/Video and involves a lot of storage so I was put off the nMP as I am not a great fan of external storage

    Current System is

    Mac Pro 4.1 (5.1 Firmware) 2.66 Quad Core 16Gb
    Boot Drive is an OWC 480Gb PCIe Blade in PCI2
    I also have a 3Tb Working File & Backup HDD in the Spare 5.25" Bay

    Main Storage is on 4x4Tb HDDs in Trays 1 to 4

    Unit works perfectly and has never missed a beat.

    I have been offered a W3680 6 Core 3.33Ghz CPU for £130 and also a GTX750Ti for running my 4k Monitor for £90

    Do you think its going to be worth throwing another £200 odd at this machine to try to squeeze another couple of years out of it

    Or would I be better off selling it now while the 4.1 Prices are still not at rock bottom, an either

    a: Looking for a Maxed out 12 Core 5.1
    b: biting the bullet and building a cheaper but faster PC Workstation based around the i7 5930k

    I am just worried that throwing more money at a 5 year old MacPro that is always going to be limited to PCIx2 etc is a fools errand in the long run!
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    IMO

    1) A maxed out cMP's performance is around W3680x2, but it will cost much more than $130x2.

    2) Setup a new PC with the most up to date spec in fact will cost even more, and of course, it only good for working under Windows, but not OSX.

    So, for cost to performance ratio, almost nothing can beat the W3680 upgrade in your case.

    The next consideration will be if the performance good enough for you after the upgrade? If yes, then go for it. If no, then any cost is extra cost, and actually not taking you even one step closer to your target.
     
  3. Stageshoot thread starter macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #3
    Thanks for the input

    I have been looking at a PC System based around the i7 5930k
    Costs to build from scratch including a decent case PSU RAM and Video card are coming in around £1250, I figure the single W3680 is going to perform about 15% less than the 5930k at stock speeds and about 40% less than a 5930k overclocked to 4.5Ghz.

    But the W3680 single should be up to what I need for now, although that has maxed out the upgrade options then for the single core macpro,,

    At the moment I figure I could sell my MacPro for about £600 leaving a £650 Cost to upgrade to the 5930k PC, (Based on removing the OWC 480Gb PCI Card from the MacPro and using it as the OS Drive in the New PC)

    I could run OSX on the PC as a hackintosh, but its a pain in the rear having to worry about OS Upgrades messing with it all the time.

    I suppose if I upgrade the MacPro for now as long as it does not expire for a year the costs to upgrade are not too bad and at least in a year or so the OWC 480Gb Blade and CPU RAM etc should still have some resale value!
     
  4. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #4
    Hello,

    As I said in another post, the single deciding factor for a 2009 MP is the CPU. Everything else (RAM, GPU, fast and big storage) can be greatly increased.

    But if the CPU limit is bothering you, look for alternatives, as a 5 year old 3.46GHz is the end of the line for the 2009 MP.

    Loa
     
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #5
    Hi Stageshoot,

    What I didn't gather from your post is what you're hoping to gain by the upgrade performance-wise. E.g. does the system feel sluggish for every-day tasks, or are you looking to increase encoding performance when exporting a video? You don't mention any specific software you're using, e.g. PS, FCPX.

    Also you should consider if you like to "tinker" with hardware or you just want a no-fuss Mac. Some folks ask questions like yours as a way to rationalize "tinkering" (there are plenty here who will oblige, though they're generally not as enthusiastic about single core cMPs), and no amount of practical advice is going to sway them.

    Deciding between sticking with a 5 year old quad-core cMP, a 12-core 2013 nMP, and a 6-core Windows PC is kind of all over the place. If you're getting by with a 5 year old 2.67GHz quad core, do you really need to be considering a 2013 12-core as your next computer?

    Unclear whether you are seriously considering a switch (back?) to Windows or just seriously considering a Hackintosh? Just from a pure hardware value standpoint, nothing is going to beat a DIY Windows PC. Man, I wish every other day that I could use a Mac for work. Windows is a headache. Hackintosh is for tinkerers (nothing wrong with that, but not for everyone).
     
  6. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #6
    At a cost of just £130 for the hex core upgrade the improvement in performance is fantastic value. Single core performance will be increased by 27.5% but because of the extra cores total system throughput will increase by over 80% which will be very useful for rendering video. You don't mention what your current graphics card is but again £90 for a graphics upgrade looks good value.

    If you are happy with your current system but just want a bit more performance then spending £220 to upgrade would be a lot cheaper & less disruptive then moving to Windows.
     
  7. Stageshoot thread starter macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #7
    Thanks for the input,

    My Existing Graphics is a very tierd GT120 512Mb, so the uprade to the GTX750Ti will be very noticible, The 120 still works fine so I will keep it around if I need to access the Boot Screen

    Thinking about it, yes for just over £200 its going to be a lot less painful than moving to a Windows system, and it should last me at least another 12 to 18 months

    So Decided to push the button and get the CPU and Graphics ordered, Both will be here tomorrow, so just got to find a long 3mm Hex to get the Cooler Housing off.

    Will let you all know how it goes..
     
  8. Zorn macrumors 6502a

    Zorn

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #8
    This is not quite true - the Westmere 3680/90 were still being used in the 2012 Mac Pro that was still being sold until 12/13. So it's not really a 5 year old CPU.
     
  9. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #9
    Well the fact remains that it's 5 year old...

    Loa
     
  10. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #10
    I don't think there was a Westmere 3680/90 (you might be thinking of the Westmere X56xx, which are dual-socket capable), but the Gulftown W3680 was released in March, 2010. It's a 5 year old CPU architecture. The W3690 came a year later as a "bump", but it was still based on the same architecture. Any CPUs that the cMP are capable of using now (including the Westmere X56xx) are using 5 year old CPU architecture. It's not about the date it was manufactured or how new the computer was that it was used in.
     
  11. Stageshoot thread starter macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #11
    Well Just wanted to come back and report the upgrade is complete

    I upgraded the CPU to the W3680 (Took 10mins all in very easy swapover)

    Upgraded the Graphics to the GTX970 4Gb (Was going for a 750Ti, but decided if I am going to live with this beast for another 18months or so then it was worth the extra)

    So Final Spec is

    Mac Pro 4.1 (Firmware Upgraded to 5.1)
    W3680 6 Core 3.33Ghz CPU
    16Gb DDR
    OWC 480Gb Accesior PCIe SSD as OSX Drive
    Crucial 480Gb SSD in Optical Bay for Win8.1 Drive
    4x4Tb HDDs in Main Bays for Storage
    GTX970 4Gb for Graphics.

    Very happy with results so far it just breezes along, and the 6 Core 3.33 is a noticable upgrade from the 2.66 Quad.

    Looking good for another 18months of work from a very cost effective upgrade

    Thanks for the comments and help. There is so much helpful info on this site it makes everything very easy!!
     
  12. Zorn macrumors 6502a

    Zorn

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #12
    Yeah point granted if you're talking about the architecture itself. I guess I was mainly mentioning that Apple was still selling new Mac Pros with that chip up until around October 2013.

    What's interesting though is I was reading an article talking about gaming performance and they compared the same series CPU as the 3680 against the top of the line 4xxxK CPU of today, and found a basically flat to ~5% difference. Definitely still a beastly CPU.
     
  13. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #13
    I am a bit confused. From Wiki, Westmere (formerly Nehalem-C) is the name given to the 32 nm die shrink of Nehalem, which included both Gulftown (W36xx) and Westmere-EP (X56xx).
     
  14. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #14
    You're correct, they're both the Westmere die shrink of Nehalem, and it might be appropriate to call Gulftown a Westmere. Thanks for pointing that out. I was just looking down the list of Xeon CPUs, and under Nehalem, they list Gulftown as W36xx and the X56xx as Westmere-EP.

    Thank goodness they switched to the simpler naming of Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, etc... all those old code names for every iteration get really confusing.
     
  15. Stageshoot thread starter macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #15
    Personally a name is a name, but the new CPU is running at a 100% Increase in performance over the 4 Core 2.66

    So I am happy that (Even with a 5 year old) CPU it will do me well for the next 18 months or so...

    The OWC 480Gb PCIe System Drive along with the 3.33 6 Core and GTX970 Graphics are a great combination.

    Editing in Shop flys at 4k.
     
  16. SpecFoto macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Location:
    So Cal
    #16
    Congrats on your upgraded Mac, my hex core 3.33GHz 5,1 is set up just about like yours, except the Accesior drive, and it is more that fast enough from my uses with photography and video.

    Wondering how the GTX970 is working out, any driver issues? I want to put one in my 5,1 and been waiting for the driver issues to settle down before buying.
     
  17. Stageshoot, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    Stageshoot thread starter macrumors regular

    Stageshoot

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Central UK
    #17
    The GTX970 was fine running about 20% slower than in a PC, but with the generic mac drivers to be expected I suppose.

    As per my other thread, the Mac is now being sold after I went to getting it running so well,!!!

    As I picked up a Bargain HP Z800 Workstation that I could just not turn down for the price and should keep me settled for the next 18 months to 2 years.

    HP Z800, 2x X5680 3.33Ghz 6 Core CPUs, 96Gb DDR3 ECC RAM, Quadro FX5800 4Gb Graphics for £695 UK Pounds.

    I stripped out the FX5800 and sold it for £295 UK so the Twin CPU Z800 stood me at just £400 UK. Have put the GTX970 in it and it flys.

    Just debating if I should sell 48Gb of the RAM I have been offered £250 UK for 48Gb and I dont think I need more than 48 so that would reduce my purchase cost down to £150
     

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