Mac Pro 5,1 - Sell or upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Daniel88swe, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Daniel88swe macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2014

    I have this Mac Pro 5,1 Mid 2010 and it feels slow.

    I have recently upgraded to yosemite and I did it with a fresh/clean install.

    Primary I work with Logic X, Photoshop (CS6 & CC), Illustrator and Web Design but I also play games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends...

    I feel the computer is slow, both in finder, web browser (mozilla & chrome) but also in photoshop. It also gives me quite low FPS in games although I recently installed a GTX 970 from Gigabyte.

    I have also recently upgraded memory to 32gb and bought new disks...

    I have made a (very) long imgur post for you to see specifications and benchmarks here:

    As I mentioned before the computer feels very slow. Its not that quick that I think it should be ( or should it? ).

    When start photoshop cc its quite quick / fast. I work with files that are about 3000px wide and 10 000px tall with around 100 layers or more... But after a while it gets slow with moving layers around and panning around in the document.

    Comparing to the PC at work, I can open the same documents and they are really smooth and my PC at work isn't that well equipped...

    Even basic things as resizing finder or mozilla windows is delayed / slow...

    What can you tell about my hardware / software and benchmarks? Should my computer be slow?

    Is it a hardware related problem = sell computer or upgrade...

    Or is it a software problem = Wait for yosemite upgrades?

    Short Spec of computer here:
    OS: Osx 10.10.1
    CPU: 2 x 2,4ghz quad core
    Memory: 32gb
    OS Disk: Intel SSD 520 Series
    GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gigabyte G1
    Monitors: 2 x Samsung 24"
    Audio: M-Audio USB Sound Card with Powered Speakers

    Long Spec of computer here (same link as above):

    Thanks in advance!

    /Daniel Swe
  2. P00t macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2012
    Nottingham UK
    I'm currently trying/thinking about selling my 2010 Mac Pro.

    One thing that I'm 50/50 about with the situation is that the 2010 can be upgraded pretty easily and cheaply, have you thought about that instead of moving on to something else?

    Personally I now use a 2012 Mac Mini (since the new models were off putting with the soldered ram) due to the fact that my system is always on and I don't really do anything too consuming to have the Mac Pro running and while watching my power consumption while idle was a seller for me (Mac Mini 12Watts Idle from Mac Pro 85Watts Idle).

    I'm still debating to sell either complete or in parts or keep.

    Selling is hard work and within eBay Fee's is ridiculous.

    I recently purchased a GTX 980 to install in my Mac Pro for Windows Gaming, but part of me is thinking about getting an Alienware x51 Barebone system and using that for gaming (sadly with Windoze LOL)

    My Mac Pro 2010 currently has a slightly more powerful CPU than yours, which is getting a few thousand more on the benchmarks that you get and with less ram (16GB) than yours.

    Still lots of benefits for you to consider though, like.....

    Faster Hex Core CPU's (Two in your case) X5670 you can grab for £80 on eBay.

    You could install PCIe Cards for Original Apple Samsung Blade SSD's which will double your read and writes pretty much from the standard SATAII you currently run from.

    RAM wise I think you don't need to improve on that.

    Graphics you're pretty much getting some nice results from that GTX970.

    Can I ask how is the noise from the fans when you do game/benchmark?
  3. mtasquared, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014

    mtasquared macrumors regular


    May 3, 2012
    Your computer may feel slow because of the low single thread score. That is, when operating on single threaded apps your low GHz of 2.4 is a limiting factor, and most apps are still single threaded (i.e. do not use more than one core). You have a good multicore score. Personally I would just upgrade your processors as Poot said above. You should then score higher than a base new Mac pro.

    Also, I personally do not like the direction OSX is taken, but aside from that, a lot of users report their computer game frame rates dropping like 40% after installing Yosemite, and that Yosemite is slower in general usage as well. YMMV.
  4. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Few hundred dollars for a x5690 upgrade and you have about the same Geekbench score as the new 12 core nMP.
  5. Pending macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2014
    Yeah like EdDuPlessis said...X5690 cpus would give a healthy boost.
    Your clock speed will jump from 2.4 to 3.46 which aint too shabby.

    I took a look at your scores via the link you added. I see you have an Intel SSD on your Apricorn Velocity Solo x2, yet your read of 244.6 seems low and should be higher, in fact a little under double that.
  6. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2014
    you have dual Intel Xeon E5620 2.4 Ghz, They are slow, upgrade to Dual Xeon X5690s and you will feel how fast it is.
  7. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    Yes, but even after wasting money on a couple 5690 he will still have much slower single thread performance, which is much more important for his applications.
    Photoshop for example doesn't use anything beyond 4/6thread, so few faster core represent his best option, and no cMP can beat newer machine on that.
    My advice to the OP, don't waste money on old tech.
  8. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Some actions in Photoshop CC will use as many cores as you can give, especially resizing and third party resizing and resampling plugins.
  9. SpecFoto, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    SpecFoto macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2013
    So Cal
    You are working with huge PS files and PS will need a very large cache to speed up operations. It seems you have 2 internal drives, the SSD on the Acorn and 1 WD drive. Both disk speed tests results are in line. Which drive is the PS cache being written to? Writing to the SSD, if that houses your system files, is not the best (unless you have a 2nd partition) so that leaves the WD. How full is it and do you optimize the drive very often? PS will perform better with a large cache and not one that has to be written in bits and pieces on a fragmented disk drive. This could be the problem if the drive is 3/4 or more full. If it was me I would put a fast 3rd drive of at least 256GB in another slot and make that the PS cache drive. In the PS preferences set the cache file to a very large size and give it lots of memory, at least 75% (24GB). And make sure the use graphic processor box is checked.

    For comparison, I have a 6 core 3.3GHz 5.1 with 32GB of memory and a 3GB 7950 AMD card. Your Heaven scores are killing mine, by about 50% at the extreme preset setting. Heaven measures (mostly) your graphic cards performance and the GTX970 seems to be a real winner. My Geekbench single processor scores are about 33% better than yours but our multi core are about the same. My largest PS files are in the 60-90 mb range and I am happy with the speed PS processes them.
  10. sirio76, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    @ EdDuPlessis

    Don't know about third party plugins, but in PS resizing do not use anything beyond 6thread. Just tested resampling a 0,5GB 16bit multilayer file from 4096px to 12000px, the activity monitor was just showing 550% CPU usage(or barely 3real cores...).

    From Photoshop performance guide:

    "Photoshop generally runs faster with more processor cores, although some features take greater advantage of the additional cores than others. There is a law of diminishing returns with multiple processor cores: The more cores you use, the less you get from each additional core. Therefore, Photoshop doesn’t run four times as fast on a computer with 16 processor cores as on a computer with four cores. For most users, the increase in performance that more than six cores provides doesn't justify the increased cost"

    There are many real world speed tests that show this quite well:

    "The 2013 8-core 3.3 GHz Mac Pro shows large gains over the 2010 3.33 GHz 12-core. This probably speaks to higher performance (Turbo Boost) with 8 cores or fewer on the 2013 model".


    "the results for Photoshop CC are unequivocally disappointing for anyone investing in those extra cores"

    For PS you just need 6 fast core, great disk speed and good GPU performance for the few tasks that use OpenCL.
  11. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    It was only a few versions ago that Photoshop had a memory limit. Please bear in mind that Photoshop has quickly increased its ability to use more cores and memory in only a few years and it is also usually not the only app running. Get the 12 cores for future proofing because they are quickly being eaten up.
  12. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    Nothing has changed in that regard in PS, even with latest update you are still limited in the multithreaded tasks.
  13. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Daniel Swe. Probably the major deciding factor is how much money to spend in relation to speed gain and compatibility with Yosemite on various Apps. You'll probably spend less by just upgrading the CPUs compared to buying a new Mac Pro or new iMac. I don't use Logic X though the feedback I got from my friend is Logic X benefits more with multi-core tasks. A mac user gives his comments after using the classic Mac Pro and the new Mac Pro I was able to try out an 8 core new Mac Pro as a client of mine offered his unit for sale to me. For Logic X or games I can't comment on that. For Photoshop, certain tasks speed was minimal. Though we have Geekbench, it may not tell the whole story as it only measures CPU. Actual hands on experience may give you a better perspective. I also needed a machine that can allow going back to an older OSX in case of bugs/problems with Yosemite plus the added cost to shift to a new machine and how much speed, benefits to gain. I also need the benefit of being able to switch GPUs alternately between Nvidia or Radeon and maintaining a clone of my boot drive for safety.

    You may also check out other feedbacks for further reading.
  14. Daniel88swe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2014
    Hi all and thanks for your answers!

    Someone asked my PS scratch disks and about my free disk space:

    Used disk space on SSD OS Disk: 25%
    Used disk space on 2TB WD Disk: 36%

    I am using the WD Disk as scratch disk in photoshop, the one with 150 mb/s read/write...

    Talking about changing my CPU's... I don't know what you mean with "a few hundred dollars" for two Xeon 5690... Where I Checked they costed about 18 000 sek. (7 sek = 1 usd)... Or did I look at completely wrong cpu?

    I have already paid 36 000 sek for the computer when I bought it from apple store and during the last year I have upgraded it for like 10 000 sek... that's a total of 46 000 sek (6571 usd)...

    I don't feel like paying another 10k sek and still have the same crappy performance... But on the other hand... how much will I get for selling it? Not even half of what I have paid for it... Well I guess I will keep the disks and my GTX 970, depending on what I will buy...

    Dammit I just want PERFORMANCE :'(

    On my full time job where I work as a web designer I have like on mediocre PC with windows 8 which is quicker than my "monster (espensive) mac pro"...

    And my one year old Mac Book Pro Retina with all the upgrades (and mavericks) is still feeling faster than my mac pro...


    Im sitting working with 12 x 17 inch documents in 300 pixels / inch in this very moment and im not getting anywhere...

    So the conclusion is that my disks are slow and my single thread CPU performance are poor?

    Im thinking about downgrading to Mavericks... just to see if yosemite is a bottleneck...

  15. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    Exactly, also add to the mix old system architecture and slower RAM.
  16. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Having a PSD scratch disk and some free space is good practice. For the CPU in my opinion the X5670 is adequate and sells at a lower cost. Not sure about the price range in Sweden, in the USA a matched pair sells for around $300+. I could not comment on your Mac Pro being slower than the Windows PC machine under the present circumstances and depends on the specs of your Windows PC. Sorry I could not be of help. For GPUs, as far as i know, they run faster in Windows than in Mac OSX. I regularly format my mechanical spinning HD boot drive to help make the apps run more fluid. I sometimes work with large billboard designs up to 10 feet to 20 feet in Photoshop CS5 in Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion. I noticed when using filters in Photoshop, it uses all the 8 or 12 cores with the processing distributed and spread out under activity monitor.

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