Mac Pro Upgrade cpu, video card, Ram

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Bluenote, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Bluenote macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    This guy needs an overhaul and just wanted to see if its worth upgrading parts or bitting the bullet and getting a new one. I've read in other post I can upgrade the CPU... whats the best I can grab? What do you suggest as far as best bang for the buck?

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
    Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
    Memory: 6 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B04
    SMC Version (system): 1.7f10
  2. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    I think it would help if you could tell us what you use the machine for?

    Certainly an SSD and more RAM will improve things generally, what video card do you have?

    What is your budget?
  3. Bluenote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    I want to use this box for post production work: After Effects, FCP, C4D and my budget is around $2000.

    Video Card:
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT
  4. Giuly, Jan 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    Frankly, you'd be better off with a new iMac. It would stretch your budget a little if you sell the Mac Pro, and find a good deal on the 3.4GHz 27" iMac with the 3TB Fusion Drive (Apples price is $2599).
    Then you'd install 4x8GB Kingston HyperX, and the Mac would be a lot faster than your current Mac Pro, and it supports Mountain Lion.

    If you really what to upgrade the Mac Pro, 32GB of RAM will cost you $635 already. Then you'd install a 512GB SSD (upgrading the internal bays to 6GBit/s SATA is another $229), and there went the next $529. A Radeon HD5870 would run you another $439, the two X5365 Xeon CPUs about $500. That totals $2103 and after all those upgrades, you'd still have a Mac that's incompatible with Mountain Lion.

    Seriously, consider the 27" iMac.
  5. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    Why do people insist on trying to push iMacs at Mac Pro users?

    I don't know if After Effects is multi-processor aware, but FCP certainly is.

    Your best bet for upgrading your current machine would be to upgrade the processors and add RAM. Here are a typically priced ($339) pair of Xeon X5365s that will give you 8 x 3.0 GHz, the best you can get for your model. Here is 8 GB (4 x 2GB) of RAM for your Mac at $80. Here is a genuine Apple ATI HD5770 for $220. Add it up and, for $639, you can upgrade your Mac quite acceptably, leaving over $1300 of your budget to spurge on solid state drives or even more RAM.

    The only downside I can see is that you can't install Mountain Lion on this kit. For many, this isn't a problem, especially those who are running legacy apps through Rosetta.

    A better option (and it's the one I recently took) is to buy a 2009 single processor machine like this, upgrade its firmware and drop a 6 core 3.33 GHz processor in there. Once you're up and running, sell your old machine and buy RAM and SSDs.
  6. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Well, I would've recommended a late-2012 Mac Pro, but the only place to get one is 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino 95014, CA with the assistance of Carmichael Industries.

    Also, even the mid-2012 Mac Mini has a higher Geekbench score than a Mac Pro with two X5365s, and although this might not be significant at all, the 2009 Mac Pro with the is the better option and on par performance-wise with the iMac. Also the RAM is a lot less expensive. Still, if you take the 27" screen that Apple gives you with the iMac into account, it remains the better deal.
  7. 666sheep, Jan 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013

    666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    1) Upgrade what you have:
    – 32GB RAM ~ $300
    – GTX 570 ~ $200 (requires Mac OS 10.7)
    – 128GB SSD for OS and apps ~ $140
    – 2x 2TB WD Black (and RAID 0'em) ~ $380
    – 2x Xeon 5355 (quad core) ~ $100

    ~ $1120 total

    2) sell 1,1 and buy 2009 – estimated eBay 2006 selling price is ~ $500:
    – MP 2009 single 2.66 Quad core w 32GB RAM ~ $1200
    – GTX 570 ~ $200 (requires Mac OS 10.7)
    – 128GB SSD for OS and apps ~ $140
    – 2x 2TB WD Black (and RAID 0'em) ~ $380
    – 1x Xeon W3680 (six core with turbo boost and hyperthreading) ~ $500

    ~ $2420 total minus $500 for sold 1,1 = $1920

    My calculations are based on what eBay offers at this moment. It's possible to get 2009 2.66 Quad for much less, often under $1000, as some MR members did. 1,1 selling price is quite accurate, I think.

    OP's software will massively benefit from CUDA and OpenCL acceleration (AE CS4 and higher), higher core count and better performance per core. If I'd have to choose between two above scenarios, I'd go with no 2. More powerful, more future proof.

    New iMac would be tempting but only CPU/GPU-wise. Rest is unacceptable IMO:
    – it's AIO - one component fails and you're screwed. Apple will repair/replace but it takes time.
    – not much upgradeable: storage, graphics cards etc. Alternatives are external thunderbolt boxes - still bit pricey
    – not so much much fun to be "tester" of new design -> vide image retention on new iMacs and their failing HDDs. I'd be also skeptical about single fan cooling in 2012 iMacs, especially under long term full load.
  8. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    It's faster but 2000 points is not IMHO enough to give up 4 internal HDD, 2 optical drives and desktop graphics.
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    After Effects is, but it requires a lot of ram. The typical recommendation is 2GB per core when it comes to rendering, and CS6 isn't officially supported on that machine under OSX. Adobe dropped the 32 bit offerings. In my opinion it doesn't make sense to spend much upgrading hardware from a completely different era unless you're tied to other equipment and frozen in time on software versions. I'm not sure regarding Cinema 4D, but many of those developers require that you upgrade every so many versions if you wish to retain upgrade eligibility on their software. I don't see why anyone would spend much on a 1,1 today when it further ties you to the old hardware.

    I really agree with number 2 being the better option by far. If performance was fine, the OP wouldn't have made this thread. Otherwise it's just so expensive for a really old machine. With the 2009, it's older, but Apple still hasn't full replaced hardware of that era.
  10. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I did the 2009 4,1 to 5,1 hex upgrade and am loving it. The new cpu was just under $600US from ProVantage.
  11. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    As I said, this is the route I've taken. 3.33GHz hex-core, 24 GB RAM and a hand-rolled 750GB Fusion Drive. It rocks!
  12. Bluenote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestions this is making my choice a lot clearer.
  13. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    When I had my 1st gen mac pro, I upgraded the processors to quad cores and saw one hell of an improvement. Do the upgrade if you want to keep your mac pro. The processors aren't that expensive anymore. It will last you a few more years too.
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Isn't there a hidden premise here that the machine is bumped up to 10.7 for GTX 570 support ? Not that customer can't do it with a 1,1 but it can be an issue if trying to stay back on pre-Lion OS.
  15. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Right, 10.7 is a must for 570. Like AE CS4+ to benefit from CUDA. I'll add this to my previous post to make things more clear for future readers.
  16. carylee2002 macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2008
    For 2K....I know a number of people are switching back to PC because of not much support for getting out a new Macpro in the last few years. And if your going to use it for Adobe AE and CAD work then you might have to consider that route until Apple gets on the ball and come out with something soon.

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