Mac Pro Upgrade Crossroads Help!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ggoerl, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. ggoerl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #1
    I'm at a crossroads as I'm sure many of you are or were now that you've seen the new redesigned mac pro within the past coming months. I'm sure many won't be making the upgrade and will be sticking with their current pros. I for one definitely won't be buying the new pro but would in fact rather upgrade my current 2008 3,1. Memory for this machine seems to have gotten quite expensive (or at least IMO) being the older dated ddr2 memory which isn't as heavily manufactured. That and my pro's speeds are starting to show it's age.

    I'm worried as if maybe the time to sell/upgrade is now? while my 3,1 still has some worth before the new pro drops? or to wait until the new mac pro drops then everyone will be selling off their older 5,1's or 4,1's having an influx of supply making them cheaper to pickup as well as they will be considered some what dated once the new MP drops is an idea as well?

    There are a couple of options I've considered.

    Buying a 4,1 and do the efi hack, upgrade cpu, etc. Not sure how feasible all of that is? or just forget that and go for the 5,1 (which might be a cheaper option than the stated previous) and max out the memory (32gb) while it's still readily available and somewhat cheap although who knows how much longer before ddr4 drops? as well as minor little upgrades, ssd(s) etc, whatever else that would be recommended. Or just say ******* it and build a hackintosh haha

    So in a nutshell, upgrade from 3,1 to 4,1 or 5,1 (leaning more towards 5,1)
    drop in ssd(s), max memory, etc

    What is the best solution? I would love to hear some opinions and thoughts!
     
  2. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #2
    As a household, we are kind of in the same boat. My fiancee has been running a Windows based server which holds all our movies TV shows etc.

    Decided to buy a top spec MP from scrumpymacs....as much oomph as can be afforded. She has sold her MBA, and the PC is also up for grabs. Once that's done, we will buy a used one...Not sure what the price, or the quality of the new one is going to be, so If I do decided to get one it won't be until I've seen how others fair first.
     
  3. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    Do you have any idea which processor and GFX card you want? If you want to replace CPU, RAM and/or GFX anyway i would advise to get the cheapest 4.1/5.1 model you can find.

    Personally i recently bought a 4.1 2.66 GHz replaced the 6 GB Ram with 24 GB DDR3 1333 MHz and flashed it to a 5.1. I will upgrade processor and GFX card when i feel like doing it. I also put in an SSD and 2 TB HDD i already had.
     
  4. snarfquest macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2013
    #4
    I went the 5.1 route and turned my 3.1 into the household movie server/timemachine.
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    Others have pointed out that memory for the MP 3,1 is actually quite reasonably priced on Ebay. It's only the retailers that seem to be price gouging.

    An SSD will help make your MP feel much, much zippier. Of course it won't help CPU or GPU bound workflows.

    I personally feel the PC GTX 680 is a fast and relatively inexpensive GPU upgrade.

    Most importantly, I don't think there is any time pressure for your upgrade. Even if the MP 3,1 drops in value, which is certain, the 4,1 and 5,1 will drop in value too, making the cost of upgrading relatively stable. Upgrade when you need to and when you are comfortable doing so; right now the feeling I'm getting from your post is that you are upgrading out of some kind of worry about the future.
     
  6. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #6
  7. crjackson2134, Sep 3, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #7
    If you just have the ITCH to upgrade vs. a specific need, I would grab my credit card and do it. I would get a 5.1 with the fastest processor and the cheapest on everything else. Then, when it arrives, you can buy the memory (and other upgrades) much cheaper from a third party vendor (or eBay), I got mine from http://www.superbiiz.com.

    For ME, if I'm going to shell out some $, might as well not stop short and later wish I had bought something with more oomph (but that's just me). I don't need a MP at all, I just wanted one. I guess it's my retirement distraction now. :)

    That's exactly what I would do!
     
  8. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #8
    Yes, but a 2009 4,1 could match or exceed the 5,1 hex: simply apply an EFI hack, install hex CPU and new GPU, and you'd still have well over $1,000 left in your pocket compared to buying a new or refurb 5,1.
     
  9. Saltymac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Location:
    Rocky Mt State
    #9
    I suggest waiting to make a decision after the release the new US made MPro so you can evaluate costs and final specs. USB 3, Thunderbolt 2, smaller form factor and less noise are pros for the new MacPro for me not to mention the lure of 12 cores. Unfortunately the ideal 3,1 resale curve seems to have passed by so you don't have much to lose by waiting at this point. The RAM for it is inexpensive in 2 mb's sticks on ebay.
     
  10. ggoerl, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

    ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2007
    #10
    Well I've seen 4,1's go for as low as $900 and as high as $2500 but regarding configuration no I am not too sure about which processor or GFX card. GFX wouldn't matter too much as I could upgrade that. But processor would unless I decided to upgrade it down the road. So I'm not too sure on prices for what's worth what on the 4,1's/5,1's. I'm looking for more input though from anyone that knows.

    Well the only real cheap ram I've seen on there all happens to third party retailers that I've not heard of. Which I would rather not take a gamble on bad ram. I have googled most of it but there hasn't been a lot known on some of it.

    You're right, I am somewhat worried about the future. Specially the prices as they could fluctuate both ways if people decide not to sell their rigs and upgrade to the new MP. They might gain value even though they are older and dated but would be harder to come by it would seem unless you went retail and bought a refurbished.

    I've seen a 4 x 4 set of memory go for $250 on amazon by NEMIX. I've googled them and they seemed okay but honestly I think i'd rather just upgrade to new machine another rather put more money into this one which being 2008 who know's how much life it's got left before the logic board fails or just becomes too slow for me. I've already replaced the GPU as the original nvidia failed. I guess meanwhile while I wait I could always upgrade my system drive with an SSD and wait it out until the new MP drops. But then I'd still be unsure with my configuration whether to buy a 5,1 with a fast processor and low specs in every other aspect, gpu, ram, etc and upgrade that personally or or go for the 4,1 with the hack and drop in a new processor.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    Relax, they will go down. Computer systems always do. Always.

    Well, if you bought an original Apple computer and held on to it for 20 years it might go up, but those are a bit rarer than Mac Pros. :D
     
  12. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    From your post i get the idea that you are able to swap the CPU by yourself. I think you should just write down the target specification of the computer you want and have a look what prices are for the parts needed. After that watch some auctions or retailers and look for prices of computers that match your needs. Also look for MacPros that do not match your needs and calculate the price for the parts needed.

    At least that is how i did it...
     
  13. ggoerl, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

    ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2007
    #13
    How much did the those two hex's set you back? I was just reading something about the stepping being tricky, having to use spacers??

    Yes, I am capable of swapping the cpu or at least have the confidence to try haha I was reading another thread on here of some one who swapped in two xeon 3.0 slanr cpus for his 3,1 which he picked up 2 new for $80 I doubt I could come that lucky as all I've seen on ebay was 2 used for $100 but I can't recall the specs of my 3,1 off the top of my head ATM. I think I'll definitely do a SSD upgrade for my main boot drive and get a sata III card.

    So maybe I'll go through and max the ram too and hold on to this 3,1 for a couple more years then. Once it dies move up to a 5,1 or who knows what'll be out then. My 3,1 is still rocking the Nvidia 8800gt but that original card died close to two years ago and I had it replaced with the same. So maybe gpu upgrade as well? Possibly the 5770. Guess I'll have to start pricing everything out.
     
  14. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #14
    JUst an update...We've pulled the trigger on a Scrumpymacs refurb. 3.3GHZ 24GB RAM. £1995.00 with full warranty. The Graphics card will be the first upgrade, but we will have our media server back. This was a Windows based system that did a good solid job, but we wanted something that would fit inot our all Apple eco-system. My Fiancee plays a few games, so the Pro will be boot camped, but we have all the drives ready to go, and some data to copy back from my R4....It's going to be great having a Pro in the house, and I'd recommend Scrumpymacs to anybody who wants a MP...very prompt and friendly service..and the peace of mind of that warranty which made us use them and pay a little more than we would have if we'd gone down the private route.
     
  15. N19h7m4r3, Sep 5, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013

    N19h7m4r3 macrumors 65816

    N19h7m4r3

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    #15
    I went for the exact same model, except I asked for them to add in two PCiE power cables ( for my GPU ), and to replace the AMD 5770 with a GT120 to bring down the price a bit.

    Let us know what you think of it when it arrives. I'm still waiting for mine to be shipped after ordering on the 29th of August.
     
  16. ggoerl, Sep 10, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #16
    Ok, so as of right now. I've decided to do hopefully one of the biggest most noticeable and long coming upgrades my 3,1 has needed. An SSD. Maybe in the next coming year after the new MP drops I'll decide whether to make my move to a newer system then.

    Anyways back on track...

    I was looking at the Vector, M5, and 840 Pro. Just a 256gb, I want to replace the os drive and have that with my apps on it. Second I was thinking about removing my 2nd optical drive and adding another hd. I originally wanted to put the ssd there in the 2nd optical drive bay but read that speeds would be slower there some have stated? So I'm somewhat reluctant as I've read others stating speeds are the same as the drive bays which makes sense. Can anyone confirm this?

    I'm slightly confused about a certain aspect. The newer MP models have Sata III correct? 2009 and forward? I know I have Sata II but why are people getting sata cards for the 09's and up stating 6gb/s isn't that sata III?!?

    Last thing, regarding my other drives in the remaining bays. If I go the ssd optical route I will have 4 hd bays of 2tb's in each bay. What would be the smartest solution to speed the disks up in a raid configuration, no mirroring. I'm not too worried regarding data loss as I have backblaze as my failsafe. Those other 4 bays would just be storage, movies, photos, music, etc
     
  17. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #17
    No Mac has SATAIII without a PCIe card. My card is a Apricorn Velocity Solo x2. This card will work at SATAIII speeds in a 2008 and up Mac Pro. The caveat is that in the 2009 and up Mac Pros, all PCIe slots are V2.0 and will let the card work at full speed. In a 2008 Mac Pro, Slots 1 & 2 are 16 lane PCIe 2.0 and will allow the card to run at full speed. Slots 3 & 4 are 4 lane PCIe 1.0 and will allow the card to run at half speed. So, to realize the potential of a PCIe SATAIII card, on a 2008 (3,1) Mac Pro, it must be installed in slot 3, the one just above the Graphics card.

    Lou
     
  18. ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #18
    Oh, I see. I was under the impression that the newer MP's past 08 (or 09) had Sata III must've been a bad read from some source. Thanks for the clarity!

    I was considering the option of a PCIe card and it seems the two heavy hitters appear to be the sonnet and velocity cards. I recall something about people had problems with the 840 not supported on the sonnet? Has that since been fixed? As well as are both cards bootable?

    I still run Snow Leopard on my system as I haven't seen a real reason to upgrade as in the past I did and my system seemed slower as well as I was unhappy that they dropped rosetta support.
     
  19. ggoerl, Sep 16, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2007
    #19
    Okay, so I'm about to pull the trigger on 1 Samsung 840 Pro 128gb and 1 256gb. I want to use the spare sata ports on my 2008's logicboard and have both drives in raid 0. They are going to be my boot/system drives. I would also like to boot windows natively but this is not possible off the spare sata ports. So maybe I would be better off getting a velocity solo x2 card? but then I would like to have the 2nd ssd attached to something and not loose inside my MP so I would have to find a solution for that.

    Also is trim still unavailable in raid 0 as of now?

    Last thing, I was looking at the sonnet tempo pro though I'd personally rather save money and get the velocity x2 but theoretically would the speeds be generally the same for both ssd's in raid 0? has anyone done speed tests versus the 2 cards with 2 ssd's in raid 0?

    PS. before doing the drives in raid, do I or should I check and update firmware for the ssd's before doing so (if needed?)
     
  20. ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2007
    #20
    I know you can't boot windows if you're running off the spare sata ports but I was wondering if I used one of the drive bays and one of the spare sata's and had the two ssd's raided would I still not be able to boot into windows? or should I be able to?
     
  21. gobsmacked macrumors member

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    Jul 7, 2013
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #21
    I hope you meant you're buying 2 of each of these drives. If you stripe drives of differing sizes you'll end up at the size of the smallest one.

    Faced with almost the same decision as you, I bought a 5,1 dual CPU with almost no RAM. That way I get the last version of MP and don't have to worry about a firmware upgrade. That met all my criteria.
    If you still don't have your exact needs nailed down just buy an SSD and use it until the joy of the speed increase wears off. You should have a better idea what you want by then.
     
  22. ggoerl thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2007
    #22
    I got 2 256gb samsung 840 pro's and have them in raid 0. TBH I found that out the hard way I had purchased a 128 and 256 and found out it wen't off the smaller so I had to make another purchase and am stuck with this 128 until it sells. Oh well I guess, live and learn.

    I just found out though that bootcamp doesn't support raid. I guess that will have to wait and just deal with running a VM until I upgrade my machine to either a 4,1 or 5,1 prices should be a lot cheaper when the new MP drops then and maybe I won't have to raid my drives then I can get the speeds I want with a pci card sata card.

    As it is right now I could use more ram I have only 10gb and it's not enough. I'd be much happier with at least 20 but don't want to dump anymore money into my 3,1 until I upgrade to a newer MP. So I'm just trying to get by with the bare necessities. But regarding the SSD upgrade it was like night and day I couldn't be any happier. I went from booting to a minute and 30 to 15 seconds.
     

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