MacPro 5,1 Upgrade options

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by benny gsr, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. benny gsr, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015

    benny gsr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
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    Australia
    #1
    I'm new to this forum, but lurked on and off over the years, especially when trouble shooting various computer issues.

    As the title states, I'm debating upgrading my 5,1 Macpro as a new one doesn't at the moment seem like good value.
    Current Specs:

    Single Quadcore 2.8 processor
    32gb RAM. SSD running in the 2nd DVD drive and other HDD bays with 3TB drives.

    My main uses are browsing, but my greater power requirements photo editing with photoshop and a large aperture libary (have to change soon.... but I'm so used to it!) which edits large RAW files. THen I also use Final Cut lightly.

    I've been debating a number of the OWC upgrade options, but not sure what would suit best. I remember back in the day, the 6 core single processor offered good bang for buck with photo type work.

    The main issue is the turn-key program is expensive given I have to ship things from Australia.

    What are good bang for buck options given I'm only moderately tech savvy. Ie. I don't build my own pc's but am comfortable changing parts, especially with video tutorials or walk-throughs.

    Does a graphic card upgrade help me much? What I've read says not really for my use.

    Or do I just use my current machine as is, until it slowly grinds to a halt - hopefully that will be in a few years time? As an aside, does my RAM from this model, fit into a 6 core option?

    Any advice appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. benjaprud, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015

    benjaprud macrumors member

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    Apr 9, 2015
    #2
    I'd say the first upgrade should be a 6-core CPU. Look for a second hand W3680 or X5680 (6-core 3,33GHz) or W3690/X5690 (6-core 3,46GHz), these are the fastest options available (you'll find plenty on eBay at a bargain compared to OWC's turnkey program). If you're on a tight budget, any of the W36XX/X56XX processors should fit, just check its specs before.

    Replacing the thing is no rocket science, you'll find plenty of tutorials on the web. You'll need some thermal grease, a hex wrench and a bit of gentleness. You don't need to replace the RAM. With the new CPU you have the possibility to move to 1333MHz RAM but the speed gain is low and given the price of a RAM kit it would be wasting money.

    I don't know if your pro apps can benefit from the GPU. If they do then it would make sense to get a better one, but I'd say CPU first, that's the single best upgrade you can get.
     
  3. carylee2002 macrumors member

    carylee2002

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #3
    I upgraded my 5,1 to a 6 core processor, 48gb ram, dual quadro 4000 videocards and add bluray player in the second slot. Also added excelsior from OWC and use esata to run quad raid box and another running 2tb drive for backing up my system drive which is 250gb SSD.
     
  4. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502

    ZombiePhysicist

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #4
    SSD running from a PCI slot can give you a lot of throughput, and if you need more storage, might not be a bad time to update. http://barefeats.com/hard210.html

    CPU upgrades are pretty reasonable when you look around eBay. Top end is 3.46GHz 12core (not sure but you might have to get a tray update to go to that many cores). I hear the 3.33GHz 12core processor updates are better prices (bang for buck).

    If you don't have USB3, that's super cheap. http://www.amazon.com/Ports-Inateck...d=1448679712&sr=8-2&keywords=usb+3.0+card+mac

    Not sure what video card you have, but there are lots of pretty powerful PC cards you can get on the cheap that will work.

    If you don't have 802.11ac and bluetooth 4, i'd get the upgrade from MVC. http://www.macvidcards.com/store/p33/Wifi_AC_and_Bluetooth_Airport_Card.html

    You're fine on RAM unless you get real heavy into photoshop and video.

    If you do the above, you'll basically have a top of the line machine that competes well with the best performing macs out right now, with the exception of thunderbolt. But frankly, USB3 gets you pretty far along there.

    Caveat is if you get into heavier use of pro apps that have been optimized with the nMP, they're showing bigger boosts. Then again, if you play games or use the apps that can take better advantage of the faster PCI cards, you'll do better then them. http://barefeats.com/imac5k18.html
     
  5. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #5
    Yes, get a W3690, or X5690 will help quite a lot. It's about 25% faster than your current CPU (single core performance), and have extra 2 cores. Most of the software can benefit from it.

    RAM is quite enough for your usage, of course, more RAM will still help (more cache for the system to use) but not necessary. However, if you believe you need more RAM in the future, you better get the X56xx CPU, they support more RAM even in the single CPU 5,1.

    Photoshop won't benefit much from the GPU in general (except few filters), but FCPX will (you didn't say which version of Final Cut you are using). If you are using FCPX, you may get a 7950 (R9 280) to boost it's performance. For FCPX, AMD card usually works better than Nvidia. And the 79xx is very easy to flash (if you need the boot screen). The 7970 (R9 280x) is even better in performance, but it's a tiny bit harder to manage the power.

    For storage, a SSD in the optical bay is good enough for general use. Upgrade to the PCIe SSD will give you better performance, however, it seems you won't get much benefit from it as well (according to your usage).

    If you want best bang for bugs. Do some research, and get the cheapest CPU (W3680 / W3690 /X5680 /X5690) available. Don't go for OWC, especially the turn-key programme. You should able to easily get a used W3680 with less than $200 (including the tool require) and achieve the same performance boost.

    For GPU, a used 7950 should be quite cheap (<$100) and work OOTB (apart from no boot screen). You can flash it by yourself, there are few threads in this forum about that. Or if that's not important to you, just use it without the boot screen. Also, you can always install your original GPU back in if you need it.

    If I am very budget limited, I will only spend this $300 in CPU and GPU. Besides, if the stock GPU is 5870, then I will skip the 7950 upgrade as well. FCPX is highly optimised to utilise the 5870, even though 7950 still better in general, but the performance increase may not worth that extra $100.
     
  6. benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2015
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    Australia
    #6
    THanks for the all the tips. I'll get researching and report back ! :)
     
  7. Synchro3, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015

    Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #7
    Yes, with a W3690 or a X5690 Xeon you are fine.

    Regarding multi-core speed you get almost Skylake performance (compared with i7-6700K):
    .
    Geekbench Mac Pro 2.png Geekbench Core i7-6700K (Skylake).png
     
  8. benny gsr, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015

    benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    If I want to go 2 processors, do I need a whole new tray to put it on? And where does one purchase it safely?
    IGNORE abvove, going the two core option is not particularly viable as far as I can tell.

    I have the 5770 GPU. Is it worth me going for a genuine 5870 - I remmeber they were a genuine apple add-on? They seem expensive? The enclosures of these GPU's all look slightly different, which makes it confusing too.

    Lastly, with only the single processor, is there any benefit going to the x5690, or should I just stay with the w3690?
     
  9. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    Jan 12, 2014
    #9
    There is no difference between a W3690 and a X5690 except the maximum size of RAM.

    W3690: max 56 Gbyte RAM
    X5690: max 64 GByte RAM
     
  10. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #10
    And the max Tcase

    W3690 = 67.9C
    X5690 = 78.5C
     
  11. benjaprud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    #11
    I've considered going dual-CPU a while ago and found that the cheapest way was to buy a dual-CPU 5.1 mac pro, switch trays and resell it. I've never found a CPU tray at a decent price. Beware the dual-CPU 4.1 mac pro needs delidded CPUs.
     
  12. benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2015
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    Australia
    #12
    Hey h9826790

    Where are you getting prices like what you suggested ;);) The best I can find in US dollars is $300 for an x5690, and the video card in Aus is about $280 (200 US approx) with some on US ebay about $140
     
  13. benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Australia
    #14
    Fair enough - I was looking up x5690 and w3690's. Thanks
     
  14. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
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    Hong Kong
    #15
    Usually the 3680 is the cheapest. Occasionally there will be some cheap X5690 on the market, but you have to be patient. And may be looking for more source as well. I expect you can't read Chinese, but like the following one, a X5690 only cost CNY1180, which is about $185.

    http://world.taobao.com/item/43415334515.htm?fromSite=main&spm=a1z3o.7695460.14.11.BAIecG

    Same thing on the GPU, occasionally some cheap 7950 / R9 280 avail, but not always there. Anyway, I bought my new R9 280 with $150 few months ago (from a local store), there is no way that a used one worth more than this.

    Of course, the final cost will vary based on the shipping / tax etc, but the basic cost should be more or less the same.
     
  15. benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2015
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    Australia
    #16
    So I've been doing some research and buying.

    I've got a PC version of the HD7950 video card on the way - I'm not too fussed about boot screens. I will keep my 5770 GPu as a spare, so while I'm troubleshooting anything I can plug that in, get my boot screens to see what is going on.

    I'ver purchased a w3690 cpu which will be on its way soon.

    Now I'm planning on one of the following.

    Apricorn Velocity Duo x2
    Sonnet Technologies Tempo 6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.0
    CalDigit FASTA-6GU3

    Not sure the best option, however:
    • I don't use bootcamp- and if I did in the future, I could do that on my ssd plugged into the DVD burner slot.
    • I would like the PCI-e slot to be bootable for MacOS.

    My plan is to use one of the above,
    run dual ssd boot drives in direct copy raid (Is this Raid 0??)

    Then use a SATA power splitter for the 1st optical bay (currently has one ssd) to connect a second ssd in here. THat gives me 4 drives in HD bay, 2 on a PCI slot, and then 1 more off this to my second drive in the optical bay.

    If I do this, does the USB x4 adaptor still fit???
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I027GPC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2QGX098CVHYJ7

    THanks for all your help - this forum is amazing!



     
  16. h9826790, Dec 8, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Hong Kong
    #17
    For mirroring (RAID 1), you need the fastest card to run the SSDs, otherwise the SSD ops will be limited to half the card's speed.

    In general, it's not recommended to use SSD in this way. RAID 1 is not a backup solution but simply to keep the system alive if one drive fail. However, it run at the slowest speed of the drive, double the required bandwidth. And won't safe you if the system corrupted or you delete an important file.

    IMO, a nighty (or even hourly) clone is a more reasonable way to use the 2nd SSD.

    And for your info. The Tempo card will have a very high chance kill your boot manager (even though you plan to use a non flash GPU, and no plan to use bootcamp. It's still better to know this)
     
  17. avro707, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 13, 2010
    #18
    Out of interest, how did you go with the CPU upgrade? I'm looking at purchasing an X5690 6 Core Xeon to replace my W3565 3.2ghz quad core. I've done CPU installs before when I used to build PCs, so I know how to do those, but have never done a Mac Pro before.

    I was going to get a brand new X5690. Did the processor come with its own thermal pad or did you use the ubiquitous Arctic Silver or is that not done these days either? (go easy on me, I've been spoilt by many years of not having to tinker with the inside of a computer).
     
  18. pat500000 Suspended

    pat500000

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    Jun 3, 2015
    #19
    Yeah..i'm looking into upgrading gpu from 5870.
    Interesting stuff from this thread.
     
  19. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 13, 2010
    #20
  20. pat500000 Suspended

    pat500000

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    #21
  21. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
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    #22
    I think it's really hard to get a new X5690. Also, another post shows that you only want to go to 32G RAM at this moment. So, a used W3690 / W3680 may be a much much cheaper choice.

    Anyway, plenty of users here upgrade with AS5. It may not be the best, but sure is one of the safest option.
     
  22. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #23
    See these two threads:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/hex-3-2-update-from-2010-quad-2-8-photos-new-cpu-to-use.1122551/

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/maximum-ram-for-mac-pro-mid-2012-with-only-one-x5690.1846604/

    If you've installed CPUs before, the 5,1 cMP is a piece of cake.

    Lou
     
  23. benny gsr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    I had no idea how to install a cpu - but the 5,1 install to a novice was easy. I used arctic silver and followed this thread re-linked by flow rider
    I ended up with a 2nd hand w3690 processor and doubled my benchmark from the standard 2.8ghz

    Love it and great value for $250 approx
    --- Post Merged, Sep 26, 2016 ---
    additionally, forgot to add.... my 7950 card never arrived from Ebay - dodgy account and I got a refund!
    Looking at alternative now.
     

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