MacPro 5,1 Upgrade Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by whg, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. whg macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
    Hi, I hope some of the experts here can help me with the following issue. I will need for a project with heavy parallel processing (Matlab Monte Carlo simulations) a multi CPU core computer. I already know a little bit what options are available on the Windows PC side. But I would prefer to stay on macOS if possible.

    Now I discovered that we in the company have an unused MacPro 5,1 with one 4 core 2.8GHz XEON CPU
    System Serial No is CK12800BHF7
    Processor Tray No is JS11901R2CZJC

    Is is possible to upgrade this system with 2 CPUs or just 1 CPU with possibly 8 cores. 2 CPUs with 6 or 8 cores each would be perfect for my purpose, I think.

    Is the information provided here enough to answer the CPU upgrade question?

    I would also have to upgrade the RAM, of course, as there is currently only 7GB installed. Any help with this upgrade would also be appreciated. Disk storage would be next, but I guess, any SSD with the right connector would work?

    Thank you for any help or additional points to watch out for. I would like to use Sierra as OS, by the way.
     
  2. Squuiid, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017

    Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
  3. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
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    #3
    I certainly deserved this! The CPU upgrade is the one thing I still don't understand. In the meantime I learned that a single CPU model probably cannot be upgraded to use 2 CPUs. At least I learned to google just a little bit!
     
  4. Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #4
    The best CPU you can get is a Xeon X5690 3.46GHz 6 core.
    You can pick one up on eBay and it'll work just fine in your Mac Pro.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 4, 2017 ---
    Apple warranty check seems to have an interesting image of your 2010 Mac Pro...
    https://checkcoverage.apple.com/us/en/?sn=CK12800BHF7
     

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  5. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #5
    Thank you for this information! Unfortunately, a 6 core is way below of what I had hoped for. A used 12 core MacPro5,1 here in Switzerland is about $1300. My other options are a company approved Dell T7810 with 8 cores for $3500 or an un-approved custom PC with 16 cores for $4000. If I manage to get approval I probably will go for this last option.
     
  6. marioliv66@ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Location:
    France
    #6
    If your company does nothing about macpro 5.1, and if it wants to do a good deed, it can offer it to me graciously ... I would not say no :D ;)
     
  7. AndreeOnline macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    Location:
    Zürich
    #7
    Salü,

    I was in a similar situation around two years ago or so. I had a 3.33GHz 6-core 2010 Mac Pro. At that time, to convert that into a 12-core meant spending around $1750-1850 for a new tray, CPUs, Fans and memory.

    I ended up selling my 2010 and "upgrading" to a 2009 12 core 2.26GHz that I got for $750. I then spend $450 on CPUs (3.46GHz) and did some other mods. But since I could also sell my 6-core, this solution was quite a bit cheaper for me.

    A 12 core 3.46GHz scores around 23500 in Geekbench 4.1 multi core. My current Mac Pro has been the best computer I've ever owned, easily, but it is getting long in the tooth now. Main problems are single thread performance and Sata 3Gbit + USB2, unless upgraded. With fast storage and new graphics it will perform its duties well until the next Mac Pro is out, but I'm not sure if I would invest in a project like that if I was starting out today.

    If you spend some time reading up, and a PC is OK with you, there is a chance you could put together a 'plenty core' build with used Xeons for pretty cheap. Not sure it would be a super great allrounder, but it should be possible to build something that is quite strong in multi thread performance.
     
  8. leon771 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #8
    whg get a new machine with as many cores that matlab will support.

    I have been doing some bioinformatics processing recently with my 12 core 3.33GHz 5,1Mac Pro. With all 12 cores (24 with HT) the machine took just on 3 weeks 24/7 to get the job done.

    I’ve come to the realization that the MP is showing it’s age.
    You may run into the same issue with your Matlab project.
     
  9. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #9
    Thank you all for the great help. I'm still investigating what company IT policy allows me to do.
     
  10. leon771 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    I would presume that if this is a company and it is making money from the Matlab work, then surely they don’t want you building a rig that is nearly 8 years old.
     
  11. nrajack macrumors member

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    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    #11
    Been a while since I've been on this forum. As a replacement for the mid 2011 27 inch iMac I have that needs a new video card I'm getting a mid 2010 MacPro with the 3.33 GHz hex core cpu (it's a refurb from OWC). Would the 3.46 chip buy me anything real in terms of performance? I'd guess probably not but want to ask for assurance purposes.
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #12
    It does able to give your extra ~3% performance (max). However, if you really need that very last few % performance, you should not stay with the cMP, there are lots of much much faster computer out there.

    3% mean for a 1 hour video encoding, it can save you ~2 minutes. Or save you ~18min for a 10 hours job.

    For most people, this is pretty meaningless. Also, in real world, the actual difference most likely will be smaller than the calculated max.
     
  13. nrajack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    #13
    Thanks for the reply. A couple of hours after I typed this the computer and monitor showed up via FEDEX. After I got everything unboxed, set up and booted up it turns out OWC apparently upgraded what I ordered or what but I got the 2012 MacPro instead of the 2010 I had ordered and also it had the 3.46 GHz cpu and not the 3.33 GHz one. Not complaining. I went with this machine for a couple of reasons. First is money (the lack thereof) forcing me to go this route. Second the ProTools 11.3.2 won't run right on El Crapitan or Sierra let alone High Sierra and Digital Performer isn't verified to run on HS yet. Sure an iTrashcan would be faster but I don't have that kind of money.

    I know most computer related abbreviations but what is cMP? Another acronym for a cheesegrater Mac Pro?
     
  14. AndreeOnline macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    Location:
    Zürich
    #14
    I guess that's one way to look at it =)

    I think 'classic Mac Pro' is the agreed upon meaning. But it is the cheese grater, so consider it a lucky match.
     
  15. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #15
    I will get the Mac Pro 5,1 tomorrow. I have already ordered the X5690 and 4x16GB ECC Memory (all used from eBay). The next items to get will be an SSD (probably a Samsung 850 EVO) and a graphics card.

    This is my current problem: I plan to upgrade to macOS Sierra 10.12.6 because this is the latest version to support all software I plan to use. This means I will skip High Sierra for the moment. Can someone tell me if this graphics card will work?

    XFX RX 580 GTS CORE (8GB, High End)

    It seems to have one 8-pin power connector, and I read that macOS 10.12.6 supports the Rx580. This is my most expensive upgrade, therefore I would like to confirm from the experts here if it is reasonable. If not, I would appreciate a recommendation for something better suited, even if less powerful.

    I will mainly use the Mac Pro 5,1 for my private projects and try to get a more powerful PC for the parallel processing Matlab stuff.
     
  16. nrajack macrumors member

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    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    #16
    Never heard 'classic MacPro' before; on every music forum I hang out in they call them cheesegrater because of the obvious resemblance to the old kitchen tool.
     
  17. mp2017 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    #17
    Always nice when you get a silent upgrade. Congratulations. As an FYI the nMP is able to run Mavericks.
     
  18. nrajack macrumors member

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    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    #18
    I couldn't begin to afford an iTrashcan even a refurb one. Besides I'm not nuts about the cooling or lack thereof. I've heard they don't do well in warm environments.
     
  19. mp2017 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    #19
    It was merely an FYI. I wasn't trying to convince you to buy a nMP as you already received your cMP.
     
  20. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #20
    I personally recommend to avoid XFX card in general due to high chance of having compatibility issue.

    However, this one should be OK.

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/gtx-1070-or-rx-580-in-cmp.2054306/page-4#post-25191556
     
  21. Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #21
  22. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #22
    Thank you for the link, but I'm confused now because this is where I got the reference to the XFX graphics card. In this thread it is also said that MSI should be omitted because those don't have a double ROM (or something like this).

    Today I got the Mac Pro 5,1 with the 2.8 GHz 4 core CPU and 7 GB RAM. I upgraded to El Capitan, installed Matlab 2017a, and performed a quick benchmark with 4 threads. To my disappointment, the run time was 3 (three) times of what my 2015 MacBook Pro 15" needed (with the 2.5GHz CPU).

    OK, this is a much newer computer, but when I tested the same software against my old Dell, also end of 2010, with 2.93 GHz i7 CPU and 8GB RAM, I found that the Dell is also almost twice as fast as the Mac Pro. How can this be possible? Are the Xeon CPUs so that much older technology?

    I still have some hope for when I'll receive the "new" X5690 and 64GB RAM.
     
  23. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #23
    If you're going from a 2.8 Ghz Nehalem to a 3.46 Ghz Westmere, you can expect very (very!) roughly 50% better performance single threaded, and you get the extra 2 cores. If what you're doing is I/O intensive, you might see a similar improvement by replacing any spinners with SSD; I think you have that planned already.

    I'm not sure which i7 is in the Dell you mentioned, but it would almost have to be the same micro-architecture generation. Unless your app is GPU limited, the MP with the x5690 should be able to match or beat it. Is the Dell SATA 3? That might be part of it as well, if the benchmark does a lot of I/O, since the MP is SATA 2. It doesn't matter as much with spinners, but can be more noticeable with SSD.
     
  24. whg thread starter macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #24
    Thanks for your comments. My benchmark should not use much I/O. It is a simple Monte Carlo simulation where everything should already be loaded into memory when the timing starts. But the memory access speed could be important. Hopefully the "new" rdimms will help here too. I did not yet open the MP to see what is inside, but 7GB seems to be a very odd number.
     
  25. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #25
    You don’t need a dual ROM RX580, that’s only preferred if you plan to flash your card.

    The MSI reference card is another known working card. One of the good choice.

    The Xeon usually has pretty good multi core raw power within the same generation. However, if you compare a 7 years old CPU to a 2 years old one, and if CPU performance improve 10% every year, your MBP’s CPU (assume also 4C 8T), is about 50% faster in all aspect (even it has a little bit lower BASE frequency).

    Of course, that’s still can’t explain why The MBP is 3x faster in the benchmark. However, your current CPU in the cMP is definitely not a good one for that job. For single CPU model, and for long time compute, you should look for a X5690 or W3690. And 3x 16GB (total 48GB) ECC RAM (if 24GB is enough, then 3x8 is also a good choice).

    Xeon is just a family of the CPU, not all Xeon are the best CPU for any job. e.g. for anything need single thread performance, high clock speed i7 or even i5 can do much better than Xeon.

    Amyway, since you already had the CPU and RAM on the way. You should able to easily see the difference after you get them.
     

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