More life for MacPro early 2008

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by epidote, May 17, 2015.

  1. epidote macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    I'm trying to squeak a couple more years out of my early 2008 macpro.

    From what I've read I grab one of these Technology/ADPTADRV/
    and something like this
    or this
    and just slot it in to one of the bays

    I know it's probably not going to have the best performance (i.e. sata 3 with sata 3 drive) but I'm assuming it will work and will be an improvement with a clean install of Yosemite?

    Does that sounds about right?

  2. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    If you can afford it, you might experience better performance doing what I did on my 3,1:

    I bought a Sonnet Tempo Pro PCIe card and two 480Gb SSD's and set them up as a RAID0 for my boot drive and applications.

    That alone cut startup time from around 1.5 minutes to just under 30 seconds. The system responds much quicker and applications are very snappy.

    Not sure, but I don't think you'll get as big a speed boost from SSDs in the drive bays as you would in a PCIe lane. Others may have better info on this, but that's what I recall when I was looking into this very issue.
  3. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    You won't get as big a boost from putting an SSD in a drive sled but it's still pretty noticeable however for the extra cost of something like the Apricom Velocity you will see a really big increase in performance.

    If your 3,1 hasn't been upgraded at all yet then the cost effective upgrades are
    1. SSD in drive sled but preferably SSD on PCIe card
    2. Graphics card upgrade (a used GTX570 is best bang for buck especially for CUDA)
    3. Upgrade RAM with cheap used 667MHz FB-DIMMs pulled from Xeon servers. Performance in benchmarks is only 4% less than the expensive Apple 800MHz parts & in real life not noticeable at all. I just upgraded a 3,1 to 32GB for the equivalent of $120 which will be more than recouped when I sell the 8x2GB 800MHz parts.
  4. cosmos macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Depends what you already have in your 3,1. Assuming you have enough RAM and the GPU is fast enough then I would add an SSD. While any SSD is much faster than mechanical hard drives, you could go this route:

    It really depends on how much (if anything) you are willing to invest into your setup. I am still running mine, but my current needs are relatively modest. I have upgraded RAM, GPU and SSD over time, but unless something cheap fails, I will not upgrade anything else.
  5. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2011
    The Netherlands
    Please share your MP 3.1 full system specs, for us to better give you ANY wright advise?
  6. epidote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies. My needs are pretty modest too, mostly desktop and web applications with a little video/motion graphics. I can't see this machine being supported much past Yosemite so will probably do this upgrade and then get a new machine in a couple of years.

    My current setup is not quite stock but almost.
    2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    8GB RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 896 MB

    More RAM sounds like a good option too, but it's been mentioned to me that I'll get a better performance kick out of the SSD so that's why I'm asking. If 2nd hand RAM is going that cheap I'll be looking at that too!

    I found the after sigmadog suggested a PCI. Both those PCI options look especially good since they adds eSATA ports as well.

    So long as I have the RAM for the PCI (will 8GB do the job?) that looks like the best option. I checked and I can fit the PCI SSD into slot 1 in if I move that video card to PCI slot 2.

    Thanks again
  7. mugwump macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2004
    Would a Xeon x5690 processor work in a 2008 3,1 Mac Pro? I realize there is a ram - cpu speed bottleneck, but I wonder if that would still be worth the upgrade effort.
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Drop the third party SATA III controllers.

    Get an Apple branded blade PCIe SSD and a simple adaptor for it.

    Even the slowest PCIe SSD will get you around 700MB/s read and write, twice if you get the new one based on the Samsung SM951.

    32GB FB-DIMM 667Mhz can be had for like $100 on eBay.

    If you want a hassle-free experience with the graphic card, then stick with a card that is officially supported, like the Radeon HD 7950.

    Waste of time and money to upgrade the processors to the faster 3.2 or 3.4Ghz versions, as the perfomance gain will be quite small.
  9. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    No. These are a completely different generation of CPU with different socket.
  10. epidote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    Ok, further down the rabbit hole with the blade SSD, thanks for the info Pressure.

    I found this post which helps too

    It looks like the fastest option is

    buy one of these

    and slap in one of these

    that's the best possible performance,

    followed by something like this

    followed by a 'normal' ssd on a PCI adapter,
    followed by a 'normal' ssd in a drive bay?

  11. mugwump macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2004
    Ah, thanks for the info. I'm sure I've read this in a bunch of other threads around here, but what was the highest performing Xeon chip that works in a Mac Pro 3,1? I believe the one at work is the original one running @3.2ghz. Thanks.
  12. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Indeed but you can grab the Apple branded PCIe SSD from eBay as well as this cheap adaptor. This will give you native TRIM support out of the box, hassle free.

    The faster SM951 based Apple branded PCIe SSD are called SSUBX but not all listing has it like that, so you will have to search for the size you need, like "Apple PCIe ssd 512GB" and see what pops up.
  13. thestickman macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
    Not measured the performance but running a ssd via the sata2 connection for my system drive is working quite nicely for me. YMMV :)
  14. Snjper macrumors newbie


    Mar 5, 2015

    I have a Mac Pro 2008 4.1 4 core with 16 GB of RAM and installed 4 hd SSD 250GB and I can say that and become very very powerful !!!!!!!!!

    I did some testing with a mac pro 2014 6.1 8 core 48 gb of my cousin and I assure you that my and most powerful in every sense.
    go quiet that you will not regret.

  15. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    Your Mac Pro is actually from 2009.
  16. Snjper macrumors newbie


    Mar 5, 2015

    ok sorry : Mela:

    macpro 2008 3.1 vs upgrade 4.1 OK ?
  17. epidote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
  18. crjackson2134 macrumors 68040


    Mar 6, 2013
    Charlotte, NC
    I got the exact same one from that vendor, it's very fast with 1500+ using BlackMagic Speedtest. Just understand that if you put it in Slot 2 it will run at half speed. In Slot 3 I get full speed but it has a 60 second boot delay in that slot (for me, YMMV on that). It's a joy to use though. Native Trim, fast App. launching, improved GUI response to clicks. Very happy with it, just annoyed by long boot delay.
  19. epidote thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    That ssubx option is amazing!
    Feels like a new machine. Boot time is about 14 seconds (old hard drive was more like >5 mins) in slot 1, haven't tried to move it around yet, but think I read somewhere the 2008 has slots 1 & 2 as the faster ones??

    BlackMagic says ~750 which beats the ### out of the old one which was more like 50! Might try to tweak it to see if I can get 1500, but it's through the roof as it is already.

    So happy with it I bought another couple of new drives and made a RAID 0 for music and photos etc. So I have a system that should last me at least a few more years.

    Thanks for all the advice! I would recommend this option to anyone thinking about it.
  20. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    I wanted to "test the waters" with an XP941 128GB in 1,1's 8x slot (1.0 spec vs the 3,1's 1.1 4x) and is more than nice 'n had me wishng for the larger/faster 256GB (higher writes mainly). Previously using 840 EVO o SATA II drive bay which offered fast booting and huge improvement over 10K WD VelociRaptor or WD Black.

    I've called these blades a huge game-changer and Easter Egg! seeing how they work in any classic Mac Pro from 10.5.x and above with just the adapters (not controller, no driver or special firnmware to provide booting). Before I had bought Sonnet Tempo SSD which could only - in 1,1/2,1 - be used for data storage.

    So, glad you saw through to take the plunge, and see what was down that rabbit hole!
  21. CanadaMaple macrumors member

    May 1, 2015
    I myself have a 3,1 with the SSD in the sled via Adaptadrive.

    I have to say I did have a noticeable performance increase system-wide.

    I will eventually buy a Apricom card, but just waiting for when the time is right.

    Also I have installed the El Capitan beta and can say I have noticed system responsiveness up system-wide and it wasn't slow before.

    I still need to upgrade my video card. It has a stock GT120. (Yes I know these originally came with 8800's but somehow mine came with a GT120. Still haven't figured out why, even the label on the back says /GT120.

  22. flehman macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2015
    I own a MP 3,1 and also a 4,1->5,1. Both are running 2.5" SSDs in the stock drive bays using Adaptadrives. They do about 250 MB/s in the stock drive bays, which is not so impressive compared to a PCI blade but still substantially faster than a mechanical drive.

    I plan to invest in a PCI blade for the 4,1->5,1 eventually, but the 3,1 models have a somewhat spottier record for reliably booting from a PCI drive and 2 of the slots are hobbled anyway. Many folks have gotten Apricorns, blades etc. working fine in a 3,1 but there are some products that don't support booting in a 3,1 so read up.

    There is an older thread out there where someone upgraded the stock drive bays in a 3,1 to SATA 3 speeds (around 480 MB/s give orvtake) using a PCI-based SATA-3 controller card and a mPCIe adapter cable that replaced the existing cable connect on the motherboard. I think the cable was pretty expensive though.
  23. Inutopia macrumors 6502


    Apr 8, 2009
    South of Heaven
    It's still kind of fresh in my mind making the upgrade from a spinning disk to a SSD in my 2008 Mac Pro.

    It might not be as good on paper as SATA3 or PCI-e etc but it made a MASSIVE difference to using the machine, truly night and day.

    Best pound for pound upgrade I ever made.
  24. CanadaMaple macrumors member

    May 1, 2015
    Completely Agreed.
  25. mdindestin macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Northwest Florida

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