Move on from my 2008 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by robotartfashion, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1
    Hey everyone! I appreciate any time you take to help me decide here!

    TLDwanttoR:
    I have a 2008 2.8 Octo, 16GB Ram, 7950 flashed card

    Uses:
    Music recording and editing but don't want latency (hobbyist only these days)
    Some Photoshop (back to hobbyist only as well)
    Some gaming

    Upgrade Options:
    2010 Westmere Mac Pro
    Wait for the next revision of the 5k iMac
    Hackintosh

    The story:

    I've got the 2008 Octo in my signature (with some upgrades, currently at 16gb of RAM and I put a flashed 7950 card in it. I love my Mac Pro, the expandability and dependability.

    Lately though it's starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. Granted I don't use it for the the heavy lifting I used to. I used it for semi-pro photo and video editing for the first couple years of its life but these days I only work on art and music recording/editing as a hobby. I also want to give it to my friend who's a great artist and could benefit from it and doesn't have the budget to afford a new or newish computer (he currently uses a 2008 White Macbook).

    I've been looking at my options. I almost sprang for the 5k Retina iMac but I don't like all the stuff I read regarding the graphics card options on it. I then looked into a Hackintosh but I think I'm past the days of my youth where I didn't mind constantly tinkering. I started thinking about moving to a newer Mac Pro like a 2010 6 Core. Is that even worth it? (considering they're running between $850 - $1700 on EBAY). Or should I go with one of the other options?
     
  2. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Seeing that your uses for the 2008 are:
    1. Hobbyist
    2. Hobbyist
    3. Gamer

    It might be better to just pop in an SSD (PCIe) as the boot drive and RAID 0 slots 2-4. To spend over $129.00 to continue 1-3 is like :eek:!
     
  3. robotartfashion thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #3
    Haha fair enough. Maybe I should expand on things just a bit. When I say hobbyist, it may be a little misleading. I make my living in the financial industry these days. That being said, I am a shown artist and I was a touring musician and I'm looking to move back into both of those things. I don't plan on them being my primary bread winning endeavours but as my Mac Pro is getting a little long in the tooth it seemed like a good time to upgrade.

    Would I see a big difference in performance running Photoshop and Logic between my 2008 Mac Pro and a Westmere 3.46 (or whatever it exactly is) six core?

    Thanks for your patience!


     
  4. OS6-OSX, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #4
    The 2008 MP is still a very capable machine. The two suggestions of a. placing an SSD boot disk on a PCIe card and b. using software RAID 0 on 3HD's in slots 2-4 will give you an idea of what a "minor" upgrade can accomplish.

    Music Editing-(Midi)-I use Digital Performer 7.24 for Midi with lots Instruments in Kontakt 5 by EastWest and NI. Very ram intensive! You should to be able to alleviate the latency with the settings in your DAW.
    (Mixing)-I use ProTools 8 and can have 40 tracks (34 audio 6 busses) with plugs like UAD's 1176, LA2A, PultecPro, Neve 1073, Neve 1081, Neve 33609, Faichild, SSL's G series and several Waves. (have not performed a "max trk" test just to get a count)
    (Mastering)-Usually a two trk mix. A none issue

    Video Editing-Using Avid's Media Composer 8.3 on the 2008. It's able to handle
    Alexa PR4444_LogC, PR422HQ Cannon 5D, 7D and C300 R3D 2K & 4K (1/2res) Sony F3 etc.

    Your 2008 should handle anything PS can import! Place all the footage/photos
    on the "RAID 0" drive in slots 2-4.
    Since ram for the 2008 is expensive, placing the boot on a PCIe card and RAID 0 for 3 HD's in slots 2-4 should be done first. You will see a difference.
    In my 2008 I have a 10.6.8 spinner along with a 10.8.5 SSD in the optical bay. And yes your SSD will be at least 2x faster because of the ole SATA II vs PCIe factor.
     
  5. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #5
    I see lots of defending of the 3,1s on these forums. a well configured 5,1 will kick it's ass. a lot of technology happened between the 2008 and 2009 models. The 3600/5600 series Xeons that you can put in a 4,1 or 5,1 remain competitive to this day.

    the 3.46 should be an Intel Xeon w3690 or x5690. Neither of those were original Apple parts. You would be buying a modified machine. And nothing wrong with that. I work in an office filled with Mac Pros that we have done CPU upgrades on. Those CPUs are both hex core and great performers. You can move your current graphics card over.

    RAM, the more the better. Those chips have 3 channel memory controllers so maximum performance is from 3 chips (the computer has 4 slots per CPU). I suggest 24GB at a minimum (3X8) and 48GB (3x16) if you can.
     
  6. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #6
    There have been ebay and craigslist offerings of the 2009 4,1 $499 lately.

    Amazon has 4x4GB $149

    Other than memory, you can take your GPU and any SSD or PCIe and hard drives with you to a 4,1.

    The 3,1 may work, but even GPUs do not see the same performance level and those two 4x PCIe 1.0 may or may not hold you back.

    RAM plus a best of class SSD offering (SATA style on PCIe or M.2) and go with 256GB and up.

    SSDs make a huge improvement. Price on FBDIMM came down in 2013 while quality (lower temps and not running as hot) at least with NEMIX I use. Also SSDs in the last two years and now with XP941 M.2 that are bootable in any cMP.
     
  7. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #7
    Of course a Mac Pro 4,1 or 5,1 can outperform a 3,1 but the OP already has a 3,1 & a cheap PCI SSD upgrade will transform the system. If the software used can take advantage of the extra cores then the 8 core 3,1 will be better than a 4 core 4,1 or 5,1.

    There is a vast difference in price & hassle between putting a PCI SSD into the 3,1 & buying a 5,1 then upgrading to dual 3.46 CPUs. If the OP is basically happy with his current machine then spending ¢100-200 on a 5 minute upgrade is a no-brainer.
     
  8. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #8
    My response is directly in line with the question posed by the OP. You can fill a 3,1 one with SSDs and none of those will make it process any faster. The SINGLE 3.46GHz hex core Xeon (you are the only one who brought up dual) that the OP referenced will definitely outrun any combination of 5400 series Xeons you can put in a 3,1.

    The OP is looking for a new machine. And I agree that he should. And that is what my comments are about. It is no longer worth investing in a 3,1. A 5,1 (whether an original or upgrade) hex is a very cost effective option with better performing parts throughout and more legs to keep it useful moving forward.
     
  9. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #9
    Try the XP941 500GB, if that isn't enough in zero latency disk I/O and improvement in performance, no real loss, it will work and do even better in a 4,1+
     
  10. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Most users of 3,1's that defend the use of these MP's are usually defending the work that can be done on them. The work that they "actually" do on them. They don't post lots of abstract numbers, bench marks and hypothetical situations.
    When it comes to certain applications and specific fields, the 4,1 and 5,1 would indeed excel. Mudbox, Maya, Houdini etc. Those that use these apps probably gravitated to the 4,1-6,1.
    Funny "a$$ kicking" was mentioned. I saw a 4,1 and 5,1 at an "A$$ Kicking" contest last summer at the county fair!:eek: Guess they got their work done so fast they didn't have anything to do for the rest of the day! :D
     
  11. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #11
    I don't really see a machine model identifier or the name of the actual CPU therein as "abstract". We can agree to disagree. No where did anyone state that you can t work on a 3,1. You can work on a 1,1 too, it'll just take longer. You can work on a G4 PowerMac as well, I did for many years.

    For anyone working on a 3,1, if you are happy with it, I am happy for you. For anyone expecting a modern performer, it'll never again be a 3,1.
     
  12. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Which brings this back full circle. The OP is working on a 3,1 pertaining to music and photoshop. The post went of the tracks comparing 3,1's to 4,1's and 5,1's without speaking specifically on these two apps. He would not see enough benefit with music or photoshop to justify the cost of another computer.
     
  13. robotartfashion thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #13
    Thanks so much for the opinions guys.

    I'm going to buy another computer, either now or at the next Retina iMac refresh for the following reasons:

    1) I'm trying to justify giving my buddy my 2008 Mac Pro in exchange for some art from him in the future. He's really a great mixed media artist but he's saddled with crippling college debt (like many) and a newborn son. He's working hard to keep his family afloat and he's like a brother to me so I want to do it for him. I'm also super cheap about things normally so I'm justifying the purchase through a more future proofed machine with more power.

    2) I can justify the money right now. This time next year I'll hopefully be preparing for grad school myself and money will be much more of an object. I want to buy something that'll last me for the next 2-3 years.


    So help me justify it! I like expandability so that's what makes me want to go with the Mac Pro. Since my 2008 is still (relatively) relavint I assume the 2010-12 5.1 Mac Pro would be good for another few years right? If not should I wait for the next iMac refresh?

    Also, does the 3.46 processor justify around $180 more in cash outlay over the 3.33? (both hex cores).

    Thanks again for all the help!
     
  14. jamesdmc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Cittagazze
    #14
    Go for it. Help your friend and treat yourself.

    As for purchasing options, you mentioned eBay in your original post. As a fellow 2008 3,1 owner who breifly considered upgrading a short time ago, don't forget that OWC has used Mac Pro's for sale. Many come with a 240GB SSD and a 1TB HDD preinstalled. Just something to consider.
     
  15. thestickman, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    thestickman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #15
    Only had my 2008 a few days. I gave up a more powerful PC for this older technology primarily to be able to work in OSX again. I run a small recording studio & I am a Mac fanboi all over again.

    I use Pro Tools 11 for paying clients. All my current projects, some with 50+ tracks run without issue & I have plugs on all of them plus multiple Vi's. I also use Logic 9 & X, Cubase 8 & Reaper without issue.

    It works for me. Newer, more powerful Mac Pro options are out there to be sure. If you WANT a newer Mac Pro, have at it. Staying pat or upgrading your 2008 model will do the OP no harm with current pro audio software.

    Best of luck to the OP in whatever they decide :)
     
  16. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #16
    This would be so much easier if you would just read the posts.

    Congrats on your impending upgrade. that next iMac may be a killer but I'm a fan of the Mac Pro now, especially with all the flexibility around internal storage. $180 may be more than that minor CPU bump is worth (I'm sitting i front of a 4.46 hex right now and I like it a lot) or it may be piece of mind knowing you've pushed it as far as it can go.

    And consider a USB 3.0 card, which is the one thing I wish the Mac Pro had.

    Don't forget RAM, I would go at least 24GB.
     

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