Need help with 2013 Mac Pro config

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by FoamCup, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. FoamCup, Apr 30, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016

    FoamCup macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    Hello, all!

    I am looking for the "best" or "perfect" configuration for a new 2013 Mac Pro.

    My needs are general everyday use such as web browsing, listening to music, watching videos, etc. I will also be editing HD videos in Final Cut Pro X and will be using HandBrake and Apple Compressor as well. Source content will be from a cable box, video from iPhone, and movies/videos downloaded from the Internet. I am no professional user. Only a casual user. I know it might be overkill and out of budget, but I think the Mac Pro will the best choice for me since I don't need portability but I prefer quietness and performance.

    I'm thinking of starting with the stock quad core and then upgrading to the six core CPU. The eight core and twelve core are out of my budget range and some or all of the software, listed above, will not utilize all of the eight cores or twelve cores. Memory will be 12GB RAM upgraded to 16GB RAM to fill all of the available RAM slots as well as the extra 4GB RAM just in case. Internal storage will be upgrading from the stock 256GB PCIe SSD to the 1TB PCIe SSD. As for which graphics card, I need help on deciding.

    I don't earn every much from working but I am saving up for the 2013 Mac Pro. I have a 2009 Mac Pro (Nehalem 3.33GHz Quad-Core CPU, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT120) that I bought refurbished online, but I am looking at the 2013 Mac Pro because it is quiet/silent and its small size compared to the Mac Mini, making it easier to transport than the 2009 Mac Pro. Essentially replacing the 2009 Mac Pro with the 2013 Mac Pro.

    Please help me. Thank you!
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    IMO, even Hex core may be overkill for you. And you can upgrade the CPU by yourself later (when you have extra money). In fact, Handbrake can fully utilise the 12 cores CPU. But if export time is not important to you, Quad cores is good for general use. It has the highest single core speed, which is better than the 12 cores for most daily operation.

    16G RAM sounds good to me, and again, you can upgrade that later.

    GPU is something that you cannot upgrade (may be forever). From your description, dual D300 should be enough for you. If you want it "perfect", you may go for the dual D700, otherwise it may be very hard to get 2x 2nd hand cards to make that "perfect" later on. FCPX can utilise those VRAM when you start to editing 4K video in the future (I assume you want to keep this Mac Pro for a few years, and will move to 4K at some stage).

    PCIe SSD, the larger the better.

    Anyway, I assume that you are happy to buy this considered old but over price computer.

    And I assume you know that you can upgrade your 4,1 to make it more powerful than the Quad core dual D700 6,1 with just a fraction of the cost. But somehow you still willing to pay for the small form factor, and quietness, etc., but not for the raw power.
  3. FoamCup thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    Hey, yeah, I think that the hex core will be a better option than the quad core because of its slightly lower clock speed but additional two physical cores that HandBrake can use to encode videos faster than a quad core can. Plus, I can afford the additional $500 for the Hex core but not want to spend 2k to 3.5k on the eight and twelve cores. Not too sure about the single core performance on the Hex core as compared to the quad, eight, or twelve core, though or if it'll even make a difference. Export time is sort of important since I don't want to wait like hours+ on a 30 min video or something. But, I know video encoding takes time. I just don't want to have to hear the fans while I'm trying to watch TV while the Mac Pro is working, unlike the 2009 Mac Pro. The fans are so loud while it's encoding video that it drowns out the TV. I hope the 2013 Mac Pro is super quiet/silent.

    The D700 is too expensive for my budget, so I can go with the D300 as you recommend. I am also not sure if HandBrake or Apple Compressor will utilize the D500 GPU while it's encoding video because video encoding is dependent on CPU than GPU, although I might be wrong. But, I know that FCPX will utilize both the CPU and GPU.

    I am happy with this old and possibily outdated Mac.

    I know that I can upgrade the 4,1 but I'm not sure if I want to seeing as it's old and used. I'm pretty sure the 2013 model is as powerful as the 2009 model. I just don't want to have to lug around a big, bulky, heavy computer since it requires strength and two hands.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Did you ever clean your 4,1? I am living in hot Asia. Yes, I can hear the fan when my Mac is running in 100%, however, it's just a little bit more fan noise then normal idle. If there is a loud fan noise from your a mac, I suspect the heatsink is dusty, or the thermal paste is dried out. Which cause the cooling system can't work effectively, and eventually have to spin up the fan much more than normal to keep the CPU cool.

    If you don't mind, can you make a screen capture of the fan speed and CPU temperature when you using handbrake? I wonder why your 4,1 is so noisy.

    For handbrake, yes, Hex core is a better choice. And it can only use GPU for very few things. Besides, that OpenCL support still quite buggy at this moment. If you don't want the output video suffer from any error, you better not to use GPU encoding at this moment.

    FCPX will use lots of both CPU and GPU resources for rendering, but not encoding. AFAIK, compressor somehow can use GPU for encoding, but the source must feeding from FCPX, and only works under specific condition. I personally never manage to get that anyway. For HD video, dual D300 should be quite enough for non-professional like you and me. D500 of course are better, if you can afford it, nothing wrong to go for it. Again, you may not able to upgrade the GPU later on, better to the best as possible at the beginning.
  5. FoamCup thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    It may have been cleaned by the vendor before they shipped it because I see no dust, dirt, etc. even the fans are clean. I think that because of the five(?) fans including the heatsink(s) on the processors are working hard encoding video in HandBrake, which is why I think that the fans might seem loud. The Mac is close to the TV, like side by side almost. I also have to sit next to the Mac when on the computer.

    Where do I go to see the fan speed and cpu temperature? I don't use my Mac very often due to not converting video very much.
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    A software called iStat can do the job well.

    The 5 fan design actually able to reduce noise. Because now there are 5 fans running at slower speed, rather than like the iMac only one fan but work at very high RPM.
  7. Stacc macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2005
    Depending on how soon you need the machine, you may want to hold off until WWDC, which is in mid June. There is a reasonable chance the Mac Pro gets updated there and you should get more bang for your buck than the current model. Don't expect the mac pro to get any cheaper but you will definitely have faster video card options and a somewhat faster processor.
  8. FoamCup thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    Here is a screenshot while the computer is idle (12.26.15 AM)

    Screenshot while converting a 1 min 29 second Full HD 1080p trailer (12.27.35 AM)

    The computer was quiet and the fans were idle and I could not hear the fans, like as if the computer was idle.

    Beginning/warm up of 4k UHD sample conversion in HandBrake (12.37.54 AM)

    Halfway through video conversion (12.40.42 AM)

    and completion of the conversion (12.43.44 AM)
    --- Post Merged, Apr 30, 2016 ---
    I don't even have enough right now for the custom config, but close to getting the base model right now. I was planning on getting the Mac Pro for Christmas 2016 so I am currently waiting for both events. We'll see what's happening at WWDC this year just to be sure. Thanks for the advice.

    Attached Files:

  9. h9826790, Apr 30, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I am quite sure all you need to do is open the Mac and re-paste the CPU.

    Fan spin up to 2000PRM is a bit high. In my own test, I can start to hear the fan at 900RPM in a relative quite environment. More noticeable at 1100RPM, and definitely consider noisy if at 2000RPM.

    Your system ambient is just 83F (28C), not hot at all. My system ambient is about 34C (93F) now.

    The fan will try to keep the CPU stay at about 80C, that means stabilse at 174F is absolutely normal.

    However, what looks wrong to me is the heatsink temperature is too low. Only 140F under full load with 2000PRM.

    To me, which means the fan is effective, which can cool the heatsink. The heatsink itself is in good condition, which can transfer the heat to the air. However, the thermal paste is not good. The heat is trapped inside the CPU and cannot transfer to the heatsink effectively.

    This problem is even more obvious on the screen capture that you just start the encoding. 153F and 118F, the big split between the CPU and it's heatsink temperature also suggest that the heat cannot transfer from CPU to the heatsink effectively. If the thermal paste is good, the heatsink will warm up (react) much quicker when the CPU start to warm up.

    For 83F system ambient temperature, a good condition 4,1's cooling system should only need around 1200RPM (or even lower) to maintain the CPU at or below 174F. And the temperature of the heatsink and CPU should be more closer to each other.

    A $5 Artic Silver 5 may able to effectively fix this high fan noise issue.
  10. FoamCup thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    I don't have the tools required to open up the heatsinks and re-apply the thermal paste to the CPU(s). I don't think I want to take the processor tray out again because it's difficult to put the tray back in to the computer for some reason. It's like there's an obstruction on one side of the case when sliding the tray back in even though there is nothing there. The pins at the back of the case look fine. I can't tell if they're bent. Ever since I got the computer, I had only took the processor tray out twice. Once to look at the RAM to fill one free RAM slot and twice to put the RAM into the slot on the motherboard. Ever since I got the computer, to the RAM install, SSD/HDD/ODD install, to right now, I have left the computer the same condition as it had arrived. The Mac is in an open space with no fan obstructions for proper airflow.

    I think I'll get a new Mac for the newer hardware instead of trying to revive this old Mac. This old one is headed to the trash and in its place will be a Mac that is "newer".
  11. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Of course nothing wrong to replace the old one by the new one.

    It just seems that there is an easy fix for me.

    My CPU tray was perfect when I bought my 4,1. But after some maintenance from Apple, the tray is no longer that perfect when I want to slide it back in. I need to apply some force to lift the tray for may be 1mm max, otherwise can't slide back in (feel obstructed).

    Anyway, only yourself know what you need. I am sure the nMP is a nice machine, and able to deliver what you need.
  12. FoamCup thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2016
    I know it might be easier to re-apply the paste, but I'm afraid that I might break the computer. I had to put the tower on its side so that I can easily slide the tray back in which seems to work more than trying to slide the tray in while the tower is upright.

    I think the "newer" Mac Pro will be better because of its updated hardware and design. It is like a Mac Mini on the outside and a Mac Pro on the inside. I think I'm going to love it. I hope that everything works flawlessly right out of the box.

    I think here is the "perfect" configuration for my needs based our collaboration:

    CPU: Hex/Six Core
    Memory: 16GB
    Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
    Graphics: AMD FirePro D300

    I know that it might be an essential, but I wonder if I should buy AppleCare? even though it's $249 more and with tax, the price will go up even more.

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