New Mac Pro 3,1 questions.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by crazyeyes, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. crazyeyes macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2005
    Easton PA
    Hi guys, I just got a Mac Pro 3,1 from a friend.

    It's a quad core 2.8
    Dual SuperDrives
    1tb hdd
    500gb hdd
    320gb hdd
    Nvidia GeForce 8800gt
    4gb of ram (4x1gb)

    I have mountain lion running on it and the machine is fairly quick but can be a bit laggy at times just doing web surfing and listening to music.

    I was thinking of either adding 8gb or ram 4x2gb or a 128gb ssd for the boot drive.

    What do you guys think?
  2. violst macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    I think your priority should be ram first and SSD second. You have enough HD capacity and the 8800gt should be good enough for your needs at the moment. 4GB just doesn't cut it. I would go with a minimum of 8 and then you can think about an SSD as your next upgrade.

    Good luck.
  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    With web surfing and listening to music, your current specs should not show any slowdown. Might be just doing a clean reinstallation of your OSX or fixing the directory of your HD.
  4. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2005
    Easton PA
  5. Tesselator, Mar 22, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    I dunno what your friend did but usually OS X doesn't need clean reinstalls. It's better with OS X (if you can) to figure out why and resolve it through settings modification. The clean reinstall thing comes from Windows (all versions) which misuses a central Registry mechanism that becomes too messy for human intervention and after awhile culminates the need for a clean re-install. OS X has such a Registry but doesn't misuse it (at all) and although there are times where it might be easier to just reinstall OS X you'll never learn what's going on and probably just end up repeating the badness. :)

    There can be a lot of reasons why surfing on your machine spec would be sluggish. OS X does all kinds of automatic indexing so that FS and in-document searches are fast. It also does all kinds of memory management so that things are balanced between the amount of RAM you have, potential loss-of-data crashes slash unexpected quits, and disk I/O. Unfortunately Apple engineers are not clairvoyant and don't have a clue about what kind applications you will be running most nor how you will be using those apps. So this means that for the smoothest experience you kinda hafta profile your self, find out what to tune, and tune those things up to match your usage.

    This is the case with any large (configurable) system's OS really but in the case of the MacPro and other Workstation class computers it can be a little frustrating because we know the hardware spec is so far above meeting simple tasks like web surfing. :mad: But usually just some configuration tuning will do the trick. In your case you need more memory as a 1st step. I might also recommend trying different browsers as Safari is a bit of an inconsiderate pig. Recent FireFox releases are pretty terrible too - I personally think either the FF devs have changed over or the existing ones have taken up smoking crack as a pastime. :p

    Also while the dynamic_pager profile in Mountain Lion has been massively improved it's still not great. I've found that just turning off the dynamic pager all together can improve performance a lot and smooth things out considerably! I dunno how it will act in only 4GB of RAM but with 12 or 16 or more it's a wonderful thing... turning off the DP. You can try it in 4GB and see if it's any help - it won't hurt anything. Here's how:

    1. Open up the terminal.
    2. Copy this string into your clip board:
      • sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    3. Paste it into the terminal and press return.
    4. Close the Terminal,
    5. Restart your machine.
    • If you decide you want to change it back for any reason just repeat those steps using this string:
      • sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    I would recommend packing your machine with as much RAM as you can possibly afford. 24GB or over seems pretty nice for a fully fluid user experience. With that much or more you may find that an SSD no longer offers a significant advantage. ;)
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I would agree with the above posts.

    If you like to tinker, you can get a 2nd CPU (I am assuming it is a single Quad as you didn't say "double") for peanuts these days. The other Mac Pros suffer because best Xeon for them is also best for many other servers, so lots of people competing for limited amount = $$$$.

    With the 3,1 you can simply ADD a 2nd CPU and get a heatsink assembly for it. And the 3,1 can only use the 2ND BEST XEON of that family. So let the server crowd fight for the 5492, you can only use the 5482 which is consequently a much better deal. So you can get 2 X5482s for very little. ($200 or so IIRC)

    And the cheap CPUs will help you with the expensive part....THE RAM. You can get 8GB sticks, but you will need to sell one of your children. 4GB are doable. Fact is you can use the cheaper 667Mhz stuff from a 1,1 or 2,1 but you do pay a small penalty for the privilege in speed.

    SSDs are nice but some of the effect is a simple trick. Fast boots are nice, and they will eventually be more cost effective. I use several but when you see 3 bays with a 80GB, and a 128 GB and a 256GB SSD you realize that you have used up 3 bays for less than 512GB of space. Silly.

    Keep the 8800GT blown out of dust. The thing to watch with those is flexing the card itself will accelerate the bad solder joints that kill them.

    Enjoy the 3,1 it still has years in it's future.
  7. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Yep! Oh, and the above poster here is thee go-to guy for your video card upgrades and information. Him and reading on sites like
  8. crazyeyes thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2005
    Easton PA
    So I can add another processor? The boards are the same in the single or dual processor machine? It just has one socket that isn't being used? Is the heat sink still there for it as well?

    I ended up ordering 8gb of ram for it. I am actually going to install that tonight as it arrived today while I was at work.

    I am now thinking I may want to upgraded to the dual 3.2 cpu's for $200.

    I am also contemplating upgrading the 8800gt graphics card that is in it, but I'm not sure which graphics card to go with, I don't want to spend a whole ton of money, I don't do a whole lot of intensive video stuff, I do some photo editing, I will watch some HD videos but I don't play any games as of right now.

    Eventually I will end up putting a SSD in the computer but may wait a little bit for the prices to drop a bit more on them.

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