New Mac Pro user looking to upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jagaloon, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. jagaloon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2014
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    NH
    #1
    Hi all,

    I currently own a MacPro mid 2010 tower with a 2.8ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon cpu with 8gb of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC ram with an ATI Radeion HD 5770 1gb video card. Running OSX Lion 10.7.5, Model Identifier MacPro5,1.

    For what I've been using it for, it's been fine until I picked up a GoPro Hero 3+ Black camera and started fiddling with video. I'm starting to notice the video really taxes the machine and as a result it's bitten me with "upgradeitis".

    I was all set and ready to go get the new MacPro but I'd rather just use what I have and not hop on over to the latest/greatest thing.

    Digging through forums all last night and driving the Mrs insane with my obsessive pouring over specs, I found that for my particular MacPro, the only viable option was to swap the CPU out with the one used in other MacPros, the Intel w3680 3.33ghz 6 core chip. I realize there is a 3.46ghz chip but this was never supported by apple and call me crazy I'd rather not risk ruining my machine even though others have done that swap with great success.

    My dilema is finding a reputable source for this w3680 chip which all but seems to have dried up besides ebay. Have I overlooked any other chips or was the OEM apple replacement the w3680 that was used in other MacPro's of my year? I do not want to spend the money for the OWC dual cpu upgrade, I'm more than able to simply swap chips.

    Sadly my geekbench score was 2182 for single core and 8412 for multi core in 64bit. My Late 2011 MacBook Pro 2.4ghz i5 cpu seems a tad faster with using handbrake than my MacPro. It scored higher in single core as well vs my MacPro.

    So am I on the right track in looking to swap my cpu with the w3680 or have I overlooked a few other cpu options. The numbers are all starting to bleed together now after a night of research ;)
     
  2. Robert Davies macrumors 6502

    Robert Davies

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    #2
    Read this end to end - its a bit irreverent in places, but it's the story of cost effectively upgrading a 2010 to a 2012 spec Mac Pro:

    http://pindelski.org/Photography/mac-pro/

    I urge you to read the Mac Pro section end to end.

    -Rob
     
  3. jagaloon, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014

    jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Perfect!! Haven't come across this one yet! At quick glance (and I'm going to sit down and read the entire article) it seems that with the 2009 models you have to be careful with the chip you buy, with regards to the IHS or protective alloy plate. My 2010 I would think does not have this or at least in the article it doesn't mention this, so I'm thinking I should be good to go if I so dare to venture down the path with a w3680...
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    The nMP was built for video editing. I don't think a CPU swap is going to buy you much added performance. Your system needs significant upgrades in all areas to net some noticeable improvements. You might as well go nMP.
     
  5. Robert Davies macrumors 6502

    Robert Davies

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    #5
    I agree that a cpu swap won't make it quicker than an nMP, but a carefully chosen gpu or two might. That's unless you upgrade the gpus in the nMP…. oh… no, wait, you can't.

    But this is entirely off topic from the OP's question really…
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
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    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    The OP did mention he had considered the nMP as an option... I was simply trying to say that you can't build a better machine for FCP X than the nMP. It's worth reconsidering.
     
  7. FinalCutJay macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2008
    #7
    You don't need a new Mac

    Your Mac Pro perfectly fine for editing GoPro footage. I actually have a Hero 3 and up until a few months ago I was editing with a Mac Pro 1.1 (3Ghz quad core)

    What are you editing with software wise? In general you want to stay away from editing in h.264 which is the codec the go pro video is in. The sure that is your issue.

    If you just transcoded your footage you probably wouldn't have an issue. Straight video editing isn't that taxing on the system unless you are working with ProRes 444 or higher.
     
  8. cinematicme macrumors member

    cinematicme

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    Aug 2, 2011
    #8

    I'm a production head myself, just out of curiosity have you upgraded to Final Cut Pro x? Or are you still on Final Cut Studio 3 (final cut 7)?

    FCP7 can't even utilize all 8GB of RAM as it's built 32bit. FCPX is 64bit and with your specs should handle fine, also are you editing 1080p30, 2k, or 4k footage?

    Is recommend an SSD for 2k and 4k or a 10,000RPM external FireWire drive.
     
  9. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    I have considered the new macpro (nMP), I'm still using FCP7. Footage is 1080p 60fps. I thought music production was an expensive hobby.. video is worse and never ending it seems! I have done some 2.7k but only as an experiment and I have been sticking with 1080p 60fps.

    Hard to believe that going from 2.8 quad core to 3.33 6 core won't net much of a performance improvement.

    I wonder though if the nMP is expandable like the current macpro I have now. Somewhat dissapointed to hear that upgrading the CPU isn't worth it and a new 3k nMP is... must keep it quiet/hidden from the wife if I go that route, rather not though.:eek:
     
  10. cinematicme macrumors member

    cinematicme

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    #10
    New MacPro user looking to upgrade


    I would say Get FCPX it's a $299 or $199 upgrade (can't remember) and Logic Pro X is pretty awesome too @ $199 for the upgrade. It will allow you to fully use those 8GB of ram while editing.

    Do you edit on internal disk or external scratch? Personally I use a LaCie 1TB d2 Quadra over FireWire as a scratch disk and I haven't had any problems with stutters

    If you edit locally FCP has to contend with everything else using your disk which will give you a performance decrease especially during spotlight indexing or downloading.
     
  11. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #11
    You would see a considerable performance increase.
    Your 64 bit scores would be somewhere near mine, 2980 single and 15,800 for
    multi ( approx as I don't have the score in front of me ) - 6 core 3,33

    Along with perhaps a better graphics card and careful with using the right
    software to access your ram properly ... BINGO !
    M.
     
  12. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    That's what I thought with the exception of the software upgrade. Thanks!
     
  13. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #13
    Take a look at Barefeats.com and note how well the oMP does with TWO GPUs... you CAN get very close to the nMP! And you don't have to worry about the IHS issue with a single CPU 4,1; only the dual CPU models used the lidless CPUs.

    I upgraded the same MP you have to a hex 3.33 and love the performance, but if you happened to find a 3690 for the right price, I'd say go for it! It has the same power requirement as the 3680 and will drop in perfectly.

    Unless you want to pay a ridiculous price, you will need to by a used CPU.
     
  14. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Fhew finished reading that entire website. Good info on there only thing that made me squeamish was the bolts on the heat sink possibly crushing or breaking things. Call me a chicken but hat has me second guessing myself. I've built plenty of computers in my day but nothing as expensive as my macpro.

    Now to be up front here I honestly don't do much of any video only until recently with the purchase of a few gopro's for a event in a few weeks. This has even what sparked my upgrade fever. I fired up all the video editing software I have and started to go to town. I have a second internal scratch disk right now. 8gb of ram all slots are full.

    General use is cs 6 illustrator, photoshop dream weaver and visual studio. Trying to narrow down if the two extra cores will help or be a waste of money. As for graphics cards I still can't believe that the 5770 is really due for an upgrade. But if it is then only one I could find was 650.00 and a nvidia gtx 680.

    Cpu/gtx and a ssd would put me upwards of 1500. Sell my Mac Pro and get the trash can instead if only for further upgradability or to revisit a similar situation like I am in now if only in a few more years from now... ;)

    Now I remember why I loathe technology ;)
     
  15. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #15
    If you've built computers, it's really straight-forward. Do a search here for "washers" and use them if it makes you feel more comfortable. I didn't and it was really easy.

    I'm picking up another 2009 8-core tomorrow for $800 and I'm doing it again. It's just too cheap to pass on for such a powerful computer! :eek:
     
  16. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 25, 2012
    #16
    The potential of crushing and breaking things only applies to the 2009 dual-processor MP. It doesn't apply to your 2010 single-processor MP.
     
  17. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Oh yeah. Duh.
     
  18. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2008
    #18
    This bears repeating....






    Do yourself a favor and try transcoding some of your footage to see what kind of performance you'll get. H.264 never was (and still isn't) a codec meant for editing. It's more of a delivery format, and unfortunately has become one of the "standard" acquisition formats for budget cameras. I would try FCPX before radically changing your hardware. At least FCPX can transcode your h.264 footage in the background.

    Or if you're really determined to edit your footage natively, maybe an NVIDIA card (with CUDA cores) and Premiere's Mercury playback engine.
     
  19. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2014
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    NH
    #19
    I'll use handbrake and take the footage from my gopro and run it through handbrake to convert to mp4 and work with that. I'll go forward and snag a copy of FCPX.

    It's reassuring to know that the "crushing" issue isn't a problem with my 2010 MP, granted I don't go torquing the snot out of the bolts.

    Ideally I'd like to get another 4 years or so out of this model before I have to ditch the entire unit for the TCM and start cluttering up my desk with thunderbolt peripherals :(
     
  20. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

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    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #20
    Wait. I'm not sure you quite understood what he posted. Your GoPro produces h.264 MP4 files, which are sub-optimal for editing just due to the fact that they're compressed to hell and gone. It can be somewhat CPU taxing to edit in it.

    You can transcode it to anything, but you'll lose some amount of quality each time you do that. And the question you have to answer is: to what format are you transcoding to, and will doing that plus the time it takes to edit the file and then re-transcode it on export save you anything over just editing the MP4 raw?

    Likely: it won't save you a lick of time. It'll more than likely add significant time to the entire process.

    It's almost always better to edit natively from an overall time perspective. That includes the time it takes to ingest the footage, the time it takes to edit it, and then the time it takes to export it. If you have to also spend time with transcoding during the ingestion or editing phase, you'll end up with a longer project overall.

    My suggestions:
    1. Upgrade your video card to a supported GTX680, or an unsupported GTX780. Either one will work in your Mac Pro, and give you a significant boost in performance, assuming that you:
    2. Change out to Adobe's Premiere Pro (either CS6 or CC). A quick file edit on either of them and the software will be able to take full advantage of the kick-ass video card you've just put into the machine.
    3. Double your RAM. Eight Gigs really isn't enough.

    After you've done those 3 things, check the improvements in the project time. Does the software ingest, edit, and export the video any faster than before? I'll bet a dollar it does, and you've completed it without touching your CPU.
     
  21. BinaryTim macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Dakotas
    #21
    Free trial

    Also, don't forget that there is still a free 30 day trial of FCPX. You can see if you like it and if it gives you better performance or workflow efficiencies over what setup you have now, without spending any $$ on hardware upgrades just yet.

    You can get the trial here: http://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/trial/

    I would also recommend increasing your RAM, it would be the cheapest hardware upgrade to make before messing with processors and such. You could throw in another 8GB (4GBx2) for less than $100 from OWC. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/apple/memory/

    I have a 2008 Mac Pro, and these are some of the upgrades I am making to my system to extend its life a few more years (though I am upgrading to 24GB total). In addition, I am also going to get a Mercury Accelsior E2 (240GB) to use as a boot/application drive, also from OWC. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/PCIe/OWC/Mercury_Accelsior/RAID

    And I'm planning to use 3 Western Digital Velociraptor drives (internal) in RAID 0 for my editing/scratch disk (with double backups, of course). Hopefully these upgrades will keep me happy for awhile (I don't shoot anything over 1080p 30fps, usually), and will be a LOT less $$ than a nMP.
     
  22. Mac Gus macrumors regular

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    Dec 31, 2013
    Location:
    New York City
    #22
    I went through a similar process as you OP. I had been using FCP7 on 10.6 up until several months ago on my 4,1 8-core. I recently decided to overhaul everything and jump to FCPX on 10.9. The main reason for this, other than simply realizing I hadn't updated my OS in a long time, was because I was having to log and transfer tons of video files in order to edit in FCP7 and I realized that if I used FCPX I could edit it "natively" and not have to spend the time or the HDD space with creating separate video files I could edit with.

    I replaced my CPUs, my GPU, added SSD and USB3, and added faster RAM (1333 vs 1066) that could run with 5,1 firmware and processor.

    You have a great machine for what you want to do, and with some software and hardware upgrades you can flying along with your editing. I'm happy with how my set up has turned out.

    I held out on FCPX for a long time, but it was mainly out of apathy. Now that I'm starting to figure out how to get my way around FCPX it's much smoother than FCP7 and not having to transcode is huge.

    Before you buy RAM, consider whether or not you'll update your firmware and processor down the road so you can use 1333 RAM.
     
  23. applereviewguy macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2011
    #23
    I may get steamed from the nMP guys, but I would recommend that you pick up a dual socket mobo tray, and get two 6 core CPU's. On eBay you can buy ones that don't have the IHS pre-done for you. I've seen the swap done in a 2009 Pro before and although it is involved, I'd urge you to try it.
     
  24. funwithdesign macrumors regular

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #24
    This sounds good in principle but the costs of this swap are usually greater than just picking up a dual cpu machine to begin with. The cost of the dual heatsinks are silly expensive.
     
  25. applereviewguy macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2011
    #25
    Ah yes I am forgetting you have to get two new heatsinks.
     

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