Photographer must upgrade from MacPro 1,1 and needs some direction

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chumat, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Chumat macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    Hi all, first time poster here. As the subject suggests, I have a mid-2006 MacPro 1,1 with two 3.0 GHz dual-core processors (5160) and 5GB of RAM. I have recently run into the problem of not being able to run the newest installments of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop due to their 64-bit only compatibility. These two programs are essential to my workflow. I wasn't too worried about it, continuing to use the previous versions, until I hooked up a friend's MacBook with LR4 and CS6 to my calibrated NEC. Between the greatly improved highlight/shadow processing and the ability to develop 32-bit floating point TIFFs in Camera RAW, it is enough to make me upgrade machines.
    I will say that I am not necessarily upset by the performance of my Mac Pro 1,1. I can do the majority of the things I need with ease, including modest music production in Ableton Live in addition to the previously mentioned photography work in Lightroom and Photoshop. Of course, it isn't as snappy as it was out of the box, but it sure as hell held up better than my LC III and beige G3 did after almost 7 years of use. I can find 2008 dual quad core 3,1 base models for $800-900. Based on the performance of my 1,1, would I be happy with this machine? Would it be a bad move to buy a machine that isn't much recent that the one I'm using? Should I look into a 2009 or newer? I understand new Mac Pros might be coming out, but I am not necessarily looking to spend over $2,XXX for a current desktop when I think I would be happy with the performance of something older/cheaper. I am, though, trying to avoid a situation like this (locked out of OS and programs), so if there is something regarding the 2008 model that may potentially cause an issue for me, I would like to figure it out before pulling the trigger.
    Any advice is appreciated! Thank you.
  2. ibgb macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2012
    What? Those run in 64 bit mode on Snow Leopard, and 10.7.

    • Processor: Multicore Intel® processor with 64-bit support
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7
    • RAM: 2GB of RAM
    • Hard Disk: 1GB of available hard-disk space

  3. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    There are a couple do downsides to 2008 models, RAM is very expensive and there are no CPU upgrade options ( you can go from a 2.8 to a 3.2 but its not really worth it nor does it have good ROI IMO).

    If I were you, I would look for a 2009 model which uses DDR3 memory and has far more CPU upgrade options available.

    Another option may be to consider a hackintosh.
  4. Chumat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    I'm a bit confused. From my understanding, my processors do not have the 64-bit capability you listed above. Am I wrong?
  5. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    You're wrong..

    1,1 MP have 32bit EFI and 64bit processors meaning they run 64bit stuff just fine...
  6. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    Also list the OS and graphics card that you are using.
    The 3 quick fixes/updates are 10.6.8, more ram (8GB from 5GB)
    and a graphics card with 512mb minimum.
    These 3 things alone will put the "snap" back into your machine!
    And to spend any $ to go from a 1,1 to a 3,1 is :(!

    MacPro 2008 3.1 | 14GB Ram | Quadro 4000 | MC6.0 | OS 10.6.8 | MOTU HDX-SDI | ATTO R644| LaCie 324
  7. Chumat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    That's what I thought until I was run astray by an "expert"! Thank you for clarifying this.
    As far as my OS and graphics. 10.5.8 - I have the 10.6 disc next to me, but was holding off because I was told I still wouldn't be able to run LR4 or CS6. And I have an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 265MB. I was looking into more RAM and eventually SSD.
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Agree. I have a 2009 2.93 Quad with 12GB of RAM and a bunch of solid state storage and I'm not wanting for anything when it comes to photo work.
  9. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I'd put Snow Leopard on at the minimum..I don't use Lightroom I prefer Aperture for management, and I just got a CS 5.5 license so I can't help with CS6. RAM is expensive so ebay it..SSD's are dime a dozen at this point I personally have a 240GB OCZ Agility 3.
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    If you still need to upgrade... though it looks like it may not be necessary from reading some of posts... Why not look at a new Mac Mini? It will run circles around your Mac Pro 1,1 and be far cheaper than any new or refurbished Mac Pro.

    If there are reasons you need a Mac Pro, which I would understand because I need a Mac Pro as well, then I would recommend looking at the refurbished Mac Pros on the online store. You have the luxury of not being in a panic to replace a failing machine, so you can wait for a really good deal to pop up. Which they are doing on a regular basis currently.

    I also use Adobe's CS6 and Lr4 for 90% of the work I do. I bought a "new" refurbished 2010 Mac Pro at the end of 2012. I was more concerned about having a new machine I could put AppleCare on than having the latest processors. Lightroom and Photoshop rarely tax the CPU or GPU, but need lots of RAM and work best with internal HDDs. My thinking is that CPUs from 2010 are not holding me back at all. But you do pay a price for all of that internal storage and RAM. But, once you have AppleCare you will spend nothing to keep it running for 3 years minimum.

    Anyway... just throwing out suggestions.

    ps... if you are determined to have a 2008, and just happen to be near coastal BC, PM me. I've got my 2008 8 core machine (that the 2010 replaced) still.
  11. iamkarlp macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    Your 1,1 will run Lion quite nicely.

    I have a 1,1 with 12GB of ram, a 5770 GFX and a few enterprise SATA drives. Still running great with large jpegs and raws out of a 5D Mkiii.

    Mostly an aperture user here however.

    I would spend the 300~400$ bucks to buy a MC742ZM/A and a 16GB MacPro 1,1 memory kit off of ebay. Load Lion and get another year or two off of it if the performance is still reasonable.

    After that swap to either the new macpro-replacement (which hopefully will be showing it's head sometime this year, although could potentially be some new sort of workstation paradigm) or an imac with an external thunderbolt disk chasis.

    If you don't want to spend money right now, you'd probably be ok as you sit, although your leaving performance on the table.

    If you really got the upgrade itch, just order a new 21 or 27 imac in medium-high spec with max'd out memory and throw a thunderbolt raid chassis on it.

    Karl P
  12. Chumat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    I appreciate it! Unfortunately I'm between southern California and NJ. Snberk103, GermanyChris, and others, thanks for your advice. I suppose I will install 10.7 tonight along with LR4/CS6 and see how everything runs and go from there accordingly.


    Karl P-
    Thanks for that advice. I am thinking along the lines of stretching this 1,1 out. I am only shooting the 12MP D3 so my 14-bit RAWs aren't huge.. Will probably look into the "new Mac pro", whatever it shall be, when I upgrade to something 24+MP.
  13. iamkarlp macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    No problem, consider upgrading at least the ram though (if not the GFX as well)

    Your programs / O/S will _love_ 8+ GB of ram. Particularly if you ever have a few things open.
  14. Chumat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    Yes, definitely doing RAM and looking into an upgraded graphics card. I was about to get into a totally new machine so I am happy to just spend hundreds, not thousands! It will leave me money to actually go out and photograph!
  15. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Photoshop at least doesn't really use the GPU that much yet. Not sure I'd spend hundreds on upgrading unless you're doing video editing. I went to an Nvidia 680 card because of premiere and after effects, but very few photoshop functions at least at this point are GPU accelerated, unfortunately.

    More ram, absolutely! And a SSD will also be a huge upgrade.

  16. markr-b macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2013
    I have pretty much the same specification Dell Precision (Dual 5160s). Dual booting Linux and Windows. I use Photoshop CS6 and have had a huge improvement in performance from installing a Samsung 840 Series 120GB SSD.

    I would agree with previous posters that your machine is fine, just upgrade the RAM and drop an SSD in.
  17. Dc2006ster macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    I have the same computer and can easily run Lightroom and Photoshop.

    Yes, more RAM and an SSD are very nice, I have done that, but if all you want to do is run Photoshop and Lightroom you simply update your Os to Lion.You will be fine as long as you do not need to run older 32 bit applications. Snow Leopard would run both 32 and 64 bit apps using Rosetta but that stopped with Lion. I have a small hard drive with Snow Leopard that I boot from if I need to use older apps.

    The 32 or 64 bit confusion is because our vintage of Mac Pro will not run the new Os, Mountain Lion but even that is possible if you really want it. I don't and am happy to keep using Lion, Lightroom and Photoshop.

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