Retiring the MP 3,1 - but what to replace it with?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by hualon, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. hualon, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    hualon macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I have really started to notice the strain while trying to edit 1080p/60 videos and 4K timelapses in Final Cut Pro X and editing RAW stills in Lightroom 5 on my Early 2008 Mac Pro.

    I feel like I've souped this 8-core 2.8GHz girl up about as much as she'll go: SSD, 18GB RAM, RAID, Radeon 5770 1GB, etc.

    My problem is that I'm not sure what to replace it with. A casual review of the benchmark charts here ( seems to indicate that even the current (non-Haswell) Retina Macbook Pro outperforms my rig now.

    Do you think that one of the upcoming Haswell rMBP would be sufficient for editing 4K timelapses, 1080/60 video, etc. or should I step up to the upcoming Mac Pro Trash Can edition? I already have a 30" display so the notion of getting the high end iMac doesn't interest me very much.

    ...or should I get both? :eek:
  2. Average Pro, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    Average Pro macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2013
    22 October

    I suggest you wait until 22 October; Apple's Media Event. I'm hopeful their will be some good news concerning the nMP.

    I'm still on my dual-c 2007 MP. Over the past 2 months, I've noticed it takes a little longer to load after I log in. In addition, it is running a little slower. I am confident that the nMP will be considerably faster than what I have now.

    Either way, best of luck to you my friend.
  3. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008

    By "nMP" I assume you're referring to the New Mac Pro (black cylinder)? I had been planning on waiting until the announcement next week. I've watched the videos about the new Mac Pro just about ever week since June! :eek: I'm really excited about it but now I find myself wondering if a high end rMBP would serve my needs.

    Once thing that I've LOVED about my 2008 Mac Pro is that I have been able to keep it current and relevant since the day I bought it brand new in 2008. Because I bought WAY more computer than I needed at the time it has proven to be very useful as a long-term investment. I worry that a late 2013 rMBP wouldn't last me as long and I'd wind up replacing it in 3 years vs. replacing it in 5.5 like my current computer.

    Largely this is navel-gazing at this point. I'm really curious to know pricing on the nMP. I can stomach about $5500 for this purchase but I want to know that that will last a while!
  4. Snowshiro macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I'm no expert, so this may be useless advice, but have you considered perhaps getting a beefier Nvidia card instead of the 5770? My understanding is that FCPX (and After Effects, Premiere etc.) all use Nvidia's CUDA to accelerate rendering of video frames significantly. I've seen reports on the 'net that in certain applications it can cut rendering time by up to 75% using something like a PC GTX570 with the drivers from Nvidia's site.

    It might not be a permanent solution, but if you were looking to perhaps breathe a little more life into the 3,1 until the new Mac Pro landscape is a bit clearer, it might buy you some time.

    Speaking as someone who bought a Mac Pro 1,1 when it first came out, if I could afford to wait, I'd be tempted to hold on for the second generation of the new model before investing heavily (that said, given Apple's treatment of the pro-sector lately, when that happens is anyone's guess).
  5. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    What's the speed of the Raid?
    How many drives?
    Raid 0?
  6. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    I would agree with the idea of CUDA use to accelerate your ageing beast. The 5770 is a very weak link in your chain compared to the rest of the MP 3,1.
    The EVGA GTX680 for Mac may tide you over till the Macincan is firmly established as a major piece of hardware.
  7. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thanks for the tip! Depending on what Fruit announces tomorrow I might just upgrade by getting that card.
  8. frankiee macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    The same might also happen with the nMP, with your upgrade possibilities reduced to near zero.
  9. thegreatdivorce macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2010
    Upper Left USA
    I don't think you'll regret replacing it with a rMBP, OP. I did the same, and am totally happy with it. I do think the 3,1 was a great investment, though. Better than the nMP looks to be.
  10. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Well, I don't know about you chaps but I was pissed off when they said that it's shipping in December. I just threw up my hands and said "***** IT!"

    Good point. I'm concerned about that. I did notice in the photos that the CPU and GPU seem to be attached on boards that have large holes at the top. I wonder if they are making it possible to replace those cards wholesale? That's not exactly a highly desirable upgrade path since :apple: upgrades have always been very expensive but it at least gives me hope.


    Am I crazy? It looks to me like that board is held in by those two bolts at the top left and the only electronic interface is at the bottom. Looks somewhat replaceable to me.

    I'm going to order an i7 2.3GHz new rMBP w/ 16GB RAM and the 512GB SSD (I don't see the value in going up to the 2.6GHz for $200) today or tomorrow and see how it goes. I'm sure it will tide me over until December and I may find that it does everything I want anyway.
  11. miles17 macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2010
    Keep us posted, OP. I'm in the exact same situation and I'm considering the new rMBP to replace my 3,1. I'd love to hear your experience with it.
  12. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    It's been a fun week of upgrades for me...;-)

    I ordered a 13" rMBP 2.8 i7, 16GB, 512GB to replace my 2009 CD2 13".

    I then ordered a GTX 680, Samsung 840 Pro 512 and PCI to Sata-III caddy for my 5,1 6 core 3.33, 32GB which is currently ran on a OWC 120GB via the empty optical bay. I'll be keeping the 120 where it is for a backup boot volume and photoshop scratch disk.

    Both machines are now running Mavericks fairly well so all in all, money well spent. I got a fair bit of flak a few years ago for getting "old tech" in the 6 x 3.33 but man o man what a great investment that turned out to be.

    I'm sure the new MacPro will be nice but I think I can wait at least a couple years before I consider that.
  13. frankiee macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    Don't hope too much ... just think of the existing situation. How many mac Pro GPU upgrades were actually offered over the last seven years? And upgrades were MUCH easier than now (custom PCB!!)
  14. Saltymac macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2013
    Rocky Mt State
    Get another 8 GB of ram and a new gpu card - As mentioned the 5770 is fine for basic photoshop and lightroom use but weak for video/music editing programs. You could also benefit from 24 GB of RAM but not as much as a new video card. Go NVIDA card for upgrade. IMO - a laptop won't cut it for your work - wait to see how the new trash can Pro works out. The problem is you will have to have external drives for your work with the new Pro. Even if you can afford to go tbolt you will still have a speed bottleneck. New hardware will be coming so a video card is a cheap bridge to keep you going.
  15. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    I'm in a similar situation, except that upgrading my current Mac Pro isn't really an option as its power supply seems to be slowly dying along with a host of other minor problems (DVD drive won't open, graphics card fan is unbelievably annoying, some ports don't work etc., I dunno what it is about me and computers…).

    Whenever the Mac Minis get updated to Haswell a quad-core mini with Iris graphics will have pretty much the same performance as my current 2008 8-Core pro with GeForce 8800 GT, in fact the Mini will actually be better in many areas thanks to faster RAM, better single threaded performance, newer features for video processing/encryption/compression etc.

    Obviously none of it server/workstation grade, but then that was never a particular requirement of mine, though I do sometimes do more intensive work so like to have the guarantee of stability.

    Of course I'd love to upgrade to a new Mac Pro, but I'm not sure I can afford it.
  16. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Won't I have to buy a flashed video card in order to upgrade it? I was under the impression that the fastest Apple-approved upgrade was the 5770.
  17. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    You don't have to flash the Nvidia cards. OS X has driver support for the newer PC cards so they just work. Nvidia provides 'web drivers', as well.

    There is also the Apple-approved 5870 which is faster than 5770. But I am not sure if the 2008 works with a 5870 or not. The 5770 is not 'officially' supported for the 2008, but works well enough.
  18. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Well... this kinda says it all, doesn't it?

    My 2008 Mac Pro vs. my fresh new 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 15"

    Geekbench 3 score for Mac Pro 2008 8x2.8GHz: 11573
    Geekbench 3 score for Macbook Pro 2013 4x2.3GHz i7: 13315

  19. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Look at the Nvidia GTX 680...I keep recomending it because I love Nvidia but it really does help to have good GPU's especially ones that support CUDA. GTX 680 has a mac edition and even if it didn't I believe you could still install it and flash it. There are a couple of Mac Pro users on this forum that run dual GTX 680s or single GTX 680's...I think you'll find a video card upgrade to help allot. FCP X is going to become VERY GPU dependent so its a good time to have great GPU's and also nice to not have to constantly worry about whether your CPU(s) are sufficient!
  20. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Studio K. I once installed my Radeon 5870HD on my 2008 Mac Pro and works fine. Though I only used the 5870hd on my 2008 for one week before transferring it to my other Mac Pro. Here's another link that confirms the 5870hd working on a 2008 Mac Pro. :)
  21. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I figured that this thread was worthy of an update.

    I still have the 2008 Mac Pro but the 2013 rMBP has served me very well while I was out of the country for 3 months. I'm back now and decided to go all-in. I ordered a 6-core 3.5GHz nMP with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe storage. I'm CRAZY excited!

    I'm going to keep the 2008 for a while during the transition period but then I'll move on. Thanks for all your help!
  22. crjackson2134 macrumors 68040


    Mar 6, 2013
    Charlotte, NC
    Congrats. What GPU's did you select? The 6-core seems to be the sweet spot. I'm sure you'll not be sorry, but I'd still have a hard time letting go of the Mac truck.
  23. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Oops! I forgot to mention that it ordered the d500 cards.

    The 6 core seemed to be the best choice for me. Lightroom is where I live a lot of the time but then I export frames out to FCPX. That's ok for 1080p but the next project will be "4k" which I have done before on my 2008 but it took ages for a 7 minute clip.

    Lightroom, for those that aren't aware, is still mostly a single-core universe. My experience has been that disk i/o and single core CPU speed make the biggest impact on that work. I figured that the 8 and 12 core clock speeds were too slow for what I wanted to do.

    I also run my laser cutter off of this machine (for now) which has to run in a windows VM. I might just buy a dedicated basic windows barebones to handle that in the future though.
  24. Korican100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2012
  25. hualon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    $4887 + apple care and tax. A king's ransom but I'm hoping for 5 years out of the machine or more.

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