Seeking Upgrade Help (Mac Pro Early 2009 2x2.6 GHz Quad-Core)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sterlingslvr, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. sterlingslvr, Jan 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

    sterlingslvr macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2016
    I am a videographer who needs to bring my Mac Pro back from the dead. Nerdy with video files but not computer parts. My reading thus far has prompted me to look into the following. I am looking for a better understanding of each of the following and which upgrades are beneficial and worth it, and which may be over-kill for an aging tower.
    1. Memory. I currently have 4x2gb or 8gb total of ram. I know it is ridiculous I haven't upped to at least 16gb thus far. However, I have read that memory can only help so much and that some of the below elements are the real speed boosters. What amount of memory is recommended for this setup? Is this what I should be purchasing?
    2. Solid State Drives. I currently have 3 internal disk-drives thatrange from 500gb to 2tb. If I used this as my start-up drive, where is the best place to install it (see photo below)? I have read of people installing in SATA Hard Drive Bay or in the unused optical SATA drive. I have read good things about this one.
    3. Video/Graphics card. First, do those both mean the same thing? Are the 4 PCI Express slots below only for this type of card? Also, can you have two installed? I have the standard NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB. What is the best way to upgrade? My research so far has led me to the GeForce GTX680. It looks like I will need to buy it used though.
    4. Upgrade Processor. I'm intimidated by this one due to the intensive install and price. What would be the next best bet - upgrading to 12-core? Where to buy?
    5. Firmware?? I've seen some videos and forums about (4,1 - which I have) (5,1) or (6,1). I don't really understand what this means. Is this something I should be concerned with?

  2. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    1. I would go with 16GB per CPU to start with.

    2. SSD, go with a PCI card. Depending on your budget you can get one that takes the 2.5inch drives or a newer blade type. The prices are dropping all the time and Mushkin announced they will be releasing a 4TB drive in the next few months for $500.

    3.yes, those terms mean the same thing. The GTX 680 is an old card, you can get a new PC Nvidia card, the GTX 980ti is a good price and and one of the fastest cards available. The negative of a PC Card is that you don't get to see the boot screen, it will be blank until the OS starts up and you see the login screen. macvidcards sell modified PC Cards to work in the Mac. If you want the best in performance, that is the way to go. You have to think about power cables for the GPU, so go with something other people have bought and get the cables from Amazon that people have gotten to be sure it will work without any surprises.

    4. This will tie into number 5.

    If you want to newer 6 core CPUs, you will need to upgrade the firmware to the firmware on the newer 2010-2012 Mac pros. The 2009 model has the same chipset but the firmware it came with make the Ram run slower and doesn't work with newer CPUs. As they have the chipsets, some lovely people have created a utility that installs the newer software(firmware) so we can install the newer CPUs, it also allows the ram to run faster.

    There are people on eBay that sell kits, the cost is a little higher than buying the bare CPUs. This is because they include the tools for the firmware update and also they have taken the cpu heat spreaders (lids) off them. Apple decided to use lid-less CPUs for 2009 and everyone else uses them with the heat spreaders on them so you can't buy them with them removed from the manufacturer.

    The best price/performance is the x5680 chip. Jump up to the x5690 and you will be as fast as some of the latest computers available.
  3. sterlingslvr thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2016
    Thank you for your help! After reading and doing more research, these are the products I have come up with. Am I on the right track?

    Upgrading a 4,1 Early 2009 2.26 8 Core mac Pro. Do any of you have advice if I am on the right track?

    Ram : Currently have 8GB (2GBx4). 4 slots available.
    Looking at buying (4GBx2) and (8GBx2) 1066MHz from Other World Computing…/Other%20World%20Co…/85MP3W8M16K/…/Other%20World%20C…/85MP3W4M08GK/

    Graphics Card: Looking at EVGA GeForce GTX 960
    Comes in other configurations including 'SuperClocked' – Not sure if that is neccesary. What are the cons of not having a boot screen?…

    SSD: Looking at Samsung 950 Pro PCIe…/…/ref=sr_1_4…

    SSD Adapter: Apricorn Velocity Solo PCIe (Do I need x1 or x2?)…/B0090IA…/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl…

    If I purchase these exact products, the total is right around $600 USD. I know there is better and faster hardware out there, but only looking to spend that.

    I am a videographer who is primarily looking for adobe after effects and premiere speed boosts, as well as overall file browsing and software launch speeds.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    As long as all your RAMs are UDIMM, they should work fine.

    No comment on the 960's performance, I didn't own any Nvidia product for many year already. However, please make sure you know the OS requirement to run Maxwell card, and how to install the driver. So far, the biggest problem (not solvable, unless you have a EFI card) for no boot screen is that you can't access the recovery partition. The 2nd big (but solvable, by screen sharing etc) problem is harder than normal to install driver after OS update.

    That 950 Pro won't work, unless you install the NVMe driver by yourself. However, in all case, it won't boot in a 4,1 at this moment.

    I am confused, the Apricorn card is for SATA SSD, but your target SSD is a PCIe SSD. It looks like you pick the wrong adaptor.

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