SSD drive into 2008 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wfriedwald, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. wfriedwald macrumors member

    wfriedwald

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    #1
    I have been using a 2008 Mac Pro (since 2008, in fact) - it still works, but it takes forever to boot, and is somewhat buggy - though works overall very well for an eight-year old machine. (I refurb-ed some of it about four years ago with a new graphics card, DVD rom drive etc.)

    I have been advised that I can possibly get the machine to work at least slightly faster by putting the system on an SSD drive and using that as the startup drive.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm not sure that an SSD drive can even fit into one the drive bays, some form of adapter (or something) may be necessary.

    grateful for any feedback, and happy new Year!

    w
     
  2. BeechFlyer macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

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    Nov 5, 2015
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    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #2
    I just recently added the OWC Accelsior S with a 1.0TB Electra 6G SSD to my 2008 Mac Pro, though not as the startup drive - just an additional drive mostly for FCPX work. It has made video work significantly better than before.

    I could see adding another drive as a startup drive if that works in the 2008 Mac Pro.
     
  3. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #3
    There are several options for drive trays to convert a 2.5" SSD to the 3.5" trays in the MP.

    I used a SSD for a couple years before I decided to try a Hackintosh last year. I need to see how difficult it is to install Linux on my MP, since it has been sitting unused for 7 months now.
     
  4. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #4
    what option, if any do recommend? an adapter for the drive bay? or a PCI_x card or something like that?

    thanks!
     
  5. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    #5
    I have four of these adapters mounted in my 2006 MacPro 1,1, all containing SSDs.
    Easy no tools required installation and never any issues after almost 2 years of use.
     
  6. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #6
    I second the "icy dock" as an easy solution. I have two of the original hinged metal versions in my "early 2008" Mac Pro. I think most of the current ones are plastic (should be fine).

    Be aware that the use of the normal drive bays will limit SSD speeds, so if you go that route, there may not be much point in spending extra for a fast SSD. If a little extra money isn't a problem, I'd recommend a Samsung 850 Evo as the go-to drive.

    There are a lot of more exotic solutions for faster SSD setups, but some of them can be a little fussy or expensive. But any SSD will make a big, big difference over a spinner.
     
  7. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #7
    Okay, great! So here's my question: you put the SSD drives in the 2006 Mac Pro - has there been a sufficient increase in speed in performance? That's what I want to know!

    thanks!

    w
    --- Post Merged, Jan 2, 2017 ---
    Yes! thanks - do you have any tips on some of those more exotic solutions? Also, I have a ton of hard drives mostly for storage (a huge music & video library) - if I put the start-up system on an SSD, and all the applications (of course) but everything else is on old fashioned "spinner" drives, will there be a noticeable improvement? It's got to give me a better performance than a 15-minute start-up, which is the current situation.

    yes, thanks!
     
  8. Kenaz Filan macrumors newbie

    Kenaz Filan

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    #8
    I put an SSD drive in my Mac Pro 3,1 and was very impressed with the speed boost. It boots up much faster and has a much snappier feel than it did when it was running off a conventional HD. SSDs are still more expensive gB for gB than spinning disks but you can get a 256gb or 512gb HD and move your applications and startup there.
     
  9. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #9
    oh great! yes, that is my plan. Someone seemed to be saying that it would be faster if I installed the SSD in something OTHER than the conventional drive bay. Am trying to figure that out now. Yes! thanks!
     
  10. jbarley, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

    jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Vancouver Island
    #10
    Here's the results, judge for yourself...

    1st is the original 120 GB SSD, 2nd is 2 SSD's in a raid0
    DiskSpeedTest-120GB HDD.png DiskSpeedTest-new SSD.png
     
  11. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #11
    Yes! Great! and that's in the standard drive bay? Nothing fancy or exotic ...? Excellent!

    Also - what is that program that you used to measure speed / benchmarks?

    this seems to be a good way to go if I can get the same results you have. Not expensive or difficult.

    yes! thanks!

    w
     
  12. Wiltonian macrumors member

    Wiltonian

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    Nottingham, UK
    #12
    I took a hint on here and moved the optical drive down to the lower bay, so that it could act as a support for an SSD connected to the top bay connector. Cost zero, and no HD bay used.

    Stuart
     
  13. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD fused with a 640GB WD 3.5" drive giving me a 760GB Fusion Boot Drive on my old 3,1. While the SATA bus is 3G, the 6G SSD is a bit of an overkill... but then getting slower SSD is next to impossible now.

    In any event, with 26GB of 800MHz RAM, my Mac boots to the login screen from a dead stop in about 15 seconds and is far faster loading programs than the 2014 Mini I use at work.

    The SSD is in an adapter to make it conform to the 3.5" drive slots. These adapters are a dime a dozen these days and i suspect any 2.5 to 3.5 drive adapter would work.
     
  14. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    #14
    The benchmark program is "Black Magic"
    and my SSD results are from 2 samsung SSDs in a raid0 configuration, this is about the fastest you will get on these older Mac Pros Sata2 bus.
     
  15. Dc2006ster macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #15
    Not sure about the 2008 but my 2006 has two SATA pin sets on the motherboard. OWC, sells the cables for these . I used these pins , the OWC cables and mounting rig to place two Samsung SSDs in the lower optical bay. Still have 4 spinning drives in the bays. Bootup is a lot faster. Best bang for the buck upgrade I have made,
     
  16. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #16
    wow - my black magic speed test results are pretty poor - if I'm using the program correctly - I get about 50-60 MB/s read and about 45-50 MB/s write. much less than it should be ... even for traditional spinning drives.
     
  17. Ph.D., Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I'm sorry, but I'm skeptical about the RAID result. This would be in a PCI card, I presume, and not two drives in two normal drive bays? Otherwise, I don't see how you are getting such a dramatic (more than 2x) performance increase - that should not be possible.

    For the OP: A typical upgrade scenario from normal drive bays would be a PCI-E card. One popular choice has been the "Apricorn Velocity X2" or the "Duo" version (not X1, which is slower). The former holds a single drive, while the latter holds two. They are rather expensive, though, but they could, with fast SSD's, provide up to around 3-4x the speed of a single drive in a single normal drive sled.

    I do NOT recommend running RAID 0 for SSDs on one of those cards. Twice the likelihood of everything crashing, and in these systems the modest additional improvement in speed (maybe 50% max) is not worth it. Indeed, it turned out to be a big headache for me and I switched to non-RAID drives with perfectly fine speeds. Beyond some level, it becomes harder to detect subjective improvements other than by using a utility anyway.

    Beyond that, you would have to get into various AHCI solutions, but these can be a pain on cMP's since only certain specific Apple drive solutions tend to work.

    I think for the OP, the simple way to start is to just put an SSD in a normal bay. If you are a little more ambitious, you can put two drives in the normal bays in RAID 0. I ran two of them that way for years and it was about twice as fast as a single disk since it's the bus that's the bottleneck (I got around 300 MB/s). I'd do that again, but use a good backup solution like Time Machine (which can be on a spinner). It's not too far from a card solution in speed and it's super easy and inexpensive.

    At present, I have SSD's in normal drive bays for older system versions, and a single fast SSD on an Apricorn Duo, non-RAID. The latter gets around 450 MB/s, only a little behind my old RAID setup. I scavenged one of my old fast RAID'ed SSDs for a different computer, and can't really tell much difference after moving to a single drive vs. RAID. Indeed, the over-all system performance actually improved, since RAID was causing some ridiculous lag during certain operations.

    Finally, a little trick: Once you move to an SSD, your goal should be to eventually remove all spinners except for Time Machine. Otherwise, the Mac will constantly try to wake up the spinners before doing many simple operations such as even accessing certain global menu options - even when you aren't intending to use those disks. That's super irritating once you are used to SSDs.
     
  18. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #18
    I really sorry that you find it necessary to doubt my integrity.
    In an effort to try and put your mind to rest I shut down my system, removed the two drives in question and took some photos.
    The 2 Samsung SSDs, just as I said are mounted in icy dock adapters installed in Bays 1 and 2 of my 2006 MacPro1,1 as seen in the attached photos.
    They are configured as a raid0 using Apple raid software as shown in the photo from Disk Utility.
    Other then this I cannot and do not feel the need to further justify my posts to you.


    IMG_0247.jpg IMG_0248.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

  19. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    #19
    it's a very impressive result! (Especially compared to the pathetic speed of my system.)

    further question: when I tried to upgrade my current system to SIERRA, the app store told me that my system was too old - this has to do with the processors, I take it? Even if I can bump up the speed using an SSD drive, that won't have any effect on whether or not I can upgrade the system to SIERRA, right?

    thanks again!

    w
     
  20. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #20
    I was not doubting your integrity, just wondering how the result was achieved, in particular whether it was in sleds vs. on a PCI card, which I didn't see you state (I guess I missed it from an earlier post).

    Frankly, I still wonder how it's possible to get up to triple the speeds from 2 disks in Raid 0 vs. one of the same disks. It doesn't sound theoretically possible. But again, I'm not attacking your integrity.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 2, 2017 ---
    Sierra is not officially supported on a 3,1. There are some hacks out there that may allow it - look around. (Personally, I'm not planning on doing this to mine.)
     
  21. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #21
    According to the info on this Sierra forum your 2008 MacPro can run Sierra (shows as one of the tested systems).
    Check out the Forum but be prepared for a lot of reading...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 2, 2017 ---
    Not the same disks, the 2 SSDs in raid0 Are 250GB SamSung 850 evos and the single was an older 120GB Crucial.
     
  22. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    California
    #22
    I 2nd this route. I used the red cables to get power from the MB. DVD can be connected externally when needed.
    Spring Cleaning 2.jpg
     
  23. Ph.D., Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    Jul 8, 2014
    #23
    Ah, that explains it. My "300 MB/s" result, in RAID, was also from older, slower disks. I'm not sure I tried my Samsungs in trays. With those speeds, I might not have bothered spending the money on the Apricorn card (which gives me something like 450 MB/s read/write with a single disk, topping out somewhere around 600 in RAID).

    To the OP: you now have a range of options to consider, from a single disk in a sled, to two in RAID, to various more complicated directions. No matter which, even the simplest, you will be glad you moved to an SSD!
     
  24. MacStu09 macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2009
    #24
    My IcyDock never worked in my old 3,1 - but worked fine in my PC. You can literally use a piece of string or bread tie to hold the SSD in place, instead of spending money on the adapter. If you do get an adapter, go the pci-route, which I highly recommended.
     
  25. JedNZ macrumors regular

    JedNZ

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    Dec 6, 2015
    Location:
    Deep South
    #25
    I use the Accelsior S PCIe card (OWC US$50+shipping - as low as $38 on sale, and does come with a model that takes 2 SSDs) which gives me SATA 3 (6G) for my Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD in my cMP 4,1>5,1 - but it worked on my cMP 1,1>2,1 equally as well so think you would also benefit from it in your cMP 3,1. I have all my User data on a separate 3TB Seagate HDD.

    But I'm looking for some other options too to speed up my User data side of my setup - check out my latest post on the link below. Really keen for some expertise help and advice on this.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-pro-best-drive-configuration.2006863/
     

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