Upgrade advice Mac Pro 5.1, working with Logic Pro X

Nielsnielsniels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2019
3
2
Hi all and thank you in advance for reply :)

So, I'm about to go through upgrading one of my two mac pros, with CPU, and possible GPU and new RAM config. Maybe later PCI flash SSD.

The first Mac Pro is a 4.1 early 2009, dual 2,26Ghz, upgraded flash to 5.1.
Second: 5.1 one mid 2010. Single 2.8Ghz.
They are both upgraded, with 1TB SSD system disks via ATA in the DVD drive slot (no PCI cards for SSD yet), and 32 GB ram (4x8GB).

GPU are 5770 1GB ATI Radeon (one of them currently have a good old 120 512MB, but I switch to the machine I use less). I'm not sure I would benefit that much, working with music, from upgrading GPU.

First question:
For working with Logic Pro X I never have any issues with more than one core. I suffer a lot from the spiking single core, that overloads CPU problem, that is described in an incredible number of posts around the web. Hence I have been using the single processor 2.8Ghz, as it has given me a little more less trouble on that one spiking core.

So, should I for this reason, working with music and Logic, go for the single processor 2010 and upgrade it to a single processor 6core?
Or, should I upgrade the dual core, as it gives me something extra somewhere, I haven't realised myself yet?

Second Q:
is it potentially possible, to take the CPU tray from the dual core processor 2009, and put it into the 2010 and upgrade both processors in that machine? Or should the machine be born with dual processor in order to work with dual processor tray?

I ask this because single processor machine is setup with all Licenses, has WIFI card, etc, so I could maybe avoid having to go through days of installation plugins etc as the MAC address probably wouldn't change.

Last question and thank you for reading:
Does it help to upgrade from 4x8GB 1066hz ram to 3x16GB 1333hz?
I heard this should somehow put less strain on CPU and reward with benefits of 5-10% speed.

To the knowledgeable person who replies. Thank you a thousand ! :D

reagards,
Niels
 

R3k

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2011
788
675
Sep 7, 2011
1/
Single core load behavior is due to whatever instrument / track you have active / selected. That instrument and its bussing chain run on one core to help reduce latency for playing amongst other reasons. Have an empty audio track selected instead will bring the core back under control.

Having a faster clock speed is more beneficial if the single core thing is your biggest problem. Everything else besides that will benefit from more cores.

That said, ive upgraded 3 different single chip quad core 2009 machines to 3.33ghz Hex cores and they work great. Id just do that, cheaper too.

2/
Dont know

3/
Yeah, put the faster ram in. However I would fill all slots not just 3, and with 8gb 1333 for a total of 32gb RAM. Thats plenty for massive sessions even, I work with them all the time.
 
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tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,561
6,366
Brazil
Hi all and thank you in advance for reply :)

So, I'm about to go through upgrading one of my two mac pros, with CPU, and possible GPU and new RAM config. Maybe later PCI flash SSD.

The first Mac Pro is a 4.1 early 2009, dual 2,26Ghz, upgraded flash to 5.1.
Second: 5.1 one mid 2010. Single 2.8Ghz.
They are both upgraded, with 1TB SSD system disks via ATA in the DVD drive slot (no PCI cards for SSD yet), and 32 GB ram (4x8GB).

GPU are 5770 1GB ATI Radeon (one of them currently have a good old 120 512MB, but I switch to the machine I use less). I'm not sure I would benefit that much, working with music, from upgrading GPU.

First question:
For working with Logic Pro X I never have any issues with more than one core. I suffer a lot from the spiking single core, that overloads CPU problem, that is described in an incredible number of posts around the web. Hence I have been using the single processor 2.8Ghz, as it has given me a little more less trouble on that one spiking core.

So, should I for this reason, working with music and Logic, go for the single processor 2010 and upgrade it to a single processor 6core?
Or, should I upgrade the dual core, as it gives me something extra somewhere, I haven't realised myself yet?

Second Q:
is it potentially possible, to take the CPU tray from the dual core processor 2009, and put it into the 2010 and upgrade both processors in that machine? Or should the machine be born with dual processor in order to work with dual processor tray?

I ask this because single processor machine is setup with all Licenses, has WIFI card, etc, so I could maybe avoid having to go through days of installation plugins etc as the MAC address probably wouldn't change.

Last question and thank you for reading:
Does it help to upgrade from 4x8GB 1066hz ram to 3x16GB 1333hz?
I heard this should somehow put less strain on CPU and reward with benefits of 5-10% speed.

To the knowledgeable person who replies. Thank you a thousand ! :D

reagards,
Niels
You can’t use mismatched SMC version of trays/backplanes:

2009 backplanes with 2009 CPU trays
2010/2012 backplanes with 2010/2012 CPU trays

If you use it mismatched, your Mac Pro will sound like a jet plane, will all fans at full RPM/full time - you will put it back as fast as you tried.
 

joebclash

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
192
113
I'm a pro tool user so I don't know much about logic. My upgrade from 4 core to a 6 core 3.3 really improved things. I helped a few of my college's with the same upgrade and they all loved it. The good thing about upgrading a single core 4 1 is you don't have to worry about delidding.
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2006
401
122
I used to have a 6-core 3.33Ghz Mac Pro. I had the occassional single core spike hickup/stop of playback. Since upgrading to a dual 6-core 3.46Ghz I don't recall having seen the issue. It has given me a massive performance boost, I have had almost no problems with clicks/pops during playback etc. Problems that I did have with the single CPU. So... the conclusion that a single CPU works best is definitely not true. In my experience, the more/faster cores the better.
 
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skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
235
66
as a Pro Tools user I did notice a major difference upgrading from 2.66Ghz quad-core CPU to 3.47Ghz hex-core CPU

HOWEVER, I then upgraded from 3.47GHz hex-core CPU to DUAL 3.33Ghz hex-core CPU.....this particular upgrade step did not give me a noticeable real world feel improvement in Pro Tools. Though I am sure the system is running smoother and more stable being able to use more cores, that particular step did not result in noticeable drops in CPU% or faster bouncing times, etc

So my overall advice is to upgrade to fastest CPU you can. but do not bother converting a single CPU system to a dual CPU system. If I were you I would upgrade the 2010 to an X5690 and call it a day. If you need the speed increases on the dual CPU 2009 also then upgrade that one to dual X5680s or X5690s

I know Pro Tools isn't Logic Pro X but the principle of better components gives increased performances is still applicable here
 

SneakyTLoD

macrumors member
Apr 6, 2018
71
29
I am an extensive Logic X user. I have a 4.1>5.1, dual x5690, 24gb of ram (6X4), rx480, nvme ssd.

I would definitely recommend the dual x5690 config. I have not been able to get it to error since upgrading. I even did a torture test, copying a virtual instrument track with two reverbs (one algorithmic and one convolution) per track. I got to 240 tracks before giving up on trying to get it to crash. Don't get me wrong, it got slow, but didn't error out.

I upgraded the video card mainly to get the graphic visualizers in 10.4 which use "Metal" but it actually helped the system over all so I would recommend a "Metal 2" card as well.

I was going to add more ram but decided to hold off as I never have pushed it too far in real world application except for rare occasions using lots of samplers and virtual pianos. I may still add more in the future but for now it's fine.

The NVME was a huge upgrade for me. I was using an 850 EVO before and it was not bad but NVME made everything zippier.
 
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Nielsnielsniels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2019
3
2
Wow, this forum is such a blessing. Sharing knowledge is what it's all about. Guys you absolutely made my day and I can't thank you enough, you ROCK! :)

Simon, I was thinking, if maybe your upgrade from the 3.33Ghz to dual 3.46Ghz also included a newer CPU-architecture?
So like Skizzo says and from my personal experience, the slower processor speed in one core seems more of a bottleneck and makes more difference for music production, than having many cores. Specifically I actually went from working on the dual processor 2.26Ghz 4.1 to the single processor 2.8Ghz 5.1 and experienced an improvement.

Good news! I went to a wizard type guy today and had my single processor turned into a 6 core 3.46 x5690! I have started testing tonight and sessions that was full of errors yesterday play today! I also had him put in 48GB of RAM on 3 blocks instead of 32GB on 4. He's convinced that'll help too and it was only $100.

I have two pro tools HD cards in the machine and a UAD OCTO, so currently no room for further upgrades. I'm sort of done with Pro-tools. So when I've finished sessions currently in progress - I have a snow leopard system and old pro-tools things on a separate disk (yup, you heard me right :)) I'll track all pro-tools sessions that I could later need and get rid of Pro-tools hardware. After that: Flash SSD and maybe a USB3 card or a Mojave GPU, or something other neat!

Again thanks for commenting and lending your experiences. It's tricksy to find the right solutions, and you made figuring it out much easier! :)
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2006
401
122
Wow, this forum is such a blessing. Sharing knowledge is what it's all about. Guys you absolutely made my day and I can't thank you enough, you ROCK! :)

Simon, I was thinking, if maybe your upgrade from the 3.33Ghz to dual 3.46Ghz also included a newer CPU-architecture? :)
Not much. Just Westmere EP to Westmere EX. Both 2011 chips... The EX has a bigger L3 cache, that's one of the biggest difference as far as I can tell. And I don't think the original EP could exist in dual CPU configurations but I am not sure.

Anyway, take my experience for what it is. But yes, core speed is important as well. But it was hardly the difference from 3.33 to 3.46 Ghz that made a difference here... it was obviously the extra cores more than anything else.
 
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gatd

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2008
123
13
I would not bother with nvme ssd I purchased the a highpoint ssd7101A and samsung 970 2tb blades the difference when working with logic was minimal maybe 2 seconds faster on loading large projects not worth the extra cost!
 
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skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
235
66
Wow, this forum is such a blessing. Sharing knowledge is what it's all about. Guys you absolutely made my day and I can't thank you enough, you ROCK! :)

Simon, I was thinking, if maybe your upgrade from the 3.33Ghz to dual 3.46Ghz also included a newer CPU-architecture?
So like Skizzo says and from my personal experience, the slower processor speed in one core seems more of a bottleneck and makes more difference for music production, than having many cores. Specifically I actually went from working on the dual processor 2.26Ghz 4.1 to the single processor 2.8Ghz 5.1 and experienced an improvement.

Good news! I went to a wizard type guy today and had my single processor turned into a 6 core 3.46 x5690! I have started testing tonight and sessions that was full of errors yesterday play today! I also had him put in 48GB of RAM on 3 blocks instead of 32GB on 4. He's convinced that'll help too and it was only $100.

I have two pro tools HD cards in the machine and a UAD OCTO, so currently no room for further upgrades. I'm sort of done with Pro-tools. So when I've finished sessions currently in progress - I have a snow leopard system and old pro-tools things on a separate disk (yup, you heard me right :)) I'll track all pro-tools sessions that I could later need and get rid of Pro-tools hardware. After that: Flash SSD and maybe a USB3 card or a Mojave GPU, or something other neat!

Again thanks for commenting and lending your experiences. It's tricksy to find the right solutions, and you made figuring it out much easier! :)
those are all good upgrades for your use. single core/thread performance is what will give you the noticeable speed improvements. but don't get me wrong, more cores is good too! you will be able to run larger sessions with more plugins at once with more cores. it's just that there is a point of diminished returns with more cores where it doesn't translate to noticeable speed improvements, it is more about being able to use 3 instances of a CPU hog plugin and run well, instead of running 1 instance of a CPU hog plugin and it spits back a CPU error soon as you hit playback. these audio applications can actually utilize all the cores you can throw at them. that is, assuming you are on a more recent macOS or Windows. if you are seriously still on SNOW LEOPARD then you are not utilizing your system to it's max potential.

Pro Tools 8 can only utilize like 4GB of memory. So if you have 32GB of RAM, PT8.0 is going to only see and use a fraction of it. You should upgrade your OS based on just that. I made this exact upgrade. I stayed on Snow Leopard for years due to using DigiDesign hardware (a Digi 003 Rack+) with Pro Tools 8 and since that was the last macOS to be compatible with PT8....I was stuck. But it was also stable for years.

Pro Tools 2018.12 is compatible with High Sierra 10.13.6. And your Pro Tools HD cards may even still be compatible. I upgraded my hardware with some PreSonus and Focusrite interfaces and pres but my Digi 003 Rack+ is still in my rack mount chassis and still works with the macOS 10.13.6 and Pro Tools 2018.12. It's a little surprising to find out how much of the obsolete and no longer supported hardware is still actually compatible.

Just note that RTAS plugins are totally a thing of the past. No one makes RTAS versions anymore. it is all the new proprietary standard of AXX plugins with Pro Tools now. So if you upgrade from PT8 to PT2018 there could be a handful of plugins that need to be repurchased or at least, download and install the newer format. Though that can sound scary $$$$ wise, plugin costs seem to be at an all time low. WAVES tops bundles I was looking at over a decade ago were around ~$4,000+ and now they sell for just hundreds. It seems like healthy competition over the years has drastically reduced cost, so that is a plus. I spent more on plugins, and got way less, a decade ago. Today you will spend less and get more.
 

TwangKing

macrumors newbie
Nov 9, 2014
24
2
I used to have a 6-core 3.33Ghz Mac Pro. I had the occassional single core spike hickup/stop of playback. Since upgrading to a dual 6-core 3.46Ghz I don't recall having seen the issue. It has given me a massive performance boost, I have had almost no problems with clicks/pops during playback etc. Problems that I did have with the single CPU. So... the conclusion that a single CPU works best is definitely not true. In my experience, the more/faster cores the better.
Simon, did you replace your 6-core 3.33 or did you upgrade the CPU with something like this -
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDMP1012D33/
 

Nielsnielsniels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2019
3
2
Thank you Simon. My knowledge on the subject of processors is poor. but I think Skizzo later clarifies a lot, where the differences lie. I for one have experienced that the "longest chain" from a software instrument, engaged for live playback, through a bus, another bus, maybe side chained to other stuff, to plugs on the main out, in Logic, is what causes trouble on one core.

Thanks Gatd! Important info! Does it mean, that you would stay with the quite old ATA bus speed in the 5.1? I did hear from the "Wizard" that PCI SSD would make the machine feel snappier. Has not been the case or? I have already piled up 2.5GB og SSD storage, so would be awesome to not have to upgrade.
Others have experiences with this subject?

Yea Skizzo, I still have a Snow Leopard on a 512SSD that I carbon copied. But I keep it only for going back into Pro tool 8.1 and get files from earlier sessions.
To be honest I never got comfortable using the pro tools interface. For instance the then incredible poor management of plugin latency, and the stemming from that, miserable midi capabilities! Working with UAD and anything midi in PT8 was a nightmare.
I agree that plug ins have become more realistically priced, which is absolutely awesome. I am one of those who paid ridiculous amounts for a Waves Diamond bundle back then. Now my favourite plugs are UAD, also one of the reasons, I may not be that sad soon, I went for a mono CPU machine upgrade.
The obvious problem with UAD is, that it's retardedly overpriced! I would not recommend it to new users of music software. But since I have it and have had it for a while now, it works real well in my setup and it does assist the machine in keeping up to have a dedicated card taking care of some of the load.