Upgrade from 2008 Mac Pro; iMac or Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blando3, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. blando3 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2009
    I'm trying to decide which Mac to buy to replace my old 2008 Mac Pro 3.1. My current Mac has 2.8GHZ Dual Quad-Core Processor, 12mb L2 Cache, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT. OS 10.6.8.

    I work with Final Cut 7, Compressor, and Motion. I spend a lot of time waiting for it to "think," exports take forever, and I get memory errors frequently while working with large projects. It's time for an upgrade. Obviously I want a suped-up Mac Pro, but I think - like many people - that I'm fooling myself into thinking I need one. I edit mostly 1080, single camera, with some color correction, but nothing fancy. I'd like to be able to edit 4K though, as that is the future.

    How would a maxed-out iMac compare to what I currently have?
    Or should I get the 6-core Mac Pro, 32GB RAM, dual D700 GPU? (I understand that the CPU is upgradeable as well as the RAM and storage)

    I imagine both of these would smoke my current Mac Pro, right?
    What would you recommend?
  2. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Get the Trash Pro.

    FCP 7 is old and not optimized for anything. No GPU acceleration or anything. You should move to Premiere Pro CC and learn After Effects and dump Compressor, even though there is a way for it to utilize all the cores with QMaster.

    Yes anything with new Intel CPU's will smoke the 2008.

    I just moved to a 2010 Mid Mac Pro from a 2008 (I was already feeling the slowdowns) and put in a GTX780 and upgraded the CPU's to 12 Cores. The speed is very close to a higher end Trash Pro and at a fraction of the cost, AND I have CUDA and the GTX780 is faster than any of the ATI cards....but if you don't need CUDA, get the Trash Pro.
  3. blando3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2009
    Trash Pro...okay, so are you referring to the Mac Pro???
    And the specs I included? Do those sound sufficient?
  4. austinpike, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    An iMac isn't going to smoke your current mac. It will feel faster since it will have an SSD and a fresh OS, but look at the 64-bit multi-core benchmarks - your machine is at 11295, the top iMac is 14765. Which is pretty much in line with my experience - I have a 2,1 8-core 3.0 and I've built a couple of 4-core i7 Hackintoshes. When it comes to raw render speeds, sure the Hacks are a bit faster (15-20%) but nothing earth-shattering.

    Are you running SSDs in your system now? Have you done a fresh OS install anytime in the last few years? The 8800GT is certainly quite long in the tooth.

    I don't do video editing, so I can't speak to your specific software or GPU rendering, but I'd guess there are a few upgrades you could make to your current system to improve it, and as SDAVE mentioned you can save $ and get plenty of performance and more customization out of a "newer" classic Mac Pro.

    yes I believe SDAVE's Trash(can) Pro = new Mac Pro :)

    Yes, you'd need a 6-core to see a noticeable improvement, and yes I'd get the D700s. But I would try to figure out if there is another GPU solution that might work better for you in a "classic" Mac Pro. Spending 5-6k just for the processor bump is a big chunk if you aren't also getting something out of the video cards.
  5. blando3, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    blando3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2009
    Thanks. I haven't done a fresh install ever, as a matter of fact, and I still have the original hard drive. Should I get a SSD and install the OS on that? Then maybe a video card? FOr the SSD, should I use the SATA bay or PCI?

    Any suggestion on a video card?

  6. blando3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2009
    I'm looking at the OWC 240GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD.Will the 6G work with a Mac Pro 3.1 (2008)?

    With the Icy Dock converter, I guess I'm set.
  7. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    You don't want to go the Icy Dock route with a 6G SSD. You will have a 6G SSD connected to a 3G port
    You want to use the PCIe slots. Look into the http://www.apricorn.com/products/desktop-ssd-hdd-upgrade-kits/vel-solox2.html
    Read to see if there any Boot and OS limitations.
    Look into other PCIe cards too
    Also, use any HD's (3-4) laying around and try a SW RAID 0 for files pertaining to FCP and Motion.
    Someone may chime in about video cards but there have been soooooo many "what video card should I use fro my 3,1" that it may be faster searching on this site.
  8. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    I upgraded my 3,1 with a Sonnet Tempo Pro PCIe card with two 480GB 6G SSDs set up as a RAID0. The OS and Apps live there and everything that uses those drives is quite snappy. For starters (literally) I went from about a 2 minute startup time to less than 30 seconds - that includes loading several dailly apps like Illustrator and Photoshop.

    I highly recommend a PCIe card with SSDs. RAID0 'em and back up frequently.


    Get a new Mac Pro like you want. I know you'll get more ooomph out of it than any upgrade you might do on a 3,1.
  9. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    OWC is great with everything they do for the Mac, but you can get a 250GB Samsung Evo for $120. it won't work with the mounting sled directly, you'd need the icy dock or some other mounting bracket (or you can just plug it in and find something the right size to keep it propped up in the case - mine is supported with an empty Scotch tape spool... so ghetto, I know.)

    I guess I'd start with that; install your OS and apps and see how it feels. Ideally you'd do something PCI-based but you can certainly add that later. If you end up getting a new mac anyway you can always use the SSD in a USB3 enclosure externally.
  10. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Even thoug you´ll be limited by the SATA300 connection, an SSD will still give you a very good speed-boost.
    I´ve a Mac Pro 5,1 on the way, and I´ll start out with my SSD´s in OWC´s Mac Pro Drive Sled´s. Later on I´ll probably move them to some kind of PCI-e.
  11. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2007
    Go MacPro

    I was in the same boat as you with an aging 3,1 and went to a nMP (see my sig for my config). I do photo and web design rather than video work and I couldn't be happier. The main reason I went the 8 core route was that I have some windows only software so I run Fusion and I wasn't sure an iMac had the resources to run Win7 in a VM with everything else going at the same time.

    The only thing I'd caution you about is external drive arrays. My performance was always rock solid when the drives were inside my 3,1. I have a drobo 5d that I use as mass storage and a separate enclosure for my TM drive which combines stuff from both the Macintosh HD and drobo. I get hangs during TM backups about every other week and the only way to fix it is to eject the drives, shut them down and power them up. I'm pretty sure the issue lies with the drobo not always spinning up the drives when the backup starts.

    Anyway, my nMP is a 5-6 year investment and I'd happily make it again. :D
  12. cebseb macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2011
    I just gave my 2008 3,1 somewhat of an overhaul by adding in the following:

    OWC Accelsior E2 240gb ($380)

    ATI Radeon HD7950 (About $100.00)

    Inateck 7 port usb 3.0 ($39)

    For a little over $500, your Mac pro will feel like a brand new machine.

    I know quite a few people feel strongly against using the Accelsior upgrade due to its proprietary nature, but to be honest, it's as close to plug and play as you can get without the hassle of buying separate ssds, matching, extra cables and wiring, etc...
  13. blando3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2009
    I thought I'd follow up with some info as well as another question. I installed a 240 GB SSD via the Apricorn Velocity Solo in the PCI slot, and replaced my video card with the ATI Radeon HD 4870. Bootup is very fast now, and applications like FCP are much snappier. I still get a memory error in FCP 7 when trying to load 4K footage though. I'm downloading a trial of FCPX to see if it does the same.

    My question: In the System Profiler under PCI cards it says that a driver is not installed for the video card. I've attached a screengrab. Do I need to install a driver for this card? I'm running 10.6.8.


    Attached Files:

  14. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That's for HDMI audio (or through display port).

    It will only work in 5,1 (or flashed 5,1) with OSX 10.8 or later.

    In case your system fit the requirements and you need that driver, you can get it from the following link.


    Anyway, if you don't need that function. You can simply ignore it.

Share This Page