Upgrade Nehalem MPro or just get an iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by absynthetic, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. absynthetic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #1
    So I've been having issues running logic or having Firefox open with a bunch of tabs on my Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon [March.2009]. I've also found that playing Starcraft 2 is waaaay nicer on a new iMac than it is on my computer.

    My question is, should I just try and sell this machine and get an iMac? Or upgrade the RAM to 12 GB (from its current 3GB) and maybe get a new graphics card? I also only have 14GB of hard drive space left, so maybe that's causing performance issues as well...?
     
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    You're on the right path. Upgrade your RAM and your hard drive.

    I can only image how terribly slow your machine has to be. 3GB RAM really isn't much (my Safari alone takes that much RAM) and especially considering your remaining hard drive capacity, the system swaps on the inner lines of the hard drive, which are extremely slow.

    The solution is pretty easy, get more RAM, a bigger hard drive and if you've got a GT120, update the graphics card as well if you want to play games.

    The machine itself is pretty fast (faster than any available iMac), you just have to release the hand brake.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    Your Mac Pro is a beast but you definitely need more RAM (3GB in a computer like Mac Pro sounds ridiculous, get at least 8GB or so) and more HD space. When HDs are running low on capacity, data has to be written to the inner part of the HD which is slower. That means everything is slower.

    What GPU do you have now? If it's GT 120, then upgrading should be worth it as that GPU ain't exactly a speed demon.

    More RAM, more HDs, maybe even an SSD and possibly a better GPU and your Mac Pro will be a beast again. iMac would actually be slower if you perform some upgrades
     
  4. absynthetic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #4
    I guess the next question is how MUCH to upgrade. I definitely can't afford more than 12GB (Trans Intl has it for only $228, but I don't have any experience with that seller). But at 6GB, if I'm doing a bunch of film scoring and playing games (well, just Starcraft, which can take up as much or as little resources as you want it to), then maybe 12GB is the way to go?
     
  5. absynthetic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #5
    Yeah, I've got the GT120. What would be the best card to upgrade to that won't break the bank? Especially since I only ever play 1 game...
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    If you're on budget, you could buy 2x4GB from OWC for 165$ and then use two of your existing 1GB modules to make it 10GB. That will be fine

    What's your budget then? ATI 5770 is probably the easiest option and at 249$, it's not too much but if you really want to save money, then you could consider a used Mac version of ATI 4870 (or even GTX 285) or possibly flashing a PC card.
     
  7. absynthetic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #7
    $249 actually sounds pretty reasonable. I'd rather spend a little more now and get something decent that will last me a few years, than get something cheap that I'll be wanting to upgrade again.

    I'll just have to wait until next year if I end up getting the 12GB (which seems to be the way to go).

    Thank you all so much for your help.

    Now I just have to go find out if "flashing a PC card" will give me more bang for my buck! There's gotta be a handy FAQ on how to do that somewhere...
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    The Golden Guide to Flashing Graphic Cards

    Or if you want some more recent info, take a look at Netkas forums
     
  9. absynthetic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #9
    Holy crap, you just have all the answers, don't you? ;)

    Thanks a lot for your help. I was just getting so jealous of how much smoother my girlfriend's new iMac was running. I was like, "I SPENT TWICE AS MUCH AS YOU! WHY DOES YOUR COMPUTER WORK BETTER THAN MINE?!"

    Time to reassert my computer dominance. Nerd testosterone +1.
     
  10. Whaditis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #10
    ^^^ Agreed, pop in an SSD, all that ram, and a 5770 card and you'll blow her iMac out of the water.

    I don't think any current iMac has the ability to be upgraded to a 5770 so you'll have a much more capable machine.

    Time for myself to do the video card upgrade myself and get rid of the anemic GT120.

    Cheers!
     
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
  12. absynthetic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #12
    This is all really excellent info. Thank you all so much for your input. I think I'm just gonna get the 12GB of RAM and an eSATA extender cable for an external Lacie I just got (I really need my data to be mobile).

    As for the graphics card, I'm probably just going to have to wait until I get all the stuff to flash a PC GPU (and figure out which one) because the cost benefit ratio is SO much greater. If I spent 250 on a PC GPU, I could get something that totally toasts the Apple ATI 5570 that goes for the same price.

    You'd think there'd be someone out there that you could just mail your graphics card to, pay pal him 30 bucks or something, and he sends it back to you all flashed and delicious. I mean, there was a dude that modded Gameboy Advances and installed backlit screens on them this way!
     
  13. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #13
    Rominator used to do that for people in person (for a six of Stella) but I don't think he does anymore.
     

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