Upgrade path for 5,1 3.33 hex core

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jagaloon, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. jagaloon macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014

    I got a demo (still using) of fcpx. I really like it and would like to start using it more now with motion.

    Current system

    Upgraded 3.33 hex core from 2.8 quad.
    8gb ram (2gb x 4 slots) 1066mhz
    Ati 5770
    4 - 1tb ea 7200 drives

    Now I'm figuring from owc

    One 240gb mercury accelsior card, 24gb of ram, sapphire 7950. Problem I can see is that I'm up around 1k and would still need to use my old 1tb 7200hdd's. Would the non PCI ssd's that are far less expensive be ok or should I look at another 120gb pcie mercury card?

    Not sure if what I think I need is actually necessary and if ram and a pcie hdd is the way to go. I know it's fun to spend other peoples money but id like to stay grounded in reality.

    I use cs6 illustrator with photoshop dream weaver and boot to win7 for .ner visual studio work. Not a gamer.

    Thanks for reading. I had put the nMP on the table but 4k and the lack of internal storage has me second guessing what I should do hence thinking of this upgrade path.
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    I believe that there are flashable 7950 PC cards that would be considerably less expensive than buying the Sapphire card, unless that doesn't mean much to you.

    Have you ever checked into a SATA 3 PCIe controller instead of just the SSD cards? I run a Velocity Solo x1 in my 3,1 for a PCIe SSD, and it still has an open controller slot when I move my Windows Boot Drive over to SSD down the road. Non PCIe SSDs are not going to hit anywhere near their maximum throughput in the SATA 2 bays of the cMP. The SATA controller will get you more connections to SATA 3 ports than just the single SSDs like the OWC one.

    RAM is definitely worth the upgrade, even if it's just a bit at a time so you're not blowing huge amounts of money. I would look into 8GB DIMMs, since that's the maximum DIMM size you can get without really breaking the bank on 16GB DIMMs.
  3. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    Hi Jag,

    I have the same configuration, it's a 2012 MP 3,33 Hex.

    I now have 32gb ram = 4 x 8gb Hynix sticks, it came with 24 so I added one
    for €68
    ( I can't see where your from so don't know your currency )

    I have fitted an Apricorn Velocity solo PCIe card ( €50 ) and onto that a
    Samsung 840 EVO 750gb SSD (€365) as the boot drive.
    It makes a HUGE difference in performance and general use.

    Also added the Inateck 4004 USB3.0 card (€25) and that works a treat with
    everything I have plugged into it.

    Those upgrades for me were well worth doing, as Graphics isn't my thing at all
    the standard card is more than OK for me running 2 x 23in Cinema Displays.

    I guess the GPU is where a lot of money can be spent, though there are good
    deals around.

    So the extra 5-600 € I think was a good investment, I'm keeping it for at least
    three years.

  4. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014
    Thanks for the input! The owc Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express Solid State Drive is PCIe and I think is also a controller for external esata drives.

    I thought that I could just pick up a owc mercury or Electra and plug them in where my old Hdd's were in the sleds but from what I found on the web the throughput is hampered and performance is not as good as the accelsior.

    This I think (for me) is the most confusing but of the upgrade as I have one last shot to do it right (least that's what I keep telling myself).

    8gb sticks are the most economical way to go for me so 16 or 24 if for whatever reason I need 32 I will have one last slot for it.

    The flashed 7590 appeals more cause I would rather not bother with flashing.
  5. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    I also have a 2010 Mac Pro upgraded with:

    2 - 3.33MHz Quad Core (For what I do, IMO 8 cores is plenty)
    24GB RAM (My RAM supplier is: http://www.datamemorysystems.com/ap...06ghz-md771ll/a-cto-mid-2012-memory-upgrades/
    Samsung Series 840 500GB SSD
    Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 PCIe Card
    Inateck 4004 USB3 PCIe Card
    Plugable 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub
    Gigabyte GTX 780 graphics card flashed by MVC

    All four HDD Bays are filled and I have two external HDDs for storage. One is Firewire the other is USB2.

    I expect to get more than three years from this machine. I simply do not like the form factor of the nMP.

  6. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Flashing in Bootcamp using ATIWinflash is straightforward.

    I have been using a Sapphire HD 7950 3Gb Flex (11196-17-40G) and if you happen to get the exact same card I can send you the EFI bios for it.
  7. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Have the ATI drivers improved enough to go with the 7950?
  8. SimeoneSergio, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014

    SimeoneSergio macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2012
    London UK
    I have the same machine more or less and it's a thread that i never felt like opening to save you guys some hassle... But i'll jump straight in this :p

    I am noticing that none of you actually says to move to the W3690... Yes the price, i know...

    What would be the point, in terms of money, that you could actually take the cpu upgrade into consideration (for a rough 8-9% performance boost according to cpubenchmark) ?

    I mean, with a configuration like:
    W3690 / GTX780 / Apricorn velocity solo x2 or Sonnet / 32Gb Ram 1333

    aka the maximum obtainable from the 5,1 probably, how long would you stay without taking a new one?
  9. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    Well I was offered the W3690 as an upgrade option when i bought mine.
    For the £100 more and just a few % performance increase it wasn't worth it.
    I put the money into RAM and Apricorn V solo etc.

    It's new for me, coming from a very reliable 3,1 but that was running out of steam.
    I have three years apple cover and intend to keep it for at least 3-4 years.

    nMP ... I have no love 'nor use for :) ... so after that I have no idea !!
  10. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014
    Well thanks for everyone's opinions. I opted for the 3.33 as well. Just need to figure out the drive setup and then research either flashing a PC vid card or not.

    Love how this quickly went off topic ;)
  11. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    Sorry Jag for the OT, I highly recommend the Apricorn cards and 840 EVO's working really
    well in mine and NOT expensive at all.... also have an 840 EVO 750 in my laptop.

    Same for the Inateck USB3.0 which is VERY handy for moving stuff around and
    TM backups etc.

    That and RAM is never a bad idea :)

  12. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014
    No need to be sorry ;) I just thought it was funny how quickly the thread just went OT. Then again without your suggestion of Apricorn, I'd have no idea that that was another option :)

    So instead of the OWC Mercury Accelsior the apricorn and evo 840 would be another option. Did you use PCIe 2.0x1 or PCIe 2.0x2?

    I found this: http://www.amazon.com/Apricorn-Velo...&qid=1395351380&sr=8-2&keywords=Apricorn+card

    Having SSD Drives on the PCIe slots gives me the max speed available. So what if I put a SSD in where one of my old 7200 rpm hdd's is will it be choked or would that be another option?

    Soooo many options with this rig now I never thought about having to upgrade till now :eek:
  13. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    First off I also have the Solo x2 and recommend it. As far as your PCIe slots go, In a 5,1 all your slots are PCIe 2.0. The bottom two slots being 16 lanes and the top 2 being 4 lanes. The Solo x2 requires 2 lanes, so either of the top two slots would be just fine, if they're open.

    The Amazon link you posted is the correct card.

    There are kits that allow mounting of an SSD in your drive bays, and some folks are using them, but they are SATA II whereas the Solo x2 is SATA III and will allow faster speeds. As far as cost, the adapters or brackets that mount the SSD in one of your drive bays costs somewhere around $30.00, so for me it was a no brainer to use the Apricorn card. I have the faster speed and I didn't lose one of my drive bays.

  14. kic macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    If you see yourself seriously getting into FCPX you may want to consider multiple video cards, assuming you have the slots available (if you only go with a single card for SSDs you'd have room). I'm in the process of doing this right now, and when I get home I'm popping in the second 280X (again).

    I'm pulling numbers out of memory--so they're not 100% accurate--but the results on the BruceX benchmark were roughly thus (MP 5,1, 3.33ghz 6 core, 12 GB RAM):

    GeForce 680: 1 minute 44 seconds
    Radeon 7950 (3gb): 42 seconds
    Radeon 280X (3gb): 47 seconds
    2 * Radeon 280X (3gb each): 28 seconds

    I find it curious the 7950 was faster than the 280X since the 280X is basically a rebadged 7970 (I flashed my GeForce card but none of the Radeons). Granted, if you were to go the dual video card route you need to factor in twice the cost of your video card upgrade plus a second power supply, but if time is money... Also, if you're not already aware, the AMD cards are better for OpenCL (FPCX) while the GeForce cards better for CUDA (Adobe misc.).

    Regarding flashing video cards: if you're worried about breaking things, I think it's absolutely possible to get by with a "PC" card. As I said above, I only flashed my 680, so the 7950 and the 280Xs are still stock non-Apple cards. At times, yes, it's a pain not to have a boot screen, but 95% of the time it's a non-issue (and I'm fine with the outputs that work, and truth be told, haven't tested all of them anyway). Considering the premium a flashed/Apple-certified card demands, you'll have to decide for yourself if the boot screen and/or functional display adapters is worth the cost.

    Good luck! I think I'm in a similar boat as I'm trying to decide whether I keep my poor old pro or build a hackintosh since the new pro doesn't fit my particular needs.
  15. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    I echo what Lou said, the performance in the PCIe slot is fantastic and keeps
    the SATA II drive bays free.

    I also have my old Crucial M4 250gb SSD in a drive bay, I had a spare and fancy using it as an Audio scratch drive- why not?, it still gives me around
    220/250 MB/s read/write times, so better than any 7200rpm "spinner" !

    I used an adaptor which was $20 and fits the Mac sled perfectly.

    I'm sure you can find one graphics card to fit your needs, with two you
    seriously limit what other cards you can install ... just one basically !!

  16. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    If FCPX is what you will be using more and more of, then simply get another ATI5770 to complement what you already have. They are dirt cheap and will give you most of the performance in FCPX that a 7950 will for a fraction of the price.

    A PCI SSD is a luxury and and may not be necessary for your purposes. As others have mentioned, you can either roll your own with something like the Apricorn and a SATA3 SSD, but I'd personally just stick a regular SSD on one of the SATA connections in the optical drive bay area and see how you go. If you still need more speed for your video work/scratch file area, then consider a PCI solution. Who knows, just a regular SSD connected via SATA2 to the Mac Pro could be more than adequate for what you want to do.

    I would be tempted to upgrade the RAM to 24GB if you are finding that you are running low.

    If I were in your position I would take a step back before spending a ton of money on my machine and scrutinise what will give you the best bang for buck. I honestly think a second 5770, SSD connected to Mac Pro SATA ports and more RAM will be enough for you.
  17. jagaloon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014
    Thanks again all for the input and insight. I'd like to run two video cards but it would eat up another slot so replacing the 5770 could be an option. I think I have a better understanding of ssd/PCIe on this 5,1 Mac. Never knew bout the 16 lanes and 4 lanes.

    Ram is a must now after using fcpx it starts out at 3gb then ramps up to 7 then 8 and to the swap file from there. 24 should suit fine. Then lastly to tackle the ssd of either luxury PCIe or ssd on sata ii and see how that fares.

    Just do it in stages I guess. Snce owning a Mac I guess I shut off the pc side of my brain, always oogling tech specs, after I got the Mac, I just stopped and used the commuter and stopped fussing over having the fastest. I've come full circle I think.

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