Upgrade Questions for a Mid 2010 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by beansbaxter, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. beansbaxter, Oct 7, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015

    beansbaxter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    [​IMG]

    I recently picked up a mint condition Mac Pro (Mid 2010) with the following specs:
    • 8-Core Mac Pro
    • Processors -- Dual Intel Quad-Core Xeon 2.4Ghz Westmere (8 cores)
    • Memory -- 8GB (4x2GB)
    • Graphics -- ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    • Hard Drive -- 1TB 7200RPM SATA
    • Optical Drive -- 18x SuperDrive
    • OS X Lion
    A couple questions please:

    1) Upgrade to Mountain Lion or Mavericks?

    The Mac Pro is currently running Lion, which I'm fine with, but I'd prefer upgrading OS X to either Mountain Lion or Mavericks? Any concerns I should have with this particular hardware setup?

    And for what it's worth, I do not want to upgrade to Yosemite or El Capitan because I'm not a fan of the new HiDPI user interface on my Non-Retina external display.

    2) Upgrade the Memory and Hard Drive?

    Upgrading the memory is a no brainer. I was going to buy Crucial memory. The Mac Pro currently has 4 memory slots in use, and 4 available. The 4 in use are 2GB Apple Memory totaling 8GB. If I'm leaning towards 16GB, will mixing the Apple Memory with the Crucial Memory be ok? Or would the general consensus be to just do a full memory upgrade to 32GB of Crucial memory?

    Anything I should know before choosing which SSD drive I want to install? Crucial says I need an additional bracket to install the SSD drive. Any concerns with TRIM or the SSD controllers on Mountain Lion or Mavericks?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ActionableMango, Oct 7, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    1) Why not go all the way to El Capitan? Or if that's still too new and buggy for you, Yosemite? But yes, you can run Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

    2) You can mix the RAM. You can't mix registered and unregistered RAM. Apple is unregistered RAM, so when you pick your Crucial RAM, make sure that it is unregistered. I also think there are certain sizes you can't mix, but you're not doing that. You should also make sure it is server RAM, ECC, with temperature sensor, and the right speed. If you don't know how to figure that out, I suggest you to Data Memory Systems and select by your Mac Pro model. By selecting your computer, they will automatically list the correct RAM choices for that computer.

    Most SSDs are fine. You seem to like Crucial, which is fine. You will need an adapter if you want to use the drive sleds. Basic el-cheapo 2.5 to 3.5 adapters will not work for a Mac Pro drive sled (or any other cableless drive mounting system). You need an adapter specifically designed to put the SATA connector in the right place to mate with the back plane. I use this adapter.

    On the other hand, if you want to put the SSD in the optical bay, any typical 2.5 to 5.25 adapter should work. There is no alignment issue because you connect to SATA via cables.

    In El Capitan you can enable TRIM for a Crucial SSD in OS X itself. In previous versions, you will need to use a third party tool called TRIM Enabler.
     
  3. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #3
    You should at least consider the PCIE drives. They are a MULTIPLE faster then anything connected via SATA. (4-5 X faster)

    See the "NGFF PCIE SSD" thread started by handheld games. I have them in all my MPs now, but I boot up a few dozen times a day so was important to me.

    Also consider going to the 5680 or 5690 processors. I recently had a guy write me that his new Titan-X wasn't running 4K video files at full res smoothly, while his Macbook could play them. They were QT .mov files, don't recall the settings.

    Anyhow, by just switching CPU trays on my 4,1 I discovered that only the 3.46 Ghz CPUs could play the files easily and smoothly. When I put in the 2.66 Ghz tray, stutter city.

    As far as the Non-retina stuff, I don't think it makes any difference, you aren't going to be forced into some weird over-rendering issue.
     
  4. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    MN
    #4
    I would do Mavericks over Mountain Lion just because it will likely be supported longer.

    Keep in mind the RAM is triple channel so theoretically you'll get better performance by installing sticks of 3 at a time rather than 4. (So maybe take out 1 of the 2GB and install 3x8GB in the other bank.) Real-world difference is probably negligible, but if I were buying new RAM I would at least consider it.

    The Apricorn PCIe SSD cards are currently available w/rebate, so its a good time to buy if you want to go that route.
    http://www.amazon.com/Apricorn-Velocity-Extreme-Performance-VEL-SOLO-X2/dp/B0090IA3GY/
    http://www.amazon.com/Apricorn-Velocity-Upgrade-Array-VEL-DUO/dp/B00NTQGZH4
     
  5. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    #5
    Wow. Thanks everyone for all this good information. I appreciate it.

    The Apricorn PCIe SSD cards look straightforward and allow the faster SATA III SSD drives.

    Noted on the memory. Just found this Apple Support document with specifics on how to match the memory with the processors.

    Noted on the processor upgrade. I feel comfortable doing this upgrade myself. Newegg doesn't sell these processors anymore. Might have to look around and see who does. I'm not in a hurry to do this upgrade, but it's something to look forward to.

    What Trim Enabler does everyone recommend? The Chameleon one?
     
  6. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
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    #6
    Just ordered the Apricorn VEL-SOLO-X2 and the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5" SATA III SSD.

    I'll sort out memory tomorrow...
     
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #7
    I'm going to guess that you really like SATA. Even with that card and 2 drives you will barely pass being 1/2 as fast as best drives from the thread I mentioned. Using 1 drive you will get 1/3 of the speed. If what you do doesn't require speed, that will be fine.

    Retail price on a X5690 would make you cry, used they are now $200/each in best case scenario. EBay is crawling with them, they rarely fail and a little understood fact is that Ebay is now complaint with CC time frames on returns. As buyer you will ALWAYS win if something fails.

    If you need LOTS of memory, 32GB sticks were found to work, but most use 8GB or 16GB sticks. Make sure you get 1333 speed.

    Not sure what you meant about Trim Enabler and Chameleon, completely unrelated things. Neither is needed for TRIM. In OS 10.10.5 and later, just type the command in Terminal. As usual, Google is your friend.
     
  8. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #8
    Since the OP has stated he will not be running Yosemite or El Cap, he will need to Utilize TRIM enabler. TRIM enabler is available here:

    https://www.cindori.org/software/trimenabler/

    a more feature laden version is available here:

    https://www.cindori.org/software/disksensei/

    Chameleon is a utility for Hackintosh users to run the Mac OS on PCs, so is of no concern to the OP.

    And since the OP will not be upgrading his CPUs, the Solo x2 and Evo SSD combo, is a fine choice. They will be much faster than an HDD and twice as fast as an SSD mounted in an HDD Bay.

    As far as RAM goes, the CPU and the RAM dictates the RAM speed. The OP's current CPU's will allow RAM speeds up to 1066MHz. A future CPU change could allow speeds of 1333MHz, so the OP should buy that speed RAM if a change is contemplated. My RAM supplier is:

    http://www.datamemorysystems.com/ap...33ghz-md770ll/a-cto-mid-2012-memory-upgrades/

    It also must be mentioned that the CPU's utilize three memory channels, and for best performance RAM should populate the first 3 slots in each memory bank. Preferably that should be matched (the same speed and size) but if that's not the case, each bank should match each other.

    Lou
     
  9. rawweb macrumors 6502a

    rawweb

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    #9
    What is this tomfoolery I occasionally read on the forum? I'm on multiple computers all day and have never noticed a difference. My 30" cinema display looks the same as it did back "in the day". I also have a dual 27" led cinema display setup and a dual 27" thunderbolt setup at work. I'm not seeing it, unless I became mute to it over the years. Still, I wouldn't trade the features of the new operating systems. In fact, I'm a huge fan of the "dark menu" interface introduced in 10.10.

    Anyone have photographic proof of this dramatic retina UI shift?
     
  10. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #10
    I've never even heard of this until now. The UI looks to be the same size to me. I assume by default that HiDPI mode is not enabled on non-retina monitors like mine.
     
  11. 1970mgbgt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    #11
    I just bought two 5680s from Stallard Technologies, Inc., of Overland Park, KS. They do major salvage of enterprise server equipment. The rep is STILL emailing me if everything is OK. His name is :

    Geoff Gagnon
    Account Executive
    Stallard Technologies, Inc.
    877-851-2260 ext.336
    geoff@stikc.com
    www.stikc.com

    There's another guy on Ebay that flowrider recommended, username "westporter," who is in the same business.

    I used to buy memory from Crucial only, but http://datamemorysystems.com is cheaper. I just bought 48 GB from them.

    Good Luck. There is nothing here but expertise piled on top of goodwill.
     
  12. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    #12
    I checked out the thread you mentioned and learned a lot! Love it! I went the SATA III route because of cost. Obviously speed is important, but I suspect just going to an SSD will significantly remove the annoying bottleneck happening with the HD drive currently in the machine.

    Yeah, I checked out the X5690 processors on eBay. There's some good deals there... I'll upgrade at some point in the future.

    Understood on the memory, so I'm compatible for future processor upgrades.

    I intend to run 10.9 Mavericks.
     
  13. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
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    #13
    Thanks Lou! That really helps me out!
     
  14. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
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    #14
    The new OS X versions look superb on a retina display, but the new fonts and the flat design don't look that great on a non-retina display IMHO.

    The secondary reason has to do with my daily use of Adobe CS 6, which Adobe hasn't provided updates to support retina displays. Adobe has abandoned future updates for CS 6 because they want you to move to their Creative Cloud solution.
     
  15. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
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    Seattle
    #15
    Admittedly, I've never heard of Data Memory Systems. Sounds like everyone trusts them - they are reputable and sell quality hardware?

    I'm not in a hurry, but at some point within the next year or two, when I get around to upgrading the processors to the X5690, will I also need to upgrade the power supply in the Mac Pro?

    Looking at memory, all things considered equal, what's the difference between Dual Ranked and Single Ranked?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #16
    Flowrider recommends Data Memory Systems for Apple RAM as he has used them for a long time with no problem. Based on his recommendation I started to use them too, and they have been top notch for me as well.

    You don't need to upgrade the power supply for new CPUs. I don't think there's a way to do that anyway, since it's a custom power supply.

    I don't understand memory ranking myself, but I believe the general advice is, dual-rank is better at interleaving (multiple sticks) than single-rank. Single-rank is (very slightly) faster if you're going to only run a single stick. Quad-rank is noticeably slower as it downclocks the RAM, but some times is the only choice in very high capacity sticks. But really I don't know what I'm talking about so maybe someone else can chip in.

    Ranking isn't even listed that often. Whenever I've bought RAM, even from DMS, the ranking wasn't advertised. Given a choice, I'd by dual rank.
     
  17. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #17
    Answers in Red!

    Lou
     
  18. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    #18
    [​IMG]

    Look what showed up this afternoon!

    Super easy to install.

    Downloading OS X Mavericks now...
     
  19. dmylrea macrumors 68000

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #19
    Just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I was curious what kind of deal you got on that Mac Pro 2010?
     
  20. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

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    #20
    It was a unique situation. I bartered my time on a website project for the machine.
     
  21. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

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    #21
    Looking at eBay, I'm amazed to see how much the ATI Radeon HD 5870 video card is going for, specifically the Apple OEM ones being pulled straight out of Mac Pro machines. Why is an outdated video card still selling for so much?

    And the more important question, should I seriously consider a video card upgrade? And then sell the Radeon 5870 that came with the Mac Pro?
     
  22. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #22
    A PC HD7950 can works better than the Apple 5870, cheaper, easy to flash, with Metal support....
     
  23. beansbaxter thread starter macrumors newbie

    beansbaxter

    Joined:
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    #23
    Regarding Single Rank versus Dual Rank, from the Crucial knowledge base:

    That said, what are the rank limitations for the Mac Pro? And assuming there aren't any, any thoughts on what would be best for speed?

    I intend to purchase 48GB of Memory - 8GB x 6 - so there are 3 sticks per processor.
     
  24. 1970mgbgt macrumors member

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  25. flowrider, Oct 10, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #25
    No need to pay for the Technician's Guide, It's available on the web if you google it. I can't show the link here, because the forum management doesn't like it and will remove the post. I am attaching the section on RAM. IMHO, it really doesn't say much and is silent on rank.

    And as I said above, this is the first I've heard of it. However, this link tells you how to identify rank on a RAM stick, and talks a little about it:

    http://www.oempcworld.com/support/SinglevsDualRAM.html

    I just checked the DMS RAM in my machine and it's single rank. I also checked the OEM RAM that came with my Mac, I still have it in static sensitive bags, and it's also single rank. So maybe that answers the question?

    As far as speed, I recommend 1333MHz as I stated above, as does the Tech Guide.

    The OP's plan on RAM population is a good one.

    Lou
     

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