Upgrading 1,1 and 3,1 Mac Pro's for my design team to last until the 2013 updates

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by prvt.donut, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Hi Guys, My design team are running on old Mac Pros, we are planning on replacing them, but the meagre upgrades offered by Apple have them all asking to wait till next year and just upgrade some components inside them.

    They are all on Snow Leopard, all use CS5.5 and are still happy with the performance they are getting. I have been regularly keeping them dust free inside and we have only had a couple of HDD failures over the years we have had them.


    1x Mac 1,1 2x Quad Core Xeon 2.6Ghz with 6GB Ram and X1900

    2x Mac 3,1 2x Quad Core Xeon 2.8 Ghz with 6GB Ram and HD2600

    I am thinking to install 1x 260GB SSD drives for the system drive and then install 2x1TB drives in Raid 1 for Data and a final 2TB drive for Time Machine Backups.

    Plus upping the RAM with another 8GB per machine.

    I want to get them through the next year, give them a nice little bump in workflow speed and be able to easily recover from failures if that ever happens.

    Do you think this is a sensible selection?
  2. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Although, after more interrogation, they are saying that inDesign is running slow for them. Photoshop and illustrator they say are OK.

    I wonder if just more RAM will sort this out.:rolleyes:
  3. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    More RAM is always better, but expensive for those models. The SSDs, however, will also improve general responsiveness a bit (loading resources, RAM swap file).

    A feasible upgrade for the 1,1 is equipping it with quad-core 5355 CPUs.
    The 3,1s are already 8-cores, I assume.

    Having an internal Time Machine backup is handy, but I'd go with an additional external backup. This way you'll still have a backup in case the internal drives get fried all at once, which can theoretically happen when the PSU goes on the fritz.
    Having the relative security of double backups you might even make the data drives a RAID0 for improved speed.

    You might also look into replacing the graphics cards. But I don't know how much that would boost the applications you're using.
  4. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    the ssd makes a dramatic difference. Ram does not hurt, i found 8 gigs at $100 for my 1,1. I will be doing processors soon, going to the x5355. That gets my machine to 8 clovertown cores for $120 (used ebay). total upgrade 450
  5. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008

    Thanks for the advice,

    Yes, the 3,1's are 8 core, actually the 1,1 is 8 core too.

    Will the 3,1 users see much benefit going to the new Mac Pro?

    They are using Creative Suite mostly Illustrator and Photoshop, as I said, they find inDesign slow.

    I have had another thought. Will DDR3 1333Hhz RAM work in the 3,1's?

    I might just get 1 new Mac Pro to replace the 1,1 and then upgrade the RAM in the 3,1's with 3 sticks of 8GB RAM that should be able to go into what ever replaces them next year, I would also do the same with the SSD and HDD's in the 3,1's.

    My next thought is getting the 6 core 3.33Ghz Pro and putting in the 24GB RAM and SSD and Raid Data drive.

    That seems a better option than the 12core model for the kind of work they are doing.

    What do you think? A wise decision?
  6. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    The FB-DIMMs that you need for the 1,1 and 3,1 are not compatible with newer Mac Pros. Thus, DDR3 1333 RAM won't work in the older models either.
  7. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    a newer mac is a good way to go. Personally, i am holding out for the next generation (although this seems to be backfiring).

    you may want to make sure in-design is working right. I upgraded hoping capture-one would work better, and found it was the program which was at fault
  8. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Mar 28, 2007
    I have the same 3,1, although I have 10GB RAM. The only thing slowing it down is the GPU. Replace it with something more modern. MacVidCards, would be someone to ask about exactly what you need. Going to throw in a GTX550 myself in a few weeks. Although not the fastest it'll do for my needs at the moment.

    CS5.5 runs like a dream otherwise. If PhotoShop is fine, then as a poster above said, it may well be InDesign itself.

    More RAM may also help,
  9. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Oh yeah, 3,1 is DDR2 still.

    the 1,1 is too old and needs replacing no matter what.

    What do u think of the 6 core vs 12 core option??
  10. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Actually, I see that the 5770 works perfectly with the 1,1 and 3,1

    Will my staff see much real world improvement if I buy them all one of these cards as well?

    I think combined with the SSD's and increasing the RAM to 14GB, they should run fast until the 2013 updates.

    What do you think?
  11. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It depends what they're doing. You said CS5.5. Are we talking photoshop, illustrator, and InDesign? Are they designing tech packs and print layouts? Motion graphics work in after effects? CS5.5 still didn't benefit that much from gpu power. If Apple implemented a better OpenGL framework, you might see faster screen refreshes. Other than that, it means very little. CS6 expanded it a bit. Barefeats has an article where they showed liquify + a blur filter in PS. It was exaggerated a bit though. I've never seen such a thing take minutes on cpu calculations.

    Seeing as your design team has been using these for some time, they probably have things set up in a way that runs acceptably on these machines. Having more ram can help certain things. Up to date gpus will become a bigger factor. It's just that I wouldn't dump too much into aging machines. Later machines may be able to run longer history or multiple applications without clogging ram which is nice. Having a response that really feels like real time feedback is nice as opposed to just slight lag. I just don't know that I'd worry about adding a small amount of ram on an old setup if it's not choking.

    Do you have any other details that might help?
  12. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Food for thought indeed.

    The only issue they have is inDesign running slow, but it sounds like that is kind of normal.

    Another consideration is the monitors they are running. They have the old 20" displays, which are nice, but I have read mixed reviews of the new 27" glass fronted displays.

    We have the design team leader using a 2010 MP with the new 27" display and he seems to like it.

    I think driving the higher res displays will be helped by using new GPU's. And the 5770s are cheap.

    But are the new monitors worthwhile?

    If we did buy those now, they can be used on the 2013 pros we will buy next year, so it is not money being wasted.
  13. nikwilliamson macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2011
    If photoshop or illustrator are running at the same time as indesign, try turning down the memory allocation in the AI or PS preferences window. I have my PS set to use 90%, and ID comes to a screeching halt when they're both open.

    Edit: I use a 27 in iMac i7 with 16gb of ram, and 2 external displays at work. not sure about the processor speed.
  14. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    The memory allocation is definitely something I want to check with them as I am not sure they are setting it. But they also only have 6GB RAM which is going to be limiting for them also.

    I just want to give them a nice bump to improve their work life and also see them through until the sacred big update.
  15. relbbircs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2007
    Keep in mind that a newly redesigned Mac Pro something or other may not work reliably when introduced. If you buy immediately you'll be a Beta tester. So allow for an additional several months beyond the announcement -- whenever that may be...
  16. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    So what is the consensus on the planned updates?

    for all 3 computers,

    27" Cinema display,
    HD5770 GPU
    extra 6GB ram
    256GB SSD for system drive
    2x Raid 1 or 0 1TB drives for data
    2TB drive for time machine backups.

    Out of all of this, only the RAM can't be reused in the future, but the machines could be kept as backups.
  17. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    If you upgrade all three this way, they'll last your employees until 2013.
  18. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    We'll see if they actually do a redesign. You can never entirely tell what Apple will do, but yeah when it's more than just a refresh, there can be some lag time waiting for everything to work.

    Imo NEC displays > Apple displays. If you were buying imacs I could definitely see it to save money. I don't see why the Apple display would be ideal here when you could have an NEC at $1200 including a 4 year warranty.

    review here

    They're $1200. I'm assuming you calibrate/profile displays. These can take full calibration using a kit. One kit would cover all. I think they're better. Some people hate matte screen coatings. I find glossy distracting.
  19. badlydrawn macrumors newbie


    Jan 11, 2007
    vie, austria
    I do a lot of Maya2011, AE, PS and some AI work on my upgraded 1,1 (SSD, x5365 and 5770) with 8gigs of RAM, and so far there hasn't been any show stoppers. Sure the system shows its age when working with large scenes and files, but it will definitely hold me out till the supposed upgrade... at least I hope so. Although, I am actually questioning my future reliance on Mac Pro, since it Apple's upgrade paths are so foggy, but thats another topic.

    The upgrades IMO seems enough to hold your team till the next Mac Pro, at least from my limited experience.

    ^+1 NEC displays

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