Upgrading 2009 MP: frustrating choices

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
Hello,

I have a quad 2.66 2009 MP, and I'm looking at its future. Notes: I don't need lots cores (at least not beyond 4), already have a sata3 SSD on a sata3 card, enough RAM and a 6870 GPU that's more than enough for my non-gamer, non-video needs.

Here are my options:

1) Get the nMP quad right now. Cost ~3600$ with decent SSD and some ram. + 2 new USB3 enclosures for my 7 non-OS drives: ~400$ So roughly 4000$. Selling 2009: ~800$. Total cost ~3200$

2) Buy and install a w3580 3.33GHz quad. Total cost 300$.

3) Wait and buy the top of the line, fully loaded next-gen mini. Cost approx: ~1400$ + enclosures (400$) - selling price (800$). Total cost ~1000$.

Options 1 and 2 offer significant performance gains, while option #3 "probably" won't be as significant. I just can't justify the roughly 3000$ extra cost for the nMP, even if its performance will be better than the w3580 on the 2009. (Also I won't benefit from the GPUs, and while the uber-fast PCIe SSD is nice, I wouldn't really benefit from it compared to an already fast sata3 SSD.)

Looks like I'm "stuck" with the w3580 option at least until the MP 7,1 comes along... Kind'a sucks.

Am I not seeing some options?

Loa
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,929
54
England
I wouldn't get the W3580. You can get W3565s for ~$120, is the extra 4% CPU performance really worth $180 to you?
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
Hello,

There are no reasons except that my computer feels slow. I used to change my mac pros and power macs every 3-4 years, and now I've had this one for close to five. It works fine, just getting slow.

Also, it sucks in the sense that none of my options will feel like a WOW upgrade. How the heck is it that a 300$ upgrade on a five year old computer will be closely matched to the new MP? Just Moore's law loosing it's feathers I guess.

New question: any chance that the number of used w3580 will dry up anytime soon?

Loa
 

wonderspark

macrumors 68040
Feb 4, 2010
3,018
95
Oregon
Or you can get a W3570, if you just want to modify for the sake of doing something to upgrade. They sell it here for $115, and it runs 1333MHz RAM instead of 1066, and faster QPI speed.
 

Mac Gus

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2013
137
12
New York City
I'd go with option 2. That should speed things up a lot. Also if the 4 core is the same as the 8 core, than moving to 5,1 firmware with the new processor will allow you to use 1333 RAM which will also speed up you're machine. But you'll have to get faster RAM, another expense.
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
For current prices, with canadian shipping, the difference is 130$, but I get your point Umbongo.

Probably not worth it, even for the sake of maxing it out...

is there a cheaper i7 variant I could use instead of the w3565?

Loa

----------

Faster ram isn't significant, even if it was free...

AllHD shipping to canada is 75$... not funny. :-D

Loa
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
The dark blue line is the one kicking our butts... (and the common understanding of Moore's Law)



Loa
 

sxanthony

macrumors newbie
Jan 7, 2014
5
0
I don't recall which chip but if i remember right if you have a single CPU pro there's actually a similar I7 chip that you can replace your system with rather than a xeon . I own a dual 2009 , upgraded to a 5,1 w/ x5670's , but do recall reading and comparing benchmarks of the i7 chips for the single mac pro's being a better bang for the buck .
I believe the chip is I7-990X
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2009
1,694
906
Pacific NW, USA
+1 on the 990x. It's a great CPU, hitting 16K+ on geekbench64 which is about 2/3 of the way between a nMP 4c(12k+) and a nMP4c(18k+). I picked up mine last year on sale at Frys for $475.


I don't recall which chip but if i remember right if you have a single CPU pro there's actually a similar I7 chip that you can replace your system with rather than a xeon . I own a dual 2009 , upgraded to a 5,1 w/ x5670's , but do recall reading and comparing benchmarks of the i7 chips for the single mac pro's being a better bang for the buck .
I believe the chip is I7-990X
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
Indeed, i7 chips are more expensive, sometimes a lot more. And I had forgotten about the ECC RAM.

Thanks for the info.

Anyone think that the w3565 could become harder to find anytime soon? (Need the cash to change the cam on my car!)

Loa
 

sxanthony

macrumors newbie
Jan 7, 2014
5
0
Indeed, i7 chips are more expensive, sometimes a lot more. And I had forgotten about the ECC RAM.

Thanks for the info.

Anyone think that the w3565 could become harder to find anytime soon? (Need the cash to change the cam on my car!)

Loa
Doubtful that they'll disapear on the used market.( I think i even have some w5590's sitting on my shelf ) Technically the i7's are cheaper on the used market since desktop stuff tends to drop off in price at a much faster rate. But there' should be replacements available in your pricepoint when your ready w3565 , or x5660,70,80 .
 
Last edited:

Studio K

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2013
361
7
United States
I
Anyone think that the w3565 could become harder to find anytime soon? (Need the cash to change the cam on my car!)

Loa
I think that Wonderspark's suggestion (the W3570) is a good one. It's like a W3565, but with higher specs. And they appear to be quite abundant which makes them very cheap.
I bought a new one last year for $130, but I've seen them listed as low as $99. These originally retailed for over $1000 (same price as W3580).

It's a nice upgrade going from 2.66GHz to 3.2 for so little money.
 

Macsonic

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2009
1,473
17
Earth
Hello,

There are no reasons except that my computer feels slow. I used to change my mac pros and power macs every 3-4 years, and now I've had this one for close to five. It works fine, just getting slow.

Also, it sucks in the sense that none of my options will feel like a WOW upgrade. How the heck is it that a 300$ upgrade on a five year old computer will be closely matched to the new MP? Just Moore's law loosing it's feathers I guess.

New question: any chance that the number of used w3580 will dry up anytime soon?

Loa
Have you tried reformatting with a full erase and reinstall of the OS and apps? I am also using a 2009 machine and after a reformat, processing and apps opening is snappy or crisps.
 

ybz90

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2009
609
2
Also, it sucks in the sense that none of my options will feel like a WOW upgrade. How the heck is it that a 300$ upgrade on a five year old computer will be closely matched to the new MP? Just Moore's law loosing it's feathers I guess.

Loa
It's not even remotely matched to Ivy Bridge E. As an owner of a 12-core cMP and a 12-core nMP, I can assure you the difference is huge. Just take a look at single threaded performance, which is what will benefit you the most.

My personal recommendation is to grab a W3565/3570 and use that to tide you over until the next-gen nMP, since it seems like you're better off saving up a bit and getting the updated model down the line.
 

Mac Moof

macrumors member
Aug 5, 2013
31
19
Well i was in a similar situation to you and I went with upgrading my MacPro 2009. I upgrade the CPU to a hex-core 3.33Ghz, added a nvidia GTX 680 and finally an Sandisk Extreme 2 SSD.

I must admit though the PCU upgrade was the least noticeable upgrade of the three, so since you have already completed the previous two, you may feel disappointed by the CPU upgrade. Its good when the system is being maxed out but at all other times its hard to notice.
 

ybz90

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2009
609
2

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
Thanks for the link. It is indeed in a different league.

On the other hand, judging by geekbench, the iMac's i5 3.4 GHz is better than the nMP's quad at 3.7GHz. Not easy to understand, judge or make buying decisions...

Shame that we don't have a good standard metric to judge performance.

Loa
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,587
45
Québec
All we need is a good standard way to use our computers... ;)
Haha! Indeed. But it seems that single thread performance would be an interesting base-point, since it is decoupled from GHz.

As it stands now, my guess is that the vast majority of users think that the nMP's 3.7GHz quad is *much* faster that the iMac's i5 3.4GHz (or the i7 3,2GHz). And that would be wrong.

What that means is that the vast majority of users, when they look at the stats on Apple Store, have *no way* of knowing which computer is actually faster. At the very least Apple could come up with a consistent benchmark for their own products.

Loa
 

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,775
196
Canada
Thanks for the link. It is indeed in a different league.

On the other hand, judging by geekbench, the iMac's i5 3.4 GHz is better than the nMP's quad at 3.7GHz. Not easy to understand, judge or make buying decisions...

Shame that we don't have a good standard metric to judge performance.

Loa
It is good standard for CPU tasks in my experience during several upgrades of CPUs in my machines a 5,1 for example when I had 6 core w3680 in it just about doubling the Geekbench, my encodes of h264 video that uses all cores took just about half the time to complete. Now as others have pointed out on here Geekbench does nothing to tell you of the Graphics performance of a machine like the nMP as it does not test that but if you use no graphics related software that don't matter to a person anyways and your better off with upgraded old mac pro for cpu bound tasks. Less money spent for in some cases better performance than nMP on cpu tasks.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2009
7,978
1,169
The dark blue line is the one kicking our butts... (and the common understanding of Moore's Law)
The fundamental flaw with this graph is it doesn't plot cores. Moore's Law is about the number of transistors not clock rates. The fundamental issue that is far more widespread effective to add more cores and get more throughput done than to just keep cranking single cores to perform higher drag racing speed trails.

If you not looking at cores (also not just x86 ones) and caches then not particularly tracking transistor counts. Hence not saying much relevant at all about Moorse's Law petering out.


Additional transistors but more memory far more so than faster memory. Could crank single cores up to 6 GHz but if the rest of the system isn't going up as much not particullarly being effective. ( Amdahl's law ).

If looking for a bump on a 2009 Mac Pro tossing SATA would probably be the biggest one you haven't done.