Upgrading a mac pro (early 2008)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Udyret, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Udyret macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #1
    Hi there,

    I was wondering if anyone knows if my old mac pro (early 2008) has any possibilities of being upgraded, and if so what should i upgrade? If someone has the time i would love getting some links for what i could buy that works with this model.

    I am using my mac mostly for music production in Ableton, but it has started to get a bit slow for the use.

    This is what it currently has:
    2 x 2,8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    4 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM
    Macintosh HD
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256 MB

    Cheers! :)
     
  2. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #2
    You can upgrade the CPUs but the difference will likely be relatively small, since the options for the (3,1) are fairly limited. The main things I'd do would be to add memory (4 Gb is hardly even a good start) and trade out the HDDs for SSD. You don't have to get fancy with the SSD, pretty much any SATA compatible unit of suitable size will do.
     
  3. Udyret thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #3
    Thank you for the quick reply kschendel!

    Do you have any recommendations regarding what SSD and RAM i should be getting? Im a bit scared of purchasing something totally wrong.
     
  4. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #4
    For RAM, I and others have had very good luck with Data Memory Systems, but there's nothing wrong with other vendors such as Crucial or OWC. I'd put at least 16 Gb in there. I don't know if it's worth the money to go a lot higher. Any vendor that has a configurator listing your specific machine will probably have the right stuff.

    SSD, almost anything. Mushkin, Toshiba, Crucial, Sandisk, ADATA. Samsung usually comes at a price premium and you won't be able to take much advantage of the extra speed. You can't go wrong as long as you buy something in a 2.5 inch form factor SATA 2/3 compatible drive. You'll need an inexpensive 3.5-to-2.5 mounting adapter if you put the SSD into a drive bay, which is certainly how I'd do it; I used Icy Dock but it's just a mounting plate and almost anything should work. (You can even velcro-tape it in place!) Buy an SSD that's large enough to be no more than about 60-70% full when you transfer everything you have onto it; don't try to max out an SSD space-wise.
     
  5. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #5
    There is very little point in upgrading the CPUs unless your workload is CPU limited. The fastest Xeon you can fit is 3.3GHz. You can buy used 4GB 667MHz FB-DIMMs on eBay very cheap that have been pulled from Dell & HP servers. The difference in performance versus the Apple only 800MHz parts is negligible. You can flash a PC GTX680 yourself for an Apple boot screen & these can be found used on eBay. Finally put the SSD on a PCIe card liken Apricorn Velocity Duo for maximum performance.
     
  6. orph macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    id gess geting your ram up to 8GB+ and a SSD will be the two biggest speed boosts you can get.

    + cheep x server ram on ebay, not worth high cost ram on a cheep computer.
    for audio 680 might be overkill but there cheep so.

    a SSD might be nice

    and if your thinking of ruining a newer os (osx10.12+) a rx460 might be fun.

    CPU upgrade can be done, speed gain will be small but the CPU's may be so cheep on ebay now that if you want to it's not a big problem.
    cpu options
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-pro-cpu-compatibility-list.1954766/

    as ever if you are doing the upgrade for speed gains and not just fun then it's worth geting out activity monitor to see what your limited by (and a lot of audio apps will also show if your limited by cpu/HD speed).
     
  7. mryingster macrumors regular

    mryingster

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Hello, fellow Mac Pro 2008 owner! I've done the following upgrades to my machine, and am still quite pleased with the results:
    I didn't buy all these things at these prices. I looked around for better deals, but that gives you the gist. Good luck!
     
  8. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #8
    A full 8x8GB will for some bizarre reason reduce the performance of an SSD on a PCIe card. However you can put in 6x8GB+2x4GB for 56GB & this works great (I have 56GB in my main Mac Pro 3,1).
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    Just another option to consider...

    Depending on your upgrade budget, you might be better off selling the 2008 and buying a 2009. Use the upgrade budget for the price difference. Even if you get the lowest base model 2009, you'll end up with faster CPU, RAM, and GPU. And you'll have a lot of headroom for future upgrades.
     
  10. captaindocsis macrumors newbie

    captaindocsis

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Location:
    Colorado
    #10
    Just finished upgrading my 2008 Macbeasty. I added a 512gb SSD and a Gtx 1060 and upgraded the ram to 32gbs. It is like a new computer lol.
     
  11. orph macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    @ActionableMango good point price up the upgrades vs a 4.1/5.1 etc

    thats why i mentioned it's not worth spending too much.
     
  12. dblester macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #12
    Popping in on this thread because I am trying to hold out buying a new computer for as long as possible and I am looking to get the most bang for my buck with my 3,1 Mac Pro.
    I am ordering that OWC PCI card and am looking for a good SSD deal.
    I saw from one of those ebay links there is 32GB of RAM but it is the 667 speed, thoughts on if I would see any significant speed increase going from 16gb of DDR2 800 RAM to to 32gb DDR2 667?
    I have a Radeon HD 5870 in this thing currently so I wasn't looking to upgrade the card figured it would be too costly.
    Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated
     
  13. captaindocsis macrumors newbie

    captaindocsis

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13

    There is neglible benifits to having 800mhz ram from what I have read. I installed 32gb of 667mhz also from ebay. Works like a champ. Also my SSD is installed directly into a drive bay.
     
  14. mryingster macrumors regular

    mryingster

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    California
    #14
    Agreed about the 667mhz RAM from my experience. As far as the SSD, (I think) the builtin SATA bus is only SATA2, so it is advantageous to use a PCIe adapter for high throughput.
     
  15. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #15
    I won't discourage anyone who wants to put a SATA 3 card in as part of an SSD upgrade, but don't imagine that it's essential (unless you're pushing 100s of Mb around on a regular basis). In ordinary interactive usage I find it hard to tell the difference between an M.2 direct-PCIe SSD and a SATA 2 SSD, and SATA 2 to 3 will be even less of a difference.

    It all depends on your workload of course.
     
  16. CapnDavey macrumors 6502

    CapnDavey

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    #16
    A better video card is a good option GTX 680 can be had cheap and most are easy to flash for EFI boot rom
     

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