Upgrading an old tower

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AMRambo, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. AMRambo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I've got an early 08 tower that I've kept going with various upgrades.
    • There's something fishy in HD bay 1 so right now I've got 1TB in bay 2 and 2TB in bay 3 for time machine.
    • I upgraded from a ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT to a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT after that card failed about two years ago.
    • I have 24 gigs of RAM. 2x2 and 4x4.

    I'm by no means an expert; I empty my AE cashe and purge PS all the time and neither of those seem to have any effect on performance.

    I work in animating/design with heavy AE and PS use. With the introduction of clients requesting 4k, my tower is REALLY struggling. I don't want to get a new machine if I don't have to as I have thousands of dollars with of plugins and suites I've purchased through the years.

    Can anyone give me some advice on what I can upgrade to keep my tower running a little longer?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. carpsafari Suspended

    carpsafari

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    the Netherlands
    #2
    Upgrade depending on your software package works too, let us know what OSX you are running to keep the license?

    You can run Mavericks/Yosemite on a 5.1 too, a 6 core 5.1 would already be 3x faster (16.750) than your 8 core 3.1. (5.500 Geekbench score)
    Most video editors prefer the 12 core, that will run Geekbench 3 64bit 32.000+
    Sounds like you have a lot of Adobe, than run a Nvidia GTX...lots of options.

    I would not spent a dime anymore on the 3.1.
     
  3. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #3
    2009 (4,1) and 2010-2012 (5,1) are nearly equivalent once you flash the (4,1) firmware up to (5,1) level. The main difference that I can think of is that the dual CPU version of the (5,1) is easier to upgrade; the dual CPU (4,1) uses delidded CPU's and they are an added hassle. Of course, if you find the right price on a 4,1 or 5,1 that's already CPU upgraded, that is not an issue. These machines are on the tail of their life cycle, but for the right user and right price they are good for at least another year and maybe as much as 3. You just might be the right user, if you can find the right deal.

    I agree that the 3,1 is not worth spending any more money on. I can think of no remaining upgrade that wouldn't be better done in a 4,1/5,1. SSD, maybe, but that's not going to help your CPU/GPU power shortage.
     
  4. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #4
    An SSD & a GTX680 will radically improve performance in After Effects & Photoshop & pretty much everything else. It must be worth spending $200-300 to eke out another few years on the 3,1. Expenditure on these parts won't be wasted even if you do upgrade to a 4,1/5,1 at a later date as they can just be moved over.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 9, 2017 ---
    This is simply not true & those figures are wrong. The 5,1 can be faster especially upgraded with a 3.46GHz CPU but it's nothing like 3x the performance & is much more like 25% comparing multithreaded performance on an dual 4-core 3,1 & a hex core 5,1.

    Geekbench 3(10900 vs 12600)
    http://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8423146
    http://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8422773

    Geekbench 4 (10000 vs 12000)
    http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/3651088
    http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/3651313

    One of the big complaints when the 4,1 was launched was that with the base model with the 2.66GHz W3520 was barely faster than the base model 3,1 with the 2.8GHz E5462.
     
  5. carpsafari Suspended

    carpsafari

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    #5
    You are only right about the 3.1 bench, because I quoted the single cpu.

    Here's my own 6 core so read it and weep.

    Schermafbeelding 2017-12-28 om 14.09.31.png




    I doubt you want to see my 12 core!?

    Quoting GB 4 for cMP isn't very accurate.


    PLUS your quote is an 8-core , that you compare to a 4 core, and even the stock model was faster.
     
  6. AMRambo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 16, 2017
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    Chicago
    #6
    Everyone - Thank you all; when I get home from work I'll post what I'm running now OS-wise and get more details on exactly what else I've got under the hood.
     
  7. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #7
    Follow the Geekbench links I am comparing a dual-quad 3,1 with a hex core 5,1. The reported scores for 5,1s vary a lot between 12000 & 16000 whereas the 3,1s are all very consistent at around 10000.

    If your score of 16758 is accurate it's only 60% higher throughput than the 8-core 3,1 that the OP has not the 3X you claimed & even the single thread scores are not even 2x.

    The Geekbench 4 scores show even less difference only about 40% higher for the 5,1. Considering that your figures are for the 5,1 upgraded with the fastest CPUs possible we should really be comparing with the 3,1 with dual 3.2GHz X5482 CPUs. Single stream the fastest 5,1 is only about 40% faster than the fastest 3,1.

    Bottom line is that the 5,1 with 3.33GHz or 3.46GHz hex core CPUs is a nice machine & faster than a 3,1 BUT isn't anywhere near as fast as you claimed. The OP can cheaply upgrade his current machine to give performance that may well be plenty enough for their uses.
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    Hong Kong
    #8
    I am pretty sure he mean the 2x 3.46 (or 3.33 Hex is 3x faster than that 8 cores 3,1.

    ~30000 vs ~ 10000 in GB3 (GB4 is well known the multi thread score is not linear, so hard to compare)

    He just showed us a single 3.46 Hex is already 60% faster (~16000 GB3), so that a dual 3.46 Hex system can go up to ~32000 GB3, which mean 3 times faster in that particular benchmark.
     
  9. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #9
    What nigelbb wrote in addition to this.. 1. Perform a little trouble shooting and get HD slot 1 working. 2. Place the SSD for OS/apps in the optical bay along with the 2TB spinner (TM) .
    P7020002.JPG


    If you have a few 1TB spinners around put them in HD slots 1-4. Use software RAID in utilities and RAID 0 those four drives to achieve 4TB @ this speed

    DiskSpeedTest 4HD.png
    3. Copy your AE/PS files to the RAID including the 4K. Keep the originals as an automatic back up. 4. Test run
     
  10. carpsafari Suspended

    carpsafari

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    #10
    Right, @nigelbb is desperately trying to claim its possible to upgrade a 3.1.
    To enhance your illusion of speed, you should put a Nascar sticker on it. :cool:

    As there are no upgrades left for the 3.1, I showed you the options with 5.1.
    You also fail to see the single core score speed, which makes this a no brainer, really.
    GB3. 3.1/1654. vs 5.1/2909, which is almost 100% faster.

    So 60% isn't a nice upgrade? For a single CPU!

    Again, TS should not spent a dime on that 3.1.
     
  11. AMRambo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 16, 2017
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    Chicago
    #11
    Thanks guys this has all been immensely helpful. I'm running Yosemite, 10.10.5. My plan is keep this machine going as long as I can, and splurge on a new iMac Pro in the fall.

    Sounds like it'd maybe be worth upgrading my card to a GTX680 and perhaps swap out my spinner HD's to SS drives? I wasn't even aware SS drives were compatible with this dinosaur. I do have a newb question: What's the most efficient way to transfer my HD data? I've got a hard drive toaster if that helps. Also, any thoughts on improving the RAM with 8x8s?

    PS I have a Mercedes-AMG sticker on the damn thing and hasn't helped with speed, haha.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 10, 2017 ---
    Downloaded Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. Yikes. My work machine is a POS '14 iMac and my 3.1 tower has outperformed it for years.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #12
    If you mean clone your current HDD data to SSD, you can use CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner). This software provide a free trial period, use that to clone everything to your new SSD, then it can boot straight away with all current data (but some apps may require sign in again).
     
  13. nigelbb, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017

    nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #13
    This is a lie. The simple cheap & obvious upgrade for the OP is an SSD & a more modern graphics card with CUDA support e.g. a used GTX680

    Single core passmark for 2.8GHz is 1182 while for the hex core 3.46GHz W3690 it's 1560. That's 32% faster

    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5462+@+2.80GHz
    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+W3690+@+3.47GHz

    Except it's not 60% is it? It's just 32%. A nice increase but at a price.

    Crap.

    The OP says
    Spending $200-$300 on his current system makes far more sense than dumping $1000+ on an old 5,1.
     
  14. carpsafari Suspended

    carpsafari

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    #14
    Oh boy, you really think an SSD&GPU as an upgrade?

    In After Effects and Photoshop, that will hardly do him any good at all.
    TS already mentioned he's getting nuts

    If I were TS, I keep my money, or throw it in the water, at least you see rimples... of course the ones owning a 3.1 don't agree...well you don't want to know the difference...so TS is clinging on to you, of course, because that's what he WANTS to hear.

    Dream on. :cool:
     
  15. filmak macrumors 6502a

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    between earth and heaven
    #15
    Yes, ssd and GPU are very sensible upgrades. Ssd gives a tremendous boost in everyday tasks.
    As long as the 3,1 is ok for his needs with this two simple upgrades the OP will definitely see a difference.
    If he wants to upgrade to a 5,1 he can move the upgrades to its new MacPro.
    Benchmarks are not always helpful or indicative for a certain task, many other factors are not metered.
     
  16. carpsafari Suspended

    carpsafari

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    the Netherlands
    #16
    The reason TS's working speed is so low, is because of the CPU's. That is his bottleneck.
    1 SSD won't make any difference, yes he will notice fast booting and Apps opening.
    The GPU won't do much good with Photoshop anyway, so its more to give yourself a boost?
    Dream on!
    --- Post Merged, Aug 11, 2017 ---
    You want to see a significant difference using Photoshop, you need flashBlades.
    S.... 1 won't work!!

    Example, a female potographer wants here working speed increased, its a 3.1....SSD's and some upgrade GPU (forgot which one). This is right now!
    Her biggest problem is large RAW files opening SHARP,...now it takes ±4-5 secondes.
    These RAW files are 50Mb.

    Using my MP 5.1 3.46Ghz / 3x 16Gb / Titan 6Gb / 2x SM951...I can simply scroll through these files.
    Even than some pictures show a 'hickup'.
    And my MP is showing ±75% CPU activity then! (iStatMenus)
    That would be where the blades would stop having benefit, her CPU's are already too busy.
     
  17. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    California
    #17
    Then it must be his apps and how they use CUDA/GPU/CPU/Ram. I have a 3,1 and this file is uncompressed 10 bit @ 23.89GB. It and every other file I have encountered (no Dragon or 8K yet) plays in Avid. And Avid has the absolute worst playback engine! The thought of a 50Mb file should not have his 3,1 shivering! :p The idea I proposed above (4 1TB drives for RAID 0 746.9W 681.8R) is a free test if he has 4 drives sitting around. Nothing wrong with an attempt to see if things are better if it's free! But that 8800gtx 512mb card has to be used as GUI only (slot 2) and place the GTX680 in slot 1 for GPU if AE uses CUDA. The 8800 only has 128 CUDA cores vs 1536 for the 680. If the SSD, GTX680 and "free" RAID does not get the job done, place the SSD and 680 in the 4,1-5,1. Put the 4 HD's back on the shelf and you are not losing any $! :cool: 23.89GB.png
     
  18. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    It's been suggested that the OP indulge in ssd and a GTX680. I'm not 100% convinced that either one will make a big difference to the OP's workflow, but ... neither would hurt, that's for sure. Of the two, I think the (sata) SSD is by far the safer purchase. When the old cMP is replaced, the SSD can drop into a cheap USB3 enclosure for extra storage, backup, or whatever. I'm a bit less convinced by the GPU upgrade. It's unlikely to be of any followup use to the OP except in this machine, or if the OP buys into a later model cMP. I guess if you get get a GTX680 for super cheap, fine, but I'm seeing prices from $250 up, and I'm not sure how that is cost effective. Of course, if I'm off base with the pricing, that changes things.

    Anyway! The 3,1 has slower memory, slower PCIe in two slots, and won't recognize CPU's faster than an X5482 (3.2 Ghz Harpertown). On the plus side, it has the same SATA (2, 3 Gbits/sec) as the later cMP's, and the OP already has it. :) I suppose if it were me, I'd look for a (4,1) or (5,1) deal with upgraded CPUs that would set me up for a couple more years; or I'd do the SSD thing and hope for the best until a new machine entered the budget.
     
  19. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    Hong Kong
    #19
    SSD does help indeed, not the processing part, but HDD I/O also create lots of bottleneck apart from CPU bottleneck. In fact, both PS and AE works better with faster scratch disk. Even just loading / import photos, there is a huge difference between HDD and SSD. That's also a part of the work flow.

    Since OP use AE (heavily), GPU sure helps (especially he mentioned moving to 4K now). But don't expect this can help much in PS. AFAIK, only very few filters can utilise GPU acceleration.

    However, without better CPU, that's all it can does. If the processing part takes forever, no matter how OP upgrade the 3,1, it will take forever.

    Move to a 5,1 does cost more, but the cost of this move is way less than $1000. It's pretty easy to get a 4,1 for <$400, in fact, it's possible to get it for <$300 with some research. 32GB RAM cost around $75. A W3680 can be acquired at ~$100 range. All together is about 500-600 range. But the difference may be about can / cannot deal with 4k smoothly (not just xx% faster).

    Of course, if OP only plan to spend $100 on a SSD, another $100 on a GPU. Then there is a big difference between $200 and $800 (the SSD and GPU upgrade still require on the 5,1). But if that's for work, I really can't see how can avoid it.

    Since a SSD and a new GPU is a must in this case. I think the steps are pretty clear.

    1) Get a SSD and a GPU first.
    2) Test run to see if OP can accept the performance.

    If yes, mission accomplished.

    If no, keep the SSD and GPU, then

    3) Consider get the cheapest 4,1 and self upgrade (assume MacOS is a must, and OP has no intention move to a Windows PC regardless how good the performance to cost ratio).

    I think it's easy to run a large uncompressed file, the real challenge is to play a highly compressed but much smaller files.
     
  20. OS6-OSX, Aug 12, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

    OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    #20
    "It and every other file I have encountered (no Dragon or 8K yet) plays in Avid".

    For the heck of it I checked several sites with 4,1's and 5.1's and all had either gt 120's or 5770's! :(
    Looks like he will be in the GPU market either way he goes. Also, if he plans to ever use resolve 12.5 or newer he should read here http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=47271

    Most things we have written are pretty mute if OP is indeed going to purchase a "new iMac Pro". There will be zero installation of a 680gtx or SSD in it! :p
     
  21. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    The 5,1 is a dead end & the OP plans on buying an iMac Pro later in the year so if the 3,1 can be improved enough to last a few more months for $200-300 it's a no-brainer. There is no need to buy an overpriced Mac- edition as a PC GTX680 can be easily flashed by the user if desired although there is no need the system already has a card that gives you a boot screen.
     
  22. ActionableMango, Aug 15, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017

    ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #22
    $1000 is a bit much.

    I can't speak for Chicago, but in Seattle here's a 4,1 for $450 including a better GPU than he has, more memory, 3TB of HDD and 512GB of SSD.
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/sys/d/early-2009-mac-pro-loaded/6262901338.html

    If he could sell his 3,1 for $200 or $300 this would be a very worthwhile upgrade for $150-$250. He'd essentially get everything that everyone is suggesting (a faster architecture, faster GPU, faster CPU, faster RAM, more RAM, and SSDs).
     
  23. AMRambo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 16, 2017
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    Chicago
    #23
    Hi everyone, I've been pulling 18 hour days at work the last few weeks; started doing personal work on my work machine... the 3,1 is giving me too many headaches. I haven't been able to locate a 5,1 in my area that would be worth driving to go get unfortunately. I located an AWESOME ready to rumble 5,1 but it's down in Austin and just happened to be put together by the same guy who found me this 3,1 six years ago, same guy who gave me the initial advice on updating my GC the second time. He mimicked basically all that's been said and agreed a faster GC would mostly help in launching programs but not much else in terms of render or real time speed. I'm currently working on a :60 short film using Magic Bullet mojo/looks and a few Trapcode enhancements and the damn thing took 4 hours to render with capslock on and using media encoder. :mad: I'm considering throwing in the towel and buying a laptop and being done with trying to improve performace. I'm really not impressed with the new macbook pros but honestly not being mobile has been an issue as well. Still unsure about being able to move my plugins over with me but... fingers crossed.
     

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