Upgrading Mac Pro 2009 4.1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by PurpleHillsMac, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. PurpleHillsMac macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #1
    Hi all!

    I've been following MacRumors for years now and today finally made an account and decided to post my first question.

    I recently was given a Mac Pro 2009 4.1 as a gift.
    I want to use it to do editing of 4k drone footage with FCPx.

    Current Specs:
    3.33GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processor
    16GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0, one Mini DisplayPort, and one dual-link DVI port
    2x 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm, 32MB cache

    Here's what I'm planning on adding:
    PCI AHCI M.2 128GB SSD (As boot drive)
    2x 120GB Samsung 850 EVO in RAID 0 on Sata III card.

    And what I hope to add:
    Better GPU for FCPx
    Updated CPU

    My screen is a 34" LG Ultrawide 2560x1080 via HDMI.

    I'll use of the original 1TB HDD's for data storage and the other as a Time Machine backup drive.
    Also, am planning to flash the firmware from 4.1 to 5.1 so I can upgrade to High Sierra.

    Can anybody give me advice on GPU/CPU upgrades that will make this machine run like a beast?
    I'm interested in the AMD Radeon RX480 8GB. I've seen some good reviews of people using it on the 2009 Mac Pro.

    I know there are other threads on this topic but a lot of them started a few years ago and I'm hoping to get the latest info on this topic.

    I'll post updates on how my project goes and how well the MacPro runs after the upgrades.

    Are there any other 2009 Mac Pro users out there that have upgraded?
    Any advice is appreciated.

    --PurpleHillsMac
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    This sticky thread only started from Jan 2018. And contain everything you need to know.

    https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-5-1-upgrade-guide-sticky-discussion.2099092/

    Some info didn't update for few years because there is no further update available in these few years (e.g. for CPU)

    X5690 still the best you can install.

    Anyway, for FCPX, AMD card is what you need, you may consider a RX580 if you can get one with reasonable price.
     
  3. PurpleHillsMac, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018

    PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #3
    Thanks for the tip! I'll head over there and check it out right away.

    What would you consider a reasonable price for a RX580?
    Also, what's the difference between MSI, Sapphire, etc...?

    One more thing, a friend gave me a GeForce GTX 580. How well will this work on the 4.1?
     
  4. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #4


    A CPU upgrade will help, and after that you can also might want to take a look at more ( and slightly faster 1333 ) RAM .

    I wouldn't throw a lot of money at the fastest possible storage solutions at this point , but just add a regular SSD as a boot drive and maybe another one for project files .
     
  5. KevinLG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    #5
    The GPU will technically work with the right drivers, but the power requirements are higher than what the Mac's onboard video card connectors can supply, so you'll need an external PSU or some other solution for powering it.
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #6
    Which GPU you are talking about?

    I am now running a 1080Ti with only the mini 6pins. And I ran 2x 7950 with that before.

    I know my GPU(s) demand may be higher than the Mac Pro's spec. However, even without "over stress" the mini 6pin. Each of them still able to provide 75W officially, including the 75W from the PCIe slot. It can technically drive a 225W GPU. A RX580 is just a 185W card. And this card will give the cMP a significant boost in FCPX. I can't see why OP need a PSU for that.
     
  7. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #7
    I think @KevinLG is referring to the GeForce GTX580 which is a 600w card. A friend gave it to me and I tried it out last night and it worked but I'm scared it might burn out something.
    It also doesn't look like it works with OpenCL so I don't know how it would boost FCPx. My main reason for using this computer is for FCPx so I want to optimize for that...

    If the using the GeForce GTX580 won't hurt anything will work well with FCPx, then I'll use it but...

    Any tips?
    Also, can somebody explain what the Difference is in like the MSI RX580 and Sapphire RX580, etc... there seem to be a few cards with the same number but is there any difference?
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #8
    According to Nvidia web site, GTX580 is a 244W card. It's tiny bit less demanding than my 250W 1080Ti.

    Nvidia card cannot perform in FCPX, AMD works better (at least true for the same cost).

    As long as you choose the reference card, which brand doesn't make much difference. However, for RX580, Sapphire PULSE 8GB model is the best one because it's a part of the Apple eGPU kit. It should have best support and least compatibility issue.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    I don't think a 600w GPU even exists.

    Maybe you mean that the GPU's suggested computer power supply needs to be 600w. Mac Pro power supplies are over 900w.
     
  10. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #10
    Maybe that's what it means...

    Here's a link to the card I have.

    https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Graphics-Card/GV-N580D5-15I-B#ov

    @h9826790, would you recommend the RX580 over the RX480?

    You guys are all really helpful, thanks so much for your input!
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    Your link says "600W or greater system power supply", not the card's TDP.

    And yes, I personally recommend RX580 more than RX480.
     
  12. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #12
    Thanks for the advice! I'll keep a lookout on Ebay for the RX580.
     
  13. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #13
    I don't think I saw it mentioned above, but a USB-3 card is inexpensive and very useful in reading/writing SD cards and external drives.
    I am also updating a 4,1, and recently did the processor upgrade (2.93 4-core to 3.33 6-core). I am very unimpressed with the lack of performance improvement in anything related to FCPX -- essentially no difference. I still have the GT120s installed (2!) but from an FCPX perspective, an upgraded GPU would seem a higher priority.
     
  14. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #14
    I just got and installed a USB 3.1 card with one USB-A and one USB-C port. As soon as the SSD tray and the M.2 Card comes, I'll get it set up and let you know how it goes.
    For now I have the Nvidia GTX580 installed. I'm looking for a good deal on the AMD card... I'll post updates on FCPx performance with my upgrades.
     
  15. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #15
    I ordered two SSD's for data and a 128GB M.2 Card to boot from.

    Any advice for keeping the SSD's in good condition? I read somewhere that TRIM needs to be enabled if you want the SSD's to last.

    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
     
  16. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #16
    Yes, even though I don't think your SSD's life span will be a problem without TRIM, but TRIM should be enabled if possible. It improve the SSD performance, and reduce ware.
     
  17. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

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    Mar 7, 2018
    #17
    How do I enable? From Terminal?
     
  18. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #18
    Depends on your OS version
     
  19. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

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    Mar 7, 2018
    #19
    How about for the latest version of High Sierra?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2018 ---
    One more question, should the SSD's run APFS?
     
  20. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

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    Location:
    London United Kingdom.
    #20
  21. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #21
    Thanks for dropping in!
    I'll 98% of the time be using this for FCPx, therefore I'm looking at optimizing for that.

    Thanks for the tip on the HDD's. I was thinking of getting a couple as data disk and backup.
     
  22. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #22
    In terminal enter
    Code:
    sudo trimforce enable
    I personally don’t suggest APFS, I used it for few months, end up went back to HFS+. Tourble more than benefit at this moment.
     
  23. PurpleHillsMac thread starter macrumors member

    PurpleHillsMac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    #23
    Thanks! I'll give it a try. My M.2, Sata III card should arrive tomorrow. Will post updates.
     
  24. orph macrumors 68000

    orph

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    Location:
    UK
    #24
  25. XNorth macrumors regular

    XNorth

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Location:
    United States
    #25
    Increase your RAM as much as you can.

    For media ingest, as the 5,1 lacks Thunderbolt, get a fast USB-C adapter and a UHS-II SD card reader. You will also need fast RAID storage for FCPX and 4K footage. Anything less and your system will struggle editing 4K without lower quality playback and optimizing your footage.
     

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46 March 7, 2018