Upgrading MP 3,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by heso, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. heso, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012

    heso macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2012
    I'm in the process of upgrading my 3,1 (2x2.8GHz quad-core) and these forums have been extremely helpful.

    The first upgrade was to go from 4GB to 8GB RAM - completed yesterday.

    I am currently running OSX 10.5.8 and 10.6 is en route. I'm wondering if I should move to 10.7 as soon as I have 10.6 installed or wait for 10.8, skipping 10.7. It seems that the direction I go with the graphics card will make this decision for me.

    My next step is to upgrade the graphics card. Currently installed is the Radeon HD 2600. I've been reading a number of threads and trying to figure out what is current information that applies to the 3,1.

    Obviously the easiest solution would be to drop in the 5770 from apple, but at $250 it looks like there are more cost effective solutions. I'm trying to find the ideal balance between cost, performance, longevity and compatibility.

    I saw in another thread regarding upgrading a 3,1 that this GTX 560 should drop straight in.

    How do I tell what cards would be a straight drop in, vs requiring flashing? From what I can gather from a variety of threads is that w/o being flashed the boot screen and several programs will not work. Is this still current information with the most recent version of 10.7?

    In all honesty, how difficult is it for a reasonably intelligent person with limited computer hardware knowledge to flash a video card? I would like to avoid it, but if the specs vs. cost make it nearly a no-brainer to go that route i'm not going to rule it out yet.

    How can I tell if a card will work in my machine? For example, the GTX 560 I linked had a rebate that would have had me purchasing the card at the time it was posted, but the rebate is no longer active. How do I tell if a card that I see for a good price is a straight drop in? Are all GTX 560's?
  2. heso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2012
    Maybe I should add that I use the comp primarily for graphic design work; Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Indesign. I have the CS3 master collection and have been starting to dabble in After Effects, Soundbooth, Premiere and if I can parlay that into some extra money, I'd like to upgrade to CS6 when the time comes.

    I also use the comp for a bit of gaming. I've noticed that in starcraft 2 if I try to bump any of the graphics settings past medium, I have issues. I'll be playing diablo 3 in 2 weeks, so I'd like to have the graphics card replaced by then.
  3. strwrsfrk macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Arlington, VA, USA
    For such a large quote, l'm going to make a short suggestion: find a ~$100 xfx 5770 ZNFC on eBay.
  4. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    No suggestion, just support

    heso, I can't make any statement about what you should do. However, I have the same machine (Mac Pro Early 2008 3,1). I purchased it as a refurb from the Apple Store in late 2009. I added 8GB to the 2GB it came with so I have 10GB RAM. I removed the drive it came with and have 4 drives, a variety of 1 and 1.5TB. One still has Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on it. I never use it anymore, but it has VMFusion on it with Windows Vista that I might one day need to use for work. My boot drive is Lion 10.7.3. Another drive is a clone of the boot drive and the last drive is mostly for media.

    I upgraded the graphics card to the Apple version of the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1024MB on it.

    In addition to your basic software (MS Office and the like), I run Sibelius 7 and Finale (music scoring software), GarageBand, Aperture, FC Studio, FCPX, and Adobe Master Collection CS5.5 (I use InDesign and Premiere Pro mostly.).

    None of my programs give me any problems. Of course, there are the rare hang-ups, but I can go for months and months without any of those. I'm actually amazed at how much I can do at one time.

    Good luck with the upgrade. I'm sure you'll be happy with the results. (You know, of course, that there's supposed to be news about an updated Mac Pro around the corner. Or maybe not...) ;)
  5. heso, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 2, 2012

    heso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2012
    I'm currently leaning towards the GTX 560

    http://www.evga.com/products/morein...ow=specs&family=GeForce 500 Series Family&sw=

    From what I can gather, if used out of the box in 10.7.3 with the nvidia drivers linked in another thread, the card will work w/o the boot screen in PCI-E 1.0

    With the new nvidia drivers, will the DVD player work w/o flashing?

    Since the 560 is not on the list of premiere pro supported cards, will I only be unable to use the GPU acceleration, or will there be other issues?

    EDIT: Just noticed that the one linked up-thread had the rebate reissued, and is superclocked. Disregarding the price, how much of an advantage will the superclocked one have?

    EDIT EDIT: The rebate was inaccurate, so with the correct rebate they are the same price, so obviously the superclocked one would be the way to go.

    My other questions about the 560 still apply.

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