Upgrading my Mac Pro - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by adversus, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. adversus macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2009
    Portland, OR
    So my 2010 Mac Pro is a solid beast, and is working well for what I use it for (some gaming but mostly as a photography workstation and a home development machine (VS 2012 builds faaast on this compared to my work Dell laptop).

    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on some upgrades and was wondering if anybody has experience with these parts and/or suggestions on alternatives. I'm budgeting myself for about $500-600 but that is flexible.

    Currently have:
    2.8 GHz Quad
    3GB 1066MHz DDR3
    Radeon HD 5870
    Standard 1TB Hard Drive

    24GB RAM OWC85MP3W8M24K $221.99
    Desktop SDD 1 (System) OWCSSDMX6G120T $149.00
    Desktop SDD 2 (Aperture) OWCSSDMX6G120T $149.00
    SSD Mounts x2 OWCMMP35T25 $39.98

    All part numbers are from OWC (macsales.com). My thought is using a new SSD for my system drive (which also hold my Windows partition), a secondary SSD just for my Aperture library (which will be partitioned to reduce overall size... currently about 200GB), and keeping the platter 1TB for general storage.

    I'm starting to run into bottlenecks in memory when using Aperture (excessive swap file usage) and hard drive access times are getting pretty appalling when scrolling through various libraries.
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    If you are going to get Sandforce based SSD's get Intel 520's. A few dollars less, better warranty and way better firmware for stability and hand picked NAND. The rest is fine. OWC SSD's are nothing special. They could easily be called "Super-Talent" or "Corsair" or "OZC".
  3. tejota1911, Jan 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013

    tejota1911 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    My suggestion:

    Intel W3680 3.33GHz Hex $500

    24GB Kingston 1333MHz RAM Triple-Channel 8GBx3 $199

    256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD $249

    OWC 2.5" Drive Sled $20

    MAJOR PERFORMANCE UPGRADE! Use the SSD as your boot drive and your original HDD for extra storage. Sell your 2.8GHz Quad chip on eBay for ~$130 to further lower the cost of your upgrade. Admittedly, at about $850, this option is a little more that you had planned to spend, but it will SIGNIFICANTLY boost the performance and longevity of your machine.

    Geekbench 32-Bit
    Before: ~8650
    After: ~14000

    Geekbench 64-Bit
    Before: ~9700
    After: ~16000

    If you really want 2 128GB drives instead of one 256GB drive, Newegg has the 128GB version of the Samsung 840 Pro on sale for $119 right now with this coupon code:EMCXWVR22.

    This thread has an excellent guide for performing the processor upgrade.
  4. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    You can mount one SSD in the optical bay and use the SATA and power connection there. No mount required unless you travel with your Mac Pro. I moved the CD drive to the lower slot, then used double-sided foam tape to stick SSDs to the top of the CD drive.

    You can pick up an inexpensive SATA3 PCIe card for less than the cost of the OWC SSD sled if you want to add multiple SSDs in the optical bay, you'll need a power splitter and a couple of SATA cables to connect everything.

    I did the CPU hex upgrade. Niiiice.
  5. adversus thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I could get the hexa upgrade, money isn't the issue. But I just hate paying for something I don't really need.

    I keep a close on my CPU usage with the quad Xeon, and honestly even when doing a lot of CPU intensive things (selective brushes in Aperture or building a large .NET application in Windows) I rarely if ever max it out.
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    All that stuff is fine, but, except for the sleds, you can save money by getting generic PC equivalents instead of buying from OWC.
  7. adversus thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Thanks for all the input!

    I pulled the trigger today with overnight delivery tomorrow. I opted for two Samsung SSD's, a 120GB for boot and 250GB for photo storage. My existing 1TB will used for misc files that don't need snappy access.

    Got the SSD's and sleds from Newegg for much cheaper than MacSales, and better overall reviews on the drives themselves.

    I did snag the memory from MacSales since Newegg was out of stock. I went from 24 to 32gb. Just don't tell my wife ;)
  8. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Congrats on the Samsung SSDs. Those are the best for Macs. In the future, take a look at Crucial for RAM. When I purchased recently, they beat MacSales. You're probably right not upgrading the processor -- most software isn't quite core-aware yet.

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