What else should I do to my 4,1->5,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by noxtenebrae17, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. noxtenebrae17 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    I have a 4,1->5,1 Mac Pro. I just did a CPU upgrade to make it a 12-Core 2.93GHZ. Here are the full specs:

    - 12-Core 2.93GHZ
    - macOS 10.12.5
    - 32 GB (8x4GB sticks)
    - nVidia GT640 1GB (flashed by MVC)
    - 32" BenQ 4K 60hz Monitor (running 1:1 pixels in full 4K (no scaling)
    - 4 SSD's
    • MX300 512GB SSD as Boot Drive in regular SATA II port
    • MX300 512GB SSD as a Sample Drive in regular SATA II port
    • Transcend 480GB SSD as a Sample Drive in regular SATA II port
    • Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD mounted on an OWC Accelsior S as my "fast" Sample Drive
    I am an audio professional working with orchestral samples so I have different sections of the orchestra (samples) on different SSD's. I use Digital Performer 9 with a virtual Vienna Ensemble Pro server running several instances of Kontakt.

    So what do you think I should upgrade internally on the Mac? I don't want to pour a ton of money into it, so I'm trying to figure out the best bang for my buck. Here are my possible ideas (with some questions).

    1. Upgrade RAM to 1333Mhz 48GB (6x8GB) to make most of the triple channel system. My question is how much of a change do others notice when full utilizing triple-channel?
    2. Put in an NVMe SSD and use the driver found on MacVidCards.com. This would be used as a sample drive to improve performance on my projects.
    3. Upgrade Graphics Card to something a little better for UI and to help smooth out the 4k experience (I have noticed occasional UI glitches when running 4K). This is not bad right now and I don't really do a lot of graphics work. But I also don't want to spend a lot of money here (max $150). Was thinking of an nVidia 1050 with the Pascal Driver but a little worried about the stability/performance from others' stories.
    4. USB 3.1 PCIe Card. Heard mixed things here. I don't want to interfere with my bluetooth. Anyone found a good card for cheap? I also already use a 3TB USB 3.0 Time Machine External HD.
    5. Anything else?

    For those that don't know about the audio software I use, I do a lot of direct from disk reading from the SSD's. My projects use about 20-30GB of RAM and then they read the rest of the audio samples straight from my SSD's. With my CPU upgrade I don't have any issues CPU-wise. But I feel like I could use a faster latency on the SSD's.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    You might get more audio specific user info at vi-control.net >forums>Your DAW forum if you haven't tried there yet.

    You also might consider upgrading the CPUs to the 3.46GHz X5690. Used pairs on eBay look pretty reasonable. I think they need to be delidded for the 2009 model before installation. More heat though, so I'm using Macs Fan Control to boost fan speed a bit and iStat Menus to keep an eye on things.
  3. JedNZ macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2015
    Deep South
    What sort of WiFI and Bluetooth have you got? Maybe consider a 802.1ac and BT 4.0 Combo card like the BCM94360CD. This will give you Airdrop, Continuity and Handoff.

    Consider the Intel XEON X5680 (3.33GHz) ahead of the X5690. You'll pay twice as much for the X5690 for only a 5% reward over the X5680. I just installed two X5680's into my cMP 4,1>5,1 - I even delidded the CPUs myself, and it wasn't as scary as I thought it might be, so I do suggest it to others.

    If you're thinking about installing an NVMe blade, I recommend the Github NVMe kext process, and my journey to curate the kext. I have my Samsung 960 EVO 500GB NVMe blade (in a PCIe adapter) in a Fusion Drive with a 2TB Western Digital Black Caviar for my User data. This gives me lightning fast speed for the files I often use (up to ~1400MB/s R/W). BUT... it is an over-indulgent extravagance for my purposes. I only do a bit of design and video work (a few hours a week, but not full-time). The NVMe's main reward for me is in gaming (loading video scenes, X-Plane scenery etc).
  4. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    The X5690s are now selling used for about $200 to $300 per pair on eBay. It looks like there is not a lot of difference in price between the two right now.
  5. fendersrule, Jun 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017

    fendersrule macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2008
    This isn't true anymore. a X5690 is only about $20 more now.

    I purchased mine for $130 shipped. There are plenty in the $100-110 range, but I chose to pay a little bit more because the seller was 8 hours away from me. Got it in 2 days.

    Which BCM94360CD works well with a Mac Pro? Or is this a PCI-Slot-only thing with those bit ugly ass antennas on the back?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 8, 2017 ---
    Seems like this would be the nicest solution:

  6. fabriciom macrumors 6502


    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España
    What do you need? Having a top notch workstation will not make your creativity flow.
  7. noxtenebrae17 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Thanks for the responses everyone.

    And yes, I've already posted on some audio forums as well (including VI-Control). Thanks!

    As I mentioned in my first post, I just upgraded the CPU's (yesterday in fact!) and I have no issues at all with CPU power. Most of my tools rely more heavily on RAM and disk speed than CPU.

    I upgraded from e5520's to x5670's which I found on eBay for $65 shipped. Delidded them myself and installed cleanly on my first try! Don't need anything faster.

    Thanks for the info on the NVMe drive JedNZ. I'll look at your Journey. :)
  8. JedNZ macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2015
    Deep South
    *AWKWARD* I suppose everyone's personal experience will be different, so apologies re the cost difference comment I made above between the X5680 and the X5690. When I purchased two X5680's on eBay 6 weeks ago I paid US$90 per CPU (incl shipping). The best price I could find for a X5690 at that time was US$140, so a US$50 difference (so I was wrong - only 50% more for the X5690). When converted to NZ$ that's quite a big difference for a pair - X5680 NZ$260 versus X5690 US$400.

    Best price today on eBay I can find:
    X5680 US$88 (incl shipping)
    X5690 US$135 (incl shipping)

    But moving forward, if anyone knows where to get these at much cheaper prices please share.

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