MP All Models What PCIe Card to bridge between 5,1 to 7,1 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chevron, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Chevron, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019

    Chevron macrumors newbie

    Chevron

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I am wanting to get a PCIe card to add either an NVMe or SSD drive to my 5,1 Mac Pro for audio project storage and use. Pro Tools mixing up to 128 tracks and medium to heavy Ableton Live VI usage. 1 TB would be fine for me, and will back up to external spinners.

    I am planning to use this card in my current High Sierra 5,1 Mac Pro (2009 upped to 5,1 12 core 2.93 ghz) and also plan to use the card later with a 2019 Mac Pro.

    Now, I am not sure what is the best option to choose, and it's more than a little confusing to find a PCIe card that will work on both machines.

    Option 1 - buy a rapid NVMe setup, that will run slower than capable on my 5,1 but kick ass on the 2019 Mac Pro?

    Option 2 - buy an OWC PCIe accelerator card and 6G SSD drive? Is NVMe overkill for audio work?

    Option 3 - buy a 3rd party blade drive after getting the 2019 Mac Pro that sits in the 2nd drive slot

    Option 4 - get the Pegasus unit that uses 7200 drives for the 2019 Mac Pro.

    I like the idea of either 1 or 2, as I can use it for projects now, and then move to the new machine later - but in reality is an NVMe drive over the top for audio use?
     
  2. skizzo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    #2
    I noticed no real world gain in Pro Tools use when changing from 2.5" SSD to NVMe SSD for a boot (or data such as VI samples) disk

    You will notice speed ups for transfers and everything else it does so much faster. But nothing in Pro Tools is going to run quicker or more stable etc with an NVMe, it is overkill for audio work.

    And honestly I saw no real world benefit from having my sample library's on either HDDs, SSDs, or NVMe. I probably don't have a big enough collection to saturate disk I/O capabilities though, I have less than 1TB of samples. Perhaps if you have massive sessions with much bigger libraries the more capable SSDs and NVMe SSDs would start to show their benefit.

    The best upgrade for Pro Tools use on the cMP is to get yourself a X5690 CPU(s) if you do not already have that or X5680. Also, I even went ahead and changed from single X5690 CPU to dual X5680 CPU system....with no real world benefit for Pro Tools. CPU usage % stayed the same, bouncing rates stayed the same, etc, so I am clearly single core bound with the sessions, apps, plugins, I am running.

    I also highly believe the 2019 Mac Pro is effin' extreme overkill for audio work. At least at the level I am familiar with which is recording bands. Perhaps workflows for post production and jobs that involve mixing audio with video require much more powerful systems. if you are making things work on your cMP then there is no way in hell you need the 2019 Mac Pro. Should I ever pull the trigger on a brand new system I would be getting an i9-9900K based rig for example. Price difference is massive. Its going to be around $2k for a top of the line Intel core series desktop that you could also hackintosh, compared to min $6k for the base model 2019 Mac Pro.
     
  3. Chevron thread starter macrumors newbie

    Chevron

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    #3
    I am coming to the conclusion, that the cost is not much more for an NVMe setup over an SSD PCIe adapter card and drive - so it makes sense as I am getting the 2019 Mac Pro to go NVMe. I know I won't see much benefit in reality but it makes sense to go with the newer technology for the new MP.

    With my current 2009/10 Mac Pro (2 x 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon) I do hit the ceiling when running some large Pro Tools mixing sessions. Usually when above 50 tracks, 96 khz and using some hungry plug ins.

    This card is what I will likely go for https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07HYZY7P2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2KVF7QXNCLV8H&psc=1
     
  4. JeffPerrin macrumors 6502

    JeffPerrin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    #4
    I even struggled to find a difference between a good 7200RPM HDD (Barracuda) and a 2.5" 1TB SSD (Samsung 850 EVO) for DAW audio (400 track surround project, with up to 60 tracks running simultaneously.). But at least I got away from the noise and moving parts of the HDD.

    The only disadvantage I can see with NVMe is that it might run hotter than a 2.5" SSD. I'm sticking with 2.5" SSD for audio, so I don't have to worry about any potential cooling issues. Plus I have plenty of OWC SATA cases hanging around that can accommodate the SSDs...
     
  5. Chevron thread starter macrumors newbie

    Chevron

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    #5
    Good point Jeff, I wasn't aware of potential cooling issues with NVMe drives. I've never had a machine with one in as new to the NVMe technology.

    I guess that's why I see the NVMe PCIe cards with fans onboard :)

    I will likely only have one or 2 NVMe drives (not including the Mac OS drive) in the machine
     
  6. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
  7. tsialex macrumors 603

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #7
    It's the PCIe switch of most switched cards that need active cooling, not the M.2 PCIe blades.

    The most power hungry PCIe M.2 drive that I know of, SM950 PRO, requires 5.7W while in full blown use, most use 3 to 4W. We need to use heatsinks with M.2 blades just to keep the temperature within manufacturer recommended operating levels and any 3,5" harddrive will need double the power needed by a M.2, while idle power usage is three or more times bigger than M.2 blades.

    A M.2 blade with an adapter with heatsink like AquaComputer kryoM.2 is more than enough to never have to worry with temperatures, even on a very hot country like mine.
     
  8. skizzo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    #8
    I don't think "VI" was used in the Roman numeral sense. It is an acronym for "virtual instrument"
     
  9. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #9
    oh yeah :oops:
    --- Post Merged, Jul 31, 2019 ---
    1TB for Samples? It doesn't really matter to be honest a spinning platter would do for most. Personally in your situation I'd just get a SSD for now for the Mac Pro and rethink your options for the new MacPro. You can get amazing NVME drives in external Thunderbolt 3 chassis from OWC for example. or mount some Internal SSDs with a PCIe RAID card for the new Mac Pro. There will be a lot of new products once the new Mac Pro gets released.

    One thing though, once you come upon with a storage solution, I'd keep it two one big disk, come up with a folder structure and don't move from the this structure, that way you might be able to migrate some of your data straight over into the new Mac.
     
  10. handheldgames macrumors 68000

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Pacific NW, USA
    #10
    Well.. ;) Today, the most power hungry M.2 drives are PCIe 4.0 NVME, like the corsair MP 600. While it lists average power usage of 6.5W average, average generally means it will go beyond that voltage on heavy activity. While the SM950 Pro had it's day in the power hungry SSD rankings, it's definitely lost its crown.
     
  11. tsialex, Aug 1, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019

    tsialex macrumors 603

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #11
    No consumer NVMe M.2 blade beats the 9W+ burst amperage consumption of SM-951 AHCI, at least not just yet, but we were talking about NVMe blades, should have added that to my previous post. BTW, people used SM-951 a lot without any thermal problems, just that pesky TRIM firmware problem that makes it a bad choice in the long run.

    Back to PCIe 4.0, this blades even work with a Mac Pro? Anyone checked to what it will downgrade when used with a PCIe 2.0 slot?
     
  12. handheldgames macrumors 68000

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Pacific NW, USA
    #12
    If they fit, which they do, they will work. While one wold hope that they would consume less power at a slower rating, it's something I don't have on my bucket listt.
     
  13. tsialex macrumors 603

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #13
    My curiosity is not thermal, but throughput. Some PCIe 3.0 blades from Plextor and WD go down to ~700MB's when used in a Mac Pro. Any reviewer checked that?
     
  14. Chevron thread starter macrumors newbie

    Chevron

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    #14
    So after some deliberation I went for a Aqua Computer kryoM.2 evo PCIe 3.0 x 4 adapter and a 1TB Samsung EVO 970.

    Hopefully this combo will work well with both my current 5,1 Mac Pro and the 2019 Mac Pro hitting my studio later this year*

    *after a brief period of reports out in the field that the 7,1 Mac Pro is working well, especially with Pro Tools...
     
  15. Chevron thread starter macrumors newbie

    Chevron

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    #15
    Got the Kryo M.2 Card installed withe Samsung EVO 970 and all working perfectly with the 5,1 Mac Pro.. It makes exporting from Pro Tools super fast and getting the expected 1440 MB/s read and write speeds.
     

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14 July 31, 2019