MP 1,1-5,1 What's my bottleneck? 4,1>5,1

zemaker

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
243
95
I upgraded the CPU to the max I could go 3.46GHz 6-Core so that one can't go any higher, besides that what else could possibly be upgraded that would give me better performance? Is my bottleneck always going to remain the CPU at this point?

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 12.54.00 PM.png


Here are the rest of the specs:
  • 32 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
  • Radeon RX 590 8GB
  • Samsun SSD 860 EVO 500GB
 

fatespawn

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2009
171
81
Chicagoish
If you don't need the memory, you could pull a stick out and use the triple channel the machine supports. What about 1366 memory? But if you DO need 32GB, you'll only be slowing it down. You could upgrade your boot drive to an NVME PCIe boot drive. Instead of getting ~500MB/s you'd be at ~1500MB/s for pretty cheap. It takes more $$ to go faster.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 1.00.44 PM.png
 

zemaker

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
243
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I spent so much time looking for NVME PCIe boot drives, but honestly didn't find anything that wasn't priced crazy. Any recommendations on that?
 

kohlson

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2010
1,994
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give me better performance?
Well, what are you trying to do? If you work in After Effects, or any activity where you're running out of memory, it's easy to see that more memory would help. NVME drives can speed disk performance. As noted above, you can go faster with NVME - up to 6000 MB/sec - but it will cost you. Read the Mac Pro sticky posts - it's all there.
 

fatespawn

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2009
171
81
Chicagoish
I guess it just depends on what you want to do. Your processor is maxed. Your memory could go a little faster. I mean, if you want to roll back to High Sierra and install a 1080ti with web drivers and use the Pixelas Mod for power and slap a could of high speed NVMe drives in there, you could do that...

... but if you don't want to spend $1,000 on a 5% gain, then you're pretty much there.
 

amedias

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2008
186
155
Devon, UK
Is my bottleneck always going to remain the CPU at this point?
Is your bottleneck currently your CPU?

What are you using it for and how is the performance currently lacking?
There are storage, Ram and GPU upgrades you could do but if you're not hitting the limits of them currently then you're not bottlenecked by anything...and if you are hitting them tell us more so we can advise whether or not you can realistically improve the performance enough for your needs.

What are you current Ram and CPU utilisation during your normal workloads?
What kind of storage requirements do you currently have and are you spending lot of time waiting on disk IO?
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
90
Italy
If you want to have it maxed out:

- 1333Mhz RAM in Triple channel configuration
- Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe on a Kryo M.2 Evo

And if you wait a bit, I'm sure there will be drivers for the new AMD RX 5700 which are going to be a nice upgrade over your current RX580.

If you want to really go overboard, with a money-no-matter policy:

- Get a dual CPU tray with two X5690
- Get one of those PCI-E 16x NVMe raid cards and slap several Samsung EVO Plus blades on it in raid
- Do the Pixlas mod (or even better, a whole new, separate PSU) and get the Radeon VII graphic card.
 

amedias

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2008
186
155
Devon, UK
If you want to have it maxed out:

- 1333Mhz RAM in Triple channel configuration
- Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe on a Kryo M.2 Evo

And if you wait a bit, I'm sure there will be drivers for the new AMD RX 5700 which are going to be a nice upgrade over your current RX580.

If you want to really go overboard, with a money-no-matter policy:

- Get a dual CPU tray with two X5690
- Get one of those PCI-E 16x NVMe raid cards and slap several Samsung EVO Plus blades on it in raid
- Do the Pixlas mod (or even better, a whole new, separate PSU) and get the Radeon VII graphic card.

All well and good, but if it turns out his use case is a single-threaded app that doesn't use much Ram and cannot be GPU accelerated then he'll have spent a lot of money for no performance gain.

We need to know what he is actually doing in order to advise if performance can be improved.
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
90
Italy
Faster triple channel memory and faster disks will always be beneficial, no matter what he does.

Since he has a RX580 I guess he does use it somehow IMHO, otherwise he would have saved the money and stuck with the HD5770 or whatever came with his machine.
 

amedias

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2008
186
155
Devon, UK
Faster triple channel memory and faster disks will always be beneficial, no matter what he does.
I'd tend to agree with that, although there are some niche use cases where things are literally CPU bound where faster (or more) mem will make little difference and disk IO is negligible.

The things is this kind of question comes up frequently, and we are always quick to advise how to max out a Mac Pro (or any other system) when instead we should be asking about the use case and looking at how to improve actual performance in meaningful ways rather than theoretical or benchmarks performance.

For example, we all know that the jump from 1066 -> 1333 memory can yield 20%+ in benchmarks, but then for real world use cases most of the time it actually yields ~1-2% improvement if that.

Likewise going 4 core to 6 core or even 12 can give massive boosts on benchmarks or for some highly threaded applications, but others are very lightly thread or even single thread and the other cores just sit there doing not much at all.

Since he has a RX580 I guess he does use it somehow IMHO, otherwise he would have saved the money and stuck with the HD5770 or whatever came with his machine
I hope this is true but I've come across so many people who have upgraded GPUs because 'faster is better' where the most taxing thing their GPU ever has to render is a screensaver, you see it especially on Mojave upgrade threads, people fitting 580s or even higher end older Nvidia cards, as that's what all the Mojave threads say to do...when their primary use is audio or unaccelerated apps, they'd be better off with a 20W passively cooled Nvidia 710 or something, save money, save watts and save the heat.

Anyway, I'm down from my soapbox now, lets see what the OP says :)
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
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Italy
Fair enough, although things like faster hard disk (especially faster NVMe) and speedier memory will also make everyday use more satisfying: everything becomes a little more snappier, especially that RAM gorging monster known as Google Chrome.

Unfortunately I agree it's not something which becomes immediately apparent. To really appreciate those small improvements in performance, you'd have, after a month, try to go back to your previous configuration and *then* it will become immediately evident.
 

zemaker

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
243
95
Gaming mostly. I’d like to go with Radeon cards because of compatibility.

Also what is the difference between these two NVMe drives?

Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)

Samsung 970 EVO 500GB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD (MZ-V7E500BW)


 

fatespawn

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2009
171
81
Chicagoish
If you’re gaming, save your money on an nvme blade. No benefit for what you’re doing. Put the cash towards a better graphics card in the future.
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
183
90
Italy
If you're using the Mac *only* for gaming, I'm afraid you're really wasting money.

Build a dedicated PC and with a really reasonable investment you'll have a machine which will easily outperform your Mac Pro.

Of course, you can keep the Mac Pro for other everyday task.
 

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
59
Gaming mostly. I’d like to go with Radeon cards because of compatibility.

Also what is the difference between these two NVMe drives?

Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)

Samsung 970 EVO 500GB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD (MZ-V7E500BW)

the PLUS model is newer than the EVO model, I believe there are some performance gains but couldn't tell you how much those gains are. PLUS has better power consumption. the main takeaway is there are some compatibility issues in macOS with the PLUS model. I've read on tonymac that these issues have *mostly* gone away with a recent firmware update. If you'd rather be "safe than sorry" it's recommended to get the 970EVO. Otherwise read up on it's compatibility status and see if it is something you're willing to try. It sounds like some users are still having unstable systems rebooting even with the recent May firmware update. So not a 100% guarantee it's going to be stable.
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
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A400M Base
Gaming mostly. I’d like to go with Radeon cards because of compatibility.

Also what is the difference between these two NVMe drives?

Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)

Samsung 970 EVO 500GB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD (MZ-V7E500BW)


Be careful here, the EVO Plus does not work on the 5.1 unless you do a special firmware flash on the blade. To avoid that, use the EVO or the Pro version, not the EvO Plus. For further reference, go to the dedicated NVME/AHCI blade blog.
When it comes to gaming, I have some experience there. If you don't want to go all in with a Pixlas cable and a Vega7, you may want to go for a Vega 56 Red Dragon with the low power bios setting. I have read about this card, supposedly it does not require a Pixlas cable. But to wait a bit for the 5700 might be a good advice.
What Games do you play, what's your current Heaven Benchmark with that 590?

That on is mine Screenshot 2019-06-27 at 16.04.32.png


Those newer Tomb Raider games do run real fine with that setup...
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,088
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The Peninsula
Be careful here, the EVO Plus does not work on the 5.1 unless you do a special firmware flash on the blade.
Is it a "special firmware flash", or just the "latest firmware"?

If the latter - no big deal. Why would you run anything but the latest firmware? (at least after it's been out a couple of weeks)
 
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AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
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Is it a "special firmware flash", or just the "latest firmware"?

If the latter - no big deal. Why would you run anything but the latest firmware? (at least after it's been out a couple of weeks)
I can't fully answer that question since I don't use any NVME drive in my system. Obviously, it took them quite some time to come up with the firmware fix after many people reported this problem with the original firmware. I decided against it because of the PCI slot bandwidth limitations. Unless I use PCIe slot #2 I can't go faster than 1500MB/sec, but I can't use that slot because of three Vega fans needing all the air they can get, - can't block those. I am totally fine with my slower & older AHCI blades inside that dual crest card. Actually, after 6 months of use, I can really recommend the I/O Crest card, -it works like a treat if you want to use two ssd's blades in one slot.
In my opinion, it makes no sense to go full slam on an NVMI carrier board such as the amfeltec or highpoint that cost as much as a Vega 7 and blocking GPU fans.
 
Last edited:

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
59
Is it a "special firmware flash", or just the "latest firmware"?

If the latter - no big deal. Why would you run anything but the latest firmware? (at least after it's been out a couple of weeks)
hmm, not sure. what I gathered from various posts on tonymac was just latest firmware

I think the bigger issue is you need Windows in order to install Samsung magician in order to update the firmware. unless there is some other way to do it? is this what donluca is referring to with a bootable USB image? I stayed up to date on the firmware using Samsung Magician. Without that software I wouldn't have ever known there were new versions.

I mean yea logic and common sense say always use the latest firmware but if there is no way to natively update that from macOS it can become a little convoluted for some who either do not have the knowledge or additional software, such as Windows 7 or 10 with Samsung Magician installed. Installing a copy of Windows just to update firmware on a NVMe SSD will sound like too much work for too little gain to a lot of people I bet
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
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Italy
At this point I feel like we should really have a dedicated thread to the 970 EVO Plus, but here we go once again...

EVO 970 Plus *is 100% compatible* on Mac Pros with latest bootrom and latest firmware installed.

To update the firmware you have two options:

1 - Samsung Magician which is a windows software, hence you'll need to boot Windows
2 - Bootable USB image from Samsung: make a bootable usb, boot from it and it will update your firmware. No Windows or other stuff needed, but you'll need a wired USB keyboard.

You can get the bootable usb image from here: https://s3.ap-northeast-2.amazonaws.com/global.semi.static/SAMSUNG_SSD_970EVO_Plus_ISO_190513/7ES357322A6707A720E1A71EF11A3BE1EED819E011D317626415F0281A78151C/Samsung_SSD_970_EVO_Plus_2B2QEXM7.iso
(from https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools/ , always check this page if a new firmware is available)

I think you can burn this ISO on a CD as well.

I've used dd from terminal, but if you want you can use Etcher to write the image to a USB pen drive https://www.balena.io/etcher/

If for any reason it doesn't work, if you have a windows virtual machine you can use Rufus which has always proved to be 100% reliable: https://rufus.ie/
 

zemaker

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
243
95
At this point I feel like we should really have a dedicated thread to the 970 EVO Plus, but here we go once again...

EVO 970 Plus *is 100% compatible* on Mac Pros with latest bootrom and latest firmware installed.

To update the firmware you have two options:

1 - Samsung Magician which is a windows software, hence you'll need to boot Windows
2 - Bootable USB image from Samsung: make a bootable usb, boot from it and it will update your firmware. No Windows or other stuff needed, but you'll need a wired USB keyboard.

You can get the bootable usb image from here: https://s3.ap-northeast-2.amazonaws.com/global.semi.static/SAMSUNG_SSD_970EVO_Plus_ISO_190513/7ES357322A6707A720E1A71EF11A3BE1EED819E011D317626415F0281A78151C/Samsung_SSD_970_EVO_Plus_2B2QEXM7.iso
(from https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools/ , always check this page if a new firmware is available)

I think you can burn this ISO on a CD as well.

I've used dd from terminal, but if you want you can use Etcher to write the image to a USB pen drive https://www.balena.io/etcher/

If for any reason it doesn't work, if you have a windows virtual machine you can use Rufus which has always proved to be 100% reliable: https://rufus.ie/
Is the Plus that much faster/better to warrant going with it?
 

donluca

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2018
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Italy
Never had an EVO "non-plus", so can't make direct comparisons. Mine works like a charm.

I think that if you google 970 EVO vs 970 EVO Plus you'll find the answer you're looking for.
 

zemaker

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
243
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Went ahead and installed a Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe with a kyroM.2 card,
however it seems since the upgrade my WIFI has started acting up. Could it be because of the upgrade, as nothing else has changed? Anyone else have had issues with this particular setup causing problems?