What's next after swapping out seemingly slow Nehalems?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tutor, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Tutor, Aug 16, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #1
    What are your plans for the seeming slow Nehalems you have already removed or plan to remove in the near future from your Mac Pro? Are they up for adoption or will you find a use for them?
     
  2. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

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    #2
    I was looking into buying the 2.26GHz 8 core mac pro but after your comment it seems way over priced. I'll continue waiting for Sept. and hopefully a free speed bump upgrade will come.
     
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #3
    But those slow Nehalem quads are impressive for people used to Woodcrests.
     
  4. Tutor, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #5
    Do any of those applications allow distributing rendering tasks to other computers on the network?

    If so, what about building an overclocked hackintosh for helpling with your rendering?

    EDIT: I see you've already considered that. I really don't think there's much more you can do with your Mac Pro until someone creates an app that will allow us to adjust the reference clock from within OSX. Hell will buckle under the weight of ice before Apple allows EFI tweaks! :D
     
  6. Tutor, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  7. AppleWorking macrumors regular

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    #7
    LOL
     
  8. galstaph macrumors 6502a

    galstaph

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    #8
    When I am ready (probably when I am done school in my Masters in Architecture in April 2011), my 2 2.26's will likely be placed into a rendering node like what you've done. I want to replace them with the new 3.33's :D, or who knows what will be able to be placed into that board by then, maybe a dual octo core proc (nehalem ex iirc) would work.....
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    Are you looking for further ways to improve the performance above what you've managed from Over Clocking? Or just interested in discovering possible uses for the unused CPU's lying around?
    :confused:
     
  10. Tutor, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    :cool:

    The biggest thing you can do now for system throughput, is make sure you've adequate drive throughput and memory. Graphics too, but to a lesser extent IMO.

    Memory's easy, well sort of, you just need to figure out how much is really needed for your applications.

    Drive througput is the biggest bottleneck in a system these days, and can be greatly improved via some sort of RAID solution. You can go either software based or hardware based implementations. (Fake RAID is sort of in the middle, but I don't care for it, as it can have more problems than any other methodology in my experience. Ask gugucom about his attempt to use a RR2642 to boot windows in a stripe set).

    I and others can help if you like, but some details are needed (quite a few actually), so let me know if your interested, and we can go from there. :)
     
  12. Tutor, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  13. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #13
    Question for you, OP

    Is there a reason to choose the 3.2Ghz (965) over the 3.32Ghz (975) Nehalem xeons? Cause I'm looking at my sources the later are slightly cheaper!! :eek:
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #14
    I understand your point here, and am a fan of OC'ing systems. But traditionally, it's not a part of professional systems, workstation, or server. It comes down to the affect it potentially has on reliability and stability, and the potential of down time & inaccurate results in systems for corporate users, and for the vendors (i.e. Apple, Dell, HP,...) the warranty claims that they'd think would increase.

    Most of it is related to the use of inadequate cooling, increased power consumption (corporations do watch thier electricity bills with keen interest), and in the case of ECC memory, that functionality sacrifices a little speed for accuracy/stability.

    On the whole, OC'ed professional systems are seen as a bad thing, so it's not being done. Apple like the other system vendors, are following this train of thought on the situation.

    Personally, I've seen it done, and do so myself, but caution must be employed while doing so. The CPU's are far better equiped to be OC'ed (and designed to be so from the beginning). Adequate cooling is the first hurdle, as it can kill the CPU's. The OC also applies to the memory, so that means it can scale with the CPU's overclock, preserving the ratios (assuming the hardware is the same, and only an OC is applied). This seems particularly true with Nehalem architecture, as it's tied to the BCLK as well.

    That leaves stability, but with proper punishment ... err... testing, it can be done. :p

    As per the RAID comments, I was thinking you were looking to further improve your current system(s) for your specific purposes. ;)
     
  15. Tutor, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #16
    OK, I think you can better use the drives you have, but I need some additional info.

    How are the external drives set up, and how are they connected to the computer (card/interface type)?

    You're in fact using a single drive for OS X, applications, and Windows via Boot Camp?

    I'll need the model & ideally, specs of the card you list in slot 4 (SATA card), and the drives used (each model, and how many; looking for identical models & specs). Enterprise would be better, but I'll assume for the moment they're consumer units.

    And yes, I agree the CPU's have changed enough where OC'ing is possible, and a solution for certain situations, such as yours. Faster clocked parts are too expensive, and I've been seeing OC'ed servers more often lately, particularly of AMD parts (boards are easier to find I think). (A lot of it has to do with finding OC server boards, though a few do exist, but so far, not for the Nehalem chips. They tend to come out say 9 months later than the intial boards).
     
  17. Tutor, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #18
    :cool:

    What about backups. Are any of the WD Blacks needed for that purpose?

    I'm formulating ideas here... :D
     
  19. Tutor, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #20
    It was lots of info, tightly packed, and I wasn't sure I'd understood thoroughly. :)

    Here's a possibility (uses what you have):
    Use the 4x internal Blacks for a stripe set (RAID0) for OS X & apps.
    Set up 3x of the external Blacks in another stripe set for data. Use the last external for Windows (eliminates the need for a BC partition, and it wouldn't work off a software built array anyway).
     
  21. Tutor, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #22
    1. Get the AHCI drivers off of Intel's site (here, and get the Floppy version <unzip only, as they're already extracted>), and load to a USB stick
    2. Stuff the Windows install disk in the drive, and restart the system.
    3. When it shows the window that allows you to select an installation location, Select Install Driver.
    4. Load the drivers from the USB stick
    5. Hit REFRESH
    6. Format (Quick)
    7. Allow it to finish installation
    8. Load the BC disk, and load the Windows drivers (specific to the MP's board), and you may have to dig through the folders to find the right ones, but they're there somewhere ;)

    Done. :)
     
  23. Tutor, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Tutor thread starter macrumors 65816

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  24. AZREOSpecialist macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

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    #24
    Can someone explain to a relatively non-technical person such as myself why Macs are so difficult to overclock? Isn't most of the PC overclock-ability due to settings in the BIOS of those motherboards? If that's the case, is there any reason why we can't dig into the Mac's EFI firmware and find those settings as well?

    I'm not very experienced with these things, but it seems to me that the opportunity should be there in the Mac firmware to change bus frequencies, etc., but that nobody with technical knowledge on that side of things has bothered to figure it out. I'm sure there is someone out there who knows how to do this, or someone who would be willing to pay an Apple engineer on the side to show us how to do this.

    EDIT - I'm willing to contribute $20 towards a bounty to anyone who can figure this out.
     
  25. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #25
    Apple doesn't expose any EFI settings. This is not uncommon. Many laptops and desktops for Windows also don't expose much in the way of BIOS settings. Only enthusiast motherboards with overclocking in mind, expose these kinds of settings to users.
     

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