Why go 5,1 -> nMP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by akadmon, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. akadmon, Jun 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014

    akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    I have a loaded Hex 5,1 (32GB RAM, 1TB RAID0 SSD, 12TB internal spin HDDs), and I love it! I use the machine primarily for photo-editing in Lightroom and occasionally in Photoshop CC. I am intrigued by the possibility of adding a "retina" capable display (which, as I understand it, is not possible with a MP 5,1, at least nit at 60Hz). Does a hex nMP provide enough of a boost to justify the extra expense? How much $ would it take to give me the same RAM and storage as I have now? I am willing to spend max $300 per 10% improvement in photo-editing speed. Doable?
  2. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    It's pretty significant. The mac pro 5.1 uses the 5600 series processors. It's not sandy bridge. It's the one before that which was pretty under performing. Sandy bridge-e really boosted performance by about 40% in the server market. You're going to Ivy Bridge-E which is probably about 80% performance boost excluding the SSD and dual GPU you'd get.

    Is it worth the jump? Yes. However, you need to consider that the mac pro has been out for a year now and a refresh is around the corner with haswell-ep. It's rumored to boost performance by another 40% with the DDR4 RAM. Also there are no more quad cores in the server space. The slowest processor is a hex-core.

    Keep in mind these are server processors not the same as your mainstream haswell and workstation class haswell-e processors. Haswell-ep processors are server class.

  3. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    "Retina" doesn't actually mean anything.

    Any display is retina if you scoot back far enough.

    And you can put an AMD 7950 in your cMP and run a 4K display at the very same resolutions and refresh rates as a nMP in 10.9.3.

    Have a read over at Barefeats.com, he has tested various cMP vs nMP. Results may surprise you.
  4. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Personally, no, not at this point.

    I got a 2012 refurb and loaded it up as well and it smokes. 12 core, 64GB RAM dual SSDs and loaded on internal drives. I like my PCI slots as well.

    Also not true about not being able to run 4k displays. As long as your video card is beefy enough there no problem.

    As it stands I should be fine with this machine for at least another couple years. Hopefully by then the nMP will evolve into something that suits my needs. Hoping for a second processor.
  5. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    It has nothing to do with the video card. It's the OS X that doesn't support 4k. There are only 2 displays that are fully compatible with Mac at this time. I forget what they are but they're 2500 dollar 31" 4k displays. Everything else is not supported by Apple.

    Also to note 4k displays are not standardized yet and it's not recommended to buy one yet. If you do just buy a cheapo one because you'll want to replace it later when it become standard.

  6. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I wouldn't get your hopes up.
  7. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    I don't know what you're reading but the nMP is significantly faster.


    Your Intel Xeon X5650 which is a 6 core has a benchmark score of 7,646
    While the Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2, which is in the nMP, has a benchmark score of 12,538.

    You're not even considering the new instruction sets in the processors that make things like video encoding so much faster. It's a more modern processor so if you have modern software you would greatly improve your overall workflow. That's not even including the pci-express SSD's that are operating at 1000MB's/s.

    I think you're thinking like how I use to think. Gotta have those pci slots, and expansion bays, and blah blah blah. I never use'em. If I do you'll notice those ports are already available on the Mac Pro. Even on PC's. The mac pro has 6 thunderbolt ports. You have any idea how many thunderbolt->X adaptors there are?

    Think of the thunderbolt ports as your PCI-express slots. That's how fast thunderbolt is.

  8. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    The biggest complaint about the lack of slots was for those who wanted choice when it came to GPU. Thunderbolt doesn't apply there.
  9. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    It's been 5 months actually, not a year.
  10. Riwam, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014

    Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    If you intend to spend max $300 for every 10% improvement, it might be difficult to measure it in such a way(?) but great overall improvement should be expected.

    As far as many pros report the nMP is a very powerful machine even in the most affordable configuration with 4 core CPU and two D300 GPU. Replaces
    (The RAM is less expensive if one orders just the unavoidable 3 x 4 GB from Apple and replaces them by self bought RAM).
    The size of the only inner SSD should be chosen according to one's needs since it cannot be upgraded to a larger one later, but one can easily use external drives for the data and keep the inner SSD for the OS and the Apps.

    You will not find any owner of a nMP saying he is disappointed and wants to resell it.
    That is a very clear sign.:)

    Many people hesitate before deciding what to do. Buying a nMP or not.
    However once they take the jump and buy one, they are happy with it. Do you need a better proof?
    You'll be happy too if you buy one, once the payment is behind you. :D
  11. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    It would take A LOT of external devices to get a nMP on par with my current setup. No thanks. Sticking it out with my 2012 and seeing how the nMP evolves. My next system might end up being a Hack. Thunderbolt currently does NOT handle my needs. It's not as fast as you think.
  12. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    It's funny how people insist on the advantage of the old MacPro since the new one has no internal expansions and needs cable connections. :cool:

    I owned previously a nice 2010 Mac Pro with plentiful room inside.
    Nevertheless I had more than enough cables
    to the monitor,
    to the web cam,
    to the A4 and A3 scanners,
    to the b&w and to the color printers,
    the Ethernet connection to my router,
    the sound in and out to my sound system,
    not to speak about external HDDs for Time Machine and for all kind of data I did not need or want inside the MP.

    Apparently I must have made up those cables or they were entirely invisible...:confused:
    while those presently needed with a nMP must be huge as oil pipes size for those complaining about their need :confused:
  13. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Agreed. Basically Mac's aren't expandable. I have a 2009 Mac Pro, a nMP and a home built high end PC. The PC has TB2, USB3, R295x2 and the works. Basically it's a nMP and then some (11 tflops of performance). I use all three on a daily basis. Observations ...

    • None of the Macs are expandable, to a first order approximation. All you can expect to expand a Mac with is basic stuff like web cams, some disks and USB stuff. Compare this to the PC which can take anything on the planet, with a thousand choices.
    • More performance can be had for cheaper on the PC
    • The PC is a wild beast that has to be tamed, the Mac Pro is a civilisized cat that has to be woken up.
    • The Mac is good for getting work done. The PC is good for extreme game performance.
    • If expandability and customizability is important, don't expect the Mac to give you any! Feel lucky for whatever you do have.

    Back to OP, personally I like the nMP the best for getting work done. It's practically silent, just works and I trust it. The old Mac Pro and the PC are too flakey.
  14. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    The OP didn't post GHz on his current setup, but I doubt he has an X5650 (2.66 GHz) hex core.

    The irony of this statement is impressive. Think about that folks... the mac is good for getting work done - the PC for fooling around. I agree with you, but what an odd position for Apple to find themselves in.
  15. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    When performing process intensive work does Activity Monitor show use of all six cores? I've read photo editing doesn't take advantage of high core count CPU's. Therefore it might be better to focus on lower core count and high clock speed. In this situation, barring any other requirements, an iMac might be a better choice.
  16. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    I don't get it. Apple never really went after the game market, except on iOS. Their desktop strategy was always towards people who wanted to accomplish something - audio/video for the so called "pro" market and then on the consumer line they targeted word smiths (writers, general public) for the most part. Apple makes a segment of users happy while ignoring the rest.

    Microsoft went after everybody and so makes nobody really happy. I use it professionally at work where it works well enough though (Apple would have been better in many ways), at home for gaming where I need the best performance for $ (but I have to "tame" the desktop for use first), and professionally for my personal work (where it performs great inside a VM).

    I also use Linux for specialized cases. I'm a 20 year veteran both professionally and personally, but I can't stand it as it makes me work too hard.

    So I use them all, and even have my office set up that way. The main desk is all Mac for getting work done, I have a hack shack for Linux and other hacking needs, and a gaming side room which is all Microsoft. Each works well for the purpose, with a little crossover. I play CivV on the Mac as the implementation is better there, and do some Windows in the hacky shack.
  17. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    I am OS agnostic and therefore I have a vast exposure to many different operating systems. I see no difference in productivity between OS X and Windows. They're more alike than different.
  18. Cubemmal, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014

    Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Why go 5,1 -> nMP?

    I'm OS agnostic - as I said - and therefore clearly see the differences. I didn't mention productivity in particular but why not? Sure there's productivity differences. In OS X when I can't remember the menu command to do something I can do a search under help and find it in less than a second. Can't remotely do that in Windows. Conversely, Windows has far greater support for keyboard only input. The Mac stupidly thinks that we love using mouses.

    I could go on and on, from system administration to individual app differences. I'm a developer and can say that deeper down they're obviously quite different too. Windows used to hold a strong lead here but Xcode has been improving. I'm going to be trying out Swift the next few weeks to see how that holds up (but I have little hope it'll be more productive than C#). Certainly it'll be better than the horror of ObjC/Cocoa. From a lowest level we've got a Posix microkernel versus a VAX VMS derivative monolithic kernel and environment. Hugely different to work in, just compare using a Bash shell versus the stupid little DOS shell in Windows.

    Or the horrors of the "one menu bar per screen" Mac decision (stupid), or the horrors of the Ribbon interface, and don't even get me started on the Windows 8 tiles approach. I can't honestly say which is better when you take it all into account, but I prefer one for something things and others for other ones.

    Sure, otherwise they're the same!
  19. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    If I grab any Windows computer after not having used it for several weeks, I am knocked out by a hundred or more updates I must install!
    Depending on the speed of the machine it might take me over an hour doing so and it is a MUST!

    Funny, did you notice?
    One update is called "critical", the next one isn't called so, then the coming one is again a "critical" one and the next isn't...
    Actually ALL ARE CRITICAL but Microsoft believes that calling all the hundred or more patches "critical" could "make believe"(or make discover) that the safety of any Windows is like a Swiss cheese, so they call "critical" every other update.

    On the other side if I don't use a Mac (or a Linux) computer for a while, I never find I MUST install a hundred or more patches to be on the safe side.

    So, even if I agree that every OS has its own field in which it might perform better, I am in no way a OS agnostic.
    There are true differences in the reliability between the different OS and (besides Linux which is Open Source and a special case) I am convinced that OSX stands at the top of them and Windows at the bottom. :D
  20. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    In short the answer is that if you already own a 4,1/5,1 then there is no actual need at the moment to goto an nMP for Photo Editing.

    You can add GPU's that will add support for 4K displays into your 5,1 quite easily.

    You can also add SSD cards to get comparable I/O on SSD on the second PCI-E x16 slot.

    If however you are starting from a clean starting position and making a living from it then personally would suggest the nMP unless you are happy to do your own support. If you buy a refurb from the Apple Store, odds are you will be modifying it .

    I bought mine as 2.8GHz Quad with a 1TB Black, and a 5770, then upgraded mine to the signature. I don't rely on my Mac Pro for a living however.

    From the looks of your spec then I would say a new GPU card and be set.

    TB is OK, however don't expect it to compete with a PCI-E x16 slot, having said that once you put a second card into the Mac Pro all that left with is the 2 x4 slots, of which 1 is covered by the heat sink from the second GPU card.

    PCI-E 2.0 x4 is the same as what Thunderbolt controllers connect to the CPU as so not really a loss going TB apart from need external chassis.

    Like I said if already have a 4,1/5,1 then stick with it. Starting out new then may as well nMP
  21. pragmatous, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014

    pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    20GB/s not fast enough?

    Gen 3 thunderbolt is 40GB/s is that fast enough?

    Keep in mind you have to consider slowest point from A to B. It' probably not thunderbolt but your hard drive.

    I'm saying is you can plug in a video card into the thunderbolt port or any other adaptor you would buy a PCI card for. That's where this technology is going.

    Correction it's Gb/s - I thought it was in gigabytes but it's gigabits. My mistake.

  22. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    PCI-E Gen 2.0 x16 slot bandwidth is 8000 MB/s or 8GB/s one way. One way on Thunderbolt gen 1 is 10Gb/s (1.6GB/s). Thunderbolt gen 2 is 20Gb/s one way. Thunderbolt gen 3 is 40Gb/s one way.

    Src: https://www.icc-usa.com/compare-pci
    Src: http://www.extremetech.com/computin...-and-100w-power-delivery-for-single-cable-pcs


  23. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    That's a tad simplistic. I have a Thunderbolt RAID hooked via Thunderbolt to one of my Macs, and there are several high end PCI-E cards on Thunderbolt, including RedRockets.

    None of that I would consider "basic stuff."

    The rev A nMPs are moderately faster than a 5,1, but I expect the rev Bs to be much faster.

    The 5,1s basically use 2010 era technology, so it's not hard to see why a machine that uses 3 years newer components is going to be faster. The SATA2 buses on the 5,1 are also a significant handicap. Sure, you can expand externally or with some PCIe cards, but at that point the 5,1's expansion situation really becomes very similar to the nMPs. You've got about enough room for two GPUs and a PCIe SSD, which is exactly what the nMP is any way.
  24. reco2011, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014

    reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    I didn't say there weren't any differences. I said there weren't any differences in productivity.


    What does this have to do with productivity?

    Do you have anything other than your opinion to support such a claim? As a user of OS X, Windows, and Linux (to name the popular operating systems) it's my opinion they're all equally the same.
  25. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Let me finish the math for you.

    These are approximate, as the article below notes THRU ACTUAL TESTING, by packaging the PCIE into that nifty connector you lose 20% in overhead. Fromn the PCIE 2.0 4 lanes it started with. They aren't even close. And there is currently now ay to connect a GPU via TB in OSX without hacks.

    PCIE 2.0 16 lanes = 8GB/s = 64Gb/s
    TB2 = 2.5GB/s = 20 Gb/s

    Here is a good read:


Share This Page