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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Sydney
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    721

    Default 2010 Mac Pro Upgrades

    After weighing up the pros and cons of getting a new iMac vs a used Mac pro, I found a 2010 6-core and the price was too good to pass up. I made sure it's an original 2010 too, not a 2009 upgraded one.

    Have yet to take delivery, right now I'm looking into upgrades I want to do.

    - it's got a 6-core 3.33GHz W3680 processor, I think the only other processor I could upgrade to is a 6-core 3.46GHz W3690, but assuming a cost of ~$300 used with no warranty, I don't think the cost justifies the marginal increase in speed
    - graphics is the BTO 5870 1GB card, I've seen good benchmarks on this one over the 5770, and I don't play demanding games so hoping this will see me through especially as it can apparently support three displays
    - RAM is 8GB, so will upgrade this to at least 16GB, depending on what sticks are installed
    - has 2 x 1TB drives, will probably use one of those for non-important stuff and the second as a backup as they're used, get a new 6TB drive to back up my media collection and boot drive
    - add a PCIe-to-m.2 adaptor card and either a 128GB or 256GB m.2 flash stick for boot/OS/app storage. From what I understand the m.2 sticks can either use a SATA or PCIe interface, and PCIe is roughly twice as fast (and twice the cost)
    - USB 3 card so my external drives can finally show their pote
    - will also need a monitor, 2560x1440 27 inchers are nice but 1920x1080 displays are so much cheaper. May look for a 1920x1200 23" or 24" for a bit extra real estate, unless someone can recommend a 27 at a fantastic price?

    I'll have a spare HDD tray still, so can look at a lower priced SSD to sit in between the PCIe flash and slow HDDs, if the need arises. One reason I went with the Mac Pro was because I could do all this, otherwise I'd be buying a new iMac and paying through the nose for Apple's flash storage. From benchmarks I've seen (putting a regular 7200RPM HDD at 1x speed, and rounding to make it easy), upgrades can give you (up to) the following speed increases:
    - SSD in HDD slot: 1.5x
    - SSD on PCIe adaptor: 2.5x
    - flash on PCIe adaptor (SATA interface): 2.5x
    - flash on PCIe adaptor (PCIe interface): 5x

    Apparently you can put two of any of these in a striped RAID configuration for another 60-80% speed improvement. If anyone has experience adding m.2 flash on a PCIe card as a boot drive I'd love to hear how it went!

    My 24" dual core 3.06GHz iMac has been a solid reliable beast and still chugs away happily, but recent interest in video encoding has finally made me wish for more. Looking forward to seeing how much I can cut a 45min Handbrake encode down to on the new machine.

    Feedback and suggestions appreciated!
    "O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side" - William Shakespeare

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    340

    Default

    Previously had a 2009 single 4-core processor that I updated firmware to 5.1 and swapped out the board for dual CPU one and then installed 2x 3.33 6-cores. Added an Areca hardware RAID card (went through 3 of them until I found the best match), and then filled it with SSDs, 6 striped for OS, Apps etc, and another 6 striped for data. Required lots of SATA power adapters, along with special "Maxconnect" brackets to mount the SSDs in the sleds in a way that the RAID card could attach, the others were hung underneath with velcro dots. All backed up to a large HD in the lower optical slot (via Time Machine) as well as externally to Time Capsule. Also had Windows on an SSD on an Apricorn Velocity card, 48GB RAM, and GTX 680 Graphics. Lots of messing around. Then some sod stole it recently, along with a lot of other items at home.

    So, have now managed to get a 2013 built 2012 model at a cheap price at auction. Was already a Dual 2.4 6-core, so board is good to go, and have upgraded to dual 3.46 6-cores. Came from a video production studio, so was already fairly full of kit, but have added a couple of items. So far has 80GB RAM, 5x 4TB HDs (4 in trays, 1 in the lower optical) running on the systems SATA, I have added an Apple/Samsung 1TB PCI-e SSD via PCI-e card (see good thread here if you haven't already discovered it: SATA Express meets the '09 MacPro - Bootable NGFF PCIE SSD | Page 45 | MacRumors Forums ) plus a Caldigit USB 3 & SATA 3 card (no drivers needed and apparently can boot from it, though haven't tried it yet). I have mounted a Samsung 850 EVO using velcro tabs under one of the spinners, running from the SATA3 card, to run Windows, and have an 8TB also in the lower optical bay (along with the 5th 4TB striped drive mentioned previously) using a special bracket that replaces the optical drive framework. Just tossing up whether to throw the Blackmagic Decklink 4K Extreme card back in that it came with. Just not sure how much difference it will make in FCPX given I wouldn't be capturing via it.

    So, point is, all sorts of things are possible, and have been though it all myself too. Having had a bunch of SSDs striped, was achieving 1800MB/sec throughput, but have dropped my speed for the simplicity of the PCI-e one on a card, can recommend. Sometimes easier is better than faster. Also, i still have some bits and pieces pulled from both machines during the upgrades, so PM me if you are chasing anything, I may be able to help.
    Mac Pro 2012 upped to 3.46GHz 12-Core, 80GB RAM, 1TB PCI-e SSD, 20TB internal RAID, GTX680, Decklink 4K Extreme; 31" 4K LG and 30" Cinema; 15" 2.5 i7 Retina MBP; Mac Mini "Unibody" HTPC; AppleTV; iPhone 6; Touch; Nano 6G; Time Capsule, etc etc

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Sydney
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    Default

    Cheesus those are killer set-ups.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximage View Post
    Then some sod stole it recently, along with a lot of other items at home.
    OMG you must have knelt next to the space your Mac Pro used to occupy and just wept for a while!

    I think I'll go with a plain ol' USB 3 only card, I reckon with a PCIe m.2 card for boot I'll be happy with SATA II for the other storage. Got plenty of slots for expansion later anyway (are you listening Apple?).

    I was eyeballing some dual processor models, but I got this one very cheap, I would have had to settle for a 3,1 dual processor at the same price or double what I paid for this to get a 5,1 dual processor. I think I did the right thing, I'll set up an alert for dual processor trays on eBay, maybe one day I'll have a 12 core 3.46

    Cheers
    "O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side" - William Shakespeare

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    6,561

    Default 2010 Mac Pro Upgrades

    Handbrake encodes on the Mac are solely CPU bound. There's no difference between SSD or HDD with encoding.

    From what I read above, are you simply converting DVDs or mkv's to Apple compatible files?
    Or, are you generating your own content with plans to edit it with FCPX? GPU is very important for FCPX (OpenCl performance). Dual 5770s pretty good.

    With regards to your SSD requirements, having a PCIe SSD as the app drive is a waste. You will perceive no difference between a good SATA2 SSD and the PCIe for app loading and boot times (the PCIe SSD will actually take longer to boot than the sata2 SSD as the PCI card takes a while to initialize). Where the PCIe SSD shines is as a scratch disk or data storage of raw video for editing. Also the capacities you've listed (128 and 256gb) are slow. If your aiming for speed look at 512 and 1TB CAPACITY. Prices for the Apple blessed Samsung models are still pretty high because they support TRIM out of the box.
    New Samsung 951 models are performance kings at the moment. No native trim in OS X though.

    Read the macrumors thread above and get as much info on part numbers as possible.
    Last edited by leon; 25th June 2015 at 12:18 PM.
    Something about Jimby.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Perth
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    Default

    PCI-e cards don't necessarily need to take extra time to boot. The Sintech one (as mentioned in the MacRumors thread) is purely a pass through card from the main boards slot to the SSD drive, no smarts on the board at all. This is as opposed to ones like OWC or Sonnet where there are smarts on the cards that need to initialise too. That was one disadvantage of the RAID setup on my last one, waiting for the card to initialise first before the system started.
    Mac Pro 2012 upped to 3.46GHz 12-Core, 80GB RAM, 1TB PCI-e SSD, 20TB internal RAID, GTX680, Decklink 4K Extreme; 31" 4K LG and 30" Cinema; 15" 2.5 i7 Retina MBP; Mac Mini "Unibody" HTPC; AppleTV; iPhone 6; Touch; Nano 6G; Time Capsule, etc etc

  6. #6

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    Sep 2004
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    Mostly converting my dvd collection atm. Pretty sure the 5770 GPU will do me until I decide I can't live without a 4K or 5K display

    Considering getting a cheaper 256/512GB SSD just to get up and running, that alone should more than double my startup disk speed, then I'll have the luxury to wait and see what Apple do with native TRIM support (or until more blessed modules populate ebay).
    "O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side" - William Shakespeare

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Quote Originally Posted by symean View Post
    Mostly converting my dvd collection atm. Pretty sure the 5770 GPU will do me until I decide I can't live without a 4K or 5K display

    Considering getting a cheaper 256/512GB SSD just to get up and running, that alone should more than double my startup disk speed, then I'll have the luxury to wait and see what Apple do with native TRIM support (or until more blessed modules populate ebay).
    Converting DVD is all about CPU cores.
    Something about Jimby.

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