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Old June 12th, 2014, 08:54 AM   #1
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reviving 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core w/new video card-worth it?

reviving 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core w/new video card-worth it?

i have a 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core.

it runs 10.6.8 w/a xt8800 512 vid card.

i'm thinking of updating the os to the last mountain lion.

and that would allow me access to non-mac blessed graphics cards.

i was thinking of installing a gtx660:

Newegg.com - Once You Know, You Newegg

i'm hoping that would offer me better performance with premiere and ae.

(and how would a card like that assist with fcp7 and fcp x?)

lastly, is it truly worthwhile to toss $250-ish at the 2008 mac pro to make it more "functional"?

if it does basic edit tasks at 1080p, i would be mucho satisfied.

any and all thoughts are appreciated.

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions/nyc
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Old June 18th, 2014, 04:19 PM   #2
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Re: reviving 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core w/new video card-worth it?

I'm typing this on a 2008 MacPro 3,1 (8 core) which I have pretty much retired from most editing work because I got a new iMac 27" i7 with 4GB GPU & 32GB ram which totally blows the doors of the MacPro 3,1 for everything except encoding ProRes files, for which it just about keeps up.

My MacPro was upgraded a couple of times over the years with different GPUs. When using Premiere Pro (CS5 - CS6) I used the GTX285 which actually made editing quite useable. It wasn't awesome, but it worked quite well for 1080p stuff as long as you didn't load too many layers. Having the CUDA acceleration definitely helped over the ATI 5770 which is the other card I have, used when I was editing in FCPX.

So, will the GTX660 make a difference over an XT8800? Absolutely.

The reason I finally upgraded was that the RAM in the MacPro 3,1 is limited to 800Mhz (it's DDR2) while the newer machines are twice as fast. RAM seemed to becoming the bottleneck and I was finding that on just about every test I did (excluding encoding ProRes) even my MacBookPro 17" (2.5Ghz i7) was faster than my MacPro and it was really starting to bug me!

So, if you're looking for a quick fix to make the machine usable in Premiere Pro, yes the GTX660 will (should) make a huge difference over the XT8800. It should also make FCPX pretty snappy too (just FYI I now use FCPX all the time since it usually saves me several hours over Premiere Pro on every project).
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Old June 26th, 2014, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: reviving 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core w/new video card-worth it?

dave-

thank you for sharing your experiences.

i remain interested in installing the gtx660 in my mac pro 3,1.

much of my work is cutting interviews with some slight color grading.

i was hoping-perhaps unreasonably-since i didn't need many layers an updated mac pro 3,1 would be "good enough" to handle fcp 7, fcp x, some premiere pro and a wee bit more of cc.

perhaps you can also share you present set-up for both your mac pro and the 27" i7 imac?

do you have all the edit software loaded on both machines or is one dedicated to one software package?

is everything on the same drive partition?

and lastly, what os is running on each machine?

thanks again for adding to the conversation.

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions/nyc
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Old June 26th, 2014, 11:55 PM   #4
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Re: reviving 2008 mac pro 3,1 8-core w/new video card-worth it?

Rob - With regard to the question of "whether it's worth it," the answer would depend on a few things and this is what I'd consider:

Graphics Card: This is where one gets a good improvement. I went from a MP 1,1 that I put a Radeon HD 5770 card in and it worked okay for FCPX. Later I picked up a 3,1 (early '08) and moved the card over to it and, although it had less memory than the 1,1, it worked fine there, too, but not a huge improvement. This is probably because the graphics card was the card doing most of the work.

Lately I've been working with "Motion 5" and my system works perfectly fine with it. Motion don't have a "home" at DVinfo so there is no place to talk about it but it is a really good application for effects and things like titles. It can really help give the video more of a professional look.

One of the problems with the 3,1 is that the memory is relatively expensive where as the next iteration the memory is so much cheaper. A LOT less expensive. I think the graphics card that works in the 3,1 will also work in the next newer Mac, and maybe other models, so maybe one thing you could do is check what MPs it works in and if it will work in newer models just buy a better graphics card and later when you sell the machine just take it out.

Speaking of graphics cards, be sure to vacuum out the lint in the cooling fins every once in a while. My old card was about 85% plugged with lint. Not good.

The 3,1 with the Radeon card runs X and Motion just fine and rendering is okay. Sure it would be nice to have it work faster but I'm okay with it.

Don't get a "flashed" PC card. Not worth the hassle and the risk.

The other thing I've heard of (never tried it), is connecting two computers together. If you have a MacBook Pro, say, there may be a way to link them and speed up the processing. Just another thought.

My Mac Pro is used strictly for video editing. The applications are on a SSD while the videos are on a couple hard drives and some backup drives. No drive partitions. Both the MP and the MBP are running with the current OS.

My MBP is newer and faster but I prefer to do the editing on the MP because it is a more robust machine and use the MBP in a pinch.
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