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Old May 20th, 2016, 12:58 PM   #16
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
Thunderbolt sounds nice but the peripherals either too expensive or not available or necessary especially since old style mac is self contained.
Thunderbolt is fairly well matured at this point and is not any more expensive than anything else that is somewhat nice. I prefer the ability to daisy-chain and have a good process going with Thunderbolt hardware. When you can encode ProRes HQ straight from a CFast card all via a Thunderbolt chain in 15 minutes for an entire shoot's worth of material, that's impressive.

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Apple has really made a mess of the mac pro. Unlike a laptop, phone, or music player no one really cares about the size or weight of their work station since it's not a portable device.
I do actually. There are instances in which I could see making my Mac Pro a portable option for certain work I do, especially when transcoding is involved.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 09:28 PM   #17
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

USB3 is much cheaper than Thunderbolt, fast and I can isolate different projects to convenient USB3 drives. I miss nothing that's in my old MacPro tower with the new MacPro. I use Thunderbolt also but right now not for Thunderbolt native drives.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 10:20 AM   #18
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I purchased a used Radeon HD 5870 on ebay for $160. I wanted to get a newer card but my research kept leading me back to this card because it uses OpenCL which FCPX uses where as Nvida cards use Cuda and it provided the biggest bang for the buck. I'm a little nervous how much power it consumes hope it doesn't kill my psu.
I wouldn't worry at all about your PSU. This card was offered by Apple as an option at purchase time. You will need to use two power cables to drive it, but it is well within the power rating for a 2008 - 2012 Mac Pro. Hopefully you bought the Mac Edition of this card. Otherwise you will not get a boot screen and will have to wait until the OS loads for the display to come alive. You can get PC versions flashed to work with a Mac if you need a boot screen. I always purchase the Mac Edition of these cards.

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
There is a big price jump to newer cards in this line AMD Radeon 280X and HD 7950 Sapphire are $400-$500+ No point of getting greedy.
I have a AMD Radeon HD 7950 Sapphire Mac Edition in my 2010 Mac Pro 12-Core and it's not much faster than the Radeon HD 5870 was. IMHO not worth the extra money at all. I mean it's faster... but it's not twice as fast and it was twice the money! I got it because I was told that the extra memory would be needed to edit 4K but I'm not editing 4K yet so it was kind of a "future proof" move.

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Overall I'm surprised how slowly hardware has progressed but may be that's good that my 2009 mac is still viable 7 years later.
Overall I'm delighted. Both my 2008 Mac Pro 8-Core and 2010 Mac Pro 12-Core show no signs of stopping. To my 2010 Mac Pro I added a blazing fast OWC Accelsior E2 SSD which also gave me an external eSATA port, and I added a USB 3.0 card as well. So the 4 slots have the Apple RAID Card, OWC SSD, USB 3.0, and Radeon HD 5970 and my 2010 Mac Pro is performing really great.

~jr
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Old May 23rd, 2016, 05:21 PM   #19
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

The video card (HD5870) arrived and I installed it. Everything is snappy and responsive, huge improvement, great recommendation guys. It was a flashed card but since it wasn't Nvidia no drivers were needed.

I'd like to add usb3 what card should I get that works well with mac?
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Old May 25th, 2016, 07:22 AM   #20
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
The video card (HD5870) arrived and I installed it. Everything is snappy and responsive, huge improvement, great recommendation guys. It was a flashed card but since it wasn't Nvidia no drivers were needed.
It's good that you got one that was flashed. Doesn't it breath new live into your Mac? I'm glad you like it.

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I'd like to add usb3 what card should I get that works well with mac?
This is the one I added to both my 2008 Mac Pro and 2010 Mac Pro:

[4 Ports for Mac Pro]Inateck 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card for Mac Pro (Early 2008 to 2012 Late Version) - Interface USB 3.0 4-Port Express Card Desktop - No Additional Power Connection Needed

It's working great in both. I even bough a USB 3 extension cable to extend to the front of my Mac Pro so that I had an easy way to plug my travel drives in without having to reach around the back:

AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Extension Cable - A-Male to A-Female - 6.5 Feet (2 meters)

If you really want your Mac Pro to fly like a rocket... get one of these too:

OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCI Express Solid State Drive

Scary fast SSD drive. I'm getting 650 MB/s Read, 582 MB/s Write speeds. You don't realize how much your Mac accesses the hard drive just while using the desktop until you have an SSD. It really will seem like a new computer. Here is my Disk Speed Test from my 2010 Mac Pro using the OWC Mercury Accelsior E2:



;-)

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Old May 25th, 2016, 12:17 PM   #21
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

John - Post #20: That’s some very impressive stats.

The USB 3.0 conversion was very interesting, including the price drop, until I read this part on the Amazon link:

Operating System Compatibility: Mac OS 10.8.2 to Mac OS 10.9.5 - The Expansion card is applicable to the MAC Pro (Early 2008 to 2012 Late Version); Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (32/64-bit), This PCI-E Card is incompatible with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or Above; Backwards Compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices

After reading this, there is one thing that is a little scary and that’s getting rid of the old card or gear that is replaced because who knows when the next OS upgrade comes along that will make some component dysfunctional so the computer won’t work.

Just did a quick search for “Mac Pro USB 3.0 PCIe card” and found several hits. The first one was a Sonnet Allegro for $59.99 at Sweetwater. Since the page didn’t mention anything about what OS was compatible I gave them a call and the guy said “it was good for 10.8.[something] (forgot the last digit) and above so he thinks it would be good for El Capitan.”

3.0! Sounds good to me so thanks for the idea! You’ve done some really nice upgrades.

I love these Mac Pros. The way they’re built reminds me of the first time I saw a Jaguar XKE V-12 engine. A think of beauty.

On another (not so good) note, I just “upgraded" my MacBook Pro 2012 (mid) on Friday from 4GB to 16GB of memory and rand a quickie test using a FCPX video that I had previously edited along with the iPhone Stopwatch app and did a “before and after” test of how long it would take to boot and render to 100 percent based on the little “meter” in the middle of the screen. The result was not impressive as it took between 2 and 4 seconds LONGER to process. This was with everything else turned off including Wi-Fi. Due to my huge workload at present I haven’t had time to re-visit this and find a better way to do a test. Just one more new item on my To-Do list.

Edit: P.S. I love your peged meters. By the way, that Jag V-12 could do 160 mph.

Last edited by John Nantz; May 25th, 2016 at 01:29 PM. Reason: See “Edit"
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Old May 25th, 2016, 01:36 PM   #22
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
The USB 3.0 conversion was very interesting, including the price drop, until I read this part on the Amazon link:

Operating System Compatibility: Mac OS 10.8.2 to Mac OS 10.9.5 - The Expansion card is applicable to the MAC Pro (Early 2008 to 2012 Late Version); Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (32/64-bit), This PCI-E Card is incompatible with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or Above; Backwards Compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices
Hmmm... I wasn't aware of that and apparently neither is my 2010 Mac Pro because I'm using the exact USB 3.0 card in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and it's working fine! I may have even upgraded my 2008 Mac Pro to El Capitan and it's still working. I wonder why they would make such a claim? I understand if you don't want to take the chance, there are plenty of Mac compatible USB 3.0 cards on the market, but it is working fine on my Mac Pro with Yosemite. The one thing to watch out for is that some USB 3.0 cards require internal power and the Mac PSU doesn't have the PC connectors to power it. Just make sure you buy one that is powered only from the PCIe bus.

~jr
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Old May 25th, 2016, 02:24 PM   #23
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
On another (not so good) note, I just “upgraded" my MacBook Pro 2012 (mid) on Friday from 4GB to 16GB of memory and rand a quickie test using a FCPX video that I had previously edited along with the iPhone Stopwatch app and did a “before and after” test of how long it would take to boot and render to 100 percent based on the little “meter” in the middle of the screen. The result was not impressive as it took between 2 and 4 seconds LONGER to process. This was with everything else turned off including Wi-Fi. Due to my huge workload at present I haven’t had time to re-visit this and find a better way to do a test. Just one more new item on my To-Do list.
When you say "boot" are you talking about the computer or just the program? Adding memory will lengthen start-up times as the software is checking the RAM at every start-up. More RAM, more checking to do. Booting FCPX shouldn't take longer and rendering shouldn't take longer. You may want to check the new RAM with TechTool or any other memory analyses program you might have. If the new RAM has a defective sector, it might slow things down.
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Old May 25th, 2016, 09:51 PM   #24
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

John Rofrano - thanks for the input about how the card runs on your Macs and it’s good that it does. If it does it certainly is a money saver. One thing I really hate about computers and their related tech gadges is troubleshooting them when things don’t work as planned. It is frustration because it typically is time consuming due to a lack of available resources for support. Plug-n-Play is my friend (except they all lie!). Just installed a SSD on my old but nice MacBook White and during the Migration phase there was a step with three choices, none of which fit my scenario. Won’t bore you with the gorey details.

As for the USB 3.0 upgrade, I like it. And your 3m extension cord!

William - Mea Culpa, please forgive me.I shouldn’t have used the term “boot” in that sense. I was in FCPX application and selected the video then timed how long it would take to get all ready - opening the time line and doing all the little things that go along with that.

When I talked to the OWC tech about my SSD install problem (see above) and we were basically finished, he made the mistake of asking me if that was everything and in a moment of unloading my stress I mentioned about the increase in the start-up time in X with the upgraded memory but I didn’t stick around to try and solve that issue. He did mention about other ways to determine speed, though. The actual computer boot time did seem longer though but I figured it was due to it being new. I’ll see about checking the memory out later. Wonder if Disk Utility > First Aid would help any?

Isn’t it great how we can keep our nice old machines running, and with even better performance than new?
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Old May 27th, 2016, 02:52 PM   #25
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

John R good recommendations. I'm going to order the usb3 card and cables just have get over $50 Amazon keeps raising the minimum for free shipping.

Can someone confirm my understanding of the processor upgrade. I currently have a 2.66 quad core Xeon W3520. The fastest cpu allowed is the 3.2 hex core W3690 ($180). Which requires firmware upgrade to 5.1. Even though I've installed cpus before this seems a little tricky. There is talk of a cpu lid and properly torquing the heat sink. Is the special long hex tool needed? Has anyone here upgrade their cpu?

I assume 12 core is 2 of these cpus requiring a dual socket panel which would make it substantially more expensive with an additional cpu.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 04:24 PM   #26
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
Can someone confirm my understanding of the processor upgrade. I currently have a 2.66 quad core Xeon W3520. The fastest cpu allowed is the 3.2 hex core W3690 ($180). Which requires firmware upgrade to 5.1. Even though I've installed cpus before this seems a little tricky. There is talk of a cpu lid and properly torquing the heat sink. Is the special long hex tool needed? Has anyone here upgrade their cpu?
There is a some great threads on Macrumors, All We Know About Maximizing CPU Related Performance | MacRumors Forums

and I would definitely watch YouTube videos like this one:

Step by Step: Mac Pro Processor Upgrade - The Mac Observer

If you have a single processor Mac Pro, then you don't have to worry about "lidless" processors according to video above and thread here--the processors are lidded:

Mac Pro 4.1 CPU upgrade | MacRumors Forums

I did the swap on my single processor 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 to a 6 core W3690 and it was very straight forward. Just make sure to have a long hex key (Sears won't have a long enough key to the reach screws because of the height of the heat sinks). You will also need that Arctic Silver thermal paste (I got it at Radio Shack).

The end result is a really awesome Mac:

Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

My 64 bit score is 16178.

Along with my dual 7950 cards (PC versions) I got really cheap on eBay, Final Cut Pro X runs like a dream.
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Old May 28th, 2016, 08:54 AM   #27
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

For what it's worth . . .

There are people like me who are too timid to attempt to upgrade things like CPUs. (Although, I'm quite comfortable with upgrading memory, SSDs, and audio cards, etc.) There are reputable dealers on eBay that perform CPU upgrades for MacPros. I did this and I am very happy for the decision. I have a 2009/2010 Mac Pro 3.33 GHz (12-core) computer with 32 GB 1333 MHz RAM (which I installed myself) and it ROCKS! I consistently get greater than 30,000 (usually 30,500 to 30,900) benchmark scores using Geekbench 3. Final Cut Pro X works just fine with this set-up (along with my other audio and video programs). I hope to keep this aging yet powerful computer for another 2 to 3 years.
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Old May 28th, 2016, 02:46 PM   #28
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

John Chu: Thanks. I took the plunge. I bought a used W3690 $144. I already have arctic silver from my last build. I tested my allen wrench. Thankfully it's just long enough. I upgraded the firmware but had look up a solution to overcome an error. I'm getting faster ram too since it's so inexpensive $40. I'll let you know how it all turns out after the install.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 03:41 AM   #29
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
where did you get the cpu? Is it mac specific? I did a quick search on ebay looks to be around $200. Do I need a new heat sink or reuse my current?
.
I got my CPU from Server Supply. It is not Mac specific, those
Mac Pros use generic Intel CPU's. For the single quad core
Mac Pro from 2009, you can buy either a W3690 or a X5690
as the top end CPU that can go in there. They are both six core,
3.46GHZ processors. Pretty much no difference between the two
except that the X series can use a little more RAM than the W series.
The price you are seeing sounds about the same as what I paid for
mine....totally worth it, and dead simple. I had never really done much of
anything as far as computer upgrades, and I upgraded my CPU in about 5
minutes.....lucky you have the single quad core model as you have no worries
about how to 'delid' the CPU, just pop it in and it will fit perfect.

Anyways, if you are interested, I did a blog post on it.

Digital cinema in the last frontier: Mac(Gyver) Pro Upgrade
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Old May 29th, 2016, 03:51 AM   #30
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

It's easy to get sucked in to upgrading everything :) I got
a PCI card that allowed me to install 2 SSD drives as a RAID 0
and that speed is just amazing. Add to that a RAM upgrade,
the CPU upgrade to the six core 3.46Ghz one, and a GPU upgrade
to the 980 Ti (6GB of VRAM) and my computer isn't even recognizable
it's so much faster. I also added in some spinning harddrives to back up
my speedy media 'work drive' an internal Blu Ray burner (because I have
tons of clients that still want disks) and it's a pretty good workhorse.....still
to this day. If you get interested in this, you should join this Facebook group,
they have one of the most knowledgable guys on the planet as far as upgrading
these machines.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Mac.Pro.Upgrade/
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