1. blando3's Avatar
    I'm debating whether to invest money into my old 2008 Mac Pro 3.1, or to drop a big chunk of $$$ on a new Mac Pro. I edit fairly large projects in 1080, but hope to utilize 4K soon. As it is now, my Mac Pro starts getting render errors, memory errors, and long lag times when working with large projects.

    My current Mac has the following specs:

    2008 Mac Pro 3.1, 2.8GHZ Dual Quad-Core Processor, 12mb L2 Cache, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT. OS 10.6.8

    What about installing 2 internal SSDs for the boot drive and storage? And update the video card to something with 1GB VRAM instead of 512MB?
    Will this do the trick for 4K?

    Or should I bite the bullet and just get on board the new-Mac Pro train?
    08-21-2014 08:53 PM
  2. Trees's Avatar
    Sorry for the long post. Its a bit rambling as I wrote it incrementally while researching the various upgrade options. Your current system is still quite nicely configured, although I'd like to have a new Mac Pro too

    For the SSDs, you could get an idea on the cost here OWC Mercury Electra 3G Solid State Drive (SSD) Solutions - High Performance, Reliability, and Endurance This site has a selector for various Mac models and years. I picked your model generation for the initial link SSD Upgrades by Model of Mac - Select Your Mac Model & Upgrade Today!

    For 2 x SSDs, you could spend as little as $100, or over $1,200; depending upon SSD capacity.

    Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.8 (2008) Specs (Early 2008, BTO/CTO, MacPro3,1, A1186, 2180) @ EveryMac.com indicates you could go up to 64GB RAM. Going from the current 16 to 32 would be a nice boost and put that much more working set in RAM rather than having to swap in/out to slower spinning disk. It would likely keep more of your render in RAM as well, but I'm not a graphics person, so could be off on this. But, 64GB is "up there" at over $2,000 per Mac Pro Memory up to 128GB with Lifetime Warranty @ OWC

    For the video card, this link has some helpful info. Looks like some PCI Express 2.0 based cards are available for upgrade options.
    Mac Pro Default Video Cards & Video Card Upgrades @ EveryMac.com
    Amazon has what looks like a compatible card for ~ $600.

    What would concern me more is the memory errors you are seeing. That could indicate faulty RAM module(s). I've had this happen to me on a 2011 MacBook Pro. The failed module wasn't the original Apple RAM, but an Apple certified module. I was having all sorts of lag, random app exceptions, and other intermittent problems until I replace the RAM.

    Also, if your app(s) are trying to access bad memory ranges in the RAM, that could be causing your system to work harder for error correcting and remapping/managing memory accesses to good RAM modules. It may also mean that you have less than 16GB RAM available.

    With the rough pricing from above, you could spend up to $3800 for upgrades. For comparison, I built a new Mac Pro Configure - Apple Store (U.S.) for about the same with all default options minus increasing RAM from 16 to 32GB. Maxing out the RAM, SSD Storage, and with Dual 6GB RAM GPUs; the cost went up to ~ $6,100.
    08-21-2014 10:04 PM
  3. blando3's Avatar
    Thanks for the info. A $3800 upgrade doesn't make sense in my opinion. This computer is worth about $400. But if I can spend $1000 or so then I'm game for trying this. I think a 250 GB SSD boot drive would be a good start. Then maybe another internal SSD for storing media.

    I do a lot of outputting files from FCP7 to Compressor. It takes about 2 hours to create a DVD file through compressor of a 35 minute timeline. Will a video card with more VRAM help speed up my exporting and rendering time?
    08-22-2014 08:46 AM
  4. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    It doesn't hurt to try the SSD option in your existing machine. Worst case it doesn't improve things much and you end up getting the new Mac Pro. The SSD could ten be put in a drive enclosure and access via USB or thunderbolt.
    08-22-2014 09:38 AM
  5. Stan Kurtz's Avatar
    If you can afford it, the new mac pro is three times faster in just about every way and I had a full blown out late 2009. I use that as well. I'm rendering right now on the new mac and I networked my old one to the new one and I have very little down time at all now. I can do two things at once. I LOVE the Pegasus2 R4 for the attached drives to the new Mac. I was getting 80 mbs for speed tests on my old system (Blackmagic speedtest) and I get 800mbs on my Pegasus. Holly cow! A 10X upgrade. Totally surprised by that. I can render something huge on the new system, injest new data from external drives into the Pegasus and edit with my old system networked through the new system all at once without hiccups. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend going for it. I went all out and spent about 8,000 and even if you spend half that you'll be very happy. The Pegasus2 R4 I bought the apple without drives (I think it was 699?) and put four WD Green drives in from Newegg, this is what I've been using for our older mac, set it for Raid 5 and they are amazing in the Pegasus and you save a lot of money buying your own drives. A 6TB Raid 5 system with 800mbs read and write for under 1,000. Amazing. my two cents.
    08-22-2014 12:39 PM
  6. blando3's Avatar
    That's a lot more than 2 cents, ha ha! No, but thanks for the info. The Pegasus isn't SSD, right? SSDs are about 400MB/s which isn't so bad I guess. I'm not super concerned about the RAID configuration. I can back files up on my own.

    Can you tell me the specs of the Mac Pro you bought? CPU, RAM, storage, GPU, etc? I'm trying to figure out what I should get. What version of Final Cut are you running? I love Final Cut Studio and am afraid to let go of it.
    Thanks again,
    08-22-2014 03:20 PM

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