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Mac Pro upgrade advice 09 Jan 2014 20:42 #38594

I hope I'm posting in the appropriate location. If not, my apologies, I'm somewhat new here.

I am looking for some advice from someone who has experience in upgrading Mac Pros.

I have a MacPro (purchased Sept of 2006 -specs below) and I'm wondering if I could make it run almost as fast as a current "late 2013 iMac" with the proper graphics card and storage upgrades.

I'm also wondering if I can put in SSD drives, possibly even the boot drive.

I can not run FCPX using this Mac Pro with it's current Graphic Card. I run FCPX 10.1 on my 2009 iMac - which is fine for small projects but not nearly as fast as I would like, hence my question about upgrading the Mac Pro.

Any advice, including specific hardware recommendations) would be appreciated - including 'give it up and buy a new machine' !!

2 x 2.66 Ghz Dual-Core Xeon
12 GB 667 MHz-DDR2-FB-DIMM
ATI Radeon X1900 512 MB
L2 Cache 4mb per processor
Bus Speed 1.33 Ghz
4 Cores / 2 Processors

Thanks for any advice.

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 18:18 #39200

It still has some life left in it! Just depends on how much money/time you want to spend. The SSD will definitely bring new life into your MP, and FCP X 10.1 will take as much RAM as you can give it now. Below is what I would do in order…

1. Find two exact ATI Radeon 5770s on Ebay ~$200
2. Samsung/Crucial 500GB SSD ~$300
3. 8 GB RAM (two 4GB sticks) ~$200

You will have to do some slot configurations on the PCIe slot for the second 5770 (I think you have to use slots 1 and 4), but it should run great!

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 21:48 #39228

Oh, man... I have a similar question... well, same question, really, but with different parameters.

I have a Mid-2010 Mac Pro, 12-core, 24 GB of RAM, with an ATI Radeon HD 5770. I'd REALLY like to have things move a bit faster with my FCP and MOTION work (which is only about once a month, in terms of need). I've NEVER upgraded a Mac before and would really appreciate specific help... not unlike given to my compatriot who initially made the post. Oh, wait, I've changed out hard drives before, but never a graphics card.

Thanks so much for any advice.

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Last edit: by jkmusser.

Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 22:00 #39229

jkmusser what are your BruceX benchmarks looking like right now? My guess is that they are around ~60 seconds. Also, are you running Mavericks and FCP X 10.1? If not, definitely update to that.

If you got a second 5770, you could probably get under ~45 seconds with your setup. Maybe better. If you wanted to upgrade, you could get dual 7770s or a single 7950 (requires two power cables).

My advice would to get a second 5770 off of ebay. Open the side of the Mac and look at the card and in the System Report menu. I'm pretty sure it's a Sapphire Radeon 5570. Then look on ebay and find the matching card that looks the same and is the same model and brand. Once you get the card, it's pretty simple to install. There are quite a few videos on YouTube that shows how to install a second video card in a Mac Pro if you need a reference. If you can't find one, I'll be glad to make a video to show you.

Let me know if you have anymore questions!

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 22:05 #39230

Oh, wow, OrangeBeard, didn't even know of BruceX. I'll do THAT straight away. Then, I'll resolve your other questions. EXCELLENT help and direction. Thanks so much! I'll follow up when I get some of this done. Really appreciate it.

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 22:28 #39232

Undoubtedly, I'd done something wrong. It took 5 seconds. But, I'm still going to look into that second 5570. Genuinely, really appreciate this!

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Last edit: by jkmusser. Reason: spelling

Mac Pro upgrade advice 17 Jan 2014 22:54 #39234

my fault. I forgot to mention that the H.264 export will probably fail. it's a known issue. Try exporting as ProRes 422.

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 18 Jan 2014 04:02 #39241

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to reply. It is good to have options, going forward, and you've opened some doors that I will certainly consider. I'm going to run the recent benchmark first and then move forward.

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 26 Jan 2014 14:24 #39847

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There are some amazing developments recently that can really supercharge that 2006 Mac Pro, but it all depends on how much money and time you want to spend and your comfort level. It just might be cheaper to sell it to offset another more recent Mac Pro.

In the last 2 months:

I installed 10.9 Mavericks via Tiamo's wonderful EFI "hack". [Make sure you have a supported video card for Mavericks]. And since you already have another Mac that runs Mavericks, you can do a lot of the prep work on that machine.


I also upgraded the processors with a pair of Xeon X5355s for $50 which made it into an 8 core machine. [There is a lot of information on how to do this swap on the web and Youtube.]

Here is a nice guide I liked:


Getting Mavericks installed was the most important for me though.

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Last edit: by zzchu.

Mac Pro upgrade advice 20 Aug 2015 19:49 #67612

Would love some expert advice on this topic myself.

Got a MP 5.1 early 2009, 3.06 ghz 6 core Xeon 5675, 16GB ram, ATI Radeon HD 4870 512 MB running on OSX 10.10

How much can i max out, and with what, ram, GPU, or?
Will a 780Ti card be a great deal?

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Mac Pro upgrade advice 10 Sep 2015 22:46 #68310

AMD are best than nVidia GPUs for FCPX and Motion.

I have a 2009 Mac Pro upgraded with a 6 core X5650 processor running at 2,66 ghz (requires flashing the 5.1 firmware), 24 gb (upgrading the firmware to 5.1 version also allows to use DDR 3 at 1333 mhz), several hard drives and a 3gb Radeon 7950 from Gigabyte manufacturer.

The Radeon runs out of the box without doing anything. But I flashed mine to get boot screens. Everything works ok except the HDMI output.

I also had to remove a transistor to get the full PCI-E speed.

This card is overclocked to 900 mhz (it´s an "official" overclock done by Gigabyte) so it´s even a bit faster than the one sold by Sapphire for Mac.

I bought it second hand for only 105 €. It requires some work but it´s a wonderful GPU for FCPX.

The easiest AMD Radeon to flash are the 7950, 7970 and R9 280x.

A flashed GPU allows you to have boot screens, so yo can even sell your old card (that´s what I did with the Radeon 4870).

If you don´t want to flash anything you have two options to go the cheap way:
- Buy a PC card and keep your old Mac GPU (but with GPUs that need power from the motherboard you will need to swap them in order to have boot screens).

- Buy a flashed GPU in ebay. There are lots of sellers doing this. In Europe there´s a french guy who sells Radeon 7950 for Mac for a bit more tha 200 €.

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