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Next upgrade option for 2012 6-Core Mac Pro?

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Frank Lombardi
Next upgrade option for 2012 6-Core Mac Pro?
on Sep 27, 2015 at 4:43:13 pm

I am an amateur HD DSLR video maker, who has been getting more and more involved in larger video projects, some of which have begun to earn a few dollars.

I am working on a 2012 6-Core 3.33GHz Mac Pro, 32 GB RAM, with:
- Dedicated 500 GB SSD for OS 10.8.5
- Dedicated 2TB internal SATA for Media
- Dedicated 2TB internal SATA for Output
- Dedicated 250 GB SSD for Scratch
- Nvidia GTX 680 for Mac.

Using all Adobe Creative Cloud software, I can edit H.264 media directly from my 5D Mk III and GoPro with some stutter, but very smooth if transcoded to ProRes. No 4k just yet.

I am not sure where my biggest bottleneck is, probably not having some sort of RAID setup? I'd like to see my Cinema 4D and After Effects renders speed up. Would RAID help this?

Can anyone give me some suggestions that will keep me using this system to its max potential as I possibly move into 4k? ***MY BUDGET AT THIS POINT IS ABOUT $1000.***

I have thought of:
- Switching to a RAID setup (unsure what type / how)
- Adding another GTX 680 (or better?? ...I may need another power source?)
- Upgrading the CPU (Doesn't seem like good bang for buck)

Thank you. I value all your expert advice.
(Im also trying to get into the David Weiss webinar, but cannot contact David via email!)

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Rainer Wirth
Re: Next upgrade option for 2012 6-Core Mac Pro?
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:37:53 pm

Hi Frank,

1000 bucks including hard discs for a decent raid is not very much. A raid system within your environment gives you definetely more speed and more safety. In case of fast rendering your cpu, ram and a good graphic card are more crucial to this point.
To give you an advice: Spend more on the raid and get a thunderbolt raid whith raid level 6.



Rainer Wirth
Mac pro 8core
several raid systems

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Stephen Abbott
Re: Next upgrade option for 2012 6-Core Mac Pro?
on Nov 5, 2015 at 7:31:00 pm
Last Edited By Stephen Abbott on Nov 6, 2015 at 6:05:13 am


This is a Classic Mac Pro, right? You absolutely should get a RAID. For your budget, consider just doing an internal RAID on the SATA2 bus — either 3 or 4 drives. You can RAID1 or 0 them in software using AppleRAID, or spring for SoftRAID and get some more options.

Then, if you need more SATA connections beyond the two disc bays, get a PCI to SATA card. Macrumor's Mac Pro forum has some good info on what cards work well. Most are bootable. Some are surprisingly cheap!

These two upgrades should be easily possible under $1000, depending on the size of the RAID you'd like.

What editing software are you using? If it's FCPX or Premiere, consider a newer GPU, though the 680 is still pretty good, depending on what you're doing.

It's definitely not worth upgrading the CPUs. You can only put in the 3.46 GHz Xeon X5690s (your 3.33 GHz are X5680s, I believe), and the performance difference will be negligible.

Regarding the RAID internally: I've opted to go for a RAID0. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to backup the RAID0 every few hours to an external drive, and then I keep all the other files that are changing more rapidly on an SSD. I do run the risk of catastrophic failure on the media drives, but I can keep working on the external media backup and rebuild the RAID (probably minus one disk) overnight. (Of course, I also keep the media backed up more seriously, offsite.) I consider this worth it for the nice speed increase: you can expect roughly linear scaling of drive performance: my 4* WD SE 2TB drives give me a RAID0 that does 600MB/s sustained reads and writes, which is roughly 4* the single drive performance.

Edit: a little crazy, I know! As I get older I'm considering moving over to RAID5 from SoftRAID and leaving everything else as-is. Also, do note that you really need a hardware RAID controller to do things properly. This will almost certainly send you over $1000.

Stephen Abbott

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