View Full Version : Upgrade Hack or Kill? MacPro 1,1 2006

07-04-2012, 12:16 PM
I have a 2006 MacPro 1,1 8way, 8Gb RAM.

It has been a real workhorse for me.

I recently upgraded the video card to the ATI 5870 so I could use FCX, but it's feeling long in the tooth....

I get beach balls before the eyes whenever I do anything in LR3. 100,000 files in the catalog, catalog on the boot drive. I have gone back to just using bridge and/or finder when I can't schedule things to multi-task

I am casting about trying to find a way forward and not coming up with much.

If I upgrade right now I am upgrading into a weird spot in the product cycle. Apple just upgraded the MacPro but not to the greatest processors available, have to feel there is more on the way. I am lucky enough at the moment to have the cash on hand to get a decent new MacPro - but will not like it if Apple come out with something better in 2013.

I could do more to the machine - get an SSD hard drive for the boot, plug in more RAM - but then I see notes here indicating the MacPro 1,1 will only boot in 32 bit... So is there any point???

I could find a tech in SF that could use what I have to create a Hackintosh Beast - but could use a contact...

Would appreciate thoughts or just pointing to resources where I can read/learn more...

Have a great Fireworks Day!

07-04-2012, 05:55 PM
There are a number of good guys here that can speak to your problem much better than me. But...

You mentioned an SSD. What is your current drive/s or drive setup any RAID's, external? That will help the others a lot. If it's the original drive then a fast new drive might be all. ;)

Someone should be around with suggestions within a few days at most. The 4th might delay that.

07-04-2012, 06:06 PM
There will always be something new within a year (or a month) of when you buy any tech.

SSD's are freakin awesome at least for what I do. How you deploy an SSD is important. If you are waiting on slow hard drives use the SSD for a work drive. If you are waiting on a slow processor then an SSD won't help you where it counts. Using it as a boot/apps drive dramatically decreases app launch times and boot/shutdown times.

More ram is always good.

07-05-2012, 08:58 AM
The slowest thing on your computer is data access for that 100000 image LR database. Put it on a RAID.

An SSD for the boot drive just won't make that much of a difference when the huge database is what is slowing things down. Sure, it will speed up some of the small tasks, personally I don't boot often enough to enjoy speeding that up. Swap files gain quite a bit.

07-05-2012, 10:59 PM
Thanks so much for the feedback guys.

I do have an eSATA RAID array. Courtesy of MacGurus of course, an 10Tb in a 5 Bay set up as one 2TB Mirrored Raid Array for Workfiles and 6Tb of Striped RAID Archive space. These are 2TB drives.

I have had the LRCatalog on the system boot drive, and the Archive - maybe I will try it on the Mirrored Raid. I set that up because that is where I store anything that gets worked on in Photoshop (and I have dedicated internal scratch drive for photoshop)

Is the MacPro a problem,? I am very leery of the fact that it is older architecture. Is it really 32 bit? How can I tell?

Last night after fireworks was a classic problem - about 500 shots from the Canon 5DMkIII and about 30 Video clips. Of course I expect to be able to import into FCX and LR at the same time, and while I am waiting, fire up PS to work on something else while waiting for the imports to end.

The machine basically ground to a halt. I left it overnight. When I came back the next morning to scan through the images it was taking 30+ seconds simply to go from shot to shot in Loupe mode....

I'm ready to blow this thing up - but I can't help feeling the config is a big part of the issue here. I don't mind paying out for an SSD as I can always transfer that to anything I buy subsequently, it seems more RAM might just be throwing money at the problem.

And this doesn't seem like a big catalog to me. I shoot far far far less than most of the other photographers I know....


07-05-2012, 11:24 PM
What does it mean when it says on the MacPro RAM page that the RAM for a 2006 MacPro 1,1 will only function in 32 bit. I just checked. I have a 2 x 3GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor. According to the Apple Support Pages this is a 64bit processor.

07-06-2012, 08:17 AM
......6Tb of Striped RAID Archive space.....

Go easy on him, Rick.

(Chris, striped or mirrored raid is not dependable storage.. if one drive dies you lose everything on both, Rick has been known to write multiple LONG posts about it...)

07-06-2012, 10:24 AM
Not the easiest thing to answer about 64 bit, as there are levels.....the CPUs, the OS, and the kernel (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4024814?start=0&tstart=0). And don't forget limitations for the next OS, right around the corner....

Based on this, the quick answer would be to upgrade to a new(er) Mac.

Seems like it would be wise to figure out where the lag is: CPU, lack of RAM (or allocation of RAM perhaps based on 32 bit limitations), drive performance, or something else. Have you been watching Activity Monitor to see where the bottleneck might be?

07-06-2012, 10:30 AM
Oh, and mirrors are usually safe, though there are exceptions to this. Mostly they help protect against HD failure, but don't count as a backup, as the instant anything happens to your data (deleted, user error, file corruption, etc.) it happens to both HDs. Limited value, unless you need 24/7 availability.

Nothing wrong with using a Stripe for storage, as long you have at least one more backup of everything. Hard drives fail, and in a Stripe, any single failure means the loss of all data, so the more drives in the stripe, the worse the odds that a single drive failure will cause catastrophic loss of data.

Statistically, a single HD is safer than a Stripe, but still needs at least one backup.

07-06-2012, 10:58 AM
Biggest difference between 32 bit kernel and 64 bit kernel is how much memory can be utilized. If I am not mistaken you can only give Photoshop or LR 3GB of memory in 32 bit, while you can dedicate, and use, about all you can install in 64 bit. Leaving room for OS and other applications, of course.

Only 2009 and newer Macs are able to boot into 64 bit kernel. 64 bit kernel is referring to a 64 bit operating system. This is separate from a 64 bit architecture which is your hardware. 64 bit architecture means that there are 64 bit wide connection to the ram bus. Twice as many connections as 32 bit architecture. A MacPro tower that is capable of booting 64 bit kernel can also boot 32 bit kernel by holding the 3 and 2 keys during startup. Only 2009 and newer Macs have the 64 bit EFI firmware code on them that enables 64 bit kernel. Unfortunately there is no way, at least that I know of, to change older revision EFI to the newer. I think Apple chooses to not go down that road as it would cause all sorts of train wrecks in the doing. firmware updates always cause a stinky pile of support problems.

The short answer is that your MacPro1,1 to MacPro3,1 cannot boot 64 bit and this is a bit of a chokepoint on performance in apps like Photoshop or Lightroom since the amount of dedicated RAM is limited.


The performance problems you are describing sound like slow storage access to me. I would agree that putting the LR catalog on an SSD will speed up the catalog, and you will get a little boost in performance with the OS/apps on an SSD as well.

Your fast RAID0 is fine, as long as it really is fast and that it has a proper backup. I don't have any problem with your setup except maybe the mirrors, which I consider pretty much useless in real world use. I would rather have a backup than a mirror, or if important enough, 2 backups.

Test the actual speed of your RAID and your drives using a utility for that purpose. Get some numbers to talk about and post them here. AJA System Speed Test is a good freebie. It will at least quantify sequential transfer speeds and give us something to go on. All you need post is drive config and speed - something like this:

boot drive: single Seagate ST3100M001
write 64 MB/sec
read 58 MB/sec

DATA RAID0: 2 x ST3100M001
write 102 MB/sec
read 110 MB/sec


07-06-2012, 12:51 PM
Really quickly,

Thanks for the pointers - I will use the AJA utility and report back.

I have two RAID arrays, one in San Francisco and one in Auburn CA approx 120 miles away, and I have archives. I keep both in sync ( a pain )

The mirror is used for files I am working on right now, the Striped is for Archive space. Everything goes to the archive first of all, backed up & gets copied to the other location. Archive files usually get looked at for a week or a month or two then they just sit there, occupying space...

Files I want to work on get exported to the mirror Workfile drive, and also backed up at the other location. I hope they are fast - I bought them from MacGurus for that reason :)

I have had a couple of scares, but always been able to find a clean file somewhere...

I'm sure I could do this more elegantly, but the #1 problem for me is performance. At the moment I feel I am backed up, but I have a massively redundant pile of metal and silicon that just can't get the job done at the moment... performance performance performance...