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Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!) Audio Interfaces
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!)

Attached are some photos of things I thought may be requested.

Okay, So I have had this Mac Pro for approx 4 yrs, and it has served me well! My current interface at the time was FW so this was a powerful option for me.The years fly by quickly,and Im now looking in to new I/O options and an interface upgrade.

I want to get in to an expandable system that can be modified and supported for atleast the next 5 yrs or so.

What can i do to bring my mac in to 2019?

Ive considered PCIe card options such as RME RayDat and others

I'm really digging what Motu have going atm with AVB as well as the ADAT, seems very expandable at an affordable price point in the future.

Im basically requesting that someone here on the forum point me in the right direction. Do I need a new GPU, How should I go about adding more Disk space? Whats my best option for interface connectivity with best Latency/perfomance? Upgrade CPU?
Should I upgrade my RAM?

Im really clueless on where to even begin?

I'd like to basically wipe it clean, with a fresh OS install !

any info appreciated!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!)-pic1.jpg   Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!)-pic2.jpg   Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!)-pic3.jpg   Mac Pro 4.1 (Help me save!)-pic4.jpg  
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Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
BUMP!

Any Mac Pro users still on the cheesegrater?

Also, why is there a thunderbolt tab when thunderbolt isn't compatible with the old mac pros? is that just showing up due to the new IOS?


can you go USB-C?

What are my options!?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
You have a large number of questions to be answered. Take a look through this thread [ Mac Pro CPU upgrade - User experiences ] and you'll see many of the issues related to your situation.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
MediaGary

Thanks, I do realize Im asking a lot! I appreciate your response.

Maybe some users could chime in and recommend upgrades they have been successful with?


Is it possible to update the firmware to 5.1 w/o the original GPU? Most sources lead me to believe that its not, however a few sources i've read seem to say as long as its an apple supported GPU it will still work.

Any clarification on this would help immensely!

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
Is it possible to update the firmware to 5.1 w/o the original GPU? ...
Until the others arrive, I'll offer this:

I haven't had to do that specific upgrade, but I suspect that the prerequisite is a video card that has the EFI to display the grey boot selection screen. No matter what, since the risk is that your machine would get 'bricked' with the wrong non-native video card, it's a small investment to get something official.

On eBay the GT120 is about $30 shipped. If you're interested in going cheaper than that, send me a PM. I have a GT120 in a file cabinet that came with one of my two 2010 Mac Pro's.

This is a well-trodden path, so there are tremendous websites out there that are friendly and useful. Here's one: [ The Definitive Classic Mac Pro (2006-2012) Upgrade Guide ]
Also the [www.macrumors.com] website has plenty of good info. Once you're comfortable with the lingo and what your priorities are, the audio-specific stuff is a breeze.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
MediaGary

Thanks!


I very much appreciate those links!


Based on a personal opinion, would you spend the change on the old Mac, or would it be smarter to go ahead and migrate to a new ecosystem?

I've been very happy with it so far, the issue im having is expand-ability. Im ready to move in to some new options as far as my interfacing and conversion HW.

Ive been off the market for a while now, as my MR816x has been rock solid thus far, and has been great. Looking at the current options on the market, im realizing how much has changed. The options seem a lot further from each other in regards to connectivity... MOTU seems to be pushing towards AVB for example, Others Dante, Madi, and what I do know is that my FW steinberb is starting to feel like an antique looking through some of these new options...

Some current interfaces seem to still be implying that USB 2.0 will continue to be supported in to the future, others are pushing forward with TB, or both!


Im searching for advice because ive only ever used FW. Is USB 2.0 equivalent? Just kinda wondering what some others anticipate is around the corner as far as connectivity...
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
Based on a personal opinion, would you spend the change on the old Mac, or would it be smarter to go ahead and migrate to a new ecosystem?...
I've been very happy with it so far, the issue im having is expand-ability....
Im searching for advice because ive only ever used FW. Is USB 2.0 equivalent? ...
Okay, here I am about to have some lunch, so I'll pump out a few ideas:

You say you're ready to move to new audio interface options. You should identify the current pain points, and the desired growth areas to decide what fits. Port count, embedded effects DSP or not, improved latency, distance, incremental expansion, ... etc.

I think USB has a very long life ahead, and shouldn't be excluded. However, the lowest (non-RME USB) latency solutions will converge around Dante PCIe, Thunderbolt, and other narrower PCIe solutions like the Lynx offerings. It's sort of related that I was shopping for PCIe MADI solutions, and didn't get a warm feeling that anything other than the RME MADI would have a future.

As for your computer, it's a single-socket machine, so a $45 x5680 CPU is within 4% of the fastest CPU (x5690) that would work after your 5,1 firmware upgrade. You could readily grow the RAM to 48GB with 3x16GB DIMMs. A 4-DIMM solution takes some more selection care, but has been done for 64GB. $120 will get you 64GB with some shopping.

An SSD for your boot disk is a prerequisite for any modern computer. A 500GB SSD for boot is ~$70, and cloning/replacing the existing boot drive is a piece of cake. I have my boot SSD's directly on the SATA-2 port (3Gbits/sec). I use the other SATA-2 ports for large 3TB, and 6TB ($130) HDD's that backup the RAID-0 SSD's and RAID-0 HDD's. I chose RAID-0 for speed and capacity. To do that, I used a hardware RAID card called a NewerTech MaxPower RAID, that is no longer sold, but it's incredibly similar to the HighPoint RocketRAID 2721 which is supported in macOS. I suspect the 2722 is also supported, but some checking is necessary.

I'll stop now, because I'm dangerously close to drowning you in options, details and issues about which you've not directly asked. Take some time to think about an optimal machine for your needs, and how much you're willing to spend. That will set the tone for whatever additional inquiries and answers will pop up as others discover this thread.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
MediaGary



Thanks Greatly for taking the time to give me that info!


It answered basically what I needed.


Im really partial to Motu's new stuff for some reason... I need approx 24 in / 32 out, so im really liking the idea of AVB and such. Wondering how it would perform over USB w high track counts?

I realize its USB 2.0, Is there a sooped up USB Pcie option that would provide better latency. Really thats my big concern, what PCIE system is going be affordable and bring me in to something current with the option to add more I/o later if need be.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
... I need approx 24 in / 32 out,

I realize its USB 2.0, Is there a sooped up USB Pcie option that would provide better latency. Really thats my big concern, what PCIE system is going be affordable and bring me in to something current with the option to add more I/o later if need be.
Having brand preferences helps to focus the conversation. That's good.

The latency of USB 2.0 is all about the chips on the interface, and the drivers. RME did a unique thing to be king of the hill in the latency department. A few other brands have done well with "low" USB latency, but it only a few USB interfaces approach the latency of the PCIe/Thunderbolt implementations.

This thread [Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base ] has all the details on interface latency.

As for channel count, USB 2.0 is fine for 32 channels in/out. I do that every day in my Midas M32 mixer connected via USB to my 12-core DAW. The latency is not impressive (~12ms) so I have a dedicated soft-synth 6-core Mac Pro. The M32 does all the effects I need to assist the talent, so that part is managed. Someday there will be an extra $900 in my mad-money fund, and I'll buy a Lynx AES16e-50 PCIe for its low-latency connection to an AES50 port in my M32.

Okay, back to work.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
Any comments on how the AVB line from MOTU is holding up on MAC PRO 5.1 over USB?

Ive seen some FIREFACE 800's showing up around. For pretty darn cheap too? is it just a FW thing? how long will RME support these older products?
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
I am using both an 8M and a 16A with my Mac Pro 4.1 system with no problems. One of the units goes in using USB 2 and they are both attached via AVB. The simplest way to get 24 in and 32 out would be with two 16A's. If I remember, the USB 2 buss will support that much channel traffic. The only way to get faster and wider traffic is by using Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, I have seen no way to add Thunderbolt to either a 4.1 or 5.1 Mac Pro.

As for latency, I use an analog mixing console with bussing options for what's going in live so I have no latency issues. One of the perks for hanging on to a good analog mixing board.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
Mbrebes,

That's awesome news, thanks for chiming in.

Sounds like a very similar situation to mine, Ive' got a 24 ch console, but need the extra I/O for monitors and other routing.


Can you comment on the 16A quality in comparison to anything else you've had experience with? I love the AVB solution, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

But basically the USB.2 is bottleneck'd at 32 channels i/o?

That should be plenty, but you never know. Would the output channel count extend higher if you were to lower the simultaneous inputs? Example could I use 40 Outs and 20ins instead of 32/32?

Thanks for the feedback!!
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

I have a mid 2006 mac pro tower I use dante audio+ yamaha tf1.+ tio1608 no problems ever..... 1ms latency

btw the machine runs faster with windows 7 64 bit than it did with macOS lion. I had to install a preinstalled hard drive to get it running (mac's cd/dvd sata interface is non standard and the only piece of hardware you have to substitute with a sata interface card. no drivers were needed to be installed separately )

the usb 2.0 wasn't bottle necked as bad as the hard drive storage technology, but usb devices were a semi pro thing that wasn't really supposed to be used past a few channels like it did, and it never isolated things electrically quite well and the only way some get away with making a somewhat quality product is that they spent the time engineering power conditioning for the usb.

usb was a little bit better than firewire because of system timing of the hardware, but both suffer from electrical isolation and jitter issues.

never had the need to upgrade the ram. running reaper with izotope plugs and uad satilite usb3.0 box


1st upgrades: sata card (bootable) and ssd drive (swap /temp and /tmp was configured to run there), 1TB sata wd red drive, rocket/siig usb3.0 card.

2nd upgrades, but was moved to a different machine: (96K-196K tracking machine) LSI sas controller and two seagate 10 TB drives (12 gb/s throughput)
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
The updated firmware of 2010 Mac Pro machines will now allow a very "vanilla" Windows 10 installation. I've done the Win10 installation a couple of times now starting from a regular Win10 ISO CD. No Bootcamp. It's actually quite bizarre to go through it and see how 'normal' it is compared to a regular PC. In fact, I'm writing this now on a 2010 Mac Pro natively booted into Win10.

Also, thumbs up on the Dante solution if you can deal with the cost profile. A Dante PCIe card is ~$1000 but totally worth it for high channel counts. You can do 128 channels in-and-out at 96KHz if you like.

Be aware that the jitter referenced in regard to USB 2.0 is *not* audio clock jitter; it's data clock jitter. Since the audio data is packetized, the payload/samples go into a 1024-byte data frame with a header and footer with specific inter-frame spacing requirements, and is unloaded at one end or the other onto an audio interface or a device driver. All (fortunately very rare) errors are detected and corrected on-the-fly, but no re-transmissions are done in isochronous mode. If data clock jitter gets bad enough to cause 3 un-correctable errors, one end or the other gives up and stops the flow. Dante is a little different in that all of its data packets contain hardware clock timestamps of the Precision Time Protocol and benefits from all the normal data integrity and correction mechanisms native to Ethernet signalling.
Old 6 days ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
How does Dante compare with AVB?

Media Gary,

Does this mean TB is an option for you running on windows 10?

From what I have gathered, TB is working on Mac bootcampin' from Windows first. Could be wrong on that though.


Just so Im clear on this, running AVB directly in to my ethernet port isn't an option, correct?
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
How does Dante compare with AVB?

Media Gary,

Does this mean TB is an option for you running on windows 10?

From what I have gathered, TB is working on Mac bootcampin' from Windows first. Could be wrong on that though.


Just so Im clear on this, running AVB directly in to my ethernet port isn't an option, correct?
Well Dante is a hardware standard built specifically for a manufacturer to implement in their gear. A wide variety of equipment manufacturers use the dante audio a.k.a "AudioDante" from everything from recording to install sound applications. This is a hardware based standard like ADAT.


AVB is an ethernet transport protocol layer designed by Cisco systems about a decade ago, over time people have used the IEEE802.1 protocol to connects other servers to stream audio. There are only a few manufacturers that have developed gear with embedded servers to utilize this transmission protocol.


That was the long answer, the short answer is:

Dante is a hardware standard and AVB is a networking protocol that some use.

If they made thunderbolt to where it needs a driver, then they designed the computer incorrectly, because its a media change for a pcie lane to go external, which can be done exclusively in hardware without any drivers.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
Does this mean TB is an option for you running on windows 10? ... Just so Im clear on this, running AVB directly in to my ethernet port isn't an option, correct?
That guy on YouTube that demonstrated that the Titan Ridge Thunderbolt card will work in a classic Mac Pro that's running Win10 really has opened up some great possibilities. [ YouTube ]

While I have used Dante both in my studio and at remote sites, I don't have any direct experience with AVB. From the little I've read on the MOTU site, they have macOS support for direct Ethernet/AVB connections, stable only in ElCapitan 10.11 [ MOTU.com - Using AVB Ethernet to connect to a Mac ] and no Win10 support. If you connect your "last hop" of AVB into a computer via USB or Thunderbolt, then it's supported in both operating systems.

I'm glad that MOTU is so forthright about the limitations of direct AVB/Ethernet connectivity, but it's not very encouraging. This is similar to Apple's relationship with Nvidia GTX 10xx cards and macOS Mojave. We can be sure the vendor has a strong interest in selling more hardware compatible in the latest Apple macOS, but Apple continues to show disinterest in backward compatibility, and high-end professional video.

I have a very narrow use case for trying the Titan Ridge Thunderbolt solution: Right now all my slots are full (Video, RAID, USB3, UAD-2). I'd like to have a Lynx AES16e-50 PCIe card for my Midas M32, and perhaps one day add a second video card. Since I must keep the RAID and USB3 card, an external PCIe solution would be good. One choice is the Titan Ridge with a $400 AKiTiO Node Duo that gives two PCIe 2x slots, and a lesser-quality choice is the $400 StarTech box that gives two PCIe 1x slots but would work in both Win10 and macOS. In both of those solutions, I'd have to give up the UAD-2 card to install a 2nd video card (for color grading).
Old 2 days ago
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy T View Post
Mbrebes,

Can you comment on the 16A quality in comparison to anything else you've had experience with? I love the AVB solution, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

But basically the USB.2 is bottleneck'd at 32 channels i/o?

That should be plenty, but you never know. Would the output channel count extend higher if you were to lower the simultaneous inputs? Example could I use 40 Outs and 20ins instead of 32/32?

Thanks for the feedback!!
I tested the 16A against the Apogee Symphony and the older and newer Apollo interfaces by UA. My friend was running the test and was surprised that it sounded as good as the Apogee and newer Apollo. The older Apollo couldn't keep up.

It's been awhile but I am pretty sure that any limitation is for simultaneous audio streams, whether in or out. I don't use that many outs because I am doing my mixing in the box. I have used the 16A with an 8M to import from a 24 track machine. If/when you replace your Mac 4.1 with a newer computer you will have Thunderbolt 2 which removes the USB limitation. It is surprising what can be done with the newer Mac Mini's.

They do have USB 3 capable interfaces as well. USB 3 PCIe cards are available for the Macs.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
Gear Nut
 
Roy T's Avatar
Mbrebes,

Update! A fellow member was kind of enough to send me the proper GPU to flash up to 5.1, took care of that over the weekend. Big thanks to for that.

I've looked at the usb 3 option, as well as the usb C option (I think its an option )

Any way to use the mini with the Big Mac? Basically using the mini's TB?

Thanks for the info, user experiences are open and appreciated, can you comment on AVB?
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