My first Apple - Mac Pro 1.1 - sensible upgrades?

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Hi folks.

I’ve finally done it, I’ve bought my first Apple computer.

Its an old one, a Mac Pro 1.1 2.66 dual-core with 3GB RAM, 3x 250GB hard drives and a clean install of OS X Lion 10.7.5. It was bought second hand from a business for just £100 - but should do everything I need it to do. Its partly to get a taste for Apple machines and partly to let me do a little bit of upgrading to understand the machines better.

You can see the original advert before I bought it on eBay - item number 181554463851.

  • Processors: It has two 2.66 GHz (5150) Dual-core Intel Xeon "Woodcrest" processors as standard but Apple originally offered optional 2.0 GHz (5130), 2.66 GHz or 3.0 GHz (5160) Dual-core or 3.0 GHz (X5365) Quad-core Intel Xeon "Clovertown" units. Though I undertand that changing processors is quite an involved process.
  • RAM: The machine has already been upgraded to some degree featuring 3GB DDR2 FB-DIMM RAM however I understand that Apple offered upgrades of up to 16GB
  • HDD: Standard spec is a single 250GB HDD, but this machine has already been upgraded to 3 x 250GB SATA HDD.
  • Graphics card: the machine features the standard NVidia GEForce 7300GT 256MB Graphics Card.
  • OS: The machine has just had a clean install of OS X Lion 10.7.5 – which I think is the most recent OS that Apple support for this machine.



I’m going to fit Bluetooth and Airport modules as well as cleaning the inside of the case and fan, etc. and was wondering if there are any other upgrades which I should consider at this stage – eg more RAM, another HDD any must-have software or even changing the processors? One of the benefits of an older machine is that many upgrade components are now available cheaply on eBay.

It will be used for around 12 hours a day for internet browsing, MS Office, iTunes (15k songs) as well as downloading and watching video in numerous formats.

Could anyone advise me if it would be sensible should fit/install anything else beyond the Bluetooth and Airport Extreme modules?
 

Slydude

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I used one of those machines for several years before it gave up the ghost.

Hard drive updates are dead simple with that machine and so is a memory upgrade. If I remember correctly you have to install memory sticks in pairs. You don't necessarily have to order the memory from Apple. I got mine from either Tiger Direct or Newegg. Be sure to tell them that you need fully buffered memory.
 
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You can whack up to 32GB of memory in your Mac Pro, so suggest going to at least 8GB. Not cheap alas and OWC and Crucial are recommended here. The 7300 graphics cards are beasts, about the best would be an ATI Radeon 4870/5770/5870 and yes Lion is as far as you can go without hacking your Mac Pro. Suggest you don't as it has been known to 'brick' them.

Apple released this model with 64bit architecture, then choked it with 32bit firmware for some reason.

Bluetooth and Airport cards can be the very devil to fit, and I tust you have small hands to get in there. Google Mac Pro 1.1 Airport as some models the antenna cables were wrongly marked.
 

Slydude

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Thanks for the reminders about those aspects Harry. I should have mentioned them.

@Johnsmith555 Where are you located? I think I still jave about 4 GB of memory lying around for that machine. I can't use it. My machine died a while ago.
 

dtravis7


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I have a friend in Oklahoma with one. He got it when they first came out. He has 16GB RAM and maybe 4 1TB drives. He never installed the Airport module but I have seen tutorials on the net and it looked Doable.

For my friend it still gets the job done. Only real issue like harry mentioned was the 32-Bit Firmware and thus the reason it will not run anything past Lion.

I agree with Harry on ATI card also if you want to dump more $$$ into it.
 

pigoo3

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I just installed an Airport card on a Mac Pro 1,1. The install was easy…but like Harry mentioned…labels on the wires can be wrong or missing. So then you have to do a little bit of "trial & error".

- Nick
 

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Bluetooth could be handy as all new Mac keyboards except one are BT.
 

Slydude

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I was a little twitchy about adding the Bluetooth and Airport modules. I can be a little clumsy at times. I was able to make use of one of those USB wifi dongles instead of adding the Airport card. It worked fine until I updated from 10.6.8 to 10.7.

Never bothered with Bluetooth though I wish I had.

@Johnsmith555 Looks like Nick snapped up the memory.
 
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Know what you mean Sly with my strangler's paws! My Apple Reseller has a lovely, small lass who does that sort of work. She can use her hand whereas I can only access with a finger or two.
 

Slydude

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Depends on the victim entirely Sly. When you comin' down...............

I thought folks Down Under were a bit more peace-loving than that? lol
 
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Thanks for the info guys!

Bit of an update – so far I’ve bought the following:

  • Mac Pro 1.1 2.66 dual-core with 3GB RAM, 3x 250GB hard drives and a clean install of OS X Lion 10.7.5. In good condition coming from an office environment (£103)
  • Apple MB112ZM\B Mouse brand new, unused in box - £15
  • Apple MB110B/A Keyboard – immaculate condition, boxed and barely used - £20

Cost so far: £138 ($222)

Essentials still to buy:

A monitor – though to start off with I will use an old monitor or my TV – just until I have the system working perfectly – therefore initial cost £0
A power cable – many choices from eBay - £10 ($16.10)

As far as the upgrades are concerned I think I’ve decided on the following:

  • Apple MB363Z/A Airport Extreme Wireless Upgrade Kit - network adapter - $14.99 + $4.99 (£12.43 total) shipping from Amazon USA (my girlfriend lives in the US so I’ll get it shipped to her)
  • Apple Bluetooth Module Upgrade Kit - Network adapter - Bluetooth 2.0 EDR - MA687ZM/A - $16.99 + $2.99 (£12.42 total) shipping from Amazon USA
  • 4x M2x3mm machine screws – may or may not come with the above kits so will buy some spare screws anyway to be safe - £1 ($1.61) from UK laptop spares
  • As mentioned – I will clean the inside of the casing including the fan – cost £0 ($0)
  • Also been told that it may be worth replacing the 3V Coin Cell Lithium PRAM/Clock Battery at this stage too – cost £3 ($4.82)

This gives me a total cost of £176.86 ($284.36)

I think the processors will meet my needs for now and there is 750GB of HDD space which is plenty – so that just leaves the RAM.

@slydude, sorry I didn’t reply earlier. I’m based in the UK I’m afraid, many thanks though.

I won’t get to examine the Mac Pro until next week (I have had to put it straight into storage as I am moving house) but the advert says that the machine is fitted with 3GB DDR2 FB-DIMM RAM. As the RAM is fitted in matching pairs and the default configuration shipped with a pair of 512 MB FB-DIMMs installed in the first and second slots – I would guess that the third and fourth slots are each fitted with 1GB RAM. This gives 3GB and leaves 4 slots free. As a cheap, quick, upgrade I could buy 4x 1gb RAM (4GB) for £18.97 ($30) delivered from here.

So... if this setup sounds sensible to everyone this would give me:

  • Mac Pro 1.1 2.66 dual-core running a clean OS X Lion 10.7.5
  • 7.24GB RAM
  • 750GB HDD
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • New-ish keyboard
  • New Mouse
  • All leads
For the grand total of £195.83 ($315). My original target was a reliable first Apple for sub-£200 so this looks like it might do the job.

Does anyone think I’m missing anything obvious?

I will take lots of pictures of the build and of the fitting of the upgrades and will post them to the forum.
 
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OP here: Just waiting for my long reply to be approved by the moderators (it had links in it), which has a full update on recent purchases and thanks you all for your help...

In the meantime, I'm having a real problem finding RAM here. The main/cheap sellers on eBay and amazon all have disclaimers saying the RAM they sell (which they list specifically as being suitable for Mac Pro 1.1s) is for Servers and Workstations only - not desktops. I'm really confused by this - is there a difference in the RAM units?

I'm looking to buy 4gb - either 4x1gb or 2x2gb and trying to get OEM quality at a bargain price - could anyone advise me on the right part numbers or even better a link to ebay.co.uk or amazon.co.uk?
 
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Had a stroke of luck here folks.

The desktop came advertised with 3gb ram, as shown on “about this mac” and when I opened it up I found 2x 512mb sticks and 2x Kingston 1gb sticks. However on the bottom riser I found 2x 4GB Crucial sticks!!! If I can get them to work that is a great result.

And then I managed to get 2x Crucial 1gb sticks for £7.99 off ebay.

If I can get it all to work then that is 13gb ram (an additional 10GB more than purchased) for the princely sum of £7.99.

Just started another thread on the best slots to fit these RAM modules into to get the computer to recognise them all.
 
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As a suggestion, remove both memory cages, and pop the 2 x 4GB Crucial modules in positions one and two as the matched pair. Place in Riser A and boot and see if all is well. If it runs on the 8GB I would leave it at that until you can get 2 more 4GB modules from Crucial. If there is no boot, try popping the cage in Riser B. As Mac Pro 1.1's are now +8 years of age, it is not unknown for the risers, and cages, to fail.

Do not think the 512MB worth taking up space, and the less said about Kingston gear in a Mac the better.
 
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Ok you want upgrade here is upgrade for you

1. go to Google search for a tool called Mac pro 2006-2007 firmware tool this will flash your firmware from version 1.1 and turn your mac pro into a 2.1 which will stabilize several issues that where known for the 1.1

2. upgrade the hard drives go to a 2TB all bays

3. go to amazon and purchase ram there you can get 16 gig's of ram for 89.99 and 32 gigs for 100.00 for the mac pro 1.1 and 2.1

4. Warning: If you decide to upgrade the super drive in that mac pro please remember it has to be ide if it is not ide and you upgrade to a sata cd drive bootcamp won't boot because its programed to boot from ide cd drive only on that model

5. installing windows: remove all other mac formatted hard drives leaving only the windows drive you want to use plugged in the 1.1 and 2.1 where known for efi boot errors while installing windows to get rid of the error you have to unplug all the mac drives and then connect only the windows drive install then shut down computer and plug all drives back in.

6. Get a copy of sfott if you don't want to use 10.6 or 10.7 as your only o.s (also known as sixty four on thirty two

AND MOST OF ALL HAVE FUN
 
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Some great info there guys - thank you very much. Thanks for the tip re: Kingston and for the firmware tool. will have a play with it over the next few days and will post progress (along with pics once my photobucket account starts working again).
 

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