2006 Mac Pro...how far can I push it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Patron_Saint, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Patron_Saint Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    I received one of these for free, in essentially new condition. It's still entirely stock, and specs are as follows:

    • Two 2.66GHz Dual Core Intel Xeon 5150 processors
    • 8.0GB (4x2.0GB) PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 ECC fully-buffered DIMM, supports up to 32.0GB
    • 250GB Serial ATA hard disk drive @ 7200RPM
    • DVD-RW/CD-RW SuperDrive-DL
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB GDDR2 memory
    • 2- Dual-link DVI ports
    • 5- USB ports
    • 2- FireWire 400 ports
    • 2- FireWire 800 ports
    • 2- Ethernet ports
    • 4- PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots (video card installed in one)
    It lacks Bluetooth and an AirPort Extreme card. Can either be added at this point?

    How far can I upgrade it, and what upgrades are recommended? Is this model even a viable option for use in 2016?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    That mac pro might have to go to the gym and do some pressing.
  3. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    What do you pay for electricity?

    That system would be a power hog compared to a much faster current Mac Mini.
  4. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    I'm off grid, so it's solar or a generator that will get run now and then regardless. It was free, so throwing a few bucks into upgrades isn't an issue for me, not is passing it on to someone else. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  5. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    I have an 8.5 Kw PV array on the roof at home, but I'd never consider powering up a 10 year old dual Xeon.

    I wouldn't even power one up in my lab at work, where I have 400 amps of 208 volt three phase power paid by a corporate central billing account where it's impossible to determine how much electricity I use. I won't waste my power (and air conditioning) budget running ten year old Xeons.

    As to "it was free", think about white elephants.
  6. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    If you throw in an SSD, it'll be perfectly fine for everyday use. You can get 256GB drives for under $200 these days.

    You could find the Wifi or Bluetooth cards online, although you'd get faster internet jacked in and adding BT doesn't necessarily add much given its outdated, unless you have 2.1 peripherals like mice or the like.
  7. cw48494 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    x5355 pair ($20) or x5365 for $65
    32gb 8x4gb DDR2 ECC ($25) or 8x8gb for $100 [look into correct ram]
    AC wifi/4.0 bluetooth card ($50)
    R9 280x/7970 ($100) which can be flashed for boot screens.
    256gb SSD ($50)

    Prices assuming you buy second-hand. Quite a capable machine still today.
  8. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    Say I do all that - what would I be looking at for power draw?
  9. fhturner macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2007
    Birmingham, AL & Atlanta, GA
    Good Lord, the guy wants to make use of a quality, used machine that didn't cost him anything, and he's okay w/ his electricity expenditure on it. Can you provide something constructive to the conversation, rather than trying to browbeat him into your acceptable use case for electricity??

    Patron_Saint, I would think about all of the upgrades that cw48494 listed, probably in this order:

    1. CPU upgrades to 8-core total
    2. SSD
    3. RAM [normally #2, but since you already have 8GB, you're in decent shape there...]
    4. GPU
    5. WiFi/BT

    With that GPU, I believe you can make use of the instructions in other threads on this forum to upgrade the OS past the normal 10.7 limitation (someone correct me if I'm wrong). And with 10.8.2+, you should be able to also consider a USB3 card (again, correct me), although an x1 card will be limited to around 250MB/s due to PCIe 1.0 on that machine.

    Enjoy your "new" beast!
  10. cw48494 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    600w-700w-ish on full load or 220w-ish idle? Not 100% certain on those numbers but should be fairly close.
  11. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    Check the specs in my signature to see what I did with my 2.66 quad from 2006.

    The machine is still very powerful and will perform most anything with ease.

    I push mine hard, and it never bogs down. Even when I've got 100% CPU usage across all cores, it still does everything as smoothly as if it wasn't doing anything.

    I usually have my machine running at or near 100% CPU / core utilization 24 hours a day. And I never observe any apparent performance issues.

    It does everything I throw at it smooth like butter.

    I've usually got somewhere around 5 VM servers running at minimum, along with about 20 video encoding projects running simultaneously (at all times - I'm always throwing more at it).

    The poor thing never gets a break, and it never feels sluggish.

    I keep using it for anything I need while it keeps running all the other tasks in the background.

    For gaming, perhaps the newer mini's or iMac machines might be a little faster. But I doubt they'd handle the 24 hour a day load that's always on my machine.

    It's put in an amazing 10 years of service, and still going strong.

    I say put it to work.
  12. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    That's not bad at all. Most gaming consoles draw in the 200w range when running, so for the few times I'll kick this thing on a week I doubt it'll be an issue on my system at all. I also won't be running it at full load - maybe some work in Rapidweaver and photoshop, along with media management.

    Thanks for the info everyone - much appreciated!
  13. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    If you don't pay attention to all the "Apple has lost it"-"The Mac Pro is dead you should switch asap"-"your mac is a relic"-"get an iPhone 7 it'll be faster"-"don't spend a dime on this thing"-"Linux here I come!" various posts and threads, you will soon find out that your antique Mac Pro is a tank, and with the proper upgrades it might even serve you well for a few more years. I can't believe I'm still using mine in 2016, but well I do. I'm doing music, with lots of VIs, EDM, film music in LPX/Pro Tools mostly, some video encoding, Photoshop, this thing doesn't break a sweat. Of course there are better machines out there, I know its limits, but it works just fine. CPU, SSD and ram would be my top priorities to make it more "current", so to speak :)
  14. darkmac79 macrumors newbie


    Apr 17, 2016
    The Planet Earth
    I know right. I have the same machine as you. I threw in a ssd and wifi and the 32 gigs at first. Then i threw in a Asus GTX 960 4gb graphics card. Gonna do the 8 core upgrade soon. To Aidenshaw, he wasn't worried about the electricity bill, he just wanted to know some upgrades he could do to it. A mac mini doesn't hold a candle to what a Mac Pro can do. I swear i get so sick of half the posts on here being so damn negative. I swear there is so much whining going on in this forum its gotten crazy.

    Lets help people on here get answers isn't that what it is supposed to be about, i was almost to the point of never coming back here again a few weeks ago, but I've decided to give this place a chance. This was my favorite mac site back in the day, and i hate what it has become. Yes i don't like direction the mac line has taken in recent years but i will even my current mac til it dies
  15. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    That's too bad for our planet.
  16. cw48494 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    He said he's off grid solar, I don't see how that's bad for our planet.
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    No, he said "I'm off grid, so it's solar or a generator that will get run now and then".

    If the generator produces carbon dioxide emissions, then "too bad for our planet".
  18. cw48494 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    Oh what a shame, I hope we don't die because of it :(
  19. rawweb macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2015
    Can a solar panel juice up an old Mac Pro in addition to an entire house? I'd be nervous...

  20. orph macrumors 65816


    Dec 12, 2005
    relay depends on what you want to do with your computer, SSD then gpu are the best options for normal use.

    i use a gtx 660 ^^ there cheep on ebay and a lot faster than your gpu.
    but if you dont need a fast gpu then there are lower power GPU's you can use that are fan less (nice plus) or have tiny quiet fans.

    cpu upgrade is nice but 2.66 to 3ghz is the max and that's not huge, nice but your getting a bigger boost from a SSD for normal use.
    4 cores to 8 cores is cool but how often do you max out 4 cores?
    but if you want to for fun then ^^ why not.

    usb3 pci card for normal users is a nice plus

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