4,1 broke, still needing a 10.6.8 box

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mrxak, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. mrxak macrumors 68000

    Apr 16, 2004
    Drifting through space in a broken escape pod
    So, sadly, after 7 faithful years as my primary workhorse, the best, most reliable Mac I have ever owned, my Mac Pro 4,1 has died. Looks to be a CPU failure, or maybe the motherboard gave out. I was hoping it would last long enough that I could get a second gen nMP and then figure out solutions to its lack of Rosetta then, but WWDC was a massive disappointment and now I'm kind of screwed. There's no way I'm paying good money to get a first gen nMP when the hardware was already old 900+ days ago, and the sad fact is I still pretty much need a 10.6.8 box for a few things.

    So I think I'm getting a refurbished cMP. The question is, which one? I don't want to pick up a later one that can't boot from my 10.6.8 disk and run certain Rosetta'd apps. The obvious thing would be to get another 4,1 but I do worry a refurbished 4,1 might not last too much longer either, and I wouldn't mind a spec bump from a later cMP for only a little bit more money.

    It appears that I should aim for a 5,1 but I want to be absolutely certain there's no possibility of messing this up. Can somebody confirm for me there wasn't ever any firmware patches or anything that might force 10.7+ on some models? Also, which model would be best? I need a lot of RAM. 32+ GB is a must, and the option to upgrade to 64 GB would certainly be nice. I assume that won't be a problem. Also, where was the "sweet spot" on CPUs back in the day? What CPU configuration would provide the best bang for the buck? Last, but not least, what sort of GPUs are available under 10.6.8 for 5,1s?
  2. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
  3. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    You can easily install your 10.6.8 drive in a Mac Pro 5,1. Graphics cards ATI Radeon HD 5770 or HD 5870 provided.

    Only a new installation with the original 10.6.3 DVD does not work.

    Newer Nvidia graphics cards need 10.8.3 or 10.10.
  4. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2010
    You can run Snow Leopard Server in a VM as another option.

    (Last I heard, SL Server could still be purchased direct from Apple for $29 over the phone.)
  5. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Note there is no graphics acceleration for OS X on VMware. And an Audio hack is required for 10.6.8.
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    If I were you, I may buy the cheapest 4,1 as the repair parts.

    It's quite hard to kill a Xeon via a Mac Pro. Most likely is the logic board's fault. So, just get the new one, swap the CPU tray, and one of them should work fine. Then keep using it.

    The faulty one now become the spare parts. e.g. Spare GPU, PSU, RAM, or even logic board CPU (if you have time to find out which part is faulty).

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