Building my gaming Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by neckarb, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. neckarb macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Hey everyone,
    I just finished a project of mine, I decided to build a gaming PC but I wanted it to be a Mac, so I bought a cheap Mac Pro on ebay then added to it over a month or so, I wanted to spend about the same price as a basic Mac Pro from Apple, £2,000 so here's what I bought


    - Dual 2.66 Ghz Mac Pro 2006 1,1
    - 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM 667mhz RAM
    - 250GB HDD
    - Superdrive

    This is what I've now ended up with after my upgrades:

    - 2 x Quad Xeon X5355's @2.66 overclocked to @3.2ghz - 1.313v FSB@1600mhz
    - 12GB DDR2 FB-DIMM Kingston RAM @800Mhz
    - Sapphire 5870 1GB + XFX 5970 2GB Crossfirex 850/1200
    - SATA III 6GB/s + USB 3.0 Asus U3S6
    - Bluetooth 2.1 + Airport 802.11n
    - 2 x 64GB OCZ Vertex 2E SSD's RAID 0 - Mac OS X 10.6.4
    - 60GB Crucial C300 6GB/s - Windows 7 Pro x64
    - 1.5TB WD Green - Mac
    - 1.0TB WD Green - NTFS
    - Liteon Blu-Ray R/W x12
    - Apple 1000w PSU
    - 5.25" 450 PSU

    All together I spent £2,300 so I went a tiny bit over budget but I did my best not to compromise.

    The only other thing I'm thinking of buying is swapping my Asus U3S6 for a dedicated Nvidia Physx card.

    Obviously some of my stuff only works in Windows but as I'm not really playing games in OSX that's fine for me.

    I'm looking for suggestions to improve my setup so any are welcome. Except those that say "duhhhh haha buy a PC and sell your Mac" because those really are irritating.
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    As much as you want a dedicated nVidia PhysX card, it won't work with those ATI GPUs in there. nVidia has their drivers set to prevent PhysX on any machine with non-nVidia GPUs.

    Also, an HD5970 is a waste in OS X as OS X does not do CrossFireX at all. Also, it might also be wasteful in Windows. This is because a true dual HD 5870 setup is much better and stronger than a HD5970; the HD5970 doesn't have the full capabilities the dual HD5870 setup has.

    Also, great USB3 and SATA 6Gb/s card choice. Asus is the best there.

    As per the SSDs, DAAAAYUUUUMMMM!!!
  3. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    1. True they did so you need this:
    2. True again, but as I said I don't play games in OSX so not a problem for me.
    3. I'm loving my Asus card and it only cost me £29!
    4. Thanks! :)
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    1. Oh wow... I now have an excuse to do away my PCIe Asus WLAN card and put in there a GTX 460 for PhysX.

    2. Ah, that is true, but still the dual HD5870 is much better in my opinion

    3. £29? That's a bit over the Newegg price ($24.00), but still cheap.

    4. No problem.
  5. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    1. Yeah it definately looks good

    2. I always like overkill when it comes to graphics card and it seems that trifire is the sweetspot when it comes to 5870's so with my overclocked 5970 I get pretty much all the performance of three but only using two three slots and less power..

    3. Yeah that was amazon I did see it cheaper else where but I had a voucher

  6. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Could you post your temps with this setup? Excuse me off-topic :)
  7. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Yeah sure:

    CPU's: Idle - 43-47 Degrees, Full load 68-70 Degrees
    RAM - Idle 60 Degrees, Full Load - About 70 aswell.

    5870 - Idle 40 Degrees, Full Load 68-72 Degrees
    5970 - Idle 55ish Degrees, Full Load 70ish+ Can get hot!

    Please bare in mind I've set my fans to 1250 rpm, which is the highest I was happy to go without being able to hear it over anything. I wanted to make sure it was at least half the noise of a 360 lol
  8. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    That's sorta high at 1250rpm... with respect to the CPU. As per the GPUs, fine on all counts. Remember, the HD5970 is a ~225W TDP rated GPU.
  9. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Yeah I know, these temperatures are in windows and for some reason they all seem about 15-20 degrees cooler in OSX....? my 5970 is connected to a 450W PSU and it's the only thing on there.

    Also my RAM isnt that hot, just checked.. sorry it's like 40degrees idle.
  10. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    OS X has better temperature control algorithms because of the whole integrated hardware+software solution Apple is known for. Windows has too be able to manage over 1,000,000 (perhaps even more) possible hardware combinations.
  11. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Good point, everythings different in OSX, my CPUs are at about 27-32 Degrees idle and maybe 50-55 full load..
  12. w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    One thing we can never have enough of in here are people that play games on their Mac Pros. Nice setup!
  13. iCantwait macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Post the increase in your electricity bill at the end of the month too :p
  14. neckarb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Thanks! It winds me up so much when people say "Macs can't play games" or if someone says what should I do to play games on my Mac? and people reply "buy a PC and sell your Mac" My Mac's got game and it's a good mac! Winwin.

    Lol, yeaaah... I'm not planning on looking at that too closely.
  15. TeamSiX macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    your my hero

    I've been roaming the internet for hours and hours looking for ways to set up a Mac Pro for gaming in preparation for Black Ops. Its difficult to find info, especially for a noob like me. Apple recently gave me a MBP 2.8. (long story) and its of course major fail for FPS. So, I want to sell it and do what you did. Could I essentially do the same thing you did, but just make modifications to the base model Mac Pro - like upgrading the video card the same way. I'm hesitant to start from scratch like you since I really don't know what I'm doing. Anyway I'd appreciate the advice. Mac gamers unite!
  16. pfjellman macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2010
    i bought a mac pro for about $1400 USD and then spent another $400 on it and was able to put in an SSD boot drive (amazing performance!), an additional 6GB of RAM (it has 8 now), 3TB of storage, and a Radeon HD 4870 1GB video card. So for $2000 USD I have a machine that can play most games on max settings, and it's still a super fast OS X rig. i only use windows for games like crysis and black ops, etc.

    i'm definitely very happy with the setup, and i feel like i would have paid closer to $4k for a similar setup direct from Apple. i didn't upgrade the procs or add in USB 3 and Blu-Ray like the OP did (none of that interests me at all, except maybe a proc upgrade in the future), but you certainly could if you were so inclined.
  17. TeamSiX macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    I'm also wondering what you kept after changing so much. What was the point in starting with the Mac Pro if none of the components are there? Obviously you didn't buy it for the case so what don't I know?
  18. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    There are days I speak well of hackintosh and days I don't. Today is one of those days I guess.

    ..Seriously. In 2 months you can get a Sandy Bridge CPU @ 5GHz and AMD Radeon 6970 rig for HALF of that money. And a month or two later you would probably be able to run OSX on it.

    I get people flashing cards, even people buying PC cards for Windows only. It's a great way to expand the use of your current Mac Pro machine.

    But making a frankenmac from scratch for £2000 like that, only to run games like.... crysis and black ops? (game engines from 2006?) on the side of OSX? is beyond me. You would have maxed out those games if you added 2GB ram and ATI 5870 to that original rig.
  19. karsten macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2010

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