buying a macpro 1.1 advise

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by orph, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. orph macrumors 65816


    Dec 12, 2005
    hi i found a mac pro 1.1 2.66GHz 2GB ram and a 7300 GT and 250GB-hd for sale and id like to ask some advice about it.
    i have a macbook pro (early 2008 2.6ghz 8600m GT) which i work with video on, but rendering video can be vary slow (with final cut 7) so id like to get something faster.

    id like to get this macpro but i have to know if it will be faster than my laptop for it to be practical, tho the idea of having 4 internal HD's and not burning my lap as well as the other benefits of a desktop are nice to (maybe even a bit quieter)

    so will a mac pro 1.1 2,66GHZ be faster than a macbook pro 2.6ghz (early 2008) at rendering video in final cut pro 7?

    and im interested in upgrading the GPU at some point to work with GPU accelerated video app's is this a possibility and is it relay expensive ?

    thanks for all help :)
  2. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    It'll be faster because is has twice the cores..

    The better question then is should you purchase it?

    With ML looking like it's not going to support the 32bit EFI a 1,1 would be not be one of my options.
  3. strwrsfrk macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Arlington, VA, USA
    It will be faster for threaded applications, like the video rendering you mentioned. But depending on your dedication to getting the latest-and-greatest OS (as mentioned above by GermanyChris), it may not be your best option.

    All in all, it boils down to several factors in my opinion:

    1) What is the price? These Mac Pro 1,1 models go for about $650 on eBay as specc'd; anything more than that, and I'd stay away.

    2) Do you want more RAM, and does it have to be Apple RAM? If so, these machines use the less-expensive-than-DDR2-800 DDR2-677 ECC RAM. If you don't mind using third-party RAM, I'd recommend this: Otherwise, I'd go with I've used the Amazon RAM in over 6 builds so far with zero problems.

    3) Do you want more processing power? If so, take a look at x5355s on eBay (2.66 Quads; two of them for 8 cores total). About $75/ea if you shop around: Some people get L5320s and "hack" them to run at 2.33GHz (up from 1.86 GHz), as seen here: Never done it myself, so I cannot make a recommendation one way or the other.

    4) Do you want to upgrade your graphics? I highly suggest getting a PC-variant AMD Radeon HD 5770 and flashing it. Directions can be found here: I like using XFX 5770s (ZNFC or ZHFC; both have worked for me, and ROMs are fairly easy to find). PC cards are about $100 on eBay. You'll need one of these, though, since the 7300GT doesn't use one:

    Good luck! If the price is right, and using Mountain Lion is not an absolute necessity, you may be betting a great deal on a computer with some real potential!
  4. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    But even the 667-Ram is horrendously expensive! 2GB is merely enough to run OSX properly, let alone do some serious video work. Therefore i'd factor in the cost for upgrading the Ram to at least 8GB when comparing the offers. In other words: If you watch out for a 1,1 MP, you should prefer the offerings with more Ram!

    My recommendation as well. With that upgrade you would be good for another 2-3 years easily. And imho it's a lot simpler to just replace the CPU (x5355) instead of having to put stickers on a fine-pitch pin grid to overclock slightly cheaper replacement CPU's.

    AFAIK there is no way to flash a card for the 1,1 due to the lack of a suitable 32bit EFI part for the firmware. However, the PC 5770 and 6870 run ootb with OSX 10.6.8 and higher. On the 1,1 you lose the boot menu by going this route (could keep the original graphic card in the machine when upgrading, for boot screen display/driving 2nd monitor) and the Apple DVD player/Steam games won't work anymore (fixed with ATY_Init.kext).

    So (too little) expensive FB-DIMM Ram is the biggest culprit on all MacPro machines up to the 3,1 (2008). Once you add the upgrades to the basic machine price (CPU's and Ram only, as the factory graphic card in any MP revision was only at least halfway decent on BTO configurations), you may come close to the cost of a 2009 already. If your budget is smaller, the 1,1 is a perfect entry machine, performancewise being on par with 2010 MBP's and upgradeable (CPU) to the performance level of a 2011 MBP, only with more expansion options...
  5. strwrsfrk macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Arlington, VA, USA
    The Amazon RAM I linked to is a bit less than $50 for 4GB. That's higher than DDR3 right now, sure, but it's not terrible. Add that to the 2GB already installed, and that's not bad. Plus, if the OP is doing video (which he mentioned that he is), I would not recommend anything less than 4GB (and the more the better).

    Not to argue, since we agree that the x5355s are the way to go, but the difference between two L5320s and two x5355s on eBay (at their best prices) are about $115. That's nothing to sneeze at if you're on a budget, especially since the $115 are really only netting you a slightly-easier install and 330 MHz.

    This is incorrect AFAIK. The Mac ROMs which you can find for the 5770s do not show the boot screen, granted, but will work with Steam games and DVD Player I believe. The ATY_Init.kext is an option too, of course, if you do not want to take the risk.

    All told, assuming the Pro listed here is $650, the costs to go to a 2.33GHz 8-core, add 4GB RAM, and throw in a new GPU only bring the total to about $835. I'd love to see a 2009 Pro for that price.
  6. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    We might be able to provide more advice if you told us the price of the MP you're looking at.

    I'm guessing on some of your specs, but according to geekbench (which isn't perfect) the MP is about 150% as powerful as the MBP you currently have.

    Link for MBP:

    Link for MP:

    Personally, i would base the decision on 2 factors:
    1) Do you want/need the latest version of OSX. I haven't seen the official specs yet (I don't think they're out).
    2) Cost. If it's cheap enough, i wouldn't hesitate
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Sell off one of your children and get a 3,1 or later.

    The 1,1 and 2,1 are sailing down the freeway right now, but just ahead they are looking at a giant sign that says "DEAD END".

    Not to mention the much better range of GPUs.

    There are people who could solve this with a EFI64 for these but sadly, there doesn't look to be enough interest to get the people to do it.

    The 5770 uses an EBC EFI. It will work just as well (or poorly) on any Mac.

    The 6870 uses an EFI64 one and is thus better off in 3,1 or later.
  8. fhenry macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2012
    i run my mp 1,1 with a 5850 , all game are running smooth and nice !!!
  9. DJenkins macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    It would have to be a pretty good price for it to be worth it. As others have said Apple are dropping support for them, and you'll need to consider repairs may be more expensive as a result later down the line.

    Having said that you can do some pretty cheap upgrades to have it kill your laptop performance wise. Adding an SSD and some extra RAM is an easy place to start. If you are getting serious about video editing the motherboards on these models are the easiest to create an internal hardware raid with.

    I've done all of the above on my 2,1 mac pro (processor upgraded from 1,1) and I'm still happy enough to use it right along side the latest 12 core macs at work. The only thing that bothers me is it's age as I think it's beginning to show... a bit of odd behavior lately!
  10. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm going to add a few things. That gpu is way behind the curve if you use anything that leverages the gpu. Many on here have seen that gpu model fail, as well as the X1900XT although I can't remember if that one was asssociated with the 1,1. As mentioned you'll lose support with mountain lion. With software, you may or may not lose support. Some things may still run on Lion yet have requirements which cannot be met by this machine in its current configuration such as an OpenCL compatible gpu (thinking of FCPX) or 64 bit efi. Adobe was dropping official support from the 32 bit efi machines with CS6 which just came out. I can't remember what kind of overall bandwidth can be handled by populating all internal drive bays in actual use, but the 250GB drive is very limited on capacity and overall speed compared to what is available today. Ram remains extremely expensive. If you're running Snow Leopard or Lion, 2GB will not make for a pleasant experience.

    I don't really recommend buying this machine and upgrading a bunch of parts. You'd be far better off just buying something like a 4,1 which can be found down to $1300 or so. Ram is cheap as hell. The gpu should be adequate if you migrate to FCPX later or require the use of a different program like after effects. I just don't think buying a 2006 machine with the intention to upgrade it is a good idea unless it's cheap as hell and in good working condition.
  11. GXPvince macrumors regular

    May 12, 2008
    Along the same subject, being a photographer and also using FCP Studio With my 1.1 would the 5355s be a considerable upgrade from a 5160?

    I have the 1900XT also that I would like to upgrade, would xfx5700 do the trick?

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