Cross grading from Pro Mac 1.1 to Pro Mac 3.1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by marq5, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. marq5, Jan 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012

    marq5 macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012

    I just wanted to add a small contribution since I noticed that there are not any entries dealing with this specifically.

    The background: I bought a Pro Mac 1,1 when it came out in 2006. It has served me well for five years. Every year I added RAM, HDDS, added a Matrox breakout box etc., and even swapped out the processors last year to turn my quad core into an octe. I use my Mac Pro to edit and do video post and processing, I'm a freelancer.

    I figure five years for a machine is pretty good, but I don't like the whole concept of throwing a good tool away because 10% of it doesn't work anymore because its not up-to-date. I hate having to update my camera rig every three years and it's not just because of the money... anyway that's the background.

    Apple decided to discontinue FCP by releasing FCPX. I'm in the process of switching to Premiere Pro 5.5. It is possible to run it on the Pro Mac 1,1 but not a pleasure. It was clear to me that I needed to upgrade my graphics card to keep pace with things. I did some researching, asked colleagues etc. and finally bought a new NVIDIA 4000 for Mac, for 7000 EUR. Of course I discovered, while trying to install it, that it is not compatible with the Pro Mac 1,1, or Pro Mac 2,1. I must have overlooked that small detail while researching, and NVIDIA did not note this fact in any prominent place on their website. ... I don't want to go back and look.

    Since I didn't want to abandon all the stuff I've invested in my Pro Mac over the last five years, I planned to buy a used (not a 2,1) Pro Mac on Ebay. I nearly bought a used Pro Mac 4,1 for 1300 EUR but realized, just in time, that my RAM and Processors would not be compatible with it. The Pro Mac 4,1 and on looks just like the 1,1,2,1, and 3,1 from the outside, but has an entirely different architecture inside. (I know some of you reading this are just shaking your heads) So I found a Pro Mac 3,1 for 1200 EUR including shipping. To make an already long story a little shorter. The cross grade worked. I swapped out my two quad core chips with the one from the Pro Mac 3,1. I was able to use the heat-sink from the Pro Mac 1,1 even though it has only four copper risers instead of the 3,1s six (I did order a replacement 3,1 heat-sink and have swapped the 1,1 heat-sink out, but I believe that the 1,1 sink would have worked fine).

    I have since replaced the original dual core chips from my 1.1 back into the Pro Mac 1,1 and am using it as a back-up copying station.

    Happy End.

    Here are some of the problems I encountered along the way to help anyone doing this project who may make the same mistakes and are looking for troubleshooting ideas.

    On my first attempt to install the heat-sinks in the Pro Mac 3,1 I accidentally inserted the plug for the temperature sensor onto only one of the pins on the motherboard. When I started the Pro Mac the fans ran at full speed and would not slow down. I was afraid that there might be something in the 1,1 heat-sink thermostat that the 3,1 didn't like (that is the real reason why I ordered a replacement 3,1 heat-sink for 80 EUR). I discovered my mistake while preparing things for the replacement and did a test with the plug properly inserted. The Pro Mac 3,1 with one 1,1 heat-sink and one 3,1 heat-sink behaved normally. I'm sure that it is better to have both of the chips getting the same temperature treatment in the end, but it is still good to know that the older heat-sinks can work in a pinch.

    I had more trouble getting my Pro Mac 1,1 to work again properly. I inadvertently used the 2.8 GHZ chip that came in the Pro Mac 3,1 in the 1,1. I discovered that this in itself is not a good idea; the Pro Mac 1,1 would not boot, the keyboard was dead and the red CPU LED was lit on the motherboard. This happened after the second attempt to turn the Pro Mac 1,1 on, the first attempt was successful for some reason.

    Of course before discovering the error of the 2.8 GHZ chip, I added the second 2.66 GHZ chip to the empty chip bay. I'm not trying to advertise my stupidity, I just want to let any poor slob that might do this as well know that this will not work, but will not do any permanent damage to the Pro Mac apparently. The Pro Mac will simply not boot, nothing will work except for the white power LED at the power button and the two Red LEDs indicating CPU failure on the motherboard.

    OK that's it. Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to give something back for all the help I gleaned from the forum which kept me from not giving up.

  2. marq5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012
    getting the RAM in the right order

    I just wanted to add another experience from doing this project.

    While putting my Pro Mac 1,1 back together, I instinctively used the RAM distribution scheme of the Pro Mac 3,1 which I had just successfully got running.

    This was a mistake. The Pro Mac 1,1 has a different scheme from the Pro Mac 3,1. The Pro Mac 1,1 needs to have the RAM pair next to each other. The Pro Mac 3,1 wants the RAM divided symmetrically mirrored across the two risers. Be sure to look at the illustration on the side cover.

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