From Darkness To Light (Mac Pro 1.1 2006-2007)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Ninja Sanwan, May 17, 2015.

  1. Ninja Sanwan macrumors newbie

    Ninja Sanwan

    May 17, 2015
    Hi people. This is my very first post and I am in need of some serious help. Its about time I took my Mac Pro from out of the darkness and into the light of updating it.

    I bought my MacPro in 2006/2007 as a wedding gift for myself. I fell in LOVE with my Mac Pro immediately and began to hate and despise Windows.

    Since 2006 then the only thing I have ever updated is the hard drives in my Mac Pro.

    I look after my MacPro and every 6-8 months I have to give it a clean on the inside as the graphics card (ATI Radeon X1900 XT) is a SUPER dust freak and clogs up with dust, and as a result gets super noisy. The card has given me some serious problems over the years.

    My current specs stand as:

    MacPro 1.1 (2006-2007)
    OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)
    Processor: 2 x 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Graphics: ATI Radeon X1900 XT
    Memory: 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM 667 MHz
    Display: Apple 23" HD

    Yes I know what most of you may be thinking, "ONLY 2GB of RAM in 2015!!!???"

    I told you I need some serious help.

    I would like to do a major update of my Mac Pro, especially to get rid of the evil ATI Radeon X1900! The only problem is im not that much of a techie, so when people start talking about flashing cards etc, im completely lost.

    What I need is some advise from the experts on here on how I can update my Mac Pro, without it getting too technical. I can so simple things such as replace graphics cards, update memory, hard drives etc.

    My main aims to update my Mac Pro is to make it fast again, and being able to use Photoshop CS6 at a fast pace (at the moment its literally snail pace at times). Also being able to play Full HD 1080p movies.

    I would like to update:

    The graphics card (with something I can buy and just replace and it fully works with boot screens and all - ideally a card which also has a HDMI output and is super quite).

    Operating System - This one im completely lost on. I really like Snow Leopard but think I need to update to a newer OSX. What would be the latest OS X I can update too without it being too difficult.

    A new monitor - something that can play Full HD and is much larger then my current 23" Apple HD.

    The help of you experts would be very much appreciated.
  2. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    The first thing you need to do is understand when you hit the point of diminishing returns. You can get an 8 core 4,1 off ebay for about $800. That is what I paid for mine (4,1 8 core 2.26). That should be your upper limit on parts spend. A fully maxed out 1,1 will geekbench out at about 11K or so.

    The second thing is that to move beyond 10.6.8 you will have to learn a little about boot.efi. Follow the thread 2006/2007 Mac Pro (1,1/2,1) and OS X Yosemite here and you can upgrade to 10.10.3. It isn't hard, but it is tedious.

    My recommendations, in this order:
    RAM - hit ebay - 16GB (4x4Gb) can be had for $49.95, 32Gb $100.
    SSD - This will make your system seem like a new machine. I use a pair of OWC 3g Electra in a RAID0 - You have 2 unused SATAII ports on the logic board - you can install both of these underneath the DVD/Blu-Ray drive & keep your 4 drive bays free. These are $123 each over at OWC. These can be moved to a newer system, if you decide to get one.
    Video Card - Talk with MacVidCards - he can get you into the right card. The issue is that this will be linked with OS upgrades. Most of the newer cards need a later version of OSX. Anything you get can also be moved to a newer system, if you decide to go that route.

    You can also add SATA III cards & USB3 cards to your cMP. I added a Startech eSATA card (for my Qx2) and a USB3 card for any USB3 products I may need in the future.

    So, on the low end - 16Gb of ram (49.95), 1 240Gb SSD (123) - less than $200, it will feel like a new machine.

    If you get more adventurous:
    CPU upgrade - This isn't hard, but it is also tedious. A pair of Xeon 5365s can be had for about $150 and about an hour of your time.
  3. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    If you part with it, you'll fall in love with a 2009 4,1 and come out way ahead.hame about

    And skip SATA III SSD + controllers in favor of the blade PCIe-SSD w/ Lycom adapter.

    The 4,1 bare model is fine and $400-500, so if and once you have it up and running sell 2006 $150?

    You are then ready for 10.8.x and above and *choices* inn GPU _if_ you see the need, you may not, again become out ahead.

    4x2GB FBDIMM new Amazon $44
    256GB XP941 $259 (800-1100MB/sec bootable in any cMP)

    Last two years, end of Apple ATI 5770, drop in FBDIMM price but generally cheaper, better run cooler. And SSDs that make big difference even in SATA II mode.
  4. Ninja Sanwan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ninja Sanwan

    May 17, 2015
    Thank you ssgbryan for your advise, it is much appreciated.

    Just a few follow up questions (sorry if some of the questions sound like that of a newbie).

    1. Any pointers for buying RAM off eBay?
    2. Any advise on how to install OWC 3g Electra onto the SATAII ports? Or can the OWC 3g Electra be installed into one of the 4 hard drive bays?
    3. How can I get in touch with MacVidCards?
  5. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Amazon FBDIMMs
    Samsung 850 EVO 250GB $98 is cheap, fast even on SATA II. And I would definitely avoid OWC and SATA II tech they sell.
    XP941 256GB
    SM951 128GB

    The 128GB XP941 unit costs less, still faster than SATA III
    128GB is more than enough space for system (all data goes to standard hdd where speed is not critical).
    Newer blade style than even XP941 is this:
    Lycom DT-120
  6. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    Not a problem, we were all new once.

    1. I got my memory from 1-800-4-memory. Right now, they have 16Gb (4x4Gb) for 75$. Just look for someone who has been at this a while.

    2. IowaLynn is right about the Samsung. It is a better deal than the OWC. I got the 2 Electra SSDs a while back & hadn't been paying that much attention to SSDs since.

    But is not right about the memory from Amazon. You will want 4Gb sticks - you will see a real jump in performance when you crack the 16Gb barrier.

    2a. You will need to get a IDE/Molex 4-Pin to DUAL SATA 15-Pin Power Splitter Y Adapter Cable for power. They run $4.99 See:

    2b. You can install an SSD in any of the drive bays. You will need either a 2.5 - 3.5 adapter or a different drive sled.

    3. MacVidCards participates in the forum, he also has a website at There is sells a fine selection of flashed cards for the Mac Pro community.

    Glad I could help - and enjoy your Mac Pro.
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I know this suggestion will go unheeded, but you should at least consider a Mac Mini.

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