Help me understand this Mac Pro please

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacinJosh, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #1
    I just came back from a 4-hour gruelling trip to pick what I consider a fairly good deal. I came across a Mac Pro for 380USD. All legit. I bought from a company that sold it as a G5. They in turn had apparently bought it along with a bunch of other G5 PowerMacs from a company that had bought a lump of them from an auction. They had no clue about Macs whatsoever! I even mentioned that it's an intel, not G5. He didn't understand, lol. He just said buy it now he'll drop it from $420. Needless to say, I did. I had to drive a fair distance to get it but I guess it's worth it. What do you guys think?

    I tested it upon purchase. Booted to my external drive I brought along. I knew before going in that it was an A1186. That much I managed to get out of the salesman. What I didn't expect was to see 4x7300GT (four) in it. Wtf??? What is that for? It has 8xDVI connectors on the back! It's a Quad Core 3.0Ghz machine with 4GB of RAM. Other markings are EMC 2113.

    I tried searching but couldn't find info. I need to know the following things:

    1. What are 4xGfx cards needed for? Will I get anything out of them in gaming, video editing, Aperture, etc?

    2. Where can I find info on possible upgrades? What's highest GPU I can put in? What's the fastest CPU I can put in?

    3. Should I keep it or sell it? I always wanted a Mac Pro. I was looking to hold out for a new Mini but I'm torn now...

    4. How hard is it to put in a 2.5" SSD? I have it and want to put it in.

    Sorry for the questions but I'm too chuffed to bother :)

    Joshua.
     
  2. AWallen90 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #2
    It was probably just bought that way. Adding 3 more cards from the mac store would have been 450 total when built to order. Upgrading the processor was probably around a grand.

    Adding an ssd is just like any other HDD, you should buy a mounting bracket so you don't bash it around, the bracket goes in one of the 3.5 slots.

    My view/opinion is throw an SSD in there to boot from, along with a nice HDD to store stuff on and just run the computer how it is.

    Your other option is to drop a bunch into it, which would bring the geekbench up to around 10-12k, should be running 6500-7000ish now. Dropping all that money into it and you have a machine that is about the same quickness and the new MBPs. You got a great deal on this machine, but don't (IMO) start putting a bunch into it and get a machine that is only marginally faster with 1-2k invested.

    Sorry if this didn't make bunch if any sense, past my bed time for sure.
     
  3. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
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    Finland
    #3
    Thanks mate. I appreciate and understand your point.

    Alarming now is that now that I started to play around with it, to install the OS. It's Kernel Panicked twice within 30mins. Should I be concerned? Could be a hardware failure?

    I took out the Ram and re-seated everything and booted to my other drive. So far so good. Man, that RAM was scorching hot and huge heatsinks on it! Also, do I really need all the Graphics?
     
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #4
    You got a ridiculous deal on that machine. The extra graphics cards were probably used to connect extra displays, but if you don't need more than two displays, ditch three of them. You can probably sell them on eBay for at least a bit. I believe you could put the apple 5770 or 5870 in it for the GPU, and SSD install is easy.
     
  5. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
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    Finland
    #5
    Thanks!

    Ok, looks like there was an issue with one of the Gfx cards in slot 1. It didn't work at all. May be it caused the lockups? We'll see. The OS didn't see all the 4 cards. Just 3 and sometimes 2. So definately some issues there. I just put one card in slot one and see if that takes care of that.

    So I don't get any performance advantage for running more that one card? It's just for multiple displays?
     
  6. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #6
    Correct, there is no SLI/Crossfire in OSX. As such you don't get any benefit in a Mac unless running multiple monitors.
     
  7. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    Thanks for clearing that up!

    Regarding the lockups, took out 3 7600GTs and left a working one in the x16 lane and it's working like a charm.

    Threw in my SSD and this thing screams compared to my MB SE (late 2008). I think this is a keeper.
     
  8. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
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    Finland
    #8
    Good call, I'm getting 6800. Huge improvement for me. What would be a significant upgrade that would get me 10k+? Does graphics affect the Geekbench score? I'm under the impression that drive access is not benchmarked on GB. Shame :)
     
  9. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 29, 2006
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    Finland
    #10
    I believe it is 2006 or so. The first intel Mac Pro model. Well, the A1186 went from 2006-2008. Looks like this was a souped up BTO model as the specs match the sticker at the back regarding the 4 gfx cards and 4GB ram.
     
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
  11. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
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    Finland
    #12
    Oh wow, that's sick... So I guess I got a sweet deal then?

    Selling and buying in Papua New Guinea will be tricky. Shipping this thing out is a problem and shipping one here is a problem. Getting my SSD from the US cost 140USD via Fedex just to get it here. Then customs on top of that.

    The fact that I found this locally where there is virtually no Mac presence is a miracle in itself. I won't get greedy. I'll keep it and smile while using it :)
     
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #13
    you are completely correct just keep it and smile!
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Sweet deal! :D

    1. Like others have indicated, they would have had multiple monitors attached to it.

    2. Mac Rumors
    • Highest GPU = 5870 currently
    • Highest CPU = X5365
    3. Depends on what you want to do with the machine, and how long you plan on keeping it.

    Please understand that the machine you have is EFI32 based, which means you're already limited on graphics cards (nVidia use EFI64 from the GT120 on = you cannot use those; ATI uses EBC which works in EFI32 or EFI64 machines, but once OS X goes to K64 exclusively, you won't be able to upgrade cards any longer as you won't get the newer drivers). Nor will you be able to upgrade OS X once Apple goes to a 64 bit Kernel (aka K64) exclusively (currently, OS X is dual Kernel = K32 + K64, but they've stated some time back that this won't last all that long; so far 10.7 supports dual Kernels, but I'd be totally amazed if 10.8 does).​

    4. Not hard. Velcro or Zip Ties will do nicely in either an HDD bay or in the empty optical bay (you'd need to get cables; attach the DATA cable to the ODD_SATA ports on the logic board <main board>, and a Molex to SATA Power cable to feed it). There's ready-made mounts as well, but they do cost more than the DIY method and you'll have to wait for a package as well (the Velcro or Zip Ties can be had locally = same day satisfaction).
     
  14. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #15
    Thank you for the comprehensive reply!

    Regarding the EFI. I just stumbled on that myself. Slightly disappointing. Is it an artificial limitation by Apple or is it hardware based? I mean, could Apple just release an EFI64 for it but choose not to? No way around that? So I'm good through Lion and after that is iffy. No hacks to enable 64bit kernel like on some MBPs?

    I managed to slide the SSD into Bay 1 and then slid a support between the SSD and the fan enclosure under it. Very snug. I think I'll leave it like that as I will have a hard time getting a bracket here.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    :cool: NP. :)

    The 2006/7's are still useful (these systems use the same logic board; 2007 was just the introduction of Quad core CPU's via the Xeon 53xx series = drop in replacements for the 51xx in the 2006's, and was how Apple was able to create the first Octad <8 core systems>), but users need to be aware of their limitations, and the speed by which they'll be an even bigger problem.

    Funny thing is, even once OS X support is gone, they'd be fine for running Linux and Windows, as those OS's will still be upgradeable. But this may not be an option for most users. So I suspect there will be a lot of 2006 machines on the market someone could pick up cheap (they'd make a great email or web server).

    If there is a hardware limitation, it would have to be the size of the ROM (CPU's are 64 bit, and even Itanium was able to put 64 bit EFI on the Flash ROM's of that era), but I suspect the part used has sufficient capacity to contain the 64 bit code.

    So I put it on Apple refusing to do it as a means of forcing users to upgrade and save support costs at the same time (= artificial restriction).

    I'd still use some velcro or zip ties myself, just in case the MP gets knocked about a bit (i.e. trying to plug a cable in the back) and the SSD falls out.
     
  16. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #17
    Ok, thanks for that. Will do on the SSD mounting.

    The company I bought this from just realised their mistake in pricing it. But they're cool with it, thankfully :) They mistakenly sold it among G5 PowerMacs at the same price. In my defence I had pointed that fact out but they just didn't get it then.
     
  17. eljanitor macrumors 6502

    eljanitor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    #18
    You paid $380.00 for an 08 Mac Pro? You got a steal of a deal, and yes as you said the other guy is kicking himself realizing that he did that. I hope you know the suggested resale price of that machine stock is around $1,200.00 in good condition.

    The fact that it had all the extra Video cards in it etc etc seems to help you even more because as someone else already said. You can sell them on E-bay, or wherever if you don't want them.

    "One mans trash is another mans treasure."
     
  18. eggfoam macrumors member

    eggfoam

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #19
    The CPU would be the thing to upgrade to improve your GeekBench scores, but as others have pointed out, this probably isn't worth it with a machine that may not have much of a future with later versions of Mac OS X. Probably better to use it, enjoy it, and sell it for more than you paid even if it's a couple years later.

    I'd upgrade the RAM to 8GB or more and, if you want to play 3D games, consider getting a faster graphics card (5870 or 5770 probably). The SSD you put in will probably do more to make it *feel* snappier than even the CPU upgrade would. CPU-wise, it's already in the ballpark of lower-end iMacs and Macbook Pros (and thus the forthcoming Sandy Bridge Mac mini, too).
     
  19. MacinJosh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #20
    Thanks! It's an 06 1,1 model but definately a steal.

    Yeah, looked at X5365 prices and I might pass. If the 1,1 gets a new lease on life via an EFI update or hack, I might consider it.

    I'm definately feeling the constraints of the 7300GT after putting a FullHD monitor on it so GFX is next on my list. I'm thinking Apple's 5770 but eyeing flashed ones too.

    So far in what I do 4GB seems plenty. That might change though.

    Yeah, I'm really impressed that a 5-year old machine can keep up with the new ones.
     
  20. eggfoam macrumors member

    eggfoam

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #21
    That sounds like a good call on the CPU. Unless you're doing seriously multi-threaded work (video?) what would help more than more cores is better single-threaded performance anyway, and for substantial improvements in that that you probably need a newer architecture (e.g., Sandy Bridge) that your motherboard won't support.

    It's hard to stomach Apple's prices for video cards. Flashing is always a bit of a risk, but that seems like a good way to go, especially now that Mac OS X is gaining drivers for more up-to-date cards.

    As for the RAM, I have 10GB in my desktop and somehow manage to have most of it in use most of the time. I tend to work with large data files in R, though, so that sucks up a lot.

    Good luck with the new machine! Definitely a sweet deal.
     

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