Mac Pro 1.1 2006 GPU upgrade, best bang for buck

junko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
Hello all, I recently received a 2006 Mac Pro 1.1 for free. Since it's so old I'm hesitant about putting much money into it. And putting more money in makes the deal I got less sweet. The only thing I have to purchase is the power cable and I'd like to upgrade the stock 7300gt cpu. What options do I have to get the most bang for my buck? Also it seems like some cards that wouldn't normally be compatible are compatible with a flashed EFI which seems kind of sketchy to me? It seems like the 8800gt with a flashed EFI is the best option but I would pay a premium since it's a flashed card for use in macs and looks like I'd have to spend about $100. It's pisses me off I already have to spend $15-20 on a power cable so I'm not crazy about having to spend a lot to upgrade the GPU as well. According to this site:
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/8755/what-video-cards-are-compatible-with-mac-pro-original-1-1

The following are GPU options:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 (and family)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

    I used to own a MacBook Pro 2012 which had a 330m graphics card which I found pretty suitable for my needs. It seems safer to buy a card that works by default instead of one that only works with a flashed EFI. Is the flashed EFI thing a big deal? Is it worth it to spend $100 on the best gpu I can get (8800gt with flashed EFI) for a 13 year old computer?
 

judino28

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2008
57
12
A Mac Pro 1,1 was my main workhorse home machine (nothing professional) up until this past August when a local offer for a genuine 5,1 six core 3.33 was just too good to pass up.

I bought the 1,1 new in 2007 as a dual x5150 with ATI x1900xt. I kept it upgraded over the years, eventually adding dual x5365, and going from an 5770 to 5870 to finally a flashed 7950 (which is currently in the 5,1). I ended at 16gb ram, an SSD boot drive, and USB 3.0 card as well. It was running El Capitan flawlessly.

Honestly, with those upgrades, it ran everything I threw at it without breaking a sweat and the only reason I upgraded to the 5,1 was, honestly, because of the great deal, the fact that I had always been wanting a 5,1, and to improve gaming under Windows (which it did, significantly, though the 1,1 with the upgrades was no slouch either, especially for its age).

The upgrades I made over the years are probably much cheaper these days, especially the SSD. I wouldn't hesitate putting a little money into it. I had zero issues with my flashed 7950 (the 5770 & 5870 were genuine apple). Depending on what you're doing, a 5770 should get you by just fine. It is, though, admittedly, a machine stuck in time as far as OS goes, so that's definitely something to consider when spending money.
 
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tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2018
413
212
Newark, DE
Hello all, I recently received a 2006 Mac Pro 1.1 for free and I'm looking to upgrade the GPU. I see that there are a lot of threads on this already but I don't think they are asking specifically the question I'm looking an answer to.

Since the Mac Pro I received is old I'm hesitant about putting much money into it. And putting more money in makes the deal I got less sweet. The only thing I have to purchase is the power cable which is annoying but I'd also like to upgrade the stock 7300gt cpu. What options do I have to get the most bang for my buck? Also it seems like some cards that wouldn't normally be compatible are compatible with a flashed EFI which seems kind of sketchy to me? It seems like the 8800gt with a flashed EFI is the best option but I would pay a premium since it's a flashed card for use in macs and looks like I'd have to spend about $100. It's pisses me off I already have to spend $15-20 on a power cable so I'm not crazy about having to spend a lot to upgrade the GPU as well. According to this site:
https://apple.stackexchange.com/que...ards-are-compatible-with-mac-pro-original-1-1

The following are GPU options:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 (and family)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

    I used to own a MacBook Pro 2012 which had a 330m graphics chip which I found pretty suitable for my needs. It seems safer to buy a card that works by default instead of one that only works with a flashed EFI. Is it worth it to spend $100 on the best gpu I can get (8800gt with flashed EFI) for a 13 year old computer? Are any of the above similar to a mobile 330m gpu in performance? That would give me a sense of how powerful the cards are. I remember the 8800gt being a nice card in it's time.
The 1,1/2,1/3,1 do not age well into the "modern" Apple era. If you want something current, a 4,1/5,1 are the minimum.

However those will cost you much more than your 1,1 investment.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
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2,860
Since it's so old I'm hesitant about putting much money into it. And putting more money in makes the deal I got less sweet.
What do you want to do with it (and how much RAM does it have - the original came with a tiny 1GB and the FB-DIMMs were particularly expensive - even used from eBay a RAM upgrade is still going to cost "power cable money")?

I've got one sitting around gathering dust - the rationale for keeping it was for some old Snow Leopard-era software that I might have needed to refer back to - plus it was particularly easy to 'bootcamp' into Linux or Windows XP - but that's wearing thin now and I'm starting to suspect that I'm heading into "hoarding" territory, that the time for a cost-effective refurb was 5 years ago, and its time for it to head for silicon heaven (and reincarnation as 200 foil take-away cartons).

I suspect the best use might be to turn it into a Hackintosh case with modern innards - but since the construction is so different to the standard ATX layout that would require more than my "measure twice, cut once, then curse because I'm basically too clumsy to cut where I measured" metalwork skills. Then you need the modern innards... I think that's for someone who would enjoy doing the work as an end in itself, has all the tools and a well-stocked spares cupboard.

Normally, I'd say "stick Linux (or even Lion Server) on it, fill it with hard drives and use it as a home server" but frankly its a bit of a power-guzzler for that job.

If anybody knows better, I'm all ears.

Of course, if you're happy to stick with 2006-era software (we managed, somehow, in 2006), its still a great machine.

P.S. You got gouged on the power cable - all it needs is a standard 3-pin 'kettle (but not really)' lead - the 'official' Apple lead just has a circular collar that fits flush with the case and makes it look cool.
 

junko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
Thank you all for the responses.

I already have a 500gb SSD from me previous computer. The Mac Pro I received has 8gb ram which I'm sure is more than enough for me. I'm really only concerned with the GPU. I looked up the 5770, 5870, and 7950 and all the ones for sale have EFI 64. I read only EFI 32 will work in Mac Pro 1.1. Did you hack or alter your Mac 1.1 in some way so that it would accept EFI 64? Like changing the cpus or something?


It looks like ebay has a bunch of 8800 series cards with 32 EFI for around $60. It seems like this is my best and only option. Is putting $80 (gpu + power cable) into a 13 year old computer worth the risk? I've always appreciated Macs for their long lifespan in my experience but I've never had a desktop Mac. It's somewhat comforting to know people are still buying the "cheesegrater" style over the "dustbin" style Mac Pros.
 

judino28

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2008
57
12
The 5770 & 5870 were plug and play for me with no issues. The 7950 doesn't work correctly unless you have at least Mountain Lion. There are drivers that exist for Lion, but they seem broken.
 
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ssgbryan

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,037
923
This is what I am doing with my 1,1.....

Ebay:
1. Replace CPUs with a pair of Quad core L5335 (2.35Ghz) - $10. (double the cores, drop power draw by about 1/3.) The X5365s are not worth it power draw wise (100 watts vs 300 watts, although the X5365s are nice in the winter.).
2. Max ram 32Gb - $44.
3. GT 740 (4Gb ram) - $45. - will drive 4k panel, and no need for a separate power cable.
4. Get an SSD for the boot drive, stick it up in the optical bay.
5. Stuff drive bays with 4 Tb drives, Raid 10 (8Tb total)
6. Replace superdrive with Blu-Ray player - $50

The ultimate iTunes server
 

junko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
What do you want to do with it (and how much RAM does it have - the original came with a tiny 1GB and the FB-DIMMs were particularly expensive - even used from eBay a RAM upgrade is still going to cost "power cable money")?

I've got one sitting around gathering dust - the rationale for keeping it was for some old Snow Leopard-era software that I might have needed to refer back to - plus it was particularly easy to 'bootcamp' into Linux or Windows XP - but that's wearing thin now and I'm starting to suspect that I'm heading into "hoarding" territory, that the time for a cost-effective refurb was 5 years ago, and its time for it to head for silicon heaven (and reincarnation as 200 foil take-away cartons).

I suspect the best use might be to turn it into a Hackintosh case with modern innards - but since the construction is so different to the standard ATX layout that would require more than my "measure twice, cut once, then curse because I'm basically too clumsy to cut where I measured" metalwork skills. Then you need the modern innards... I think that's for someone who would enjoy doing the work as an end in itself, has all the tools and a well-stocked spares cupboard.

Normally, I'd say "stick Linux (or even Lion Server) on it, fill it with hard drives and use it as a home server" but frankly its a bit of a power-guzzler for that job.

If anybody knows better, I'm all ears.

Of course, if you're happy to stick with 2006-era software (we managed, somehow, in 2006), its still a great machine.

P.S. You got gouged on the power cable - all it needs is a standard 3-pin 'kettle (but not really)' lead - the 'official' Apple lead just has a circular collar that fits flush with the case and makes it look cool.
Thanks for the reply. I haven't bought the power cable yet. I was intending to stick with an Apple cable because it looked like it had a special square shape and I figure it's always safer to stick with Apple branded stuff but maybe this is irrational for a simple power cable. Do I just need to buy or find any "3 prong power cable". Could I just order this?: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-3-Prong-Power-Cord-Cable-for-Desktop-Computer-Printer-Monitor-TV-Dell/272707088929?hash=item3f7e9bf221:g:h0UAAOSwq1JZOHpx:rk:1:pf:0
I'm such a dingus. I already have one of those cables. Thanks for saving me $15. :)

It has 8gb ram which is fine for me. I have a 500gb SSD from a previous computer I'm going to stick inside.

It looks like the 8800gt is available on ebay with a flashed 32 EFI that will boot with the apple logo. I was planning to purchase this. It's going for around $65 shipped.

I've seen posts from others who say they were able to"flash" there Mac Pro to think it was a 2.1 Mac Pro, does this matter at all? I am now planning to install Yosemite with the pike boot loader:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2006-2007-mac-pro-1-1-2-1-and-os-x-yosemite.1740775/

However in the list of compatible graphics cards it doesn't say 8800gt? Will the 8800gt with EFI 32 work with Yosemite?
 
Last edited:

junko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
This is what I am doing with my 1,1.....

Ebay:
1. Replace CPUs with a pair of Quad core L5335 (2.35Ghz) - $10. (double the cores, drop power draw by about 1/3.) The X5365s are not worth it power draw wise (100 watts vs 300 watts, although the X5365s are nice in the winter.).
2. Max ram 32Gb - $44.
3. GT 740 (4Gb ram) - $45. - will drive 4k panel, and no need for a separate power cable.
4. Get an SSD for the boot drive, stick it up in the optical bay.
5. Stuff drive bays with 4 Tb drives, Raid 10 (8Tb total)
6. Replace superdrive with Blu-Ray player - $50

The ultimate iTunes server
I'm a cheapskate so I'm only looking to get a power cable and replace the gpu. What operating system are you running? I've seen other people post they are able to get their Mac Pro 1.1 to run up to Yosemite or El Capitan somehow. How is this possible? Does everything work?

How are you able to get a GT 740 running on a 1.1? I thought only cards flashed with a 32 EFI work? I'd like to have a boot screen which is why I was planning to buy an 8800gt flashed with 32 EFI for $65 which will apparently allow the Mac boot screen.

I'd also like to dual boot with Windows 10 but the thread I've seen to get this to work look extremely complicated for me. https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2006-mac-pro-easy-64-bit-windows-10-native-installation-no-bootloaders-or-efi-hacks.1905564/
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,153
2,860
I'm such a dingus. I already have one of those cables. Thanks for saving me $15.
Yeah, the Apple plug just has a flange that 'hides' the socket when the cable is plugged in - mainly cosmetic, maybe marginally less likely to get knocked out, but if your lead fits, it will work (3 pin IEC cable or what everybody calls a 'kettle lead'). If you're were in the UK I'd caution you about not using an actual "kettle lead" which has an extra groove in the bottom and a 13A fuse in the mains plug, but that's irrelevant in the US.

As for the GPU - others have more experience and there's lots of information a google away. $65 sounds like its worth a punt, and 8G of RAM sounds like enough to be going on with - just be aware that you're going to end up with something more like a Hackintosh in a nice box than a "real" Mac. Personally, its something I'd only do for the fun of doing it rather than as a practical proposition - if I wanted to revive an old Mac Pro I'd go for a slightly newer one with a 64-bit EFI out of the box. Still a bit annoyed at Apple for sticking the 1.1 with a 32-bit EFI.

AFAIK the issue with Windows is, like newer versions of OS X, getting 64 bit OSs to run. If you have a 32 Bit version of Windows XP,7, or maybe even 10 it might be worth a suck-it-and-see - Install Snow Leopard/Lion-era BootCamp to get the drivers and make sure the EFI BIOS emulation has been installed, but then - at least with with Windows XP - you can just stick a Windows DVD in, boot from it and install to a blank hard drive. (Just don't let XP see the Internet withut a firewall!). Same with any 32-bit/BIOS-supporting Linux distro - which might be an option. You'll be stuck with max. 4GB RAM because its 32 bit, of course.
 
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ssgbryan

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,037
923
I'm a cheapskate so I'm only looking to get a power cable and replace the gpu. What operating system are you running? I've seen other people post they are able to get their Mac Pro 1.1 to run up to Yosemite or El Capitan somehow. How is this possible? Does everything work?

How are you able to get a GT 740 running on a 1.1? I thought only cards flashed with a 32 EFI work? I'd like to have a boot screen which is why I was planning to buy an 8800gt flashed with 32 EFI for $65 which will apparently allow the Mac boot screen.

I'd also like to dual boot with Windows 10 but the thread I've seen to get this to work look extremely complicated for me. https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2006-mac-pro-easy-64-bit-windows-10-native-installation-no-bootloaders-or-efi-hacks.1905564/
8 cores at 2.33Ghz - $10 and 30% less electricity usage. I've specced everything out and have the CPUs here at the house already.

I am not done with it, but I'll be running 10.10 or 10.11 - it won't be attached to the internet, so I don't worry about security - it just holds my movies, TV Shows, and music, and feed it to my TV. The GT640/740s have drivers in the OS. See MacVidcards.com for details. I had originally bought at GT 1030 for this, but it needs at least 10.12.6, so I moved it to my windows test bed. (An HP Z210 workstation I picked up from GoodWill for $40. $20 for 16Gb of ram, a spare SSD & HDD, and the aformentioned GT 1030 and I have a nifty little box.)

There are a couple different threads in the forum that show how to move past 10.7.5 on a 1,1. I'm lazy - I'll get a drive off ebay ($35) that 10.11 already installed on it.

AFA windows, it isn't hard, there are just a lot of steps. Keep in mind that in the thread above, he isn't dual booting - his 1,1 is a straight windows box.

If you aren't doing anything real intensive, take a look at Virtual Box - it is free and will host just about anything (I have a Windows 10 VM I am playing around with.
 
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junko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
This is what I am doing with my 1,1.....

Ebay:
1. Replace CPUs with a pair of Quad core L5335 (2.35Ghz) - $10. (double the cores, drop power draw by about 1/3.) The X5365s are not worth it power draw wise (100 watts vs 300 watts, although the X5365s are nice in the winter.).
2. Max ram 32Gb - $44.
3. GT 740 (4Gb ram) - $45. - will drive 4k panel, and no need for a separate power cable.
4. Get an SSD for the boot drive, stick it up in the optical bay.
5. Stuff drive bays with 4 Tb drives, Raid 10 (8Tb total)
6. Replace superdrive with Blu-Ray player - $50

The ultimate iTunes server
That's an admirable beast you have set up.

The gpu upgrade is still my main priority but I may upgrade the cpus eventually too now that I think about it. Since it was a free Mac Pro I received I'm trying to put in the least amount of money into it. And though I've built around 5 custom desktops for myself and others years ago I'm a little uncomfortable about swapping cpus and risking something happening to these awesome freebie I received. Two questions:

Is there an appreciable improvement in performance from 2 dual cores at 2.66ghz (4 cores total), to 2 quad cores at 2.35ghz? And aren't the extra cores wasted on a Mac Pro 1.1 if it only works with 32bit operating systems and not 64 bit?

I searched L5335 lga 771 on ebay and all the results were quad core 2.0 ghz cpus.
Would all of the following work on a Mac Pro 1.1:
xeon x5355 lga 771 socket 2.66ghz quad core
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-2x-Intel-Xeon-X5355-Quad-Core-2-66GHz-8MB-Socket-LGA771-CPU-SL9YM/352586037630?epid=1700451086&hash=item5217c3f97e:rk:4:pf:0

xeon x5472 lga 771 socket 3.0ghz quad core
https://www.ebay.com/itm/INTEL-XEON-E5472-SLANR-SLBBH-LGA771-3-0GHz-12M-1600-QUAD-CORE-CPU-PROCESSOR/262564677383?epid=74066072&hash=item3d22130707:g:IkQAAOSw0NlbiaQD:rk:7:pf:0

xeon x5482 lga 771 socket 3.2ghz quad core
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-X5482-SLANZ-3-20GHz-Quad-Core-CPU-Processor-12MB-LGA-771/382765853009?epid=74037464&hash=item591e9f6951:g:kxwAAOSwcXhcRga5:rk:8:pf:0

Or is there only certain few cpu's that work with a Mac Pro 1.1 2006? If so which is the one you have because on ebay I can only find 2.0 ghz quad cores when I search L5335?

Once again I'm resistant to upgrade things I don't need to if I don't have to and risk damage on such an old PC but upgrading to lower power consuming cpus and applying new thermal paste might actually be better for the health of the PC.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,694
1,684
Is there an appreciable improvement in performance from 2 dual cores at 2.66ghz (4 cores total), to 2 quad cores at 2.35ghz? And aren't the extra cores wasted on a Mac Pro 1.1 if it only works with 32bit operating systems and not 64 bit?
Lion was the last 32bit capable OS from Apple. Mountain Lion and above are 64 bit only, hence the need for the hack to get them to boot with a 32bit EFI onboard. The processors are 64bit and will work with both 64bit OSes and apps.