Mac Pro 1,1 needs new motherboard - should I do it?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dbhopkins, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. dbhopkins macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    Hello, my 2006 Mac Pro (2 x 2.66 GHz) needs a new motherboard. The Apple store has it right now and the repair cost is $453 total (parts + labor). :(

    It has 5 GB RAM and some good disk drives that are around 2 years old - 1 x 128 GB SSD and 3 x 2 TB disc drives.

    Given that my model is selling for around $550 - $800 on eBay when working, is there any point in doing this repair?

    What do you think I should do? I can't see putting $453 into a 6-year old computer that's barely worth more than that. I'm leaning toward salvaging the data, then parting it out and selling it with the disclosure that it needs a new motherboard and let someone else make it a project. Maybe I can get a few bucks for the carcass.

    Another thought, I know the Apple store comes with a premium. Do you think I could take it to a non-Apple repair shop and do it cheaper? How much cheaper?

    Thank you for any tips and suggestions.
  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    I doubt an authorized repair center would be able to offer cheaper prices for a new mobo, as they have to buy these spare parts from Apple as well.

    What the authorized repair center actually _could_ do is to verify if you really need a new motherboard.

    Apple may just not have procedures in place to test in detail and perhaps change a defective part on that mobo. Someone else may be able to determine whether the motherboard is indeed beyond repair or if it is really defective in the first place - maybe it's just a defective CPU or Ram daughter board, which could be replaced separately for a lot less money...

    What are your MP's symptoms, anyway?
  3. dbhopkins thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    Neodym, thanks for your reply. You raise a good point. I left out a few details, so here goes.

    The MP didn't die all at once. First, it was sluggish and wouldn't wake from sleep. It would restart when you tried to wake it. Later, it would spontaneously restart. Finally, it would no longer start at all. From initial symptoms to death was around a month.

    When it was still working semi-OK, I ran verify disc and all discs were ok. Also made sure I do didnt have that Java virus.

    The Genius checked the power supply and it was good. Also swapped out my memory with other memory, but that didn't fix it. They also checked the housing (?) unit that the memory connects to (can't remember what that's called) but it checked out ok. The genius said the problem is the motherboard. Given that he checked all the other things I tend to think he's right. But maybe I should get a second opinion.

    Is what I'm describing consistent with a failed motherboard? Do they go all at once, or can they go gradually?
  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    For a little more then the cost of the new motherboard, you can likely buy a whole new used MP 1,1 or something better.
  5. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Ashman's right - the cost for a replacement motherboard is pretty high. The difference to simply buying another 2nd hand machine is that you would receive a motherboard that has not run hundreds or thousands of hours already (i'm a little surprised that Apple still offers parts for the 1st gen MP - it should be close to leaving the "Supported" status).

    What you could still do before anything else is to remove the graphic card (especially if it's one of the infamous X1900 series in the MP) and see if it boots then (you can tell by the drives spinning and "something happening" inside the machine). The MP can boot just fine without a graphic card installed - a defective graphic card may stop it in its tracks though. Perhaps you need to zap the NVRam after that operation (keep P-R-Alt-Cmd pressed after the first chime until the chime rings two more times).

    If that wouldn't help and you're into gambling, you could buy one (cheaper than two) replacement CPU, pull out both of the old ones and insert the new ones in either socket to see whether that changes anything. However that involves some work/DIY (remove the coolers, apply thermal paste, replace coolers etc.), which is not that funny on a 1,1 if done several times within a couple of hours. If that should cure your problem, you can try to complement the new (working) CPU with either of the old ones.

    Normally CPU's don't die unless overheating from e.g. overclocking (and even this does rarely happen due to throttling/self-shutdown of modern CPU's in case of too much heat), but it's a theoretical chance.

    If both of the above fails (at least the graphic card removal is done easily and you should give it a try), the most reasonable way would probably indeed be to sell that machine off and get another one to save you the hassle (and money) - provided you have the budget to do so. Prices will most likely fall next week once the new MacPro's are announced and available, so you should wait some more days if possible.

    Ah btw. - should have asked that at the beginning: When you say the machine won't boot - does the power light come up and the drives start spinning? Or does it really play "dead man"? Perhaps it's "only" the power-on switch... :)

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