Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by francismcd, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. francismcd macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2013
    I have a 2006 Mac Pro, still have the original 2x 2.66 GHz Dual core Xeons, 8 GB RAM, a couple of 7200 RPM hard drives, and a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT.

    I've been holding out on buying a new Mac Pro since the current models are a bit long in the tooth but it seems like the newer models might not be out until the end of the year.

    The main problem I'm having right now is that my 8800 GT seems to be giving out. I went through quite a few Radeon X1900 XTs due to overheating before Apple finally replaced it with the 8800 GT. This card has lasted the longest of any of my previous cards by far. But the fan is almost constantly spinning now and performance, especially in gaming, is down. I keep the case cleaned out so there's not a huge amount of dust or anything in there that is contributing to the overheating as far as I know.

    I originally believed I was limited to the Radeon 5770 or 5870 as upgrades but have since found some of the options on this site. I know that my choices are still limited but I'm looking for the best graphics card I can get that will run fairly quiet and provide good performance, including while gaming. I'm not picky about the DVD player not working but would like games to work under Steam. Blizzard games running well would also be a huge plus. Spending $250 or $450 on the two "official" ATI cards just seems like a lot.

    Other than the graphics card, I've heard the best bang for my buck in terms of upgrade options for this computer, especially in the short term, would be a SSD.

    What would you advise I do in this situation? Any help is greatly appreciated!
  2. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    SSD and RAM would be the best initial upgrades. I have the same machine still. I also recently upgraded to 2 x 2.66 Quad core processors for about $80 bucks. If you do a lot of editing or After Effects, the processor upgrade is well worth it.
  3. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I've read some great posts that were about upgrading CPUs to Octo Mac, putting it in the are of 3.1 which would definitely squeeze out more life out of the Mac. Depends on budget really. When I went to 16GB of RAM it was great increase in productivity (especially Adobe apps). SSD will help too.

    But you sound like you're really concerned about GPU only and don't want to spend $$$ on the old machine.
    The best thing would be to flash the machine so you can run Mountain Lion on it, you could then buy some cheaper current PC card. There is a guide on the forum on how to do it.

    Since this is 1,1 machine I'm not sure if it is possible to flash it to 3,1 (or 2,1) because of CPU, also I'm not sure if it can accept modern PCI cards. Others with 1,1 MPs will tell you more (I have 4,1 so all the modern stuff works for me).
  4. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I wouldn't put anything in there that is not transferable to another machine.

    For graphics cards you probably should read the nVidia sticky..

    For SSD I like OCZ but I pretty much the only one.

    For RAM mine came from ebay out of a Dell sever 30Euro for 8GB (4x2GB)
  5. francismcd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2013
    SSD is something I'm definitely looking into as I could transfer it to a future system without much hassle. RAM is looking a little high at the moment but is a possibility. But my major need at the moment is the graphics card. I've read the NVIDIA sticky but it's somewhat confusing as there is so much information in there for so many different systems.

    What I'd like to know is, what would be the best card I can get, performance wise, for my 1.1 system that will still allow me to run steam games (as I see that cited as an issue quite frequently). The DVD player issue doesn't bother me and I can live without seeing the Apple logo on boot up.

    Again, I appreciate the advice. Thanks in advance.
  6. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    gtx 570
  7. francismcd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2013
    The GTX570 should still work and run Blizzard/Steam games in Mac OS X despite the 32 bit EFI vs 64 bit? If so, that is likely the route I will take. Thanks again for the help.
  8. MacPoulet macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Are you running lion? Gtx 570 needs lion and the drivers (see sticky). It's also a pretty penny. I'm looking to upgrade mine, and the 570s are all over $200 new. The 560 is pretty decent and you can get those closer to $100.
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Definitely go with the 500 series. Something like the 550 or 560 should work well for you. You can use the 600 series as well, but it takes some tweaking. You will lose boot screens, but otherwise you should be fine. I have a GT 430 and a GTS 450 in my 1,1 Mac Pro. I keep my old 7300GT around just in case I need to use the boot screens (if I screwed something up)....

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