My Mac Pro 1.1 little review and solutions/impressions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rondocap, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. rondocap macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #1
    So I had an iMac, and also a Macbook Pro. I've always absolutely loved the G5 and Mac Pro - ever since they came out. I almost got a G5 years ago, but I opted for a similarly priced PC at the time. I've always wanted to know what it is like on the other side!

    So finally, recently I bought a 2006 Mac Pro - 2.66ghz cpu used. I love it, and I did a few things that really helped it out - and for anyone considering this machine, as can also be found from searching the forum, these things do work great:

    1.) I put in an OCZ Vertex 2 SSD drive. Big difference, it's much faster loading applications and starting up. I used the OCZ adapter mounted to the adjacent drive to hold the SSD drive in place, works great. Booted right up.

    2.) I changed the ATI 1900XT for an ATI 5770, took 2 minutes to do and booted right up, performance is much better in games.

    3.) RAM! Ram is so easy to add. I had 5 gigs, and am now up to 9 and want to go to 12 or 16.

    4.) Bluetooth and Magic Mouse: My Magic Mouse was giving me tracking problems, so after a few searches, apparently the wires on the bluetooth/airport modules are switched. So I popped open my case, and switched the wires to the recommended positions, and all of my bluetooth problems were solved!

    I have the magic track pad too, and while I like it, I still feel the mouse is more accurate when pointing in precise documents or entering stuff like music notation.

    Overall I am happy! These machines are still very capable and fast, plus the expandability is amazing.
     
  2. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #2
    Congrats! I'm still on the MP 1.1 and I love it! :)
     
  3. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #3
    I just hope after Lion, that future OS updates will also work on the Mac Pro 1.1, I know they have a habit of phasing out certain machines like with the G5/Snow Leopard.
     
  4. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Thanks for sharing!

    I too recently got my grubby paws on a 1,1 Mac Pro. A story in itself (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1170602&highlight=)

    I gotta say, this is Pro. It oozes of quality however old it is. It has re-kindled my love for Macs after years of frustration with the MB in my siggy. The MacBook, while a great laptop, felt inadequate in everything. Almost from day one. I was an early adopter of the unibody. It crashed like a PC, I had 2 HDs die on me in 2 years, it was sloooow as molasses. The battery got bloated where it won't fit inside anymore (it's the model with the detachable cover). The SSD I got for it did make things better for awhile but soon the Mac Pro came in.

    I liken my MB -> Mac Pro transition to my iBook G4 -> Early 2006 iMac CD. Such a huge difference! The iMac still has a special place in my memory. The crazy thing is that this MP is 2 years older than the MB and still is twice as fast.

    So I have the SSD inside, it's awesome!

    I still have the 7300GT. Nothing to write home about. No OpenCL support. Need to upgrade that soon.

    Ordered genuine Apple BT and AP parts from Hongkong. Should be here in a couple of weeks.

    I can only imagine what the latest Mac Pros feel like.
     
  5. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #5
    They didn't phase out the machine so much as they were tired of maintaining legacy PPC code and needed to shrink the OS install. This was primarily the "magic" in 10.6's footprint.
     
  6. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Right side of wrong
    #6
    still using mine. been using since 2006! best computer i've ever bought! still going strong, though i do need to upgrade the video card
     
  7. lloyd709 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #7
    In addition to SSD boot drive, 5770 video card, 12 gig of memory and raided main disks, I upgraded the processors to 2 Quad cores which scale perfectly with the new FC x. I've also just built a PC based on 2600K sandy bridge chip for another purpose and my 5 year old mac pro completely holds it's own against it!!
     
  8. t0rr3s macrumors 6502

    t0rr3s

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for sharing mate. :) I'm in the midst of getting one for myself to add to my mbp and 2 imacs. Always wondered what it'd be like to run a box and experience it first hand.
     
  9. Arkados macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2010
    #9
    I just have 3 questions:

    -Is the ati 5770 an apple one or just generic from newegg
    -Did you just plug it in or did you have to do something special?
    -What brand of RAM did you put in?
     
  10. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #10
    Hey, I bought the ATI card straight from Apple's website. I just took my 1900XT that I had in there, and replaced it.

    It booted up with no problems, and I didn't have to do anything else, just plug and play.

    I bought ram from OWC - I have Apple and Crucial mixed in there, but now the OWC too. It works great, seems to be very good quality RAM.
     
  11. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    #11
    I have a Mac Pro 1,1 as well...can you explain how you mounted the OCZ adapter to the adjacent drive? Mounted it with what?
     
  12. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
  13. dakovar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #14
    I would buy a new MacPro, but my MacPro 1,1 keeps kicking butt!

    Here's my current configuration:
    - 2x 2.66Ghz Quad Core (8 Core) - Great upgrade!
    - 24GB RAM
    - Vertex 2 120GB Boot Drive - The one upgrade you have to do!
    - RAID 2x3TB (One big 6TB drive)
    - 500GB Drive for 64Bit Vista Bootcamp
    - 2x Pioneer Bluray drives hooked up via SATA (makeMKV, handbrake work great)
    - 5770 1GB - I took a chance and purchased a flashed one from ebay
    - Antenna fix for bluetooth - increases range and allows great performance from apple's bluetooth aluminum keyboard and magic mouse
    - 2x 30" Dell Monitors
    - Old School iSight Firewire Camera
    - Drobo with 2TB, 2TB, 2TB, 1.5TB
     
  14. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #15
    Can you elaborate on that Antenna fix for the bluetooth that you did?
     
  15. dakovar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
  16. nobblynoel macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    #17
    Yes it's my fix but for a 2009 MP
    there is another fix for older models involving a wire swap.
     
  17. dakovar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #18
    Here are the antenna pieces that I ordered for my 2006 Mac Pro:

    UFLRPSMA12 - Pigtail: U.FL to RP-SMA Female Bulkhead - 12 inches

    IN24-5RD-RSMA - 5.5dBi Rubber Duck Antenna - RP-SMA Male

    jefatech.com

    JEFA Tech, Inc.
    43915 Commerce Ave, #3
    Hollywood, MD 20636
    888-467-2258
    sales@jefatech.com
    support@jefatech.com
     
  18. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #19
    Hi could you expand on your blu-ray set up and estimated costs. Thanks
     
  19. Thessman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Location:
    GR
    #20
    Well that's the good thing about Mac Pro's: you never feel them, they just do whatever you throw at them. Much like a Mac does compared to a pc.
     
  20. dakovar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #21
    Bluray and Mac Pro
    1. Hardware
    1.1. Both SATA Bluray drives fit in exactly the same spot as the PATA drives
    1.2 There are two SATA connectors on the motherboard that are not being used
    1.3 bought two long SATA cables (12"...I think) and they go through an opening at the motherboard level into the Bluray drive area. One of the cables is a 90 degree connector and the other is a straight on connector. As an aside you will squash any SATA connector by hooking it up to the motherboard (...I couldn't figure out an elegant way around this)
    1.4 I believe I had the Molex (white connector) powersupply to SATA powersupply adapter.... this typically comes with a Bluray retail kit.
    1.5 Your Mac Pro will definitely be able to see the Bluray drives (...at least a couple various types that tried all were seen)
    2. Software
    2.1 NO DIRECT PLAYBACK OF BLURAY ON MAC PRO - As far as I know, there is no software that directly plays back Blurays on the Mac. Truthfully, I don't really care as I'm interested in burning my Blurays to my library and then viewing all my Apple Devices.
    2.2 RIPPING BLURAYS IS POSSIBLE (1st Bluray to MKV, 2nd MKV to M4V)
    In summary, I want to see my whole library of Blurays in my house and also play HD versions on my Apple devices (iPad, iPhones).
    2.2.1 1st Step - Bluray Rip to MKV file
    I use MakeMKV. Yes, it costs $50, but it works well. The process is simple: stick Bluray in, select the item with the most chapters and click 'make MKV'
    2.2.2 2nd Step - MKV file to M4V
    I use Handbrake for this second step. Handbrake is free and you have to have VLC installed as well (also free). This process is simple too: click select source, select the MKV file you just created, I then pick the AppleTV 2 option, I decrease the framerate to 24 (...makes the HD files compatible with most Apple devices.... Apple TV, Apple TV 2, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2), then select Go/Start... that's it
    2.3 Optional 3rd Step - Cover Art
    I use a program call MetaX. In MetaX, here's a simple single file version of the process: click Open, select a M4V file, type in actual name of the film in the search bar making sure all the 'Info' fields (in the middle) are checked, once you've gotten everything right, click 'Write & Share'
    2.4 Optional 4th Step - Add to iTunes
    If you've used MetaX, your M4V file is tagged and has cover art. In a folder file window, find the M4V file (through Finder) and drag it into the Movies area of iTunes. That's it...you're done.... You now have a 720P 24fps video file that will play on most Apple Devices
     
  21. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #22
    Interesting. I'm not clear on the current situation of Bluray ripping on the Mac, but I was hoping that it wouldn't be this bad. I hope it isn't. There are a few problems with the methods above:

    1: Scaling. Scaling is always degrading but with good hardware/software it's tolerable.
    2: Transcoding. It's lossy and degrading. It's done twice here. Once with scaling when doing the MKV and second time in Handbrake.
    3: Framerate. Changing framerates should always be avoided as it can lead to a jerky and stuttering picture. Please note that the ATV 1st Gen and others support 720p at 25fps as well. Going from 23.976 to 24 is not good in my understanding either. Video experts can comment more on this.
     
  22. dakovar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #23
    I agree that it would be preferable to only encode once and at 1080p native fps, but I was willing to take the hit as the 720p M4Vs are compatible with all the devices, looks very good on a big screen, and the file size is semi-reasonable (typically around 2.5Gbs versus 30Gbs). I have the original blurays so I can always re-encode later at 1080p if all the devices can deal with them. In addition, 720p streams very nicely right now through out my house on my wireless network (no stutters) plus it's nice to be able to fit more than one movie on my iPhone or iPad (which would be an issue with a 30GB file).

    The best option would definitely be for one tool, like Handbrake, to rip the Blurays (like it does with DVDs) directly to a new h264 format with native fps that was playable on various devices, but that hasn't happened as of yet. Trust me, I'm not thrilled about doing the two steps either.

    As an aside, I've recently re-ripped by entire CD collection with a lossless format because my devices finally have enough memory to put a decent number of lossless music files on them. I'm thrilled with the quality over 256K rips.... and so....yes.... I'll be thrilled when things get to the point where I can have higher quality videos at 1080p native fps or higher....for now, I'm happy with having a 720p library.... but I agree that it's a good HD current state option....
     

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