Need Advice for my Mac Pro 1 1 Beef Up

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by davenportbuzz, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. davenportbuzz macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    First, I have to thank lots of people on this board. I can't tell you how valuable it's been for me to research your posts about so many things I've been learning about my new Mac Pro.

    I'm a PC transplant. Just got my first MAC! I couldn't refuse a Mac Pro 1,1 (2.66 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 250GB HD) for $425. It's in tip top shape and I've been starting the process of beefing up the RAM and storage, among other things. I had been planning to go Mac and this seemed like the right time to make the jump...

    I just added 1 TB drives into bays #2 and #3 and I just odered (2) 4GB sticks of RAM to add (giving me a total of 10 GB of memory - I intend to add 8 more later). I also want to upgrade to Snow Leopard and I want to add a blu-ray reader/writer as my second optical drive. AND I want to upgrade the graphics card. I intend to use my Mac Pro to edit HD films (just shorts for now) and I want to play around with Photoshop some too (I'm a total newbie).

    So on to my questions... admitedly these questions sprout other questions but maybe someone can help me. I have two 1TB drives left to install (to max out my 4TB hard drive capacity). One will replace my existing 250GB drive in Bay #1 where all the applications, etc. live. I had success installing new drives into bays #2 and #3 (amazing since I suck at this but I'm learning and Apple makes it easy). But now, in replacing my MAIN drive with a new one, do I need to drag those app folders, etc. into a separate drive first before I replace the drive with the new 1 TB one? Or can I just yank it out, put the new one in, and then install Snow Leopard? I intend to keep all that stuff on my main drive in Bay #1 but do I need to move/save it before the swap out? Let me also point out that I have nothing personal on this machine yet so I don't have to worry about losing any files. Just the basic OS system (Leopard).

    And then, once I install the new drive into Bay #1, outside of the typical Utlities pop up to partition, select Journal, etc. is there anything special I need to check off or do when replacing my MAIN drive where my "stuff" lives? So that it continues to be my boot drive?? I don't want to scew that up.

    And last, what order would you guys do all these things? I was thinking hard drive and RAM first. Here's the list of things I want to do in the next few weeks:

    Add 8GB of RAM to total 10GB (will add 8 more in a few months)
    Add another 2 TB of storage to complete all 4 bays at max (4 TB)
    Install Snow Leopard
    Install video card (I'm gunning for the Radeon 5700)
    Install blu ray reader/writer
    Add Time Capsule external drive (or use one of my TB HD's for now)

    Whew! Got that? Sorry for being so long winded and multi dimensional in my questions. :confused:

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! :)

  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Sounds like you're on the right course. I don't see anything wrong with that build.

    SSD's are always more zippy, but I'm sure you've considered that.

    And of course I'm assuming you know that you won't be able to play Blurays in OS X.
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    1. SSD and preferably a Mercury Extreme from OWC. Install Snow Leopard and then Lion on this, and in Bay 2 a backup drive such as a Seagate Barracuda running Windows 7 through BootCamp. With four spare hard drive bays, DO NOT go for an external drive and the internal speeds are far in excess of external connected by Fire800 or eSATA.

    2. ATI Radeon Graphics card, flashed, with 1GB memory, preferably a HD 4870 or 5870 model.

    3. A Blue Ray optical drive connecting SATA cable to the motherboard.

    4. Upgrade processors to Quad Core Intel X5365 3GHz, or more affordable X5355 2.66GHz. The Quad Core doubles the Geekbench test score over the original Dual Cores.
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    You can play commercial Blurays in OS X. For free even.

    Launch MakeMKV, select the largest file, click stream.
    Launch VLC, open the network stream.

    AFAIK, it only has problems with those titles that use seamless branching, but that's really rare.
  5. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    1: SSD
    2: 8GB RAM
    3: 2x Xeon X5355
    4: I suggest this. For $19 you can't go wrong, and when paired with one of these, swapping hard drives is a breeze...
  6. accessoriesguy, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

    accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    Ssd warning!

    SSD's are super mega awesome and great and everything BUT
    SSD's life span can be shortened to only a couple months worth of time if you use them for video rendering, Video rendering requires video files to be constantly over written, extremely big files (such as HD) over long periods of time, will kill an SSD fairly quickly (compared to their normal lifespan). I have heard of SSD's last for months before ending due to this.

    OWC does offer probably the best SSD's for mac, and have a 3-5 year warranty, so that should be a viable option.

    An alternative is to RAID 0, all the hard drives you plan on getting to get SSD like performance, without the kill.

    A viable alternative will be to get a small SSD (around 64GB) and install the OS and all program files on the SSD, but no regular files, that way the OS and programs are as zippy as the SSD but without damaging it with the files. This will actually increase the lifespan of your SSD substantially, practically making it last forever ;)

    Technical Support Happily Provided By: :D
  7. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Do not understand. Do they have a 3-5yr warranty or a lifetime warranty?
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    3-5 Year warranty depending on the model you choose. Not lifetime anything.
  9. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    yeah what derbothaus said!
    why did i write lifetime @_@
  10. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Thanks guys. Great advice. SSD's are new to me. Makes sense to get one just for the OS and program files and then save photos, files, and programs like Final Cut Pro or Photoshop to the other HD's. So the one that came in my Mac Pro is not SSD? It's 250 GB and it seems pretty quick to me for now so I'm debating if adding an SSD would really be worth it since there's very little on the machine right now. Perhaps once I start clogging it up with more stuff...

    The additonal HD's I put into bays 2 and 3 are the 1TB Seagate Barracuda 32mb cache, 7200 rpm. After installing one of them I partitioned 100GB for Snow Leopard (for starters) but I realize now that it may not be necessary (or wise?), so is it possible to remove partitions you set up in Utilities??

    If I were to upgrade from quad core 2.66GHz to the x5365 octo core 3GHz, will I really see a BIG difference? Perhaps only when editing/rendering video or using several big programs simultaneously.

    I'm late to the game fellas so forgive the novice questions...

    My 8GB memory arrives this week along with Snow Leopard and then I will be buying a video card soon (Radeon 5770). Some of these upgrades I can do now, some I will have to dole out over the next 6-12 months.
  11. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    you can put the OS and programs on the SSD, heck you can even put your regular files, i just wouldn't put the video files or projects on the SSD itself.

    yeah, when your working on things that octocore will be killer, however you would still need a good video card to help it run.

    no the macpro 1,1 does not have an SSD; back then 250GB that was a good amount of memory, unless they had upgraded it, but i highly doubt it, even today that type of hard drive alone would cost the price you paid for the computer @_@

    can you give me or link all the specs? i'm pretty sure your running DDR2 RAM, what kind of processor? and etc.
  12. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Well let us check out what you have there davenportbuzz.

    If it is the original 2.66GHz Dual Core Xeon processors that came with the Mac Pro 1.1, they are Duals, not Quads even though resellers and eBay dealers like to refer to them as Quads.

    Upgrading to a pair of X5355 Quad will boost performance by some 92%, to X5363 3GHz slightly more. The Mac Pro 1.1 came with 3.5" HDD and it is a slug compared to the performance you will get from an SSD, and also recommend OWC Mercury Extreme.

    If you go this way purchase the cheaper 3GB/s transfer model and not the dearer 6GB/s as our Mac Pro can only handle the 3GB/s. Also you will need an Icey Dock or similar to mount the 2.5" SSD. Make sure the SSD goes in to Bay one, and do a clean install rather than cloning.
  13. b3nder macrumors newbie


    May 26, 2010
    While 4TB may have been listed at production as the max you could put into a 1,1, it was not a hard rule, rather driven by what drive capacities were at the time.

    I have 4 2TB drives in my 1,1 right now.
  14. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    May want to qualify this as "if you are running apps that can make use of the extra cores, or if you are running several programs in parallel that all are actively using processing resources (as opposed to just being loaded into memory, in standby mode). "

    I sure as heck (not being particularily handy) would not risk breaking my MP trying to rip out the old processors and install new ones (purchased on ebay from who knows who) that, for me at least, would give only marginally improved everyday performance. YMMV.
  15. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Congratulations to that deal!

    Keep in mind that you should not populate more than 4 memory slots (even though you'd have a theoretical maximum of 8 available). Reason is that with more than 4 FB-DIMM modules you'll get a speed penalty due to latency issues inherent in that technology.

    You can install the new "main" drive in any free bay you want and later on copy the files you need from your old system drive to the new one - no need to yank out existing drives or stick to Bay #1.

    Not sure whether i understood your question correctly. You can select the boot drive in your machine settings. The Mac will save your selection in battery-buffered storage (so-called "PRAM") and starting with the next reboot, you'll have a new boot drive. After a fresh system install on another drive/partition (e.g. SSD) the Mac will use the new drive as boot drive automatically iirc (by writing it as default boot drive to the PRAM - you can change that any time you want).


    SSD's are a completely new world in terms of speed - no matter how much stuff you have on your disk. This is especially true for having a SSD as system/boot partition.

    Yes, at any time using Disk Utility.

    Correct. The jump from 2,66GHz to 3,0GHz might me slightly noticeable on everyday usage, the jump from 4-core to 8-core will be massive if the software can use it (e.g. Final Cut X, Handbrake). Multitasking will benefit as well to a certain degree (depending on the actual programs used together).

    Make sure btw. to get the G0 steppings for the upgrade processors (see this article)

    Why? Makes no difference whatsoever! I've been booting from various drives in various bays and am currently running my MP from a SSD installed in the lower 5,25" bay (using one of the additional SATA connectors on the motherboard) to keep the 3,5" bays free for storage.

    He wants to do video editing and that will improve massively (depending on the software used).

    The process if pretty straightforward, so by simply adhering to one of the guides floating around you can't really do much harm. And the performance increase might be quite noticeable when dealing with video calculations as the OP intends to do.
  16. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Wow, good stuff! I have some awesome advice and options to mull over. Okay so my two questions for the day are:

    #1 I'm planning to buy the Radeon 5770 graphics card today. I hear it's awesome for gaming. I intend to do ZERO gaming on my MP. But I want the best/fastest graphics card I can get for $300 to work with photos and HD video editing. Will the 5770 still be my guy? Or is it overkill to get it since I won't be gaming, and instead I can get another one that gives me the SAME speed and quality but for less $. And I don't mean to start a "my card is better" war but I need a little encouragement before I push on and grab the 5700. Should I just go for it? Afterall, the more recent MP has it installed right off the line.

    #2 Okay, you guys got me hot for the OWC Mercury 3G SSD but you think 240GB is enough? I mean, if I have to buy the next one up (480GB for $860) I'll have to wait a while but the 240GB price ($417) is closer to my ballpark. The stock HD in my MP now is 250GB. So with programs like Office suite, Final Cut or Adobe (haven't decided which yet), Photoshop and others like iLife, etc. will the loss of 10GB in my HD now be compensated for if I upgrade to a faster 240GB SSD? And will it hold me for a while before I get closer to running out of space on it??

    Thanks again, guys!
  17. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Hey Neodym - can you explain this a little more? You're saying I'll have issues if I add more than 4 modules to the two cards (two on each) and that I should go with 8GB modules instead to equal 4 total? As opposed to putting in 8 4GB modules? I was planning to add 8 4GB's eventually so I'd get my 32GB. Why would this not be a good idea again to do that? Will the outcome be really bad?
  18. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Brief answer:
    5770 is the best compromise for the MP 1,1.

    Verbose answer:
    The 5770 is one of the most powerful, yet straightforward-to-use-in-a-MP1,1 card you can possibly get - if you go with Apple's original upgrade offer (it's officially not offered for MP 1,1 but works nevertheless). A PC card probably would need to have a BIOS flash.

    In theory you could probably stick to the stock GT120 as well, because you intend to do zero gaming, BUT: OSX is offloading quite some screen rendering to the graphic card and when that happens, it comes back to 3D capabilities. Also - if you intend to use more than one monitor, performance and graphic memory is of higher importance again (1GB is perhaps lower threshold, 2GB may be better under certain conditions).

    Other alternatives:
    - ATI 4870 (performance more or less on par with 5770 give or take, but with a significantly higher power consumption and loud fan under load, needs BIOS flash, support for MiniDP questionable, perhaps available 2nd hand cheaply)

    - ATI 5870 (significantly more performance than 5770, but rather for gaming, full power not usable in a MP 1,1 anyway)

    - ATI 6xx0 (with Lion you could use affordable off-the-shelf PC cards, but there are still some issues regarding e.g. DVD player and bootscreen (or the lack thereof - check out or search for Cindori's postings on this MacPro-forum for a workaround), again less power consumption and noise than the 5x70 series while providing roughly the same performance)

    You could save on the 4870, but would pay with sometimes disturbing noise, more heat in your room and a higher electricity bill...

    640kByte should be enough for everyone... :p

    It really depends. Usually you can go with a 120GB drive and still be fine, if you complement it with a mechanical data drive. Program code will then be installed on the SSD and big data chunks go to the 2TB drive sitting in one of the MP bays being bored.

    Bigger sizes are more of an issue when the SSD would be the only drive available (e.g. in a notebook).

    So you can really save yourself some money and go for 120 or 160GB when it comes to a SSD. Personally i prefer Intel SSD's for their reliability (the current 320 series ("G3") needs a firmware update to fix a data loss unter certain conditions, but apart from this...) over negligible speed advantages on other drives.
  19. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    In real world difference is marginal IMO, however indeed each FB DIMM will add 3 - 5 ns, according to Intel and Anand.

    I'd go with cheaper solution, i.e. 8x 4GB to get 32GB. 4 and 8GB FB DIMMs are still quite expensive.
  20. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    "Really bad" is a relative term: Each memory module added is another 3-5ns more in memory access (and btw. another 5 Watt heat dissipation (iirc), so fans may be more audible). Unfortunately i can't find the site with suitable benchmarks anymore, but i seem to remember that the difference was at least noticeable.

    For a better understanding of how FB-DIMM's work you may want to read an article like the one by Anandtech or something similar on other sites.

    If you are staying within mainstream memory sizes (i.e. around 12-16 GB), you should rather go for - say - four 4GB modules instead of eight 1GB modules to avoid the latency penalty.

    If you need 32GB, the question is: How much more expensive would a set of four 8GB modules be compared to a set of eight 4GB modules (and would you maybe later down the road want to go to the max and have 64GB, which would require 8GB modules anyway)?

    With scenario #1 you would improve memory performance (and reduce heat, which will be blown into your room with higher spinning fans) by sticking to only 4 modules of higher density.

    With scenario #2 you should take the latency penalty if 8GB modules would be unproportionally more expensive than 4GB modules, as the performance hit from too little memory is probably (significantly) higher.
  21. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Okay, I think I got it. I already received two (4GB) memory sticks (Kingston Low Power Kit 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB Memory - FB-DIMM 240-pin - 667 MHz (PC2-5300) earlier this week so I was going to install those tonight.

    One thing I don't understand... it cost about $200 for that and yet if I were to double the GB's and buy the 16GB Kingston Low Power Kit: 2 x 8 GB Memory - it would be a little over $1000! According to my Google search, anyway. That's five times more!

    Why is is priced that way? If (2) 4GB sticks costs $200, you would think (2) 8GB sticks from the same manufactorer would cost closer to $400-$500 - not $1000! I suppose different manufactorers differ in cost of course, but I'd like to stay with Kingston now.

    I can live on 10GB easily for a while. But when I replace the two (2GB) in slots 2, I'd love to use 8GB ones, otherwise I'll stick with 4GB...
  22. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    First of all, 8GB FB-DIMMs don't work in the Mac Pro at all, to my knowledge. The memory ceiling is 32GB using 8x4GB modules.

    But either way you look at it, high-capacity DIMMs tend to cost more because they use higher-density memory chips that cost more to manufacture. DDR2 FB-DIMMs are also on average, about twice as expensive as DDR3 UDIMMs. Supply and demand plays a role here.
  23. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    When 8GB modules became available, FB-DIMM was already on the verge of being outdated, so those are much more rare (and thus way more expensive) than the common 4GB modules, as people with higher Ram demands are usually directly going for a more recent machine using DDR3 Ram...
  24. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
  25. davenportbuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Guys, sorry man but I need some help. I just got my memory sticks from Newegg. The model and information on the packaging seems correct but the sticks aren't housed in a black cartridge like the ones in my MP. They're more "naked" and not in any housing so they don't look the same. Did I get the wrong ones??! I've attached a photo and a link to the ones I ordered.

    I assumed they would have the black plastic housing like the ones already installed and the ones I see in all the "how to" videos on You Tube. So did I order/get the wrong ones or am I really missing something here?? :confused:

    Attached Files:

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