New 3.1 owner, need guidance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sbreland73, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. sbreland73 macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #1
    Hi all, I am a new owner of a healthy MP 3.1 and I know nothing Apple. I have put together a few PC Home theater units, that's about the extent of my computer skills. I understand a little bit about hardware and a tiny bit about software. So I am here asking for help from you folks that have already done the leg work, and know how and what is going on inside this heavy aluminum monster. I would like to have a Windows SSD, an OS X SSD, a SATA Bluray drive, and as much GPU power as is practical for this unit. This looks simple on the screen, but I have an idea this is not the case. Basically if someone could point me to some links or a guide that has been posted on if and how to go about this task, I would be very grateful. Thanks.
     
  2. dblairw macrumors newbie

    dblairw

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #2
    sbreland73 - Welcome to the cMP 3,1 2008 Frat ! You've got a world of possibilities with this machine :)

    GPU - Your 3,1 will take almost anything you want. I have an AMD Radeon 7950 3GB which is fully supported by both Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and 10.10 Yosemite. I'm super happy with the 7950 - games and vids look fantastic, all effects are richly done and it more than keeps up with everything I do. A good place to start on the GPU is whether you have any app needs where an Nvidia card would be the better option, or if a solid AMD card will fit the bill.

    I run 10.8 Mountain Lion on a 512GB SSD mounted in a NewerTech Adapt-A-Drive in HD bay 1. Mountain Lion boots up in seconds, and runs like an absolute banshee even though the SSD is limited by the SATA bandwidth in the HD bay. I run Yosemite from a 2nd SSD which is mounted in an OWC Accelsior S PCIe adapter dropped into the 16 lane slot #2. This gives roughly twice the bandwidth -- especially on read performance, so application launches and other read-intensive tasks are almost instantaneous.

    I haven't done the Blu-Ray yet in my own 3,1 but it's great to know that 2nd Optical drive bay is there ready to go.

    You'll get a ton of great input from the 3,1 owners here on MR. Be sure to download a .pdf version of the Mac Pro3,1 Early 2008 User Guide from the Apple Support web site - it's a nice reference which knocks down the learning curve. When in doubt, search YouTube for Mac Pro upgrade videos and iFixit.com is definitely worth a query.
     
  3. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    Canada is my city
    #3
    Welcome to the forum! I'll start with a few basics.

    First, assuming the OS runs 10.7 (Lion) or later, boot into recovery mode (by holding ALT on bootup and selecting Recovery), erase the drive and install a fresh copy of OS X. If it runs 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) (or if it doesn't have anything at all), get the recovery disc that came with your computer (hopefully). To check your system version, click the Apple logo in the top-left and select About this Mac. I'll want to know what drive does this Mac Pro have and if you are going to use it, and for what. As for SSD upgrades, the capacity depends on your needs, but regarding Windows, you will need to partition your drive through Boot Camp, a software built into Mac OS (only Windows 7 32/64 bit is compatible though). Since you cannot use any drive where your main OS is installed for your Boot Camp partition, you will need to either have a single SSD that's large enough for both partitions or two SSDs in RAID 0 (this can't be done in the Disk Utility in 10.11 (El Capitan), but you can just find a tutorial on how to do it using Terminal), which will increase the cost by a bit, but you'll have better performance. For the blu-ray drive, just get a regular 5.25" SATA drive and place it where it's supposed to go, you can either replace the existing DVD drive, or make it separate. As for the GPU, I lack in that sort of knowledge so there are many threads here talking about it.

    If anything is confusing, feel free to ask me anything, it's kinda difficult for me to explain without going full-technical :p
     
  4. Machines, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016

    Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #4
    How long do you intend on keeping this Mac ? Properly maintained , it should last many years . I have Apple Professional Desktop computers in my collection still in running condition after 25 years . They're absolute beasts . Learn to re-thermal paste all four chips (both CPU chips , the southbridge and northbridge controller chips) in your rig and it will last a lot longer . Keep your Mac free of dust and get an air filter for the front from TransIntl . A surge protector is necessary at the very least and ideally used with a line conditioner .

    If your Mac has a current configuration of 8 Core at 3.2 GHz , beware of the special hazard of Krytox thermal paste used at the factory . It's quite toxic when heated and can cause respiratory failure under certain circumstances when the heatsinks are removed . The upper processor configuration of your model is two x quad core 3.2 GHz Xeon . Use Arctic MX4 paste , which is a safe paste .

    Your 2008 cMP is the oldest MP that can natively run modern OSes from Apple , but can be a bit of a pain to maintain - some components resist being removed . And you will need to remove them to do the cool stuff :)

    Any SSD will be awesome for installing the OS and apps upon , due to the high IOPS rating of solid state drives . Installing a SATA BluRay drive will require accessing one of the two SATA 1 data headers on the logic board and snaking a cable into the optical drive bay . I use to do a lot of these installations back in the day . You need also a molex to SATA power adapter . Recommended drive is a LG WH14NS40 . Newegg has them for 40 bucks on sale .

    An excellent graphics card would be a PC Edition EVGA GTX 970 with two 6-pin power booster connectors . You'll need to obtain the two proprietary standard six pin PCIe to mini six pin PCIe connector power cables we use in PowerMac G5s and Mac Pros . This card requires Yosemite or El Cap . You'll need to download and install both web and cuda drivers first from nVidia . It has no EFI functions , so you might also want to keep the Mac Edition video card that came from the factory . Last time I checked, slot 2 was the recommended slot for a 970 .

    Good luck and welcome to Mac .
     
  5. timidhermit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    #5
    I am in a similar situation and am looking for AMD Radeon higher-end card. Am I correct that the highest "stock" Apple graphics card is the Radeon HD 5870. If so, what is the "current" brand of Radeon that is favored? What is the highest model in the Radeon series that is natively supported by MacPro without flashing the firmware as in the situation with Nvidia?

     
  6. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #6
    Go to macsales.com and look at all the upgrades they have. If you want no fuss, no hassle, go on a shopping spree there.
     
  7. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Having just done this myself, here are my suggestions:

    CPU: assuming you have the dual-core version, just keep what you have. Unless you happen to have a single-CPU version, in which case purchase an extra CPU so you can go dual.

    SSD: absolutely get an SSD. I put in a 850 EVO 256GB in mine and it flies. You may want to get a PCIe-SSD card like the OWC Accelsior S, otherwise you will be bottlenecked by SATA2 speed - it will be twice as fast. There are other cards like the Apricorn Velocity Duox2 that allow you to use two SSDs in one, and boot from both - this may be the best for your needs.

    RAM: You can go up to 56GB (anything more causes a weird glitch which slows down PCIe SSD speeds), but 32GB may be more economical. Though the machine technically calls for PC2-6400F 800Mhz RAM, that sort of RAM is very expensive, and your machine will run perfectly using PC2-5300F 667Mhz RAM (only a 4% performance decrease), which you can get for very cheap from server pulls on eBay. You should be able sell your existing RAM and cover quite a bit of the cost of a RAM upgrade.

    GPU: I recommend the Geforce GTX680 - not only is this a great card, but you can easily flash it using windows (which you will have anyway) so that it behaves just like a Mac Card. The EVGA 2GB version is best for maximum compatibility and fewest issues. You can re-sell your existing graphics card to recuperate the cost on this.

    OS: Your machine will run OS X El Capitan, so I would just install that. It runs very well on mine.
     
  8. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #8
    Well, that's what Apple supports. Windows 10 runs on my Mac3,1 anyway.
    You will likely have to have a Win7-Disc handy to trick Bootcamp into thinking, you want to install Win7. Then on reboot, press ALT, change the Discs in Bootscreen (the eject key will work), and boot from the Win DVD.
    Another route is via the EFI installer of Windows 10, but I have no experience with that, so you have to look around the forums and/or the internet.

    Well, I have installed my bootcamp volume on the same Boot-SSD as OSX.

    It's not that easy on a 3,1, though. There are two unused SATA ports (port 5 and 6) under the front fan mount, which can be used. You will need a long SATA cable (mine is 0,5m), that you have to thread under SATA port 1 (the leftmost of the four ports for drives) to the DVD bay.
    You want to keep the old DVD drive, because you can't boot from port 5 or 6 on a 3,1.
    The other route will be through a SATA extension cable from one the drive bays, but then you can install only three drives.
     
  9. sbreland73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #9
    Thanks for all the tips so far folks, really appreciate it. I have done a little digging myself, and it seems this machine requires some coaxing to get all the components to play nice together. What I have read, and kinda understand so far:

    To add a Bluray drive using SATA port 5 or 6, AHCI must be enabled in Windows, and a hack to the MBR, or otherwise ATA mode will be used, and Windows not "see" these two ports. This in turn "breaks" the Bootcamp control panel. OS X will see the drive fine.

    GPU= ATI seems to be supported built-in, and you will get a grey boot-screen (NEED to have this, based on what I have read so far) so long as it has an EFI ROM. Nvidia can be used and fully supported if flashed with said EFI ROM, and will need web drivers if using a Maxwell chip? It also seems to matter EFI32 or EFI64. I came across Macvidcards.

    SSD= Each operating system will have their own drive, in order to make back-up/recovery easier. I also will add a larger "scratch" SSD.

    This box has the two 2.8Ghz Xenon CPU, and already has 32GB of the 800Mhz memory.
    It came with an ATI card, but it has since failed on me. Before it did, I was able to boot to OS X and see Yosemite 10.10 was installed. I stuck a spare GTX 960 inside, and quickly got to learn the difference between EFI and BIOS cards, when I could no longer see a boot screen, or when booting to OS X.

    It has two WD velocity raptor 250GB drives, a WD caviar 1TB drive, all of wich I will replace with SSD.

    I will spend most time in Windows, but go to OS X when editing videos and pictures, the wife is a teacher and gets a decent discount on the Adobe CC suite.
     
  10. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #10
    You are not required to have a "Mac Edition" or EFI video card installed to run your Mac nicely . EFI video provides certain features during start up like performing OS X installs , going into single user mode UNIX and running Apple diagnostics, etc . You can grab a cheap ATI 2600 Mac Edition from eBay and use that for when you need EFI and buy a great PC Edition Maxwell nVidia card for everyday use . All you need to do is remember to install the web and CUDA drivers before physical installation of the card in your System . And also remember to choose Web drivers from nVidia's top bar pull down menu . OS X drivers are on by default .
     
  11. sbreland73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #11
    What about full PCIe 2.0 lane support? As is now the GTX 960 runs at 1.1 and I "read" the EFI ROM supports full lane speed.
     
  12. JoSch, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016

    JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #12
    I have done this patch to the MBR, but I can't see that the Boot Camp control panel is broken. What is it that should not work?
     
  13. sbreland73, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016

    sbreland73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #13
    After "patching" the MBR, Bootcamp control panel will no longer "Restart in OS X", it just keeps booting into the Windows volume. I read this can be negated by pressing the X key upon power up, to force booting into OS X.
     
  14. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    Canada is my city
    #14
    Whoops, I meant to say the entire opposite.
     
  15. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #15
    Hmm, ok. Nothing I tested, because my HD5770 Mac edition gives me the boot screen, hwile my GTX750Ti gives me the power.
     
  16. sbreland73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #16
    I think we are talking two different things. I am refering to enable AHCI in the Windows side of things.
     
  17. Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #17
    I just built what may be the fastest Cuda Core rendering machine in the Mac community using three PC Edition Maxwell GPUs . There is no EFI on those cards , nor have they been physically modified . As far as I am able to determine , they are running just fine at either PCIe Rev 1.1 or 2.0 (they do not fully profile) . They also scale their performance perfectly and are rock solid .

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...80-ti-connected-to-a-classic-mac-pro.1957919/
     
  18. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #18
    Unflashed Maxwell cards get PCIE 2.0 in 4,1 or 5,1 in OSX only. This is courtesy of the Web Drivers. Windows still stuck at 1.0.

    3,1 gets PCIE 1.0 both OSs, last I checked.
     
  19. sbreland73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sbreland73

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Location:
    Rockwall, TX
    #19
    So is that to say that a FLASHED Maxwell card gets 2.0 in BOTH OSs? This is what I understand per your site, looking at GTX 960:

    Key Features:
    • Compatible with OS X, Windows (via BootCamp or in a PC)
    • Boot Screen support from all ports at startup
    • Does not require an additional power supply
    • Supports four concurrent displays via the available ports: one dual-link DVI, one HDMI 2.0, and three DisplayPort 1.2
    • PCI Express 2.0 support in OS X and Windows
    • 4K 30Hz support from HDMI
    • 4K 60Hz support from DisplayPort with SST 4K Monitors
    • 5K 60Hz support using two DisplayPorts (tested on the Dell 5K UP2715K)
    • CUDA, OpenGL, OpenCL in applications that support them


    Sorry, I know just enough to get in trouble, hence all my questions. I am trying NOT to learn by trial and ERROR.
     
  20. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #20
    If you install Windows 10 as EFI instead of BIOS, AHCI will be enabled by default.

    I don't know about Windows 7, as I hear it is very difficult to install Windows 7 EFI on a Mac.
     
  21. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #21
    No, we talk about the same thing. I just stated that I never needed the startup selection in the boot camp control panel with AHCI enabled.
     
  22. iMattux, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    iMattux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    #22
    Your plan is sound, welcome to the cMP world! You're already aboard the SSD train, good. All I have to say about that is how fast is fast enough? Putting an .M2 PCIe card is twice as fast, but for me anyway, I'm totally happy with my Samsung 850 Pro. If I had it to do over again, I'd actually buy the 256GB EVO because the difference that 10 MB/s provides = time to get a cup of coffee IF it's a multi-GB file I'm working with. I allowed myself to get caught up in them, but at the end of the day benchmarks are just numbers. Very few of them mean any appreciable difference to anyone but those very few who are truly using every bit of their computer's capabilities. If you're a professional working with HUGE files and time=money, I suppose that justifies the additional cost of a Pro on an .M2, but it doesn't seem that you are.

    My strongest recommendation - I'm surprised no one else has made it - is a USB 3.0 PCIe card. Absolutely awesome bang for your buck. There's a huge thread on the topic here. The first post is up-to-date and really all you need to read, but you can read thru hundreds of posts if you like to be super informed. I recommend a card with independent controllers for each port because it future-proofs you to a certain extent. Sooner or later, you'll want/need to connect multiple devices. I happen to have several bare drives, so an external, hot swappable, USB 3.0 docking station, specifically, this one, made perfect sense for me, but for example, NewEgg had a 5TB Seagate USB 3.0 drive for $139 just a few days ago. I have no affiliation with them but I also recommend signing up for their email deals...

    Now, on to GPUs: The benefit of almost any of the AMD cards is that they are very, very easy to flash for full compatibility and functionality with Mac OS and Windows - i.e. boot screens. I really wanted a better box for gaming. First I bought and flashed a 7950. I got caught up in benchmarks and "upgraded" to a 7970 GHz edition, and finally, I sold both of those and got an EVGA GTX 980 Classified for the best Windows gaming performance without going totally over the top for a Ti or Titan. I'm not spending $200 for a few more fps.
    The 79xx cards gave me boot screens, the GTX 980 gives me awesome performance under Windows and OS X, but I have no boot screens and that is a fairly significant problem. Also of note: I chose the Gigabyte flavor of both the 79xx because they were the highest factory overclocked cards and for their Windforce triple fan cooling. They were still fairly noisy. Audible at idle and very noticeable under load. The EVGA GTX 980 is absolutely silent at idle and barely noticeable under load.

    Lastly: After a TON of research, I strongly recommend that you don't let Boot Camp handle your Windows installation. The hybrid MBR that it creates is not stable in the long run for either Windows or OS X. I'm sure that plenty of people will say that they've had no problems dual booting for years with Boot Camp, but you are now in a world where no company will provide any support for you. I've read many reports of Windows becoming suddenly unbootable and very difficult to recover because Windows is not designed to recognize the hybrid MBR Apple hacked together to accommodate dual booting when Windows booted from BIOS and OS X booted from Apple's non-standard implementation of EFI on GPT formatted disks. Microsoft has moved on from BIOS and now fully supports the UEFI standard. There's no reason to use BIOS emulation. After Boot Camp broke my Windows installation twice, I decided to figure out how to install Windows without Boot Camp's hacked MBR and see if it was more stable. It is. And Microsoft has adopted UEFI fully. There's no reason to emulate BIOS.

    You will need to use Boot Camp to download the files for your Mac Pro. You'll need to install drivers in Windows after you've got it running, but don't select to install Windows, just download the drivers.

    To install and use Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 in (U)EFI mode, these are the steps I had to take:

    1. Under Windows, download the ISO file for Windows 8 or 10, whichever you prefer. Note that for the time being, your Windows 8 key will allow you to install Windows 10. So if you're going to use 10 anyway, you can skip installing 8 and upgrading to 10.

    2. Prepare the USB Flash Drive

    In Windows, insert a >4GB USB flash drive that you can format.

    Open Windows command prompt in Admin mode and type:
    Code:
    >diskpart
    then
    Code:
    >list disk
    Identify the flash drive. Be very careful. There is no "are you sure?" dialog. You are the Super User and you're about to format a drive. Anything on it will be gone. Make it easy and remove the drives that are not part of this process.
    Code:
    select disk n
    where n is the number diskpart has assigned to the flash drive. Diskpart will confirm that disk n has been selected.
    Diskpart doesn't warn you, I am. Don't f up! ;)
    Code:
    clean
    Diskpart confirms the clean...
    Code:
    convert gpt
    Diskpart confirms
    Code:
    create partition primary
    Code:
    format quick fs=fat32 label=EFIWinInst
    label can be whatever you want to call it, enclose in quotes in you want spaces, i.e. "Windows 10 Install"
    Code:
    active
    Active = bootable
    Code:
    exit

    3. Mount the ISO file by any number of means, I right-clicked the ISO file and selected "mount"

    4. Copy everything EXCEPT the file "bootmgr" to the root of the USB drive. You DO need bootmgr.efi so turn on "view file extensions" and hidden files if it isn't.

    5. Restart the Mac holding the alt/option key.

    6. Select EFI boot - Again, it makes it very easy if the only drives are the flash drive and the target drive...

    7. Have a copy of your Windows 8 or 10 license key handy and follow the instructions. You'll need to format the target drive to install.

    When it's done, you'll have a bona-fide UEFI install of Windows. Assuming that the GPU you choose has boot screens, DO NOT use the Startup Disk control panel in OS X. When you want to switch between OS X and Windows, shut down/restart with alt/option and select the desired OS. If you use Startup Disk, OS X will hack the MBR and hybridize it. That may or may not break Windows, ymmv.

    If you decide to get a GTX 980 or other difficult to flash card, lmk and I'll tell you the ugly workaround I'm using until I can afford to pay MacVidCards $180 for the GTX 980 rom.

    Again, I'm sure people will chime in and tell you to let Apple handle all of this and that they have no problems with Boot Camp, but for every one of them they is at least one other who's lost everything on the Windows disk, the Mac disk or both because Windows or OS X tried to fix something in the boot process and rendered the disk not only unbootable, but also unrecoverable. GPT creates a protected MBR for a reason. Contemporary and future versions of both Windows and Mac OS are and will be (U)EFI based. You're in an unsupported configuration as it is. In a couple of years, booting from BIOS will be a memory like booting from floppy disks - if you're even old enough to remember that.

    Cheers
     
  23. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #23
    What? Are you saying that simply selecting Windows from Choose Startup Disk will cause it to change the partitioning on that drive from GPT to hybrid GPT/MBR? If true, that's reaaaaaally bad. But I'm skeptical.

    I think all it does is bless the volume you select, but admittedly I know very little about this stuff.
     
  24. iMattux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    #24
    That is EXACTLY what I'm saying. I got very educated about the whole boot process between booting Linux with a 32 bit EFI and a 64 bit OS and getting my Mac Pro1,1 to boot El Capitan.

    All you need to do is run gdisk on the drive and you'll see that it reports a hybrid MBR. I had gdisk convert it to protected MBR but discovered - after Windows wouldn't boot - that OS X had "fixed" it and converted back to hybrid MBR.

    Rod Smith (author of gdisk and ReFind) has TONS of information on the topic of (U)EFI, BIOS emulation and Hybrid MBR's. lmk if you want some links.;)
     
  25. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #25
    Rod's webpages are excellent, but at least 30% of it is beyond my comprehension. There is some prerequisite knowledge that I don't have. I've looked around and I'll look around some more, but if you have specific links to directly relevant topics, I'd appreciate it very much. Especially anything about what "Choose Startup Disk" is doing.

    I am in fact having partition issues, probably to the point where I need to start over. Windows 10 EFI works fine for me in regular use, but if I try to do anything related to low level disk management (clone, repartition, system backup, etc.), it fails.

    What about "boot champ"? Is that just blessing the selected volume, or is that messing with partition types too?
     

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