New to Mac Pro (3.1)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by EB5AGV, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. EB5AGV macrumors newbie


    Feb 12, 2017
    La Canyada (Valencia) SPAIN
    Hi all,

    I had collected old Mac hardware for some years, but life and work took out that hobby for some time. Back then, I documented my small collection here:

    But, some weeks ago, I found an ad of a Power Mac G5 which was described as faulty, for a reasonable 40 EUR, so I bought it. And, boy, I was hooked again :) !!!

    I should say that I work all day fixing electronics (mostly radio amateur equipment, but also test equipment and other electronics), so I enjoy buying faulty things and getting them back to work.

    To make the long story shorter, after some days I found a Mac Pro 3.1 (early 2008), with 8 GB, 750 GB HD and ATI Radeon 2600 XT grahics card. It was also faulty, and I grabbed it for 200 EUR. Unfortunately, it has an obscure fault, as it keeps stopping working at any moment, and then fans go high speed. I have read quite a lot of threads of that problem and, once I was able to replace power supply, graphics card, RAM and hard disk (read later), I concluded that the fault is on the logic board. I located one on eBay UK and it is on its way to Spain ;)

    But, meanwhile, I found another faulty Mac Pro 3.1, exactly the same model (except for graphics card, which was a NVIDIA 8800GT). Seller told me that it had been discarded at an official Apple Technical Service, as needing a new logic board. But it was cheap (50 EUR, less hard disk and RAM), and finally I got it, with 14 GB RAM, for 100 EUR.

    I used it to replace the power supply and graphics card on my other unit, to find those were not the problem. But the surprise came when I, just for fun, tried to power up this one. As I had been swapping things, now I had the second Mac Pro with the graphics card and power supply of the first one. And it booted up and worked fine for some hours!. So, why someone had discarded it?. I found the reason: the NVIDIA graphics card on the second unit was faulty :( . But all the rest worked :D !!!

    So, all in all, I have a full working unit and a second one in need of a logic board (on its way) and a graphics card (already located)

    I have been working with the unit and find it fast enough. My main computer now is a 2012' i7-2600K with 8 GB and running Windows 10 (sorry). I run on both computers Geekbench 3 (32 bits, as it was the free version) and the results are very close. Not bad for a 2008 machine, I would say.

    Currently I have OS X Mavericks on the Mac Pro. I wonder if there is any real benefit in upgrading it, as I don't have any other Apple device right now and I have read some negative comments in other threads.

    Well, sorry for the long rant but I wanted to share my adventure with you. I hope someone arrives to this point ;)


  2. usna92 macrumors member


    Mar 16, 2011
    I am sharing your renewed love of these classic machines. My office was upgrading some older build servers and I managed to grab two dual CPU 12 core machines for $500 total. I am pretty much leaving one of the them stock (with a USB-C and USB 3.0 card) to handle server duties. The other I have upgraded the processors, the video card, and the hard drive to SSD. I am looking at some eSata and an upgraded wifi bluetooth next, but the budget will have to regrow a bit. As far as upgraded OS, I thought Mavericks was OK, but it always seemed like it was a little lacking in full feature department. ElCap had some growing pains, but I think is a fairly stable OS at the moment. I like Sierra, but I know some people are running up against incompatibility of hardware, etc. with the new OS. I am running Sierra on my two machines, but I really don't NEED them to be 100% reliable. I want them to run well, I want them to be secure, and I do plan on using the upgraded one for when I work from home, but I can survive the continued growing pains of Sierra. It will be interesting to see if my opinion changes after Apple introduces APFS later this year, but for right now I am pretty stable on Sierra, and don't really see a whole lot of downsides for my uses. YMMV.
  3. raymanster macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    Good to hear your enthusiasm and that you have both running again.

    I have a 3,1 and have loaded Sierra. It's not officially supported but seems to work fine. I did have issues installing it though, and ended up using my 4,1 to install onto the 3,1 in target disk mode. I then used dosdude's tool (link below). (Others have done it fine using the tool to create a MacOS USB then install)
  4. CapnDavey macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2015
    more ram a better video card bigger HD or SSD but CPU upgrades for that mac are limited and don't boost speed much! good luck

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3 February 12, 2017