New to Mac Pros - looking at 2007/2007 (1,1) dual 2.66 model, some questions/advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tdbmoss, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. tdbmoss, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

    tdbmoss macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    One of the machines that we use at home (used every day) is a Power Mac G4/466 with Leopard and we are considering changing it for a newer machine as while it's still good, it's not the fastest machine these days, and it would be useful to have Windows compatibility beyond VPC7 - looking to spend up to around £500 or so if it gets as something decent. I'm interested in a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 (dual 2.66 dual-core Xeons) as they cost around half that of a new iMac and less than a quarter of a new Pro, yet should still offer pretty extreme performance for many years to come :) (also I am keen that it is something that can easily be upgraded/repaired rather than an iMac/Mini which are very difficult to do anything with)

    However while I am very familiar with G3/G4 Power Macs (upgrading my '98 beige G3 to a G4 chip and hacking Leopard to run on it made me learn a lot!), I haven't touched an Intel Mac yet apart from in Apple Stores so have a few questions which I would really appreciate any advice on from the Pro owners here; also if the 1,1 is a really bad choice also please say so! (I know it can't run Mountain Lion, it's not really an issue as Leopard is just fine here at the moment anyway! - any Pro would be getting Lion most likely)

    The graphite G4s seem absolutely rock solid machines, never had a single issue with this one, so I am worried about any potential problems with a replacement machine and would rather keep the G4 if it's the most reliable option (I was looking at G5s too but they seem to be just too unreliable for every day use, so many issues with bad logic boards etc), so really looking for some reassurance!


    (1) Graphics - I'm currently looking at a machine that has an ATI X1900, and am slightly concerned about the expired repair extension that there seems to have been on these, as a replacement Mac card seems extremely expensive should the X1900 break (given that the other options are the 7300 which I suspect offers next to no performance, or the 8800 which seems to also be prone to failure from what I have seen, no 1,1 stock card seems without issue).

    I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who is using a PC card in their Pro 1,1 as the conflicting reports on this have confused me somewhat (I know this used to be an absolute no-no without flashing, which I don't want to have to do, but that recently it has become possible). Some say the ATI 5770 works perfectly other than the grey boot screen (which can probably be lived without), others seem to report various issues eg DVD Player not working, or other problems. Seeing as this card costs about £50 for a used PC one compared with £160 or so for a used Mac one, it would make the difference between worrying about the stock card dying, and using it as an inexpensive way to upgrade the Pro to a much better card!

    What about Nvidia, I understand this driver - http://www.nvidia.com/object/macosx-270.00.00f01-driver.html - also enables PC cards to work, again does anyone have experience of this, is it flawless apart from boot screens or not perfect? Are there various drivers or just this one version? They only list specific cards as being supported but other places seem to say any will work, eg if I dropped in a GF 9800 would it work? (£30 or so for a 9800 certainly beats the extortionate prices that even the ancient but "official" 7300 goes for, should the original card in a 1,1 die) Also they say it only works with the Pro 3,1 or later, will it in fact work with the 1,1 too?


    (2) SSD - was considering this as a Pro with one of these is surely going to offer crazy performance... :D (and I'd want to replace the 2006/2007 drive with a faster modern one anyway, and given the price of hard drives currently an SSD with the extra performance looks tempting)

    Has anyone mounted one in a 1,1 - I wasn't sure why this says it only works with newer Pros as the drive enclosures look the same to me: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MMP35T25/ ? What about this, anyone had problems with these - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dock-MB882SP-1S-2B-inch-SATA-Converter/dp/B003CUVQ3U

    Also would you recommend only a "Sandforce" SSD, from what I have read so far it seems only these get around the lack of TRIM support in OS X, and without TRIM the drive may die quickly? I'd rather not use hacks if possible as this machine needs to be reliable.

    Lastly is an SSD worth the hassle over something like a newish WD Black performance hard drive?


    Thanks in advance, and hope these questions aren't too stupid! :) Any other tips appreciated! It does somewhat pain me to consider replacing a PPC with an Intel by the way as I love the PPC hardware, but MDD G4s and G5s seem unreliable and the older G4s just don't quite have the level of performance that we ideally want :(
     
  2. Neodym, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

    Neodym macrumors 65816

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #2
    Conflicting reports on graphic cards come from the fact, that some people are using the Apple 5770 (no issues) and some are using PC cards (grey / no boot screen, no DVD player, no Steam games). PC 5770 and it's younger sibling 6870 (not available as original Apple, only standard PC card) work from 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) onwards out of the box. Either of these three recommended.

    SSD: Recommended as boot drive, beats every mechanical hard drive hands down. Should be complemented with one or more mechanical drives for bigger storage. TRIM rarely an issue anymore. Intel runs fine without it (have an old Postville G2 SSD in my 1,1 still running without hiccups), Crucial and Samsung are also often named these days.

    Adapters: Drive sleds have changed a little with younger Mac Pro's, thus the compatibility warning for the OWC. Would anyway recommend to install the SSD('s) in the optical bay to keep the 3.5" bays free for storage (mechanical drives). Adapters for two or four 2.5" drives in one 5,25" bay exist - though the 1,1 only has two additional SATA ports available on the motherboard.
     
  3. tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Many thanks - I was getting the impression that some PC cards were working perfectly (apart from boot screens) too but maybe I misunderstood or maybe those people just don't use DVD Player etc. What about Nvidia, anyone here using a PC one flawlessly, eg a 9800 or similar which seem very reasonably priced, with the driver that I linked to, or do they also have issues other than no boot screen? Possibly wouldn't even upgrade the card straight away but keen to have the peace of mind that if the stock one died it wouldn't be necessary to spend a ridiculous amount of cash on a years-old card, as the price of official Mac cards is insane!

    I think I'd prefer to install an SSD in one of the drive bays if we did go for one, as no messing with cables then and the SSD will be securely mounted assuming that the mount fits properly. What about the "Icy Box" one that I found, any potential problems with this and a 1,1?
     
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #4
    Just remember that any Mac pro before the 2008 is officially unsupported by Apple with mountain lion. The developer builds still work but no guarantees when the official release occurs.
     
  5. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #5
    Just to be clear, the first Intel MP's were released in 2006 and are 1,1's the 2007 model is a 2,1 and the 2008 mode is a 3,1 and the first model that has 64bit EFI.

    Ram for all the models from 2006-2008 is expensive but gets dramatically cheaper after 2008. The 2006-2007 models can take CPU upgrades that will make them 8 core models, with two quad core CPU's, virtually doubling their performance.

    From my own experience having owned a 1,1 these machines are work horses, and continue to work to this day, six years later. Think longterm about what you want to use the machine for, how much you are willing to invest into it to get it to where you want it. And yes, an SSD is probably the one thing that will get you the greatest boost in performance.
     
  6. teohyc macrumors regular

    teohyc

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #6
    I'm using the 2006 Mac Pro and it's still blazing fast today.

    I've two 1900 graphics card that spoiled during the time.
    I bought the 4870 as the replacement. It works great.
    I tried the 5770 briefly and the graphics were choppy compared to the 4870. So I sold the 5770.

    Yes, get an SSD as a boot drive, a normal 7200 RPM hard drive for storage.

    Whether you need to upgrade to Snow Lion will depend on whether the software you're using requires Snow Lion.
     
  7. tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Thanks again all, it sounds like the 1,1 is not a bad choice then :) The official 4870 card does look tempting actually as while it is ridiculously expensive compared to PC 4870s it seems the X1900 also sells for a very high price, so it perhaps wouldn't cost that much to upgrade if done when the X1900 was still working, and the 4870 should hopefully be more reliable too - thanks for the recommendation of that card, seems worth looking into.
     

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