Replacing hard drive on 2008 Mac Pro - options?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by les24preludes, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. les24preludes macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    What are my options for replacing the internal hard drive on a 2008 Mac Pro. A1186 EMC 2113 Quad core 2 x duo, 266Ghz.

    It would be nice to get a new drive rather than a used one. As far as I can tell it should be SATA II or III also OK. And it should be 3.5". I think you can fit a 2.5" drive with a caddy, but these cost extra.

    Looking for an economical option that's reliable. I believe the drives are 500Gb ones - I suppose 1Tb would work, but wouldn't be any faster?

    Any 3.5" drives I should avoid as being incompatible?

    Also I'm in the UK in case anyone can recommend a supplier.
  2. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    London, UK
    If you don't already have an SSD drive, then you definitely should get that for speed/reliability. The Samsung 850 EVO provides best bang for your buck (I use a few myself) - the 250GB goes for about £64 on Amazon, double that for the 500GB, and double again for the 1TB version.

    The caddys are very cheap (this one here for under a fiver) so I wouldn't worry about that. If you need more storage, you could always then just get a regular 1TB 3.5 (they go for about £40) and set it up as a fusion drive. Obviously SSD is more expensive that a regular hard drive but the difference in speed is night and day.

    P.S: For maximum drive speed you would use a PCIe-SSD adapter like the OWC Accelsior S (for about £50) but that may be beyond your budget - using the regular SATA connector will give you a big boost anyway.
  3. les24preludes thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Thanks for that. So the caddy bolts on to a 2.5" drive, and that then fits into the tray inside the Mac Pro? And the whole thing just pushes into place like a regular 3.5" drive? Just checking....

    The thing about a Mac Pro 2008 is that it won't run the latest operating systems, and at around 5,000 speed on Geekbench it's actually slower than my 3-4 year old Mac Mini. So wondering how much to invest in it. It's a shame you can't just fit a new motherboard to Macs, but there we are.

    Very interested in any other ideas and options while I consider what to do. The Mac keeps hanging (hourglass...) - the hard disk is almost full so maybe if I empty most of it things would improve. I'll also have to investigate how to make a clean re-install of the operating system....... It's hard to do anything at all - even delete files - since the whole thing keeps hanging. Bit perplexed here....
  4. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    London, UK
    A 2008 Mac Pro will definitely run the latest OS - I installed El Capitan with no issues on mine recently, and actually newer operating systems often run better on older machines than older OS, because they are better optimised. The 3,1 Mac Pro is still a very capable system with the right upgrades.

    As for the Mac hanging, that is almost definitely due to the old spinning hard drive - put in an SSD and all that will go away. Keep your existing HDD, and configure them both as a fusion drive. That's what I did on mine and it works great. The reason why your Mac Pro is running slower than the Mac Mini is most definitely the spinning hard drive.

    How much RAM do you have? You can buy 8x4GB PC2-5300F served RAM for about £40-50 on eBay. I imagine your existing RAM is PC2-6400F, which is more expensive so you should be able to sell it for more than you would buy PC2-5300F RAM.

    And yes the you just screw the 2.5 drive into the caddy, screw it onto the Mac Pro hard disk sliding thingy, and then just push in place.

    What graphics card do you have? Mine came with a 5770, which still sells very well on eBay because it's an original Apple card, and I was able to use the proceeds to buy a PC Geforce GTX680, which I then flashed using Windows and it now behaves like a Mac card, but will run pretty much anything you throw at it.

  5. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
  6. raymanster macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    Are you sure you have a 2008 Mac Pro with a 3.1 model designation? I have a 2008 Mac Pro 3.1 and it runs the latest OS X (El Capitan) just fine. As suggested get an SSD (240 GB for about £50-60), install OS X on there, then get a 2 TB 3.5 inch HD (around £60-£70) for data. I would stick with Western Digital or Hitachi (HGST) and avoid Seagate drives. All items available from Amazon, eBuyer etc.

    The SSD will transform your Mac.
  7. r6mile, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

    r6mile macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    London, UK
    Just re-read your original post. Are you sure you have a 2008 Mac Pro? If your CPU is 2.66Ghz, then you might have a 1,1 2006 Mac Pro. In which case you are much more limited.
  8. mooblie, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

    mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    No, that cheap caddy shown in the link in post #2 above is no good for that - it doesn't align the connectors. That caddy only works where the drive is connected by a flexible SATA cables, not a fixed backplane.

    You need something like this:

    ...or the caddy linked to in the post #5 above.
  9. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2011
    The Netherlands
    The only way a SSD will make a "night-and-day-difference" is to mount SSD(s) onto a PCIe SATA 3 card. Will cost you some extra, but the speed increase is priceless! I myself made this upgrade in my cMP 3.1 with the Apricorn Solo X2 and later the DUO X2 (dual boot option). That was one of my best upgrades ever to my Mac then!

    Good luck choosing your upgrade path.

  10. les24preludes thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Lots of good answers here - thanks guys. Unfortunately, I think my Mac Pro is the 32 bit architecture. I think it's more correct to say it's a 2006 Mac Pro bought in 2008, but it's the A1186 EMC 2113 Quad core 2 x duo, 266Ghz. If you look that up I think you find it won't take the 64 bit OS. It's the 1.1 version, not 3.1. The problem, I think, is the lack of the 64 bit EFI bios. Apparently the hardware of the Mac Pro 1.1 is already complete 64bit capable but they ship the efi bios only in 32bit version. Therefore the installer checks against this machine and note that you are not able to install OS X mavericks with your current hardware. See here:

    Where can I find a tutorial on how to install a new SDD and download the OS from Apple? If the hard drive is kaput I may have to start again.

    I have a Powermac G5 - is that any use in any way to put a hard drive in and get it working? Or even take the hard drive out of that and put it in my Mac Pro....? Just musing on fixes.....
  11. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
    ^^^^Yes, the HD from a PowerMac will fit in a cMP. Form factor is the same. However, I don't believe it will boot without reformatting.

    The question I have is, you have a machine capable of handling multiple drives I (I have seven inside of my 5,1 cMP). Why are you only talking one drive when you should be running, IMHO, at least two. With multiple drives if your backed up properly and one drive fails, you restart from the other one.

  12. les24preludes, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016

    les24preludes thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    This has been very helpful, guys. I've ordered a couple of WD Caviar 500Gb internal hard drives cheap off ebay. Plus I got a My Passport 1Tb external drive so I can exchange stuff with my other Mac Mini. This should hopefully get me functional again. These Mac Pro 1.1 computers are really rock bottom prices in the UK - around £150 on ebay. For SSD I'm looking at a bigger picture. I'm thinking of investing in a 3.1 Eight Core Mac Pro. These look like good value for the speed they give, and run latest OS. Or maybe a 4.1 2009 Mac Pro. Any reason to pay extra for 4.1 over a 2008 3.1? There's the possibility to upgrade 4.1 to 5.1. Not sure how cost-effective that would be.....
  13. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2010
    I wouldn't expect a single processor 4,1 to cost much more than a dual processor 3,1. With the former you get faster RAM and more advanced processors (whether you upgrade or not). A six core processor upgrade can be had for around $100 (not sure about UK prices).

    As a newer model (and one which is nearly identical to the "real" 5,1, which was sold until 2013), it's also reasonable to expect that it will be supported by new OS X versions longer.

    Keep in mind that you can transfer upgrades (except processors and in most cases RAM) from one model machine to another, so an SSD purchase for your 1,1 wouldn't be wasted if you later switch systems.

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