Some advice on my mac pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jonbig08, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. jonbig08 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2008
    Hey all,

    I am looking for a little help regarding my mac pro. Its a few years old and the specs are here:

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
    Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
    SMC Version: 1.7f10
    Serial Number: G87271W4UPZ

    I trade from home via parallels on this computer and I use it for leisure activity. In short, its my lifeline. Lately though I've been noticing it slow down somewhat (especially while in windows via parallels). I think its time to do some upgrades, but I want to do so as efficiently as possible. I am computer literate, but not near what I should be concerning hardware etc. I have a graphics card and run dual monitors, but I'm not positive on what its called. It's red and white Anyways I was thinking of upgrading that so that I may run 4 monitors. Also should I upgrade the RAM? Is so, how much? I know that apple charges quite a bit more for it than we can get it for over the internet. What else should I do? Will more RAM alone solve the problems? Do I need to do anymore upgrades to get this thing going fast again?

  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Download iStat to see if you really need any upgrades.

    Faster hard drives are really the only upgrade which will speed up your computer if you aren't maxing it out.

    If you want to use 4 monitors, you will need another graphics card in addition to the one you already have to plug them in to.
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    You have a diagnostic program installed in your Mac. Go to Utilities in the Program folder. You will find an application that shows you the utilization of memory, CPU, disks and so on. It is called activity monitor or the like.

    Windows with Parallels should really profit from a decent RAM update. This is particularly true when you switch to Snow Leopard in September which will be using the additional RAM more effectively for your Windows virtual machine. So looking at doublr RAM would be usefull. If you double the RAM you can assign more to the Windows system and it will run faster.

    If Windows is significantly slowing down it may be related to a disk memory constraint. That means you may have to give it variable memory in Parallels or if that is already done you may have to increase the hard disk size. Parallels have also made upgrades available that may be helpfull to install.

    Another option to make apps faster would be changing your hard drive to SSDs. You will see a huge decrease in loading time and executions.

    Additional screens will require an additional graphics card. Make sure you get one that has the right connectors for the screens you want to fit. Dual DVI is usually the best option.

    A more exotic option would be fitting Clovertown CPUs instead of your Woodcrest. That isn't something for amateurs though and the typical AASP will not do it for you. It will turn your 4 core machine into an 8 core machine which speeds up parallel programms mainly. So if you run extremely many apps in parallel you would look into that option.
  4. jonbig08 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2008

    Any ideas how much RAM I should get? Is there a certain brand thats works best with the mac pro?

    It sounds like instead of getting a new graphics card, I should just get another one for 2 more monitors. I don't game or anything like that, I use the extra monitors for trading. I was thinking of getting 4 of the apple cinema displays, will that be ok?

    What about hard drives? I only have one and Its not full, will extra ones help with anything?
  5. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Indeed. Another idea would be to give your VM its own hard disc if you haven't already - generally larger drives run faster (when compared to other drives of the same RPM).

    As Gugucom said, double would be best.

    There is a certain type - If I can recall correctly, DDR2 667 FB-DIMMs. Even then, there's a limitation :eek: I can't remember specifically what it is right now. Just realise that the memory on your machine is "premium" compared to other machines.

    4 ACDs of the 20" variety won't set you back a lot. Do you have sensitive eyes? Cheapo TN monitors may strain your eyes, if you decide to go non-apple.

    One more thing - have you considered running Windows native for greater speed? Also, as a general question, does one have to defrag a Windows VM:confused: Never messed with them.

    Also, JonBig, do us a favor and go :apple: -> About this Mac -> More Info...

    Then on the left-hand side there should be an option which is called graphics card, and then under that option the name should be there.
  6. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Go into activity monitor. Select system memory. Look at your page ins/outs. If your outs are more than 10% of the ins, add more memory. I just sold my 2006 mac pro with 8gb ram. Would suggest you you stick 8gb ram (4x2gb sticks). If you use 1gb sticks, and you want to upgrade to more ram, then you will be stuck with them trying to get rid of them.
  7. jonbig08 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2008
    Thanks guys.

    Here is the graphics card info:
    Chipset Model: ATY,RadeonX1900
    Type: Display
    Bus: PCIe
    Slot: Slot-1
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 512 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x7249
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-A52027-140
    EFI Driver Version: 01.00.140

    Here is the SS of the activity window. It looks like I need way more!


    Maybe more than 8GB RAM total? Can I simply google Mac Pro RAM and get a bunch of the 2GB sticks? Thought I have no idea how to install them lol. I'll check into the 20" ACDs too.

    I have heard of people running windows natively. Frankly I don't even know what that would require. I just bought parallels and threw windows on here because I needed it for my trading programs. I searched for defrag once, but couldn't find it. I figured it just didn't work that way or something.

    I'm not sure how to give the VM its own hard disc, but I would if I could.

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  8. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Thats a good size of page outs. I would definitely increase the ram. Although how is your ram configured now?

    Try and they can walk you through it. I think bumping up your ram to 6 or 8 depending on your current configuration would be a welcome increase in speed.

    There are 2 20" monitors for sale in the for sale forum for 250 each, shipped. Not mine, just thought you might want to know.
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    You should also post a screen shot of your activity window set to disk usage. This will show you how much your hard disk is allready crammed with programs and data. If it is beyond 70% it urgently needs relieve because fragmentation will proabably make a lot of what is left useless and Windows needs free disk space even more urgent than OS X.

    This is why you should really check how you have set up your windows disk in parallels. There different ways to do that. If the disk is set to grow with demand you do only have problems when the physical disk gets to the 80-90% mark.

    Setting up Windows natively isn't very demanding. You can do that best with an additional dedicated hard disk. If you buy a new one for OS X you can use the old one for Windows native. In parallels Windows will also run from your native Windows partition which means you will not have to dedicate it space on your OS X disk.

    Native Windows will only give you benefits if you have compatibility problems with virtual Windows as gamers often do. Most modern and future games will only run with max performance on (DirectX 11) with Vista 64 or Win7 64 natively. Vista-64 is quite mature and fairly cheap to buy in auctions. If you allready own a suitable Windows license that you use in parallels on that machine you are legally entitled to use it again for a native installation. Windows will try to tell you you are not. So you better don't mention the other installation on the same machine when you do an activation by phone.

    If you go to profiler you can see how and what is fitted in terms of memory to your machine. I have basically the same MacPro1,1 model and show it in the attached pic. You see that they are indeed DDR2 667 FB-DIMMs as Dr Pants said. You can see in my configuration that I'm using 1 Gb and 2 GB modules. If you fit 8 2GB modules you max out your RAM but that will probably not give you much more speed than the 12 GB I have. So I did not bother to sell my 1 GB modules. If you buy at reputed sellers like Newegg or OWC you don't have much to worry. Four 2GB modules would probably be best for you, which will set you back 190$.

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