Thinking about buying a Mac Pro 1,1, need advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 422studios, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. 422studios macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the forums and I registered to ask this question.

    I'm thinking about purchasing an older Mac Pro 1,1 and upgrading the crap out of it. lol. I need some advice.

    I currently have a macbook pro 15" late 2012 and an Imac 27" mid 2011. My Imac has an I5 processor, upgraded to 16GB DDR3 and a solid state drive. Lately its begun to slow down a little and I've been thinking about buying a mac pro 1,1 to replace it.

    Here are my questions...

    1. I found a bunch of 1,1's on craigslist I can probably trade even with for my current imac and i'm wondering, can the processors be traded out for any intel based processor? For instance I was thinking about 2 core I7 quads in the $150 range each. Would this work?

    2. I build custom gaming computers all the time and I definitely know my way around a motherboard, so keeping that in mind... is it pretty easy to swap out processors or is there a special process / anything to worry about.

    3. I would like to put 16GB DDR3 super fast speed in it. I assume this would work? I think they have DDR3 stock.

    4. GRAPHICS. This is my most worrisome area. What is a really good gaming card that would work reliably with this machine? I have a GTX 650 TI in my gaming PC, would it operate properly in this? If not, whats a great card that would work in this thing?

    5. Will a SATA 3 SSD work for hard drive replacement?

    Any other suggestions or also let me know if I'm an idiot and this is a horrible idea. I want to beast it out to 2013 specs, if that isn't possible, thats ok, I'd rather know before I buy it. haha.

    Pre-thanks for the help.
  2. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    1. No it wouldnt work. You can only use certain Xeon processors.

    2. Search in forums. You must be really careful when tightening heatsinks after CPU upgrades. Also search for flashing your Mac Pro, it is needed so it recognizes switched CPUs.

    3. Forget about it, MP 1,1 uses special ECC memory on 667Mhz clock, getting 16GBs might cost you hundreds of dollars.

    4. I think it might work but I am not sure (PCIe is slower on 1,1s I guess?)

    5. Yes but it will run only in SATAII speeds.

    Honestly, your iMac and Macbook Pro is much much faster than stock Mac Pro from 2006. If you really want Mac Pro, look around for model 4,1from 2009, you can use cheap DDR3 memory in it, you can run Mountain Lion in it (1,1 can officially run only Lion) and has much better expandibility. Look for single processor 4,1 as those are easy to upgrade to six-core CPU. All new PC GPUs should work under Mountain Lion with some slight modifications (plus maybe external PSU).
  3. 422studios thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
  4. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    What's your goal?

    If your goal is gaming with OS X, I think you would be better off building a gaming PC with hackintosh-compatible hardware. I don't know exact benchmarks, but I remember seeing sometime in 2011 or 2012 that the iMacs were almost as fast as the then aging Mac Pros. So unless you buy a current gen Mac Pro today, you're not going to see improvements that would be worth the price imo.

    Check out this site as a starting point for hackintoshes, it has good linkes to other sites:

    I plan to build a solidworks workstation sometime in the near future; I want a big bad pro graphics card and tons of ram, but also OS X. I think a hackintosh will be perfect for me, and it sounds like your demands are similar.
  5. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    honestly don't get a Mac Pro. you dont sound (and sorry if im wrong) like someone who would benefit from Mac Pro. its expensive when you consider the age, you spend another money on upgrades.

    build a dual booting mackintosh, best of both worlds (OS X and Win gaming) and much cheaper, upgrades are way easier.
  6. Midphase macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    I made a tutorial video on how to swap the CPU on a 1st gen Mac Pro:

    Being the guy who actually has done this, and made a video about it...I have to say I don't think it's a good idea to buy a Mac Pro 1st gen for a number of reasons:

    1. You're buying and investing in 6 year old technology, RAM, bus speed, PCI, SATA speed are all obsolete by today's standards.

    2. My 2ghz i7 quad MBP is about as fast as my 8-core 3ghz Mac Pro.

    3. Next gen of Mac Pros is going to make these machines even more obsolete.

    My advice is that if you want speed now, and you don't want to go broke, that you look into building a Hackintosh. For about $1500 you can build yourself a machine which comes damn close to the top of the line 12-core Mac Pro, for about half that you can build yourself a respectable machine which will probably be considerably faster than a 1,1 Mac Pro.

    I really think the Hackintosh community is about to explode since they are the only ones which seem to provide a viable solution for people who are looking for the topmost performance with an OS X machine while not costing an insane amount of money.

    My only hope is that as more and more people people veer into Hackintoshes, that Apple doesn't make it impossible to port their OS over to one.
  7. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    What will be the use of the MP? Since you have a gaming PC, stating the use will give people a better idea on suggestions.
  8. beelzebubba macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013
    This post is from an MP 1,1. I got it the first week they came out. It's been great. Tough to find high performance video cards these days. The front I/O ports went out some time ago. Someone commented that the memory was expensive but it's not as bad as suggested. When it came out I paid about US$300/GB, it's about US$25/GB now. I love it.

    That said, I wouldn't buy one were I in your shoes. The biggest disadvantage is that Lion is the end of the line. The EFI32 is the weak link. I've replaced the video card and the Airport card and the original boot disk but it's not bad for a soon to be 7 year old machine.
  9. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    No this is a very misguided idea. I have a 1,1 with solid state drives, 8gb ram, and it benchmarks the same as my mid 2011 MacBook AIR i7 dual core.

    Don't even bother with the 1,1. Go compare geek bench scores with you're iMac, and also run the photoshop speed test at the top of this forum. My 1,1 gets 28 seconds WITH an SSD and 36 without. My 2011 AIR gets 24 seconds.

    My mid 2011 iMac gets 14 seconds. There is no way your iMac, with an SSD upgrade and ram, loses to the 1,1. Spend the money on an SSD.

    Terrible idea...

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