Upgrading my Mac Pro's shell/RAM/Vid card. Please recommend the parts.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Alkhemist, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Alkhemist macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    I've got a mac pro with it's shell/casing seriously dented. I dropped it.
    Thankfully, the insides are working just fine.

    Since I can't sell this thing, I decided to upgrade it instead.

    It's got 3.0ghz xeon processor, quad-core. It's used for gaming.

    I've got 7300 GT Nvidia vid cards in there (3 of them). I don't even know what it's used for. ROFL.

    2GB RAM.

    So what I need to know is the following:

    1.Other than the dreadfully heavy heavy Mac pro's standard casing, is there another case I can replace it with? What would be compatible?

    2.I want to upgrade my RAM to the max. Is it 32GB or 64GB?
    What is the cheapest type of RAM I can purchase without losing much performance?

    3.What is the latest video card I can use with my quad-core? which is compatible?

    4. Is quad-core 3.0ghz xeon, a good computer you think? or shall I just forget the upgrade and spend the money to buy a 16 core or something, while I just need the pc for gaming?

    The serial # appears to be: G8635343UPZ
    MODEL NO: A1186
  2. CSHawkeye81 macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009
    Arlington VA

    I have an EVGA GTX285 Mac edition lying around my place if you are intested.
  3. Alkhemist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    no thanks i'm not interested. please post answers please.
  4. KeriJane macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009

    Hi Alkemist

    That model number appears to be for the Mac Pro 1.1, also know as the 2006 model or 1st generation Mac Pro. The 3.0ghz CPU's (there's two dual-core XEON CPUs in there) were a very expensive option. The most common variant was the 2.66ghz Quad. (2x2-core XEON)

    1- The Mac Pro hardware is highly proprietary and there is no other directly compatible outer casing. Any other case such as a standard ATX or ExtendedATX case would have to be considerably modified in order to properly contain, cool and support the hardware.

    2- The "Latest" directly compatible videocard for a MP1.1 is the now-discontinued nVidia 8800GT for the 1st Generation Mac Pro. Other cards that were designed for this system and sold by Apple were the ATI x1900XT, The nVidia Quadro FX4500 and of course your current 7300.
    The Apple-supplied ATI HD2600 for the 2nd-genereation Mac Pro does function properly in a MP1.1 under Leopard but was not designed for it.

    ANY videocards meant for a PC WILL NOT work properly in this system with two exceptions: 1- The ATI 3870 PC and Mac Edition, 2- An nVidia 8800GT that has been modified with the Apple specific ROM for the 32-bit EFI MP1.1. (which then behaves exactly like the discontinued Apple 8800GT)

    3- Apple specifies a Maximum Memory of 16GB in the Mac Pro 1.1.
    It MIGHT work with up to 32GB. You would want to research this before trying it. RAM is best used in matched sets in either 4 or 8 slots. Using either 2 or 6 slots seriously lowers system performance.

    4- Any Mac Pro is a seriously "Good" computer. It's basically a Workstation designed for intensive Video, Photo or 3D editing applications. They're not really intended for gaming. Who makes a 16 core computer? I thought they were only up to 8?

    eBay is your friend in your search for a new Case or a Videocard.

    Good Luck,
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1. You should be able to use any case that will hold an SSI CEB board (it's slightly larger than an ATX; half an inch from the slot to the front dimension).

    Cable length could be an issue though, and you may have to splice in some additional wiring for another case (i.e. solder and shrink tubing needed).

    Another option would be to replace the case (you can find them on eBay, or even new from a 3rd party Apple parts site, such as macpalace.com), or sell it off as is. "Working, but with cosmetic damage" and give a pic of it.

    2. The limit is due to the chip sizes. It should be able to hold 128GB IIRC, but you won't want to pay for it (8*16GB FB-DIMM's @ 667MHz, if you could ever find them). 32GB is more realistic, as you can find the 4GB sticks.

    Apple uses different heat sinks than the PC versions of the same memory. But it's the 667MHz variety of DDR2 FB-DIMM (Fully Buffered ECC RAM). Look to OWC for prices (the largest DIMM they sell are 4GB parts, and the largest kit is 32GB total), and it's easier to find than the Kingston or Crucial if you're nervous about the specs. This is server memory btw. Desktop DDR2 WILL NOT WORK. Period.

    3. The best you could use is an ATI HD4870, and the Mac version uses different firmware (more expensive than the PC version, but it does work in your machine). You can't use a PC card unless you flash the ROM with EFI firmware (what MP's use, not BIOS), or via a software method, known as an injector. Search Mac Rumors, as both topics have been around (they have their own threads).

    The HD5870 may end up with a Mac version, assuming they can keep using the EBC (EFI Boot Code) they used on the 4870. But we don't know yet.

    4. Honestly, you'd be better off selling it, and upgrading to a newer machine. That one uses 32bit EFI firmware, and is already preventing people from upgrading their graphics cards to newer models. It will also stop you from upgrading your OS X in the near future as well (when it uses a 64bit Kernel only).

    If you still wanted a MP, get an '08 model, as they offer more bang-for-your-buck. The '09's have some issues that may or may not pertain to you, but as you're interested in memory, the '09's only have 4 DIMM slots per CPU (so 4 in a Quad, and 8 in an Octad). Again, sticks are only relatively affordable in the 4GB capacity, and best kept to 2GB sticks. So the max is 8 & 16GB if you use all 4 per CPU (runs in dual channel this way, but it allows for max capacity, and extremely few peices of software can use the 3rd DDR3 channel anyway <server apps>).
  6. Alkhemist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    Many thanks for the replies. Yes, you're right I should just sell it if i can. I just hate to see so much taken off due to shipping cost and cosmetic dents. it's so dented 1 of the super drive won't close. damn...

    what would be the shipping costs i wonder. i live in canada.

    it would be horrible as well.
  7. Techhie macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    mind posting pictures?
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It could help, as the defect might be repairable (functionally speaking). Maybe not cosmetically, unless it's not that bad (just holding the drawer, but small).
  9. Alkhemist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    I've decided to sell it separately as parts, one by one.
    Everything inside it is in great condition. I thought 1 of the superdrive's door won't close, but it wasn't the superdrive itself, it was the mac pro's casing which automatically closes and opens.

    I've got:

    2x superdrives.
    2x dual-core intel 5160 3.0ghz CPU's.
    the motherboard.
    500gb sata drive.
    4x 512mb ram.
    3x 7300GT nvidia mac edition cards. (can hook up to 6 monitors)
    airport extreme card.
    bluetooth card.
    and i guess the power supply and 2x cpu coolers.
    the case itself, i'll probably have to ditch it.

    i'm thinking of listing the parts on ebay.
    anyone know where i can sell the motherboard and people interested in the parts, please show me the URL. thanks.

    this may get me about $1400 total?
    i'm satisfied.
  10. IronFixXxeR macrumors member


    Jun 20, 2009
    Austin, Texas
  11. kez macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2008
    i'd be interested in the bluetooth module, if you could ship to the uk?
  12. Alkhemist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    i wouldn't be listing the serial number if i found it.

    yes kez, i would be willing to ship it to uk if paid proper and if the shipping isn't too high cost.

    but you'd need to wait until all the parts are queued to sell.
    i don't want to make 20 trips to the post office,
    so ok. for this bluetooth module you're on 1st queue. thanks.
  13. rw3 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
    DFW, TX
  14. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Just so you are aware, you aren't allowed to do any sales/trades on MacRumors outside of the Marketplace Forum, which you aren't allowed to use yet (need more posts basically).

    eBay is a good place to offload parts to be honest.
  15. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Also someone doing this would either need to build a support for the RAM boards or lay the machine on it's side in desktop orientation.
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I hadn't even thought of that one. :eek:

    But it appears the OP won't do it anyway, so no harm/no foul. :p
  17. Alkhemist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2009
    rw3, you should give me your contact information if you want it.

    and sorry, i didn't know i wasn't suppose to associate selling here. I will not from here on.

    thanks all for the answers.

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