video card...and wifi for my mac pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by slug420, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. slug420 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2007
    I bought a mac pro some years back...cant remembet what "version" it was, but here is what I know about it :)

    Processor 065-6352 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory 065-6357 1GB 667 DDR2 FB DIMM ECC-2x512
    Graphics Card 065-6363 ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB
    Optical Drive 065-6251 16x SuperDrive DL
    Wireless Option 065-6140 None

    I then upgraded the memory to:
    4.0GB Mac Pro Memory Matched Set (1GB x 4) PC5300 DDR2 ECC 667MHz 240 Pin FB-DIMM Modules

    I have had a problem for a LONG time where the video card seems to overheat.. Sometimes while playing multiple videos at the same time, other times its if I try to play a video game and the fan is really loud all the time...I think its the case fan which is loud because the video card is running so hot.

    At any rate....can someone recommend a new (dual DVI) video card that I can use? I prefer something that will be plug and play (not sure how hardware upgrades and OS support works on a mac) and preferably that can be bought somewhere other than the apple store (I like newegg). Capabilities arent SUPER important since I dont do a whole lot of gaming on my computer anymore...but similar capabilities to what I have now would be great.

    Also what can/should I get for a wireless adapter (that supports N)? Thanks!
  2. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    If you don't need more graphics power, I'd recommend swapping the stock GPU cooler with an Accelero S1 Rev. 2. It's passive but the air stream of the case is sufficient; if you want to play it even safer, just put some silent fan onto the cooler and you can be sure there won't be any heat problems.

    That's what I did back when I had that very same Mac Pro model with the X1900XT.

    For wireless-n Airport just search eBay for "Mac Pro airport". It's a mini-PCIe card (Broadcom BCM4322 chipset) that pops into the corresponding motherboard slot.

    I did that upgrade myself back then, too. ;)
  3. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Newegg won't have much in the way of Apple upgrade cards that aren't already available on Apple's store (same pricing likely anyway), or anything at all for 2006, for that matter.

    You could in theory follow the suggestion of flatfoot and put a better heatsink/cooler on the card (1900XTs do run very hot), but that would require you to carefully remove the factory one, reapply thermal compound to GPU and/or memory chips and install the new one. You mentioned that your level of expertise in this area is limited, so I'm not sure if this is something you'd be comfortable doing. And then there would still be some uncertainty on whether this would really fix your overheating problem or not. That's hard to say.

    There are no "official" cards available for the 2006 machines anymore, unless you find one used somewhere, like on eBay. But the official Apple Radeon 5770 does indeed work with 2006 MPs, though it's not officially supported by Apple. These cards are $249 through Apple and on the upside, they're significantly faster than what you have and they support OpenCL (if you venture into apps that use it later down the road, anyway). The only caveat here would be that you mentioned needing dual DVI, indicating that you run a pair of DVI displays. The 5770 has one DVI port and two mini-DP ports, so there would be a hidden cost there obtaining an adapter to convert one of the mini-DP ports to DVI. $30 for the single-link adapter or $100 for a dual-link (needed if you run a display that exceeds 1920x1200 native resolution).

    Regarding the wireless card... I'm pretty certain that this is the appropriate card for a 2006. There is a small mini-PCI slot on the logic board for this card (it's right next to the Bluetooth module). Installation can be a bit tricky though, because the mini-coax antenna wires that you have to snap onto the connectors on the card can be a PITA. But I managed to get the job done in my 2008 with a bit of patience.

    Alternatively, practically any Linksys, D-Link, etc. USB Wi-Fi adapter will work. Mac OS should pick it up as a generic wireless network device.
  4. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Yep, the card CaptainChunk linked to is the right one.
    It can, however, be found quite a bit cheaper on eBay.
  5. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2010
    You should just get a decent USB Wifi dongle. The Mac Pro is a big aluminum cage, so (from personal experience) has very poor reception w/ the internal wifi.
  6. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Regarding wireless: If you want to retrofit the original Apple module to the motherboard, make sure the antenna cables are actually there - because on my 2006 MP they were not (at least not visible - maybe they are hidden behind the motherboard), so i could not retrofit the module in the first place and had to go for a WiFi stick.
  7. CaptainChunk, Sep 29, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011

    CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've never experienced these issues with WiFi on my Mac Pro. Though I'm hardwired to my router now, in the past, I lived with my brother in a 2-story condo. The modem and router were downstairs near my brother's computer and my Mac Pro was upstairs in my office. Always a full signal, never a dropout. YMMV, I guess.

    Yeah, I've actually heard of this happening before, where Apple would forget to run the antenna wires in the machine.

    But in most cases, there are wires labeled "1", "2" and "3", tucked behind the top-side of the logic board. They're usually part of the same harness as the Bluetooth antenna wire, so if you follow the antenna wire coming from the Bluetooth module to the top area of the logic board where they're tucked under, you should be able to find the Airport wires close by. In some cases, these wires may simply be dangling in that general area.

    IIRC, for 2006 machines, Wire 1 goes to the Bluetooth module, and Wires 2 and 3 go to the Airport module. It doesn't matter which connectors Wires 2 and 3 are connected to on the card, AFAIK. Attaching the wire with the most "slack" to the furthest (bottom) connector on module will make things easier. But again, connecting the wires to the module is the hardest part, due to the cramped space involved and the connectors are TINY. I remember having to use a pair of needle-nose pliers (its blades wrapped with tape for "cushioning") to snap the the stupid wires onto the card connectors. It's easier to attach the wires FIRST and then slide the card into its socket and secure it with the screws.
  8. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    As stated above wifi works great with same model Mac Pro just a devil of a thing to fit. The cables were identified wrongly on the very early 2006 Mac Pro 1.1 models, so it can be a trial and error thing.

    Look for a nVidia 8800GT card that is compatible with Mac Pro 1.1, there are two so make sure you get the correct one.
  9. temetrepo macrumors member


    Oct 2, 2007
  10. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Sure this works, but there's really no point wasting a PCIe slot when there's a mini PCIe slot designated for the original Airport card that can be bought for the same amount of money.
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah, but if he wasn't using any of the PCIe slots anyway, that would be a relatively moot point. He wouldn't be "wasting" if the 3 extra slots did nothing otherwise.

    I actually know many Mac Pro owners who use the PCIe slots for nothing but a graphics card or two. And I only use one for a RAID card at the moment.
  12. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    I used the wifi card out of a 2008 MBP in my 2006 MP. I can verify the cables can be hard to find and it works well with no signal issues.

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