Worth Turning 1,1 into Gaming Box? (Windows only)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by svale, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. svale macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    With ML due soon, I'm thinking it's time to retire my 1,1 as a Mac and convert it into a Windows-only gaming box. Though with the lack of PCIe 2.0, I'm starting to question if this is worth it.

    Has anyone tried sticking a high-end Radeon 7000 or GeForce 600 series into their 1,1? Are there significant performance limitations based on the aforementioned? Bear in mind I only care about Windows at this stage, so I'm aware that half the cards may not necessarily work in Mac OS and that does not bother me.
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Not sure it's worth upgrading for Windows gaming. Might be better off selling it used and turning that cash plus your original upgrade budget into a gaming PC.
  3. svale thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks for the advice. Meanwhile, I found this article on AnandTech which basically sees the Radeon 7970 put through different levels of bandwidth.


    The 1,1's PCIe 1.x 16x = PCIe 3.x 4x, and while there appears to be some bottlenecking in games, it's not huge by any means.

    So what I may do is purchase a card, stick it in, and see how it goes. If performance sucks, then I'll still be able to build a gaming box with the card and sell the 1,1.
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Well the issue is CPU limitation I believe. Barefeats benchmarks of the 1,1 showed little to no gain between a 5770 and a 5870 in most games tested. http://www.barefeats.com/wst10g5.html

    I haven't seen a 7970 bench in a Mac Pro 1,1 era PC, but I suspect it would be a similar situation where most of the performance advantage cannot be used due to CPU or other system limitations such as those found in the Barefeats benches.

    Also, the 7970 has a 6-pin and an 8-pin power connector, and the latter is not directly compatible with the power supplied by your motherboard. It is debatable whether or not it's ok to use a simple 6-to-8-pin adapter.
  5. Librarian580 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    I have tried doing this myself, and I can say that regardless of what GPU you put in a 1,1, the CPU will always be a bottleneck. Some games will work fine (ones that aren't CPU bound), but CPU bound games, especially Team Fortress 2 and other Source engine games, will run horribly in it, even if you put for example, a GTX 580. I even upgraded to X5355's, and saw little performance increase.

    In all honesty, you could probably sell the 1,1, and put that money toward a simple Windows gaming machine if you really want one. Not much point keeping a Mac around for only Windows gaming, considering you can get better gaming performance from a small windows machine around the same value.
  6. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008

    You might be able to get $700 to $800 for that machine (don't quote me on that). A friend sold a 1,1 close to $1100 a while ago, but it was loaded with 16GB of RAM and 2TB of disk space (4*500GB SATA drives, they were higher-end WD enterprise units). It had the stock ATI X1900, dual Superdrives, Airport and BT.

    For that much money, you could buy a killer gaming rig for Windows that would blow the Mac Pro out of the water. The only real downside is that it's not going to look as pretty as the Mac Pro externally, and it's probably going to be a bit louder too (though that X1900 fan is kinda loud when it spools up).

    If you stick with the Mac Pro, it's going to be a pain in the ass to work with- apart from the limitations you mentioned. If you stick a Windows card in there and somehow get power to it, you're not going to have the EFI boot screens- which means you won't be able to easily tell the machine to boot off a DVD and you won't be able to see anything before the GPU drivers are brought up in Windows.

    This alone makes the machine more of a hassle then it's worth keeping. Throw in the fact that a good portion of the Mac Pro hardware requires oddball or obscure drivers (some of which aren't really supported under x64, and will give you issues)- and I honestly can't see why you would want to keep it.

    Sell it and buy a Windows computer. That way you'll be able to play -all- the new games without question, and things will work smoothly. I'd just recommend that you decide soon, because with 10.8 around the corner (and the fact that the 1,1 doesn't officially support 10.8)- whatever you can get for it today might be significantly less once 10.8 hits.

  7. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Sell. Get a fairly high clocked i5 and that 7970 or GTX 670/680. 6 or 8GB memory depending on board. You don't need anything more for anything.

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