Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

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nekonoko
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Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:34 am

I decided to upgrade my old 2.66GHz Xeon 5150 Mac Pro rather than buy a new one, so installed the following over the past week:

Two quad-core 3GHz X5365 Xeon (8 cores total; sourced from eBay)
Two 4GB FB-DIMMs (bringing total installed RAM to 13GB; sourced from eBay)
XFX HD4870 1GB (flashed with EFI ROM; hand-me-down from GTX 285 upgrade in Hackintosh)
Additional 1TB Hitachi SATA drive with Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/Boot Camp 3.0 and AHCI SATA fix (drive was an unopened spare I had on hand, Windows 7 Ultimate was bought new)
Apple Internal Bluetooth module (sourced from eBay)
Apple Internal 802.11n Airport Extreme module (sourced from eBay)
LG 8X Blu-ray RW (bought new)

All that probably sounds terribly expensive, but it worked out to be not much more than a new Mac mini, and the performance jump was huge. eBay was essential in keeping costs reasonable as the the X5365 CPUs ran around $1200 each retail but can be had for a quarter of that used.

Changing the processors wasn't bad at all - the CPU heatsinks came off quite easily and were no trouble to reinstall. You just need a long hex wrench or torx bit.

This system lives in my living room. So far I've done some gaming on it and watched a couple of Blu-ray titles :)

Here are some links that were helpful in putting this together:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=760482 (Windows AHCI SATA fix)
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=811768 (ATI flashing tool)
http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2832&p=3 (CPU upgrade process)
http://www.wintellect.com/CS/blogs/jrob ... -love.aspx (Boot Camp 3.0 driver installation workaround)

Now I have a set of Xeon 5150 CPUs I need to figure out what to do with.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby zmttoxics » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:14 pm

Very cool! Someday I will man up and put out the cash for an MP. Someday... :D
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby semi-fly » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:49 am

I decided to upgrade my old 2.66GHz Xeon 5150 Mac Pro rather than buy a new one, so installed the following over the past week

I've been thinking about upgrading my MacPro1,1 (Woodcrest 5130s) but haven't really looked into yet - the system isn't really doing much right now except for file serving (10.6 server), and your research/work gives me confidence it can be done with minimal effort and cost :)
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:13 am

Pretty much the same situation here - I really wasn't using the machine much anymore aside from streaming video from my file server to my projector and HDTV (something a Mac mini could do in a smaller footprint). Now I also use it for gaming (Aion presently) and Blu-ray playback. Watched JJ Abram's Star Trek on it last weekend and picked up "Up" (Pixar) while I was out yesterday.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby semi-fly » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:45 am

Cool cool - I'll look into it! Thanks for the posting!

Aion presently

That's on my horizon as well, since I let my WoW account expire last spring - probably pickup a copy once Christmas break starts and I get some time off :)
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:12 am

I've been having a lot of fun with it so far; I'm on the Fregion server and have playing mostly with a Chanter and Gladiator. Leaning towards the Chanter though :)
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:47 pm

One point I neglected to mention concerns memory. If you're upgrading a first gen Mac Pro (2006 or 2007), you're probably aware it calls for 667MHz FB-DIMMs.

Memory vendors are crafty though. They're actually charging considerably less for the 800MHz modules normally used in the 2008 Mac Pros. An example: Memory Giant has 667MHz 8GB kits (2x4GB) priced at $320 on their web site. The 800MHz flavor of the same is $240 - a whopping $80 less. The amusing thing is that 800MHz RAM works just fine and dandy in a 667MHz machine - just a bit of an underclock. If anything, it saves you the worry of RAM clocked at the ragged edge. Don't waste money if you don't have to!

You can even save a bit more by buying the RAM on eBay (from the same vendor as above - Memory Giant). I paid $215 (free shipping) for my 8GB kit, though that's up a bit from last month when the going price was around $165. Ah, the volatile whims of the memory marketplace.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby guardian452 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:42 pm

no kidding, last may I paid $45 retail for a 2x 2gb kit of ddr2-800. The exact same kit is now $100 at the same place. Damn capitalism :P

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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:44 am

Yeah, last Spring was definitely the time to buy RAM; I paid $170 for 12GB of DDR3 for my i7 (6x2GB). Same memory is $325 now.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby ramq » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:17 am

4 Giggers in each slot, times 8 slots equals a whole lot of RAM!
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby nekonoko » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:30 am

Yeah, it can hold 32GB. I may go ahead and grab another 8GB kit before the prices go up even more - replace that 1GB kit the machine came with :)
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby semi-fly » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:15 am

nekonoko wrote:I've been having a lot of fun with it so far; I'm on the Fregion server and have playing mostly with a Chanter and Gladiator. Leaning towards the Chanter though :)


Nice - most of the reviews I've read thus far have been positive, and the game looks fantastic (its using the Fry Cry engine I think).

nekonoko wrote:Memory vendors are crafty though.

Yes, yes they are - memory prices have been climbing (holiday season influence, maybe?) - I'm currently shopping around for 4GB DDR2-1066 (about $100 - $120) for a Phenom - I remember looking up prices early this year and seeing them $20-$30 cheaper.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby zmttoxics » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:19 am

semi-fly wrote:Nice - most of the reviews I've read thus far have been positive, and the game looks fantastic (its using the Fry Cry engine I think).


CryEngine? It doesn't look like that to me... Looks more like a revamped GuildWars engine. Just my IMHO though, I didn't do any research. haha.
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby zmttoxics » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:21 am

Oh, well, there you go. According to Wikipedia it says it is on the CryEngine. Well then. <insert_foot>mouth</insert_foot>
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Re: Mac Pro 2006 Upgrade

Unread postby semi-fly » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:16 am

zmttoxics wrote:Oh, well, there you go. According to Wikipedia it says it is on the CryEngine. Well then. <insert_foot>mouth</insert_foot>


hehe, indeed :) http://aion-online.net/cryengine.php
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