"(2006) Mac Pro 1,1 Xeon 5355 upgrade
I just performed an upgrade to SLAEG 2.66 GHz Xeon processors on a Mac Pro 1,1 system given to me. I had a spare 32GB Patriot Warp SSD, so connected it to one of the spare SATA ports on the motherboard. (Many used the 2 extra onboard SATA Ports for eSATA drives although some mounted extra drives inside. Optical bays usually, but sometimes other places.) Storage is 4x 250GB 10k RPM in RAID 0+1. Another cohort gave me a Mac edition GeForce 8800GT to round this rig out. (Hopefully the GPU won't separate on it, if so the oven reflow has been used to resurrect some for awhile at least but it's obsolete now.)
The Xeons were $66 shipped (Used/Pulls at ebay?) and I'm glad that is all I paid. This machine is a nightmare to work on and such a poorly engineered design. Sure enough Loctite was on the memory cage screws (Really! Apple charged so much $ yet could not this assembly aspect correct.)
(This was a problem reported early on, corrected in later builds but that didn't help existing owners. (Localized heat may help loosen the loctite but it should never have been used.) There's been far worse flaws on some others (and not just macs) - bad capacitors, flawed (soldered-in) GPU, flawed IDE controller/data corruption, coolant pump leaks, etc. 2009-2012 Mac Pros look similar on the outside, but are a totally different design with faster/cooler running memory, removable CPU Tray (w/Ram slots), etc. although there are PC cases with even easier access/upgrades. I always liked the HP Blackbird case (used one for homebrew).-M.)
The front fan connector interface is poor at best and ridiculously over complicated for the need. Dust found its way into all sorts of places rarely accessible and likely not affected by blowing out the chassis with compressed air. (To be honest, dust is often a problem with many case designs (and video cards). I worked in an engr firm (99% PC) for years (RIP now) and saw many cases of that. The worst cases were those sitting on floors, often only opened up after problems (crashes/freezes, overheating etc). Ditto for some CRT monitors used back then, which could arc eventually from heavy buildups.)
Add to all these shortcomings, Apple does not support the machine with its latest OS X version.
(Personally, I still prefer OS X 10.6.8 to anything later to date. And I would -never- suggest someone put the current OS X 10.9 on a machine used for work/business. Granted some software requires later OS versions but there's often some other choices. And as noted here before, some have used workarounds/unsupported mods to install OS X 10.9 on a early (EFI32) Mac Pros, but again I don't think it's worth it in its current state.-M.)
Wow, what a waste of money these things were at the time. I have only one application that needs significant horsepower and OS X and it is not a permanent requirement. I will finish support tests and other research then donate this machine to a charity.
(Any comments on performance, etc. with the dual Quad-Core Upgrade? Also were they ID'd correctly in System Info? (some used unofficial 1,1->2,1 EFI update, older post (10.5.x) used a software addon).-M)
Apple may have peaked in 2007 when they actually had longer OS X life cycles, most of their systems could be serviced easily, and operating system installations did not require a network connection to "restore".
(I miss the days when new machines came with install/restore/test discs. Not a fan of 'internet' restore/installs either. Even hardware test on new machines requires broadband internet connection.)
I have worked on PCs, Macs, Alphas, servers, desktops and laptops and installed Linux, Windows, DOS, in varying flavors. I've soldered so many parts onto Mac motherboards and flashed so many graphics cards I've lost track of it all. (What components did you solder on so many mac motherboards? (even apple repair centers don't do component level repairs - all board level LRUs as are most everything for a decade or two.) Homebrew folks are different though but some apple parts (ASICs, etc) are not commonly available but they are a small % of total components, especially after moving to intel-based platform. My first homebrew was a 286. First computer was CP/M. First Mac was a 128K in 1984 (did my own 512K ram upgrade).-M)
This machine is the most disappointing Apple product I have ever serviced.
(Even ram upgrades on the early Mac Pros are more work than usual. (Especially if you had the screw problem.) But many (most?) macs are not that repair/upgrade friendly for other than ram (and sometimes drive) upgrades. Of the new macs, the late 2013 Mac Pro however looks to be easily repaired/serviced based on the (3rd party) take-apart articles, but no PCIe slots and limited internal storage (flash card). But Apple hasn't really been an end user (major component) upgrade friendly design for as long as I can recall and I doubt ever will be.s (Even some new iMac models can't even have the ram upgraded w/o removing the glued on screen. Used to have magnets holding the screen in (elegant really) but not in the later models. And I've always thought iMacs should have a removable cover on the back to make drive swaps easier, but I won't repeat that again here.) With my first Macintosh (1984), I had to weld a tool stem just to get it open and then solder in my own (512K) ram upgrade. (Later when a 1MB motherboard upgrade offer (w/original 128K board trade-in) was available, of course they refused mine as it had been 'modified'.)
Typical 'No user serviceable parts inside' but I agree the later models are becoming more and more 'closed'. (I keep expecting a competitor to do a spoof of the '1984' commercial where everyone has iPads and chained to the Cloud so to speak.) Not that they're the only one - more and more consumer electronics (regardless of cost) are becoming 'disposable'. Even batteries not easily replaced, but that's also another story. Almost like the complete device has become 'consumable'.)
Generally, other than ram (and drives, but not aways), Apple never designed macs to have end-user major upgrades. Especially CPUs. (That was very easy with the old ZIF CPU socket models. Although there was a G4 block in a version of the B&W G3 firmware back then. Required a 3rd party patch, which I used. But that's ancient history now.) I ran my (1999) B&W G3 (w/ZIF upgrade) 24/7/365 for over a decade btw, although using PCI Adaptec (OEM 3950U2B) SCSI card vs the flawed IDE onboard controller on the early production motherboard.-M.)
It pains me deeply to think people will spend hard earned money on Apple's latest "Pro". My suggestion: save money, buy used and avoid Apple whenever possible. Thanks very much for your time and informative website. It is truly remarkable.
Thanks, I wish it was better but a tough last few years. (I miss the old days when everything was better here.)
As far as our comments on products and focus going forward, It won't change anyone else's opinion one way or the other. (Both sides have plenty of fans and nothing anyone else says will change that.) And for years now the main focus seems mobile (iphones/ipads, etc) - I think everyone sees that. I can't afford a new Mac Pro (or any new mac right now) but understand why some do and don't like the new design. (I gave up wishing for an $1K or so mac minitower many years ago as it's not going to happen. Doesn't fit in the line-up marketing/profit wise.) More and more closed designs (2013 iMac is almost a big iPad in that regard), although the 2013 Mac Pro does still have a socketed CPU and the flash (and ram of course) can be replaced by end users (how-to docs in 12/20/2013 news archive), but the server/higher end Xeon CPUs are not cheap. Never have been when they were current really. (Even the 2009 Xeon 55xx series CPUs were expensive back then. My 2009 dual 2.66GHz Mac Pro was nearly $5K new and the 2.66GHz X5550 CPUs were $1172 each in early 2009 (Qty 1000). The 2.93GHz were almost $1400 each then. Still have a link to the spring 2009 Intel price list back then on the 2009 Mac Pro page related links.)
There are recent articles on the Late 2013 Mac Pro debating its cost vs an equivalent PC model or DIY homebrew. (As usual.) Some however feel the Apple designs are worth the price (despite only 1yr standard warranty and 90 day free phone support). That hasn't changed in decades really and I doubt it ever will. The 2013 Mac Pro design is definitely out of the ordinary and attracts a lot of attention. And unlike most of the new products, it doesn't seem hard to work on and the CPUs are still socketed. (External expansion/devices may take some of that cool factor away with cable clutter though.) But to each his own. I'd like to have a new Mac Pro (or even new loaded iMac) but both are luxury items/out of the question now with the way things are.