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The Mac Pro First Generation is an Intel Xeon-based workstation computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The first generation model includes the machines from 2006 through 2008.

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Inquiry regarding potential upgrades for the mac

Hi all,

I recently found one of these bad boys in my dads garage and decided to restore it. After copious amounts of IPA being applied to surfaces to clean them and tons of dust blowing, I managed to restore it. It's running quite slow and I want to do some stuff with it, mainly try to turn it into a home server or NAS of sorts for my family since I have a bunch of seagate barracuda HDDs lying around at about 2tb/drive.

I plan to upgrade the following in the future:

CPU: I'd prefer to try to stay within the range of compatibility, as getting a new logic board is not the most feasible for me. I don't know what model I want to go with at the time of writing as Im not aware of the capabilities and availability in Canada.

GPU: I've upgraded it to an NVIDIA quadro GPU with 2GB Vram. It's an old model ripped from a dell z10 workstation pc, but it's still an upgrade nonetheless.

RAM: This options still TBD as it contains some extra ram my dad threw in a while ago. I'll check the capacity when I get back from vacation but it's something between 6-8GB. If I were to upgrade I would either get a new ram riser and plug in some old DDR3 1gb ram sticks I have laying around or upgrade the riser and throw in some DDR4 sticks to make 16GB.

Fans: This one I can do as I have a ton of SP120s and LL20s from corsair laying around, albeit I don't know how to get them out at the moment as they have some plastic/rubber screw-like black inserts in them that I am struggling to get out.

CPU heatsinks/coolers: The fins on the one I have are bent to varying degrees, ranging from slightly off to a full 90 degrees off. I'd preferr to go with something modern and better looking honestly.

PSU: This one is TBD for me as well as im not sure if it's needed or not.

Can you guys help me find the best path to take here? If possible, also state some other stuff I could reuse this mac with or without the upgrades for.

Update (02/25/24)

Hi @danj,

After some identification, I have found my system to be the Apple Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.66 (Original).

The specs are as follows:

RAM: Unknown, ill try to have an answer later on in the week once I get back

CPU: Two Intel Xeon 5150s cooled by the stock coolers

GPU: I currently have an NVIDIA Quadro 600 installed, but the stock is an NVIDIA GT 7300 IIRC

HDD: I have the two stock 340GB drives with two 500GB Seagate barracudas that are 1/4 filled each, albeit the former is making the click of death (apparently this has been happening for as long as my dad can remember).

My upgrade plans are as follows:

RAM: 2x 16 GB Patriot Viper DDr3 kits, alongside some new risers/expansion slots for the RAM since my current ones likely won't support it. I may decide to reuse the four 1 GB DDR3 sticks I have.

CPUs: two intel xeon x5492s cooled by Noctua NHU12DX i4s since they're the closing thing I could find to a decent cooler

GPU: still keeping the Quadro, if worst comes to worst I'll get an Rx 580.

HDD: Either keep the two stock HDDS and get two 2TB WD purples or just get 4 2TB WD purples.

Fans: I have some SP120s and LL120s from corsair laying around, so I'd likely use those.

Do let me know if this is feasible or if you have any additional comments.

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@danj I have updated my question, do take a look when you get a moment.

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@arandomhitman - This system is quite old so much so and your desires are so extreme for such an old system. The logic board can’t offer what you want. Between only having support for Xeon 5130, 5150 or 5160 CPUs, the RAM needs to be the more expensive ECC modules which is likely one of the reasons your system is so slow. The second reason is this series only offed a SATA II (3.0Gbps) ports on the logic board so faster SATA III (6.0Gbps) drives over run the systems buffers causing a serious I/O mismatch.


So… given the amount of work and cost gaining so little I think you have better and cheaper options! Instead of trying to make this Mac instead a NAS box by gutting it out and putting in a fresh modern logic board.

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@danj I see. In that case, is there anything else I can do with this old piece of technology? I want to reuse it somehow, and selling it is unfortunately not an option for me.

If you could give me some ideas than that would be great.

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@arandomhitman - The shell is quite useful with a new logic board. A ATX board and power supply will fit with some MacGyvering. We call these frankentosh systems! Here's one of many people who have reborn the old system into the modern world! Stork's Mac Pro Case Build: Asus Z690M-Plus (ThunderboltEX 4) - i5-12600K - Sapphire Plus RX 580

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That's great and all, but with my current financial situation, I doubt that I could afford that, unfortunately. Thank you for letting me know, I will consider this in the distant future.

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Be careful here! Apple Mac Pro’s are not Windows systems. Make sure you’ve correctly Identified your system as there is quite a few variations of this system over the years.

Spend the time to review our guides and other peoples questions. You can also find Apple service manuals online many are free for the taking.

To start you off plug in your systems S/N into here EveryMac - Lookup to ID which model you have.

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