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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > 14 year old mac pro... might be time to retire?

14 year old mac pro... might be time to retire?
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MacNNFamous
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Jul 17, 2020, 11:00 AM
 
Alright guys.... I'm not sure what to do. Here's my rig:

Mac Pro 1.1 (lol right?) I purchased right on on the classifieds, in ... jeez... maybe 2013? Anyway, here's what I have

Dual 3.0ghz X5365s
32 gigs ram
SSDs (one running 10.11, the other running win7)
Radeon 7970
Striped Raid Backup drives in the last 2 slots
External Drives galore (4 of them yay)

It's been a solid machine. It runs fine, heats the room. I don't really play games on it at all anymore since I got a PSVR, so gaming isn't really a requirement, but the issue is the OS limitations. I'm running Pike's bootloader EFI hack to run 10.11, and there are no more hacks. This is it. Now with newer phones, and iTunes, I'm starting to run into issues. I can't get newer iTunes without upgrading the OS, and I can't upgrade the OS.

So here are my options:

Option 1: Do nothing, and just boot into windows 7, and backup my phone there. Keep rocking this thing as it works.

Option 2: Buy a 5.1 and swap my drives and GPU. I found a 3.33ghz hex core 32gig Ram for $250 locally. But now I'm starting to read that getting the latest OS might be annoying, and I've also read my 7970 might not be metal compatible. Still, $250 to solve the issue is decent... and I'm pretty sure even with only 6 cores instead of 8, the more modern memory and i/o, it WOULD be a performance bump from what I have now. I think? I looked into upgrading to 12 core, but holy crap, the dual processor CPU trays are like $500!!!! Not including CPUs or memory.

Option 3: Say **** it, and buy a new Mac Mini i7. Could always upgrade to an eGPU at a later point, if needed. Not as expandable, but maybe more future proof, and the I/O speeds of the drives here would crush the 5.1. At this point I could just turn the 1.1 into a dedicated windows machine, I guess? Or sell it? Idfk.

What are your thoughts? I mainly use my rig for video editing, but boot into windows for CAD and rendering/animations. Really unsure of what I should do, and on top of that I've been reading about everything switching to ARM in a few years.
     
andi*pandi
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Jul 17, 2020, 11:55 AM
 
With video editing I think you'd want bigger/newer for render times etc. Which software are you using, and are you willing to $ upgrade it for newer OS also?

I have a 2010 quadcore 5,1 that is running os10.12 and doing fine. A little creaky... but fine. It runs Final Cut Pro. I haven't updated OS on it due to not wanting to overload it.

Here I'll let the hardware guys chime in...
     
reader50
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Jul 17, 2020, 12:46 PM
 
I have a 4,1 flashed to 5,1.

A Radeon 7970 is Metal-compatible, I have one and have used it in Mojave and Catalina. Recently replaced with an RX 580 which is a little faster, and a lot quieter.
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Jul 17, 2020, 01:05 PM
 
Will the 5.1 work with the upcoming big sur? I've seen mixed results. No point in upgrading to something that will be obsolete again because of EFI issues.
     
reader50
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Jul 17, 2020, 01:59 PM
 
Sorry, had to run earlier and couldn't answer in detail.

Apple doesn't block later OS versions from running on earlier hardware. They block the OS installer, and stop testing against the old hardware. It's trivial to bypass the installer blocks, and the community has gotten good at hacking around incompatibilities. ie - missing drivers.

Big Sur currently boots on unsupported Macs that can be made to run Catalina, but WiFi and graphics acceleration are not working yet. Patch experts are working on it. Bear in mind Big Sur is currently in developer beta, not even a public beta.

dosdude1 is one of the premier compatibility hackers, here is his installers page for macOS on unsupported machines. Catalina definitely works, and will be Apple-supported to the end of 2022. Mojave to the end of 2021.

Besides getting the OS to run directly, the OpenCore people regularly get macOS running on Hackintoshes. OpenCore is used to mask hardware differences, and it's already in use on real Macs to make PC graphics cards appear to have Mac firmware. I use it myself, so my PC RX580 has boot screens. So we have two separate compatibility efforts ongoing - I expect BigSur will be running long before Mojave support runs out.

On a personal level, I'm keeping my 4,1 -> 5,1. I've installed Ubuntu and Win10 on spare drives to experiment with. Both boot fine. I'm not following Apple to proprietary CPUs again, and dislike their OS direction. Where they lock things down more and more, keeping the keys for themselves. The computer owners must have control, not the OS vendor.

So I'll stay on Mojave until the security fixes stop coming - Catalina breaks software, and really offers nothing I'm interested in. No later Mac is expandable enough for my tastes, so whenever my MacPro gets too old, I'll look into a Ryzen system. I'm currently upgraded to dual X5680s. 12 cores, 24 threads. And to be honest, I don't actually use that much power. So I probably won't outgrow my MP any time soon. It may be my longest-lasting computer, with years remaining. A good investment.
     
Laminar
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Jul 17, 2020, 11:01 PM
 
MacProUpgrade guys already have the Big Sur beta running on 5,1 machines.

You can find DP 5,1s for <$500, I've had a couple, running a DP 3.46 as my main machine. 4,1s suck cause you have to delid the processors to upgrade.

Get the Mini. Way better single core performance, the day to day stuff will be quicker. Multi core performance is basically a wash, so you might as well have the non-hackjob compatibility.
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Jul 18, 2020, 11:38 AM
 
I'm just sort of worried about the Mini doing long video compression... i'm sure the i/o is great for actually editing, but can it chonk something out at 100% for an hour without overheating?
     
P
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Jul 24, 2020, 11:33 AM
 
Short answer: Don't worry about it.

Long answer: The Internet is full of people who don't understand what they're talking about when it comes to heat generation and Intel chips. Intel chips can hit "thermal throttle" (meaning clockspeed drops because the temperature is too high) but if the cooling is up to spec and nobody removed the power limits, this will never happen. Third party motherboards do, as a rule, remove the power limit,and the of course it will hit thermal throttle. No OEM would ever do that, however.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Jul 26, 2020, 11:05 PM
 
Well. I'm a dumbass. I picked up another Mac Pro.

2010 5.1 3.33ghz Hex, 32 gigs ram, 5770. $250. I think I did alright. Just bought two NVME ssds and two PCIE adaptors. Should make this thing pretty peppy.
     
reader50
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Jul 26, 2020, 11:37 PM
 
Only obvious weakness is the 5770. It's not metal-compatible, so if used in Mojave or Catalina you'll get software rendering. *very slow* and sometimes glitchy.

Metal-compatible GPUs:
AMD: Radeon HD 7000-series or later. A few examples: HD 7970 (Lion+), RX 580 (Sierra+), Vega 56 (High Sierra+), Radeon VII (Mojave+), RX 57xx (Catalina+).
nVidia: GTX 600-series and 700-series (Mountain Lion+). GTX 900-series, 1000-series use nVidia drivers, which only work up to High Sierra. 1600- and 2000-series drivers have been blocked by Apple (they're mad at nVidia).

GPUs need not be a Mac model, assuming you use Mavericks or higher. PC cards will boot without video output until late in the boot process. Install OpenCore and any PC card will appear to be a Mac card, with boot screens. My PC RX580 has driver support from Sierra and up, but thanks to OpenCore, it does software rendering all the way down to Snow Leopard.

Many high-performance cards will need more power than the MacPro aux connectors can supply. If you get a juicy card, you can get more power a few different ways.
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Jul 28, 2020, 01:03 PM
 
I have a flashed 7970 in my 1.1 that I swapped into it. Upgraded to Mojave just fine. Boot screen works too. I don't do a ton of motion graphics, so a 7970 should be fine for what I'm doing.

Planning on doing opencore so I can get to Catalina and be able to run security updates, I hear if I go the Dosdude hack that I can't do any updates.

It blows my mind that this single hex core can provide 160% of the performance of my dual 3.0 quad 2.1, and use less than HALF the power. That's insane. Hopefully this room won't get so hot. NVME stuff gets here today. Excited!
     
reader50
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Jul 28, 2020, 02:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
Planning on doing opencore so I can get to Catalina and be able to run security updates, I hear if I go the Dosdude hack that I can't do any updates.
The no-security-updates applies if you install on HFS+. Apple's installer requires APFS, but the dosdude patch removes that check. At least, it does for Mojave. I'm not seeing any notes about Catalina software update not working on MacPro 5,1.
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Jul 29, 2020, 11:17 PM
 
"When running DosDude1, do not install security updates via the control panel. If you update the OS, you may be stuck in a no boot situation as it'll "unpatch" your OS during the update. Updates must be performed using the DosDude1 patcher, whereas OpenCore allows updates to be installed without repatching."

http://blog.greggant.com/posts/2018/...tml#osupgrades

Looks like 10.14 is the latest supported OS for 5.1s. Going to try to do the open core route.... don't know anything about it. Any other downsides to catalina, you're aware of?
     
reader50
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Jul 30, 2020, 12:08 AM
 
Come to think of it, I do Mojave updates using a small alternate Mojave volume. I download the update manually, then apply it to the 2nd volume. Boot into 2nd volume, and apply the update to the main volume. If I tried via Software Update, I'd get an abort with the message that there were no install scripts for my machine.

I'd long figured it was my 4,1 Nahelem CPUs - which would not affect a native 5,1 MacPro. I've since upgraded to X5680s, but haven't explored the issue further.

Catalina breaks 32-bit software. Also splits the system into a separate read-only volume, to keep owners from exercising control. Apparently we're all children, so stupid we'll break things. The separate volume may complicate installing kexts (drivers) - Apple has all but said they plan to only allow Apple kexts in some future macOS release. I don't feel like going down the slippery slope of letting a giant corporation have exclusive control of my operating systems.

There is a hack to make Catalina run from one volume. I haven't tested it, so unclear if it merges existing volumes, or does a custom install to a single volume.

That's pretty much all I have against Catalina. It's enough to keep me away, but hasn't dissuaded most people.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 1, 2020, 03:37 AM
 
Either of you tried to get one of those flashed Titan Ridge Thunderbolt cards?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
MacNNFamous  (op)
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Aug 8, 2020, 06:56 PM
 
Negatory. Flashed 7970 here.

Gotta say, after having this thing for a week, I'm super stoked. Boot NVME drive and working/scratch NVME drive + hexcore = thing edits 1080 pretty nicely.

One thing I don't get... and this could be false, but it feels like exporting an actual video takes a bit longer vs my 2.1. Looking at geekbench scores and any comparsion, that would seem impossible. Might be in my head.

Other benefit? Room is easily 10 deg cooler. EASILY. It's amazing. I haven't had to turn on the AC since I got this machine setup. Cannot believe how much cooler it runs.
     
   
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