Sunday, December 25, 2016

Mac Pro Upgrade 1] The Prequel

Last Christmas, I received a Mac Pro 1,1. It is in decent condition, the feet are not bashed in at all, but the handles on the top are a little dented on the front and in somewhat worse shape in the back. It has a lot of stickers from what appear to be a government organization or something of the sort on it, and goo smears where older stickers have been removed. There are some minor blemishes on the two sides, but the front and rear "cheese grater" portion is in perfect shape. It came only with a keyboard, mouse, and a power cable from an iMac of similar vintage, judging by the plastic disk where it enters the PSU on the back of the machine. Unfortunately, I don't have any original software install disks for it, so that's a bit of a bummer. It has two 2 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors, four 512 MB, 667 MHz, DDR2 FB-DIMMs, for a grand total of 2 GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card with 256 MB of VRAM. Most interestingly of all are the three separate, included, HDDs, each hailing from a different manufacturer. Two are 320 GB, and one is 160 GB. Oh and it has a SuperDrive, in case anyone cares. It also came with a, shall we say peculiar, smell (weed, it was definitely weed). It was the 'low end' Mac Pro when it was released, and some upgrades are due on its ten-year anniversary.

I'm planning on doing most of the software upgrades before the CPU upgrades, but for those I need more RAM and a better graphics card. For the RAM, I'm using OWC's 8 GB upgrade kit for the Mac Pro 1,1 and 2,1. I chose OWC over eBay for two reasons: although eBay is cheaper, I have ordered from OWC before and it was pretty good quality, and all I could find on eBay were 512 MB sticks or obnoxiously overpriced 2 GB sticks. For the graphics card, I'm using my EVGA GTx 750 ti (with 2 GB DDR5 VRAM) that is in my windows desktop at the moment. I understand that it's not fully supported, but I think I can work around it. If that doesn't work, I can use the GT 640 that I have lying around. I would have bought a Radeon 7950 or 7970, but they are all beat to hell from being used in bitcoin mining rigs and are still overpriced. If I can find a deal on a mint condition used one, I'll get it flashed with the Mac ROM and use it instead. The CPUs I will be using are the best ones you can throw in this machine: Intel Xeon X5365 3.0 GHz Quad Core. I used plural in the above sentence because it has two CPU sockets, which makes me really giddy for some reason.

I mentioned the software upgrades, but I didn't say what I'd be doing. I will upgrade it to boot Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite, so I can run most of my Steam games and use a Steam controller. I'll still be using my trusty Levetron Mech 5 keyboard, though. I will also upgrade the firmware to the Mac Pro 2,1 firmware so the OS will recognize the CPUs and use them to their fullest extent.

After all of the hardware upgrades are done, I'd like to clean up the case and remove the bend in the handle, but that will be for a later date.

Not my particular one. Mine is covered in stickers and weed smell.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I have recently come across the need to use GFWL, and it's awful. I'm know I am about six years late to this shitfest, but I had to say something. It has a really crappy windows Vista overlay, a disaster of an installation process on Windows 10, and something about Micro$haft points. A few Xbox gaming friends of mine informed me that Microsoft points are the 'currency' used to purchase games on Xbox, but here in PC-land we use this thing called 'Dollars'. These dollars are in your bank account, and are used to buy literally everything these days, but Microsoft had to go and invent their own goddam currency, because that's who they are. Additionally, it's so laden with DRM that Linus Torvalds would curl up and die. "We've got to protect developers from piracy". That worked real well, now, didn't it? Look up any game, FUEL, for example, on The Pirate Bay and there are at least two pages of torrents. I'll bet most people haven't even heard of FUEL. Not only that, but Microsoft thought it would be appropriate to release an update to the Xbox voice codec that broke all cross-platform audio chat. And that was in 2010, and nothing has been done to fix it.


Something that sketches me out about GFWL is the fact that the state of the servers is in limbo right now; Microsoft has never said what is going to happen with them, even though they shut down the service, the servers are still running. Even worse, Microsoft is doing it all over again, this time with the new 'Xbox' app and store. I don't know, it really smells fishy. They did it once, they failed miserably, and they're doing it again. I've been burned before (like set on fire burned), and I've gone out of my way to prevent that. Microsoft got burned with GFWL, and they're sticking their hand right back into the furnace so to speak.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

You have no idea...

... how ignorant people are.

(I'm pretty sure most of the readers of this blog know this stuff, but I'm going to say it anyway)

For one, that is a popup injected by my service provider (who is absolute garbage by the way) asking if I want help from a Micro$haft technician. I know for a fact that web browsers can send what OS you are using on the computer, so they shouldn't be asking about a Microsoft one.

The Mac by default does not BSOD. For windows 7 and higher, the BSOD has to be enabled by the user. I have only ever seen a legitimate blue screen once, and it was in my chemistry class in high school (and it was hilarious). If you don't know what a blue screen looks like, then let me enlighten you:

(This one's from Windows 95/98, but they're still pretty much the same)

Saturday, January 2, 2016


I had noticed my PowerBook was running really hot, with the fan going full tilt after only three or so minutes of use. Crap, I thought. I don't want to replace the logic board. But another thing occurred to me; the CD drive would spin up on boot, but there was no disk in it, and the drive wouldn't spin down like it was supposed to. That's awfully strange, so I decided that I would reinstall OS X. I grabbed my install disk, and put it in the drive. *tap*. Wait, there is a disk in there, but it isn't showing up. well crap, the eject button wouldn't work, and when I tried the "open iTunes/Disk Utility and eject from there" methods, the applications just froze. Well shit. Go to OpenFirmware and do it from there? Can't access OpenFirmware because Yaboot is in the way. Last-ditch effort of restarting with the mouse button held down? Of course that one is the one that worked. The CD came right out, wondering what it was, I read the label. "Debian Installation CD". I haven't reinstalled Debian in months, but oh well. The PowerBook is way quieter now, and the fan is almost never on. Strange what a single CD will do.