Apple introduced the Mac Pro as a fully customizable quad-core computer in 2006 and updated it to eight cores in April 2007. The buyer could choose as little as 1 GB of RAM or as much as 16 GB. 160, 250, or 500 GB in drive bay one, and optionally 500 GB in bays 2-4.
WARNING: If you have updated boot.efi on a MacPro1,1 or MacPro2,1 so you can run Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, DO NOT INSTALL SECURITY UPDATE 2018-001 or 2018-002. According to Greg Hrutkay of Hrutkay Mods (see warning video), it breaks boot.efi on the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pros that have been thus updated.
For graphics, Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT is the default, and you can add one, two, or three more. Or choose an ATI Radeon X1900 XT or Nvidia’s top-end Quadro FX 4500.
If one SuperDrive isn’t enough, put in a second one for US$100 more. And you can upgrade from Apple’s regular wired keyboard and Mighty Mouse to the wireless (Bluetooth) version.
- The two things unexpectedly not included by default are Bluetooth 2.0 and AirPort Extreme, which are standard on all other Intel Macs.
A headphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 400 port, and a FireWire 800 port are located on the front of the Mac Pro for easy access.
Firmware and Other Updates
Oh, and did we mention that the Mac Pro was the first 64-bit Intel Mac? Unfortunately, it also has a 32-bit EFI – but Modernizing the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pro to Go Beyond OS X Lion by Robert Bryant explains how to change the boot.efi file so it can run OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later.
It is possible to install 64 GB of memory after installing the firmware update. However, the 2006 Mac Pro will only boot with Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or newer. Earlier versions will only boot with 32 GB of less. See Install 64 GB of RAM in Your Mac Pro 1,1 or 2,1.
What You Need to Know
If you want to go beyond OS X 10.7 Lion, the first thing you should do is apply the EFI update mentioned directly above.
If you are running any PowerPC-only software, think long and hard before going beyond OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the last version of OS X to include Rosetta support for PowerPC apps. If you have Office v.X, Office 2004, AppleWorks, etc., it may make good economic sense to stick with Snow Leopard rather and have to replace Office or whatever. (AppleWorks has no replacement.)
If your 2006 Mac Pro has just 1 GB of system memory, upgrade immediately. You will get okay performance from OS X 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard with 1 GB, but 2 GB is better – and RAM must be upgraded in matched pairs. As of August 2014, you can get 2 GB from Other World Computing for $58 or 4 GB for $85. For low-end users this should be plenty, but power users can go as high as 32 GB.
A 250 GB SATA Rev. 2 hard drive seemed like a lot in 2006, but newer drives will often provide much snappier performance due to larger data buffers. 1 TB drives start at $60 these days (August 2014), and for a serious speed boost – like starting up twice as fast – Other World Computing offers a 44 GB solid state drive (SSD) for just $50 plus $15 for a mounting kit, although you’ll probably want more more capacity than that.
Finally, you can upgrade to a faster, more powerful Socket 771 CPU, but that goes way beyond the scope of this page.
Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. Power PC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.
- introduced 2007.04.04 at $3,999; replaced 2008.01.08
- requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to 10.7 Lion, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later not officially supported (see Modernizing the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pro to Go Beyond OS X Lion for details on installing a 64-bit EFI). macOS 10.14 Mojave and later are not supported.
- Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
- Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
- 64-bit operation is supported.
- OpenCL is not supported with PCI Express.
- CPUs: two 3.0 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon Core 2 CPUs, Socket 771 makes upgrades possible with Xeon 51xx series CPUs that have a 1333 MHz bus
- Bus: 1.33 GHz
- Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 7999
- Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 8628
- RAM: 1 GB, expandable to 64 GB using pairs of 667 MHz DDR2 fully buffered (FB-DIMM) ECC RAM in 8 slots; requires special memory designed for 8-core operation; more than 32 GB requires OS X 10.8 or later
- L2 cache: 4 MB on-chip shared cache per dual-core processor
- L3 cache: none
- Video GHz: Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT with 256 MB RAM in double-wide 16-lane PCIe slot
- 2, 3, or 4 GeForce 7300 optional (add $150 per card)
- ATI Radeon X1900XT with 512 MB RAM optional (add $350)
- Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 with 512 MB RAM optional (add $1,650)
- VRAM: 256 MB
- Hard drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
- Hard drive: 250 Serial ATA 7200 rpm standard
- subtract $75 for 160 GB drive
- add $200 for 500 GB hard drive
- add $400 per additional 500 GB hard drive
- Optical drive bus: UltraATA
- 16x dual-layer SuperDrive standard, add second for $100
writes DVD-R at up to 16x, DVD+R DL at 6x, reads DVDs at 16x; writes CD-R and CD-RW at up to 24x, reads at 32x
- PCI Express: 3 open full-length slots
- SATA: 4 independent buses
- optional external 56k v.92 USB modem
- Microphone: standard 3.5mm minijack, compatible with line-level input, not compatible with Apple’s PlainTalk microphone
- FireWire: 2 FW400 ports (1 on front), 2 FW800 ports (1 on front)
- USB: 5 USB 2.0 ports (2 on front)
- Ethernet: 2 independent 10/100/gigabit ports
- WiFi: optional 802.11g AirPort Extreme
- Bluetooth: optional
- size (HxWxD): 20.1″ x 8.1″ x 18.7″ (51.1 x 20.6 x 47.5 cm)
- Weight: 42.4 lb. (19.2 kg)
- Model ID: MacPro2,1
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
- Part no.: MA356
Accelerators & Upgrades
- The CPU can be replaced by a faster, more powerful version.
- Install 64 GB of RAM in Your Mac Pro 1,1 or 2,1
- Install an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 TI in Your Mac Pro 1,1 or 2,1
- Modernizing the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pro to Go Beyond OS X Lion, Robert Bryant, Hacking Your Mac, 2014.07.28. How to change the boot.efi file so early Mac Pros can run OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later.
- The Mac Pro value equation: Where’s the sweet spot?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.08.10. Four Intel cores, three CPU speeds, three hard drive sizes, three video card options, G5 trouncing speed with universal apps. Is it for you? Where is the best value?
- How I Installed Mac OS 10.8 on My MacPro 1,1, Jabbawok’s Blog, 2012.06.13. You need to upgrade the video card to a compatible one, amd then you can hack OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to run on the 2006 Mac Pro.
- Apple RAID Card Firmware Update, Mac News Review, 2009.09.11. For all 2006 to 2008 Mac Pro and Xserve systems with the Apple RAID card.
- The 64-bitness of Mac OS X 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.08.19. Although Apple is promoting ‘Snow Leopard’ as a fully 64-bit operating system, it defaults to running in 32-bit mode.
- The Road Ahead: 64-bit Computing, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.08.19. Personal computers started with 8-bit CPUs, Macs started out with a 24-bit operating system, and 32-bit computing is starting to give way to 64 bits.
- OS X 10.6 requirements, why Apple owns the high end, when to upgrade your Mac, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.08.14. Also Microsoft Word patent infringement, BackPack shelf for iMac and Cinema Displays, two updated Bible study programs, and more.
- OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for $29, run Windows on your Mac for Free, Update Breaks Office 2008, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.08.07. Also getting your Mac ready for Snow Leopard, Time Capsule doubles capacity, Picasa 3 for Mac, Bodega Mac app store, and more.
- SSD in Mac Pro, Mac cloner opens store, Ubuntu vs. OS X, new Nvidia drivers, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.07.17. Also Classilla brings Firefox to OS 9, slow networking in OS X, iMac vs. Mac Pro, URL shortening software, Quicken update finally coming in 2010, and more.
- Optimized Software Builds Bring Out the Best in Your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- New Mac mini and iMac benchmarked, FireWire 400-to-800 solutions, dual-band AirPort Extreme, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.03.06. Also new iMac and Mac mini dissected, OS X share still above 10%, fastest SATA boot drives for the Mac Pro, iMac keyboard loses numeric keypad, and more.
- Ubuntu Linux and Boot camp make it easy to create a triple boot Mac, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.12.24. Boot Camp makes it easy to install Windows on Intel Macs, and Ubuntu now makes it easy to install Linux to a virtual Windows drive.
- The ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Guide to Installing Mac OS X Updates, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ’emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- The Long Term Value of a High End Mac, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2008.11.21. Low-end Macs are more affordable up front, but the flexibility and upgrade options of a top-end Mac can make it the better value in the long run.
- Virtualization shootout: VMWare Fusion 2 vs. Parallels Desktop 4, Kev Kitchens, Kitchens Sync, 2008.11.20. Both programs do the same thing, but one runs Windows XP smoothly alongside Mac apps, while the other bogs down everything but Windows.
- One OS to rule them all, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.10.29. With Fusion or Parallels letting you run Windows at full speed, Mac OS X gives you the best of both worlds.
- How to clone Mac OS X to a new hard drive, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here’s the simple process.
- CodeWeavers brings Google’s Chrome browser to Intel Macs, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2008.10.02. Google’s new Chrome browser uses separate processes for each tab and brings other changes to Windows users. Now Mac fans can try it as well.
- Tiger vs. Leopard: Which is best for you?, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.09.22. Two great versions of Mac OS X, but unless your Mac is well above the minimum spec for Leopard and has lots of RAM, stick with Tiger.
- Apple Trumps Microsoft in Making the 64-bit Transition Transparent to Users, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.09.18. To use more than 4 GB of RAM under Windows, you need a 64-bit PC and the 64-bit version of Windows. On the Mac, OS X 10.4 and later already support it.
- SATA, SATA II, SATA 600, and Product Confusion Fatigue, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.09.08. In addition to the original SATA specification and the current 3 Gb/s specification, SATA revision 3.0 is just around the corner.
- Does running OS X system maintenance routines really do any good?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.08.26. Mac OS X is designed to run certain maintenance routines daily, weekly, and monthly – but can’t if your Mac is off or asleep.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn’t working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- Free VirtualBox for Mac now a virtual contender, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.07.21. A year ago, the Mac version of VirtualBox lacked some essential features. Over the past year, it’s grown into a very useful tool.
- Mac Pro overclocking, Windependence with Darwine, Blu-ray for Macs, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.07.04. Also more on running Leopard on non-Apple hardware, Ubuntu on a Mac mini, the first autofocus webcam with Zeiss optics for Macs, and more.
- Mac sales up 50% in May, OS X on any PC with USB dongle?, share up to 5 USB devices, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.06.20. Also intimidating people with a Mac, CherryPal’s inexpensive green ‘cloud’ computer, quad-core G5 YDP PowerStation, Radeon HD 3870 announced, and Nolobe Iris claims to be ‘the ultimate image editor for OS X’.
- SheepShaver brings Classic Mac OS to Intel Macs and Leopard, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.05.20. Mac OS X 10.5 doesn’t support Classic Mode. Neither does Leopard. But SheepShaver lets you emulate a PowerPC Mac and run the Classic Mac OS.
- Windows on Macs: Three paths for integration, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.05.14. Mac users have three routes for running Windows apps: Run Windows using Boot Camp or virtualization, or use a compatibility layer such as WINE.
- Prosumer Mac suggestions, bring back the 12″ ‘Book, Pismo displays, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.05.06. Readers offer more thoughts on a midrange Mac, the need for a new 12″ ‘Book, using F-keys as F-keys in OS X, and lid closed video mode for Pismo.
- Safari 3.1 will be ‘crazy fast’, OS X 10.5.2 update, 20x SuperDrive from $35, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.02.15. Also Security Update for Tiger, Graphics Update for Leopard, Mac mini “as powerful as a larger desktop”, TechTool Deluxe update, and more.
- Restore stability to a troubled Mac with a clean system install, Keith Winston, Linux to Mac, 2008.01.15. If your Mac is misbehaving, the best fix just might be a fresh reinstallation of Mac OS X – don’t forget to backup first.
- The 2008 Mac Pro value equation, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.01.09. The new Mac Pro models use quad-core Intel Xeon CPUs on a faster bus, add SAS support, and include Bluetooth. Is there any reason to buy the old ones?
- The best alternatives to Apple’s USB keyboards, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.12.10. There are a lot of USB keyboards out there, even for the Mac, but these two have great keyboard action, are solidly built, and have features Apple’s keyboard don’t include.
- Cross-platform computing: Better than it’s ever been, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2007.11.13. Macs can read PC media, both Macs and Windows PCs play nice with each other on networks, and emulation makes it easy for Intel Macs to run Windows apps.
- Proof Macs cost less, Leopard spanks Vista, Mac pride pins, Arabic OS X 10.4.10, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.11.09. Also the pitfalls of Macintel recovery, waiting for the 10.5.1 update, QuickTime 7.3 released, new Leopard books, and more.
- ‘I will switch from Apple’, AMD’s 3-core CPU, Carbon Copy Cloner 3.0 released, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.09.21. Also new 24″ iMac disappoints, new driver does not improve iMac GPU performance, aluminum keyboards “atrocious”, QuickerTek WiFi antenna for Mac Pro, free 3D home interior software, and more.
- The gaping hole in Apple’s desktop line, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.07.13. $599 for a Mac mini with very limited expandability, $999 for an iMac with limited expandability, or $2,200 for a the very expandable Mac Pro.
- 30 days with OS X, free remote control for your Mac, 32 GB for the Mac Pro, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.06.08. Also Parallels 3 gains graphics acceleration, ZFS coming with ‘Leopard’, where to buy OS 9 CDs, Google Gears comes to the Mac, low-cost analog video import for the Mac, and more.
- Apple’s 5% market share, 8-core Mac Pro rocks when multitasking, ScreenRecycler speeds up, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.04.27. Also how to cool RAM in the Mac Pro, Blu-ray support may come with Leopard, new Core 2 CPUs with double-sized caches, clever eSATA extender cable from NewerTech, and more.
- 8-core Mac Pro value debated, OS X browsers benchmarked, two new widget tools, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.04.20. Also another Linux-to-Mac convert, the best office suite Mac owners can’t buy, Obsidian wireless mouse, low cost displays, and more.
- Apple TV Runs OS X, 8-core Mac Pro Benchmarks, Best Buy to Carry Apple Computers, and More, Mac News Review, 2007.04.13. Also Scoble says ‘buy a Mac’, satisfaction the key to Apple’s loyal customers, first keyboard with an iPod dock, ‘ultimate’ computer desk includes aquarium, and more.
- VMware Fusion beta 3 adds new features, takes a giant step toward release, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2007.04.11. Looking for a virtualization solution for your Intel Mac? The latest beta of VMWare Fusion makes several improvements and includes some unique features.
- 1 core, 2 cores, 4 cores, 8: How Much Difference Does It Make?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.04.10. Geekbench scores make it possible to compare the newest 3 GHz 8-core Mac Pro with the 1.5 GHz Core Solo Mac mini – and all the models in between.
- The 8-core Mac Pro Value Equation, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.04.04. At US$4,000, is the 8-core 3.0 GHz Mac Pro an overpriced sports car or a well-priced big rig?
- Mac Pro Could Go 8-core with Quad-core Xeons, and Intel Enters Flash Drive Market, Mac News Review, 2007.03.16. Intel released the quad-core Xeon this week; it’s just a matter of time before we’ll see it in the Mac Pro.
- 11 No Cost Tips for Optimizing Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Performance, Ed Eubanks Jr, The Efficient Mac User, 2007.03.12. If your Mac is getting sluggish, here are 11 tips that can help restore its original performance.
- CrossOver: Run Windows Apps on Intel Macs Without Windows, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2007.02.28. If you need to run Windows apps on your Intel Mac once in a while, CrossOver may be the least expensive way to do so since it eliminates the need to buy a copy of Windows.
- Safari Usage Share Up 50%, 8-core Mac Pro Benchmarked, DST Updates for OS X, $26 Bluetooth, and More, Mac News Review, 2007.02.23. Also Google analyzes hard drive failure, $30 SuperDrive upgrades, Carbon Copy Cloner 3 adds automated backup, free ClamXav virus checker, and more.
- Windows Vista Home Runs on Macs, Apple Legacy Manuals, Upgrading a Mac mini or Mac Pro CPU, and More, Mac News Review, 2007.02.16. Also installing OS X on non-Apple hardware legal for developers, integrated graphics remains Mac mini’s Achilles’ heel, $20 slim keyboard, ATI’s forthcoming R600 graphics processor, and more.
- Which Intel Macs Take CPU Upgrades?, $2 802.11n Enabler, USB Drive Adapter, and More, Mac News Review, 2007.02.02. Also a DST fix for Panther, Logos coming to Macs, Intel’s chip breakthrough, iConnect iPod integration for GM vehicles, a waterproof iPod, and more.
- Parallels Revisited: Release Version Far More Polished than Beta, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2006.11.21. Parallels lets you run Windows or Linux without rebooting your Intel-based Mac, and it’s made great strides since the beta came out earlier this year.
- To AppleCare or not to AppleCare?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.11.20. Consumer Reports, which generally recommends against extended warranties, says AppleCare makes sense. But does it?
- Intel Inside Macs Paves the Way for Affordable CPU Upgrades, Adam Robert Guha, Apple Archive, 2006.11.10. By adopting industry standards, Apple has made it much easier for Mac owners to add memory, expansion cards, and faster CPUs to their computers.
- Pre-2006 Software: The Big Reason You Shouldn’t Buy an Intel Mac in 2006, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.11.09. If you work with software that predates the Intel transition, you may be better off sticking with PowerPC Macs. And if you use classic apps, you definitely want to avoid Intel.
- Use Any Networked Computer as an Additional Mac Display, Fixing AirPort Problems with OS X 10.4.8, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.10.06. Also Logitech’s new Edge keyboard, a keyboard cover just for Pro Tools, MondoMouse gives your mouse super powers, and Mac Pro power consumption.
- Apple II Greatest PC Ever, Core 2 in a Mac mini, iMac Core 2 Duo ‘Ultimate Mac Value’, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.22. Also firmware restoration for Intel Macs, Mac Pro firmware updates, iron on iPod nano cases, Boot Camp beta 1.1.1, and more.
- Core 2 iMac Praise, Windows Vista ‘a Pile of Crap’, Cube Redux?, High Capacity iPod Battery, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.15. Also the Mac Pro’s ‘pure, unadulterated power’, Parallels now runs on the Mac Pro, iMac Core 2 specs, dual G4 upgrade for MDD and Xserve G4, and more.
- Region Free DVD Viewing Options for Intel and PowerPC Macs, Andrew J Fishkin, The Mobile Mac, 2006.09.12. Several hardware and software options that will let your view ‘wrong region’ DVDs on your PowerPC or Intel Mac.
- Core 2 7% Faster, iMac Goes Core 2, G4/1.6 GHz Dual, SAFE Drive Secures Data, Wireless Headphones, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.08. Also how to share a printer with OS 9, more praise for Logitech Revolution mouse, CrossOver lets you run Windows apps without Windows, a USB car charger for the iPod, and more.
- G3 Support in Leopard, 512 MB Inadequate for Tiger, Free Battery Recycling, Vintage and Obsolete Macs, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.08.25. Also one Ubuntu switcher is now a ‘Macboy’ again, security costs make Windows more expensive than OS X, Mac Pro tips and reviews, hand carved iPod stands, and more.
- Apple II the Greatest PC Ever, Apple #1 in Consumer Satisfaction, Mac Pro Security Patches, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.08.18. Also Classic gone with nary a whisper, Mac Pro ‘everything the Power Mac G5 should have been’, Dell twice as costly, USB keyboard with iPod dock, and more.
- Mac Pro vs. G5 Quad, Mac Faithful ‘More Impressed by Form than Function’, Mac Pro Configuration, and More, The Macintel Report, 2006.08.17. Also Core vs. Core 2, new horizons for the Macintel era, Mac OS Forge launches, and more.
- The Mac Pro Value Equation Letters, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2006.08.16. Tips on memory, G5 vs. Mac Pro, Final Cut Pro benchmarks, and the downside of soft modems.
- Mac Pro Take Apart, Mac Pro Vs. Quad G5, No Virtual PC for Macintel, MacMice Updates, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.08.11. Also first Mac Pro security update, online Mac backup, an iPod cover featuring the first Mac, and more.
- Quad-core 64-bit Mac Pro and Xserve, MacBook Pro Core 2 Rumors, VMware for Macintel, and More, The Macintel Report, 2006.08.08. Apple has completed its Intel transition with quad-core Xserve and Mac Pro models, which have 64-bit support lacking in earlier Macintel models.
- Mac Pro – Technical Specifications, Apple
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