Upgrading a Mac Pro 1,1 from 2006 with stunning results! March 7, 2015 13:30
So you have a Mac Pro 1,1 and you're stuck with it being quad core and the latest version of OSX you can run is 10.7.5 Lion
Apple_Cards is here to say....
There are a number of fantastic upgrades you can perform to bring these machines right up to date with some quiet frankly stunning results which I will outline below and include links to help get you on track to making a quality machine!
The Mac Pro 1,1 is restricted in that although it's dual socket machine, it can only see dual core processors such as the Xeon 5150 (Dual Core 2.66Ghz) and the 5160 (Dual Core 3.0Ghz) as standard.
There is a handy tool though that will upgrade the firmware in these machines to allow the installation and correct recognition of quad core processors such as the E5345 (Quad Core 2.33Ghz), X5355 (Quad Core 2.66Ghz) and X5365 (Quad Core 3.0Ghz) making your 1,1 machine an 8 Core beast! Typical Geekbench scores can go from about 6000 (5150 processors) to 11,000 (X5365). You'll find the utility to upgrade the firmware here.
The processors themselves can be easily sourced on eBay for very little money these days too!
So the 2006 & 2007 models of Mac Pro are stuck with no support or ability to upgrade to any version of OSX above Lion 10.7.5
There was always debate over why the Mac Pro 1,1 & 2,1 were 64 Bit machines yet were unable to have a purely 64 Bit OS loaded onto it. That has now been cracked with some brilliant work that allows a custom installer to put Mountain Lion (10.8), Mavericks (10.9) and Yosemite (10.10) onto these older machines. Check these links here to find the info on SFFOTT, Tiamo's boot.efi and the Piker-Alpha bootloader. In a nutshell they enable the ability to install these OS versions on the older machines with little to no problems.
Graphics Card Upgrade:
So with a 32-Bit EFI built into the machine and 10.7.5 as the latest OS version there was a limit to how any cards could be used in a Mac Pro 1,1
In combination with begin able to install a later version of OSX, cards such the AMD Radeon R9 280X & AMD Radeon 7950 are fully supported giving superb up to date graphics with a full boot screen too (made possible by the EBC firmware loaded onto the cards eeprom).
All that's left is to add an SSD as a boot drive and you have yourself a very capable machine for Pro Apps for very little money!