Category Archives: Macintosh

OWC 2.5″ Tray Installation for SSD on MacPro 2009

Aha the last piece of the puzzle (until I get my memory upgrade later). This article covers an OWC 2.5″ Tray Installation for SSD on MacPro 2009.

Here’s the OWC 2.5″  Drive Tray installation… took longer to pull out of the box and take pictures than actually install (and much longer to write this blog post!). As I noted before I connected my SSD and installed the drive on the Optical Bay SATAs for OS Installation via Time Machine backup of my 13″ MacBook Pro  (2010).

It really  WAS this simple. It’s a lovely box!

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Open the box, pull out the tray. I put the SSD next to to make sure the hole align (note that it came with screws in this kit!)

IMG_1218 1Verify that  when it slides in the SATA port is on the correct side and alignment (you don’t have to stand on your head unless you want to). Screw in the 4 screws so that it’s nice and snug.

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Slide the tray into an open bay until you feel the drive push in and it’s flush.
IMG_1220 1And boot!

The speed differences on the optical bay SATA  and motherboard are minimal, standard SATA2 speeds. If I feel adventurous I may get a SATA3 PCI Express card for it, but these speeds are more than enough for my uses.

MacPro Sata2- on motherboard
MacPro Sata2- on motherboard
MacPro Sata2
MacPro Sata2 on Optical Bay Cable

This tray is definitely worth the money — 2 thumbs up!

So far OWC has great kudos in my book for supporting non-supported Macs such as my new (to me!) 2009 MacPro.

MacPro installation of EVGA GeForce GTX 760

This is a visual guide for installation of an EVGA GeForce GTX 760 on a 2009 MacPro.

Just a note, I’ve already installed Mavericks on my Samsung 1TB SSD, but the tray from OWC hasn’t come in yet, so I’ve got it plugged into a SATA port in the Media bay for now – the drive in bay 4 is a 1TB standard platter drive for Time Machine.

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The most insane thing (not having the hardware in front of me) was going on faith that this whole deal would work. None of the photos online gave me clear pics of the power outputs on the motherboard — well, there they are – on the bottom left of the green. They’re pointed up, but they’re two min-six pin power points.

I already knew I needed a couple of adapters. Just run a search for MacPro PCI Express Video power adapters and get the 6, 4 or 8 pins you’ll need for your card. Mine required a 6 pin and an 8 pin. I think I spent $17 for both cables on a seller from Amazon.

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Here’s a photo of the ends that go into the motherboard….

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Just like this!

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Then remove the stock Video card…. anybody with PC tech won’t fret over this.

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Removal of second bay cover, and installation of GeForce PC Card…

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…then plugging them into the video card…
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Powered on, as I’ve read there’s no EFI boot displayed on a non-Mac card (that is, the dual tone gray apple logo boot screen), but once the OS loads up, BOOM. Pixel perfect.

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I installed the CUDA drivers and took Blender for a quick test spin…

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Not bad for a “free” (already purchased last year) upgrade.

2009 MacPro Upgrade Project Inspection

2009 MacPro Upgrade Project Inspection

The MacPro has arrived. My workbench has been set up and I’m ready for any cosmetic repairs that bother me. This post is going to give an overview of the quality and repairability of 2009 MacPro Upgrade Project Inspection. First things first. Let’s open up the box and verify that it boots and everything functions as expected. The packaging was quite cheap, but extremely effective. I’m not going to complain at all (other than I had to pull out some scissors during the de-bubblewrapping). Good stuff. IMG_5656 IMG_5660 IMG_5666 IMG_5676 IMG_5682   The grill damage that was pictured in the auction wasn’t nearly as annoying to me in person as I thought, so for now I’m cool with it. IMG_5711 However I did notice a definite absence of a Optical Drive (it wasn’t included in the features, so it’s more a surprise than an annoyance). IMG_5763   The motherboard looks like it’s in good shape, clean and spotless. The stock video card looks like it’s in great shape too. It doesn’t have 3 of the drive sleds, but that was also expected. I had planned on replacing one with a 2.5″ from Otherworld Computing… that’ll be in a later post. IMG_5721     Time for first boot! Took a few seconds for it to come up (but I’m used to SSD speeds on my MacBook Pro), but it came up. IMG_5732   The Password Hint was genius. IMG_5761 This was brought me a smile to my face…. nicely done (wait, I have the same combination on my luggage!!!). It matters not, as one of the first things I’m replacing and adding is an SSD for the box (see later post) and I’ll run a Time Machine restore on the new drive. All system functioning, just fine.

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The only surprise/disappointment was the lack of an Optical Drive… otherwise I’m very happy with it.

Mac Pro Upgrade Project (MacPro 4,1 circa 2009)

Mac Pro Upgrade Project (MacPro 4,1 circa 2009)

I just won a bid for a 2009 Mac Pro (Quad Core Xeon 2.66). I plan on making this my primary technology project for the summer.  It’s got a few dents, dings and scratches on it, but I think I can clean/buff those out. It’s a pretty minimalistic machine as far as it goes, but because it’s an older Mac Pro there are MANY fairly inexpensive opportunities to upgrade this box to a workhorse media machine. This  Mac Pro upgrade project should be quite an adventure.

Mac Pro Upgrade Project - Mac with Ding
Mac Pro Upgrade Project – Mac with Ding

Specs at Purchase

  • Mac Pro 4,1 A1289
  • Quad Core Xeon @ 2.66ghz
  • 7 Gigs RAM
  • 250 Gig HD

I’ll be performing some piecemeal repairs and upgrades to this machine as I learn about how these are designed. I’ve only seen the outside of one in person, never the inside. However some of the videos and reviews I’ve been watching sure makes some of the upgrades to appear fairly easy to handle. Again, I’m not a hardware guru, but I do get along quite well with knowing my cabling and specifications.

The biggest problem I foresee is the uncharted territory that I’m entering with a used (and although the description reads fully functional, I get paranoid) Mac Pro. Once the system is on my workbench I’ll be able to give a better analysis and overview.

Intended Upgrades (in order)

  1. Removing the stock nVidia 160 Video Card and replacing with my (already owned) EVGA GeForce GTX 760
  2. Replacing the Hard Drive with a 1TB SSD (maybe just a 500MB)
  3. Replacing the RAM with a 32 Gig kit.

I’ll be posting pics, videos and tutorials on this new project/journey in the coming months.

Thanks for visiting!

Laptop Hard Drive Crash

Yeowsers. When it goes down, it goes down fast! I knew it was coming a few months ago so I purchased a spare hard drive to archive/install to.

Took about two and a half hours to recover my apps, data and settings and lost only one of my virtual machines (Windows Vista, for IE9 testing) and a few other Apps that I decided to just reinstall from the App Store, but I’m back up and going with all my old settings even without using Time Machine as my backup source.

Well played, Apple. Well played. Now to use Disk Utility to do a partition copy of my Windows Boot Camp to the new hard drive–we’ll see how that goes 😉

Nerd Rage: Apple’s Antics (again, REALLY!?!)

Apple has decided they don’t care about the Server/Enterprise market whatsoever. They have decided to drop their XServe (rackmount) configuration for Mac Mini and Mac Pro configurations.

They use Sun hardware and operating systems for their new data center instead of “eating your own dog food” XServe and Mac OS Server (so that their line can be improved for their customers).

I’ve just decided to set up permanently Boot Camp on my MacBook Pro for Windows 7 as my primary OS and using MacOS when I decide there’s an app I want to use that’s MacOS only. I’ll deal with the lack of “Teh Snappy” for an operating system that is supported in the Enterprise.

This is really a shame because I love Mac Notebook hardware (and I love MacOS and what it could be if it were more focused), but to be perfectly honest Windows 7 does, indeed rock as a desktop OS (even with all it’s legacy cruft).

Development in Windows is a much easier and streamlined as well (although XCode 4 looks like it’s just as easy and streamlined. It’s unattainable without a developer subscription).

Phooey 😛

MacBook Pro: 30 days later

Summary

After 30 days of use with my first Macintosh Laptop, I’ll convey my feelings and thoughts. In my “First Week” post I posted my initial thoughts on this baseline and bottom of the MacBook Pro line laptop.

Now it’s important to know that I’m not a first time Mac user, for I’ve owned a few G4 class PowerMacs in the past. I know that the biggest hurdle for a new Mac user is the use of the Command Key as a modifier key instead of the Control Key (assuming that the new user even knows about Control-* shortcuts), however after daily use it’s pretty much seamless as I use Linux, Windows and MacOS pretty consistently and equally the use of Command or Control is pretty automatic as I unconsciously know which OS I’m in. Both modifier keys are very awesome for different reasons, and neither one is better than the other.

“Teh Snappy”

(“Teh Snappy” is internet lingo for UI performance) As for drivers (mainly 3d drivers) and pure processing power, my Quad Core Windows 7 box is a much more powerful crunchy box (I have it converting Video files to MP4 for the last three weeks or so), but Windows 7 on the whole is just not as snappy of an OS… everything seems to have a Delay. Third party software still seems to take forever to load. Mac applications (with the exception of Adobe products and Steam) seem to load very quickly–especially for a lower class machine with half the memory (and laptop grade hardware).

Windows has more software choices available (especially Free software), however the Mac’s software quality (on the whole) seems much more robust and polished.

The Audio Unit/Core Audio interface for Garage Band instruments and inputs is hands down much better than anything Windows has built in. WDM just plain sucks as an interface to my MIDI & Audio Hardware in Cakewalk’s SONAR. I’ve never been able to get it to work right and I’ve always had to use SONAR in VST mode which required more memory to use (and was still buggy in some instances). Everything just worked awesomely on my Macs (albeit it was very slow on a G4 PowerMac when using software instruments).

Hardware & Integration

The integration between the OS and the hardware on MacOS X is hands down awesome. Bluetooth devices seem to be a part of the OS, instead of what seems like a bolt-on solution like Windows 7’s taskbar icon. The MacBook Pro just feels solid, as it’s a little heavier than one would first think. The keys are locked in and are almost impossible to pop off without breaking the key itself. My only complaint is that I’d like to have ONE MORE USB port so I don’t have to unplug my MIDI keyboard to sync my iPhone when I’ve got it docked at home to my external monitor. This is easily remedied if I were to just go procure a USB hub.

How to learn to use a Mac

I’ll be posting video tutorials soon (all I’m waiting on is to purchase a license for ScreenFlow), this will be from anything of how to navigate the Operating System to installing software to using Garage Band and other common software. I’ve made a few private videos which have been a smashing success with the few who have watched the videos. To be honest I doubt that I’ll limit myself to just Computer tutorials, but I figure that I wanted to start with things that I know fairly well.

Software that I use daily

  • Apple Mail (built into MacOS)
  • Safari (built into MacOS)
  • iTunes (with the Last.fm scrobbler plugin, built into MacOS)
  • iPhoto (part of iLife, which comes with every Mac)
  • Pages (part of the iWork suite)
  • Adium (a nice multiprotocol Instant Messenger)
  • Terminal (I connect to Linux servers, built into MacOS)

Software that I use almost daily or occasionally

  • Garage Band (part of iLife, which comes with every Mac)
  • VMWare Fusion (for testing Linux server distros and for my Windows XP virtual machine)
  • Keynote (part of the iWork suite)
  • iCal (built into MacOS)
  • CoRD (to administer to Windows Servers)
  • Chicken of the VNC

My only real User Interface complaint

Something needs to be done with the Dock… right now it’s using a strange amount of space. I normally turn autohiding on because otherwise when a window is maximized to use the whole screen there’s quite a bit of  wasted space on the right and left of the dock. Windows does have Mac on this front UI wise in my opinion. The Windows 7 taskbar  is used all the way across the bottom. Although depending on your configuration still has wasted space if you don’t have my programs open or docked), but the taskbar is there and at least has purpose instead of showing the background. It’s a matter of whether it seems to have purpose or not, even though both really take about the same amount of space.

Some would say that the menu bar across the top is a big issue of used space, but actually it’s not. Almost every Windows application will have the same amount of space allocated per program for a Menu bar. The Mac having it all the way on top all the time is something easily understood if a user has experience with the OS (yes, it bothered me too when I was just starting to use a Mac, now I understand and love it).