What to do with an old Mac Pro 1,1?

So, the story goes like this.

I ended up with a Mac Pro 1,1 in decent condition via a university surplus sale for less than $100.

With a firmware upgrade to make it act like a 2,1, more RAM, and a slightly better eight core Xeon processor, I had intended to turn it into a 24/7 file server to be accessible remotely. The Mac Pro, even the 1,1, for all of its warts has plenty of expansion space. Would I max it out internally? Add external hard drives? Make it less power hungry?

But, and there is always a but with these old machines, I ended up with an inexpensive dedicated NAS that sips power and does a lot more for less.

So, what to do with an old Mac Pro 1,1?

(And yes, I recognize that I am posting this on a G5 site.)

In the end, I am typing this blog post from Windows 10 installed on a second SSD (that I had pulled from another machine). On the other SSD, I’m running El Capitan, which is okay to do somethings especially within a browser like Firefox. The Mac Pro 1,1, despite its limitations on the Mac OS X side, makes a hell of a Windows machine. I’ve got an older but decent graphics card in here too (procured on the cheap). I can even game a bit.

Like all old Macs, the key question is why – why do you want to run them? Do you want to tinker? Do you want to learn? Do you want to scrounge around for old parts? Are you into nostalgia? Are you just curious? They are all good reasons. Especially if you can get access to these old Macs for next to nothing.

Older Intel Macs will become the beloved next generation of low end Macs precisely because they can dual boot in a lot of different configurations, from Linux to Windows. It makes them an intriguing option to keep around the house, even as their Mac OS X limitations creep in.

Our PowerPC Macs are only getting older and there is less speed and power to squeeze out of them as even Linux slowly leaves them behind.

Meanwhile, my wife’s old MacBook 1,1 is sitting below me. I’ve tinkered with it but found that its plastic case and roaring fans leave a lot to be desired. Still, it could run Windows. It could run numerous variants of Linux. It’s something to play with. But why? What do I want to do with it? Ultimately, that’s the question.

  • What is your next old Mac project?
  • Why do you work on old Macs?