First Days With the Mac Pro

A number of days ago I bought I used Mac Pro. It’s a 1,1 model from 2006, so it’s certainly not the new model from 2009 (as much as I would like one of those). A few days ago the screen I bought for it also arrived, and I was able to start testing it out. So this is what this blog post is about, my first couple days with the Mac Pro.

So I pulled out the heavy desktop, hooked up the cords and screen, worked out a way to deal with the really short USB cable on the keyboard, and hit the power button. It started up and pretty soon the I head the fans pick up speed and start to run at full blast; the machine sounded like an aeroplane and you could hear it all over the house. But anyway, the worst part was, nothing came up on the screen, there was no big scary cowbell (or whatever that start up sound is), nothing. Ok, so I try plugging the screen in a different slot; nothing. Reboot? Nothing. I decided to leave it until tomorrow (it was night time by the way).

The next day the results were the same. I tried taking out the graphics card (that thing was just plain hard to get out while trying to keep the insides intact), dusting it off, and putting it back in. Nothing; apart from the aeroplane fans of course. I tried switching power cables. Nothing; apart from not being able to use the power cable any more for a screen. I tried going through the SMC reset procedure, and a tonne of other things.

In the end, after a day of trying different things, it was very simple. All it took to make OS X and the system start up, was a tap on a certain point on the back fan. Once that was done, a red light went on inside the case (I had no idea what that meant), heard some weird noises, and there you go; OS X started and the installation process proceeded. Half way through the installation, suddenly every conked out again. Tapped the back fan again, the red light when on and OS X started the installation process.

Now after that, I was able to use the computer for over an hour and a half; but after that the loud fans got irritating. I put the machine into sleep and walked away. But while I was running it, I collected some statistics that were rather interesting. The CPU temperatures were coming in as over 120 degrees, Celsius. And by the way, that was at 1-2% usage. It turns out this was a misreading, and the fans were responding to it by going at max speed (which was over 2500rpm). This is what was causing the red light.

Anyway, after leaving it in sleep for a while, I came back to boot it up. I found that it had fixed the misreading, the fans were quite as ever and the red light was gone! It’s all very strange. But the current condition is, the system is still unstable; something wrong in the hardware can cause it to crash at any time. Also, tapping the fans actually creates a misreading I think, but also gets it out of it’s crashed state.

Aside from the trouble I’ve had from the used machine, I like how quick and responsive it is when working normally. It’s just really fast. I also like how fast it can boot up, ready for me to use. It doesn’t take very long! Still getting used to the Mac OS, it’s quite different to Windows (which I’ve been using for years).

That’s about all for now, I’ll probably write some more as I go on in using the Mac. Thanks for reading!

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