Dell ATI/AMD 5870′s in Mac Pro 1,1

Dell 5870I have a couple Mac Pro’s at work (well, 3) that sit behind my desk doing render jobs, and running BOINC. They’re Mac Pro 1,1′s, so they date back to late 2006, but I’ve upgraded them with dual quad core processors, so they do okay. I’ve been keeping an eye out for ATI 5870′s to put in them for some GPU grunt, but they generally sell on eBay for $100/each. A couple weeks back, I saw someone was selling 2 for $75 total, and snagged them up. Once they got here, though, I realized an issue. They were made for some Dell, and have a weird bracket on them that you can see in the picture. It’s angled off to no doubt fit into some holder that those specific Dell’s have. Anyway, just thought I’d post that they DO work in the Mac Pro, you just have to grab a Dremel (or hacksaw) with a cutoff wheel, and after unscrewing the 12 or so screws that hold that bracket on, remove it, and cut the angled part off. Seriously, don’t try to put it off while it’s attached to the card… metal filings/dust are not great for electronics. The card then looks like a stock ATI reference card, and fits perfectly.

Make sure to throw the aluminum (aluminium) in the recycle bin. =)

Robin Williams

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-32089715-2798-2239It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything not related to reviews, work, projects, etc, but given the news today, I thought I would post something short.

For those that don’t know, or for posterity (for myself), Robin Williams was found dead today of apparent suicide. A stereotypical comedian in many ways, he battled depression and what I would imagine was some form of bi-polarism, and for years took a lot of drugs that no doubt self-medicated. He cleaned up years ago, and since then has talked about the years he was on drugs, how he got off them, and how he was doing since.

Growing up, Bill Cosby and Robin Williams were probably my two biggest comedic influences, and certainly made me laugh more than any other people save my father. He stars in what is probably, pound for pound, my favorite Disney movie (Aladdin), and a couple of my favorite dramas (Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting). And while Bill is still kicking, and is still funny, Robin will be sorely missed by a lot of people. Maybe not since Richard Pryor has the comedy world lost someone more prolific, and so influential (certainly not to me). I only hope that he knew how much he meant to so many people, and that he had some form of peace in the end.

You will be missed Robin.

Apache AL13P Repair

Apache AL13P Broken Trace FixI just received an Apache AL13P laminator I purchased off eBay (for doing toner transfer PCBs), as not working, for $15 with $15 shipping (so, $30 vs a new one for $90 from Amazon). Listing said the motor worked, but the controls didn’t. Figured it would be something easy.

Item arrived from FedEx saying they had inspected it (guessing they wondered about the odd weight of the box), but otherwise in very good shape. Looking at the unit, it had obviously been dropped in shipping to the original purchaser, as one of the top case tabs had broken, and upon opening, the transformer had broken loose of the power PCB (breaking a trace at the time, as well as breaking a leg/lead off the primary side of the transformer). So, repairing we will go!

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