2009 Mac Pro 4,1 Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by RocktamusPrim3, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. RocktamusPrim3 macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2016
    Hey everyone,

    I've got a 2009 Mac Pro 4,1, 2.93GHz Quad Core Xeon with 16GB of ram I bought it as a modular storage hub. I just bought it last October, after replacing my 17" 2012 Macbook Pro that was destroyed in an accident. Currently, the Mac Pro has 4 1TB HD's, as well as a 240GB SSD mounted on a PCIe board, and 16GB of ram. The graphics card is stock, with the Nvidia GeForce 120 512mb one. I don't do any editing or gaming on this, so I haven't worried too much about it.

    Now, it's currently running El Capitan very smoothly. It's by far the best and fastest computer I've ever owned, and I definitely plan on using it, at least as a storage hub, for a long time. However, eventually, I'm going to have to upgrade as El Capitan isn't gonna be receiving security updates here in the next few years. I'm in no rush to upgrade at the moment.

    This brings me to my question however. Because it only runs up to El Capitan, I've been feeling a bit conflicted as to what I should do with it. I know I can flash the firmware to 2010 specs, but I'm not sure whether I want to do that just yet. I've thought out a couple options for it though, and wanted your input:
    1. When I buy my next Mac, probably a 5k iMac in a few years, once El Capitan isn't receiving security updates, turn the 4,1 into an offline storage hub, where I connect to it via Target Disk Mode, and continue to run it on El Capitan offline to watch movies, manage music and photos, etc.
    2. Turn it into a home server. Will it be safe to continue using it exclusively as a home server, even after El Capitan isn't getting security updates though? Also, is there a difference between the macos server app and the OS X server app, or is it just the name of the app itself?
    Obviously, it's cheaper and more secure to go with Option 1 since it removes the Internet connectivity aspect. However, I've been interested in networking lately, and thought it'd be a fun project to make a home server with my Mac. But I wasn't sure whether it'd be worth it and secure in the long run, if El Capitan isn't going to be getting any security updates in a year or two.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    When El Capitan no longer supported. It's time to flash your Mac Pro to 5,1. Or there should be a way to run the new OS without flashing it (3,1 can also run Sierra now with some work around). However, flash should be still the easiest way to get the newer OS support.

    If you insist not to do that. Using the Mac Pro as storage / home media server is NOT cheap at all. There are lots of cheap alternative out there which use MUCH lesss energy then the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro itself is cheap now, but the power consumption is not (relatively), and that's also a part of your operating cost.

    No matter what you do with your Mac Pro, it should be behind a firewall anyway. So, that should be still quite safe for normal use, even the OS is no longer support (if you only use it as your storage / media server).
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I see no down sides to flashing the 5,1 firmware to your Mac Pro.

    As has been stated, using the Mac Pro as a storage device isn't practical once you factor in the cost to power it. Honestly, I couldn't think of anything useful to do with my old Mac Pro after I updated to a new system. I just ended up selling it.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I know one, the boot manager may not work properly if there is a SSD mounted via a Sonnet Tempo SSD PCIe card. 4,1 firmware is fine, but 5,1 may cause white screen only and no boot partition displayed.

    And unable to use some old OSX may be another one. If anyone consider this is a disadvantage.

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