4,1 vs. 5,1 Mac Pro – Which will be supported longer?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by koalb, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. koalb macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2014
    Looking to buy either a modified 4,1 or an original 5,1. My question is which one will be officially supported by Apple longer? (Or will there be any difference?) Thinking especially about services like iCloud and iMessages.

    I understand that a 4,1 can be modified to perform exactly the same as a 5,1– but I have to imagine that if/when Apple decides to shut off this generation of MP from support, they'll be taking SN into account – meaning that a modified 4,1 won't be able to update to the latest generation of OS even if it's performing as a 5,1 machine because it's limited by its serial number.

    TLDR – is it worth paying the premium for a legit, 5,1 serial number to guarantee longer support from Apple?
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    At this point I would go with the dual 5,1 if you can. If you choose to upgrade processors down the line it's a piece of cake. That in itself is worth the savings for having someone delid the CPUS.
  3. Supermacguy macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    I dont think they are going to serial # check in the OS installer. Plus you can still use apps to help install OS's that are not officially supported. I've got a 4,1 upgraded to a 5,1 and I have no worries. Plus you need to be realisitic and realize you might be on borrowed time, or OS limited at SOME point. Consider what CPU you want to upgrade to, more so than than generation. Do you want to put the latest in?
  4. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    You absolutely cannot guarantee support from Apple at this point. The 4,1 was abandoned with Sierra, and it seems probable to me that the 5,1 will lose OS support with whatever comes after High Sierra this summer. *Maybe* we'll get lucky and Apple will feel sorry for those of us who have stuck with the 4,1/5,1 machines to this point without any viable replacement... but there are absolutely no guarantees.

    With these older machines, you have to be happy with whatever performance you get. If you buy a 4,1 or a 5,1 today, you know what you are getting. You can't be bothered if they don't support some feature or some OS tomorrow. The fact that we have been able to flash 4,1 to 5,1 is just gravy at this point.

    So that said, if you're going to buy a machine and upgrade the processors, you just have to decide if it's worth it to buy a 5,1 so you can use lidded processors. If you're not planning on upgrading the processors, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you get a 4,1 or a 5,1.
  5. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Also note all single CPU towers use lidded. (If you are looking for a single socket)...
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Macs go "vintage" at 5 years after discontinuation, so although the 2010 had one more year than the 2009, at this point there is no difference in policy because both are so old that they've lost hardware service support. You can read the policy and see the list of vintage computers here:

    However, the 5,1 had both a 2010 and a 2012 model. The 2012 model of the 5,1 technically was still sold through the end of 2013, so if you get a 2012 model, you should be hardware supported till near the end of this year. Note that it is not yet on the Vintage List.

    As NorCalLights said, there is also a difference in software support. The 2009 won't officially run Sierra or High Sierra nor any other future MacOS.

    Of course that's just Apple policy. Third party repair shops will continue to support them as long as there are parts available, which may be for many years to come.
  7. pl1984 macrumors 68020

    Oct 31, 2017
    We already know the answer: The 5,1. The 4,1 is already unsupported whereas the 5,1 is currently supported. If you want a supported cMP then you need to purchase a 5,1.
  8. koalb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2014
    Is it true that OS installers don't take into account SN or some other kind of machine-specific ID?
  9. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

    Jul 13, 2008
    Post Falls, ID
    They WILL NOT give 2 f***s about the serial number. I use a 2008 3,1 as my main desktop. Running High Sierra. What Apple says is "unsupported" is like me saying a red couch is unsupported because I don't like red.
    I also use a 2009 MacBook and Mac mini with the latest OS.
    A 4,1 and 5,1 are the same machine, except for the firmware that's on It. The only reason the original mac pro (1,1 and 2,1) can't run High Sierra is because their CPUs lack SSE4.
    Apple is terrible for the non support of older hardware. It's just a marketing scheme.

    You can get a 4,1 and turn it into a 12 core 5,1 if you want to.
    Installing unsupported operating systems is like hobby for most of us non-sheep users. There are guides for that all over macrumors as well.

    See the very first sticky on this Mac Pro forum. It explains all of the 4,1 5,1 questions.
  10. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    just two quick things to clarify:

    The OP was asking about buying a 5,1 or a 4,1 modded to 5,1 with firmware. Since both machines are already out of hardware support, the only question is about software support. There is no difference in software support between those two options.

    5,1 and 4,1 with 5,1 firmware can both run the current OS. There’s nothing that guarantees that either will be able to run the next release of the OS. It’s almost certain that anything a 5,1 can run a 4,1 with 5,1 firmware will also be able to run, but no one outside of Apple knows what the tech specs for the next OS release will be.
  11. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    A couple of more minor points. Support is a many-headed thing: ability to run software and ability to take the unit into Apple for repair, for example. Still, these are old systems, no matter where you start.

    The 2009 Mac Pros had terrible bluetooth. I've never been able to make a Magic Mouse work, even though it the Mac Pro sits at my feet. Later models have better BT.

    If I were shopping now, a deciding factor would be whether I needed dual-CPU. If I did, I would probably go for a 5,1. Upgrading these CPUs is pretty easy. Single CPU (all years) and dual CPU (2010 and 2012) uses lidded CPUs. That is, 2009 models with dual CPUs need to be de-lidded before upgrading. YouTube this and watch how exciting it is to do this!

    All things being equal, go for the newest one you can.
  12. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    The Mac Pro 2012 (5,1) is still hardware supported by Apple. Not in the obsolete list yet.

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11 March 29, 2018