Convert older Mac Pro Internal USB Ports to 3.0???

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by EasyGoing1, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. EasyGoing1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2013
    Here's what I'd LIKE to do: Purchase a USB 3.0 card for my 2008 Mac Pro which has INTERNAL usb 3.0 ports, and find a "magic cable" that will let me convert my built in USB ports into 3.0 technology.

    Do any such "magic cables" exist that anyone knows of?

    Has anyone successfully converted their internal USB ports to 3.0? If so, share the love?

  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Can't be done. The USB2 ports the Mac Pro has are attached to the motherboard.

    Your only option is to get a USB3 card such as the following:
  3. EasyGoing1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2013
    That card seems to be in their "Legacy" section now ... can't seem to find it on Amazon either. The Innatek 4 port card for $29 looks like a good card for simple USB 3.0 upgrading in the old Mac Pro's ...

    You sure those internal ports are directly on the motherboard and not on some small card that is attached to the MB via some kinda cable?

    Cause I've already modified this thing to accomodate six MORE hard drives (4 in the slider bays, 4 underneath the super drive and two kind hangin out next to the video card), on an Areca 1220 RAID controller (300 MB/s read and write speed to that 1220 raid-5 volume by the way - using Sata 2 drives) .... I have no qualms busting out the Dremel one more time to retro fit those internal ports with some 3.0 technology...


  4. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    As Matreya said, no, you cannot convert USB 2.0 I/O to USB 3.0. There are a few options out there to give you that capability though. Matreya added a link to a CalDigit product with 2 X USB 3.0, which is good, but CalDigit also makes an expansion card that has 2 X USB 3.0 as well as 2 X eSATA as well - you can view your options here: OWC - PCIe Expansion. Alternatively, Other World Computing also sells expansion PCIe cards that contain 2 X eSATA ports as well as onboard flash storage - a great option if you have the money. You can view those options here: OWC PCIe Expansion + SSD.


    The Inatek card should be exactly what you're looking for - as long as you're running OS X 10.8.2 or above. Don't attack the Logic Board looking for special ports that don't exist.
  5. EasyGoing1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2013
    Thanks for the information. I don't need sata 3 in this machine ... and OWC is expensive ... I'm running 10.9.whatever the update was that they threw out the other day.

    I'll order the innatek card today from Amazon. I hope it works with USB 3 hubs. But if not, 4 ports should be enough.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.

  6. EasyGoing1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2013
    I discovered something disconcerting about that Innatek card... I ordered a USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE adapter from Amazon. This one in fact:

    SABRENT USB 3.0 TO SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter With Power Supply & LED Activity Lights (USB-DSC8)

    And it does NOT work with the Innatek card for some reason. It works fine with the MacPro built in USB 2.0 ports, and it works fine on my MacBook Pro (2013 model) with USB 3.0 ports at USB 3.0 speeds even ... but it will NOT work with the Innatek card ....

    Now, as I write this, I realize I never tested it under a Windows Parallels session with their USB 3.0 drivers ... not sure if that would make a difference or not ... my assumption so far is that the USB To HD adapter simply isn't compatible with whatever chipset the Innatek card has ... I'm wondering now which chipset the MBP uses or simply; what's different between the MBP usb 3 and the Innatek / Mac Pro USB 3 hardware.

    Anyways ... just a heads up for anyone who might find this information useful.

  7. spon1080 macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2014
    French Alps
    I've got USB 3.0 on my 2006 MBP. Just bought an express card USB 3.0 card from China via ebay for about £10. Fits flush into the 32mm express card slot with 2 usb sockets. Works fantastically
  8. bwinter88 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2012
    Just wanted to update this by saying I successfully did upgrade my front ports to USB 3.0.

    I bought this card:

    And this 2x USB 20-pin front panel assembly, which I removed from the panel:

    Then desoldered the old ports from the board and glued the new ones in their place (to the little circuit board, not the case)

    Works great. No drivers required.

    Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 11.42.42 PM.jpg
  9. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    Not a lot of people are going to be brave enough, or have the skills/tools needed to do that level of work. I know I don't and wouldn't. My own solution was to purchase a x4 USB3 PCIe card and have had it running in a 2008 3,1 for several years. Got my money's worth out of it and have not had many issues.
  10. samcrut macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2010
    Another option is just to get a USB3 card and a USB3 hub that you can pull up onto your desk for easy access.

    One thing to keep in mind though is that you want your keyboard and mouse plugged into the factory USB plugs. Those are the only ones that are turned on and looked at when booting up the computer, so if you're trying to do any of the keyboard commands on boot-up, like T for target disk mode or ⌘-S for single user mode, then your keyboard has to be in one of the original busses. Same for the mouse, but to a lesser extent. Holding down the mouse button does eject the CD drive on boot if I remember right, but that's a throwback function to when we booted off of floppies might need to eject what was in there before the computer started using it. You can also use the mouse to pick a startup disk if you Option boot the computer, but you can also do that with the keyboard, so not having a the mouse on the onboard USB isn't half a critical as the keyboard.

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