How long before 09 Mac Pro Quad core become obsolete?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Luba, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    I have a Mac Pro Xeon 2.66 Quad Core and I like to get people's opinion on how long before my MP will be obsolete. The reason I am asking is because I can't decide if I should upgrade RAM to 4GB x 3 = 12GB or 8GB x 3 = 24GB. I read some Intel MacBooks can't upgrade to Mountain Lion. If my MP will soon be obsolete, perhaps in a 2-3 years, then I would just get 12GB of RAM to hold me over until I get a new MP. I video edit with Final Cut Pro X, use Motion, Aperture, Dreamweaver, use After Effects sometimes, Photoshop sometimes.
  2. deconstruct60, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Depends upon your notion of obsolete.

    If asking if still under Apple support in 3 years than for the most part no.

    The discontinue date for the 2009 model is July 2010 and in three years from now it will be July 2015. It will have hit the 5 year mark.

    Does that make the machine immediately unusable for work? No. It does mean you'll be scrounging for spare parts. You probably should not count on being able to run OS X 10.11 .

    As long as you pull the Mac Pro off the Internet (e.g., set up firewall block between it and the internet. ) you can get use out it for an extended period of time even after Apple drops new security updates. You just won't be tracking supported versions of OS X and your apps. They will still work. If that is "fast enough" for your work then in that context it won't be "obsolete".

    Pretty good chance that there will be a 2015 Mac Mini that outperforms you Mac Pro. In that sense, yes it will be obsolete.

    The difference here is a relatively minor quibble for 2-3 year span for return on investment.

    12 GB $103
    24 GB $268

    about $105. Over 3 years that's $35/yr. If adding the extra 12 GB can't generate a $3/mo improvement in productivity then probably don't need it. Also likely are going to have problems getting a newer Mac Pro later too.

    Here is a simple way to say $105 on a new Mac Pro later. Just wait a couple months after the new model gets introduced and buy a refurb.

    P.S. consider buying memory modules that will go into the 2010/2012 Hex core models. You may end up buying one of those in the future instead of a band new Mac Pro.
  3. Inconsequential, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012

    Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Given the 2012 Mac Pro is the same as the 2009 Mac Pro, we will probably get support until 5 years after the 2012 Mac Pro is discontinued.

    An added bonus is that you can update the 2009 Mac Pro to 2010 Firmware there is nothing apart from the part numbers and serial number that determines it is actually a 2009 Mac Pro ;)
  4. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020


    Mar 19, 2012
    It becomes obsolete when it no longer does what you need it to do.
  5. El Awesome macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

    Jul 21, 2012
    I own a 2007 iMac with a 2.4 C2D CPU. I share it with my family, and we only use it for normal stuff like internet surfing and checking mails, writing some documents. It runs perfectly fine, boots in less than 30s and didn't crash once.
    What I'm trying to say is if you pay attention to your mac, handle it with care, it will last you an eternety.

    I own the same Mac as you do as a workstation (graphic design) and it runs damn fast. And even if Apple will drop support, that doesen't matter. Spare parts can then be found on eBay.

    As mentioned, you can update it to a 5.1, then you can install a 12 core 3.3 Ghz CPU with 128GB RAM - I would say that thing would run smoothly for a pretty long time!
    (We both own the single-CPU version, we would have to get a Dual CPU board.)
  6. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    I don't consider my 2006 obsolete yet. Amazing machine.
  7. t0rr3s macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2010
    Amen, brother. My 1,1 is in its 5th year and can still handle itself pretty well. Granted, its kung fu is only up to the Lion Dojo standard but its the only desktop I deem worthy of a place on my desk after so long.
  8. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    Specification-wise, oh, somewhere around...late 2009. I have one. I love it. So, don't be too harsh. The new HP Z workstation series specs make me want to cry like a baby when I look at the specs on my 4.1, even after upgrades.
  9. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    I have almost reaching 3 years with my 4.1 2009 Mac Pro. I just made a GPU (GTX 670) upgrade, gonna get an SSD for boot drive, upgrade to a hex core 3.33 in a few months.

    I hope to be using the 2009 Mac Pro for another three years.
  10. Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010

    It's obsolete when it no longer does what you need it to do.

    In terms of artificial EOL imposed by Apple, the 2009 Mac Pro is going to be the longest lived MP in history, because if you flash the firmware, then you've got EXACTLY THE SAME MACHINE that is Apple's "new" Mac Pro, up until 2013 (or 2014) when they release whatever comes next.

    AppleCare will be long gone, but your computer will continue running OS/X without trouble for an extremely long time.
  11. Luba thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Thanks for the perspective . . . what's $105 in the grand scheme of things. Yes, heard I can use 1333 Mhz RAM while 09 asks for 1066 Mhz, with the benefit I can use 1333 Mhz in the newer Mac Pro. All other RAM requirements are the same between 09 Mac Pro and the newer ones . . . unbuffered/unregistered, thermal heat sensor, etc?


    Do you mean "flash" the 2012 Mac Pro firmware onto my 09 Mac Pro? Can you point me on how to do this?


    So if I simply went to and downloaded the 2010 firmware, then double-click to install, my 09 Mac Pro "becomes" a 2010 Mac Pro? That simple? Of course, it's a still a 2.66 Ghz Xeon Quad Core, but in terms of Apple Updates, my MP suddenly becomes a year newer. :)

  12. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Is the CPU of the 2009 MP easily upgradeable?
  13. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Mac Pros are amazing workhorses, and the quality of the CPUs used in them (Xeon), means they will last much longer than the average core i5/i7. Keep your Mac Pro. You're unlikely to find a better computer for under $2000. You can always upgrade your Mac Pro as well, with more RAM, SSD etc.
  14. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    To a single CPU offered on the 5.1, yes, to a dual CPU on a 5.1 not as easy and expensive. To a modern CP: Impossible. If you still have Applecare on your 4.1 and flash to 5.1, the remaining warranty will also be voided.
  15. softwareguy256 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2010
    The CPU performance is usually acceptable over time, its the motherboard and old bus/interconnect technologies that will be your liability.

  16. Schismz, Aug 4, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010

    "Mac Pro 2009-2010 Firmware Tool"

    It's the 2010/2012 firmware, there is no difference, it remains MacPro5,1

    Edit: BTW, read ****** first, understand what you are doing. Going from 2009 to 2010 is nothing but upside (so far as I know), but make really really sure you have a reason for downgrading a 2010/2012 to 2009, 'cuz if your CPU is not supported, you have a problem.
  17. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Flash the firmware. Get your 4,1 up to 5,1. You can still use your existing processor, as 5,1 firmware takes Nehalem and westmere, or it supports microcodes D0 which is Nehalem and B1 which is westmere. Once you get a 6-core, you won't be able to use it unless u downgrade the 5,1 firmware back to 4,1.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The graphics cards will be a huge clue to the istaller if they are 2009 vintage and that's trivial to check for even if hack model number.

    Apple doesn't require serial numbers and part numbers when ordering replacement parts? That seems unlikely since it skips an obvious opportunity to do longitudinal QA data analysis.

    I'm not sure what Apple's expected long term failure rate for 2009 models is, but if 2009 models masquerading as 2010-2012 models start to rapidly deplete the spare parts inventory it would not be surprising if this was more strictly enforced.

    Likewise the 2009 Mac Pro configs will likely be decommissioned by the OS on Apple's vintage schedule.

    As I said before. There is a difference between obsolete in terms of "workarounds that can be engaged to continue to work on" and supported by Apple.
  19. Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010

    Hex cores are Westmere which require 5,1 and won't work at all with 4,1 so far as I know (they did not exist).

    The danger would be having a Westmere CPU (2010/2012) in a "real" MacPro5,1 (or a 4,1 with upgraded CPUs & firmware) and downgrading to 4,1 ... at which point your CPU no longer exists so far as the firmware is concerned.
  20. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    Yes they will. All the 5.1 chips will and a few others. You just have to upgrade firmware from 4 to 5.1 with the download over on netkas. Warranty will be void if you still have one though. Although you might revert to 4.1 and get away with it. And yes, you'd have to reinsert a 4.1 CPU. Bit a 4.1 CPU works fine on the 5.1 firmware. I just did it an hour ago.
  21. lampliter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    It`s already obsolete. Just look at the mac pro forums. All we talk about is what we don't have. Out dated GPUs, out dated CPUs. Nothing exciting. The only thing left is to come to terms with it. I use a 1,1. Still like it but it is obsolete. So is the 2012 mac pro obsolete. It comes with a 5770 or the cutting edge 5870;). Anything better and your hacking. The mac pro is cool and a nice machine, but it IS absolete. Just my opinion. Now let the insults begin.
  22. Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010
    Yes, my point being: a 5,1 hex-core CPU, will not work in a 4,1 that has not been upgraded to the 5,1 firmware.

    This is correct no? The 4,1 doesn't have the stepping for Westmere CPUs, it must be flashed first and become a 5,1 to my understanding.

    Which is the exact obverse, of the message I responded to:

    ^^^ that, is exactly backwards. The 6-core will not work, unless you are running 5,1 firmware.

    For me personally, this is entirely academic, I just want to make certain that my understanding is correct. I have not personally ever swapped out CPUs (I have a 2010 dodeca-core and nothing to upgrade to, until 2013 apparently, if then).
  23. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    I agree... but man it is a sweet running beautiful machine... Long live the Mac Pro!
  24. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Graphics cards are trivial to update if that is the only issue.

    Apple's vintage schedule has way too many inconsistencies to be trusted. Mountain Lion kicks a couple of the low end notebook options that were sold into early 2009, so it's not a consistent 5 years of OS updates. Going back further you had the G5s. Their support was bad as early as 2007. They weren't replaced until mid 2006, yet SL came out in 2009. I wouldn't trust it as anything more than a rough guide even for security updates. If it's a couple years past discontinuation and it would require much extra work to support, it will likely go away. If you look at the Mac Pro 1,1 and 2,1, they share the same board. Both are going away even though the 3,1 didn't come out until 2008. We can argue on the basis of rounding, but it's likely that these will be decommissioned together. I'd expect the support life on the current model to be relatively poor on the 2012 mac pro once it is decommissioned.

    If you read their vintage policy, there's a range to it. It's more than 5 years and less than 7, yet some are desupported before the 5 year mark. It's not a minimum cutoff. The mac pro 4,1 was officially discontinued in August of 2010. If you apply the between 5 and 7 years of age vintage policy there, you're looking at the 2015-2017 range. At that point I think they'd be likely to drop support for more than just the 2009. I think you'll see 2015-2016 (maybe) and the current one will go away. There are too many inconsistencies to read it in literal terms even if that is the stated policy. Even the wording itself on support is vague where the the classification is not. They're very clear on what constitutes vintage, yet less clear on how it is handled.
  25. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Do the processor upgrade if you haven't, it's totally worth it. 2.66 quads are going for $100 a matched set on ebay.

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