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mightyjabba

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 25, 2014
1,586
328
Tatooine
I know I'm incredibly late to the party, but I just picked up a Mac Pro 5,1 and am loving it so far. It has a Radeon RX 580, so Mojave is officially supported and seems to work very well. I went into this with the understanding that Apple's support would stop at Mojave, and am fine with it being a Mojave machine for its entire usable life, but I'm wondering how long that might be and if there are any potential problems that I may have overlooked.

I have a lot of vintage Macs that run various versions of OS X (or even OS 9), so using old software is not an issue in and of itself. But there are a lot of things to consider if you're talking about using something as your primary computer. Things like web browser security updates start to be a problem after a few years, and I'm also a little concerned about long-term support for things like iCloud or Apple Music, since I will be using this computer to manage my Photos and iTunes libraries. I realize that this is all speculation, but based on what's happened with past versions of the OS, how long do you think can we expect to use Mojave as a day-to-day OS before running into show-stopping issues?
 

howiest

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2015
322
130
Left Coast
I'm guessing, but I think you're good for at least 18 months with Mojave support. There is an avenue to run Catalina with that machine, but it involves some significant effort.
Still, if the hardware lasts long enough, you might get several years of use before it becomes a doorstop.

I'm still running High Sierra, so I can totally relate.
 
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sprague.rod

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2017
101
47
Mightyjabba, that is an interesting question.
The question all revolves around Apple's current practice of releasing a new macOS upgrade every year and only offering support in the form of security updates for 3 years on each OS.
This means that Mojave will only receive support (from Apple) until 2021. Of course this does not apply to third party software and until it is no longer compatible with 32bit architecture it will remain supported by those developers. Currently Mojave can run both 32 and 64bit apps.
As for iCloud compatibility, if you mean will you be able to backup or store photos into the future and sync them I would think the answer is yes. It’s much less OS reliant although I prefer to backup my data personally on my own local storage.
 

Snow Tiger

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2019
854
602
I know I'm incredibly late to the party, but I just picked up a Mac Pro 5,1 and am loving it so far. It has a Radeon RX 580, so Mojave is officially supported and seems to work very well. I went into this with the understanding that Apple's support would stop at Mojave, and am fine with it being a Mojave machine for its entire usable life, but I'm wondering how long that might be and if there are any potential problems that I may have overlooked.

I have a lot of vintage Macs that run various versions of OS X (or even OS 9), so using old software is not an issue in and of itself. But there are a lot of things to consider if you're talking about using something as your primary computer. Things like web browser security updates start to be a problem after a few years, and I'm also a little concerned about long-term support for things like iCloud or Apple Music, since I will be using this computer to manage my Photos and iTunes libraries. I realize that this is all speculation, but based on what's happened with past versions of the OS, how long do you think can we expect to use Mojave as a day-to-day OS before running into show-stopping issues?

As others have discussed , Apple will provide 3 years of security updates from the last point version of any particular recent macOS . So , in as far as the Mac Pro 5,1s are concerned , the clock is ticking on the last officially supported macOS for this model . Catalina will run but is not officially supported .

If you are going to use a Mac with a certain macOS that is no longer receiving security updates and it is being used in a production environment where security issues are a serious concern , then air gapping your Mac is a possibility .

There are production machines in the Mac community that still run Snow Leopard 10.6.8 and they are reasonably protected using air gapping from all networks ( internet and local ) and running AV tests on all data imports and exports .
 
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now i see it

macrumors G3
Jan 2, 2002
9,729
19,553
From my experience, web browsers will be the Achilles heel of an old OS. All the vendors will eventually stop providing updates that are compatible with it. You'll still use your old browsers - but eventually websites will refuse to work properly with them. That might take about 7-9 years (in my experience).

If you're using Adobe software which is now subscription via CC, there will come a time when you'll hit a wall with that too (unlike in the old days when you owned a copy on a DVD).

I think 7 years of functional use can be expected. But from then on out, don't expect much.

The computer industry is rigged to get your money - sooner or later- evennnnntually you've got to buy new gear if you want to play
 

Snow Tiger

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2019
854
602
From my experience, web browsers will be the Achilles heel of an old OS. All the vendors will eventually stop providing updates that are compatible with it. You'll still use your old browsers - but eventually websites will refuse to work properly with them. That might take about 7-9 years (in my experience).

If you're using Adobe software which is now subscription via CC, there will come a time when you'll hit a wall with that too (unlike in the old days when you owned a copy on a DVD).

I think 7 years of functional use can be expected. But from then on out, don't expect much.

The computer industry is rigged to get your money - sooner or later- evennnnntually you've got to buy new gear if you want to play

well , you know when it's time to use iCab , your Mac has passed its prime .

 

serpico007

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2017
294
296
I picked up a Mac Pro 3,1 and it runs El Capitan still. I use the Brave browser for web and it works great on every site so far. The machine runs quick too with Office, Twitterrific, iTunes though Apple Music takes a couple seconds to load everything. I’m sure your 5,1 will last longer than mine. I’ll continue to use mine until my needs changes and probably find a 5,1 when prices come down. I think you’ll be fine for years to come with Mojave. Enjoy your system!
 

Coyote2006

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2006
511
233
I'd say Apple will provide security updates for about another year. But I guess you'll be able to use it much longer.
 
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crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
4,760
1,919
Charlotte, NC
There is an avenue to run Catalina with that machine, but it involves some significant effort.

I think that's subjective. It takes very LITTLE effort run Catalina on an upgraded MP51. There are at least 4 different methods of installing Catalina and 2 are brainless, 2 require more prep and care to achieve a working install.

IMHO, Catalina isn't worth the fuss right now. It's rife with problems for some users even on supported machines. That said, it's working flawlessly on my MP51, and I used one of the dead-simple methods of install.
 
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b.lam

macrumors member
Sep 5, 2010
48
13
If it is an option for you, you can always switch to Windows 10 which runs without problems on a 5,1. I'm in the same situation, besides I have an Nvidia graphics card and therefore still run High Sierra. I don't intend to upgrade the gfx. As soon as there are no more security updates for HS, I intend to switch the main boot drive to Win and do all my Mac related stuff on my 2013 MBP (gosh, it's also already 7 years old ?).
 

Coyote2006

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2006
511
233
I think that's subjective. It takes very LITTLE effort run Catalina on an upgraded MP51. There are at least 4 different methods of installing Catalina and 2 are brainless, 2 require more prep and care to achieve a working install.

IMHO, Catalina isn't worth the fuss right now. It's rife with problems for some users even on supported machines. That said, it's working flawlessly on my MP51, and I used one of the dead-simple methods of install.

Which one did you use and how do you make updates?
 

fuchsdh

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2014
1,850
1,560
From my experience, web browsers will be the Achilles heel of an old OS. All the vendors will eventually stop providing updates that are compatible with it. You'll still use your old browsers - but eventually websites will refuse to work properly with them. That might take about 7-9 years (in my experience).

If you're using Adobe software which is now subscription via CC, there will come a time when you'll hit a wall with that too (unlike in the old days when you owned a copy on a DVD).

I think 7 years of functional use can be expected. But from then on out, don't expect much.

The computer industry is rigged to get your money - sooner or later- evennnnntually you've got to buy new gear if you want to play

I don't think you hit any wall with Adobe in terms of software straight-up not running—you're just locked to the versions that are compatible with your machine. My father's still on Sierra and it's not like CC has stopped functioning.

It gets more dicey when your machine runs out of security support, which isn't going to happen until 2021 either, and if you're being safe it's not a huge deal as long as you're running up-to-date browsers.

Ultimately it depends what you're trying to do with it. If you're fine essentially running the machine "as is" (and given Catalina drops 32 bit app support, I think that's the smartest idea) you can use it indefinitely, just be aware of the limitations and possible risks doing so.

Realistically I'm intended on rocking my 5,1 until at least 2021. Gives an opportunity to see if Apple's going to follow through on their pro hardware support, and since I'm no longer using it as my main work machine its slowness isn't a huge dealbreaker. For audio and 1080p video editing, it's still plenty fast, and I'm not trying to play super demanding modern games on it.

I picked up a Mac Pro 3,1 and it runs El Capitan still. I use the Brave browser for web and it works great on every site so far. The machine runs quick too with Office, Twitterrific, iTunes though Apple Music takes a couple seconds to load everything. I’m sure your 5,1 will last longer than mine. I’ll continue to use mine until my needs changes and probably find a 5,1 when prices come down. I think you’ll be fine for years to come with Mojave. Enjoy your system!

Haha how cheap are you looking for? Even quite loaded 5,1s are going for under $800 these days, many closer to $500.
 

Snow Tiger

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2019
854
602
Haha how cheap are you looking for? Even quite loaded 5,1s are going for under $800 these days, many closer to $500.

And all of those DP 5,1s are dying if you don't learn how to properly maintain the Northbridge Controller Heatsink ( i.e. keep it attached with two unbroken push pin fasteners and re-thermal paste that chip with a fresh coating of Arctic MX4 , after having removed the dried factory paste ) .

I have one in my shop right now that is getting that overhaul . When I'm done , she'll be good for another 5 - 7 years at load .
 

sprague.rod

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2017
101
47
I picked up a Mac Pro 3,1 and it runs El Capitan still. I use the Brave browser for web and it works great on every site so far. The machine runs quick too with Office, Twitterrific, iTunes though Apple Music takes a couple seconds to load everything. I’m sure your 5,1 will last longer than mine. I’ll continue to use mine until my needs changes and probably find a 5,1 when prices come down. I think you’ll be fine for years to come with Mojave. Enjoy your system!


Interested to hear you’re running the Brave Browser on a 3.1 and El Capitan. I wasn’t sure how backward compatible Brave would be.
I don’t use Safari as default but find the free AdGuard extension works very well on that. I too am running Brave as my default now and like it a lot. There was an update applied recently for sponsored home screen images and I’m looking forward to seeing how the “responsible” ads reward system works. What do you think about the concept?
 

defjam

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2019
795
734
IMO security updates aren't going to be the reason your 5,1 would become unusable. It's the application developer support which will be the issue as well as web standards support (which others have mentioned). While security is an important consideration it's been my experience developers abandoning versions of macOS which causes the problem.
 

Snow Tiger

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2019
854
602
IMO security updates aren't going to be the reason your 5,1 would become unusable. It's the application developer support which will be the issue as well as web standards support (which others have mentioned). While security is an important consideration it's been my experience developers abandoning versions of macOS which causes the problem.

Funny you should mention this . Back in the 8 bit era , when I used an Apple II System to help run my family's small manufacturing firm , it was the lack of EDI ( Electronic Data Interchange ) software in the Apple ( and later in the Mac ) community that forced me into using PC DOS machines . We needed it primarily for inventory management .

This was in the early 1980's and not long before that electronic calculators , thermal paper fax machines , indestructible ABS plastic landline phones , bizarrely operated adding machines , IBM Selectrics and gosh no kidding good 'ol fashioned paper ruled the day . We had something called file cabinets - dozens and dozens of them ; all made with heavy US steel , ready to survive WW3 .

Mid sized companies had computers called mini-computers and VAXes .

And big businesses had the mainframes .
 
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serpico007

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2017
294
296
Haha how cheap are you looking for? Even quite loaded 5,1s are going for under $800 these days, many closer to $500.

In my local area some 5,1 are going between $900-$1500 CAD because of the extra hardware included. It is rare to see a 5,1 selling for under this price and if they do show up, they will be one processor and are sold same day.
 

fuchsdh

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2014
1,850
1,560
In my local area some 5,1 are going between $900-$1500 CAD because of the extra hardware included. It is rare to see a 5,1 selling for under this price and if they do show up, they will be one processor and are sold same day.
Ah, shame. Much cheaper down here.
 
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ZombiePhysicist

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2014
1,596
1,285
I know I'm incredibly late to the party, but I just picked up a Mac Pro 5,1 and am loving it so far. It has a Radeon RX 580, so Mojave is officially supported and seems to work very well. I went into this with the understanding that Apple's support would stop at Mojave, and am fine with it being a Mojave machine for its entire usable life, but I'm wondering how long that might be and if there are any potential problems that I may have overlooked.

I have a lot of vintage Macs that run various versions of OS X (or even OS 9), so using old software is not an issue in and of itself. But there are a lot of things to consider if you're talking about using something as your primary computer. Things like web browser security updates start to be a problem after a few years, and I'm also a little concerned about long-term support for things like iCloud or Apple Music, since I will be using this computer to manage my Photos and iTunes libraries. I realize that this is all speculation, but based on what's happened with past versions of the OS, how long do you think can we expect to use Mojave as a day-to-day OS before running into show-stopping issues?

In someways this is a golden machine. Mojave is the last OS to support 32 bit apps. It's a poetic place in time. Mojave supports most modern systems. I have the new Mac Pro and nothing in Catalina is making my toes curl, so you're still in a pretty good place.

It's a great machine. You can upgrade many of the guts to be pretty modern. I look at my totally upgraded 5,1 and I feel kind of sad. I don't have anyone to give it to that would properly appreciate it, and what I'd get for it, selling it, is likely not worth my time. I'd like to find something great for it to do but nothing really comes to mind. But I love the machine. Best Mac ever made, IMO.
 
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serpico007

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2017
294
296
In someways this is a golden machine. Mojave is the last OS to support 32 bit apps. It's a poetic place in time. Mojave supports most modern systems. I have the new Mac Pro and nothing in Catalina is making my toes curl, so you're still in a pretty good place.

It's a great machine. You can upgrade many of the guts to be pretty modern. I look at my totally upgraded 5,1 and I feel kind of sad. I don't have anyone to give it to that would properly appreciate it, and what I'd get for it, selling it, is likely not worth my time. I'd like to find something great for it to do but nothing really comes to mind. But I love the machine. Best Mac ever made, IMO.

I've always loved the Mac Pro and my 3,1 runs very well. Though my heart longs for a 5,1 still. I love the older Macs and am starting to collect all the old models I used to own.
 
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