How long will apps and Apple support the Mac Pro 5,1 series?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bpeeps, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. bpeeps macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2011
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2012 Mac Pro Xeon 12 Core (something along these lines). My coworkers have Mac 3,1's with have some dropped app support and 2009 iMac that can't upgrade to the latest OS. I just don't want to purchase a new model and not be able to upgrade it, the OS, or the apps I use in 3 years. Any thoughts?
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    If your apps work on a machine today they will work in three years, there is no law forcing you to upgrade either the OS or the apps installed. Besides that is crazy money to spend on that machine with what it has in it you can get ones with the X series of cpus in it for the same money which are faster. For that matter you can save thousand dollars buy 2010 eight core spend couple of hundred to get X series cpus to put in yourself spend couple of hundred more on extra ram and still be five hundred to good. All while having an identical machine other than a name change for a model that was never upgraded in any significant way like a 2012 machine is.
  3. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
    Since the 3,1 Mac Pro is still being support by Apple, I suspect the 5,1 will be supported for some time to come. I hope so as I have one. I echo MacUser above, that's a lot of money for a used machine. It's more than I paid for my base 2010 5,1 that I bought brand new after the 2012's were announced.

  4. bpeeps thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2011
    Well basically what I mean is there are programs like DaVinci Resolve that don't have legacy downloads, and the newest version won't install on our work computers because we need Mavericks. We can't update anything on the iMacs at all because they're still running Snow Leopard. Can't even update Safari on the iMac. What I meant by support, was future support.
  5. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Those machines are all supported by Apple's current software. If the user opts not to install current operating systems, that's the choice of the user, not Apple.
  6. deconstruct60, Oct 22, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    3 years is reasonable safe, but it isn't guaranteed.

    The 5,1 model isn't "new" relative to extended support lifecycle. It is only already on the countdown to vintage/obsolete status. Apple's policy for hardware is pretty straightforward.

    legacy and obsolete: 5-7 years after stop selling them, the hardware support dies off.

    Apple's policy for software for obsolete hardware is less explicit but pretty standard. They won't past the obsolete/vintage status. Drawing a support distinction between obsolete hardware and obsolete software is way off standard practices. They run as a coupled system, if a major part of the system is obsolete any attempt to swim upstream of that for just one half is relatively high cost which vendors typically don't do (especially for free; not sky high service contract). Apple could cut things off early. They aren't going to create a "add this mix of aftermarket 3rd party modifications and then" certification matrix for the 5,1. When the standard 5,1 config hardware goes out of OS X coverage scope the 5,1 will also.

    Clock is ticking on the 5,1. It has been a bit slower than most Mac products because of the large gulf between 5,1 introduction and stopped selling them (Oct 2013). It is already at the +2 years mark. 5 years to vintage means only have 3 years left on hardware (and a highly likely hard deadline on software). That large gulf may not be a positive winner for software though. The GPUs of the 2010 model are at the 5 year mark now. The 2012 speed bump to the 5,1 didn't add any extension in that respect. In 3 years those will be 8 year old GPUs. That year 3 operation has a pretty significant risk factor on it. There is some reasonable likelihood the then current OS X will be in a "happens to work" zone (perhaps with some hacks) , not an Apple supported one for the then current OS X. However, Apple's OpenGL progress is glacially slow and the GPUs of the current low end Mac GPUs don't leave the 5770 in the dust behind them on performance. Those are factors toward OS X coverage continuing. ( keeps it out of the "drop as soon as possible" category.)

    If your standard practice is to sit 2 years back from current on OS X releases then 3 years is a pretty solid outcome. Another two years of OS X upgrades that cover the 5,1 has a very good chance of happening.

    P.S. vintage is a 5-7 year window. However, given the 5,1 is a 2010 design that was stretched into 2013 .... it is extremely likely only getting the low end of that range. That 2 year "slack time" got burned up in the 3 year delay. If anything Apple is going to be looking for any early exit they can take, since they more than burned through that slack time.
  7. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Jul 4, 2015
    Technically as long as they support 64bit Intel and have your graphics drivers during the installation process. If they don't have the latter then you can clone a drive from another Mac with the additional drivers you need installed.
  8. bpeeps thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2011
    This was incredibly helpful. Thanks for the detailed response.
  9. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2011
    The Netherlands
    My cMP 5.1 (2012) - bought as "open box" in March 2014 - has an Apple Care Plan until 2017. So I presume that the coming 2 years I'll be safe for support and repair/maintenance.

    Let's hope Apple will stick to my AC....?

  10. Zorn macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2006
    Hopefully, although they would be within their rights to "upgrade" you to whatever is current if they stopped stocking 5,1 parts while you still had active AppleCare. Scary thought.
  11. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2011
    The Netherlands
    If so, I'll sue Apple for that matter! :mad:
  12. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    There isn't any significant reason for them to drop the 5,1 coming up. It's EFI64, and 64 bit.

    Apple doesn't have a maximum length set on OS support. They have a minimum length of 4 years, but there is no policy on how long a machine will be supported at maximum.
  13. developer13245 macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2012
    Yes, very scary given the current model - this is Apple's AC policy when they drop support (no spares). I bought a brand new (probably the very last) 5,1 from B&H in June of 2014 with 3 year Apple care. I'm hoping it will outlast the trash can era, just into whatever will replace it. Hopefully they will have learned their lesson by then and refreshed the Mac Pro to a modernized version of the cheese grater. My 3,1 is also still alive, ready to be recalled into service (by just swapping in the hard drive) if the 5,1 goes down.

    If the 5,1 outlasts the Apple Care (and I hope it does), I'm sure it will be very useful and upgradeable for a long time (several years).

    But, Apple Care was well worth it in this case.
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Two issues here. One, a presumption that Apple's EFI isn't going to change over time. There is no 32->64 transitions coming but security is an evolving issue. Authenticated boot mechanism like Windows uses isn't off the table. ( unauthorized OS X usage spikes up, Apple probably isn't going to sit by and let it happen. ). Immediate short term changes in EFI? No. However, the notion that it is going to be static over the long term, is questionable.

    Second, is that underlying hardware is changing status. The CPUs are already at end-of-life by Intel. The GPU and associated drivers they are sitting on have expiration dates also. There is components of the OS that 3rd parties feed in that is going to get pulled over time. ( pick 8-10 year old video cards from AMD and see if there are Win 10 downloads here: ). EFI isn't the only thing the OS is sitting on top of.

    Pragmatically, the minimum is the max for OS support.

    10.n current : supported, bug fixes , some new features , security fixes.
    10.n-1 very few features (e.g., maybe some Camera RAW updates ), maybe some egregious bug fixes, security fixes.
    10.n-2 security fixes
    10.n-3 some subset of security fixes

    After that the support basically falls off a cliff. Apple may not remove/archive the knowledge base articles ( although they also fall into no updates/fixes status at that point ) at that point, but there is no real support. Over time even the kb articles are shuffled off from normal support view.

    Used to be just 10.n-2, but with the yearly update cadence has extended back a bit more.
    For example, there hasn't been a security update for 10.7 (Lion) since 2014.
    Similarly, 10.6 ( Snow Leopard) hasn't seen anything since 2013.

    Apple hasn't written the "4 years and kill" in stone, but actions speak way louder than words here. Betting that Apple is going to extend that window is highly dubious. Apple could cut their target profit margin to 10%.... possible, but I wouldn't bet on that either.
  15. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Why are you so hostile?:p

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14 October 21, 2015