how upgradable (& how easily upgradable) is a mac pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by yanquis, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. yanquis macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    how scalable is a mac pro? for instance, if i purchased an octa 2.26 ghz now, could i upgrade it when nehalem ex 8 core chips come out? if i purchase a quad, will it have 2 sockets to allow me to add a processor? what about graphics cards? i just found out a gtx 285 is available for mac (apple does NOT make this info easy to obtain, why?? something holding me back from even considering mac pro's was the awful graphics cards that came w/ the system)

    i understand the design lends itself to easy access, but is swapping processors as simple as it sounds or not something someone w/ absolutely NO experience altering a computers innards should attempt? im envisioning something like popping something out & popping something else back in, but i have a feeling its much more complex than that.

    im not looking to buy in the very near future, but perhaps next iteration, if its by early '10. i just worry about upgradability. im willing to pay a premium for OSX access & other plusses, but its for naught if in 2 years time the systems graphics rendering ability is completely dead in the water, or the CPU cannot be upgraded beyond average-high end.
  2. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Nope. The Gulftown 6 core processors may work, but they require a firmware update so it seems unlikely. You are limited to the currently released processors which range up to 3.33GHz. There may be a faster one come out, but no more cores.


    It isn't Apple's card, so they aren't going to advertise it. Just how they do things sadly.

    There are threads on here that show the process so you can judge for yourself, but I wouldn't say it's a hard process.

    Well the 2006 Mac Pros still support modern cards, both official cards (unofficially supported) and flashed cards. A 2010 system should support 6 core Xeons and may support 8 core, we don't know that for certain though. As far as upgrading processors goes, unless you are buying out of date and used on eBay a few years later or can somehow get engineering samples cheap it makes more fiscal sense to just sell your old system and buy new as Mac Pros hold their price.
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    You have to understand that Apple allways tries to get away with minimum work on drivers. So they allmost never update anything they have stopped selling. Do not expect to even get basic EFI upgrades as MoBo manufacturers would do for BIOS boards.

    They even discriminate between BTO options and after sales options. Usually they don't have any after sales option but the 285 card you mentioned is one they do and only for limited model range.

    I agree with Umbongo that you wll find mods to a current Nehalem Mac Pro difficult, at least if you refer to the 8 core models. Apple fits CPUs without heat spreaders and upgrades would have the heat spreaders. You can seriously damage your system if you do not follow the advise given in some threads here.

    It would be better for you to wait for the expected Gulftown release next year if you think the current models are too limited for you. You would probably get 6 cores/CPU then. Eight cores are currently reserved for the Becton range of CPU's which are unlikely to be used by Apple. Apple has used dedicated workstation/server XEON CPUs with one and two sockets per logic board. They are unlikely to go away from that. Becton uses four CPUs/MoBo which would push the cores to 32 and the Threads to 64. It would be speculation to think that Apple will have 8 core CPUs soon.
  4. yanquis thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    thanks for the replies guys, very informative & just what i was looking for. it basically confirms what i thought which is that the best time for me would be early next year perhaps. gulftown looks like an amazing chip so im not exactly concerned if they dont use the nehalem EX chips.

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