How upgradeable is a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mgpg89, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. mgpg89 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    Something I've been wondering recently ...

    How upgradeable is a mac pro?
    As upgradeable as a PC so to speak?

    Can you just buy parts from other companies and install them if you have the technical knowledge?
    Or do you need to get the parts from Apple?

    What about compatibility? Can you use today's GPU in a Power Mac from a few years ago ... etc etc ?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Get HDDs from anyone. NEVER BUY FROM APPLE.

    Only seven GPUs work in the Mac Pro.
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Tempe, AZ
    The Mac Pro is pretty upgradeable...

    - Up to 32GB of RAM (like stated before, buy additional RAM elsewhere from OWC, Crucial, etc.)

    - 2 PCIe x16 slots (one is PCIe 2.0 spec, the other is 1.0) and 2 PCIe 4x slots

    - 4 internal SATA hard drive bays (again, don't buy additional hard drives from Apple)

    - 2 additional internal SATA ports on the logic board (a bit tricky to get to, but they're there)

    Historically, graphics options for Macs have been far more limited than on PCs. Mac-specific graphics cards use different ROMs (EFI) than PC graphics cards do (BIOS). Further, you can't use current Mac Pro compatible graphics cards in older Mac workstations, like the Power Mac G5.

    You get three factory graphics options from Apple (Radeon HD 2600 XT, GeForce 8800 GT, Quadro FX 5600). ATI has recently released a version of the Radeon HD 3870 you can buy aftermarket that works on both Mac Pros and PCs.

    There's a handful of PC-based NVIDIA and ATI cards that some users have been able to re-flash to work on a Mac Pro in OS X, but that involves using Boot Camp to boot into a Windows partition (you have to buy a copy of Windows to do this) to do so. There's lot of information about this scattered on this forum and other places online. Do a search.
  5. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Well, with one additional PCIe 16x 2.0 slot and two more PCIe 4x slots, you can add RAID cards, eSATA, USB, and FireWire ports, and absolutely any GPU out there to run in Windows for gaming.

    Oh, and processor upgrades are possible, as is adding a BD-R/HD DVD-ROM drive.
  6. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    I've been wondering this question too, how upgradeable is a mac pro? I'm not too worried about the processors; I know bigger and better is just around the corner in January but really, 8 cores is more than enough for what I do. My main concern is graphics though. Correct me if I"m wrong but Apple is really behind the curve when it comes to video cards. No SLI, no Cross-Fire, and only a handful of card options available... that kind of sucks. What I would like to know is if I buy a Mac Pro now and in coming months Apple decides to support say the ATI 4870 line of cards, will I simply be able to buy one and plug it into the current Mac Pros? Can I expect the power supply in current Mac Pros to hold up with future upgrades such as a more demanding card? Does Apple usually release software updates that would allow me to use the newer cards? I'm transitioning from windows and while I love everything about the Mac OS, stability, yadda yadda, I'm not comfortable yet with how limited the options are for upgrading a Mac compared to building a PC. And I know this last question relies on whether I need the Mac now or later but should I wait for the new version in January if I can help it?

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