is it possible to bring an old mac pro up to date?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sparkie1984, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. sparkie1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
    #1
    Hi all,

    basically I currently have an iMac 2011 which is on its last legs.

    I know someone who is selling a 2009 base model mac pro for fairly cheap.

    My thoughts were, can I upgrade the older style mac pro to usb 3? install a fast ssd that isn't limited by sata II speeds to run the OS from? and perhaps one day install a graphics card that could drive a 4K monitor?

    from reading around on the forums it seems I can do all of this but I just wanted to check as I get a bit confused reading all the threads with different specs etc

    I was looking at a retina iMac but I am put off by talk of throttling, plus its not upgradeable at all and I like the idea of having hard drives internally.

    Are there any pitfalls to buying an old machine like the mac pro? will it be excluded from future OS updates any time soon?

    Thanks for any help
     
  2. VAGDesign macrumors 6502

    VAGDesign

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Location:
    Greece
    #2
    Hello,
    If you read the first 2 pages of this forum section you'll see that even older Mac Pros (1,1 or 2,1) than the 2009 can beat many recent models like iMacs, nMP etc when are upgraded.

    My Mac Pro 1,1 (upgraded to 2,1) stopped it's support by Apple back in Lion (10.7.5) and couldn't get any higher OS officially... well I'm on 10.10.3 and probably will be on 10.11 if another genius like Tiamo and PikerAlpha, compile another boot.efi file for it.

    I would suggest to go with it and built it up, it feels great to "reconstruct" your Mac Pro and "inject" parts to it, as far as it gets speed, expandability and power to complete the tasks you put on it.

    Probably it's the best Mac out there for me, beautiful, expandable, quiet and with great airflow. You won't regret it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #3
    Only downside? It's addictive! Sky's the limit.

    And yet just ease of a small SSD $65 (128GB SSD) will perk it up.

    4,1 2009 can be had for $500 it seems.

    The nMP did not kill or end the Classic cMP, it made them more popular and worth more.
     
  4. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #4
    If you want contemporary single core performance (comparable to an iMac 2011 i7 3.4 GHz) build in a Xeon W3690 or Xeon X5690 CPU in the 2009 Mac Pro.

    Multi core wise it will beat the iMac anyway.
     
  5. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #5
    For things like CPU and memory look on eBay. They can be dirt cheap. These used server parts and as such you can find parts from servers that have been retired. The high end CPU's are still going to be expensive because few servers use the highest CPU's available due to heat and the noise of cooling. So those were generally only in high end workstations.
     
  6. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #6
    In terms of Software Updates then you can flash the 2009 4,1 model to be a 2010/2012 5,1 model. Bearing in mind that the the 2012 5,1 model was still being sold till the end of 2013 then I would expect that Software Updates will still be going for a while yet. My MBPro from 2008 still runs OSX 10.10.3 so has had 6+ years, so could be looking at 2019/2020 before Mac Pro 5,1 devices stop support based on how long supported 64EFI machines without dropping support. You may not get the full benefit of the new OS features however that is to be expected.

    You can upgrade the Bluetooth/Wireless in them to support Handoff/Continuity etc.

    Upgrade the Processor ( after 5,1 flash ) to 3.46Ghz Hex just as easily as the 2012 model if a Base Model, so presuming single CPU here.

    RAM can be upgraded the X56xx will go more Ram then the W36xx CPU's so depends upon what price can get for them and how much RAM need.

    You can still put an Nvidia GTX970/980 into them to get a nice 4K setup will need the Nvidia Web Drivers so make sure that load them before updating OSX ( they tend to change the build number in OSX when updating which then causes the Nvidia Driver to not work ).

    Install a PCI-E card to install SSD to, install USB3 Cards to get the i/o updated.

    You can if want to spend the time/money on the system get a perfectly comparable system to the current shipping Mac Pro from the older 2009-2012 models.
     
  7. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    I threw an SSD Card in my MP and it feels like a brand new computer. As fast, if not faster than my i5 rMacBook Pro.

    My buddy picked up a MP 1,1 (2006) and did the same with the SSD and put in 16GB of RAM. He says the same regarding the speed versus an i5 MBP w/8gb RAM.
     
  8. MentalVizion macrumors regular

    MentalVizion

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austria
    #8
    You pretty much summed it up perfectly already!

    Do the firmware update, install a W3690 or X5680 - I'd suggest the W3690 though. Upgrade your RAM, install a nice graphics card - I'd suggest anything from GTX 680 onwards depending on your OS.
    Pop in a PCIe card that lets you install your SSD to get the full SATA 3 potential out of it - and if you need it - get yourself a USB 3.0 card.

    This way you'll get yourself a pretty futureproof build that has no reason to hide from anything "more recent" at all!

    The only thing you can't get seems to be Thunderbolt.
     
  9. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
    #9
    Thanks all so it seems I can have myself a pretty decent rig for my money and add to it eventually to upgrade it

    I wonder why you can't get thunderbolt?
     
  10. mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    switzerland
    #10
    TB needs to be implemented in the main logicboard's chipset. that you can't change.
     
  11. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
  12. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
    #12
    right, think I've found a 2010 quad core model that i like for a reasonable price.

    I assume this would offer me the upgradeability of usb 3, possible graphics upgrades and a PCI-e SSD eventually?

    Also it comes with an ATI 5770 1gb, will this drive a 25" Dell monitor 2560x1440 ok using mini display port?

    Thanks for all your help and info
     
  13. VAGDesign macrumors 6502

    VAGDesign

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Location:
    Greece
    #13
    Yes to all, 5770 can drive easily 2x 2560x1600 monitors from the mini DP.
    Also you can have all the upgrades mentioned already :)
     
  14. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
  15. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502

    Baunkjaer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #15
    I´ve my 2010 running for the last 7-8 monts without any issues.
    It was a base model with 2,8Ghz quad, 8GB RAM when it arrived. Have been updating it ever since, and ended up with the best machine I´ve ever had.
    All the parts have been bought from eBay - except the Samsung XP941, which I bought new from a local store here in Denmark.
     

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