Is it possible to upgrade 3.1 to 4.1 (5.1)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Knetto, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. Knetto macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014

    I am about to buy a Mac Pro. Wondering about different upgrades. What I found out so far; is that 4.1 can be upgraded to 5.1.

    How about the 3.1? If I want a 12-core intstallation for example, can that be done from 3.1 or do I have to change some of the boards. I am new to this.

    Best regards
  2. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2014
  3. Fangio macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2011
    2 x 3.2 GHz quadcores (X5482) is maximum for the 3,1.
  4. Knetto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014
  5. ilikewhey macrumors 6502a

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    4.1 uses the same socket as 5.1, both are 1366 x58 platform.
  6. Knetto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014
    Logic board

    Ok, thanks. In the PC-world you could just change the motherboard, cpu and ram. Is that not possible on a 3.1?? I am such a noobie, but i have falling in love with Mac.......(finally):D
  7. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    No, the 3,1s used the Penryn-based Xeons and the 4,1s/5,1s used the Nehalem and Westmere based Xeons. When they switched processors, Apple redid the layout of the logic board (with the 4,1/5,1 it's really a backplane board). Instead of the processor(s) being mounted directly to the logic board and the RAM being on two risers cards, they moved the processor and RAM to an integrated board which sits as the bottom of the system case and uses a connector for power and data.

    With this change, Apple had to completely redo the internal layout of the case. The only parts that I know are interchangeable between the machines are the CD-ROM caddy and side panel (although the RAM replacement instructions on the door would be for the incorrect model).

    Now, the firmware can be upgraded in the 4,1 to 5,1 so the user can take advantage of the Westmere CPUs (6/12-core options are the main reason) and faster RAM (1066 vs 1333MHz as long as the CPU supports it).

    Basically, the highest amount of cores you can have in a 2008 Mac Pro is 8. In a single processor, non-upgraded 2009 Mac Pro it's 4 cores while in a dual processor machine it's 8 cores. Upgraded 2009 and 2010 single processors can support up to 6-cores, while the dual processor models can support 12 cores.
  8. Knetto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2014
    Thanks again. Now I have all the information I need. Looks like I have to buy a 4.1.
  9. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    You could always get a 3,1 cheap and use your money save for upgrade parts such as gpu storage, usb3 and then later transplant that into a 4,1.

    Having said that my 4,1 flashed single 3.33 hex feels 25% faster than my maxed out dual 3.2 3,1 did!
  10. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Well, I mean in theory you could, but after all the components you'd have to replace it would be far easier/cheaper to just buy a 4,1.

    Motherboard, CPU, and RAM isn't exactly cheap for that machine. In addition to a possible optical drive swap and a bunch of case changes.
  11. MooseS@T macrumors newbie


    Jan 9, 2018
    How much is that upgrade? I am still an adolescent so I cannot afford much, so much does it cost to replicate your process of upgrading your Mac Pro?

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