Mac Pro Customizable?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by osxabsd, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. osxabsd macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2009
    Looking at the Mac Pro it appears to me that these computers are designed to be customizable, and that it is relatively easy to add new hardware/memory/hard drives, or possible even upgrading the processors. Any comments on this?
  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    No comments really, but if you look down the threads on these forum, you'll find people changing processors, picking drives, adding cards.
  3. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Video cards = easy

    hard drives = easy

    RAM = easy (with limitations)

    CPU = not supported, a shame as the green thing to do would be to allow official upgrades. (The W3550, 3.06GHz, is $600 and would be a worthwhile replacement to a W3520 (2.66GHz).) Dual CPU systems are more difficult as stepping/revision numbers must be identical, but it CAN be done.

    More on the CPU, I read somewhere the single quad Mac Pros have the CPU heat spreader on, whereas they were removed for the dual quad Pros. This means it'd be MUCH easier to upgrade a single quad system, if that heat spreader claim is true...
  4. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    You can actually change everything in the Mac Pro, but there are alot of limitations for compatible hardware.
  5. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Video cards MUST be sold as Mac-certified, as Macs don't use the antiquated BIOS that PCs to.

    I've not read up enough on CPUs yet to even think of attempting to swap a single W3520 with a W3550... (W3570 is too expensive and, like a transition from 2.66 to 2.93, going from 3.06 to 3.2 is not worth the extra cost).
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Generally one could say yes to this question when one compares it with dedicated machines like the iMac or Mac mini.

    If you compare with workstations primarily designed for Windows you will find the Mac Pro somewhat lacking. For the 2009 models I give you some facts:


    Very well designed system if you stay with 3,5" drives. Takes up to 8 TB in SATA II HDDs and is capable of running them in several RAID modi.


    Very poorly prepared for SSD as no doubling up of 3,5" drive slots for 2,5" drives is possible.


    Inflexible due to specialized RAM specification and number of slots not suiting the internal controller structure.


    Very limited due to both hardware design aspects and firmware limitations. The octad sockets have no clamps which results to massive risk of socket damage in exchange operations. The original CPUs are without heat spreader which necessitates disabling the automatic coupling of electric heat sink connections. You basically have to destroy that mechanism and do it by hand. Traditionally Apple does not issue firmware upgrades when better CPUs become available. This often means that Mac Pro users cannot upgrade even if they have overcome the hardware limitations.


    Limited compatibility due to the firmware issue and also driver issues.

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