Noob Mac Pro questions.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mayhone1, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. mayhone1 macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    I am new to anything other Mac Pros, but considering buying one, my question is, since they are so much money, what all can I upgrade in a used one, or rather if I bought a used model, could I upgrade enough items inside the mac pro that overtime/after upgrade it will be as good as the newest models?

    Thank you
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Very much of the Mac Pro can be upgraded.

    For example, my former Mac Pro 1.1 has been updated to 2.1 standard with Intel X5355 2.66GHz Quad Core CPU's, an ATI Radeon HD4870 1GB Graphics Card, a Kingston SSD drive running Lion OS X.7.2, 22X Pioneer DVR and 16GB DDR2 memory. Of course Airport and Bluetooth cards abound on eBay and such.

    Later models, such as the 3.1, 4.1 and 5.1 can all be upgraded.

    All Mac Pros have four hard drive bays SATA II for the earlier models, SATA III for the later.
  3. mayhone1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    So I can basically by a older model and make it like a newer one and just keep upgrading it over the years?
  4. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    All mac pros have SATA II currently. None have SATA III yet, not even the 2010 models.

    2009 models can be upgraded from 8 cores to 12 cores or 4 cores to six cores.
    2007 models can be upgraded to 2008 model cpus i think. But not to the nehalem or westmere architectures.
    GPU wise you can flash PC cards to make them work. So you can be pretty much up to date GPU wise in the future, aslong as the hacker community makes the GPUs work :)
    HDDs you can upgrade all the time unless a new connection is released. You can fit SSDs or what ever else you a want in it.
    RAM will be limited by the processors and motherboard but with the current max of like 48GB,96GB (2010 models) and 32GB,64GB (2009 models) i doubt you will ever need to expand beyond that. So you can upgrade the RAM to those limits over the years if you find yourself needing thise amounts.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Not as easy as a generic PC. Because so much of the Mac Pro is customized for Apple, it's much more difficult to just buy parts and slot them in. Part of the issue is that Apple doesn't bother to write drivers for HW that they don't put into their systems. If an upgraded part is similar enough to an Apple part it may work, but there are no guarantees.

    Disclaimer... I haven't upgraded my Mac Pro (except to add RAM and HDDs) so I am not speaking from personal experience. However, I do read lots of threads about Mac Pros, so I'm not totally clueless.

    Do some more research, there is lots of info.
  6. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    They can be upgraded sure, but within their own limitations.

    CPU's can be upgraded, but only so far.
    Same goes for RAM, if your system uses FB DIMMS then that is what you are stuck with.
    Hard drives you can use any SATA drive and if you want, stick in a RAID controller and use SAS drives.
    Optical drives, anything you like SATA or IDE.
    Video cards, again, if you a first generation Mac Pro 1,1 you can use a recent AMD 5770 if you want.

    This is a great site that has info on all the various models.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Dropping in 2x X5670s would be fun :). Okay realistically I don't need that much power every day, but the times I do, it would be completely awesome.
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Like, but not exactly...

    1,1 Mac Pros have older motherboards, which keep them from working with newer graphics cards. And the motherboards can't be upgraded.

    A 2008 Mac Pro or better doesn't have this limitation, but there could be others. For example, the year of your Mac Pro determines what processors you can upgrade to (which can't generally be changed.) Things like Thunderbolt are also questionable if they'll come to older Mac Pros (or the current ones.)

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