The risks of upgrading a 2009 Mac Pro from 4.1 to 5.1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mac Pro 2009, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Mac Pro 2009 macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have a second hand refurb Mac Pro. I'm trying to figure out whether to upgrade to 5.1 but I have a few questions: Does doing this mean I can't pay apple to service this mac anymore?(What happens to my serial number?) Is it illegal to do this? Is there any risk? Is the 5.1 upgrade genuine apple or is it a cracked/modified version?

    Also how does a 5.1 Mac Pro know if it's a 2010 version or 2012?

    What upgrades can I do to my system if I stay in 4.1? (I have the base model)

    Thanks guys!
  2. superdx macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2009
    The hack is reversible. If you do bring your machine back to Apple for service, rerun the app, put your old CPU back in and it'll be back to stock. Note that it's important to keep your current CPU especially if you upgrade to a Westmere CPU. 4,1 Mac Pro won't boot with anything but Nehalem CPUs.

    If you're not upgrading your CPU, there's no point to run this hack. There are no performance gains to be had. It basically allows you to run Westmere CPUs, and also run memory at higher bus speeds.

    Note - I ran the hack last week just to see if it worked under Mavericks. It failed once, but on a fresh reboot, the hack went smoothly. I bought a Westmere CPU shortly after the patch was successful. Looking forward to some CPU gains next week!
  3. i-rui macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
    i have read about a (very few) cases of the firmware flash failing and bricking the backplane board in the netkas thread :,852.660.html

    top post on page 45 in the thread.

    i haven't gone through all 45 pages to see if there's some common denominator on those who had the firmware update fail. I did read that for some people the firmware utility wouldn't work until they zapped the pRAM, so perhaps that's a good idea prior to making the attempt.
  4. lemonade-maker, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

    lemonade-maker macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2009
    I just sold a 2009 2.26 that I did the firmware update, switched to 2.93 hex, 1333 ram. Thing was a beast. Used it mostly to run multiple VMs to mimic a production web env. It would heat the room it was in. Ran it non-stop since March 2009 and never had one problem. Over two years with the hex CPUs.

    The octo was a bit of a challenge to swap CPUs because the stock CPUs don't use heat spreaders and off the self does. I just used a digital micrometer to determine the stack height difference between the CPUs and used stainless washers on the heatsink mounting posts. Worked great.

    The system will not think it is a 2010 model after the firmware update. I will still report as a 2009. The model will change from 4,1 to 5,1.

    The upgrades for 4,1 are ssd, memory, faster CPUs.

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