Upgrading for Mac Pro 3.1 to 5.1 (or 6.1)?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by choreo, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. choreo macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2008
    Midland, TX
    I have an Early 2008 Mac Pro 3.1 (2x2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - 16GB RAM) and looking to upgrade to a more current model.

    Two questions:

    I currently have (4) 1-TB internal Drives - one with boot OS (Lion 10.8.3 installed). If I buy a newer Mac Pro Desktop, can I just swap the drives out and go, or do I have to install the OS all over again to recognize the new hardware?

    Any recommendations on a "smart" buy to replace what I currently have that would significantly increase performance? Cost is somewhat of a factor (especially looking at the new 12 cores!!!). Is a single 3.33 GHZ 6-Core any faster than what I have now?

  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007

    Close to twice as fast using Geekbench as a measure of performance, 15000 to 9000 newer vs older. Having owned both machines I can say that is a correct representation of the situation.
  3. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    May 12, 2005
    I recently did the switch from a 2008 to a 12 core.

    The result is very nice.

    Not an easy procedure in my case.
    I only use software that I have purchased.
    I respect the time and effort of developers.
    Lot's of copy protected software that I have invested in.

    I have a fairly complicated setup with many 3rd party plugins.

    I assumed that if I put the old drive in the new machine, all would be well.

    It turns out that much of the copy protection is "machine specific".

    I spent about a week reauthorizing.
    It was easy with some companies and a PITA with others.

    I'm finally good to go.

    Very happy with the new headroom.

    Well worth the effort and expense.
  4. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    I also have the Mac Pro 3,1 - 2x2.8GHz/16GB RAM - but have upgraded to the Accelsior PCIe card for OSX and Apps, a Samsung Pro SSD for Bootcamp, and HDDs in Raid0 for data, as well as a GTX680 graphics card. If I upgraded to a Mac Pro 5,1 - 2x3.06GHz/16GB RAM - using my existing storage and graphics options?
  5. bsbeamer macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2012
    What applications are you running? Can they utilize dual processors effectively or not? That's really what it comes down to before the clock speed arguments and debates can be had.

    Swapping drives between machines with different specs always has mixed results. I've worked on two workstations with IDENTICAL specs, purchased at the same time several years ago, and they didn't function properly when swapping out of a desperate emergency need. It can be done, but not all software acts properly depending on what methods they use for activation.


    your existing hardware SHOULD work in a new machine, but internal RAIDs don't ALWAYS transfer to a new workstation properly without re-initialization. suggest cloning before trying it - just to be 100% sure.

    you can re-purpose your SSDs, but they might not work properly if just swapping into a new tower - may need to do a fresh OS install on them.

    More RAM in your 5,1 configuration would be helpful...
  6. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    I would never transfer HDDs/SSDs just outright. I would always install a new OSX, and then migrate my latest Time Capsule Backup. And I am not worried my Accelsior, SSDs, or GTX680 will work, they will.

    However, my question was if a Mac Pro 5,1 is significantly faster than a Mac Pro 3,1 given that I do not really use the slower SATA, and always have the fastest graphics in my MP. I.e. is the upgrade worth it for the CPUs/RAM only?
  7. choreo thread starter macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2008
    Midland, TX
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    You're intelligent - that's probably why!

    It's not very smart to do or recommend the other way.
  9. ASantangelo macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2018
    --- Post Merged, Nov 24, 2018 ---
    Hi Mactrunk,

    I am in a similar position, could you please be more specific about your 2008 Mac Pro initial set up and the components used for the upgrade (Processor model, speed etc.)?

    Thank you so much!

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