Upgrading Processor? & Graphics Card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Simplesimon101, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Simplesimon101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #1
    hi,

    what ever the answer is this is probably a stupid question... but when there are new parts for the mac pro (when it's updated) is it possible to put these new parts into a current mac pro to get the same performance? or can the machines only handle the upgrades that they currently list as options when apple build to order?

    also probably an unrelated question but is the fact that the mac pro's still ship with the old keyboard a good sign that they'd be updated soon?

    thanks for any advice...
     
  2. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #2
    It depends on the upgrade. Right now, the 'current' Mac Pro is the exact same 'core' as the original Mac Pro released last August. Anything that is compatible with the 'current' Mac Pro is compatible with a Mac Pro bought on the first day it was available. This includes quad-core processors.

    When the Mac Pro is upgraded, it's anyone's guess. The upcoming Intel processors may only require a firmware upgrade to work in existing chipset systems, but Apple may not make that firmware update; they may only make the new processors available on the new chipset in a revised Mac Pro. The big difference is that the new chipsets will support a 1600 MHz front side bus, while the current Mac Pro only supports 1333 MHz. So even with the same core speed processor (say, 3.0 GHz,) a 1333 MHz-bus model will be slightly slower than a 1600 MHz bus model. But very few things take full advantage of those bus speed increases.

    As for PCI Express cards, any card that works in any PCI Express OS X computer should work in the original Mac Pro. This includes the RAID card, and quad-channel Fibre Channel card, or even the dual-channel Gigabit Ethernet card from the Xserve, for that matter. Of course, any PCI Express video card with OS X support should work just fine (the 'official' options are the base 7300GT, the 'upgrade' X1900XT and Quadro FX 4500, or even the X1300 from the Xserve should work,) and people have gotten "PC" video cards to work just fine in Windows via Boot Camp, although some of the latest ultra-high-end PC video cards require newer-style video card power connectors that the Mac Pro may not be 'hackable' to have. These would have the exact same performance on a current Mac Pro as on an updated model.

    And, of course, with RAM, the latest ultra-high capacity 4 GB FB-DIMMs work just fine. The upcoming Intel chipsets aren't expected to have any major improvements in RAM technology.

    For drives, people have put in newer faster bigger hard drives without problem (including Western Digital's speed demon 10,000 RPM "Raptor" Serial ATA hard drives, as well as the latest 1 Terabyte drives,) and have put in replacement optical drives, including Blu-Ray drives. (Which work just fine in Toast.) They have even strung Serial ATA cables up into the optical drive bays from the two 'spare' Serial ATA ports on the motherboard. (The motherboard has six ports, four of which are pre-cabled for the four hard drive bays, two are not doing anything, presumably they are there so Apple could swap in Serial ATA optical drives at any time, and all they would need to change was the cabling.) If an updated Mac Pro adds Serial Attached SCSI support, (like the Xserve had,) then the only way to get that would be to add a PCI Express SAS card; but I don't know if there are any OS X compatible SAS cards.
     
  3. Simplesimon101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #3
    thanks... i'll probably have to read that again to try and take it all in but all in all very helpful
     
  4. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #4
    heh, here's the short answer:

    Other than the main chipset connection to the processor, every other possible upgrade to the Mac Pro could be duplicated on the existing Mac Pro; unless Apple takes technical measures to prevent them.

    (Hasn't happened yet. They didn't block the use of quad-core processors in the very first Mac Pros, after all, even though they then released their own quad-core-processor model later.)

    And the chipset-to-processor upgrade would be moving from a 1333 MHz bus to a 1600 MHz bus, of which, the difference will not make a noticable improvement unless you use a very limited selection of applications. (Mostly scientific computational analysis type.)
     

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