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I was pretty sure that the Mac Pro was going to be the last Mac that shipped with PCIe slots and was easily user-serviceable. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. Sometimes it feels good to be wrong. My old intro to this guide was a world-weary, cynical outlook, standing on the edge of a precipice of planned obsolescence. I felt, perhaps better worded, we the community of professionals felt modular computing was being killed-off despite endless temper-tantrums that it was still necessary. I was convinced Apple's next Mac Pro would be some bizarre conceptual piece, made to wow journalists and not users.

I was wrong. Apple's presentation was filled with numbers, big numbers, lots of numbers, the kind of numbers that make average-people glaze over in boredom: 8k, 6k, 3. There was a surreal moment when Apple showed how the case opened. They invited you inside and look. There are slots! So many slots. What-in-the-name-of-Ive was going on?

Edit: I wrote that last line before Ive announced his departure. The Mac Pro is the computer I dreamed of I imagine we'll be using our cMPs for a while longer. The future looks good, albeit very expensive. If you'd like to read the old intro, just click the show old intro. Like many, I had quite a few thoughts about the Mac Pro While the Mac Pro is relevant, this guide will remain focused on the Mac Pros.

If you want my personal take, you can read it here. Apple finally announced a new Mac Pro after the failed Mac Pro. Little did we know, the trashcan design was a multiplane metaphor, not only as an ode to planned obsolescence but to Apple's opinion of Pro users as it even failed to capitalize on providing modest updates, the computer that was meant to be replaced but without replacements.

Regardless of what the new Mac Pro looks like, we're nearly at the end of the road for the classic Mac Pro. Apple officially dropped the 1. The iMac Pro single-core performance is double that of a Mac Pro 5. This level of performance is bound to trickle down in the next few years to more modest Mac configurations. Then there's the rumor of ARM Macintoshes in the future, in the darkest of timelines where the modular computer is killed as SOC computing takes over. Computers are locked out of OS upgrades as quickly as a phone.

In this dystopian future, Apple has its way and we're on forever hardware upgrades, tossing working machines in landfills or worse Google has its way, relegating us to a hellscape of thin clients and subscription services and our own data held as bounty behind a paywall even as every bit is mined deeper like a Pennsylvanian quarry.

Lastly, there's phoenix act where the Mac Pro 7. The Mac Pro in this scenario becomes the vanguard of the current community of solder-iron wielding outcasts, cantankerous power users, and cranky creative professionals, people disaffected in the era of iOS. It'd be the unity of rejects who cling to past, not out of nostalgia but out of practicality, a mob completely ready to abandon their aging hardware.

More than likely, we'll get a Mac Pro that's a middling mess, an attempt to appease Johnny Ive's ego over the requirements of its target audience. Whatever the future holds, the Mac Pro Cheesegraters are long-in-tooth, and the viability of using one as a daily driver is fading but with right upgrades has still life left. This guide is an ode to the best computer ever made, the classic Mac Pro an engineering marvel marking the high-water mark of performance, ease-of-use and user-serviceability.

A quick aside for self-indulgence: I originally wrote in an upgrade guide for the Mac Pro, back in my earliest years of blogging when this blog was hosted on Tumblr, mistaking Tumblr a utility for blogging. It was talky, anecdotal and amateurish, mostly upgrades I had done myself at various points, but also one of the first attempts at an all-encompassing guide for upgrading Mac Pros. I updated the blog post infrequently over the years, and it became a briar patch of disparate rambling, thorned with tangents and asides. I felt it reflected poorly as I've become a marginally better writer I decided to clean up, update, and rework my blog post, but it became very apparent I should start from anew as I was already committing a wholesale field burn.

Even MacVidCards chimed in to correct this guide. I've written a follow-up article, The Definitive Trashcan Mac Pro Upgrade Guide to commemorate the first anniversary of this blog post on April 7th of ! Support Right To Repair! Jumping into the world of Mac OS can be daunting as there's a lot assumed tribal knowledge and history. I try to avoid unnecessary shorthand, but there are a few unavoidable terms. I like to write for as many people as possible and to remain accessible. For sanity sake, there is a base assumption for understanding but hopefully a low-enough bar that novice users can follow along and learn.

I try to provide links to anything more complicated than installing a PCIe card. If you feel that something is unclear or never adequately explained, please reach out to me and let me know as my readers are a global audience and of all walks of life. If I can doSee the Changelog for more details on how to reach out to me.

We all start somewhere, and I frequently question my own aptitude when I see how much heavy lifting others have done to make this guide a reality. For my more technical users, I depend on you for accuracy. This is truly a community effort. File systems define how data is stored and retrieved in an operating system. Cheesegrater - Slang for the classic Mac Pros.

I did not invent this term but use it frequently. This former isn't important to understand as much as the following: Apple adopted EFI on Intel Macs, and this is the interface that allows selecting a boot drive before OS X begins booting by holding down the option , among other pre-OS loading functionality. They are similar, but Apple's implementation varies partly due to age and partly due to the closed nature of Mac OS. In this guide, I refer to DosDude1 not as the person but as the scripts he has written. Firmware - a term you probably have heard and already possess some understanding of, the standard definition is a program that is written into Read-Only Memory ROMs , and requires a specialized process to change if it can be changed at all called Flashing.

Without an ideal candidate to replace it OpenGL's successor, Vulkan, was not out yet , Apple created it's own graphics library called Metal and shipped it in on iOS 8 first. Mac OS However, sometimes, when performing certain hacks, it requires disabling during installation and then can be re-enabled.

Trashcan - While Mac OS has a trash can for deleting files, in the context of this guide, this used to poke fun of the Mac Pro for its looks and lack of functionality compared to the almighty classic Mac Pro. A good portion of this guide and others uses terminology such as "Mac Pro " or Mac Pro 4. The classic Mac Pros come in five iterations and there currently seven different iterations of Mac Pro family.

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Visually from the exterior, these computers are the same and difficult to identify from each other without opening them up. Internally the 1.

Mac Pro (First Generation) Repair (, , ) - iFixit

The best way to verify what the original computer's version was is via using its model number or serial number. The easiest way to distinguish a powered off Mac Pro is taking the side panel off. The other sure-fire method is looking up the Serial Number.

Note: The Mac Pro 1. Regardless of how many cards are connected, it will not adversely affect bandwidth for each PCIe card. PCIe has become the backbone of computers since its first iteration in , and continues to be used, even on laptops for high-speed storage. Not all PCIe slots are the same. Since its inception, there have been several updates: PCIe 1.

Each iteration of PCIe radically increases the speed. Also to add a minor bit of confusion different chipsets a have different amount of total "lanes," the measurement of speed for a PCIe slot. PCIe slots are not all equal speed; thus the total lanes are distributed across the PCIe slots, usually giving favor to one or two ports for maximum speed.

In the case of the Mac Pros 3,1 and above , all have a maximum of 40 lanes and, thus, the lanes are pre-distributed among the PCIe slots. Since not all PCIe slots have the same amount of lanes thus, they not all are the same speed. The amount of lanes a PCIe slot has access to is expressed numerically as follows: 1x 1 lane , 2x, 2 lanes , 4x 4 lanes , 8x 8 lanes and 16x 16 lanes.

The maximum speed of each lane depends on the version of PCIe a computer has. Each generation of PCIe effectively doubles the speed of a lane. A PCIe 2. Generally, PCIe speeds are expressed in bytes, not bits. All PCIe slots are backward compatible however the caveat is that PCIe cards may not be backward compatible this is not common. Also, not all PCIe cards will operate at the maximum speed of the port as they may be limited by the card's chipset.

Conversely, a PCIe card may support much faster speeds but will work in any PCIe slot but will be limited by the port's maximum speed. For example, you could use a GeForce Ti in the Mac Pro's 4x slot but with a bit of a performance penalty. Later motherboards, starting with PCIe 3.

This is mostly used for SSDs. To combat this problem, PCIe cards started coming with additional power ports. Generally in PCs, additional power is drawn directly from 12v taps off the power supply. On the Mac Pros, there are two power ports located on the motherboard that can be tapped for additional power. Apple's implementation of the PCIe power ports also is non-standard, allowing for more power-draw than required by the PCIe standard. Many PC power supplies also use similar configurations, so that 6 to 8 pin adapters can be used. The Mac Pro line has had a history of Firmware updates, depending on the model, there's quite a wide gamut of potential upgrades or hacks for your Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro s 1. The Mac Pro 1. The 4. This is one of those times where a software upgrade makes all the difference. There is no performance difference between a flashed firmware Mac Pro vs. Ars Technica reported on the success of the Mac Pros being flashed by Netkas forum members. Note: Sometimes it is incorrectly reported that the 1. The Mac Pro remains a bit of the odd man out when it comes to firmware. Despite the obvious age of the Mac Pro 5. Developer Previews often carry updates both good and bad, so I recommend most users not use the Developer Previews of Mojave.

Both Forum member, Tsialex of MacRumors one of the experts on Mac Pros on the interwebs has compiled and maintained a list of Firmware versions for the Mac Pro 5. I highly recommend this blog post as I've directly lifted his notes from it, but there's more info at his original blog post.

I credit his work below. It is unlikely that we will see continued firmware updates for the Mac Pro 5. Below is a collection of links related to the bootROM procedure. However, this hack falls into adventure territory, see the Mac Pro 3. Users at MacRumors are reporting that the update bricks Mac Pro 5. See check your CPU model. OS upgrades might seem obvious but the 1. The Mac Pros can be firmware flashed to become 5. The can run modern OS X natively without nearly the hacking.

The Mac Pros are relatively easy to upgrade although and this is important , the airport card that the Mac Pro shipped with is unsupported. The Mac Pro s can run Also, wifi will be unsupported with the old chipset, but the Airport can be upgraded. The Mac Pro 3. Off-the-shelf NVidia cards also aren't supported in Mojave. Thus the Mac Pro 3.

Notably, some security updates may fail at installing since they require updating the recovery partition manually. For many pros using legacy apps, High Sierra can wreak havoc on support. Note: for Mac Pro 5,1 users, this can interfere with later firmware updates, MacProUpgrade group members for instance, report that Updating to The Mac Pro 5.

Updating requires pulling non-Metal accelerated GPUs they can be installed after the update and will still output video. Currently, NVidia users are waiting for NVidia to release official drivers, but we're currently at statemate with NVidia suggesting the lack of driver updates is unsurprisingly Apple's fault. See Apple's official, Install macOS I signed it, but I can't say I'm hopeful. Warning About Developer Previews in See the Firmware Upgrades section for more info. Apple in the past few years has moved to nagware for OS updates, often pestering users running non-compatible configurations to upgrade such as running a non-Mojave compatible GPU.

You can disable the notifications following osxdaily's handy guide. I sourced the information from MacRumors , so all credit goes to the community there and forum member ActionableMango for compiling this list, this is truncated to the most important bits of information. Also, 4. Also, go to the original thread to read up on 4. The process of delidding can be performed manually or bought pre-delidded. Most users elect to delid the CPUs themselves based on forums. Recently there's been interest in a few Mac Pro communities, but it's already been confirmed by a bold Mac Rumors poster.

There's some misinformation on a few other sites like pindelski. Apple has updated Safari to prevent drive-by Javascript attacks. Using general safe browsing habits, makes it not very likely that this exploit will affect users despite very sensational headlines like Wired's Meltdown Redux: Intel flaw lets hackers siphon secrets from millions of PCs. The only way to ensure total safety is to disable Hyper-Threading a significant performance hit , and Apple issued the article How to enable full mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling MDS vulnerabilities.

GPUs are probably the most annoying of the upgrades due to the required research yet one of the most commonly performed. This could change but has not yet. When I originally wrote my first Mac Pro Upgrade guide four years ago, readers found it surprising that one could use off-the-shelf Nvidia cards. I tested a GeForce Hackintosh vs.

GPUs are routinely one of the most common upgrades to Mac Pros. There are roughly three classes of GPUs. GPUs with Metal drivers for If this ever is sorted, we might have an aftermarket EFI bootscreen card. There's some overlap between the last two types of cards. This might sound undesirable but, with the gains of the NVidia cards, most users are willing to forgo the inconvenience, self-included. The most commonly flashable video cards are ones that have a Mac equivalent that was either sold by Apple as OEM or aftermarket, and the ROMs then were distributed on the open market, a few cards require physical modification.

Below are software-only flashable cards.


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I used for years an ATI Radeon With the NVidia video cards, even security updates can require a web driver update, meaning if you update, next boot will not output video until the driver has been updated. All the GTX series are supported by web drivers but are limited to However, neither AMD or NVidia cards will output video at the EFI boot screen, and video will not start until the drivers have loaded roughly right before the login screen. This strikes me as predatory: OWC is actively abusing its market position as a trusted Mac upgrade vendor.

The larger fan tends to block the adjacent PCI slot, making it hard to recommend for its minimal performance gains.

Background & Identification

Recently in Mojave, updates have enabled hardware acceleration for video codecs on the RX You can read about it here and find full instructions to Activate AMD hardware acceleration. Thanks for Martin L. Many of the cards can be flashed to different bios. With the advent of Apple published an official list but did not list all compatible GPUs for Mojave. Currently, NVidia blames Apple for not approving its drivers for Mojave. I've signed it, and I suggest others do too, even if non-NVidia users as options matter.

I doubt it'll shift the tide, but a long-shot is better than no-shot. One of the rumors was that this was fought is over the Volta GPU drivers. This rumor gained a lot of traction since the last released version of the NVidia drivers, That said, without Mojave support for off-the-self NVidia cards, this severely limits the impact and do not currently have drivers for the macOS. They will show up as a generic VGA output. NVidia driver installation is a little more tricky than one would expect, first off NVidia does not list what cards are currently supported on its web pages.

Secondly, you need to download the correct version of the drivers for whatever version of Mac OS you have. TonyMacX86 forums do an excellent job of direct linking to the NVidia installers for driver version number by OS version. Currently, Seeing the above mess of information and the corresponding versions of drivers, Benjamin Dobell wrote a CLI utility to install the Mac NVidia drivers that work for your system, as described as "This script installs the best not necessarily the latest official NVidia web drivers for your system.

Several MacRumors forum members have found that Mac Pro 3. Many modern graphics cards have HDMI and thus capable of outputting audio. There's a very long thread of intrepid hackers at Mac Rumors. The cards do work but the turn-around times are long, communication infrequent and the prices are high, but they appear to be legitimate, with many testimonials floating around message boards from longtime members that they do indeed work as promised.

Note: Dave of MacVidCards notes he did contribute on previous AMD card hacks I'd rather not weigh too much on the ethics on it, but software developers do deserve compensation, and depending on the actual work performed on the EFI ROM, it may very well be truly custom. As of writing this, they are the only game in town when it comes to making the NVidia series cards Mac EFI compatible. I suggest googling for them, and let you be the judge if its worth the cost.

Update: Also, I have to note that, after reading the previous statement, Dave of MacVidCards reached out to me and also corrected on errors found on this page. So if nothing else, my experience with MacVidCards has been fair in my limited dealings with them considering my hesitation in recommending them. There isn't a "best card" for any computer, rather how much money you're willing to spend and if the money could be better spent elsewhere.

This is an arbitrary metric as even a 3. Commonly, forums and groups will mention "pairs well," or "bottleneck" but any high-end GPU will "pair well," the question is more about where a user can see more performance gains. I'd argue buying a 4. The next question is, do you want an EFI native card? There are few cards that support the EFI boot screen, and they are all older generation cards. Most users elect to hold onto an older card as a backup, for the EFI screen. I personally have a GT in my Mac Pro at all times for this reason.

Lastly, there's Mojave to contend with. This means its AMD or bust. Some readers have reported they are able to run high-power requirement GPUs off their internal power supply. These are likely required to power your GPU. Example, a GPU that has an 6 pin power port and an 8 pin power port would require one of each cable. I wrote two guides blog. The Mac Pros can support many more cards than listed here, but these are all common cards, NewerTech and Sonnet are reliable.

Not all cards are equal, some are more performant, in the case of USB 3.

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009 Manuals

Also, some non-listed cards have issues. The only way to turn off my Mac Pro was to hold down the power key forcibly. I've elected not to include USB 2. The problem is that Apple used unusual screws to secure the batteries in place. If you have the proper screwdriver, which is available from multiple outlets, you can replace the battery yourself.

Be aware, though, that Apple won't cover the unibody MacBook Pro under warranty if the battery has been replaced by anyone other than an Apple-approved technician. If you are planning to update your MacBook Pro, you need the model number. Here's how to find it:. October saw the introduction of inch, inch, and inch MacBook Pro models. The models saw a short run and were discontinued in June All made use of the Sandy Bridge series of Intel processors in the i5 and i7 configurations with speed ratings from 2. Like the previous unibody Mac models, you can easily upgrade the RAM and hard drive.

You'll notice there are no links below to video guides for the inch and inch models. Although the layouts are slightly different, they're close enough for the video guide for the inch model to give you the basic idea for performing an upgrade. June saw the MacBook Pro line updated with a new inch model and a speed bump in processor performance for the inch and inch models. The other change in mid was a standard case design for all unibody MacBook Pros.

The inch and inch models had previously used slightly different case arrangements, requiring a unique upgrade guide for each model. Originally only the inch model used the unibody construction, but Apple followed up in February with a unibody inch model. As it did with the previous versions of the MacBook Pro, Apple continued to use the Intel Core 2 Duo processors, although at slightly higher operating frequencies. The new unibody design allowed both the hard drive and RAM to be user upgradeable. The inch and inch models use a slightly different method to access the hard drive and RAM modules, so be sure to consult the correct user guide before performing any upgrades.

macOS Mojave on old unsupported 2009 Mac Pro (Review, Installation, Performance Test)

Use matched pairs of 2GB per memory slot. Starting in October of , Apple updated the and inch MacBook Pro models with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a bit processor, which makes them good upgrade candidates. You can extend the effective lifetime of one of these MacBook Pros by adding memory or a larger hard drive, or by replacing the optical drive. The MacBook Pro offers a wealth of upgrade options, including those sanctioned by Apple as user upgradeable, and those that are DIY projects that Apple never intended end users to perform.

Memory and battery replacement are both sanctioned user upgrades, and are easy to do. If you want to upgrade the hard drive or replace the optical drive, you'll find these tasks are also fairly simply to perform, even though Apple doesn't support them as user upgrades for the MacBook Pro.

If you're comfortable wielding a screwdriver, you can easily change out a hard drive or optical drive. Use matched pairs of 1GB per memory slot. The and inch MacBook Pros introduced in the spring and summer of were the first pro-level notebooks from Apple to use Intel processors.

Specifically, these MacBook Pros used 1. As it did with other early Intel-based Macs, Apple used the Yonah processor family, which only supports bit operation. Because of the bit limit, you may want to consider updating to a newer model rather than upgrading this model MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro offers a wealth of upgrade options, including those sanctioned by Apple as user upgradeable, and those that are DIY projects Apple never intended end users to perform.

Memory and battery replacement are both sanctioned user upgrades and are easy to do. Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc.