I hope you find this guide useful. The Mac Pro is soon to ship any day now marking the end of reign of the classic Mac Pro as the best Mac made, even after a decade I imagine we'll be using our cMPs for a while longer.
The future looks better, albeit very expensive. If you'd like to read the old intro, click the show old intro. Like many, I had quite a few thoughts about the Mac Pro 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 !
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. We all start somewhere, and no one should ever feel bad for asking simple questions.
I'm the proud owner of a Mac Pro, which I've owned since I've owned this Mac longer than any other prior Mac which might explain. Upgrading the CPU in your Mac Pro is an excellent way to add both performance and value to your Mac Pro. If you have a model as I do in the.
Even then, I try to explain core concepts or provide links when necessary to help educate a user. 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 and a wide variety of skillsets. Please see 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. Prices differ vastly in foreign markets, and unfortunately, generally, the US is remarkably cheaper for Apple products and some hardware upgrades. Any buying advice will reflect the bias that is implicit to someone living in the US.
File systems define how data is stored and retrieved in an operating system. Bits vs. Bytes - You probably know this one by heart: There are 8 bits to every byte. For this guide to avoid confusion, I use bytes instead of bits when discussing all things bandwidth related, even though networking favors bits and local storage favors bytes. It's pretty easy for mistake bits for bytes as it hinges on capitalization. Converting bits to bytes means dividing by eight.
Download speeds are expressed by operating systems in bytes per second which confuses consumers as internet connections are not. For example: A Mbps network connection has a maximum bandwidth of Cheesegrater - Slang for the classic Mac Pros.
I did not invent this term but use it frequently. This former isn't essential to understand beyond that it is a computer's firmware. 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. See his personal website.
I encourage users to donate to him for his hard work. 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, would not be released until , Apple created it's own graphics library called Metal and shipped it in on iOS 8 first.
Apple moved to porting Metal to OSX. Mac OS Regardless had Apple used Vulkan, there'd been a day of reckoning with older hardware and support. However, sometimes, when performing certain hacks, it requires disabling during installation and then can be re-enabled. Leaving SIP disabled isn't recommended, but there are legitimate reasons why users may want to leave it disabled.
See Disable System integrity protection for instructions. Users unfamiliar to the world of the terminal should always exercise due diligence before copy and pasting random snippets of code found on the web for the terminal. Any Mac user looking to become a power user should make an effort to learn terminal basics like the ability to operate the terminal unlocks a feature set outside of the GUI.
Also, as bonus terminal skills translate to Linux and Unix, good for server management or web development. Prior to 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 are currently seven different iterations of Mac Pro family.
Visually from the exterior, these computers are the same and difficult to identify from each other without opening them up.
Internally the 1. 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 by taking the side panel off. The other sure-fire method is looking up the Serial Number.
Regardless of how many cards are connected, it will not adversely affect the 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. Note: The Mac Pro 1. 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 have different amounts 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.
Instead, there are six Thunderbolt 2 ports to connect high-speed external peripherals, including enclosures for internal PCIe cards. User profile for user: jordan. The line received more default memory and increased processor speed but still used Intel's older Westmere-EP processors instead of the newer E5 series. The Aura series is unlikely to be found in a cMac Pro setup as it'd require an external case. Many PC power supplies also use similar configurations, so that 6 to 8 pin adapters can be used.
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.