Ever since Apple released the new Mac Pro back in 2013, many professional customers have complained that the new Mac Pro is hard to upgrade after it’s purchased. Today, we look at how usable an upgraded last-generation Mac Pro is.
The first step is to go onto Ebay and find a last generation Mac Pro. At the time of writing this article, most last-generation Mac Pros are selling for $300-450, depending on the model you purchase. Next, finding compatible RAM, video cards, and an SSD or two becomes the priority. Other World Computing has plenty of options for RAM and SSDs for last generation Mac Pros, however, make sure to buy components for the right generation of Mac Pro that you bought off of Ebay. A quick check in About This Mac can confirm any of your questions. For video cards, Ebay is another good option. There is no right or wrong answer for what video card to purchase, as graphic needs may vary, but make sure to do a quick Google search to make sure whatever video card you are looking at is compatible with you Mac Pro. It should be mentioned that the CPU and other components can be upgraded, but for most users these are the best components to upgrade.
Once you get all of your parts, it is time to upgrade. Upgrading last-generation Mac Pros are easy as the side panel comes off with a lifting of a latch on the back of the case. It then becomes a process of removing the old hardware and inserting the new components. This is not a guide to replace that hardware, but YouTube offers thousands of videos to assist you. One you have everything installed, boot your Mac Pro and install the latest software.
Now, using such an old machine does have its drawbacks. You will not be able to use the latest and greatest operating system. With some unconventional work arounds, it is possible, but not recommended. The main purpose for using such an old machine is for more for power and reliability. If you are looking for the latest and greatest, I would not recommend this project. Going this route does offer a MUCH cheaper option for those that need power and prefer to work with the Mac Operating System. Yes, you could build an up to date Windows machine that is more powerful, but for some users Windows is not an option. Last generation Mac Pros could be implemented as home servers, as they were around for years and have proved to be incredibly reliable.
Using a last-generation Mac Pro is not the most ideal solution, but it is definitely do-able. If users are looking for something more portable with enough power, I would recommend looking into a MacBook Pro. Nonetheless, refurbishing an older Mac Pro is not for everyone, but for some it provides just enough power and convince without breaking the bank.