The two generations of Mac Pro
|Release date||August 7, 2006 (First generation)
December 19, 2013 (Second generation)
|Website||Mac Pro website|
The Mac Pro line is a series of Intel Xeon–based workstations computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The Mac Pro, in most configurations and in terms of speed and performance, is the most powerful computer that Apple offers. It is the high-end model of the three desktop computers in the current Mac lineup, the other two being the iMac and Mac Mini.
Until being revamped in 2013, the Mac Pro outwardly resembled the last version of the Power Mac G5, and had similar expansion capabilities. An Intel-based replacement for the PowerPC-based Power Mac G5 machines had been expected for some time before the Mac Pro was formally announced on August 7, 2006 at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The first Mac Pro was based on dual Dual-core Xeon Woodcrest processors. It was replaced by a dual Quad-core Xeon Clovertown model on April 4, 2007, and again on January 8, 2008 by a dual Quad-core Xeon Harpertown model. The 2012 Mac Pro was largely based on a model that was announced on July 27, 2010. It features Nehalem/Westmere architectures Intel Xeon processors. They offer options of up to 12 processing cores, up to four optional 2 TB hard disk drives / 512 GB solid state drives and ATI Radeon HD 5770/5870 graphics.
At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) opening keynote on June 10, 2013, a redesigned Mac Pro was announced. In a radical departure from the previous designs, which employed the standard, rectangular design of most towers, the new Mac Pro is shaped like a cylinder and takes up about one eighth the volume of previous models. Beyond form, the machine supports up to a 12-core Xeon CPU and four 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM modules, as well as dual GPUs and PCIe-based flash storage. Apple claims that the new Mac Pro achieves twice the performance of the last model. The second generation model was released on December 19, 2013.
- 1 First generation (tower)
- 2 Second generation (cylinder)
- 3 Mac Pro Server
- 4 Operating systems
- 5 Add-on hardware compatibility
- 6 References
- 7 External links
First generation (tower)
An Intel-based replacement for the Power Mac G5 had long been expected prior to the release of the Mac Pro. The iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro had moved to an Intel-based architecture starting in January 2006, leaving the Power Mac G5 as the only machine in the Mac lineup still based on the PowerPC processor architecture Apple had used since 1993. Speculation about the G5's eventual replacement was common. Rumors initially expected the machine to differ physically from the existing G5 and considered a number of different possible internal configurations based on different chipsets, but the coincidence of Intel releasing a new Core 2–based Xeon workstation processor platform just prior to the 2006 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) made it fairly obvious that the resulting machine would be based on it. Even the naming was "obvious"; Apple had dropped the term "Power" from the other machines in their lineup, and started using "Pro" on their higher-end laptop offerings. As such, the name "Mac Pro" was widely used before the machine was announced. The Mac Pro was a workstation similar to other Unix workstations such as those previously manufactured by Sun Microsystems. Although the high-end technical market has not traditionally been an area of strength for Apple, the company has been positioning itself as a leader in non-linear digital editing for high-definition video, which demands storage and memory far in excess of a general desktop machine. Additionally, the codecs used in these applications are generally processor intensive and highly threadable, speeding up almost linearly with additional processor cores. Apple's previous machine aimed at this market, the Power Mac G5, had up to two dual-core processors (marketed as "Quad-Core"), but lacked the storage expansion capabilities of the newer design. In general, the Mac Pro had been well received in the press. The combination of high performance, reasonable expandability, very quiet operation and the quality of its mechanical design makes it routinely appear as the comparison system against which other systems are measured. The Xeon platform is, however, Intel's “high end” system and not aimed at more general purpose use. Nevertheless, current-generation Xeon CPUs are priced competitively in comparison to high-end desktop platforms, allowing Apple to sell a very powerful system at prices that are considered quite competitive, especially when compared to other UNIX workstations. Original marketing materials for the Mac Pro generally referred to the middle-of-the-line model with 2 × dual-core 2.66 GHz processors. Previously, Apple featured the base model with the words "starting at" or "from" when describing the pricing, but the online US Apple Store listed the "Mac Pro at $2499", the price for the mid-range model. The system could be configured at US$2299, much more comparable with the former base-model dual-core G5 at US$1999, although offering considerably more processing power. Post revision, the default configurations for the Mac Pro includes one quad-core Xeon 3500 at 2.66 GHz or two quad-core Xeon 5500s at 2.26 GHz each. Like its predecessor, the Power Mac G5, the pre-2013 Mac Pro was Apple's only desktop with standard expansion slots for graphics adapters and other expansion cards. Apple stopped shipping the Mac Pro in Europe on March 1, 2013 after an amendment to a safety regulation left the professional Mac non-compliant. The last day to order was February 18, 2013. Following an overview of the redesigned second generation Mac Pro at a media event on 22 October 2013 the previous 2012 model was removed from Apple's online store.
The 2010 and later Mac Pro systems were available with one or two processors with options giving four, eight, or twelve cores. As an example the eight core standard configuration Mac Pro used two Quad core ×8 Intel E5620007 Xeon processors @2.4 GHz, but could be configured with two Hexa Core Intel Xeon Processor X5670 @2.93 GHz. Since the processor(s) are socketed, the processor(s) could be easily removed and replaced with compatible 64-bit Intel Xeon processors. There was a limited universe of Xeon processor types suitable for an upgrade, and these processors differed with each model of Mac Pro, so a user must know the proper socket-type, Mac Pro system type (i.e., single- or dual-processor, model year, etc.), and other processor specifications before attempting an upgrade.
The original Mac Pro's main memory used 667 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMMs; the early 2008 model used 800 MHz ECC DDR2 FB-DIMMS, the 2010 and onward Mac Pro used 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC DIMMs for the standard models, and 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC DIMMs for systems configured with 2.66 GHz or faster processors. In the original and 2008 models, these modules are installed in pairs, one each on two riser cards. The cards have 4 DIMM slots each, allowing a total of 32 GB of memory (8 × 4 GB) to be installed. Notably, due to its FB-DIMM architecture, installing more RAM in the Mac Pro will improve its memory bandwidth, but may also increase its memory latency. With a simple install of a single FB-DIMM the peak bandwidth is 8 GB/s, but this can increase to 16 GB/s by installing two FB-DIMMs, one on each of the two buses, which is the default configuration from Apple. While electrically the FB-DIMMs are standard, for pre-2009 Mac Pro models Apple specifies larger-than-normal heatsinks on the memory modules. Problems have been reported by users who have used third party RAM with normal size FB-DIMM heatsinks. (see notes below). 2009 and later Mac Pro computers do not require memory modules with heatsinks.
The Mac Pro had room for four internal 3.5" SATA-300 hard drives in four internal "bays". The hard drives were mounted on individual trays (also known as "sleds") by captive screws. A set of four drive trays was supplied with each machine. Adding hard drives to the system did not require cables to be attached as the drive was connected to the system simply by being inserted into the corresponding drive slot. A case lock on the back of the system locked the disks trays into their positions. The Mac Pro also supported Serial ATA solid-state drives (SSD) in the 4 hard drive bays via an SSD-to-hard drive sled adapter (mid-2010 models and later), and by third-party solutions for earlier models (e.g., by an adapter/bracket which plugged into an unused PCIe slot). Various 2.5-inch SSD drive capacities and configurations were available as options. The Mac Pro was also available with an optional hardware RAID card. With the addition of a SAS controller card or SAS RAID controller card, SAS drives could be directly connected to the system's SATA ports. Two optical drive bays were provided, each with a corresponding SATA port and an Ultra ATA/100 port. The Mac Pro had one PATA port and could support two PATA devices in the optical drive bays. It had a total of six SATA ports – four were connected to the system's drive bays, and two were not connected. The extra SATA ports could be put into service through the use of after-market extender cables to connect internal optical drives, or to provide eSATA ports with the use of an eSATA bulkhead connector. However, the two extra SATA ports were unsupported and disabled under Boot Camp. A built to order Mac Pro could be configured with up to 8 TB of storage (4 × 2 TB disks) or 2 TB (4 × 512 GB SSD).
The 2008 model had two PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 expansion slots and two PCI Express 1.1 slots, providing them with up to 300 W of power in total. The first slot was double wide and intended to hold the main video card, arranged with an empty area the width of a normal card beside it to leave room for the large coolers modern cards often use. In most machines, one slot would be blocked by the cooler. Instead of the tiny screws typically used to fasten the cards to the case, in the Mac Pro a single "bar" held the cards in place, which is itself held in place by two "captive" thumbscrews that can be loosened by hand without tools and will not fall out of the case. On the original Mac Pro introduced in August 2006, the PCIe slots can be configured individually to give more bandwidth to devices that require it, with a total of 40 "lanes", or 13 GB/s total throughput. When running Mac OS X, the Mac Pro did not support SLI or ATI CrossFire, limiting its ability to use the latest "high-end gaming" video card products; however, individuals have reported success with both CrossFire and SLI installations when running Windows XP, as SLI and CrossFire compatibility is largely a function of software. The bandwidth allocation of the PCIe slots can be configured via the Expansion Slot Utility included with Mac OS X only on the August 2006 Mac Pro. The Early-2008 and later Mac Pros had PCIe slots hardwired as follows:
|Early 2008||Early 2009, Mid 2010, Mid 2012|
|Slot 4||4× PCIe Gen. 1.1||4× PCIe Gen. 2|
|Slot 3||4× PCIe Gen. 1.1||4× PCIe Gen. 2|
|Slot 2||16× PCIe Gen. 2||16× PCIe Gen. 2|
|Slot 1 (Double-Wide)||16× PCIe Gen. 2||16× PCIe Gen. 2|
For external connectivity, the Mac Pro included five USB 2.0 and four FireWire 800 ports. Networking was supported with two built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports. 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support (AirPort Extreme) required an optional module in the Mid 2006, Early 2008 and Early 2009 models, whereas in the 2010 model and later Wi-Fi was standard. Bluetooth also required an optional module in the Mid 2006 model, but was standard in the Early 2008 and newer models. Displays were supported by one or (optionally) more PCIe graphics cards. More recent cards featured two Mini DisplayPort connectors and one dual-link Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port, with various configurations of on-card graphics memory available. Digital (TOSlink optical) audio and analog 3.5 mm stereo mini jacks for sound in and out were included, the latter becoming available on both the front and back of the case. Unlike other Mac computers, the Mac Pro did not include an infrared receiver (required to use the Apple Remote). Beginning with Mac OS X Leopard, Front Row could be accessed on the Mac Pro (and other Macs) using the Command (⌘)-Escape keystroke.
From 2006 through 2012, the exterior of the Mac Pro's aluminum case was very similar to that of the Power Mac G5, with the exception of an additional optical drive bay, and a new arrangement of I/O ports on both the front and the back. The case could be opened by operating a single lever on the back, which unlocked one of the two sides of the machine, as well as the drive bays. All of the expansion slots for memory, PCIe cards and drives could be accessed with the side panel removed and no tools were required for installation. The Xeon processors generated much less heat than the previous dual-core G5s, so the size of the internal cooling devices had been reduced significantly. This allowed the interior to be re-arranged, leaving more room at the top of the case and thereby allowing the drives to double in number. Less heat also meant less air to move out of the case for cooling during normal operations; the Mac Pro was very quiet in normal operation, quieter than the much noisier Power Mac G5, and proved difficult to measure using common sound pressure level meters.
|Model||Mid 2006||Early 2008||Early 2009||Mid 2010||Mid 2012|
|Component||Intel Xeon (Core)||Intel Xeon (Nehalem)||Intel Xeon (Nehalem and Westmere)|
|Release date||August 7, 2006
April 4, 2007 Optional 3.0 GHz Quad-core Xeon "Clovertown"
|January 8, 2008||March 3, 2009
December 4, 2009 Optional 3.33 GHz Quad-core Xeon "Bloomfield"
|August 9, 2010||June 11, 2012|
|Model numbers||MA356*/A||MA970*/A||MB871*/A MB535*/A||MC560*/A MC250*/A MC561*/A||MD770*/A MD771*/A MD772*/A|
MacPro2,1 Optional 3.0 GHz Quad-core Xeon "Clovertown"
|Kernel mode||32-bit||32-bit in Mac OS X (client), 64-bit in Mac OS X Server||64-bit|
|Chipset||Intel 5000X||Intel 5400||Intel X58|
|Processor||Two 2.66 GHz (5150) Dual-core Intel Xeon "Woodcrest"
Optional 2.0 GHz (5130), 2.66 GHz or 3.0 GHz (5160) Dual-core or 3.0 GHz (X5365) Quad-core Intel Xeon "Clovertown"
|Two 2.8 GHz (E5462) Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Harpertown"
Optional two 3.0 GHz (E5472) or 3.2 GHz (X5482) Quad-core processors or one 2.8 GHz (E5462) Quad-core processor
|One 2.66 GHz (W3520) Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Bloomfield" or two 2.26 GHz (E5520) Quad-core Intel Xeon "Gainestown" with 8 MB of L3 cache
Optional 2.93 GHz (W3540) or 3.33 GHz (W3580) Intel Xeon Quad-core Intel Xeon "Bloomfield" processors or two 2.66 GHz (X5550) or 2.93 GHz (X5570) Quad-core Intel Xeon "Gainestown" processors
|One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core "Bloomfield" Intel Xeon (W3530) processor with 8 MB of L3 cache or two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core "Gulftown" Intel Xeon (E5620) processors with 12 MB of L3 cache or two 2.66 GHz 6-core "Gulftown" Intel Xeon (X5650) processors with 12 MB of L3 cache
Optional 3.2 GHz Quad-Core "Bloomfield" (W3565) or 3.33 GHz 6-core "Gulftown" (W3680) Intel Xeon processors or two 2.93 GHz 6-core (X5670) Intel Xeon "Gulftown" processors
|One 3.2 GHz Quad-Core "Bloomfield" Intel Xeon (W3565) processor with 8 MB of L3 cache or two 2.4 GHz 6-Core "Westmere-EP" Intel Xeon (E5645) processors with 12 MB of L3 cache
Optional 3.33 GHz 6-Core "Gulftown" (W3680), two 2.66 GHz 6-core "Westmere-EP" (X5650), or two 3.06 GHz 6-core "Westmere-EP" (X5675) Intel Xeon processors
|System bus||1333 MHz||1600 MHz||4.8 GT/s(Quad-core models only) or 6.4 GT/s||4.8 GT/s (Quad-core models only), 5.86 GT/s(8-core models only) or 6.4 GT/s||4.8 GT/s (Quad-core models only), 5.86 GT/s(12-core models only) or 6.4 GT/s|
|Front-side bus||QuickPath Interconnect|
|Memory||1 GB (two 512 MB) of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
Expandable to 16 GB (Apple), 32 GB (Actual)
|2 GB (two 1 GB) of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
Expandable to 64 GB
|3 GB (three 1 GB) for SP quad-core or 6 GB (six 1 GB) for DP 8-core of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC DIMM
Expandable to 16 GB on Quad-core models (although expandable to 48 GB using 3rd party 3 × 16 GB DIMMs), and 32 GB in 8-core models (128 GB using 3rd party 8 x 16 GB DIMMs, OSX 10.9/Windows)
|3 GB (three 1 GB) for quad- and 6-core models or 6 GB (six 1 GB) for 8- and 12-core models of 1333 MHz ECC DDR3 SDRAM
Expandable to 48 GB on Quad-core models, and 64 GB in 8- and 12-core models (although expandable to 128 GB using 3rd party 8 × 16 GB DIMMs, OSX 10.9/Windows)
|6 GB (three 2 GB) for quad- and 6-core models or 12 GB (six 2 GB) for 12-core models of 1333 MHz ECC DDR3 SDRAM
Expandable to 48 GB on Quad- and 6-core models, and 64 GB in 12-core models (although expandable to 128 GB using 3rd party 8×16 GB DIMMs, OSX 10.9/Windows)
Expandable to four graphics cards
|nVidia GeForce 7300 GT with 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM (single-link and dual-link DVI ports)
Optional ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512 MB GDDR3 SDRAM (two dual-link DVI ports) or nVidia Quadro FX 4500 with 512 MB GDDR3 SDRAM (stereo 3D and two dual-link DVI ports)
|ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM (two dual-link DVI ports)
Optional nVidia GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB GDDR3 SDRAM (two dual-link DVI ports) or nVidia Quadro FX 5600 1.5 GB (stereo 3D, two dual-link DVI ports)
|nVidia GeForce GT 120 with 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM (one mini-DisplayPort and one dual-link DVI port)
Optional ATI Radeon HD 4870 with 512 MB of GDDR5 SDRAM (one Mini DisplayPort and one dual-link DVI port)
|ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory (two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port)
Optional ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory (two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port)
|Secondary storage||250 GB with 8 MB cache
Optional 500 GB with 8 MB cache or 750 GB with 16 MB cache
|320 GB SATA with 8 MB cache
Optional 500 GB, 750 GB, or 1 TB SATA with 16 MB cache or 300 GB Serial Attached SCSI, 15,000-rpm with 16 MB cache
|640 GB with 16 MB cache
Optional 1 TB or 2 TB with 32MB cache
|1 TB SATA with 32 MB cache
Optional 1 TB or 2 TB SATA with 32 MB cache or 512 GB Solid State Drives
|7200-rpm SATA Hard drive||7200-rpm SATA Hard drive or 15k-rpm SAS Hard Drive||7200-rpm SATA Hard drive||7200-rpm SATA Hard drive or Solid State Drive|
|Optical drive||16× SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)||18× SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)|
|Connectivity||Optional Airport Extreme 802.11a/b/g and draft-n (n disabled by default)
2x Gigabit Ethernet
Optional 56k V.92 USB modem
Optional Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
|Optional Airport Extreme 802.11a/b/g and draft-n (n-enabled)
2x Gigabit Ethernet
Optional 56k V.92 USB modem
|Airport Extreme 802.11a/b/g/n
2x Gigabit Ethernet
|Peripherals||5x USB 2.0
2x Firewire 400
2x Firewire 800
Built-in mono speaker
1x Audio-in mini-jack
2x Audio-out mini-jack
1x Optical S/PDIF (Toslink) input
1x Optical S/PDIF (Toslink) output
|5x USB 2.0
4x Firewire 800
Built-in mono speaker
1x Audio-in mini-jack
2x Audio-out mini-jack
1x Optical S/PDIF (Toslink) input
1x Optical S/PDIF (Toslink) output
|Latest supported OS||OS X 10.7 "Lion"
(Unofficially, can run OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" and 10.9 "Mavericks" with an upgrade to a supported graphics card and EFI64 emulation)
|OS X 10.9 "Mavericks"|
Second generation (cylinder)
Apple received criticism after an incremental upgrade to the Mac Pro line following the 2012 WWDC. 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 line also lacked current technologies like SATA III, USB 3, and Thunderbolt, the last of which had been added to every other Macintosh at that point. An email from Apple CEO Tim Cook promised a more significant update to the line in 2013.
Apple unveiled a completely redesigned Mac Pro during the WWDC 2013 keynote. Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller presented a "sneak peek" video of the product, a very unusual move for the company. The video revealed an overhauled case design, a polished reflective (not black as some photos make it seem) aluminum cylinder built around a central thermal dissipation core and vented by a single fan, which pulls air from under the case, through the core, and out the top of the case. The model is assembled in Austin, Texas, on a highly automated line.
Reviews of the new design have generally had very high ratings, but caveats are mentioned in almost every case. The performance is widely lauded, especially handing video tasks on the dual GPU units, with some reviewers noting the ability to apply dozens of filters to realtime 4k video. Disk performance, connected via PCIe, is also widely mentioned as a strong point. However, most reviews also note the lack of internal expandability, and question the currently limited offerings via the Thunderbolt port.
The 2013 Mac Pro has a vastly redesigned configuration of ports. The Mac Pro has an HDMI 1.4 port, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3 ports, and combined digital Mini-TOSlink optical / analog 3.5 mm stereo mini jacks for sound in and out. The Thunderbolt 2 ports support up to 36 Thunderbolt devices (six per port) and can support up to three simultaneous 4k displays. This design requires two GPUs to support the seven display outputs (HDMI and six Thunderbolt). The I/O panel is illuminated when the unit senses it has been moved to make it easier for the user to see the ports. The new Mac Pro no longer has FireWire 800 ports, dedicated digital audio in/out ports, a SuperDrive, or a DVI port (although DVI devices can easily be attached using an HDMI-to-DVI adapter). The new Mac Pro removes the ability to replace hard drives by foregoing the four 3.5-inch drive bays for proprietary PCIe-channel flash storage. It also removes the ability to add PCIe cards internally.
Apple's website mentions only RAM as user-servicable, though third party tear downs show most components can be removed and replaced. A lock switch on the aluminum casing allows for easy access to the internals, and components are secured with standard screws. The flash storage and GPUs use proprietary connectors and are specially sized to fit into the enclosure. Unlike the rest of the Macintosh line the CPU is not soldered to the logic board and can be replaced with another LGA 2011 socket processor, including processor options not offered by Apple.
|Component||Intel Xeon (Ivy Bridge-E)|
|Release date||December 19, 2013|
|Processor||One 3.7 GHz Quad-Core "Ivy Bridge-EP" Intel Xeon (E5-1620 v2) with 10 MB L3 cache or one 3.5 GHz 6-Core "Ivy Bridge-EP" Intel Xeon (E5-1650 v2) with 12 MB L3 cache
Optional one 3.0 GHz 8-Core "Ivy Bridge-EP" Intel Xeon (E5-1680 v2) with 25 MB L3 cache or one 2.7 GHz 12-Core "Ivy Bridge-EP" Intel Xeon (E5-2697 v2) with 30 MB L3 cache
|System bus||DMI 2.0 or 2 × 8.0 GT/s (12-core model only)|
|Memory||12 GB (three 4 GB) for quad-core model or 16 GB (four 4 GB) for 6-core model of DDR3 ECC at 1866 MHz (up to 60 GB/s)
Expandable to 64 GB (four 16 GB) per Apple, expandable to 128 GB using third-party 1333 Mhz modules.
|Graphics||Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM each for quad-core model or Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM each for 6-core model
Optional Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
|Secondary storage||256 GB flash storage
Optional 512 GB or 1 TB flash storage
|Connectivity||AirPort Extreme 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (up to 1.3 Gbit/s)
2x Gigabit Ethernet
|Peripherals||4x USB 3.0
Built-in mono speaker
6x Thunderbolt 2
Audio output/optical digital audio output
|Video out||HDMI 1.4 and Thunderbolt 2|
Mac Pro Server
On November 5, 2010, Apple introduced the Mac Pro Server, which officially replaced the Xserve line of Apple servers as of January 31, 2011. The Mac Pro Server came with an unlimited Mac OS X Server license and an Intel Xeon 2.8 GHz Quad-Core processor, with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. In mid-2012, the Mac Pro Server was upgraded to an Intel Xeon 3.2 GHz Quad-Core processor with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. The Mac Pro Server was discontinued on October 22, 2013, with the introduction of the second-generation cylinder Mac Pro. However, OS X Server can be purchased from the Mac App Store on the new Mac Pro (as well as other Macs running OS X 10.9).
- OS X 10.4.7 and later
- Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 32-bit & 64-bit (hardware drivers are included in Boot Camp)
- Other x86 operating systems such as Linux x86, Solaris, and BSD
This is made possible by the presence of an x86 Intel architecture as provided by the CPU and the BIOS emulation Apple has provided on top of EFI. Installing any additional operating system other than Windows is not supported by Apple, because the Boot Camp drivers are Windows only. It is often possible to achieve full or nearly full compatibility with another OS by using third-party drivers.
There are a number of challenges which must be addressed when trying to establish a multi-booting configuration on a single hard drive that uses the new GPT partitioning standard that Mac OS takes advantage of at the same time as the MBR, which is commonly used by Windows and Linux (though Linux can use GPT). One must synchronize their GPT and MBR partition tables multiple times during the setup of such configurations. The key challenge is that a maximum of four partitions can be made on any such hard drive (including the EFI partition). This is because logical and extended MBR partitions are not possible which means that more than four partitions cannot be referenced for the MBR component of the configuration. Thus, having more partitions would force MBR and GPT to have differing partitioning schemes. The Disk Utility command-line application in Mac OS X (in addition to numerous third-party graphical packages) can nondestructively resize a single partitioned HFS+ formatted volume to a scheme usable for dual/triple boot configurations with BIOS/MBR.
Add-on hardware compatibility
- For 2006 and 2008 models, Apple recommends an Apple-specified heat sink on each memory DIMM for cooling, and the required on-chip thermal manager may shut down memory, or increase fan speed, if it starts to overheat. Several third-party, self-installable memory upgrades that include Apple-specified heat sinks are available from companies such as Crucial and Other World Computing. In contrast, the 2009 Mac Pro with Nehalem processors uses unbuffered memory with no heatsinks.
- The Mac Pro, as with other Mac platforms, requires Mac OS X firmware. That is to say, a PCIe video card designed exclusively for other operating systems will not work properly under Mac OS X without appropriate drivers or firmware; however, they will work under the operating systems they were designed for, if installed via Boot Camp or other means. Some video cards and other hardware accessories not marketed for Macs can nonetheless be tricked into compatibility through flashing drivers from either similar Mac hardware or with a custom firmware onto non-supported hardware. Also, AMD released the ATI Radeon HD 3870, which is compatible with both Mac Pros and PCs from other manufacturers. The Radeon HD 6XXX series of Graphics Processors (excluding 69XX), also released by AMD in 2010, will work without being flashed under Mac OS X if the user has installed drivers from Mac OS X Lion.
- As of the release of Mountain Lion, most PCIe video cards work natively without flashing drivers. One would not be able to see the boot screen/Apple logo at boot up with an unflashed video card, but operation in the OS is quite capable.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mac Pro.|
- Mac Pro – official site
Power Mac G5
August 7, 2006