New firmware hack breathes new life into 2009 Mac Pros

A daring Machead over at has figured out a way to let 2009-era Mac Pros act and run like models from 2010. The firmware hack that showed up online allows users to install Westmere CPUs and faster RAM in their towers and pump audio out via Mini DisplayPorts.

The Westmere-class Xeons showed up in the 2010 towers, but Apple doesn’t offer users an upgrade path when it comes to CPUs in the Mac Pro. While a customer can add PCI Express cards, more hard drives, an additional optical drive and even a RAID card, the CPU is non-servicable, and swapping them for some newer silicon is a great way to void AppleCare.

Running non-supported firmware also more than likely voids AppleCare, but I doubt that any Mac Genius would notice the difference, and likely they would simply swap out the logic board if things went seriously south. Updated RAM and processors, however, would be noticed for sure during repair.

The hack tricks 2009-era machines into running an EFI Firmware update intended for 2010 machines. The two models of Mac Pro are practically identical, except for the updates listed above. The installer comes with a tool to revert back to the original firmware, but this is by no means a guarantee, as there are a few sub-versions of the 2009 Mac Pro EFI Firmware that can be hard to come by.

While I wouldn’t try this on any machine I own, it is very intriguing that someone got this to work. I can’t remember a firmware hack in the past anywhere near this scale. If you’ve got the balls to try this, though, drop us a line. But don’t blame us if you brick your Mac Pro.

Article Via Ars Technica

Stephen Hackett, formerly a Lead Mac Genius at Apple, now spends his days running the IT department of a large non-profit in Memphis, TN. He writes about Apple, design and journalism at Like all twenty-somethings, you can find him… Full Bio