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So I'm buying a used Mac Pro 1.1 next month. It has an original dual Intel Xenon dual-core CPUs, and I'm aiming to upgrade it to Intel Xenon X5355s and I already bought them.

I've read a lot about it online and some people say that they needed to upgrade the firmware. Youtube upgrade demonstrations were helpful though.

My question is - how can I tell if Mac Pro needs a firmware upgrade, and if it does, how is it upgraded?

Also, is firmware same thing as BIOS in PCs?

Sorry if this has been asked before, but most topics address these terms as something common, but I've never used a Mac before. An in-depth explanation would be great.

  • You do mean a MacPro1,1 right? – David Anderson Jun 20 '15 at 11:32
  • Yes, 2006 version, upgraded graphics and RAM. – Anonymous Jun 20 '15 at 11:39
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Automatically Through Software Update

It is likely that OS X will automatically prompt you to download and install any recommended firmware update. This happens as part of OS X's software update process.

See About firmware updates for Intel-based Macs for the specific update steps on older Macs:

Learn how to locate, download, and apply a firmware update to an Intel-based Mac computer.

All about the Mac Pro,1.1.

Manually via the Apple Support Site

Alternatively, you can find firmware updates on the Apple Support site. For example, this update appeared soon after the Mac Pro1.1 was released in 2006: Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1:

The SMC Firmware Update adjusts fan behavior in the Mac Pro.

Download and run the updater. The updater will check and prompt you if it is required.

These firmware updates are effectively the same as a PC BIOS. As a Mac user, there is nothing to manage or update at the BIOS level; it is controlled by Apple.

  • Does this update apply to the Pro 1.1? – Anonymous Jun 20 '15 at 10:23
  • I have updated the link to a more relevant System Management Controller (SMC) link. Note that OS X should automatically prompt you if an update is available. Is there some specific behaviour you are concerned about? – Graham Miln Jun 20 '15 at 11:34
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Well, this is where you go to find the current firmware for all iMac's: EFI and SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs.

In the case of the MacPro1,1, the two updates would be:

Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.2

Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1

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