Mac Pro early 2008 hardware upgrades?

Jul 5, 2018
3.2 Quad Core Intel Xeon
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 512 MB

I'm new to the forum and it's been quite a while since I upgraded or built a machine so please be kind !!!!

I've had my current mac pro from new, it's an early 2008, it was the top spec in it's day:
  • 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon
  • 26 GB 800 DDR2
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512
  • Apple Cinema HD Display 23"
Apple won't let it upgrade any OS beyond El Capitan

I use it mainly for PS, but not on a regular basis.

I was wanting to know if I can upgrade any hardware such as motherboard, CPU etc to make it a more up to date spec?

Last edited:
Jul 10, 2012
Mac Pro
Classic Mac
LC, Power Mac
The Mac Pro 3,1 can run 10.13 High Sierra or 10.14 Mojave with Dosdude's Mojave Patcher, but you will have to upgrade your GPU. Metal drivers for AMD video cards require the SSE4.2 instruction set that is missing from all Core 2 processors. The built-in Nvidia drivers work, but you are limited to Kepler video cards. (GTX 680 / GTX 770).

You can install a NVMe drive in the PCIe slot and make it bootable with a firmware hack. Most likely you will also want a USB3 card. Other than these, there are very few upgrades you can do. The Mac Pro 3,1 is good as it is!


I am more interested in upgrading a Mac Pro 1,1 to run quad-core Harpertown processors like those on the Mac Pro 3,1. The SSE4.1 instruction set would allow it to run Mojave. People have tried adding the microcode to the firmware, but that does not seem to work. Some hardware mod may be needed. See here for the latest.