Mac brain transplant
August 5, 2012 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Can I just take the guts out of my old Mac Pro and put them in my new Mac Pro?

I'm upgrading from an early 2009 quad-core Nehalem 2.66ghz Mac Pro (MB871LL/A) to a mid-2012 quad core 3.2ghz Mac Pro (MD770LL/A). They both use 1066 ecc ram.

I have two RAID 0 arrays in the four internal drive bays, a fifth HD in the spare optical bay, four SDRAM modules at 2gb each, a second NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 video card in PCI slot 2, and an eSATA card in PCI slot 4.

Is there any reason that I wouldn't be able to transplant the hard drives and PCI cards out of my old computer and put them in the new one and boot it up without running Migration Assistant? I'm running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on the old one.

Thank you hive mind!
posted by stewiethegreat to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you already bought the New Mac?

No harm in taking a backup and trying it out I suppose.
posted by pharm at 2:06 AM on August 6, 2012

Just moving the hard drive over won't work (at least for booting purposes) because the new Mac Pro probably won't run 10.6.8, but more likely 10.7.4 or 10.8.

You'd probably want to upgrade the OS on those drives from 10.6.8 to 10.8. Then you should be able to move them over and boot the new MP.

Accordingly with the new OS your new Mac Pro is running, support for the PCI cards will depend upon driver availability for that version of OS, if it isn't baked into the system.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 AM on August 6, 2012

The MD770LL/A is a mid-2010 Mac Pro, not mid-2012, and the specs looks similar to your older Mac Pro. I don't suspect you'll have any problems.
posted by WasabiFlux at 3:15 AM on August 6, 2012

The PCI cards should be fine, but the OS on the HD might be incompatible with the new Mac. You can confirm this quickly without physically opening anything up. Boot the old Mac in target disk mode (hold down T during startup). It's now basically an external hard drive. Connect it to the new Mac using Firewire. Now turn on the new Mac while holding option. You should get a list of disks to boot from. Choose to boot from the old Mac's disk. If it boots up then you're probably fine. If it doesn't boot or it's not in the list then you probably need to run a newer version of OS X on the new Mac.

Back up first.
posted by caek at 4:51 AM on August 6, 2012

Just remember the 0 in RAID 0 stands for how much data you can recover when one of the member disks fails.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd back everything up (twice!), upgrade the old mac to 10.8, then move the new 10.8 guts to the new mac.
posted by chairface at 7:46 AM on August 6, 2012

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