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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:48 PM   #1
tjlazer
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i7 CPU in 2009 Mac Pro?

Sorry for the n00b question, but I did try to search and I did not find much, though I have seen some users on here claim they installed a i7 in their Mac Pro! So is this doable and is there any benefit to it vs the more expensive Xeon processors? Which i7 chips are compatible to install?

I have a 2009 Mac Pro and want to do the Firmware flash/Hex 3.33GHz upgrade to it, but would definitely be interested in a i7 chip to save money.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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I think you stumbled upon posts by the Hackintosh community. Genuine Mac Pros are "limited" to Xeons.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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It's possible: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...2&postcount=22
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 03:10 PM   #5
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It is my understanding that the 2009 4,1 . 5,1 single possessor Pro can use all these:
Please correct me if i am wrong as I have read it on several sites over the years.
Mac Pro CPU’s
Core i7 970, 980, 980X, 990X
Xeon W3670, W3680 and W3690

indeed no ecc support with the i7
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
No.
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...Genuine Mac Pros are "limited" to Xeons.
I think you missed this thread before. It is clearly stated in pst #4 that Core i7 970, 980, 980X, and 990X along with W36XX series could be used in the Mac Pro with firmware 5,1 upgrade. If you do a search with "i7 980X", you'll find some people actually upgraded to the i7 processors in their MPs.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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The i7's work fine. I've been running a 980X since I bought my 2010.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:02 PM   #8
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You clearly haven't done your research if you believe the i7s to be cheaper. At launch they tend to be roughly the same price. The rest is a stupid myth.

Here is the i7. It cost roughly $1000 retail until it was discontinued.

Here is the Xeon. It's $617 new from Amazon, and I've seen it cheaper than that many times. If you go with the i7, you might have to replace the ram with a non-ECC variant. How is that saving money? Is the 980x just really really cheap on ebay or something?
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Yes the price is not that great, but they can sell for a good price if you are patient.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-i...item3a7cd8db61
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 03:22 PM   #10
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An i7 will be faster than an equivalent Xeon part as it won't have ECC Ram in the way of slowing it down.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 03:51 PM   #11
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That is interesting. I didn't know you could put these in, I'll be seriously considering it since all of my 32gigs of RAM is non ECC anyway.

Is the installation process the same as for hex Xeon? Flashing to 5,1 and replacing the chip only? Or do I need some different heatsink etc. ?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Xeon and its i7 equivalent are almost exactly the same price and the same chip with two exceptions: Xeon supports ECC memory (but does not require it) and supports Intel Demand-Based Switching. i7 does not support either.

There are also Xeons with no i7 equivalent, such as dual and multi processor Xeons. You cannot replace these with i7 chips.

On new architectures, Xeon seems to come out much later than i7.

Within an already established architecture, Xeons occasionally get to the higher end first with more cores and higher speeds. Later i7 will get this and it is called an "i7 Extreme Edition".

I have heard that Xeons run cooler. If this is true, it is probably due to the Demand Based Switching.

Lack of ECC support does not make i7 chips "faster". Xeons don't have to use ECC either, they just have the option of doing so.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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If you're going to buy a Mac pro just to swap it with i7, thats just stupid.
If you own it, yeah you can, I dont really suggest it.

Just build a hackintosh if you havent bought one it.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 11:05 PM   #14
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If you're going to buy a Mac pro just to swap it with i7, thats just stupid.
If you own it, yeah you can, I dont really suggest it.

Just build a hackintosh if you havent bought one it.
Or get a refurbished 2012 iMac
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 11:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tjlazer View Post
Yes the price is not that great, but they can sell for a good price if you are patient.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-i...item3a7cd8db61
If you're willing to haunt ebay for a 980X, why wouldn't you also look for a W3680?

Quote:
Originally Posted by handheldgames View Post
An i7 will be faster than an equivalent Xeon part as it won't have ECC Ram in the way of slowing it down.
Any remnant of truth in that ended years ago. I wouldn't make purchasing decisions based on splitting hairs.

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Originally Posted by ActionableMango View Post
Xeon and its i7 equivalent are almost exactly the same price and the same chip with two exceptions: Xeon supports ECC memory (but does not require it) and supports Intel Demand-Based Switching. i7 does not support either.
The i7 was higher in this case due to a price drop on the Xeon variant and a new SKU which retained the old pricing model on the i7. Normally they are the same price. This one is just an aberration.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 02:20 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by handheldgames View Post
An i7 will be faster than an equivalent Xeon part as it won't have ECC Ram in the way of slowing it down.
By like 1% of memory bandwidth, which in real terms is absolutely nothing.


To confirm: Any Core i7 9xx and any W35xx and W36xx will work in a 5,1 or flashed 4,1 to 5,1 Mac Pro.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 03:13 AM   #17
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Doesn't the Xeon support 3 extra PCI-E lanes 40 vs 37??
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 07:01 AM   #18
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Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by handheldgames
An i7 will be faster than an equivalent Xeon part as it won't have ECC Ram in the way of slowing it down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concorde Rules
By like 1% of memory bandwidth, which in real terms is absolutely nothing.
It's stated in the link posted above though that the i7 supports up to 1066MHz ram speeds, the Xeon supports 1333MHz. That'll probably negate the 1% (newer i7 seem to support 1333MHz though).
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 08:03 AM   #19
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It's stated in the link posted above though that the i7 supports up to 1066MHz ram speeds, the Xeon supports 1333MHz. That'll probably negate the 1% (newer i7 seem to support 1333MHz though).
Are you talking 1366 i7's or current i7's current i7's support 2133
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:44 AM   #20
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There are also Xeons with no i7 equivalent, such as dual and multi processor Xeons. You cannot replace these with i7 chips.

On new architectures, Xeon seems to come out much later than i7.
The latter is deceptive and the former applies to the i7 as well. The "Core i7" label is applied to two different designs that fit into different sockets. One is the "mainstream" design for that microarchitecture iteration and the other is applied to the "server/performance" design for that microarchecture. The i7 3960+ series is different from the i7 3600 series.

The i7 3960+ (sometimes 3800 and formerly 9xx ) series arrives around the same time as the Xeon E5 class does. ( There was a 3 month gap between first 3960+ and announce for E5 this last iteration but isn't an established pattern yet. ). A couple of months relatively isn't in the "much later" category. [ Technically the E5's shipped before the i7 did, but only to supercomputer system vendors. So no, there isn't a large gap for the moderately patient. ] The core i7 is all very muddled at this point.

The differences in i7 line up show up in socket type and/or whether iGPU is incorporated.

The same label applied to two design is what continues to fuel the myth that Mac Pro would be "oh so cheaper if just used the cheaper i7 and dumped Xeon". That is even less true now that the Xeon E3 line-up is in the mix.

Quote:
I have heard that Xeons run cooler. If this is true, it is probably due to the Demand Based Switching.
Not really. There are Xeon variants that top out at higher core counts than the "Core i7 Extreme" variants. More cores means lower top end clock speeds which leads to lower individual package. However, in two package set-ups it is a higher system TDP. For example 2 * 95W ==> 190W versus the 135W of something with lower top end core count but higher clock speed.

Similarly there are some substantially underclocked versions with product numbers like xx02 xx05 xx10 that are intended to more highly temperature constricted telecom cages. For those, x86 corer performance is tossed to hit the lower TDP, but leverages the higher aggregate I/O bandwidth available. Sort of the same as the ULV versions in the mainstream line up ( same stuff just clocked much slower. )

Quote:
Lack of ECC support does not make i7 chips "faster". Xeons don't have to use ECC either, they just have the option of doing so.
This is far more often a indirect argument against restricted overclocking than it a significant performance gap. But yes if primarily interesting in "drag racing" the chipset and CPU package the Core i7 option is better.

It is extremely unlikely Apple is going to ship a drag racing oriented system.

On some tick iternations it is often moot since the Xeon server focused designs move to a faster memory speed than the "mainstream" design will go with. Apple also uses Unbuffered ECC (and keeps the DIMM slot count down ) which also reduces the speed gap.

Last edited by deconstruct60; Jan 23, 2013 at 09:50 AM.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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Are you talking 1366 i7's or current i7's current i7's support 2133
2133 as a spec or someone overclocked to 2133 and it was "stable enough" for them. There is no entry in the specs at ark.intel.com for this part.

The 3940XM came out in Q3 '12 and it doesn't even spec out at 2133.

http://ark.intel.com/products/71096/...up-to-3_90-GHz
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:15 AM   #22
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2133 as a spec or someone overclocked to 2133 and it was "stable enough" for them. There is no entry in the specs at ark.intel.com for this part.

The 3940XM came out in Q3 '12 and it doesn't even spec out at 2133.

http://ark.intel.com/products/71096/...up-to-3_90-GHz
Yes it was XMP profiles in socket 2011 x79 chipsets..

My attention to detail wasn't close enough
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:19 AM   #23
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Doesn't the Xeon support 3 extra PCI-E lanes 40 vs 37??
You are likely confused on generations of Xeon (and associated chipsets.)

The Westmere's Northbridge topped out at 36 PCI-e v2.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/36783/Intel-5520-IO-Hub

And the Xeon E5 embedded update which tops out at 40 (for example the E5 1620 ) with 40 PCI-e v3.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/64621/...-GTs-Intel-QPI


37 is not a power (or multiple of ) of 2 like number.


Or confused about the difference in the Xeon E3 and the rest of the mainstream (socket 1155 ) Core iX offerings within Ivy Bridge (and Sandy Bridge).


Xeon E3 1275 v2 with 20 PCI-e v3.0 lanes

http://ark.intel.com/products/65726/...Cache-3_50-GHz

and for example. Core i7 3770K with just 16 PCI-e v3.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/65523/...up-to-3_90-GHz

Again a gap of 4 lanes.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:37 AM   #24
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You are likely confused on generations of Xeon (and associated chipsets.)

The Westmere's Northbridge topped out at 36 PCI-e v2.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/36783/Intel-5520-IO-Hub

And the Xeon E5 embedded update which tops out at 40 (for example the E5 1620 ) with 40 PCI-e v3.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/64621/...-GTs-Intel-QPI


37 is not a power (or multiple of ) of 2 like number.


Or confused about the difference in the Xeon E3 and the rest of the mainstream (socket 1155 ) Core iX offerings within Ivy Bridge (and Sandy Bridge).


Xeon E3 1275 v2 with 20 PCI-e v3.0 lanes

http://ark.intel.com/products/65726/...Cache-3_50-GHz

and for example. Core i7 3770K with just 16 PCI-e v3.0 lanes.

http://ark.intel.com/products/65523/...up-to-3_90-GHz

Again a gap of 4 lanes.
All socket 2011 support 40 lanes..

I'm generally not talking about socket 1155 when I talk about i7's because it's kinda moot at this point..1150 is coming which will make 1155 old news.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:47 AM   #25
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All socket 2011 support 40 lanes..

I'm generally not talking about socket 1155 when I talk about i7's because it's kinda moot at this point..1150 is coming which will make 1155 old news.
The socket will change with Haswell E5's also. All the rumblings point to Haswell E5's switching to DDR4 memory which is going to mean a socket change. At the end of the tick-tock cycle, you should expect a socket change. [ It will be the year 2014 or perhaps 2015 but there will be a change. ]

The 2011 sockets support 40 lanes but they also support 2 QPI links also. However, some like the 1600 series don't have the 2 QPI links enabled. It is more than just what the socket supports. It is what Intel has switched on in the product.

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