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Old Jul 30, 2013, 07:46 AM   #1
wispy007
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4/6 Core VS 8/12 Core Fan Speeds

Hi,

I have been offered the chance to upgrade my 3.33Ghz quad core 2009 mac pro with a new processor tray containing two X5680 6 core (3.33Ghz) CPU's.

The price would be AU$2800, do you think this represents good value?

I'm aware that I will have to flash my machine for this to work but I'm curious to know what the stock fan speeds would be for such a set up at idle and under load.

I'm not interested in the new mac pro (no internal storage), I just want to extend the life cycle of my current machine.

I'll be using the machine for Final Cut X, Compressor and Aperture.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 07:51 AM   #2
GP-SE
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you need to make sure the tray is from a 4,1
a 5,1 tray will not work since the SMC firmware is different, it'll cause the fan to runs full speed.
Also it depends what you use your computer for, if 6 cores is enough I would just upgrad your single CPU machine to a 6 core CPU.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 08:32 AM   #3
Studio K
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Do you really need 2 processors? The cost is quite forbidding.

GP-SE's suggestion of using a single six-core CPU is worth considering. There are advantages:

--Dramatically lower cost. It only costs the price of the new processor itself---far, far less than the $2800 you quoted above.
--No risk of purchasing an incompitable CPU board tray since you'll be using your own.

Of course, you have to swap the CPU's yourself or find someone to do it for you. It's not difficult at all. Very straightforward. Doesn't take long, either.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 10:55 AM   #4
Thomaspin
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You can use either a 4,1 or 5,1 tray, once you flash your 4,1 to 5,1, a three minute job. Look here. 5,1 will also allow use of 1333MHz memory in contrast to the 1066MHz a stock 2009 uses, but the speed gain is far less than the numbers suggest, and generally not worth the expense.

Cost? You are being quoted $2,550 US - all amounts here are in US $ for comparability. Used X5680 CPUs (3.33GHz, 6-core) sell for $1,700 each new here, which is a lot more for two plus a processor tray with heat sinks than you are being quoted. On the other hand, used X5680 CPUs routinely sell on eBay here for $700 each. A used dual processor tray with heat sinks can be had for $300-600, but they do not turn up often.

The X5680 is 10% faster than the fastest 12-core that Apple sells here or in Australia, which is the 3.06GHz X5675.

Upgrading CPUs on a dual core 2009 is far from trivial. Unlike any other 2009-2012 Mac Pro, 4- or -8-core, the 2009 used a CPU design without the Integrated Heat Spreader, the alloy plate on top, and without a sprung retaining clamp. This makes the CPU 2mm thinner than any other and installing a regular IHS CPU dictates that you adjust for the thickness when torquing the heat sink, or you will destroy the fragile CPU sockets on the processor board like this. A replacement dual processor board will cost you $300-400. If upgrading a 2009 dual processor board you will also need to add thermal pads on top of the voltage regulators and amend the temperature sensor connectors in the base of the heat sinks to ensure they maintain proper contact with the backplane board.

DIY upgrading of any other 2009-2012 model, 4-core or 8-core, is far easier and lower risk as all use the IHS design, identical in dimensions to the one currently in your 4-core machine.

Do you need the additional speed on moving from a 3.33GHz 4-core to the 12-core? That's a function of what you use your Mac Pro for. If heavy CPU applications are your primary use then the difference will be very noticeable. You can objectively measure this by running Geekbench 64 (a few $) on your machine. GB measures CPU and memory speed. I would expect it to return around 11,900 with the 4-core W3580 3.33GHz CPU you are currently using. By contrast, the X5680 pair will Geekench around 23,900, or more than twice as fast. A large difference.

Does it make sense to stick with a single CPU machine, upgrading your 4-core W3580 to a 6-core W3680 ($574 new here or $550 used - no bargain that)? The 6-core returns around 16,000 in a 2010 compared with around 12,000 for your current rig - a 25% CPU speed gain. Probably not worth the expense.

On the other hand, if more graphics intensive applications are your primary interest, then an upgraded graphics card may better address your need for speed.

Conclusion: If the part offered you is really new and if you need the doubled CPU speed, then it's a bargain. But you can pay far less using used parts if you can handle the DIY and related IHS risks with a 2009 dual-processor tray. If your need is primarily GPU speed then it's not a good investment, get a better GPU. A GTX 780 runs $650 here in a stock PC version. You will lose the Apple start-up screen and the spinning cog - blank screen until you get to the login display. Other than that it works fine. Get one with twin 6-pin sockets running cables like this and connect the other ends to the sockets on the backplane board in your Mac.

The title for your post is misleading - you need to change 'Fan' to 'CPU' to get the right readership.

Last edited by Thomaspin; Jul 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 02:30 PM   #5
xcodeSyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post
You can use either a 4,1 or 5,1 tray, once you flash your 4,1 to 5,1, a three minute job.
This is a bit misleading and needs further clarification. I agree with GP-SE's comment that you need to use a 2009 processor tray to match the 2009 backplane board because of the SMC version in 2009 is different than that in 2010/2012. There are SMC in both processor tray and backplane, if the SMC versions don't match, the fans would be running at full speed as stated in this post. To make things even more complicated as stated in the linked thread, there are 2 different versions of the processor and backplane boards for the 2009 MP models, any mismatch could cause even more problems. So make sure that you know what you are getting into before spending any money for the upgrade.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 07:30 PM   #6
Thomaspin
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The Netkas 4,1->5,1 firmware upgrade installs firmware MP51.007F.B03.

You can see that on the attached image which is from my 2009 flashed to 5,1.

MP51.007F.B03 is identical to the latest foirmware on the Mac Pro 5,1. You can confirm that in Apple's own documentation here.

Thus a 2010 processor assembly which came with firmware MP51.007F.B03 should work fine in a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro which has been flashed to firmware 5,1 - the firmwares are now identical.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 08:21 PM   #7
andrejkw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post
The Netkas 4,1->5,1 firmware upgrade installs firmware MP51.007F.B03.
The Boot ROM is independent of the SMC firmware. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to upgrade/downgrade the SMC.

Please do not use 2010 processor tray with a 2009 backplane board or vice versa. If the SMC versions don't match, you'll end up with the processor fans running at full speed.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 08:45 PM   #8
xcodeSyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post
Thus a 2010 processor assembly which came with firmware MP51.007F.B03 should work fine in a 2009 4,1 Mac Pro which has been flashed to firmware 5,1 - the firmwares are now identical.
As stated by andrejkw, the EFI Boot ROM (the one referred in your post) and the SMC are two separate items and this issue was discussed more than once previously, so no need to repeat what has already been said, for example, here, and here.
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Old Aug 1, 2013, 12:06 PM   #9
Studio K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcodeSyn View Post
This is a bit misleading and needs further clarification. there are 2 different versions of the processor and backplane boards for the 2009 MP models, any mismatch could cause even more problems.
I did not know that there were 2 versions of the 2009 logic board set. Does anyone know why?
Did Apple revise the boards to accomodate the 3.33 GHz processors that were made available later on?

I worry about this a bit because I've got the Version 1 boards, and put a W3570 (3.2 GHz) in. All seems well so far, but I hope that there isn't some lurking instability because the boards may have not been well suited for a CPU spec'd higher than the 2.93.

I suppose plenty of you all have installed hex-core CPU's in these very same boards, though. So who knows.

Last edited by Studio K; Aug 1, 2013 at 05:43 PM.
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Old Aug 1, 2013, 02:54 PM   #10
666sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcodeSyn View Post
As stated by andrejkw, the EFI Boot ROM (the one referred in your post) and the SMC are two separate items and this issue was discussed more than once previously, so no need to repeat what has already been said, for example, here, and here.
There are also reports on netkas forum about that, from people who tested it personally. SMC versions must match.
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Old Aug 1, 2013, 06:13 PM   #11
applegeek897
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That price is pretty crazy, I from Aus and I have seen 4,1 2.26GHz 8 core Mac Pro's go for around A$1,500 and plus the 2 3.33Ghz Hex's another A$1,200 for both and if you did something like that you could keep your old Mac Pro.
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Old Aug 3, 2013, 07:13 AM   #12
andrejkw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio K View Post
I did not know that there were 2 versions of the 2009 logic board set. Does anyone know why?
Did Apple revise the boards to accomodate the 3.33 GHz processors that were made available later on?
There is a 2010 processor tray and a 2009 processor tray. I believe that they're nearly identical except for the CPU sockets and possible differences in heatsink mounting holes.

The 2010 tray allows you to use lidded processors. Unfortunately, the 2009 version requires that you use a lidless processor. However, some people have gotten around this with some creative modifications.
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