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Old Dec 10, 2012, 01:00 PM   #1
Gymnut
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2009 8-core Mac Pro CPU Upgrade

I've had my 4,1 8-core 2.66GHz MP for over three years now and I managed to find a pair of used Xeon w5590 for relatively cheap. I've been reading through Anandtech's article on their experience performing the CPU swap, as well as over on the MacObserver, and Tutor's thread here on Maximizing CPU performance.

The processors are on their way and I went and ordered both some Arctic Silver MX-4 as well as a pack of 2mm thermal pads from eBay(coming from China, I believe). I'm aware of the non lidded processors Apple was using for this particular model, but I was wondering whether there was any consensus of whether to use the thermal compound or thermal pad, or even using both?

I'll probably opt for the use of washers and I thought I read in a post from either Tutor or Gugucom that the clearance added by the IHS was approx 1.8mm.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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I'd definitely recommend reading this thread before starting the upgrade: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...908&highlight=, Seems to me you need to do both washers and thermal pad to compensate for the 2 mm gap between lidless and lidded processors. Thermal paste still needs to be applied in either case. Upgrading 2009 DP models is probably one of the most challenging tasks, and I hope there would be more pictures and video available. Please keep us posted on your progress.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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It really is not that difficult. Add 2mm of washers to each heatsink post, apply thermal compound to cpus, add thicker termal pad to existing pad, clip fan connector so it will connect and you're done. Really pretty easy.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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It really is not that difficult. Add 2mm of washers to each heatsink post, apply thermal compound to cpus, add thicker termal pad to existing pad, clip fan connector so it will connect and you're done. Really pretty easy.
It sounds easy enough when you say it like that.

There are 2 parts that make me nervous:
1) keeping the processor in the socket while re-installing the heatsink.
2) adding the thicker thermal pad to the existing one.

But I wouldn't let either of those get in my way if I had the spare cash to upgrade mine!!
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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Thanks guys; Just want to conduct due diligence for this swap. Another user, Deppest, has recently done this upgrade, with a few pics provided:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...ighlight=w5590

I think the processors should arrive this week but it's up in the air when the thermal pads will arrive from Hong Kong.

Been keeping an eye out on eBay for used processors and was able to get two of them for $236 a piece.

They had a few available earlier in November that I missed out on:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-Intel-Xe...90827108050%26
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnut View Post
Anandtech's article on their experience performing the CPU swap, as well as over on the MacObserver, and Tutor's thread here on Maximizing CPU performance.
Anand started first, but I finished doing it right first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnut View Post
... .wondering whether there was any consensus of whether to use the thermal compound or thermal pad, or even using both?
Both are recommended, but for different purposes: Thermal compound (Arctic SIlver is my favorite) only for CPU and thermal padding (added to that already there - mine is fine and has been in place over 3 years) only to restore the pink padding's function to cool that row of chips underneath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnut View Post
... use of washers ... either Tutor or Gugucom the clearance added by the IHS was approx 1.8mm.
Remember that's approximately. Too loose or too tight ---> no boot; kernel panics; or boot but not all memory recognized. There's art in this technicality that now takes me under 5 minutes. Then reset SMC; then install SMC Fan Control Utility to tame the beast's heat. Mine is barely noticeable even when rendering.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 07:55 AM   #7
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I went throught this exercise myself only very recently as you pointed out above. I went without the washers but did apply new (thicker) thermal padding. As Tutor states reattaching the sinks is not an exact science and requires a bit of try and error. I only had to increase tightening of Proc A once, from there everything went fine.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:14 AM   #8
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just so i'm clear:
w35xx = single cpu
w55xx = can run dual cpus

i'm about to take the dive and I'd hate to make a mistake if i stick with x2 4-core cpus

thanks all.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoonie1972 View Post
just so i'm clear:
w35xx = single cpu
w55xx = can run dual cpus

i'm about to take the dive and I'd hate to make a mistake if i stick with x2 4-core cpus

thanks all.
Yep and if you have a 2009 2 cpu system, add the 56xx if you perform the EFI hack referenced in my thread about cpu performance.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your insight; The processors arrived, however I'm still waiting on the thermal pad which should arrive sometime next week. I'm thinking I might create a short video chronicling the install.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 08:32 PM   #11
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Finally got the thermal pads in and I just completed the install; Fortunately the machine booted up fine with one cpu and with both cpus. I recorded the installation process with the thought to put together simple video.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 02:04 AM   #12
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Told you it wasn't too hard! Nice work.
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 12:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gymnut View Post
Finally got the thermal pads in and I just completed the install; Fortunately the machine booted up fine with one cpu and with both cpus. I recorded the installation process with the thought to put together simple video.
Sweet, looking forward to seeing the video when you've got it ready.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 05:30 PM   #14
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Oh yes, we would like to see the video. Good work with swapping.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 06:27 AM   #15
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is there a north american source for this padding stuff?
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by spoonie1972 View Post
is there a north american source for this padding stuff?
You can always search Amazon.com to find merchants located in North America. This one is actually fulfilled by Amazon in the US, but a little pricy and too large. You only need 2 narrow strips about 10cm in length and 2mm thick. BTW, there is nothing wrong with buying from merchants outside NA on eBay if you are not in a hurry. I got mine from this merchant in ten days even with tracking info. Since only two strips of thermal pad are required for processor upgrade, there is no reason to pay more than $5 unless you are to perform this kind of work on a regular basis. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by minifridge1138 View Post
There are 2 parts that make me nervous:
1) keeping the processor in the socket while re-installing the heatsink.
2) adding the thicker thermal pad to the existing one.
I recently upgraded my 2x2.26Ghz 2009 DP to 2x2.93Ghz (Intel Xeon X5570). At first I was most concerned about crushing the processor socket in the process as what happened to Anand's upgrade. It turned out the actual major concern was whether to choose using washers and clipping the fan connector. In deppest's upgrade, he did not use washers and no clipping fan connectors either while others did the clipping in various ways to make it easier to connect to the motherboard connector. For example, see the pictures posted by puier from this link. I ended up using 2mm washers and still managed to connect without clipping anything. I suppose there are just many possibilities to make the upgrade work, therefore no SOP. I'd also like to see the OP's video to learn from other's experience.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:30 PM   #18
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Sorry, haven't been able to get around to editing and posting the video. Initially I ordered the thermal pad from a supplier from Hong Kong but it was taking way too long so I went and ordered from this eBayer:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thermal-Tran...81033047095%26

Arrived 3 days later to Hawaii.

On a related note, I did use 2mm worth of washers and had no problem with NOT clipping the plastic connectors.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:48 AM   #19
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thanks for the link!
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 07:41 PM   #20
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Gymnut, please, take your time. It's just that this upgrade is something that probably awaits for lots of users if there would be no MP update in early/mid 2013. And even if there is, I'm sure there would be guys like me who expect their machines to last long as suitable workstations and have similar upgrades planned for near future.

Everything sounds quite simple in this threads, but there is still a possibility, that if something went wrong for some people (like those guys who crashed their boards because of the lidded CPUs), something might go wrong for anyone else. So that's why a video would be extremely helpful here. So we are prepared to what we are going to face =)

Thanks.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 02:32 PM   #21
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Anybody know where to find a dual CPU tray for the 4,1?
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 04:39 PM   #22
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Anybody know where to find a dual CPU tray for the 4,1?
Is this what you have in mind?
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 04:55 PM   #23
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Is this what you have in mind?
Yeah. That's actually the cheapest I've seen it too. I'll just need 2 6 core CPUs and heatsinks and I'll be all set. But $400 is still too much that I wan to spend.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 03:14 AM   #24
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They are very concerned with selling top notch stuff.
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Old Jan 19, 2013, 05:25 PM   #25
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gymnut thx again for the thermal padding link - it took over a week to get up to Toronto but that hardly matters.

appreciated.
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