Dropping Two X5680 6-core 3.33GHz in Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by WardC, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    Fort Worth, TX
    #1
    Would it work? They are 32nm die design, and they retail for about $1650 each per chip. But would it really work? Could you possibly put 2 six-core X5680 chips in a Mac Pro and have it work? That would be awesome if you could, I could just imagine the geekbench score on this one!!

    I am asking if you could put the chips in a early 2009 rev Mac Pro (I know it wouldn't work in a rev 1 or maybe rev 2 Mac Pro). But the rev 4,1 Mac Pro uses a 45nm technology with the X5570 chips. I don't know if a 32nm chip design would work in those models. That is why I ask. The X5570 is still the top of the tier on the quad core Xeons, but the X5680 is now an option for 6-core Xeon, with a steep price.

    Thanks

    EDIT: I know it won't work. The microcode is not there, and the stepping is different (B1 vs. D0). So it would never work, at least not for now. Simply incompatible, although the LGA 1366 socket is the same and the processor fits in there. The machine would fail to POST on boot.
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Theoretically, yes. They both use LGA 1366 socket. Don't know are there any minor differences that makes it impossible (I leave this to nanofrog ;)). They are 130W chips while multi CPU MPs use 95W chips but I've heard '08 Mac Pro was fine with two 130W CPUs
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #3
    It would be nice. If you want to be a guinea-pig, then go right on ahead, the rest of us would appreciate it. :cool:

    However, there are two reasons I think it wouldn't work now or at any point.

    1. All PC motherboards required an update of their BIOS to work correctly with the new microcode in the 32nm parts.

    2. Apple has historically never given out updates for their boards. See also - no 54xx xeons in the earlier Mac Pros. The earliest ones can't even ingest a 3.4 GHz model of the 53xx generation, IIRC, because the stepping was not supported.

    So, its a long shot. Maybe somebody tested this out already, but I don't know. This is popular speculation here.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #4
    I believe nanofrog has mentioned that such a swap would be impossible considering the absence of a required microcode update.
     
  5. macrumors regular

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  6. macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #6
    Somehow I think you skipped all of my post.

    I don't like quoting myself.

    The last sentence I should have made clearer into "but the popular speculation is that its not going to work EVER!"
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
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    #7
    6 core X5680 chips available: Why not in Mac Pro???

    The 6-core Intel Xeon X5680 chips are widely available, and have been so for over a month. They retail for about $1600 - 1700 a chip. What is Apple's reasoning for not having these chips in their Mac Pro lineup already? If Apple really cared about providing the top-notch fastest machines on the planet we would already have seen these machines roll out. Maybe we will have to wait until the fall. No news about the new machines in the keynote today.

    Does anybody feel the same way?
     
  8. macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #8
    No one knows, read one of the other 20 threads on the subject for opinion.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

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    #9
    It's been asked before... countless times... in other threads...

    General answer is that there's a difference between selling the processors individually to the consumer and giving them bulk to Apple to put into their Mac Pros.
     
  10. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    Apple is more and more becoming mobile company. That's where the money is made. They haven't cared about pro users for years.

    No need to create a new thread every 10 minutes, we got your point
     
  11. macrumors member

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    Jun 7, 2010
    #11
    I feel so disappointed. this is a very sad day for me. been expecting the new MP for months. Not fair. :(
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #12
    Yeah, no sleep before WWDC and 8 cups of coffee in a 10x10 Seattle hotel room will do that to a guy :p Sorry :cool:
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    Feb 7, 2008
    #13
    No they don't.

    Some just need updates to recognize and properly identify the CPU, but the CPU would still properly work.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #14
    The real issue of whether or not a certain processor is supported in Apple’s EFI (or any BIOS for that matter) is in the initialization of the processor NOT whether or not the EFI supports the microcode. This usually entails setting up a slew of MSR’s which are unique to the various processors that the motherboard will support. Without going thru this initialization code in detail it is easier to assume that if the engineers went to the trouble to include the microcode then the processor should be supported. So the microcode being present in the firmware is just a good indication that it might work.

    A good example of a processor not working when you think it might is from a forum user named Spacedust who found that a MP3,1 would work with an E5450 processor with a stepping of SLANQ, but the same processor with a stepping of SLBBM would not work. The MP3,1 firmware has the microcode for the SLANQ (CPUID 10676) but does not for the SLBBM (CPUID 1067A). Waltzing thru the initialization code you find that the CPUID 1067A will hang when trying to access a couple of the MSR’s that work for the 10676 processors… a few of which are un-documnented, thank you Mr. Intel.

    The most obvious example of a processor working in a Mac Pro which does not support the microcode is the many folks here that have had success upgrading their MP1,1’s to X5355/65 processors; neither of which are supported by the microcode available in the firmware.

    As to the hex-cores working in MP4,1’s? Highly unlikely as (I’ve mentioned before) the microcode is not there…. Not a guarantee, but a good indication.

    Another point of interest… at least to me… is that when a new model is released it usually ships with an EFI version file name something like “MP31_006C_02B.fd”, but after a while an update is released where the file named is changed to “LOCKED_ MP31_006C_05B.fd”. I’ve noticed this on all the MacPro models as well as Mini’s and servers, I haven’t looked at the iMacs. Once the “LOCKED” prefix appears there have been no more updates to the firmware for that model. The MP4,1 firmware has already received the “LOCKED” file name, so I wouldn’t expect any updates.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

    Joined:
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    #15
    Yeah, Seattle's able to do that to anybody. :cool:

    And, pray tell, how do you apply said updates?

    Flashing the BIOS.
     
  16. macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #16
    Given it's the first parts available (i.e. current codes all use the same steppings), the microcode would also have the necessary MSR's added to the firmware update necessary to make the 2010 systems work though (why the concept of microcode seemed an easier way to explain that the '09's are unlikely to support hex core parts as they currently exist).

    But it does go deeper than just microcode from a technical POV. I figured anything more could cause confusion however, and chose to keep it simple.

    Unfortunately, given Apple's history, it's highly unlikely that such an update will be available to '09 system owners, as it could negatively affect sales of the new units (whenever the 2010's finally ship).
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #17
    if :rolleyes:
     
  18. macrumors G4

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    #18
    I wondered how long it would take before someone made the "if" post. :D :p
     
  19. Tutor, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #19
    clean-up

    Clean up
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #20
    The 2.26GHz 6 core processor isn't a replacement for the one Apple use. It's a low TDP part for blades and full racks. All of the current Mac Pro processors have been replaced though. Three have been replaced by processors that have faster clockspeeds and three have been replaced by models with the same clockspeed but with two more cores. The price differences are minimal.
    Code:
    [B]Current CPUs in Mac Pro[/B]        [B]Replacement at the same price range[/B]
    2.66GHz 4-core W3520 $284   -  2.80GHz 4-core W3530 $294
    2.93GHz 4-core W3540 $562   -  3.20GHz 4-core W3560 $562
    3.33GHz 4-core W3580 $999   -  3.33GHz 6-core W3680 $999
    
    2.26GHz 4-core E5520 $373   -  2.40GHz 4-core E5620 $387
    2.66GHz 4-core X5550 $958   -  2.66GHz 6-core X5650 $996
    2.93GHz 4-core X5570 $1,386 -  2.93GHz 6-core X5670 $1,440
    
     
  21. Tutor, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #21
    clean-up

    Clean up
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #22
    Well, there is no definitive answer, I just wondered if it was even possible. The only chips that would be compatible possibly would be the X5680 and other lower clocked 6-core Xeons with the 1366 socket.

    I haven't seen any Mac OS X six-core results on Geekbench, and I've never seen a 6-core upgraded Mac Pro advertised on eBay. They are offering a 3.33GHz 8-core Mac with the Gainestown chip upgrades.

    Just wondering, nobody seems to have tried it. It would be pretty simple to do, just get the chips and throw them in and see if it works. Well, if you had about $3400 extra lying around, that is. Nobody seems brave enough to try this. I am having doubts that it would really work. It would be uber-cool if it did!
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #23
    You didn't actually read what I linked to above did you? Well I hate to quote myself, but guess I have to:

    Bottom Line... it won't work.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #24
    Pardon me, but where are you seeing "LOCKED"?

    Where would I find this word in the system profiler? I don't see anything with the word locked?


     
  25. thread starter macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #25
    This is an old post of mine but the question has been answered a few times. It won't work due to the microcode in the BIOS not supporting it, and the stepping is different (B1 vs. D0). So, I know this now, it just won't work at all. Dual W3580 has been proven to work and dual X5580 has been proven to work too. That's about as high as you can go with the dual Mac Pro...dual 8-core 3.33GHz. The Quad Core upgrade has been well documented too...you can do i7 975, W3580, or X5580 for roughly the same effect, different price levels for the processors. The 12-core upgrade simply won't work on any Mac Pro, as of now. Again, since my post, it's been well documented on other posts and I got the answer to my question. Thanks!
     

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