Success: 2006 Mac Pro upgraded - 2 x Xeon 5355 Quad-cores!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JPamplin, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #1
    Guys,

    Just wanted to let everyone know that I just did a "drop-in" replacement of CPUs in the 2006 Mac Pros to two Xeon 5355 2.66Ghz/8MB/1333 quad-core CPUs, and the beast is humming along without a hiccup. I got them used from a Australian dealer off eBay for $300 US each. You can find them (rarely) on eBay or Googling for a bit less used, a bit more new.

    The trick was a) finding 5355s at a decent price on eBay (not easy - be patient), and b) getting the Eklind 3mm hex wrench, which is 9-10" long ($4 at ACE Hardware). It was so simple at that point to get off the heatsinks.

    Speed increases are most apparent in Handbrake (h.264 - 175 FPS) and Power Fractal (78 Gigaflops/s, I think). SL 10.6 build 402 seems very responsive with them. Temps are 90 idle, and never go above 130 degrees F or so when stressed continuously.

    Mike at xlr8yourmac.com put it on the front page this weekend, which was nice.

    German Youtube video that helped a lot: click here

    Will include pics of the Pro disassembled, and the hex tool with old CPUs. I just added some pics of my ATI 3870 with the Accelero S1 (fantastic product) - I set up a pictorial guide to assembly (with descriptions in slide show view) here: http://picasaweb.google.com/pamplin/ATI3870Cooler


    JP
     

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  2. macrumors 6502

    lannister80

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2

    Wait, this WORKS? I thought the 5355s required a completely different machine architecture (no FSB, different memory controllers, etc).
     
  3. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    nah, you're thinking of the nehalem(5500)-based mac pro. lannister is talking about the 2006 mac pro with the woodcrest(51xx) -> clovertown(53xx) processors.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Catalina Wine Mixer
    #4
    Congrats on your upgrade :)
    I've been wanting to tinker as well, however I'm too scared to remove the fan module... How did you remove it? Brute force I'm guessing? Everytime I try to remove it, I feel as though I'm going to break something.
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #5
    it's held in by one screw. it's pretty resilient.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #6
    Congrats and welcome to the club. I was hesitant at first myself but with patients, its worth it.

    noiceT, you won't break it. Just watch what your doing.

    Wish I could find a pair of 3ghz ones without breaking the bank.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #7
    The 3.0 Ghz 5365s were barely even released, if memory serves me. I'd be very surprised if you find any. I looked.

    Yeah, I did this for preparation for 10.6, and so far, everything seems very snappy on it. I haven't installed iStat Menus in my 10.6 test environment yet to see if it's truly distributing load across the cores. I'll do that and report back.

    The latest Pro's are smokin fast, true. But I got this 2006 Pro with a 23" Apple LCD for $1000 at a corporate fire sale (they had no idea what it was worth, I guess), and with the ATI 3870, 8GB total RAM, 5 HDs, and the new CPUs, I've got maybe $2000 in it. I think it'll last me a long time compared to buying a $4500-5000 new Pro. I'm quite proud of it (and it's my first Intel-based Mac, so it's great to see how far they've come).

    You'll see me here quite a bit from now on - any really good Pro-related threads I should catch up on here?

    Thanks,

    JP
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #8
    I have found some for around 5 to 8 hundred a piece used. Newegg was selling them for over a grand new but discontinued them. If you want to see all cores in action, download handbrake and rip a dvd. Looks cool watching all cores working.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Catalina Wine Mixer
    #9
    Yeah, I unscrewed the top screw, but it's still very stuck in there. When I was installing the 5th drive in the lower optical I attempted to remove the fan, but gave up. Luckily just buy removing the top screw, I was able to slide the sata cable nicely into the ODD port.

    Well, I guess if I can find a good deal on the 5355s I'll attempt again :)

    Btw, any thoughts on the e5300 series?
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #10
    I know there is at least one person here who's using the 2.33 ghz version with excellent results. Saves lots of electricity, i think!
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #11
    well done. I just dropped in the x5365s and it also went nicely. The fan unit can be a bitch to get out. Use one of these metal back planes for empty slots. Hook them under the right side of the fan unit and wriggle it while you pull it up. It allways want to jam in that bloody slot on the right side where it is vertically guided.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
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    #12
    Where did you find the 5365s, and how much were they, if you don't mind me asking?

    JP
     
  13. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
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    #13
    He got them for about 200 Euros apiece, I think. He is from Germany, so I don't think he acquired them by the same methods we Americans would use.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #14
    Yep, that would be mine. The wattage was lower so went with theses. Just use this for crunching data for world community grid 24/7 and these help keep the heat and electric bill down.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    #15
    So did you go with the actual 2.33 or go with the e5320 1.86 and use "tape mod" to bring to 2.33?

    I see the 1.86 ghz on ebay at a very nice price.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #16
    I've read about that mod. That's a little too sketch for my liking!
     
  17. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #17
    Nice job picking up the machine for cheap and the new processors. It's amazing how some people don't realize the real value of a Mac. It's sad you can't move to Harpertown on that machine.

    I didn't realize the long hex wrench would be so cheap.
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #18
    I went with the actual 2.33. There is another tool to speed up the processors but it also screws with the time on the machine too. Can't remember the name but will find it and get back with you.

    Here it is...
    http://gizmodo.com/tag/zdnet-clock/
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    #19
    I tried the tape mod on two 5320's. Didn't work well for me. Machine would lock up a few times a week. Went back to the stock CPU's and all was fine, so I know it was just the CPU's. Didn't run the machine at the stock CPU speeds for the quad core cpu's, just didn't seem worth it to me. I don't have my old 2006 Mac Pro any longer.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Catalina Wine Mixer
    #20
    Hi tobyg, thanks for the heads up. Yeah I think I'm a little weary about doing that mod myself... want to find x5355, but I guess it's all about timing :p

    What is the difference between the "e" and "x" in the cpus?
    I was trying to compare but can't find the answer.

    http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=28032,28031,30702,28035,
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #21

    yeah, Bozz is right. I got one on Ebay Germany for the equivalent of 309 US$. Later I learned the seller had another one which he sold me for the same price. So I got the pair used for 618US$ and had no tax and duty as I would have had if they came from outside the EU (+25%). Three days later a pair of engineering samples were sold for 510€ which is a bit more. But those deals are very rare. I was looking for a month until I found them.
     
  22. macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #22
    The "e" and "x" designate the TDP of each chip. The ones that run higher clock typically draw more power and utilize a higher TDP. Basically the "e" and "x", and "l" for that matter, just designiate how much electricity that the processor will use. "l" is low. "e" is medium. "x" is lots!
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #23
    By the way, you're right, it's difficult to get that module up and out of the Pro, but after the screw is removed, I just took a flathead screwdriver and worked it out slowly back and forth until it loosened up and came out. I guess I should have shot a video, but it's pretty easy once you try.

    JP

     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #24
    @Bearcatrp,

    I tried that utility too - I bumped up the FSB from 333 to 350, to get 2.8 Ghz on the 5355s. It seemed to work stably, but then I launched iTunes and played a song or two - and it started "skipping". RED FLAG.

    So I immediately took it back down - it wasn't worth it in my mind. Did you see that too?

    JP

     
  25. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #25
    Yes i did too. It was a good effort on there part to make it but not worth the problems it creates.
     

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