2009 Mac Pro 8-Core CPU upgrade. Questions first!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DJ Hellfire, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. DJ Hellfire macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    Hello guys! I'm planning on upgrading my stock 2009 Mac Pro 2.26GHz processors to the 3.33 GHz W5590's and I'm just doing a lot of research first. I read a few threads on here of successful upgrades but I just have a few questions about things that weren't clear before I start ordering.

    1. What is the 2mm thermal padding for?
    2. Do I HAVE to add the 2mm thermal padding and what kind exactly?
    3. Is it best to use washers for the lid spacing instead of guessing how tight to make the screws?
    4. Do I have to upgrade to firmware 5,1 for these processors to work? I am using 1066MHz ram (not 1333).

    This computer is used for audio recording in case anyone is wondering. Thanks in advance guys!
  2. ggoerl macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2007
  3. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012

    I suggest you do a thread search. Upgrading of Mac Pros is a recurrent theme there and a lot of people had tried, documented and succeded in doing it. Maybe even you encounter new questions and pointers about what to do.....Good luck with the upgrade and keep grooving up....:D

  4. DJ Hellfire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    I did. I read a few different threads. Different guys did different things. Some use washers, some didn't. Some modified fan connectors, some didn't. Some added 2mm thermal padding, some did 5mm, some did none.

    So I'm just trying to see what's the best recommended method out of all these different techniques.
  5. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
    Not so sure, that this is a yes. Since these are four core CPUs they should work in a 4,1 firmware Mac Pro without a firmware upgrade. To utilize 1333 MHz RAM however, a 5,1 firmware upgrade would be needed. But, the OP has no plans to upgrade his RAM. My answer is, I don't believe a firmware upgrade is needed.

    To the OP, there are many ways to get around Apple's use of Lidless CPUs on the 2009 Mac Pro. Do a search and Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

  6. Studio K macrumors 6502

    Studio K

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    I believe that W5590 CPU's will work in the 4,1 2009 Mac Pro without the firmware upgrade.

    You will need to upgrade the firmware to 5,1 if you want to use 1333MHz ram. The 1066MHz you have at the moment should work with the W5590s.

    Good luck with the upgrade. You've got the 'tricky' one.
  7. DJ Hellfire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    Yeah, I think I'm gonna go the route with the washers. Still unsure about the thermal padding though. I found a great upgrade thread with detailed pictures, but the guy is using 5mm padding while everything else I've read says to use 2mm. But the guys using 2mm padding weren't using washers, whereas the guy using the 5mm padding used 2mm washers. So it's kinda hard to decide which is the safest.
  8. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    This is what I did. copy from another thread.

    Just put 2 X5570's into my 4,1 to replace the E5520's. I was really nervous as I've never done anything like this before.

    I'd like to repeat the warning of using flat bottomed hex keys, and not round. I found the round kept jumping out of the bolt. Flat was able to grip nicely.

    I used 2 x 1mm washers on each post (vernier gauge measured them as 1.9mm). I basically screwed down until I could see the heatsink from the side making contact with the washers.

    Stuck some 2mm thermal pad on top of the original pink one.

    Had no problems with the fan connector. It seated correctly all by itself. I'm happy with my $320 upgrade which after tax and selling some unwanted stuff, will only have cost me $98.

    Thanks for the pics. They really helped.
  9. DJ Hellfire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    Thanks a lot bro! This really helped! I have all my parts ordered! :)
  10. DJ Hellfire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    So, this turned out to be a complete and total success on the first try. Geekbench jumped from 13631 to 18229. Thanks to all who helped with my noob questions! :D
  11. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    what is a pair of w5590's going for now, USD?
  12. DJ Hellfire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2010
    Lowest I found new was $400 each. But I paid $400 shipped for the matched pair.

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