2013 Mac Pro Intel i7 upgrade? i7-4960X

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by joecool99, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. joecool99 Suspended

    joecool99

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    #1
    is it possible to upgrade the MAC PRO to i7 instead of XEON line?
     
  2. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #3
    Probably. They work with the chipset, they work with ECC UDIMMS (ECC just doesn't work) and it would be more effort for Apple to disable them working.
     
  3. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I suspect that nobody has actually tried this yet. It isn't on the list of Processors that OWC are offering to upgrade nMP too.

    The older Mac Pros worked ok with their i7 equivalent so as suggested in theory then shouldn't be a problem. You just lost the ECC RAM capability.

    Not sure how would affect your Warranty as OWC seem to be handling the warranty when you use there CPU upgrade program.

    How brave are you feeling to give it a go and feedback to the forum.
     
  4. psycho bob macrumors 6502a

    psycho bob

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    #5
    Having upgraded a previous Mac Pro using an i7 I have already thought about this.

    My none expert opinion in this case is that it definitely would NOT be possible to use an i7. The reason for this is one of PCIe lanes. An i7 will support 16 lanes + 8 on the controller. A Xeon will support 40 + whatever the system controller will.

    With all the Thunderbolt ports, 2x GPUs and PCIe flash storage an i7 will not provide enough lanes for all the hardware.

    Anandtech did a good commentary on this http://www.anandtech.com/show/7603/mac-pro-review-late-2013/8 The 2013 Mac Pro has to use additional methods to divide lanes up to provide enough system support.

    i7 is pin compatible but without hobbling the available ports etc I don't see it working.
     
  5. sirio76 macrumors regular

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    #6
    Wrong, both i7 4930k and 4960k support 40 lanes. The 4930k is virtually identical to the i5 1650v2 in the 6core nMP, just miss the ecc.
     
  6. psycho bob, Jun 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014

    psycho bob macrumors 6502a

    psycho bob

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    #7
    Happy to be proved wrong :D

    You a quite right 40 lanes they do support. I don't see why they wouldn't work then.

    Interestingly looking at Intel ARK all there Extreme or High End offerings provide 40 PCIe lanes. The regular 1-4 Gen i processors do not however.

    My previous swap was a 4 core Xeon to a 6 core i7 in a 2009 to 2010 flashed Pro. Going forward it is good to know the possibility of using another 6 core i7 exists. More cost affective than the equivalent Xeon.

    As for the ECC difference Xeon's work happily without ECC memory. It was never an issue in previous swap outs. In fact I can honestly say I've never had memory problems just as long as you don't combine the 2 technologies or try and use ECC with an i7; as you stated this will not work.
     
  7. sirio76 macrumors regular

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    #8
    The thing is that even if an i7 was a direct fit, you are not going to save any money because the 4930k cost as much as the Xeon i5 1650v2 and the 4960k cost as much as the i5 1660v2, so I see no reason to choose the desktop version of the same CPU. Offering virtually the same performance at a similar price the only advantage of the 4930/4960k is that they have unlocked multiplier and can be easily overclocked well beyond the 4ghz on a pc(but likely not on the mac platform). That being said the 4960k is not a good option at all... the 4930k offers over 95% of the performance for half the price.
     
  8. psycho bob macrumors 6502a

    psycho bob

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    #9
    Again I cannot disagree. A brief google points to the following UK prices;

    1650v2 £460.79
    4930K £327.49
    1660v2 £866.39
    4960X £768.00

    So the consumer models do offer cost savings over their server cousins but the differences are not like they have been in the past.

    The only potential benefit is the i7 variants may be more common and easier to come by but only time will tell on that score. Regardless of all of this it still looks like socket name aside upgrade options will be limited to more cores in current tech going forward.
     
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #10
    E5-1650 V2 and E5-1660 V2 are unlocked just like the i7s. The V1s were too.
     
  10. joecool99 thread starter Suspended

    joecool99

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    #11
    good to know, wanted to know if i7 is a possibility.
    you can get 6 core i7 cheaper on ebay. even used to make the saving significant.

    what would the ECC loss do to the system and performance? would you have to to use non-ECC RAM as well?
     
  11. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #12
    ECC provides more reliability over the results from your calculations and also better stability to the system since it adds a layer of error correction.

    However, if I'm not wrong, FirePro GPUs don't use ECC memories, so a nMP is a reliable workstation on the CPU side, but as unreliable as standard PCs on the GPU side. In the OpenCL era, I don't think it's a good thing. There are users that would even prefer a Quadro GPU (which usually uses ECC RAM) over a Xeon CPU, since most of their processor-intensive tasks are performed on GPU.
     
  12. psycho bob macrumors 6502a

    psycho bob

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    #13
    Further to the comments above if you were to use an i7 you would have to use non ECC memory or the system will not boot.

    Hyperthetically comparing the same speed RAM in ECC and none ECC formats you may see a small increase in performance by using the latter due to the reduction in overhead from the validation process. Likewise energy consumption may improve slightly as circuit wise non ECC memory is much simpler with less to do per chip.

    The reason I say the above are hyperthetical is that any gains will be dependant upon how Apple have designed the system they are placed in and how the user deploys the chips in the system.

    For most computing, except 3D and scientific computation (there will be other use cases I sure), the loss of ECC memory has no real side effect.

    With regard the FirePro cards I'm sure I read, like the poster before me, about some quirk in how AMD deploy the ECC memory on the cards. 2 things I believe I have heard and I'm sure someone else can clarify a) AMD use a form of virtual ECC memory on the cards, it does the same thing but is not a true hardware solution on a per module basis b) the FirePro'esque cards used in the Mac Pro forego the ECC solution altogether (probably a cost saving).
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #14
    The other big advantage of ECC memory is that you never have to guess if a problem is due to bad RAM.

    If you get a single-bit memory error, with ECC it will be corrected and logged. If it happens frequently, you'll get a notification. If you get a double-bit or larger error, the system will crash with a "Memory error" displayed.

    Without ECC, a memory error can cause bad results, application problems, random system crashes, corrupted disk data.... If your system is acting up, it could be memory, or something else.
     
  14. psycho bob macrumors 6502a

    psycho bob

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    #15
    Do we know how cummunicative OSX is at reporting memory errors? Is it a case of trawling the console logs or is there a more in your face process in place (short of a kernel panic)?
     
  15. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #16
    About this Mac at least...

     
  16. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Cheaper than what? The 6 core option on the mac pro is a $500 upgrade. The 4960x is regularly a $1000 chip and a quick look at ebay shows the lowest current bids over $600 and only expected to go up. If you're lucky you'll get $200 for the 4 core if you re-sell it. So best case scenario is you save about $100. Doesn't seem like that's really worth the time and effort.
     
  17. wesk702 macrumors 68000

    wesk702

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    #18
    Why?
     

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