Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

TheValleyOfDefilement

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2021
30
7
I've done a lot of searching and googling and reading. Are there any total maintenance must dos for the 2013 MP outside of the following?

  • Replace all thermal paste
  • Replace VRAM cooling pads
  • Replace BR2032 battery
  • Clean all surfaces of dust
Thank you in advance.
 

MisterAndrew

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2015
2,890
2,378
Portland, Ore.
I suggest to avoid replacing the thermal paste on the CPU. There's a high risk of destroying the CPU riser card when separating it from the thermal core. So I think it's better to take your chances with the old paste. Make sure you have a copy of the technician's manual pdf. There are some special tools listed and the correct instructions. When replacing the battery you need the special cover to protect the CPU riser card when installing the I/O wall.
 

avro707

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2010
1,952
1,280
I've done a lot of searching and googling and reading. Are there any total maintenance must dos for the 2013 MP outside of the following?

  • Replace all thermal paste
  • Replace VRAM cooling pads
  • Replace BR2032 battery
  • Clean all surfaces of dust
Thank you in advance.
I followed the video online to replace the CPU in my MP6,1 with the Xeon 2697V2.

you have to go slowly and very carefully. Particular sized screwdriver attachments are needed. Any screws you take out, put them in labelled individual ziplock bags so you know which ones they are. The screws holding the grill in place over the power supply are very small, be careful with those.

I didn’t use the Wera torque screwdriver, just a normal one.

Cleaning out dust is important.

disclaimer: this work is done at your own risk!
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
I'm in the eve of putting it all back together now. My first dissembly of a 6,1 (D300). Just a couple of questions remains or bothers me still.

GPU thermal pads: I bought a lot of thermalt pads, some with really great numbers at transfering heat. I've got 2.0mm and 3.0mm to choose from. Firstly I had the 2mm in my mind, but later I have thought I should go with 3mm ones.

PCH (Platform Controller Hub): It sits in the middle of the bottom of the round shaped logic board. Would there be any benefits achieved gluing a heat sink to it? I remember the temperatures there at something like between 60-70 °C without 3rd party fan control. Can't remember how it reacted to load though.

I've got Thermal Grizzly paste for GPU and CPU and many different thicknesses and sizes of pads. My first choice for pads there Minus Pad 8. Bought some really performant pads too, from Gelid Solutions, GP Ultimate (On Amazon they say: 15W/mK). Maybe I'll try those, any opinions?

I've got Wera torque drivers (7400 Kraftform) to tighten it all as adviced. The riser nuts for cards seems not to be mentioned in the technician guide screw table, but they can be found in the text elsewhere with correct torque mentioned. They need to be a little bit tighter than the actual card screws fitted to the riser nuts.

I opened the PSU too to check all of the capacitors are ok, and they seemed fine to me. Threw some compressed air to it too, making sure no dust collected in any tight corners in there.

Chips and memory cleaned with thermal paste removal and IPA liquid. CPU board contactor cleaned with IPA. Not sure the other connectors can be cleaned in any reasonable way but compressed air.

I was going to swap the CPU to 10 core 2690v2, but decided it's not worth it with a D300. It's too unreliable to waste that in this Mac Pro. I think I'm gonna put it to my other D500, which seems like a much more reliable machine compared to D300.

Surprisingly, a packet of premium chocolate became of a valuable help too. It's not totally necessary though
;)

Some pics for the interested members.
1643268161068.png

1643268294412.png

1643268410536.png

Putting it all together at this coming weekend, please give any advice or bring up any doubts that comes up to your mind, I'll be gratefull.

edit. opened the tech guide and browsed it again; a couple of corrections to terminology..
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: StumpJumper

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
For those who are going to do the same: Wera set is not going to be enough, you'll need more tools and tool heads for this. At least those "stand-offs/riser nuts" (can't remember the exact name, sorry) needed this 7 mm tool, and an adapter to fit the Wera driver. In inch land/country there could be a little bit difference in sizes with these, I don't know, but this worked for me.
1643270904487.png

And most probably you'll need pliers too, to separate the CPU/GPU securing screws from those aformentioned "stand-offs". One or more stand-offs are bound to get stuck to CPU/GPU screws, and you need to get them separated somehow. This procedure is explicitly forbidden in the technician manual, and the separation of those should be done by Apple itself. Well that's not gonna happen, is it.

In the picture below I have already separated one of them with my little adjustable pliers. Another one is under work. They will be reattached again with the torque (11.5 in.lb). Just need to be extra carefull and have a firm grip with them. Don't give it a chance to slip, or your board might suffer a nonreversable damage if accidentally hit by tool.
1643272116964.png
 
Last edited:

TheValleyOfDefilement

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2021
30
7
Mikas, I know this is a lot of text. However, this is probably going to give you some if not all answers you are looking for. It's a direct copypasta from my initial work:
Update:

Killed a GPU card needlessly (probably) for the purposes of understanding the failure methods. Not sure what that will yield - yet.
Replaced interconnect cable on GPU A, and interconnect cable on GPU B with a replacement card.
Still had trouble with High C, and Mojave, but still could safemode boot.
Tore the unit down completely.
Popped in a new BR2032 battery (NOT CR2032!) while I was in there and cleaned everything up.
It wasn't until I replaced the CPU with an out of band model that I got a declared memory error with the 5 second beep code.

No tools I ran nor the built in diag tool were able to catch it.
Symptom was general slowness and random odd behavior.
Pulling stick and reconfiguring RAM resulted in an operational state.
Started at rev 129.0.0.0, went to 133.0.0.0 through initial Mojave, then moved into Big Sur.

Firmware updated to current position without an issue through Big Sur.
System has been stable over 4 days.
Wakes and sleeps no issue. Works fantastically.
Hope this helps someone find their way.

Side notes:

I followed the apple service manual with a science, and moved through the troubleshooting flowcharts to solve my problems.

One standoff did come out of the core on the CPU riser, however I was able to remove it with a clamping wrench gently attached to the ring of the standoff, not the threads, and wrapped the board with static proof bag, held in place with Kapton tape. This process was done carefully to make sure there was no damage, excessive force, or torsion applied to the board.

The core was repaired by chasing the threads, and certifying they were fine, then applying Loctite 242 to the threads of the standoff and securing. Level measurements were taken across all 4 standoffs during several steps of tightening the standoff, and a final level measurement taken on all 4 to ensure it was true. I stopped applying pressure just slightly after the standoff bottomed out in the core to avoid completely stripping the core and rendering it useless. The core was allowed to have the 242 cure for over 24 hours before additional re-assembly steps were taken.

It is vital that any core repairs are done with utmost concern and caution.

Clean board fingers with a lintless cotton bud and 91% isopropyl alcohol. I also used this to clean the GPUs up. All boards were given ample time to dry out, with verification in several ways prior to re-assembly.

Every step was taken with extreme care and a great attention to detail.

All specs followed completely and tightening patterns to the apple service manual.

All fasteners that had traces of blue on them received a very small amount of Loctite 242 on reassembly.

Separators were made for the IO board and others out of cardboard surrounded by antistatic bag material for reassembly.

MX4 thermal compound was used for both GPUs and the CPU.

OEM VRAM thermal pads were discarded after measuring in every possible way. These were replaced with Thermalright 2MM type. I used 2x of the 85x45x2MM packs. These were cut down to match the entirety of the GPU VRAM copper interface areas, test fitted, and then applied to the GPUs before re-assembly.



I run the system with an advanced fan curve through Macs Fan Control, using Sensor-based value, assigned to GPU 2 Diode. Exhaustive testing revealed that this was the best temp sensor to key off of for all cases I could figure out. Fan speed starts to increase from 55c, and Maximum temperature has been defined as 75c. The sound footprint is louder in some cases, but the system stays much cooler. This is a trade-off I am happy with and doesn't require 3rd party solutions to be involved.

What's the fan noise like with these settings? Idle duty is indistinguishable from ambient noise (With the meter on the top this was mid 20s DB) virtually silent. Light duty catches in the low 30s DB. Moderate usage is high 30s DB. Heavy usage is mid to upper 40s DB.



I take no responsibility for what you do with this information, as the 6,1 is a fragile wonder of the world. Don't do any of this if you aren't moderately or highly advanced in electronics repair and have a strong ability for attention to detail. This information has been provided because I couldn't find the answers I needed.



Overall, I love this thing, even if I facepalmed at the engineering excessively. It was worth it.



Additional information:

If anyone is wondering what processor was installed and why:

I settled on the 8 core E5-2667 V2.

This processor has the highest single core performance index, and has the same amount of cache as the 10 core E5-2690 V2. Meaning more possible cache per core. It can also punch in at 4GHz. It's a clock for clock winner.

12 core was out of the running quickly, having only really pondered the E5-2697 V2 loosely.

Most applications need higher single core scores, and the ones I use are pretty poor at multiprocessor utilization anyway. I'm not using it for rendering. YMMV.

No <115w or 150w processors were considered. The E5-2687W V2 isn't worth the extended TDP when weighted against the design of the thermal core and single fan, for such mild gains. I scored the E5-2667 V2 for about half the cost of that model.



Storage information:

The 6,1 arrived with no ssd. Picked up a reasonably sized official SSUAX ssd, and it was cheap. Good for testing. Going to probably use it another few days then replace it with a 1tb SSUBX. I didn't want to mess with any adapters or anything during rebuild, as it was stuck on 129.0.0.0 at the beginning. Not currently planning on using anything but OEM drives on the inside. I'll support that with solid nvme drives as externals and network attached storage.
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Thank You very much for your thorough answer, advice and opinions too, I appreciate it a lot.

I've been studying this thing a couple of weeks now maybe, the time that it's been lying there disassembled on my kitchen table (no wife in the household at the moment, sig.). I do agree it's a piece of miracle and appreciation, and at the same time I think it's an example of totally unnecessary engineering in it. But it's ok, I did know most of this before buying this thing (=these things, I've got three now).

I decided I'll dig in there and see if it comes up as a working computer again. Or whether it doesn't. These miracles are going to be vintage and/or obsolete sooner than we think, I think, so I'll have my chances right now while they are still of some usage to me.

I've got a couple of 2667v2's in my possession too. At the moment I think they will go to my HP Z420 though, a dual CPU workhorse from the darker side of the computing world. I've got an 2690v2 and an 1680v2 for my other 6,1's. If this one goes ok, I'll get into those other trashcans with more confidence. If not - maybe i'll gasp a couple of times, and think again for a moment.

Me too considered a 2687w for a while. The best of the best at that time maybe. Thermals were the main consideration to not opt for that for me too.

I have upgraded all my 3 pcs of tubes to newest firmwares available from apple, so NVMe's are fully supported now, with all live firmware upgrades too I think. I could not get by with anything less than 2TB anymore, so I have bought 3rd party drives of that size, later I would need even more. They seem to work really good though, at least in my D500 variant of Darth Vader they have worked so far.

/some tag/
So they and Phil innovated this thing from their a**. I am getting that, even more right now than ever before. It's a piece of ****, and I have begun to appreciate it just like that. A rare miracle it is.
/tag some/
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Too tired to proceed today any further.
Just reporting that the GPU boards ares bent. Not that much, but bent they are. From 0,7 to 1,0 mm I would say.
1643403933647.png

And the other one too is bent a little, about the same.
 

TheValleyOfDefilement

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2021
30
7
This is common imo. It's also why it's better to heat manage where you can, increasing the fan curve at the minimum, and ensuring VRAM cooling pads are replaced and thermal paste is done up.
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Thanks for your insight. I'll do my best with all I've got.
What about the GPU thermal pads? I've chosen 3mm thickness to use in there, though I had measured 2 mm from those originals used by Apple.
 

TheValleyOfDefilement

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2021
30
7
Thanks for your insight. I'll do my best with all I've got.
What about the GPU thermal pads? I've chosen 3mm thickness to use in there, though I had measured 2 mm from those originals used by Apple.
NP. I would use what I recommended in my earlier post if you can get it. 3MM feels a bit too thick for that space tbqh.
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Ok thanks. Maybe I'll go on and take some measurements then.

To me 2mm seems like too thin at the moment..
I guess it's about the material too. If it gives some, or if not. I mean the elastics of it. The movements of the material under pressure.
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Chose the 2mm pads eventually after some hesitating and remeasuring it all. Thanks for making me think it again, I believe they were the right size for the job evetually.

1643558286010.png


I did not manage to mess this up, the thing booted at first try after reassembling it.
?
I used my Wera torque driver for almost everything in there. I had the necessary adaptors to use iFixit drive kit for secured screws.

It would be helpfull if you had the Apple technician equipment in use. It is possible to do it without, but would be quicker and safer to work with those special shaped foams and acrylic shape-cut supports they show in technician guide. Almost was going to replicate those, but did not bother eventually. Used some creative thinking (read: the nearest electrically safe piece of foam).

1643558584663.png


Thought for some time what would be the correct and easiest way to put this thing back together. I put the CPU and PSU and IO first, and GPU's the last. Then the bottom and then top cover with fan.

The fan cable had a mark on it, which seems to have been caused by airport antenna plug. See pic, a punch in the middle of the cable. It seems to work ok, but not necessarily how the cable should route itself in there. Did not want to touch it though, left it like that because it works.

1643558104306.png


This must have been the most challenging project so far with Mac disassemling for me. Including iMac 2010 processor swap and full disassembly of 2009, 2010 and 2012 Mac Minis, Mac Pro 2009 and 2010. I have yet to do iMac G4 desk lamp design though.

Now I'll just try to keep it going as long as possible, until next panic or crash that is..
 

Stex

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2021
280
189
NYC
This must have been the most challenging project so far with Mac disassemling for me.

Congrats on the success of this nerve-racking operation!!!

But I'm not surprised (!) -- for those of you who don't know, this is the same @mikas from the "Mikas Mod" (a.k.a. Pixlas Mod 2.0... or is it 3.0???)

More details in the following:

:)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: fulltilt54

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Obviously I needed to put it to sleep for night. And obviously it crashed when waking it up this morning. This time it even managed to garble the system on a original SSUAX AHCI drive. The fan was giving me 0 RPM for a while, so tried deep SMC resetting. Gave me constant kernel panics in a loop. Fortunately I have some spare drives, so changed that, and boots just fine again.

Maybe there have been too much panics allready for this one drive, so it was bound to make the OS not functional anymore. I don't know. Keeping an eye on it of course.

Now I'll again just disable the sleep for good on this D300 one and get used to it.

ps. @Stex, No, I have not realized the Trixlas mod yet (3.0) ;)
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Stex

KACTER

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2021
10
1
Hi all !!

Finally I found this thread discussing about the thermal pad thickness on the Mac Pro 6,1 GPU !!

It seems that the thermal pad thickness on D300 & D500/700 are different .
From the above measurements , the thickness on D300 is about 2mm .
Does anyone know the thickness about the D500/D700 one ?

One last question about the size of the thermal pad , should the thermal pad be the exact size of the Vram , or just covering a part of the Vram is just enough ?

Thank you very much !!
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
890
646
Finland
Sorry I don't know, not yet. D500 Pro is on the table next, so soon I will know. I decided to order pads for all probable thicknesses from 0.5 to 3mm, so I can judge right in time, in the middle of doing it. Still waiting some of them to arrive.

I'll be gratefull for some opinions too about this.

ps. D300 uptime grew to 9 days, and then it crashed by itself (Big Sur). Now it's up again.

Watching uptimes grow. Now how fascinating is that.
:confused:
 

KACTER

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2021
10
1
D500 & D700 use the same thickness of thermal pads , look forward to your measurement !

Big sur has an update recently , see if it helps to stable the running .
 

TzunamiOSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2009
1,013
411
Germany
I suggest to avoid replacing the thermal paste on the CPU. There's a high risk of destroying the CPU riser card when separating it from the thermal core. So I think it's better to take your chances with the old paste. Make sure you have a copy of the technician's manual pdf. There are some special tools listed and the correct instructions. When replacing the battery you need the special cover to protect the CPU riser card when installing the I/O wall.
???

I replaced the paste a few days ago and if you work carefully and without a crowbar it's not a problem.
 

avro707

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2010
1,952
1,280
I didn’t have all the recommended Wera tools (expensive) but was able to do a complete CPU upgrade to 2.7 12 core by working slowly and carefully. I had the guide and also cross referenced a YouTube video to see what things are inside it and what to expect.

Another tip, methodically bag up all the screws and label the bags so you know which ones belong to what.

The old machine gets frequently used.
 

Drich290195

macrumors 6502
Apr 2, 2011
467
6
I didn’t have all the recommended Wera tools (expensive) but was able to do a complete CPU upgrade to 2.7 12 core by working slowly and carefully. I had the guide and also cross referenced a YouTube video to see what things are inside it and what to expect.

Another tip, methodically bag up all the screws and label the bags so you know which ones belong to what.

The old machine gets frequently used.
I managed to change the cpu to the 10 core and re paste the gpus. Dropped temps by about 20 degrees. Hardest parts I found were the antenna and getting the power supply lined up and screwed back in.
 

pioneer200569

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2015
16
3
Kissimmee Fl.
Just some info on the thermal pads thicknesses is 2mm maybe 2.5mm but my calipers says that it’s 2mm for the D300,D500 and D700. The only difference is the D500 and the D700 are longer then the D300 due to more memory chips on the GPU cards.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.