Adding a second processor to early 2009 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macintosh1097, May 22, 2011.

  1. macintosh1097 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hello, i'm building my own Mac Pro/hackintosh type system... I'm using an early 2009 mac pro enclosure and most internal parts of the early 2009 mac pro. I"m doing this because it's a lot cheaper than buying a new mac pro. So my question is can i buy the 8-core logic board and only put one quad core processor and heat sink on it, then later add a second quad core processor and heat sink? Or do i have buy them both and put them both in. I really want the 8-core but i don't have the money to do that right now, so I'm hoping down the road i can just pop in another processor and heat sink, is that possible? Also, where can you buy a 8 core logic board, backplane board, and heat sinks for really good prices?
    Thanks
     
  2. Whaditis macrumors regular

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    #2
    I believe the processors for an 8-core setup would need to have an additional Qpi which is the reason why Xeon multi-processor chips are used such as the E5520s that came with my 8-core 2009 Mac Pro.

    So basically you wouldn't be able to use 2 x single processors like the W series.


    I would also like to know the answer if you could put one processor in at a time (provided it had dual Qpi) and still have it working.

    For example the Mac Pro 8-core 2009 that I have, what would happen if one of the two processors crapped out? Would it still run on one processor while the other one died?
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Yes, you can use just a single processor. Has to be a DP processor, though, so a 5500 series, not a 3500.
    Keep in mind that only the adjacent 4 memory banks will work with a single processor configuration.
    You might also be interested in the 2009 to 2010 firmware update tool, which lets you use 6-core processors with the 2009 logic boards.
    The hex cores aren't really more expensive than quad cores, so definitely a viable option.
     
  4. macintosh1097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Ok Thanks, Also, i have to install mac OS X from another computer on to an external hard drive to put into this, so how would i do firmware updates and other updates, and such? would i install it then boot from the external drive? or, how?
     
  5. macintosh1097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    also, do i have to use the mac pro heat sink? Or can i put a different like intel heat sink it?
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Mac Pro only. The heat sinks are custom made for the logic board and others won't fit.
     
  7. macintosh1097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    So what are some DP quad cores that are compatible with the 2009 logic board and would be like under $200-300?
     
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #8
    The E5507 looks like it should be, although I'm not 100% on that.
     
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Take a look at the Gainestown 5500 series processors here and check for prices around your preferred stores.

    Edit: However, $200 to $300 isn't really a suitable budget for a DP system. DP processors are expensive and clock speeds of 2GHz or less isn't attractive at all.

    You should rather take a look at a SP version.
     
  10. macintosh1097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Ok,I found a Xeon E5450 3.0GHz quad core for $220, which i believe was used in the 2006 8 core mac pro... could i use two of these?
     
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #11
    Again, 5500 series CPUs only in the 2009 machine, or if you want to update the firmware, 5600 series also.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #12
    First, you need to realize that the 2009 and 2010 systems use a different approach than previous Intel based MP's (not all boards used are DP). What this means, is there's a common backplane board (board that has the PCIe slots on it, and screws down to the back of the enclosure). Then they have 2x different CPU daughter boards; one is for a SP (Single Processor), and the other is a DP (Dual Processor board).

    The differences between these 2 daughter boards, is the CPU socket count (1 or 2), and they each require a different chipset (X58 = SP, 5520 = DP models). The only difference between these two chipsets is that the DP versions have a second QPI channel, which is necessary for connecting to DP CPU's (and it cannot shut one down if you try to use an SP Xeon in it, which means the W35xx series).

    You can run a DP processor in an SP daughter board (DP CPU can shut down the unused QPI channel), but the reverse is not possible (5520 cannot shut down it's unused QPI channel, which is why SP CPU's cannot be used).

    Now you've not stated which daughter board you're using, so I don't know which way you're going.

    But suffice it to say:
    • If your daughter board is an SP unit (single socket), then you you need to use the W35xx series (W36xx series if you use the Firmware Update tool that's recently been hacked to update a 2009 with 2010 firmware).
    • If you're using a DP daughter board, you need to use CPU's from the 55xx series (same flash tool method would need to be used if you want to go with 56xx series). Please note, that a DP daughter board (or any DP PC board), can run a single DP model CPU (both QPI channels on the CPU will go to the chipset instead of 1 to the chipset, and 1 to the second CPU if it's installed).
    I hope this isn't too confusing, but understanding the differences is extremely important.

    BTW, if you don't have to have a second CPU, getting an SP daughter board and SP series CPU will be cheaper (up to 6 cores if you flash the firmware, which has it's own thread going).

    As per where to find parts cheap, that's not easy. All I can recommend is search the web by Apple P/N.

    A DP board can run a single processor, but it must be from the DP series (see above, as the second QPI channel on the 5520 chipset must be connected).

    Yes.

    Your available core count would be cut in half, and the fault LED should light up for the failed CPU (located on the board).

    You'd be hard pressed to find a DP series that works in the proposed equipment for that price (maybe used parts off eBay).

    No. Wrong series.
     
  13. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I also concidered changing the board to the DP board but the price with x2 CPU's put me off.

    The firware hack has changed everything for me. Less than £500 and i can upgrade from a quad 2.93 to a hex 3.2. Thats a huge performance gain.
     
  14. Whaditis, May 23, 2011
    Last edited: May 23, 2011

    Whaditis macrumors regular

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    #14
    Nanofrog, thanks for that great info. Appreciated.


    Has anyone successfully swapped processor/ram included daughter boards between quad and octo core machines without issues provided they are the same year i.e., replacing the SP daughter board with DP.


    ^^^After further searching found just what I was looking for from this thread.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-899571.html
     

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