Convert a MacBook Pro to proper Quad Core i7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 10THzMac, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. 10THzMac macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    If I could find the chips at a good price and a friendly MacBook Pro engineer, is there any reason why I could not convert a MacBook Pro into a proper Quad-core one with a Core i7-720 or i7-740 (or even 820, 840 etc.)

    1. Can I replace the CPU?
    2. Any reason why OS X would not work?
    3. Any reason why the four cores would not be recognized?
    4. Would it get too hot?

    What would I need to do to make sure the CPU runs at the right speed and TurboBoosts sensibly?

    I am going to have to lose my wonderful Kobalt i7-720 laptop in a few weeks and have been looking longingly at the Sony F13 series with the i7-740, and other laptops with i7-7/8/940 and Phenom X4s, wondering why Apple have stopped with the i7-620. So I am thinking about making my own.
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    It cannot be done. The CPU is soldered in and cannot be replaced by anything but a robot.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Possible, but not practical. It is extremely hard to desolder BGA chips from the board without damaging something.
  4. 10THzMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    Well that was quick and damning! Thanks. Looks like Sony it-720/40 hackintosh project is back on.
  5. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    1. No, it's soldered onto the logic board
    2. It doesn't have the drivers for it
    3. See #2
    4. Of course, it would, it has nearly twice the TDC.
  7. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    It gives more performance when all cores/threads are used than the dual core i7. :p

    So multitasking and stuff like that.
  8. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    CPUs don't need drivers. CPUs have different steppings (C2 for older Arrandale, K0 for new revision (released a week ago or so) and B1 for Clarksfield) but since Clarksfield was released before Arrandale, the firmware may support B1 stepping (obviously, nobody knows).

    It's only 10W more (35W vs 45W)

    I'm not saying it's possible as it obviously is not but I'm just correcting few facts.
  9. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    Yep, I agree with HH. If you end up doing it let us know...
  10. mrcodewizard macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2010
    Yes, if you have the proper tools and the chip fits the board you have. (you can remove solder, it's not a good idea, but you can do it.) You can also hijack the pathway without removing the chip, again NOT recommended or even remotely suggested.

    You don't have a version that is compiled for the chip. It most likely will run, but ... see next item.
    Yes, many. Mainly, the OS you have may not be able to recognize or use it or the cores, the apps could be a problem also.

    Compared to the egg cooking temps we have now?

    Hmmm, well how about:

    Wrong. More cores DOES NOT always equal more performance. If the OS can't make use of them, well duh.
  11. millertime021 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2010
    Ya, I need a quad core too. I would really like to listen to iTunes while checking appointments in iCal and typing that 2 page essay. My i7 MBP can't quite handle all of that. :)
  12. 10THzMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    I give talks on parallel programming with various tools and lugging around a Mac Pro is a bit of a pain, especially if I need to fly somewhere.

    To be honest, I stopped short of soldering when it came to the idea of fitting a larger ROM chip to some Nvidia cards to flash with Mac code, and that was only 'coz I did not wish to fry a £400 GPU. If I cannot just pull the chip out and stuff in another one there's no way I am going to take the risk with a 2k MBP!

    Mathematica runs nearly 3 times faster on my Quad core Kobalt than in single core mode (with 8 kernels up, and not even correcting for the TurboBoost. Quad makes a HUGE difference).
  13. AdamRock macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
    get a real quad core i7 laptop and vmware os x on it or something, if i recall os x can run on any pc that uses intel.
  14. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    what makes you think OSX can't recognize four cores?

    how is he wrong? it does give more performance when "all threads/cores are used", as he said.
  15. 10THzMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    Maybe we could just agree that for apps with no significant multi-threaded capability the i7-620 at 2.66 is going to be a better choice - I never meant to start that argument. I just happen to use apps that make good use of many cores and the quad, even allowing for the lower base clock, is significantly better. Given that I am not going to risk frying a MBP with a soldering device, I think I need to learn more about hackintoshing a laptop, and figure out which laptop to try it on. I like the look of the Sony F13s, but in the UK the Kobalt machines are really rather quick (to i7-940 and GTX 480m). Thanks for all the comments putting me off the soldering nightmare. I just wish Apple would give more options for those of us more interested in a bit more CPU clout.
  16. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    While drivers don normally matter, in this case they would or the computer would kernel panic at boot everytime as the kernel extensions try to look for Intel HD graphics.
  17. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    Considering the MP can have 12 cores and use them all why wouldn't OS X be able to use 4 cores
    :confused: seems to happen fine on my Early '09 MB
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    the i7 used in the macbook pro is the equivalent to the i7 720 pro. The draw back is it uses more power than the one in the Macbook Pro. The i7 quad cores are 45 mn and the dual cores are 32 nm.

    Different between the i7 720 and the one in the Macbook pro is the i7 720 has a lower clock speed but does have a quad core. Depending on what each CPU is doing depends which is better. The quad core is better for rendering but something that only needs a single core the one in the mac book pro is better due to the higher clock speed.

    Sorry for the long rant and I do not know the CPU number off the top of my head for the Macbook pro.
    Oh and I believe they use different sockets.
  19. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Do you really need a $2000 laptop for that? :D

    I can max out a 8 core Mac pro, so no laptop is fast enough for me. The faster the better it is for me.
  20. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    I wanted to add some info to the more cores = better performance.

    I teach CS at a university and any good programmer will tell you that programming for multiple cores efficiently is a nightmare.

    Many people thought that multicore -like multithreading- was going to revolutionize applications but that just isn't the case. In many ways, the languages we have don't really do multi cores justice for being efficient. Unlike the ability to multithread your application, juggling multi cores is much, much harder. The other problem is that most OS (including OS X) don't have a job scheduler that really handles multi-threaded, multi-core applications well.

    There are exceptions (like everything else in life) that handle multi cores well. Some of the video encoding apps, Photoshop, and virtualization are all paving the way.

    When it comes to virtualization, I think being able to assign a core per VM is very nice.

    I've been compiling and playing with Dolphin (the GameCube emulator) and it does dual core very well. They have done a great job at using multiple cores so I would like to see them attempt a full Quad core rewrite in their next revision.

    Where you will see multiple cores really shine is when Linux, Microsoft, and Apple/BSD rewrite their kernels and job schedulers for a base multi core system. Right now, its kind of an after thought and people are still experimenting. Look how far job scheduling has come in the last ten years.


  21. 10THzMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    For the record, in my case I am using Mathematica and GridMathematica, which does its own remote kernel management very well, and for manifestly parallel algorithms (e.g. Monte Carlo) it is utterly trivial to program parallel code and get 80 or sometimes even 90% efficiency of use of all available cores.

    On your second point, I positively do NOT want the OS to start interfering in core management as my math apps do it very well already! Though I agree it is needed for general tasks to make better use of multiple cores.
  22. deus ex machina macrumors regular

    May 28, 2010
    Be mindful of how the turbo mode works with the i7 processors.

    720QM (In GHz)
    4 cores 1.6-1.733
    2 cores 1.866-2.4
    1 core 2.533-2.8

    Compared to the 620M (In GHz)

    2 cores 2.66-3.06
    1 core 3.2-3.33

    Which is your preference, 4 cores (45nm process) at 1.733GHz or 2 cores (32nm process) at 3.06GHz?
    Of course, you could spend more for the 740QM for a modest increase or spend a great deal more for the 8 or 9 series.


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