CORE i7 975 3.3 GHz in my New Quad!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AZREOSpecialist, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. AZREOSpecialist macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #1
    With the very gracious help of Tutor from this forum, I was able to complete a major upgrade of my stock 2009 2.66 GHz Quad Mac Pro. Here is a break down of all the basic components:

    2009 Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad: $2,299 (Apple edu discount)
    Intel Core i7 975 3.33 GHz "Bloomfield": $995 (New Egg)
    3x Western Digital RE3 1 TB drives: $450 (New Egg)
    Nvidia GTX 285: $450 (New Egg)
    HighPoint RocketRaid 4320: $299 (sale ended at New Egg, now $419)
    16 GB RAM: $609 (OWC)
    SAS/SATA BackPlane Attachment: $125 (Max Upgrades)
    Arctic Silver 5: $7 (New Egg)
    1x Mini SAS to 4x SATA cable

    Thanks to Tutor's help, the CPU upgrade itself couldn't have been simpler. Remember, the Core i7 975 Bloomfield is a drop-in replacement for the Nehalem that came with the system. You shouldn't have any of the upgrade difficulties outlined in the AnandTech article, which involved upgrading a dual CPU Nehalem system w/o heat spreaders.

    First, unlatch and remove the processor tray. Using a long-neck (at least 4-5" length) 3mm allen wrench, carefully unscrew the heat sink by accessing the screws through the holes in the top of the heat sink. The hex screws are spring-loaded and remain attached to the heat sink after being unscrewed. Take note that the heat sink is still attached to the board underneath with a small black connector, so you'll want to apply a tiny bit of upward force to disconnect the heat sink. Gently remove the heat sink, you'll notice it's much lighter than it looks!

    You should now clearly see the 2.66 GHz Intel Xeon W3520 "Nehalem" sitting in the LGA 1366 socket. Unlatch and lift the lever on the side of the socket. This will allow you to GENTLY remove the CPU. Put the new Core i7 in its place, in the same orientation (it should only go in one way). Re-secure the CPU in the LGA 1366 socket. Now, use a Q-tip and some isopropyl rubbing alcohol to clean away the thermal grease from the removed W3520 CPU and bottom of the heat sink.

    Paying close attention to the instructions on this page, apply a thin line of Arctic Silver 5 thermal grease onto the new CPU that is now secured in the socket. The thermal grease should be applied in a single line parallel to the cores underneath. Re-attach the heat sink, including the black connector, and gently tighten the screws. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN! At this point I replaced the RAM and put the processor tray back into the Mac Pro and re-latched. PIECE OF CAKE!

    In order to be able to use a 3rd party RAID card for the internal drives on the 2009 Mac Pro, you will need the SAS/SATA BackPlane Attachment from Max Upgrades. The 2009 Mac Pro does not have an SAS connector on the motherboard for access to the built-in drives. The only solution here is to use the replacement drive sleds included with the above product which will allow you to run cabling from the RAID card to the SATA port on the back of each drive. Install the RocketRaid 4320 into a 16x PCI Express slot, and use the 1x mini SAS to 4x SATA cable to route all drives to this card internally.

    I configured my drives into a RAID 5 array, your needs may differ. I opted for RAID 5 because I wanted a baseline level of data redundancy combined with the higher speeds offered by RAID 0. RAID 5 capacity on 3x 1TB drives is 2TB. Speeds are not quite as fast as RAID 0 due to the need to write parity information, but the RocketRaid 4320 card uses a 1.2 GHz Intel processor which makes it much faster than its competition. I may switch to a RAID 0 (w/ backup) or RAID 10 solution at some point down the road, but for now I've got a good start.

    Those of you who are not upgrading to the GTX 285 don't need to worry about this, but you do need to upgrade to 10.5.7 and also install the latest Nvidia drivers BEFORE you replace the stock GPU with the GTX 285. Otherwise you will experience a kernel panic on startup. I didn't do this and thought the kernel panic was caused by the new CPU. I turned blue in the face until I finally determined what was causing it!

    Some of you may ask why did I opt for the Western Digital RE3 drives instead of the Caviar Black. The RE3 drives are designed for RAID installations, the Caviar Blacks are not. I have read numerous reports of Caviar Blacks failing in RAID arrays due to time out issues. The RE3 model does not suffer from this at all and the controller is optimized for the rigors of RAID use. If you want a low failure rate, go with the RE3 drives. They're just as fast as the Caviar Blacks.

    I will update this thread later today with an "About This Mac" screen shot reflecting the RAM and CPU upgrades. Tutor offered a lot of help and encouragement. I also did a lot of Googling to make sure I had sourced all of the right components for the upgrade. Buying online can quickly become very expensive if you have to deal with returns.

    I am upgrading from a circa 2004 PowerMac G5 dual processor 2.5 GHz (single core per chip) w/ 4.5 GB of RAM and two 250 GB hard drives. Once I really start using my new system for work every day, I hope to be "blown away" by the speed! :)
     
  2. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #2
    lol...congrats on having the fastest computer for single-threaded applications in the world (with a processor covered by warranty)

    how much do you reckon you can sell the old processor for?
     
  3. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #3
    The 2.66 GHz Nehalems are going on eBay for about $200, and I'll be putting mine up there shortly. My G5 Dual 2.5 GHz will also be going on eBay, should sell for around $700.

     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #4
    You don't have a heatspreader on that 2.66 GHz Xeon W3520 right?
     
  5. moral-hazard macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2009
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #5
    may I inquire as to the need for this? sounds like you mean business with this thing :eek:
     
  6. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #6
    Is that G5 2 or 4 cores? If its 2 dual core G5, running with no problems, I'll make you an offer. Let me know.
    BTW, congrats on the upgrade. Hope you can provide benchmark tests before and after.
     
  7. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2007
    #7
    No, the single processor Mac Pros have heatspeaders.

    Next year I'll hopefully be doing the same :D:D
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #8
    Thanks for that little factoid.

    Maybe I'll buy the CPU off of the OP then? :rolleyes:
     
  9. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #9
    Unfortunately I did not benchmark my system before, but I can certainly post some benchmarks with the new setup if someone can point me to a free benchmarking program that you would like me to use.

    As far as the heat spreader, yes the single CPU quad chip does come with a heat spreader. This makes upgrading using off-the-shelf Intel parts a breeze. The 8-core, on the other hand, is a different story. My understanding is that upgrading the 8-core properly will require using chips with heat spreaders (since that's all that is commercially available) and compensating appropriately. There are some sensors on the processor board which monitor the temperature of the heat sink, and you'll need to add some extra silicone padding there to make the proper contact. Also, AnandTech fried a CPU and the processor board doing this upgrade on the 8-core. The processor sockets on the 8-core lack the mechanism to hold the chips in place like they do on the quad, so you have to be extra careful putting the heat sinks back on or you run the risk of bending some of the pins in the CPU socket if you apply too much pressure. Wow that was a long sentence!

    What's funny is that my System Profiler identified my model as "MacPro3,1" before the upgrade and "MacPro4,1" after the upgrade. Would this change in System Profiler point to an unreleased Mac Pro model either in the pipeline or one that never made it to market?

    I'm attaching photos below of "About This Mac" and System Profiler to confirm the install. Now, do you guys have any suggestions on what benchmarks to run, and the best way to run them?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #10
    Hey bearcatrp,

    No, my G5 chips are single core each and two CPUs running @ 2.5 GHz. This is the model before the dual-core chips. I suppose the best selling point is that Steve Jobs' office paid to replace my liquid cooling system and both CPUs when everything got fried two years ago due to a leak. A $1,300 repair that Apple paid for out of warranty.

    Who says Apple doesn't provide excellent customer service?

     
  11. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #11
    I've already cleaned the thermal gunk off the chip, it looks like new. I've seen them going for around $250 new on eBay. I expect this one to sell for less since it's "used", although barely. I never even booted up using the original chip, but instead did my upgrade right after pulling the Mac Pro out of the box.

     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
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    Indianapolis
    #12
    Dude, always check for DOA by booting it up the first time. What if it was broken/defective out of the box?
     
  13. moral-hazard macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2009
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #13
    I would personally love to see what this thing pulls on XBench. And as a plus for you, it lets you post your score online when you're done. Would not be surprised in the least if you had the highest recorded score to date.

    http://www.xbench.com/
     
  14. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #14
    Ran some benchmarks

    I went to Bare Feats to see what they use, and I ran some quick benchmarks. I did not do anything special to make sure I didn't have any background resource hogs, I may have to re-do these tests for accuracy later. But for now, here's what I got:

    Cinebench R10 Multi CPU Render: 18,417
    Cinebench R10 OpenGL Standard: 7,033
    Geekbench 2.1.2 32-bit Score: 10,084
    - Integer: 8,370
    - Floating Point: 16,450
    - Memory: 4,932
    - Stream: 4,114

    I could probably get those numbers up higher if I killed some background processes, but since I'm not too familiar with which processes are critical and which ones aren't I decided not to mess with my task manager for the time being.

    Are these good numbers?
     
  15. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #15
    Good point. To be honest, I was just too eager to start on the upgrade and wanted to maximize the free time I had available. I also didn't want any residual voltage inside the machine to kill me. At least now you know what little I know about what I'm doing here, so if someone like me can do this anyone can! :)

     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #16
    Hit the power switch on the machine on once it's unplugged.
     
  17. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

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    Mar 15, 2009
    #17
    XBench gets me 368.48 (without disk test)

     
  18. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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  19. moral-hazard macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2009
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #19
    Nice - my MBP gets 194 w/o disk test. A few people posted scores in the 500-600 range, but alot of them are hackintosh builds or people doing things like creating ramdisks to "cheat" on the disk test.
     
  20. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #20
    I also noticed many of the high XBench scores appear to come from highly over-clocked Hackintosh machines that are 4.0+ GHz. Under those conditions, the numbers make a lot of sense!

    The Mac Pro has some pretty hefty cooling, I think it wouldn't be impossible to over-clock the CPUs quite a bit without any adverse heat effects. The whole time I was running the Cinebench test, which utilized all four cores, the temperature of my CPU never exceeded 37-38 C. I think there's a lot of headroom here.

    How do we over-clock our Mac Pros? Anyone?

     
  21. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #21
    You're right, I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't even boot up my machine before swapping out the CPU, so how could I have seen what System Profiler said before the upgrade?

    I'm high on my success with the upgrade, I must be delirious!

     
  22. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    Aug 24, 2007
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    Minnesota
    #22
    lol. i was just going to ask you how you knew what the system profiler reported if you didn't even turn it on first. congrats man, that's quite the upgrade! I too am curious what you are going to use the machine for.
     
  23. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #23
    I know the feeling!! Great shame I missed the pair of w5580 tonight. The feeling is allmost the opposite.
     
  24. AZREOSpecialist thread starter macrumors 68000

    AZREOSpecialist

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #24
    What on earth will I use this for?

    My full-time job is as a real estate agent and I will be using my new Mac Pro mostly for light lifting during the work week -- email, web, Word/Excel and editing of photos. However, my heart is in the design/print world and I ran a graphics design studio in Seattle for a couple of years.

    I plan on using the real horse power for my design and photo hobbies. I have some nice 20+ megapixel images that I want to massage and then enlarge either for myself or as gifts for friends and family. Lots of landscape images and some environmental portraits. I will also be re-branding my real estate practice and will be doing some print work as well in the upcoming weeks.
     
  25. dubaimac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    #25
    So what does this mean in the real world, what performance% increase is there over a stock 2.66 Quad, if it really is a simple drop in with some grease it’s a no brainer if the performance is dramatically increased, I looked at xbench and it is very hard to see what a stock machine would run at, and even harder to know you are comparing apples with apples.

    Would a RAM upgrade to 16GB be a more worthwhile exercise? I know you have done both, how much of this jump is RAM related and processor related.

    Look forward to your comments.
     

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