MP 7,1 CPU upgrade in 2019 Mac Pro

DearthnVader

macrumors 65816
Dec 17, 2015
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To anyone that says this can't be done :

View attachment 883653 View attachment 883654

Good news is I figured out how to do the install .

Xeon Gold 6212U 2.4 GHz 24 Core in a real Mac Pro 7,1 . She booted up right away first time .

For what its worth , I disabled SIP , Secure Boot and permitted boot from external drive before I began .

She's stable , ran a benchmark and let her idle for three hours .

Bad news is I made the mistake of PRAMing the System and now she won't boot :-(

I suspect its SIP related or is some sort of white list involved ?

And ... I can't figure out how to remove the PRAM battery . Hoping maybe it'll help reset something .
Thanks for testing for us, I’m waiting to pull the trigger on the 7,1 until I know if the cpu can be upgraded, and if we can use standard GOP pc video cards.
 

LightBulbFun

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the system is identifying it as a Xeon-W
this part im not surprised about since the Xeon W and Xeon SP CPUs have the same CPUID etc, its purely cosmetic

the "Xeon W" string in about this mac comes from an SMBIOS number of sorts that the firmware sets on processor detection, OS X software then reads this SMBIOS number and displays the correct string for it in about this mac

its why a MacPro1,1 displays "Unknown" for CPU model when you install Quad Core CPUs, because the firmware of the 1,1 does not set the correct SMBIOS number. so OS X has no idea what to display in about this mac

more modern mac firmware tend to default to the "Core i3" SMBIOS number when they detect an unknown CPU type

(its why a lot of prototype Macs show Core i3 in about this mac since those prototypes tend to also have Engineering sample CPUs etc, and why the LGA1156 iMacs display Core i3 in about this mac when you install a Xeon CPU into em)
 
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John_B Beta

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Feb 7, 2004
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I just had a call with an Apple Business rep checking on prices for various specs etc and asked about if the CPU was considered user upgradable and he said they'd been told 'NO'. No details on why though, probably just a 'we wouldn't recommend it & you'll void your warranty' vibe. Told him about the legendary Snow Tiger's mission right here and that I thought it COULD be done hah! Waiting to hear back on how it goes - as is going to affect my choice of processor if I end up buying one. once I figure out what I can sell to afford it lol
 
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Snow Tiger

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Dec 18, 2019
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I just had a call with an Apple Business rep checking on prices for various specs etc and asked about if the CPU was considered user upgradable and he said they'd been told 'NO'. No details on why though, probably just a 'we wouldn't recommend it & you'll void your warranty' vibe. Told him about the legendary Snow Tiger's mission right here and that I thought it COULD be done hah! Waiting to hear back on how it goes - as is going to affect my choice of processor if I end up buying one. once I figure out what I can sell to afford it lol
iFixit has it wrong . The new Mac Pro 7,1 does not deserve a Repairability Score of 9 out of 10 . I wish it did .

The processor upgrade score should be like -5 out of 10 , since it is very unwise to remove or install a large and heavy piece of silicon like a Cascade Lake Xeon from its LGA 3647 socket using just fingers . For those of you who've upgraded the Mac Pro 5,1's LGA 1366 socket processor , we now have three times the number of pins to worry about .

The last time we could get away with using just fingers for processor installation in the Mac Pro community was with the Ivy Bridge Xeons in the Mac Pro 6,1 .

So for anyone tempted to do this like the girl in that video ... just don't . You'll probably bend the pins in the socket .

Keep in mind , on the PC side the procedure for installing a LGA 3647 processor is by mounting it first onto a plastic carrier and then attaching it to the heatsink . The whole thing is called a PHM and its fairly easy to install into the socket . PC industry is standardize with four fastener positions on the heatsink .

Apple being Apple , they didn't use this design . They have a heatsink with a proprietary two fastener configuration . And the processor is not attached to the heatsink - it stays in the socket retained by a wire clamp . By the way , please keep in mind the fasteners of the heatsink are not retained . They are removable and will fall out and damage something if the cooler is not kept level . They're fairly large and heavy , too .

So how does an Apple factory worker install or remove this processor ? We don't know yet . I joked with a friend they're using a robot . But they probably have some sort of insertion device that clamps onto the frame of the socket for alignment , so this can be done in the field .

I came up with a method I'm still debating whether or not to make public , since it should only be used by technicians . It's much safer than just using fingers , but its not perfect and a mistake could cost someone thousands . And it still requires excellent hand to eye coordination , since its a manual operation . So , someone who is just going to do this once or twice will still have a decent chance of damaging something . A layperson might just want to wait until they can use whatever device Apple has or use a professional processor upgrade service . The upgrade processors should be cheaper then , too .

My Mac Pro 7,1 is currently partially torn down and I have decided to tear it down further to look at something . In a day or two when I have time I'll reinstall the factory silicon and mull over why the upgrade didn't go smoother . The Mac didn't accept the upgrade completely either because of a whitelist / blacklist , that there is some subtle difference between the factory and upgrade processors or that the System firmware is not advanced enough .

At any rate , all the W series Xeons should be compatible at this time . So it's just a matter of cost and installation method .
 
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MisterAndrew

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Thank you for the very good information Snow Tiger. Hopefully the news will spread farther that a CPU upgrade in the new Mac Pro isn't a DIY project. I know several people have already ordered CPUs to install. Hopefully they'll be able to return them or find a professional to install them properly. I hope we don't see a lot of reports about people who destroyed their Mac attempting this.
 

LightBulbFun

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I feel like the fear about the socket is a bit strong? making a mountain out of a molehill

while on the PC side of things the socket has been a bit squiffy as seen in this video


wendel from level1techs commented on twitter that the MacPro7,1s socket is actually much better then whats used in the PC space

and this is because the MacPro7,1 uses a socket that actually has an ILM, in the form of that wire spring clip

so I imagine installing the CPU would be like any other LGA CPU, you just have to be careful when gently inserting the CPU into the socket, but that's true for any socket

be it LGA775 or LGA3647
 
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Snow Tiger

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I feel like the fear about the socket is a bit strong? making a mountain out of a molehill

while on the PC side of things the socket has been a bit squiffy as seen in this video


wendel from level1techs commented on twitter that the MacPro7,1s socket is actually much better then whats used in the PC space

and this is because the MacPro7,1 uses a socket that actually has an ILM, in the form of that wire spring clip

so I imagine installing the CPU would be like any other LGA CPU, you just have to be careful when gently inserting the CPU into the socket, but that's true for any socket

be it LGA775 or LGA3647
The guy in the video is using a consumer logic board with a liquid cooler that keeps getting stuck to his LGA 3647 processor , due to applied thermal paste . He isn't using a PHM and his socket has no ILM , of course . With his board , he could use a PHM but instead his processor simply rests on the socket unlocked . And then he complains about how many bent pins he has caused in his socket and why he keeps losing memory channels ... The point of the video is he paid a price for using a liquid cooler mounted on a LGA 3647 socket . Maybe someone should manufacture a liquid cooled heatsink for a PHM and his issues would be solved .

There's a very good reason the LGA 3647 workstation boards use PHM and why Intel's official processor installation video for this socket uses a PHM as well .

With regards to removing the Mac Pro 7,1's processor once the wire clamp has been removed , the two metal heatsink standoff plates on either side of the socket still prevent the silicon from being removed .
The socket has two indentations on the narrow sides that are intended for finger grabbing points , but those plates interfere with that .

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 5.35.31 PM copy.png


I spent half an hour and half a dozen attempts trying to get enough purchase with my fingers and failed . And my fingers are small . If those plates could be removed , the processor might be removable using just fingers . Assuming its still a good idea to remove or install such a large chip with just fingers . Hint : It's Not .

And before you ask , I attempted to remove one of the T8 fasteners on that plate and also failed . It must have a ton of Loctite on the fastener's threads . I'm going to try to remove it next time with a T handle torx driver to see if that helps . But my straight handle driver couldn't do the job . For anyone attempting to remove these fasteners , remember to remove the wire clamp first .

The iFixit video showing the removal of the chip with just fingers has both those heatsink standoff plates removed . But they also completely tore down their Mac Pro 7,1 as well .

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 5.34.32 PM.png



Maybe the solution to processor installation with the Mac Pro 7,1 is to find a way to remove those plates first , remove the factory silicon , install the upgrade silicon , reattach those plates and then finally reinstall the heatsink . But there should be a better way than to use just fingers for this . I think its an unnecessary risk and there are going to be a lot of bent pins in the sockets because of it .

One final note - because Apple didn't use a bolster plate as a part of their socket design , a LGA 3647 socket protection cover cannot be locked onto the socket . So while you're doing all this servicing , 3,647 unprotected pins are subject to being damaged and the socket the recipient of particulate contamination . This is not a trivial issue as every time you use a driver very small particles of metal get removed from the fasteners . I personally clean all my drivers after use - at least the ones I use for electronics work .

It would really help if there was a service manual available .
 

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pmau

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It won't be.

...

2009 - 2017 didn't see a lot of progress in computing technology. We went from PCIe 2.0 to PCIe 3.0. The 7,1 is outdated today AFA I/O, and it will just be getting worse - PCIe 5.0 is due to launch in 2020.
People should give you a ton of likes for this. Sorry for cutting the quotes above.
There are a lot of standards changing in the near future.

Everyone considering the MacPro right now, should at least consider that you might end up with the Trashcan situation. PCIe lanes, CPU Options, RAM Speed / Channels.

You cannot even predict GPU availability for the MacPro, if you can buy them from Apple at all.

I'm not excited about the MacPro, people seem to say Apple "did it" and finally supports the "Pro" market.
My prediction is that this MacPro is dead as the Trashcan in two to three years.

Hate me for it. It's not a machine to consider.
 

Passingby

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People should give you a ton of likes for this. Sorry for cutting the quotes above.
There are a lot of standards changing in the near future.

Everyone considering the MacPro right now, should at least consider that you might end up with the Trashcan situation. PCIe lanes, CPU Options, RAM Speed / Channels.

You cannot even predict GPU availability for the MacPro, if you can buy them from Apple at all.

I'm not excited about the MacPro, people seem to say Apple "did it" and finally supports the "Pro" market.
My prediction is that this MacPro is dead as the Trashcan in two to three years.

Hate me for it. It's not a machine to consider.
True. After the initial hype and hysteria of a new release wears off everyone sees the reality that the under specced expensive wall garden remains.

When you add your own off the shelf GPUs, the graphics card's exhaust in the PCIE bracket isn't enough to remove heat from the system. The heat rises from the cards to the top of the case where the CPU is. Whose smart idea was it to put no exhaust fan in the top rear corner when there is space for one?
 
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cwkoller5

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...

Everyone considering the MacPro right now, should at least consider that you might end up with the Trashcan situation. PCIe lanes, CPU Options, RAM Speed / Channels.

...
The trashcan was a different slice of hell. All pros wanted Apple to do was upgrade the cheese grater with the latest everything. Instead they overthought it and gave us that dainty, thermally throttled thing. At least the new Pro is back in the old cMP vein. Macs will never be as free range as PCs, and some will certainly hackintosh their way along, but for others who want real Apple iron, this day has been a long time coming and will probably move the platform along much, much better than the trash can.
 

Passingby

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The trashcan was a different slice of hell. All pros wanted Apple to do was upgrade the cheese grater with the latest everything. Instead they overthought it and gave us that dainty, thermally throttled thing. At least the new Pro is back in the old cMP vein. Macs will never be as free range as PCs, and some will certainly hackintosh their way along, but for others who want real Apple iron, this day has been a long time coming and will probably move the platform along much, much better than the trash can.
The problem with that is most video editors have moved to Windows, Threadripper and CUDA and don't want to come back. Most CG guys the same and they have never been well looked after by macOS.

The plot hole in the story is this machine has CPUs that aren't as fast as the Intel Cascade Lake or 3rd Gen Threadripper and it has AMD Radeons that aren't as fast as Nvidia's best.

It's not super attractive and will look even weaker in 2020-2021. Will Apple update the CPU and motherboard every year to keep up with the rest of the industry? At that price point it will piss off a lot of customers who buy a month before an update.

Linus has his review coming up and he will point out that having a non-removable non-upgradable boot drive is a big no-no for workstation users. Sure do that on an iPad but not on something as important as a computer for work. The built in drive or the T2 fails in the middle of work and you're screwed. No warranty, dead meat. With a PC you can pick up a motherboard or an SSD in hours.
 

Macsonic

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There’s this video from MaxTech indicating that the 2019 Mac Pro’s CPU and Graphic Cards are user upgradeable. The author removed the CPU heatsink as demo and tried installing a Radeon 5700 XT GPU and worked ok. Though upgrading the SSD was not yet possible as the design is proprietary. In the coming months, we might get more info on the upgradeability of the 2019 Mac Pro


Another video showing which PCIe cards you can install in the 2019 Mac Pro
 

Snow Tiger

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Dec 18, 2019
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There’s this video from MaxTech indicating that the 2019 Mac Pro’s CPU and Graphic Cards are user upgradeable. The author removed the CPU heatsink as demo and tried installing a Radeon 5700 XT GPU and worked ok. Though upgrading the SSD was not yet possible as the design is proprietary. In the coming months, we might get more info on the upgradeability of the 2019 Mac Pro


Another video showing which PCIe cards you can install in the 2019 Mac Pro
What happened after he refreshed his NVRAM ? I performed the first CPU upgrade with the Mac Pro 7,1 and it worked fine until I pressed the PRAM keys at start up .

His method of processor removal is really quite risky - just letting it drop out of the vertically positioned socket isn't a good idea . I could have done that quite easily when I got my Mac Pro 7,1 , but I performed a proper removal .

And funny he didn't show in the video how to install the processor in the empty socket . With those standoff plates intact , he'd have to drop that silicon in horizontally from an unhealthy height . Don't even think of installing a LGA 3647 processor vertically . The silicon must be gently lowered evenly on all the socket pins simultaneously .
 

devnull16

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2018
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@Snow Tiger Based on your CPU replacement, is it safe to assume I can probably install a Xeon processor with same socket on the Mac Pro 7,1? I have the W-3175X which seems fully compatible. I still have not pulled the trigger on the Mac Pro though
 

tmorgan4

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2019
17
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@Snow Tiger Based on your CPU replacement, is it safe to assume I can probably install a Xeon processor with same socket on the Mac Pro 7,1? I have the W-3175X which seems fully compatible. I still have not pulled the trigger on the Mac Pro though
I too was wanting to install a W-3175X. Others have pointed out that the W-3175X has the higher 255W TDP which may make it incompatible. Really hoping someone tries it out soon.

For anyone who has not installed a LGA3647 CPU @Snow Tiger has some very valid concerns. Installing a CPU is normally very simple but this one is different. It's extremely easy to damage this socket both on the Apple and non-Apple motherboards.
 

ssgbryan

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Jul 18, 2002
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I too was wanting to install a W-3175X. Others have pointed out that the W-3175X has the higher 255W TDP which may make it incompatible. Really hoping someone tries it out soon.
How many folks do you think will risk bricking a $6,000 to $54,000 computer with an unapproved CPU upgrade?
 
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bsbeamer

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YouTubers will. Professionals buying these machines under warranty absolutely will not touch the CPU for at least 3 years until their (fairly reasonably priced for $6K+ machine) AppleCare plan ends. Who knows what official options may be available by then, or other CPUs that actually seem like taking the risk could be justified. Right now, there’s little “benefit” vs options from Apple, with the only barrier being cost.
 

Passingby

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YouTubers will. Professionals buying these machines under warranty absolutely will not touch the CPU for at least 3 years until their (fairly reasonably priced for $6K+ machine) AppleCare plan ends. Who knows what official options may be available by then, or other CPUs that actually seem like taking the risk could be justified. Right now, there’s little “benefit” vs options from Apple, with the only barrier being cost.
This LGA3647 server socket is a bad choice for a workstation. The performance has already topped out and is slow compared to Intel Core X/Ryzen/Threadripper. The Cascade Lake Xeons for this socket have a low clock speed. There's no good upgrade path to take later on after your warranty has expired. Also if your T2 or built in SSD suddenly fails after warranty expired the whole machine is dead meat. It's a big expensive risk. Replacement parts will be super expensive for a long time.

A safer choice would have been Xeon LGA2066, even if that socket has also topped out the performance per core is about 20% faster. For single or low threaded (which means most of the time) workloads the user would be much happier.

If anyone thinks these machines are a bit slow now, in a couple of years these machines are going to look ridiculously slow compared to PCs. The whole business model Apple is pursuing is the same as SGI in the late 90s. Even this MXM module looks like the modules of the O2. Look what happened to SGIs workstations when faced with faster and faster PCs.
 
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Snow Tiger

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Dec 18, 2019
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@Snow Tiger Based on your CPU replacement, is it safe to assume I can probably install a Xeon processor with same socket on the Mac Pro 7,1? I have the W-3175X which seems fully compatible. I still have not pulled the trigger on the Mac Pro though
Interestingly , Apple has stated in their promo materials that the CPU socket will provide over 300 Watts of juice . That is just awesomely a lot and makes for some really seriously high end single processor configurations . This is the thing I love about Apple - the over-engineering and over-manufacturing of their top of the line computers .

For instance , no silicon Apple shipped with these machines uses a rated TDP of more than 205 W . On the PC side we'd need to worry Intel's printed specs are too conservative . Historically with the Mac Pros , our Xeons actually consume less juice than the printed specs when placed at full load . I suspect Apple must be under-volting them .

Here's a chart of the W series and the U suffix series Xeons . These are strict single processor system silicon . My 24 Core 6212U that I used in the upgrade absolutely sips power even at load :

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 3.52.11 PM.png


Now for the bad news and I hate to rain on your parade .

The W-3175X , while consuming 255 W , has the wrong core stepping ( H0 ) . It doesn't match the steppings ( B1 ) of the Xeons Apple ships with the MP 7,1 . My 6212U also has B1 stepping , so I knew there was a reasonably good chance of compatibility . The thing I worried about was intel's marketing of their silicon . Would my Gold 6212U really be in the same subfamily of processors as the W series ? It seems it is .

Unless Apple really felt generous and plans future compatibility with this version , the W-3175X won't work .
 

giggles

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Dec 15, 2012
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(I wanna thank all the pro market experts here who just signed up to macrumors, they really opened my eyes on what a majestic fail this walled garden overpriced obsolete excuse for a workstation is. Thanks guys.)
 
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John_B Beta

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Feb 7, 2004
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What happened after he refreshed his NVRAM ? I performed the first CPU upgrade with the Mac Pro 7,1 and it worked fine until I pressed the PRAM keys at start up .

His method of processor removal is really quite risky - just letting it drop out of the vertically positioned socket isn't a good idea . I could have done that quite easily when I got my Mac Pro 7,1 , but I performed a proper removal .

And funny he didn't show in the video how to install the processor in the empty socket . With those standoff plates intact , he'd have to drop that silicon in horizontally from an unhealthy height . Don't even think of installing a LGA 3647 processor vertically . The silicon must be gently lowered evenly on all the socket pins simultaneously .
God I just watched that and was wtf-ing the whole time watching him remove the heat sync with the thing standing upright - waiting for it to drop. :shudder: AND him just saying - 'yeahhhh you can upgrade the CPU' with no testing or evidence apart from physically it can be done lolol
 

giggles

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Dec 15, 2012
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Linus has his review coming up and he will point out that having a non-removable non-upgradable boot drive is a big no-no for workstation users. Sure do that on an iPad but not on something as important as a computer for work. The built in drive or the T2 fails in the middle of work and you're screwed. No warranty, dead meat. With a PC you can pick up a motherboard or an SSD in hours.
Why not keep a whole base mac pro as spare, if it comes to being so mission critical that you need same-day replacement?

Consider it a spare motherboard that costs 6k$.

Apple’s SSD can be ignored, just always order the 256GB never ever ever use it. (Linus Sebastian, I’m not calling him Linus like he’s Prince or Oprah, kinda missed this little detail)

Let’s say you’re an IT department and you order 6 x 28k$ Mac Pro, you can order 2 more “unloaded” 6K$ ones as spare motherboards+T2+ssd (which again, should not be used).

I’m sure people have pricey spares for RED cameras and stuff, too..

If you really want a Mac Pro, a silent killer WS with MacOS on it and 12 thundebolt3 ports, you won’t be stopped by this kind of little hurdles..
 

Passingby

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Apple’s SSD can be ignored, just always order the 256GB never ever ever use it.
That's a big plot hole. You pay for a boot drive that you never use then. The motherboard is so big Apple should just have put two normal m.2 sockets on it and stop tying the damn boot drive to the T2. A walled garden just to increase costs on the user. Most companies and creators are not made out of money and most people are living pay check to pay check. Everyone is desperate to save money so when a greedy corporation manipulates customers to spend more and more money and make their big shareholders even richer then that REALLY sucks.
 
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