CPU upgrade of 8-core 2009 Mac Pro?

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
Hi,

I've read a few threads here, including the brilliant one about upgrading a 3.2 4-core to 6-core:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551

After reading that you can 'make' a 2009 Mac Pro into a 2010 version, I was wondering if it's possible to do a dual CPU upgrade as well?

I'd love to get a new Mac Pro (typing on a 2007 Macbook Pro 2.4 which is still great, but a bit slow) but it seems DIY is the only affordable rate at this time for me.

Therefore, is it possible to get an 8-core 2.26 2009 Mac Pro and then-
'Upgrade' it to 5,1 - then replace the CPUs with Xeon 5600 series ones since they all use LGA 1366 Sockets?
I'd be specifically looking to put in two Xeon X5650 2.66GHz as they seem to be available at a decent price.

Am I daydreaming here, as it seems too easy to jump from Geekbench scores of about 13000 to 22000 for a very small investment, or is this entirely feasible? Thanks for any help an apologies if it's been gone over before.

**Edit-I'd be looking to run fluid simulations like Realflow on it and some multithreaded video rendering**
 
Last edited:

Rainier42

macrumors member
Aug 21, 2009
69
0
Am looking at the same thing since I have a MP 2009. Have already run the utility, which upgrades my firmware to a 2010 Mac Pro however, have not purchased any MP hex cores since they are still very expensive. An alternative would be to install a pair of quad cores w5580 processors.

Thoughts?
 

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
Am looking at the same thing since I have a MP 2009. Have already run the utility, which upgrades my firmware to a 2010 Mac Pro however, have not purchased any MP hex cores since they are still very expensive. An alternative would be to install a pair of quad cores w5580 processors.

Thoughts?
While some places are expensive, I have seen some very cheap second hand CPUs though :)

And some cheap new ones on eBay.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,720
1,820
While some places are expensive, I have seen some very cheap second hand CPUs though :)

And some cheap new ones on eBay.
I would stick to ones that are either tested by others or those that Apple actually uses in the mac pros. There are a couple bleeding edge units that Apple never took on, and they tend to be cost prohibitive even today. X5687 comes to mind.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
Am looking at the same thing since I have a MP 2009. Have already run the utility, which upgrades my firmware to a 2010 Mac Pro however, have not purchased any MP hex cores since they are still very expensive. An alternative would be to install a pair of quad cores w5580 processors.

Thoughts?
You can't install two W processors into a Mac Pro. W processors can only be run in single processor mode. You have to install two E or X processors.

----------

While some places are expensive, I have seen some very cheap second hand CPUs though :)

And some cheap new ones on eBay.
What do you consider Cheap? The X56XX series is still pretty expensive new (i.e. $1500-3000 for a pair).
 

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
I would stick to ones that are either tested by others or those that Apple actually uses in the mac pros. There are a couple bleeding edge units that Apple never took on, and they tend to be cost prohibitive even today. X5687 comes to mind.
That's kind of what I was thinking - that the Xeon X5650 2.66GHz was the one used in their 12-core official system?

What do you consider Cheap? The X56XX series is still pretty expensive new (i.e. $1500-3000 for a pair).
About $400 for the X5650 2.66GHz - does that sound crazy? I'm new to investigating this stuff. Thanks for the help!
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
That's kind of what I was thinking - that the Xeon X5650 2.66GHz was the one used in their 12-core official system?



About $400 for the X5650 2.66GHz - does that sound crazy? I'm new to investigating this stuff. Thanks for the help!
Seems pretty cheap. I haven't priced them though since I don't have a 2009 or better. I know Newegg sells them new for $1000 so $400 for a used chip seems more than reasonable (almost too good?). The X5650 also has one of the best max turbo at 3.06ghz (a .5 ghz increase!).
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,720
1,820
That's kind of what I was thinking - that the Xeon X5650 2.66GHz was the one used in their 12-core official system?



About $400 for the X5650 2.66GHz - does that sound crazy? I'm new to investigating this stuff. Thanks for the help!
That seems worth it. I noted your uses. While I don't have Realflow and can't justify the cost for very occasional use, I get the amount of computation required there. The X5650 was used in the official 12 core systems. The W3680 is used in the hex core, but that won't work in dual package systems. A nice thing about cpus is that they don't commonly go bad if used in their intended manner, although I would fully stress test the system once it's up and running to ensure all is well. I'd also run memtest prior to the upgrade to make sure your ram is perfect. I like to take precautions.
 

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
I know Newegg sells them new for $1000 so $400 for a used chip seems more than reasonable (almost too good?).
EDIT*Made a mistake here, says clearly on their page 'A0 Stepping. Will not Work on Intel Made Motherboard.' whoops-How about about $400...new (or so they claim?)-
http://www.ebay.ie/itm/Intel-Xeon-X5650-2-66GHz-12MB-LGA-1366-Hex-Core-32nm-95W-Q3QN-/261086829191?pt=UK_Computing_CPUs_Processors&hash=item3cc9fcda87#ht_1218wt_1163

Here's a list of CPUs associated with LGA 1366 Socket if anyone fancy a quick gander-
http://www.cpu-world.com/Sockets/Socket%201366%20(LGA1366).html

That seems worth it. I noted your uses. While I don't have Realflow and can't justify the cost for very occasional use, I get the amount of computation required there. The X5650 was used in the official 12 core systems. The W3680 is used in the hex core, but that won't work in dual package systems. A nice thing about cpus is that they don't commonly go bad if used in their intended manner, although I would fully stress test the system once it's up and running to ensure all is well. I'd also run memtest prior to the upgrade to make sure your ram is perfect. I like to take precautions.
Thanks for the input. 12-cores at 2.66 is probably more than I need really, but if I can get a used 2009 Mac Pro 8-core for about $2500 and put in my own CPUs for $800 **EDIT-Fat chance, the cheapest are more like $800 each!***and a total cost of about $3300 it seems a steal at that price - well, in Ireland anyway as a new 12-core is $3799 in US while it's $5000 (3999eu!) here.
 
Last edited:

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
Dang it. After more carefully reading that eBay link above it turns out the X5650s are 'A0 Stepping. Will not Work on Intel Made Motherboard.' - so that's that out. paulrbeers above was right on the money by saying 'almost too good?'.

So, it turns out they're more like $800ea. at best.

Perhaps the now famous 6-core W3680 method is best after all.
 

arri

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2008
19
0
integrated heat spreader

wow, not sure why no one has mentioned that the 2009 8 core, and 4 core use different chips. the 8 core use a modified cpu with no integrated heat spreader i believe. so when you put in a stock intel cpu it does not fit properly. anandtech did an upgrade, and broke a cpu. look up the anandtech article and it will clarify, and backup what i am saying. different cpu. you can try an upgrade, but its not an easy drop in replace, no problem kind of job. its the wrong part, hope i don't %%%% it up kind of job.
 
Last edited:

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
wow, not sure why no one has mentioned that the 2009 8 core, and 4 core use different chips. the 8 core use a modified cpu with no integrated heat spreader i believe. so when you put in a stock intel cpu it does not fit properly. anandtech did an upgrade, and broke a cpu. look up the anandtech article and it will clarify, and backup what i am saying. different cpu. you can try an upgrade, but its not an easy drop in replace, no problem kind of job. its the wrong part, hope i don't %%%% it up kind of job.
Yes everyone is already aware of that. There are whole threads on how to get around this using washers. It has been done many times.
 

langer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
22
0
Ireland
wow, not sure why no one has mentioned that the 2009 8 core, and 4 core use different chips. the 8 core use a modified cpu with no integrated heat spreader i believe. so when you put in a stock intel cpu it does not fit properly. anandtech did an upgrade, and broke a cpu. look up the anandtech article and it will clarify, and backup what i am saying. different cpu. you can try an upgrade, but its not an easy drop in replace, no problem kind of job. its the wrong part, hope i don't %%%% it up kind of job.
Yep, the AnandTech article's a good one-
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2800/upgrading-and-analyzing-apple-s-nehalem-mac-pro/10

It does concern a quad to quad upgrade of an 8-core 2.26 2009 model, while I was wondering about an upgrade to 12-core.

What I've learned today after much reading is that, by and large:
-you need Xeon X56** series chips for dual CPU set up-
-They cost a lot
-There are some out there with different stepping which render them useless
-The 2009 dual CPU is more difficult to upgrade than single
-You need to be very careful with the height of the chips, you may need washers to raise the heat sinks up a little to stop you from tightening them too close the CPUs and ruining the board.

Here's the Netkas page with stuff about washers-
http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,852.225.html

Is that all about right? And is a common upgrade? Anybody done it?
 

spoonie1972

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2012
547
47
Toronto
-There are some out there with different stepping which render them useless

anyone have the list of which stepping codes do, and do not, work?