Early 2008 Mac Pro Processor upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Josh-H, May 23, 2013.

  1. Josh-H macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008
    I would like to know if it is possible to upgrade the processors in my early 2008 mac pro.

    I have a 2 x quad core 2.8 Ghz early 2008 mac pro which I use for heavy lifting image processing. It runs a Apple RAID card with 4 WD 3TB Hard drives and an OWC PCI 480GB SSD for boot and apps. Its kitted out with 32 gig of ram.

    I really want to keep extending this machines life rather than purchasing the new model and a processor upgrade seems the only way left to move forward.

    From what I have read a processor upgrade to 3.2GHZ is theoreticlaly possible. This was the fastest processor apple offered in this model.

    Im just not exactly sure what parts I need to make this work. I found these processors on ebay which I 'think' are the right ones?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
  3. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    E5482/SLANZ is the only CPU´s that will run in your 2008 MP.
    Be aware of the TDP, which is nearly twice as the 5462/5472...
    If you do the upgrade, do your selv a favour, and buy a 9" hex key - 6" is too short.

    Attached Files:

  4. Atomic101, May 24, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013

    Atomic101 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
  5. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. FiveD macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2013
    I'm in the same boat. MacPro 3,1. 2.8GHz. I don't see the 3.2 upgrade as netting you much. Same CPU architecture, only a slight frequency increase. The increased thermal load is all you are netting yourself. The biggest problem with this generation of hardware is the memory bandwidth. Nahalem and newer have a vastly superior memory architecture and that is where the big wins come from. That isn't what anyone wants to hear, but I would pocket the CPU money for something else.
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I agree with this as $300 for at most 15% extra performance is a lot when you can get 25%-60% from a 2009 8-core. Especially when you can put together a 2009 with 32GB of RAM and a pair of used 2.93GHz quad-core Xeons for $1,600 and a 2.8GHz 2008 with 32GB RAM can fetch $1,000 still.

    However he has a working setup and knows how that system has been treated and the RAID complicates transferring to something newer too.
  8. bax2003 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2011
    Upgrading CPU of MP 3.1 8-core 2.8.....no. Too much heat and money for tiny speed up.
  9. FiveD macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2013
    Sure. I wasn't advocating buying a new computer instead. :)
  10. Atomic101, May 25, 2013
    Last edited: May 25, 2013

    Atomic101 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Buy a (new) 2009 tec mac pro ?- they are not much faster & are still old tech. Unless obviosly your buying a dual hex but that's going to be a bit more than $300.

    2008 mac pro upgrade to 3.2 with ZDnet overclock to 3.55 is faster than the latest iMac 3.3 or a 3.33 Hex core mac pro or a Dual 2.4 Mac Pro. Mine cinebences 8.45 & is used to render full blast for days at a time. -& has been doing this for over 2 years

    The 3.2 upgrade will be noticably faster & will help give your old machene a boost until the new pro comes along.

    Max upgrades 2008 ram cooler:
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I agree with Umbongo. I recently upgraded from a 2008 2.8x8 to a 2010 2.4x8 and everything seems noticeably faster.
  12. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    But if one could get a good deal (pair of 5482 under $200, it happens), these 15% are worth it IMO. Let's do the quick math:
    8 hours of rendering per day, 20 business days in a month = 160 hrs. 160*0,15 = 24hrs = 3 business days saved in a month. Worth it? ;)
  13. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Sometimes I just wish I lived in another country...
    The cheapest 2009 DP I´ve seen, was refurbished from Germany - $2.700. And that´s with the small 2,4GHz CPU´s.
    If I could find one around the mentioned $1.600, I wouldn´t think twice about the upgrade.
  14. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Search for "mac pro 2.26" on classifieds and eBay and you can find them cheap. Source X5570s or W5580s from US eBay and even with sales tax you can get a "cheap" and fast 8-core Mac Pro.

    Or search for "mac pro 2.66 2009" and add a Core i7-970, i7-980, i7-980X, i7-990X or Xeon W3680 for a fast 6-core. You don't have to deal with the fiddly heatsink issue that way and the i7s can be easier to find locally cheaply. Just sometimes you can get an 8-core for the same sort of price and then you get double the memory capacity too.
  15. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Upgrading to 3.2ghz will show improved speed but not by a wide margin as other members have mentioned. Though the 2008 Mac Pro is still adequate for most users today and this model is quite popular among pro users. Not sure what videocard you are using but may also help upgrading the GPU.
  16. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2008
    Buying the latest MP is a much safer road to get more speed out of the MP3,1. Upgrading the MP3,1 is a bit of work, as you have to upgrade the cooling of the RAM etc. And, the speed increase is not great.

    However, selling an MP3,1 is still good business, and you can easily transfer goodies like RAID cards, HDs, upgraded videocards, etc., to a "new" MP5,1, or simply wait for the 2013 version soon to hit the shops...
  17. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    IMHO, upgrading Harpertowns isn't even worth the money and effort. You'd still be on the same old school FSB architecture and the small frequency increase really isn't justified. Even when the 3,1s were new machines in 2008, the CTO CPU upgrades weren't really worth the extra money to most of us.

    The 3.2GHz CPUs also use larger heatsinks (because of the much higher TDP). I'm not so sure how safe it would be to use the 3.2GHz parts with the 2.8/3.0 heatsinks. And Apple heatsinks aren't exactly cheap ($80-100 each).

    If you really want something significantly faster (but not new), it makes a lot more sense to sell the 3,1 while it's still worth something and move up to a used 4,1. There's a lot more upgrade potential there. The RAM is a lot cheaper, too.
  18. Ludacrisvp macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    I just completed an upgrade of my 2x quad 2.8 early 2008 MP3,1 to the 3.2GHz models.

    Not sure what makes you think the 3.2GHz heatsinks are larger... They aren't.
    The only difference is the type of thermal compound used if you read the service manual for the MP3,1 you would realize this.

    I spent $190 shipped on a matched pair from eBay, to me this finally hit a price point low enough to be justifiable to breathe a little more life into this machine before I consider getting the new model Mac Pro, perhaps I will wait until it hits the next revision before picking one up.

    They are running about 8*C cooler than my 2.8GHz procs were running at idle.
    They didn't seem to run any hotter than the 2.8GHz procs did while running a video encoding test. The encoding showed about a 14% speed increase in the encoding operation using handbrake. I can only wonder what kinds of speeds will be seen when handbrake finally supports OpenCL on Mac so I can take advantage of the dual graphics cards I have. (GTX 650 / HD5770)
  19. Gav Mack, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Thankfully I bought mine with 3.2's already installed, not sure if I had the 2.8 I would bother.

    Which thermal compound you using - AS-5? Those temps seem a pretty good drop I may be tempted to give mine a repaste. Could you be more specific re idle and peak?

    Your name rings a very loud bell - unless I am wrong I believe I'm one of many who have to thank you very much for getting the AHCI mod for bootcamp off the ground over on insanelymac. Thanks also go out to johnsock too.

    Unless I've made a complete arse and got the wrong Ludacrisvp :D
  20. elvisizer macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2003
    San Jose
    I had the same experience as luda when doing my upgrade- I used quality thermal paste, made sure to apply it properly, and I'm seeing lower temps across the board with the 3.2's vs my old 2.8's on the same heatsinks.
    the speedbump wasn't much, but i found the cpu's for $100 each, so I figured why not? It's helped a bit with some hefty plugins I use in logic pro, and sped up handbreak encodes, but it wasn't a major upgrade.
    If you can get the procs cheap, go for it.

    (for reference, I'm booting 10.9.1 off an ssd with an nvidia 680 gtx and 16 GB of ram)
  21. Ludacrisvp, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    Ludacrisvp macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    Lol it is me. The whole AHCI thing really bugged me (as you can tell) I just couldn't stand not using all of the hardware I paid for. Luckily there were others that felt the same way. Glad it was able to help you and many others out as well.

    I used the thermal paste the seller supplied with the processors. It was whitish so I don't think it was arctic 5 (it's been a while since I used A5).

    The temp I compared was idle vs idle with no fan speed modification tool installed (it's a fresh mav install and I didn't get around to installing one).

    After starting a render and running for about an hour the temp was slightly higher than I expected but the towers fans never kicked up they were still in slow mode so the Mac didn't consider the temp to be too high.

    I installed the fan control prefpane and bumped the fan speed to 1,700 rpm (base) and 40/70 split for the temp sliders and the temp dropped quickly to the point where it's about the same temp at load as the stock processors were at idle, maybe +3 degrees C. That tuning of the slider keeps the actual fan speed just under/at 2k rpm which is relatively quiet for the area I'm in. Without the fan increase the temp was about 57C which is a bit higher than I'd like but is within Xeon spec. So added the fan control mod to lower the temp.

    So at 100% CPU load sustained for 1+ hours with fan increased to just under 2k rpm I see CPU A - D temp diode ranging between 41-44C with both heatsinks at 26C in a room that is ambient temp of 22C/72F.
    Idle CPU in the same ambient temp and stock fan speed was around 36C. The old ones ran typically at 40-42C idle for me.

    I think the fresh thermal compound is likely helping keep the temps lower than they used to be when using the 2.8 procs.

    Overall I am not concerned of temp of the processors after seeing it at load. The temps are very close to stock.

    When I bought mine new I couldn't justify the extra cost for the 3.2GHz procs.
    Using the "wayback machine" to look up costs of processors:
    One 2.8GHZ Quad-Core Intel Xeon [Subtract $500.00]
    Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon [Add $800.00]
    Two 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon [Add $1,600.00]

    These are the CTO options I went with:
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s [Add $50.00]
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB [Add $150.00]
    Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse [Add $20.00]
    AirPort Extreme Card (Wi-Fi) [Add $50.00]

    So $1,600 then to get the extra speed wasn't worth it, but now many years later a bit less than $200 is worth it.

    I've since added the GTX 650, HD5770, USB3 PCIe cards, several hard drives and a BD-RE SATA optical drive and have 18GB of RAM.
    Tried to add a LSI RAID controller card that I was given but the Mac doesn't POST it properly, it works in the Hackintosh quite well though.
  22. Ludacrisvp macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    Its been a few days and no issues seen so far.

    Idle temps are around 28°C with ambient air at 23°C.


    Now to tackle figuring out a way to add a PCIe card and upgrade to SATAIII / 6Gbps controller.

    I was hoping to do that with the LSI RAID card I have (which would allow me to continue using stock drive setup, just move the iPass cable over from the side of the logic board and plug it into the RAID card and done) but the Mac won't POST the card.

    I glanced at a thread that talks about doing an upgrade to 6Gbps SATA on the 4,1/5,1 but haven't really dug into it.
  23. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    I use the solo x2 in slot 2 with 840 evo, port 2 on the x2 to the bootcamp 840 evo which has optical power split to also the usb 3.0 card. The bootcamp SSD is actually stuck on top of the one installed in the solo x2 via 4 thermal sticky pads at each corner.

    Gives me SATA 3 for both OSX and windows 7x64 boot and all 4 sleds for data, 2 of which I wouldn't have without your help ;)
  24. Ludacrisvp macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    I'm also running a 840 EVO ... really disappointed in the performance from it compared to another SSD I use in my work computer. The EVO is about 1/3rd or 1/2 the performance of the Corsair Force 3 SSD (which is a SATA-III drive like the EVO) I maybe see 100MB/s with the EVO ... read/write doesn't seem to matter.

    Intel 5 Series Chipset:
      Vendor:			Intel
      Product:			5 Series Chipset
      Link Speed:			3 Gigabit
      Negotiated Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
      Physical Interconnect:	SATA
      Description:			AHCI Version 1.30 Supported
    Corsair Force 3 SSD:
      Capacity:			90.03 GB (90,028,302,336 bytes)
      Model:			Corsair Force 3 SSD                     
      Revision:			1.3.3   
      Serial Number:		1203820500000712049C
      Native Command Queuing:	Yes
      Queue Depth:			32
      Removable Media:		No
      Detachable Drive:		No
      BSD Name:			disk0
      Medium Type:			Solid State
      TRIM Support:			No
      Partition Map Type:		GPT (GUID Partition Table)
      S.M.A.R.T. status:		Verified
    So I'm looking to upgrade with this path:

    StarTech.com PCI Express 2.0 SATA III 6Gbps Mini-SAS (SFF-8087) RAID Controller Card w/ HyperDuo SSD Tiering - PCIe SATA 6Gb RAID Card
    Chipset: Marvell 88SE9230
    Model #: PEXSAT34SFF
    Newegg shows it as Mac OSX compatible http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816129107
    Startech shows it as well http://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapt...Controller-Card-Mini-SAS-SFF-8087~PEXSAT34SFF

    So I install that card in one of my PCIe slots and add this handy (expensive) cable:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AN50E5S (14" female to male mini-SAS / iPass / SFF-8087 extension cable)
    and I can plug the new card into the stock wiring of the machine so I can retain the use of the existing drive caddy structure.
    Then I'll take the other mini-SAS breakout cable I have from the LSI controller that I tried to use and run that into the optical bay area which will give me 4 SATA connectors in the optical bay and since they would be the ESB2 onboard ones I would be able to boot windows from SATA ODD in IDE mode and I can remove the Apple Shipping drive superdrive and not need IDE/PATA cables in there any longer.

    The only worry I have is .... is it bootable with this new card...

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