Help with early 2009 mac pro upgrades?

aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
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I have a 2009 4.1 Mac Pro 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with the stock NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB card, 32 mb of Ram I am running 10.11.6
I would like to know a few things.
I mostly do image editing, no video. Photoshop and Corel Painter
Is it worth it for me to flash to 5.1?
I also want to watch videos at 4k on a TV (not streaming). Do I need to upgrade the graphics card if so which one?
Will I need the 5.1 flash and upgrade OS to accommodate a newer graphics Card?
Finally I have considered upgrading processors to 12 core westmere. But i understand Photoshop can't really utilize multicore well so is this a waste? I mostly have no speed issues except for some lag in painter when it comes to the larger brushes.
Thanks!
 

Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
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Toronto, Canada
Flashing to a 5,1 would allow you to use a Radeon 580 which is good value for the money and has native OS X drivers. You'd want to update to Mojave to get the best performance from the card though. Also, the firmware updates from Mojave are required to get the 580 to work properly in your MacPro. The first OS that had drivers for 580 cards was Sierra 10.12.6 but newer OS's have better drivers, so I'd recommend Mojave or High Sierra.

There are other Graphic Card options available for that MacPro like the Nvidia 680 or Radeon 280/7950, and PC variants of those cards can be flashed to have boot screens. There are posts on how to do this is in the forum.

You'd have no boot screens with that Radeon 580 card however, so I'd recommend keeping the GT120 so you can have that option available for troubleshooting. Depending on whether you decide to go that route.
 

aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
90
9
Flashing to a 5,1 would allow you to use a Radeon 580 which is good value for the money and has native OS X drivers. You'd want to update to Mojave to get the best performance from the card though. Also, the firmware updates from Mojave are required to get the 580 to work properly in your MacPro. The first OS that had drivers for 580 cards was Sierra 10.12.6 but newer OS's have better drivers, so I'd recommend Mojave or High Sierra.

There are other Graphic Card options available for that MacPro like the Nvidia 680 or Radeon 280/7950, and PC variants of those cards can be flashed to have boot screens. There are posts on how to do this is in the forum.

You'd have no boot screens with that Radeon 580 card however, so I'd recommend keeping the GT120 so you can have that option available for troubleshooting. Depending on whether you decide to go that route.
I run 2 monitors. If I run the Radeon to the 4k and the GT120 to another monitor, will I get a boot screen on it?
Can I run 2 GT120's and the Radeon? When I work in Painter I wouid like to use my 2 smaller monitors side by side each on the 120s and then the 4k TV on the Radeon mirrored to one of the smaller monitors?
 

Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
272
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Toronto, Canada
As far as I know, the GT120 isn't going to work in Mojave. There are issues with Metal. I overlooked your original post mentioning 4k support.

The following thread discussed 4k with the 580 but running a second card, you'll likely have to forgo the GT120 in Mojave. Maybe the 580 can drive the other two displays?

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/which-5-1-4k-video-card-metal-support.2127150/#post-26236778

There are some great minds on here that likely know much more than I do regarding what to do based on your setup requirements. tsialex, h9826790, LightBulbFun and DearthnVader come to mind... among others.
 

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
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I run 2 monitors. If I run the Radeon to the 4k and the GT120 to another monitor, will I get a boot screen on it?
Can I run 2 GT120's and the Radeon? When I work in Painter I wouid like to use my 2 smaller monitors side by side each on the 120s and then the 4k TV on the Radeon mirrored to one of the smaller monitors?
if you have your 4K TV hooked up to the Radeon RX580, and the two smaller monitors to the GT120, you will see a boot screen on one of the small monitors hooked up to GT120. I have used a similar setup in High Sierra. 10.13.4+ will ID the RX580 appropriately in About This Mac. Mojave will work with the RX580, and the GT120 will "technically work" in Mojave but without acceleration. So the GT120 is going to lag and be very annoying to use at the very least in 10.14+. The RX580 has 5 outputs (two DP, two HDMI, one dual link DVI) so you could technically use that card alone to drive all three monitors. You may need to utilize some adapters though depending on what inputs you are working with on the monitors. For the screen mirroring that is easy stuff, just view your settings in the Display window (found in System Settings) to mirror which monitor and change appropriately.
 
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Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
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Toronto, Canada
I've got the PowerColor red dragon works fine
These older Radeon cards can be flashed for Boot screens so this is definitely another option as are gtx680 cards. The 680’s though might be more problematic with Mojave as they have no drivers as of yet. No idea if this will ever happen... Work with High Sierra.

I noticed in your first post aslowdodge, you were debating on the 12 core upgrade. Worth getting the x5690 as the single core speed is as good as it gets plus the bonus of 11 more cores when needed.
 
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mattferg

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May 27, 2013
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These older Radeon cards can be flashed for Boot screens so this is definitely another option as are gtx680 cards. The 680’s though might be more problematic with Mojave as they have no drivers as of yet. No idea if this will ever happen... Work with High Sierra.

I noticed in your first post aslowdodge, you were debating on the 12 core upgrade. Worth getting the x5690 as the single core speed is as good as it gets plus the bonus of 11 more cores when needed.
The PowerColour Red Dragon is an RX580...
 
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aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
90
9
These older Radeon cards can be flashed for Boot screens so this is definitely another option as are gtx680 cards. The 680’s though might be more problematic with Mojave as they have no drivers as of yet. No idea if this will ever happen... Work with High Sierra.

I noticed in your first post aslowdodge, you were debating on the 12 core upgrade. Worth getting the x5690 as the single core speed is as good as it gets plus the bonus of 11 more cores when needed.
Yeah, still debating. The things I use most is Corel painter and photoshop. It appears photoshop does almost nothing with going beyond the first core, not sure about painter. How much faster is that one core over my 2.26?
 

Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
272
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Toronto, Canada
Yeah, still debating. The things I use most is Corel painter and photoshop. It appears photoshop does almost nothing with going beyond the first core, not sure about painter. How much faster is that one core over my 2.26?
Top speed 6 core is 3.46Ghz, so 1.2 Ghz faster than your current CPU. Quite a jump but you would need to upgrade your firmware to a 5,1 and need lidless CPUs. This is specific to dual 2009 MacPros. It's possible and you can find them already delidded. Single core speed jump would be worth it if you're doing a lot of Photoshop heavy lifting.

There is also a 4 core that runs at the same 3.46Ghz speed in a dual configuration, but again would need to be delidded.
 
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Slash-2CPU

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2016
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New Orleans, USA
On CPU's, X5677 has same clocks and L3 cache as X5690, but is a 4-core instead of 6-core. You'll get the same 24% speed increase in single-threaded tasks. They're floating around $30 each on eBay vs X5690 for $80. The move to 12-core for me was slightly disappointing. Speed boost and additional RAM was nice, but I'm pretty sure I wasted the $100 difference between going with a pair of X5690's vs X5677's.

Delidding isn't that bad. I used the vice method then a new razor blade to shave the solder off the CPU die.

CPU's are much cheaper than Mac Pro processor trays. Thats' why I didn't go with the washer stack method. Figured I'm better off risking a $80 CPU than damaging a socket on a $200-300 tray.
 

macmesser

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2012
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Long Island, NY USA
I have a 2009 4.1 Mac Pro 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with the stock NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB card, 32 mb of Ram I am running 10.11.6
I would like to know a few things.
I mostly do image editing, no video. Photoshop and Corel Painter
Is it worth it for me to flash to 5.1?
I also want to watch videos at 4k on a TV (not streaming). Do I need to upgrade the graphics card if so which one?
Will I need the 5.1 flash and upgrade OS to accommodate a newer graphics Card?
Finally I have considered upgrading processors to 12 core westmere. But i understand Photoshop can't really utilize multicore well so is this a waste? I mostly have no speed issues except for some lag in painter when it comes to the larger brushes.
Thanks!
I have the 4,1 2009 8 core that I use for your application, which has been flashed to 5,1. (Ditto for my office machine, which is your exact box.) Graphics is a used AMD Radeon HD 8970 3072 MB which I picked up from a graphics card guy on eBay. I use it to drive an ASUS 27 inch monitor and a 4K 32" SEIKI TV. No problems. I had flashed the Mac to 5,1 long before adding the 4K card and the TV. It never gave me any problems. At one point I had to re-flash for an OS upgrade, without incident. The process is easy and safe, as far as I can tell. I'm no hardware expert, just a reasonably sophisticated end user, so I'd recommend giving it a shot. I'm pretty sure there are people here (not myself, unfortunately) who can answer questions regarding this upgrade, in case you do have a problem.
 

aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
90
9
Okay so I managed to flash to 5.1. I now have High Sierra installed.
I have a Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX580 sitting in the box next to me and just got a a Dual mini 6 pin male to 8 pin male PCI-E Power cable today so I think I am ready for the next step.

I just sucked it up and ordered two x5690's and some thermal paste and cleaner that should be here in a few weeks. I guess the question is to delid or not and use spacers.
Slash-2CPU how did you use the vice?
.Vice only or vice and hammer?
 
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Slash-2CPU

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Dec 14, 2016
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That video. There’s only one direction you can push the heatspreader that will be ok. Other three possibilities will remove capacitors.

The solder isn’t like typical electronics solder. It’s much, much softer. I removed the leftover solder with a razor blade. The CPU die is many times harder than the solder. The die also sticks up a little higher than the capacitors, so as long as you keep the blade flat and level,it will not touch the caps.
 

aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
90
9

That video. There’s only one direction you can push the heatspreader that will be ok. Other three possibilities will remove capacitors.

The solder isn’t like typical electronics solder. It’s much, much softer. I removed the leftover solder with a razor blade. The CPU die is many times harder than the solder. The die also sticks up a little higher than the capacitors, so as long as you keep the blade flat and level,it will not touch the caps.
Thanks, that was the video I was following. I'm thinking of using razor blades to partially cut the silicon, but not close enough to go all the way through and risk hitting those capacitors, then using the vise.
 

Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
272
59
Toronto, Canada
Watch that video twice and maybe a third time to memorize it. Be patient and make sure you’ve had plenty of rest before you dive in. I’ve not done this job but the thought of it is stressful. I wish you the best of luck. Great choice on CPU by the way. I think you’re going to be pretty happy when it’s all done.
 

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
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I used that video to aid me in delidding CPUs but I went an extra safe route by purchasing some super cheap Xeons, I think the 2.26 Ghz 4 cores that are only a couple bucks (the ones you have already actually). I practiced on a couple of them to test this method out before I did anything to CPUs that were in the $50 - $100 range. Though unless you also have a single processor tray, it will not be possible for you to test the CPUs with their IHS still on. If you have this option available to you and want to go the I'd rather be safe than sorry route, then that's the way to go. If not you will have to go on an assumption the CPUs are in good working order prior to you delidding them.
 

aslowdodge

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2012
90
9
digging in farther. I currently have a 512gb toshiba ssd in Bay 1. My understanding is it is bottle necked at 3gb.

So I'm looking at
1. https://www.amazon.com/Lycom-DT-120-PCIe-Adapter-Support/dp/B00MYCQP38/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 pcie adapter to go with
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C8Y31G2/ref=twister_B07CY4L25D?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 samsung 512bg 970pro ssd

or

this samsung ssd https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-512GB-V-NAND-Solid-MZ-76P512BW/dp/B07836C6YV
with this pcie adaptor that can hold 2 of them
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0096P62G6/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Is one preferable over the other as far as actual drives or type or adapter?
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
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Québec
As far as I know, the GT120 isn't going to work in Mojave. There are issues with Metal.
Quick question: I've kept the original 120gt that came with my 2009 mac pro for those moments when I need to choose an OS during the boot process. My main GPU is a RX560.

I'm currently on 10.13.6 and it's causing issues with my secondary monitor (a TV).

If I upgrade to Mojave, will the RX560 allow me to (natively) select an OS during boot time?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,362
6,069
Brazil
Quick question: I've kept the original 120gt that came with my 2009 mac pro for those moments when I need to choose an OS during the boot process. My main GPU is a RX560.

I'm currently on 10.13.6 and it's causing issues with my secondary monitor (a TV).

If I upgrade to Mojave, will the RX560 allow me to (natively) select an OS during boot time?
No.

With RX-4xx/5xx or any other PC GPU, you won't have Mac EFI support:
  • No boot screens
  • No boot picker/selector
  • No verbose boot
  • No single user mode
  • No FileVault (but Mojave don't support FV with MP5,1 anyways)