Intel 3680 vs i7 980x best upgrade for mac pro 2009?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by malthe, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. malthe macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    As the post says what of the two processors would be the best upgrade for the mac pro 2009 2.66 quad? i know it will need a firmware update but what cpu would be the best move?

    And what is the difference between them? Spec vice they are quite similar 3,33 ghz - 6 cores ?


  2. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    They are basically the same. The W3680 lets you use ECC memory, you will need all non-ECC for the 980X. Some people had issues with i7 processors over the years, so really you are best going with the W3680.

    Also, although one might expect the i7 980X to be cheaper now because of the increased popularity in consumer processors, there is also more demand for it still meaning the W3680 can often be found cheaper.
  3. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2012
    I totally agree with what Umbongo said and just want to add that if you are considering buying a used one, then the W3680 is a better choice than the i7 980X since the i7 was more likely being overclocked/abused than the Xeon.
  4. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    The 980X was still a $1000 CPU in its prime, so I'm not sure it's in most overclockers' wheelhouse.
  5. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The W3680 was $1000.00+ at launch as well. The W3680 can be abused just as much. I saw one running at 5+GHz on water. Typically 4.5GHz on air. Does not need to be commercially "unlocked" for OC'ing. Used is always a crapshoot. But the Xeon should be better at "taking it".
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  7. malthe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    haha looking good :)

    Thx philipma1957 - but unfortunately Im from Denmark and amazon don't ship to Denmark..
    But its good to get some feedback on both processors..

    I was just wondering - since the 3680 is the one apple shipped the 2010 mac pro with would that processor not be the best choice support vice?

    Compared to the i7 that apple never had put into any mac pro - or does it not matter one bit?
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    They are essentially the same thing, really there should be no difference in any aspect other than lack of ECC memory support. There are people who have run i7s for years without issue and there are some who experienced issues after changing to an i7, but it might be related to other issues. Search for the i7-970, 980 and 980X and the W3680 and buy the cheapest if there is significant price difference.
  9. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I've been running the 980X for years in my 2010. However, if I had not already owned the CPU I would have gone with the Xeon. Why not, just to match up with Apple's official offering and provide ECC support?
  10. colorspace macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    Just Installed W3680

    Picked up a Xeon W3680 from Craigslist this past weekend for the excellent price of $335 - the seller checked out as a very reliable person.

    Blown away by the performance over the stock 4 core 2.66. Synthetic CPU benchmarks (xbench, novabenck, geekbench, etc) all increased by a large percentage (~50-80%). Real world performance/feel is also significantly better. An added surprise is that my CPU temps -- especially under load -- are as cool or colder than with the old processor. I tested with a 1hr handbrake encode and processor temps were about 1-3 degrees cooler (Celsius) with the new processor. I did not monitor fan speed, but in my quiet "study" I noticed no change in fan noise (on my 4,1 pretty much in-audible).

    First time swapping out the CPU on a MP -- very easy! Prepped by watching a couple of how-to-vids, and needed to get a longer hex wrench and good thermal compound. The actual swap took me less than 30 minutes to do.

    The only questions this upgrade left me are:

    1. How long should I hold on to my my old W3520 processor?
    2. Where can I sell off the old one and how much can I expect to get?

    I would say the upgrade is well worth it even if you have to pay in the $650 range for the CPU.
  11. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Congratulations. That was a very cheap boost in power, and yeah both clock speed and core count are higher than the W3520. I'm not sure what others will say. I'd hold onto the old cpu if you feel you might need to have it serviced by Apple at any point.
  12. kalex macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    nice find. i got mine from superbiz. couldn't find anything locally and eBay prices are higher. Upgrade was very easy and performance is very noticeable.
  13. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    For a single processor model, is why I was thinking of going with the i7 chip. you can't run the i7 9** in the dual processor model, only the Xeon chips will do.

    I've been checking prices lately and I've seen non-OC 980x go for in the $400 range and haven't really seen too many W3680s go for less than $600. That extra $200 could be spent on non-ECC 1333mhz memory upgrade. This is $US prices tho.

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