Is it SAFE to use a Mac Pro (Early 2009) with only 1 CPU installed?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by NightSun, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. NightSun macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #1
    Hi Everyone,

    I would appreciate much if anybody could help me regarding this question.
    Is it possible to safely use the dual Mac Pro with only 1 CPU installed?

    I found the Early 2009 Service Manual, in which it is stated that the technician could test if a given CPU works by leaving CPU B socket empty, installing the CPU into socket A and the computer should boot up. So, in this sense, for testing purposes it should definitely work, but another question whether is it okay using the Mac Pro in this configuration for a prolonged period. In principle, the X58 chipset is supporting this setup and other workstations with X58 dual socket motherboards, like HP, Dell, can be used with only 1 CPU. But I have not found any reports about someone using the Mac Pro in such a way (only one participant in these forums, who confirmed such a configuration working for a couple of minutes, but not for longer).

    The question has arisen as the aim is to swap in 1 high-performance hex CPU in Socket A, and possibly insert another one later in the future into socket B whenever the processing capability of a 12-core configuration will be needed.

    So, if anybody could confirm this working or the opposite, please let me know. Many thanks.
     
  2. hammten macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #2
    Yes, you can use it with one cpu installed ( must be flashed to use hex), down the road, if you add a second cpu, it needs to be a matching one, so keep that in mind...
     
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
  4. NightSun thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #4
    Hammten and philipma1957, many thanks for your answer. This is good news for me. Well, finally I went for the 3.33 Ghz X5680 CPU. That extra 5% performance to have the X5690 would cost way too much and since I'm in Europe, it is not worth ordering from the US, as customs and VAT added it becomes even more expensive than European prices. But anyway thanks for your effort to find a good deal.
     
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    Yes. :)

    I also posted an answer to this (w/ additional detail) in the other thread you asked about this.
     
  6. NightSun thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #6
    Yep, sorry for duplicating the question, but I felt that it is a question worth putting even on a separate thread. This can be clearly a game-changer aspect if one is able to get a good bargain on a DP Mac Pro 2009/2010. Although the dual QPI CPUs are a great tad more expensive than single QPI versions with the same specs, but with hunting for a good deal, it can turn out a better option on the long run than the widely known single Quad-to-Hex CPU mod way. 6 cores is well enough for me right now and X5680 CPUs will certainly be available in the next years in case I need a double performance.
     
  7. hammten macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #7
    Cool, keep us updated on the cpu change, with pics if possible. Im very interested in the DP cpu swap process and i cant find a detailed thread on it like phils for the SP one.
     
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8
    As I said in the other thread... Just keep in mind that the 2009 DP systems used naked CPU's which complicates the swap to a retail CPU with an IHS. It's not impossible to swap, just more delicate and prone to issues. Just be sure you know what you are getting yourself into. :)
     
  9. NightSun thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #9
  10. hammten macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #10

    awesome! I had not seen that facebook link before, those are some great pics! Thank you for the link.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    I wasn't trying to be difficult, just informative as to further details in the other thread. :)

    It can be a game changer so long as the software you're using can take advantage of it, and that's been the real problem (software's always behind the hardware). This issue is becoming more apparent lately with the increasing core counts in CPU's, and the cause of much frustration for professional users (as in applications that can actually benefit from true n core multi-threading still not supporting it, as not all would benefit - think word processing for example :eek: :p).

    The recently hacked Firmware Update Utility increases the upgrade potential of the 2009's. And though not entirely ideal for a single processor in a DP system (in terms of cost for those 6 cores), the DP board and DP processors do not have to be added in pairs (so you can add in one now, and a second later if your software be able to utilize it enough to justify the cost). :)

    As per the pricing on the DP CPU's, Intel has users over the proverbial barrel, and then system vendors add their margins to that (low cost versions = very slow clocks, such as 2.26 or 2.4GHz on the base Octad 2009/10 respectively).
     
  12. NightSun thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #12
    Yes, I see that on the software side development is lagging behind that of the hardware. For example, due to the poor optimization Photoshop even gets slower on a 12-core machine compared to a 6-core one. But even in general one could hardly find software, which effectively utilizes such high number of cores. Anyway, for me it mainly breaks down to the question that how well I write my own multithreaded application, so essentially it depends on my efforts to exploit the potentials of the multiple cores. And let's hope that more and more professional applications get optimized for multiple threads by the time.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    PS alone is only good for 2 cores, so the clock speeds definitely matter (why the SP Hex runs PS faster than the fastest 12 core Apple offers).

    Developing software to do this is time consuming = expensive (may need to develop their own tools, and dump massive amounts of legacy code due to an incompatibility, all of which eats man hours to code it). So some have been sitting on the fence waiting for someone else to write the tools (of those that have products that can benefit from n core multi-threading).

    Good luck with this, as you may not finish before your great, great, great grandkids or so are born. :eek: OK, maybe not that long, but an application suite takes loads of time to develop.

    Hopefully. Ultimately, we'll have to wait and see, as it's going slower than expected IMO (fence sitting has delayed matters from my perspective).
     

Share This Page