Mac Pro 2009/2010/2012 differences in upgradability?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dhazeghi, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. dhazeghi macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #1
    Good morning,

    I'm currently have a late 2009 iMac (Core i7 860 Nehalem, 6GB RAM, SSD) and am looking at upgrades. I'm not particularly interested in another iMac - the built-in screen isn't my thing, and I'd like to have a machine with the prospect of multiple internal hard drives and potentially enough RAM for a RAM drive. The only really performance-limited things I do are Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop.

    My idea is to find the least expensive dual socket 1366 Mac Pro model, and then upgrade the CPUs, and other things. My understanding is that under the hood, the machines are essentially the same in terms of hardware - they just come with different processors? Or at least, they are identical once you use the NetKas firmware updater.

    Also, I have access to an HP workstation with dual Xeon X5677s. I was hoping I might be able to use its CPUs in the Mac Pro.

    Since I would be upgrading the CPUs in any case, I'm leaning toward the 2009 dual 2.26GHZ model as the least expensive option. I'd be interested in your thoughts though. I'd also like to at some stage add USB 3.0 and SATA III with hardware RAID, via PCI-E cards. The alternative would be to build a Haswell Hackintosh, but I'm assuming that even though the dual socket setup would be using older chips and motherboard, it should be faster than a single socket Haswell kit (e.g. Core i7 4770K). Thanks!
     
  2. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #2
    Mac 2009 used lidless processors so when you use standard processors in them then need to be very careful when installing the heatsinks back on.

    2010 and 2012 models used standard CPU's with heatspreader on the CPU package, making easier to work with.

    In terms of it being faster then really depends upon if your work flow can make use of the additional cores available.

    If the software doesn't use the cores then won't make use of them and so won't be any faster.
     
  3. flowrider, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #3
    Let me add to the above post. The lidless CPUs were only used on the Dual Processor models of the 4,1 Mac Pro. The Single Processor model used standard lidded Xeons. And as stated by the OP, A firmware updater is required in order to use 6 core CPUs.

    Lou
     
  4. dhazeghi thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #4
    Okay, gotcha. Sounds like I'm careful, I might as well go for the least expensive (the 2009).

    True enough. I'm fairly certain Lightroom doesn't make meaningful use of more than 4 cores right now. I guess I'm hoping that will change and 8 cores is sort of future proofing. However, I did think that the increase clock (vs. the i7 860 I have) and newer process (Westmere-EP is 32nm vs. 45nm for Lynnfield) might yield better results. Sounds like you're not convinced?

    Thanks for the details. I assume the firmware update is fairly straightforward, it's just the process of de-lidding the old CPUs and re-lidding the new ones that requires care and a lot of thermal grease!
     
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #5
    I really wonder where you end up with price-wise if you do all those upgrades.
    Get a Mini 2.6 quad, 2 Samsungs 840 pro in RAID 0 for 1000MB/s (close to a RAM disk) like the New Mac Pro, get a nice AdobeRGB screen like a Dell U2713H and use a USB3 RAID 0 case for super fast large storage.
     
  6. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #6
    The Mini is still a poor choice due to the Intel HD4000 GPU. Now if there was a Mini with the 780M in it, I'd be all over that.
     
  7. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Austin, Texas
    #7
    I search for 2x 2.26 2009 MPs every day. Such a great bargain. Love mine.
     
  8. Angelus macrumors 6502

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    New Zealand
    #8
    Just to be clear, my understanding was that de-lidding is impossible and likely to destroy your CPU. Newer CPUs will be thicker so you allow for that by adding washers to the heat sink posts.
     
  9. dhazeghi thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #9
    The mini looks like a neat machine, but the CPUs are laptop CPUs and the base clock is pretty limited. Unless I can expect it to be in turbo mode all the time, I'd be surprised if it was more than 10% faster than my current i7 860. I'd also be a lot happier with a 32GB+ RAM limit.

    Honestly, the main alternative I'm considering is a Hack. I'd much rather support Apple and get a real Mac, but I need a significant improvement in performance, a new Mac Pro is way out of my budget and an iMac means paying for a 27" screen that I won't use.

    Fortunately/unfortunately neither Lightroom nor the stuff I use in Photoshop benefit from a real GPU, so the Intel integrated stuff is actually fine for my purposes. Everything is CPU bound!
     
  10. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Seems like you could do a 4,1 with SSD, 24GB of 1333MHz RAM, X5670 CPUs and a GTX 680 for a pretty reasonable cost if you look hard and take your time.

    I love my setup more than any computer I've ever had, and I've had some amazing ones.
     
  11. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Finding a 4,1 or a 5,1 with a good CPU for under $2k has proven to be a challenge.
     
  12. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    That's why finding a dual 2.26 is such a steal. Shoot LOW!!! (I got mine for $800)
     
  13. dhazeghi thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    That's why I'm hoping I can just pull the 5677s from the HP machine.

    Yeah, I'm hoping I can get it all done for under $1500. RAM is cheap and most of the drives I have already - maybe just add one SSD. The only things I will definitely need are the USB 3.0 card and the SATA III card for the SSDs. I'd really love to have RAID striped SSDs for my boot/applications/workspace drive.

    Wow, if I could find one at that price, I'd be very happy! Most of what I see is in the $1200 or so range.
     
  14. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    #14
    You can find single core 4,1 really cheap flash it to 5,1 firmware then put in an x5650 6 core cpu to get just about the same processing power of the stock dual 4,1. Geekbench of 13500 on the single upgraded 14100 or so on the stock. That can be done for under $1000 with if you can find it cheap enough a GTX 680 you can flash with mac ROM thrown in for good measure, hell if you pay little extra on everything would likely be under $1200. If you go dual upgraded should be able to get in under $1800 or so. I see the duals going for under or around $1200 all the time pair of x5650s under or about $300 680s around $300 25000 for a Geekbench on that.

    ----------

    Those do not work in a Mac Pro.
     
  15. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Not seeing those on Craigslist here. Even base 4,1 rigs are $2k.

    Best I found was a 2.6Ghz 3,1 with a lot of upgrades for $1800. But I'm already on a 1,1 2.6, so not a lot of gain there.
     
  16. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    #16
    Damn wish I was there I would have about $6k worth of spare machines then. Ebay is your friend in this case then I see them go for them prices just about every day there is a buy it now for dual 4,1 under $1200 going on. First current auction second the history of sold machines.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-P...3148841?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item338ade2ea9

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/Desktops-Al...c+Pro+2009+2.26&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&rt=nc
     
  17. dhazeghi thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Oh, darn. So what're the highest clocked 4 core ones that do work, and don't cost an arm, leg and a torso? X5670?
     
  18. funwithdesign macrumors regular

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #18
    W5590 3.33ghtz ~$200 cdn
     
  19. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Man, 1x 2.93 4,1 here in Austin for $800 in great shape. Not too bad. You guys are not helping my MP-hunting obsession! :eek:
     
  20. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    #20
    That is 6 core westmere processor the highest 4 has already been posted a few replies above this.
     
  21. RCZ macrumors newbie

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    #21
  22. <!DOCTYPE> macrumors newbie

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    #22
  23. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #23
    Not impossible, but very risky. A couple of folks have delidded lidded CPUs, but it's very tricky and if done wrong destroys the processor.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1633369

    IMHO, the best method is here:

    http://pindelski.org/Photography/2013/06/27/mac-pro-2009-part-ii/

    Lou
     
  24. dhazeghi thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #24
    Yes, you're right. 4-core isn't an absolute necessity, but I don't think I really need 12 cores, so clock speed is preferable to extra ones, especially if it keeps the cost down.

    Thanks, that link is exactly what I'm looking for. Going by his description, it doesn't look too painful.
     
  25. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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