Mac Pro 4,1 CPU/RAM upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by s.m.t., Jun 26, 2015.

  1. s.m.t. macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #1
    Been a few years since I explored upgrade options for the single CPU 4,1 Mac Pro...

    From the catching up reading I have done, sounds easier to flash to 5,1 firmware. So if I go ahead and do that, what is:

    The highest core/clock speed CPU I could run? (Xeon or i7)?

    The maximum amount of RAM I can use? (8GB x 4 @ 1333)?
     
  2. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #2
    Is your Mac Pro the single or dual processor model?
     
  3. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #3
    Single
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    The best CPU you can get after upgrade to 5,1 firmware is X5690. And max RAM is 64G (16Gx4).
     
  5. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #5
    X series better than the W series?

    i7 CPUs still an option?
     
  6. DNComputers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    For single CPU, basically i7-990X = W3690 = X5690

    With the i7, as I understand, you cannot use ECC RAM

    With the W3690, you cannot run dual CPUs. I read once that you can only get up to 48GB of RAM with the W3690 (where the X5690 can go all the way to 64), but others say you can 64GB with the W3690, so you may want to do a little more research on that if you're wanting 64GB. This is not something I've tried, but may try it at some point to make sure. I don't see any reason it couldn't go to 64GB.


    Currently, the W3690 seems to be much better priced than the X5690, so if I were to buy today, I would get the W3690. At the same price, I would probably pick the X5690, just in case you wanted to use it with a dual processor someday. Unless the i7 was quite a bit cheaper (usually it's much more expensive) I would stick to the Xeon.
     
  7. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
  8. DNComputers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    I'm not 100% sure on the max RAM, I've seen so many conflicting statements on this. I'd honestly be a bit surprised if it didn't support 64GB, but have not tried myself, and that's the only way I'll know for sure. I will be trying one with 32GB, probably sometime next week, and could report back.

    The lowest I see today for the W3690 is $183
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-...711?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58c7821b57

    Compared to $234 for the X5690
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SLBVX-INTEL...669?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20fe0ca3ad

    At that price difference today, I'd go with the W3690, unless I was very concerned about the possible RAM limitation. Maybe someone else has experience and can comment to this.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
    You can put a 990X at there, but just can't see the point to do so. The W3690 is so cheap now, why get the i7 which can't use ECC RAM?

    The W3690 can go up to 56G (16x3 + 8), it's more than the official limit. I suspect that 24G is the max demonstrated limit, not the physical limit. At least I am now using 32G RAM with the W3690, and plenty of user here running 48G.

    On the other hand, the X5690 can easily handle 64G RAM and may be more in the future. Also, it can handle higher operating temperature. With the Mac Pro's cooling system, that won't make any difference, but the higher the better.

    If money is not an issue, then go for the X5690.

    If you want to save few bucks, then go for the W3690 (or even the W3680, which has almost identical real work performance).

    If you only need single core performance, go for the X5677.

    For me, I can't find any normal reason to go for the 990X now. Of course, if you have a special reason like you can get that for just $10, then why not?
     
  10. s.m.t., Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015

    s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #10
    Thanks all. Ruled out an i7 since as stated the Xeon costs are not that bad.

    I want to move up to at least 32GB of RAM, but 64 is also an option depending on cost. So good to hear others are good with those RAM capacities with the W3690s...

    I would also perfer getting a new (vs used) CPU even if that means spending a little more. Couldn't find new W3690s (will check for W3680s)', but I found a new X5690 for $245...

    I have a 980 Ti being delivered and planning to do the PSU mod. My goal is to get as much out of the MP as I can.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    Also the memory controller on the i7-990X only supports RAM at 1066MHz.
    http://ark.intel.com/products/52585
     
  12. s.m.t., Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015

    s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #12
    Ahh now, speaking of RAM... What is the best configuration to maximize performance... I know I hashed this over last memory upgrade I did, but does the 5,1 firmware change anything? Being triple bank DDR 3 DIMMs still best?

    When upgrading from 2GB sticks to 4GB, that fourth stick represents a sizable amount of RAM to offset the small loss of performance... But with 16GB sticks, the difference between 48GB and 64GB may not be as big of a loss...

    I also wonder if non ECC performance memory might be better, not doing anything critical where I would really need the error correcting...
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    In benchmarks ECC is extremely close to being the same speed as standard RAM. I don't think there would be even a slight real-world difference, and there is no way in hell a human being would ever notice the difference when it's that close.

    I don't do any critical work where error correcting is done either, but I always buy ECC RAM for the Mac Pro anyway. The last I checked, it is very hard to find non-ECC RAM that includes the temperature sensor, and when I could find it, it was overpriced "enthusiast" RAM anyway.
     
  14. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #14
  15. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #15
    Should I be able to get 1333MHz memory working at that speed once I have done the firmware upgrade if I am still running my quad xeon w3565?
     
  16. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #16
    Nope, The W3565 only supports 1066MHz. If you google Xeon W3565 the info is in the top result...
     
  17. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #17
    It is okay to go ahead and get 1333 memory anyway. It will run fine at 1066 with your current CPU. If/when you upgrade your CPU to a model that supports 1333 RAM, it will then work at that speed.

    All 2010 Mac Pros came with 1333 RAM whether the CPU supported it or not.

    However, that being said, if you were going to do one before the other, I'd do the CPU first. I suspect that the CPU upgrade will be a far more noticeable improvement unless your computer is currently so low on RAM that you are paging out to the hard drive.

    But of course it all really depends on what you are doing and with what software--that's why upgrade recommendations are often a grey area.
     
  18. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular

    s.m.t.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #18
    Makes sense... I have a X5690 on the way...

    I know technically speaking 3 DIMMs in a DDR3 configuration is the best configuration for performance... But how noticeable is that performance increase? I have read some favor sticking to 3 modules and some say it is negligible...
     
  19. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #19
    Unless your workflow is mainly running benchmarking software or really fully max utilise the memory bandwidth. The speed difference in running 3 or 4 sticks is basically negligible.
     
  20. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    greater L.A. area
    #20
    This from Wikipedia:

    Triple-channel architecture
    Operation
    DDR3 triple-channel architecture is used in the Intel Core i7-900 series (the Intel Core i7-800 series only support up to dual-channel). The LGA 1366 platform (e.g. Intel X58) supports DDR3 triple-channel, normally 1333 and 1600Mhz, but can run at higher clock speeds on certain motherboards. AMD Socket AM3 processors do not use the DDR3 triple-channel architecture but instead use dual-channel DDR3 memory. The same applies to the Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7-800 series, which are used on the LGA 1156 platforms (e.g., Intel P55). According to Intel, a Core i7 with DDR3 operating at 1066 MHz will offer peak data transfer rates of 25.6 GB/s when operating in triple-channel interleaved mode. This, Intel claims, leads to faster system performance as well as higher performance per watt.[14]

    When operating in triple-channel mode, memory latency is reduced due to interleaving, meaning that each module is accessed sequentially for smaller bits of data rather than completely filling up one module before accessing the next one. Data is spread amongst the modules in an alternating pattern, potentially tripling available memory bandwidth for the same amount of data, as opposed to storing it all on one module.

    The architecture can only be used when all three, or a multiple of three, memory modules are identical in capacity and speed, and are placed in three-channel slots. When two memory modules are installed, the architecture will operate in dual-channel architecture mode.[15]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-channel_memory_architecture


    I seem to remember reading somewhere that not using three DIMM's would result in 10-15% memory performance loss. But it was a few years ago, and whatever.
     
  21. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #21
    For memory speed test, I've seen the difference can go up to 50%. however, overall system performance, usually less than 10% in benchmark. And real world difference, almost zero.
     

Share This Page