Mac Pro 4.1 Dual CPU Upgrade - Be very, VERY Careful

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JazzyGB1, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. JazzyGB1, Jan 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015

    JazzyGB1 macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Don't be tempted.
    Massively regretting my decision TBH.
    I Have a dual 2.26 Octo and purchased 2 x Intel XEON X5670 hexa core to turn it into a 12 core monster.
    Haven't fried a board, haven't broken a processor, but haven't made it work either. Must have spent 30 hours trying over the last 3 days and am now just weary.
    It just seems to be pot luck as to what 'works' - no pattern to it at all.
    Have placed and replaced processors about 20 or 30 times now, but CPU B for me won't work at all.
    Tried swapping the chips over from A - B...same result.
    Put my original chips back...CPU B works, CPU A now won't work - WTF!
    Honestly it's just not worth the hassle.
    I've started over and have done incremental tightening of the CPU's in what would be 5 minute segments on a clock - still no nearer to success.
    Single CPU's upgrades are fine but Dual CPU's.
    I think the difference between those who have been successful and those who haven't is nothing more than serendipity!
    Had my first CPU installed up and running inside 30 minutes, the 2nd CPU well still trying after 3 days (sigh).
    So heed my warning. On a Dual CPU 4.1 Mac Pro..DON'T BOTHER!
    Keep your sanity.
  2. ilikewhey macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
  3. JazzyGB1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Not yet.
    Will buy some tomorrow and give them a try.
    However even with washers, peoples success seems to be variable and inconsistent.
    You cannot for example buy a 2mm washer and then just turn the hex screws full on boot up and be done.
    Hopefully it'll make things easier, but I'm sceptical because so far very little about this upgrade has worked logically.
  4. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    You failed to use washers, failed to use a new thermal pad, failed to cover the blank sockets, failed to install the processors correctly so now the thousands of upgraded machines that do exist mean nothing. You failed to follow instructions properly so now everyone else must not try it.
  5. JazzyGB1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    I failed to do no such thing.
    Processors were correctly installed and thermal tape applied.
    Please link to the 'proper instructions' you're referring to.

    I used multiple sources as a guide before deciding to perform the upgrade including these below...
    The Youtube video in particular was very helpful.

    None of these mentioned washers and all were eventually successful.
    So I'm not unique in trying to perform the upgrade without them and your assertion that I didn't 'follow instructions' is totally without foundation.

    If you are claiming there's a method that guarantees success, then that should be a sticky on the front of this forum.

    The problem is everyone does it differently and has had differing outcomes - hence my warning.

    The guy in the link below did it an about 20 minutes taking none of the precautions you imply are vital, so it just shows there is no official 'right way' on how to do it, it's just guidance.
    I definitely WOULD NOT do this...
  6. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Actually the official 'right way' is to install processors without the integrated heat shield (IHS). By installing processors without the IHS you can use the official Apple service manual for the 2009 Mac Pro as a guide.

    I think that if you would have done more research prior to attempting this upgrade that you would have been successful.
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Jazzy, I appreciate you sharing your experience, because I think users attempting these kind of upgrades can get the impression that it doesn't come without risks, and they're somehow entitled to a successful outcome.

    It's really important to thoroughly research everything involved in an upgrade like this. Given how many people have had success with these upgrades, it doesn't seem appropriate to tell people not to do it. Simply sharing your experience in detail and the steps you tried, seems more constructive. Users can ask their own questions and draw their own conclusions.
  8. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    What is the word on washers? I'd like at least a semi-definitive guide.
  9. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
  10. lexR macrumors regular


    Dec 12, 2013
    I have successfully completed this upgrade twice now and would happily do this again, you certainly get a 'feel' for how tight the cpu's need to be, on the 2nd time i used 4mm thermal pad and moved the others, i used 2.1mm steel washers (in pairs with Digital Vernier Calipers) smaller amount of silver arctic thermal paste (as i used a pea size previously and when i done the install the second time i found a large amount of wastage). the trickiest thing for me was the fans but once trimmed and set free it was easy to work with.
  11. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    There have been repeated warnings on this forum for months not to follow Dontae and to ignore his video entirely. He goes against the technical guide in every way and was very fortunate or he did not film any difficulties he faced. At one point he installs the processors and then massages them :eek: then he adds thermal paste and spreads it thinly when the technical guide is quite explicit that it should be applied in a line down the centre followed by an oval.

    If you didn't want to apply the washers and thermal pads right then removing the IHS could have been done quite simply using the razors and trick with gentle ironing at a temperature well below the CPU's threshold. You don't need to hammer it off, stick it in a vice or pay someone to bash it. That's probably the only video you needed (search - IHS razor method), the rest is all technician's guide and experienced advice from some people here.
  12. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    It depends on your skills. Using them is a bit more safe, but they aren't necessary if you can "feel" the torque with your hands. One can easily "overtight" heatsink screws with washers and without them.
  13. lexR macrumors regular


    Dec 12, 2013
    I totally agree with this, you most defiantly have a 'feel' and using the guidance of the countless 'peer approved' methods this is a tricky and potentially damaging upgrade,but rewarding if given the respect it deserves.
  14. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    dont see this mentioned anywhere, but you did upgrade the firmware to make it a 5.1 right?
  15. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    this ^^

    iirc you need a firmware hack to pull this off on a 4.1
  16. machinesworking macrumors newbie


    Jan 11, 2015
    That would probably be me. I actually signed up to give back here since I learned enough from reading threads here and that great youtube video to pull it off.

    So yeah, I'm sorry but the thread starter here is doing something wrong, which is arguably not hard. When I first put the chips in I did not tighten them down enough, and I got nothing. I wouldn't recommend leaving the caps on because IMO the one thing that everyone is under playing with this is how little you feel the screws unlatch from the board and how the thread lock Apple uses makes some of the 8 screws seem tight while others are loose. I ended up going with a lot tighter than what finger tight meant to me in my head, and I wouldn't do that with the IHS caps on for fear of messing something up. Besides they prevent the heatsinks from working as well as they can on a bare chip. this machine is freaking quiet.
  17. fuzzface macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2011
    hi folks,

    i just want to give my 2 cents:

    I've successfully upgraded my 4.1. dual 2.26 to a 2.66 12-core some months ago after doing some research.

    the definitive guides are on netkas:,852.660.html#msg24313


    I used 3 0.8mm plastic washers for each standoff, tightened the screws stiffly and the machine booted up right away.

    I really don't know why people are trying to upgrade without washers and a 5mm thermal pad… it's not easy, but with some research it is doable.


  18. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Do you know if anyone actually has used a torque wrench for this mod?
  19. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    where is that definitive guide for doing the 4,1 upgrade. It been posted here many of times and it's personally the one i used to upgrade. That should be a sticky. Because unlike the other stickys the 4,1 upgrade proposed sticky could save people around 500 bucks and a sheetstorm of agony and pain
  20. JazzyGB1, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015

    JazzyGB1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Honestly, I'm really not.
    I've now tried it with washers too - same result.
    I think I have been unlucky enough to have received a faulty CPU.
    I've a replacement on the way and will post my results later.

    To anyone thinking of doing this upgrade I would just reiterate to think VERY carefully before doing so.
    Maybe my initial post was OTT, but I was tired and weary at the time and at the end of my tether after working for days on what sounds like an easy install.
    I think it's easy to forget that you'll almost certainly be inserting 2nd hand CPU's that you don't really know the history of into your beloved Mac.
    Also CPU's and sockets are delicate and VERY unforgiving of mistakes, drop the CPU in too heavily or accidentally bend a socket connector and you'll probably be looking at a new daughterboard and that'll set you back £400. Also sliding the daughterboard in and out as many times as I've had to is not good for the fingers! :)

    Anyway, hopefully my replacement CPU arrives tomorrow and I'll let you know how I get on (fingers crossed).
  21. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Now that is sound advice.

    I do think that people get caught up in the fact that they see everyone else upgrading to 12 cores so they think that they will also perform the upgrade and don't stop to consider that this couldn't be further from your standard processor upgrade. This upgrade can even be a challenge for those that have performed 10s or 100s for processor upgrades. Then to top it all of most of the time the upgrade is done with a used processor like you said.
  22. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I have done this upgrade 3 times now.

    The first time I went into it thinking, "I'm a compyter whiz, this will be like falling out of bed" and I didn't count the turns.

    ERROR !!!

    I may have partially mangled the pins, I got a new tray and took the whole thing more seriously, got it working.

    2nd and 3rd attempts I went in knowing that it was a challenge and by taking it seriously and counting the turns, I had no real trouble on 2nd and 3rd.

    I have a PC that uses same socket and a single CPU tray, helps being able to know for certain that CPU is A-OK.

    Another tip, just shoot for getting "A" perfect before even trying to get "B" going.
  23. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    There are may references to the "Technical Guide" in this thread, just where does this legendary document reside?
  24. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    It doesn't as it can't be linked to from MacRumors. There is nothing keeping you from Googling for it however.
  25. Mattww macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    Almost decided to risk the upgrade on my own 2.26GHz 8-core and I'm leaning towards get the more expensive de-lidded CPUs after checking the firmware flashes OK but even with the service guide I'm not sure how you can measure the torque with a regular screwdriver....which is all they list in the required tools section....

    I guess if the worst happens and I damage the board or chips there should be some cheaper single socket trays around to buy and make it into a usable machine.

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