Mac Pro 4,1 Single CPU Upgrade

reddemonic

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 8, 2012
36
1
Hello ;)

i'am about to order a X5650 to replace the current W3520 CPU. i'll update the firmware to 5,1 before hand, off course!

Can i still use my existing 4GB 1066mhz Memory? i know the X5650 is meant to run on 1333mhz memory. but i can't find good price on ebay the moment.

cheers!
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,513
6,772
Yes you can use the same memory.

But as long as you are upgrading the CPU, why are you staying at 2.66GHz? You can plop a faster processor in there, all the way up to the W3690 (3.46GHz).
 

reddemonic

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 8, 2012
36
1
its the only one i could afford. X5650 cost £65 on ebay. where a W3690 is like £150.

are you saying not worth the upgrade?
 

s!ke

macrumors member
Feb 28, 2012
54
1
You can modify the processor on the Mac Pro's? They aren't soldered on? Nice!
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,513
6,772
are you saying not worth the upgrade?
Good question! It depends.

The vast majority of software out there primarily benefits from a faster clock and won't see a much of benefit, if at all, when you jump from 4 to 6 cores. This is not true of ALL software mind you, but most. So most likely it's not worth it unless you are using some very specific software that scales well with more cores.

If I make the assumption that you are using typical software that would benefit far more from a faster clock speed, you would be better off finding a faster quad core. An X3580 for example is a 3.33GHz quad core and goes for around £60. The 25% increase in clock speed should translate fairly well into real-life noticeable gain.

On the other hand, if you are primarily using one of the very few applications out there that does scale well with more cores, then yes, the X5650 at the same clock with 2 more cores is the better bet. "Handbrake" for example will use every single core you can throw at it, and it scales perfectly--if you went from 4 to 6 cores, you'd have almost exactly a 50% speed increase to match the 50% more cores. Of course, all the other software you use will see little to no benefit at all.

For RAM, the story is exactly the opposite--you want more, not faster. I wouldn't pay to change your RAM from 1066 to 1333--that is not a noticeable speed difference in real life use. You would be FAR, FAR better off using the money to buy additional RAM, especially since you only have 4GB.
 

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,980
305
Canada
damn, you make so much sense. not sure what to do now. lol

http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Xeon-X5650-vs-Intel-Xeon-W3520
http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Xeon-W3580-vs-Intel-Xeon-W3520

W3520 vs W3580 - the W3520 is definitely quicker due to higher clock.
An X5675 runs at 3.06ghz turbo boost to 3.46 for core bound applications and if my rough conversion is correct damn close to what you will pay for the X5650.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231517094246?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,513
6,772
not sure what to do now
You could mention what software you use or what you are trying to speed up. Maybe it's not even the CPU you should focus on (maybe it IS, but maybe not).

If your computer is constantly smashing the hard drive, you are probably getting a lot of memory page outs and would benefit most from having more RAM (when RAM is exceeded, it starts swapping out to the hard drive, which is massively slow in comparison). 4GB is very easily exceeded these days.

For just "general purpose" computing, an SSD would make much more of a difference than anything else by affecting boot times, load times, and general snappiness.

For gaming, a GPU upgrade would probably be needed the most.

For professional applications, it depends on the specific application.

Without knowing what's going on, in a general sense I'd assume that more RAM and an SSD would help the most. But again, it really depends on what you are trying to do.

An X5675 runs at 3.06ghz turbo boost to 3.46 for core bound applications and if my rough conversion is correct damn close to what you will pay for the X5650.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231517094246?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
That's a good recommendation too, I like it. However, that particular CPU is more like £85 in the UK.
 

reddemonic

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 8, 2012
36
1
just general application, sometime i use photoshop, indesign. and play games couple of times in a week. you suggest i just upgrade my rams, hard drive and graphic card? then when price drop on these cpu then its time to upgrade?

one of the reason for my Mac Pro upgrade its because I'm thinking getting rid of the mac mini. (see signature). i can't game on mac mini, its just too slow for that. i just want a single system that does everything.

thanks
Alan
 
Last edited:

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,513
6,772
just general application, sometime i use photoshop, indesign. and play games couple of times in a week. you suggest i just upgrade my rams, hard drive and graphic card? then when price drop on these cpu then its time to upgrade?

one of the reason for my Mac Pro upgrade its because I'm thinking getting rid of the mac mini. (see signature). i can't game on mac mini, its just too slow for that. i just want a single system that does everything.
It sounds like you don't have a singular focus. In that case, it's hard to identify one specific piece to upgrade. Maybe others can chip in too, but in your shoes the following is what I would do, as my budget allowed:
1. Memory* (to prevent system bogging down and general slowness when memory is exceeded)
2. SSD (to greatly improve boot times, application loading, and general snappiness)
3. GPU (to greatly improve gaming)
4. CPU (to improve Photoshop, InDesign, and gaming)

* Normally I would just say that upgrading from 4GB is a no-brainer, but you seem to be on a very tight budget. So check out this Apple article that will explain how to check your RAM usage. If you are exceeding 4GB of use, then the RAM upgrade is probably the most important change you can make; swapping system RAM to disk is incredibly slow. But if you are not exceeding 4GB of use, then adding RAM will literally make no difference at all. So it's critical to check.
 
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