Mac Pro Quad 2.66Ghz upgradable to 12-core?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by voodoochild16, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. voodoochild16 macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    What the title says, is this possible?. Of course the cost is out of the question but I'm just curious, thanks in advance.
  2. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
    You would need the dual processor daughterboard and obviously 2 six-core processors.
  3. Tom Sawyer macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    Yes, you would need a new CPU/Memory daughter card and then of course heat sinks and two processors.

    As you mentioned, it won't be cheap:

    But depending on how crazy you get with the CPU's, it might not be too bad.
  4. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
    Oh and btw.. I believe this 2.66 Quad you are talking about is the 2009 Mac Pro.. in that case you not only need the daughterboard but also the 2010 Back pane to which the daughterboard is attached. So basically you are better off getting a new Mac Pro.
  5. voodoochild16 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    But basically I can still upgrade to 8 cores with this Mac Pro right?. I was just being a perfectionist with the 12-core idea.
  6. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    Yes, but you'd need to spend on $1,000 just for the heat sinks and daughterboard...
  7. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    You'd have to replace the daughterboards first. Max you can get to right now is 6 cores.
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    You would just cost less to sell it and buy a new one though. Without already having a dual CPU system, an upgrade to 8 or more cores is more expensive that just buying a new computer after selling that one.
  9. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    And then there is the value of the warranty with the new machine and your time...
  10. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    The maximum amount of cores without replacing backplane and daugtherboard you can get in the 2009 Mac Pro Quad is 4. The 2009 model is NOT upgradable with hex core processors.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    There's a thread in here somewhere, that it was actually done. But it's easier and cheaper to sell the existing system, and buy the machine you need.

    BTW, IIRC, to mate the SMC firmware to the CPU's properly, you need both the CPU tray and backplane boards (SMC firmware on the backplane board <fans>, and the CPU firmware on the CPU daughterboard). Can't remember if it will post if you keep the original backplane board or not (if mixing 2009 and 2010 boards).
  12. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Best you could hope for without new daughter card here: w3580

    W3570 @3.2GHz would be good as well but they are both around 1000.00.

    Does anyone know if you could drop an X56xx into single slot and just not use the extra QPI link?
    If that is the case, for 1600.00 you could get the new X5687 4-cores at 3.6GHz. But as other have pointed out, whole tray replacement not worth it for your model.
  13. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    The reason for this, is the 2009-model Mac Pro board does NOT contain the firmware to support the B1 stepping of hex-core Westmere processors, it only supports D0 stepping. Apple could easily release a hardware firmware update to the 2009 models to allow for B1 stepping, but they are not doing this. They want you to buy a whole new machine (2010 Mac Pro) if you want 6-core or 12-core power. That is why you would have to replace the entire backplane board on a 2009-model if you want it to be compatible with the hex-core processors, because only the 2010 backplane board supports B1 stepping, which the hex-core Westmeres use.
  14. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    Ahhhh 2009... Yeah, would have to replace the backplane.
  15. voodoochild16, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    voodoochild16 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    According to this article i do not have to upgrade "daughter boards" or anything to upgrade to a 8-core CPU.
    Tell me what you guys think. My warranty is already VOID, so this would be worth doing IMO.

    BTW, which Mac pro version would mine be? i am looking at ram prices on

    Apple - Mac Pro DDR2 (Early 2008)
    Apple - Mac Pro DDR3 (Early 2009) 1CPU
    Apple - Mac Pro DDR3 (Early 2009) 2CPU
    Apple - Mac Pro DDR3 (Mid 2010) 1CPU
    Apple - Mac Pro DDR3 (Mid 2010) 2CPU
    Apple - Mac Pro Workstation

    I am guessing the Early 2009 2CPU, but thats just a guess..
  16. fairbanx macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2010
    check "apple menu > about this mac" or system profiler and you will find the information you need. if you can provide this forum with the modelidentifier (macpro1,1 2,1 3,1…?), we can help you in detail.
  17. voodoochild16 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    Alright it says DDR2 in the about this mac window, this is definitely the first Intel Xenon Mac Pro to be released. But I am still not sure if that means i can upgrade it to an 8-core, what do you guys think?.

    Attached Files:

  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's not only possible, it's actually been done by other members. :) Just make sure you get the correct processors and swap them out.

    There's other threads on this here in MR, so do a search. You're after Clovertown based Xeons, which are the 53xx series.
  19. djulz macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2009
    The MP 2,66 Quad (4,1)(2009) is upgradable from 35XX to 36XX. From Quadra to Hexa. I just had a msg from the admin of and a look at
    Its in french but use Google translate to get some idea of the process. One more thing, the 2009MacPro Quad had two versions, one before October 09 and the other after, it seems the latest is the one that accepts the 36XX hexas.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

    The OP's machine is not a 2009, but either a 2006 or 2007 (both used the same board and memory; 2007 is when the first quad core CPU's became available to create the first Octad models).

    As per the article, they used a 2010 system as the test machine. Unfortunately, the 2009's have different firmware, and can't be upgraded with what resides in a 2010 (it's been tried and didn't work). So the 36xx parts will work in a 2010, but not a 2009 (different steppings in the 36xx series).
  21. voodoochild16 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    So mine is still upgradable to two quads.. and is ddr3 memory really that much faster than ddr2?.
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yes, you can create an Octad out of your existing system with the right processors. :)

    As per memory, it' can only use 667MHz Fully Buffered DDR2 (DDR3 won't work in your machine; only 2009 and newer).
  23. djulz macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2009

    Sorry, but I had a talk with Lionel from Macbidouille/Hardmac and he confirmed that they updated a late 2009-2,66Quad with an Hexacore. Its very confusing, since I read the contrary on most of the threads here. Macbidouille/Hardmac are not AnandTech, but they are very respected and highly qualified. Unless I get a hold on a Intel 36XX hexa, and do the test myself, I guess we'll never know, since the prices are still very high for those CPUs.
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd want some confirmation of some sort, such as a screen shot showing the MP Identifier with a Hex core CPU (i.e. 4,1 and W3670, 3680, or 3690). :D :p

    It does work with the 5,1 as it's a proven fact it supports B1 steppings.

    In the case of the Macbidouille link you posted, with the pics of both the 2009 (4,1) and 2010 (5,1) CPU trays, I'm wondering if the test was done on the 2010 and presumed it would also work on the 2009. This is why I'm after a screen shot to show otherwise.

    The previous attempts I'm aware of did not work, as only D0 steppings were available at the time 2009 systems released. So far, no one's gotten the firmware to update to that used on the 2010 units via a software only method (not desolder the firmware chip, manually reprogram the ROM chip with a dumped copy of the 2010 code, then resolder the ROM with the new firmware - that has been done as I understand it>).

    The only other possibility that would make any sense to me, is that the specific firmware revision on the 2009 system used, was a beta version of what was the first final release used in the 2010's (i.e. I have heard of a B08 version, though officially, B07 was the latest for the 2009's). Assuming this is the case, it wouldn't be viable for all 2009 users (likely a very small number).
  25. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010

    AFAIK that bootrom is mostly found in refurbs.

    I found something weird on Geekbench database. It does not imply anything as the info can be easily faked in the hackintosh world. but still.... weird.

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