Mix & Match Processors?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by revilate, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. revilate macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I have a Mac Pro* from 2011 that I have an experiment planned for.

    I've recently got my hands on a brand new processor tray that doesn't have a processor chip installed in it yet.

    I'm thinking of putting a 3.33GHz Six Core i7 (Gulftown) in it.

    Questions:
    • Do Mac Pros need a specific type of Intel chip or will it run off any Intel chip?
    • The trays are the same, will a 2.8GHz quad motherboard handle this experiment of mine?

    - Thank you and stay tuned for results!
     
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 6502a

    nambuccaheadsau

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    Location:
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    #2
    CPU's need to be compatible. For example my model handles Intel 5300 and 5500 CPUs ONLY.

    Run it and see if she explodes?
     
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #3
    That may work, although the i7s don't support ECC memory, which the xeons require, so you'd have to have different memory.
     
  4. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Probably better off building a hackintosh then risking your Mac Pro.
     
  5. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #5
    Actually, I think the i7 Will work as long as you are using a single CPU tray. I've read of others upgrading a single CPU to an i7.

    The ECC memory might not work though, and that could cause a kernel panic or boot failure.

    if it is an extra cpu tray (meaning you can keep your original untouched with its cpu) then I don't think you can hurt anything by trying.

    I've never tried, so I have no idea what will happen. What have you got to lose?
     
  6. revilate thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    #6
    Hi and thanks for your responses everyone,

    What type of compatibility are you mentioning here? With the RAM and Motherboard?

    Thanks for this hint.

    What are the benefits and losses of this route?

    This is correct. If I do this, I'm going to just take my normal processor and RAM tray out, and swap this empty one that I will add the according RAM and processor to to see if it works.
     
  7. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #7
    yes, Mac Pro can run i7's, desktop CPU or simply "non-xeons" just fine as long as it's the non-xeon eqvivalent of the compatible xeons for that mac.

    ECC ram will not work though, you will have to replace it with standard DDR3 RAM. (or perhaps ECC ram ran fine but just lost ECC feature, cant remember)

    i7's cant run dual CPU mode though, so only single CPU.
     
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #8
    You need an LGA 1366 Core i7 from the 900 series or a Xeon 3500 or 3600 series processor. Xeon 5500 and 5600s will work as well, but there is no reason to use them, you can make more selling them and using one of the processors designed for single CPU use.

    Are they the same? 2009 and 2010 models look the same if I'm not mistaken, but the older ones can't take Westmere CPUs (6-core) without a firmware update.

    In your situation I'd sell the tray on eBay and buy a Xeon W3680 which is the same sort of price as a new Core i7 980, but will let you use your existing memory, won't give you any instability issues reported by people using Core i7s and has a higher QPI.

    There are guides on this forum on how to switch the processors.
     
  9. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #9
    which, should be mentioned, can be downloaded from netkas forum
     
  10. revilate thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    #10
    Thank you so much for the info on this Xeon W3680 processor. I just looked and saw one on NewEgg.

    Here's a question for you on that specific processor: If I were to obtain a dual processor tray void of chips, and if I were to place two of these Xeon W3680s in them, would it work?

    Also I think it's important to note I'm only doing simple relatively simple computing... music production, video production, gaming... but I'm very serious about performance, too. :)

    Thanks very much for this tip... I will check them out!
     
  11. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #11
    No you need 5500/5600 series to use two together.
     
  12. revilate, Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

    revilate thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    #12
    Thank you for this response.

    A quick question about dual processors: A friend told me once that most applications don't utilize both of the processors, they only utilize one. He then explained that only 'server' computers are meant to use dual processors... is that true? :confused:
     
  13. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #13
    Most applications don't use many cores well, that's all it is. In the past this was more the case because desktops only had one processing core for a long time.
     
  14. revilate thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    #14
    Thanks for the reply.

    Also just out of curiosity, what type of a difference would one notice between a quad-core 2.8GHz machine and a six-core 3.33GHz machine?
     
  15. Neolithium macrumors 6502a

    Neolithium

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    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Wherever the army needs me.
    #15
    That would depend on what you're using the computer for. If you're doing multithreaded encoding, some scientific programs or anything that would utilize all the cores, then you'd notice a significant difference. If you're talking email, games, or standard "desktop type stuff" the difference would be a mouse fart in a hurricane.
     
  16. revilate thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    #16
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm mainly using my computer for gaming and music production... using specific programs as Logic 9, Ableton 8, Reason 4... Battlefield 3...
     
  17. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #17
    Most of the programs you listed can use dual processors.

    Games are an exception, usually.
     

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