Pimp my Mac: MP 2009 Dual CPU upgrade experience

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by deppest, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. deppest macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    #1
    I've been tempted for a while and after reading through most of the available info I finally found the courage to upgrade the CPUs of my slowly aging 2009 MP. Apple isn't exactly inspiring when it comes to announcing new MP models so I thought I might as well give it a go and build my own faster MP. Thankfully, a good friend with some PC build experience volunteered to help out. The model to be upgraded was a 2009 MP 4,1 2x2.26 Ghz. I went for the W5590 (4x3.33GHz) because they currently offer the most bang for buck in my view. Going higher for eg a 5690 (six core) would have been possible as well but in my opinion it's too costly for such an old rig.

    There already is quite some information out there on this and similar upgrades, most importantly the pioneering work by by gugucom and anandtech. But I thought another experience report could still be useful. Anyway, let's go:

    Material
    2xW5590
    Arctic Silver 5
    Arctic cleaning liquid set (1+2)
    optical tissues
    3mm hex wench
    10x10cm thermal pad, 2mm thickness

    First, we started by taking out the heatsink and CPU B along with all the RAM modules in slots 5-8. One needs to be a little careful here as the CPU could stick to the HS as it did in our case and you don't want it to fall off on your mainboard (Fig 2 with old CPU still attached to the HS).
    It's also a good idea at this stage to get a feeling for the pressure/strength needed to loosen the screws with the 3mm hex wench. This is important later on when putting everything back in. It took about 5-6 turns, one turn per screw at a time in a cross-like way to make sure the whole thing comes off evenly.

    We then put the CPU tray back in to the MP to check if the MP would still startup with just CPU A (still the old one) and its HS. It started up as expected and after about 30-60sec the MP fan would go into overdrive making quite some noise. Again, this has been mentioned before, so no worries. After shuting down the MP we removed CPU A, HS and all remaining RAM modules.

    Preparation of Heatsinks
    We cleaned the copper contact area of the HS with the Arctiv Cleaner products and applied a thin layer of Arctic Silver 5 with an old credit card. Please see the Arctic Silver website for all details about using their products. On one side of the HS there is a narrow strip (pink, sorry no picture) of thermal pad which we removed and replaced with a thicker one of 2 mm.

    The W5590 CPUs are lidded with an IHS whereas the original ones used by Apple are lidless making the W5590 about 1.7mm thicker (see again gugucom thread). A 2 mm thermal pad which can be compressed to 1 mm felt like the right choice to replace the original thinner one.

    Preparation of CPUs
    We cleaned CPU A and carefully placed it in the socket. Thankfully, there's only one way to put it in the socket.

    Putting back the heatsinks
    On the outer sides of both heatsinks there is a male plug which connects the temp regulation and fans to the mainboard (Fig 2&3 for HS male part of connector, Fig 1 for female counterpart on mainboard). According to some threads, the two parts of the connector may not properly reconnect once the heatsink is reinstalled due to the thicker CPU with IHS. As a result the fans would go crazy or not fire up at all. We therefore decided to take the connectors out of the small aluminium frame in the corner of the heatsink to facilitate the later reconnection (Fig 4). This was not a good idea...

    When we tried to put the HS back, the loosened male connector (or the cables) would get into the way even when properly connected making it impossible to properly place the HS over the CPU socket. So it was all back with the HS connector into the original configuration (Fig 3). We then put back the HS on CPU A which still required some fiddling with the connector to help it find its place. A second pair of hands was really helpful at this stage. We also applied some downwards pressure on the connector from the outside of the HS with the help of a small screwdriver (Fig 5) to make sure it connects properly. This is best done when the HS is already tightened to the mainboard to avoid any movements of the HS, not like we did it.

    We then tightened the 4 screws of the HS very carefully, one turn per screw at a time, about 4 turns per screw in total, again in a cross-like fashion. After putting back the CPU in the MP (with only the new CPU A and socket B empty) and starting up the MP...nothing, no chime, no joy...

    The white LED of the power up button was blinking and nothing much else was happening. After overcoming a slight panic attack on my side we pulled the tray back out and after giving each screw another turn the MP started up!! Never been so happy to hear the startup chime before!

    The number of turns required for reattaching the HS will probably vary from case to case so I think the best advice is to apply about as much pressure when tightening the screws as when loosening the screws at the beginning.

    The second CPU went much easier and everything worked the 1st time round. The temperatures after some intitial stress testing seem ok, around 50-60°, similar to what it was before. The CPU fans, however, are working a bit harder, at around 1700-1800 RPM.

    Cost of upgrade

    2xW5590 (ebay) USD 565
    Arctic Silver 5 cleaning liquid set (1+2) CHF 24
    3mm hex wench CHF 3
    10x10cm thermal pad, 2mm thickness: Euro 20
    import duties Switzerland CHF 30

    Total ca CHF 600 CHF

    Benchmarks
    Most important for me since I do a lot of rendering is Cinebench CPU which went from 8 to 11.7 which almost equals to a 50% performance increase. I got a similar increase with Geeekbench from 12390 to 17740. And even Cinebench OpenGL went from 24.3 to 32.1 (on a GTX 570) showing once again that it's not a very sensitive tool for measuring OpenGL performance.

    It took as about 2 hours in total for the whole surgery. I guess that's a bit on the long side compared to other reports but we took it really really carefully and step by step. Anyway I'm now a proud and happy owner of an 3.33 Ghz MP 4,1 Octo!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ClassObject macrumors 6502

    ClassObject

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #2
    ~2mm thick washers are typically used on the heatsink screw posts to prevent crushing the CPU.
     
  3. lastmile macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    #3
    You're seeing temps of 50-60 C while stress testing? What are you running to test?

    I was seeing much higher temps in the 85-95+ C range with a pair of W5590s, about 5 C less for W5580s and another 5 C less for X5570s.

    I reinstalled them multiple times thinking I needed to do a better job with the thermal paste and never got temps I was satisfied with. If you're running at 50-60 C under load I'm hoping there's something i'm doing wrong...though I sold the CPUs so I'd have to buy another pair.
     
  4. avemestr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    #4
    Nice write-up and good pictures! I've been "pushing" the dual W5590s in these forums for a while now. They're at a good price/performance point at this time.
     
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #5
    Yes they are. Upgrading used 2009 systems to either a W3680 or dual W5590s is one of the best ways to get value out of a Mac Pro purchase.

    $2,200 for a 3.33GHz 8-core or $1,800 for a 3.33GHz 6-core is easily possible from eBay. $100 for 24GB of RAM, GTX 570 for $250, 128GB SSDs for just over $100. You can get kick-ass Macs for under $3,000. They may not be Sandy Bridge, but they are still solid performers.
     
  6. avemestr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    #6
    Coincidentially, I have been looking for a dual 2009 or 2010, but came across a cheap SP 2009 instead. A used W3680 is in the mail now.

    I went for a GTX 680 instead of 570. I couldn't find that cheap ECC RAM, but I'll live. The MP I bought came with a 600GB Intel Series 320 SSD :D
     
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #7
    You won't, only non-ECC is that much right now. Congrats on getting a bargain Mac Pro :)
     
  8. philipma1957, Sep 30, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #8
    here are some deals;

    58 for an 8gb stick use moon10 for 10% off max 10 bucks.


    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=D3-13R8G4S



    so 3x 58 = 174 - 10 bucks = 164 for 24gb ram of course you can get 4x 8gb for 232 - 10 = 222 for 32gb ram

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    if not this deal then this one


    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=D34GRE133S


    32 a stick 4x 32 = 128 -10 = 118 for 16gb same code moon10

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    last deal is 3x 16gb 48gb is the max without trickery


    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=D313R16GS2


    these cost more 133 a stick so 3x 133 is 399 - 10 is 389 for 48gb ram the max for your machine .

    64gb is possible but i think only in windows.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't own my 2010 (quad to hex mod) anymore.

    I had 4x 8gb ram. so I am less sure about the 16gb ram and if mountain lion will support 64gb ram.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    this is a good seller good ram.
     
  9. lastmile macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    #10
    Any comments on temps guys? If I was doing something wrong I want to go back to w5590s and get it right.
     
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
    did you let the osx run the fans?

    or did you set the fans with aftermarket software?

    apple osx takes a long time to ramp up the fans.

    I use istat menus 3 I purchased it on black fri for 14 bucks family pack up to 5 macs.

    I set 5 fan speeds . I tested my gear with the fans at all 5 speeds and to stay cool the fans must run fast under full load 99% for 12 cores
     
  11. lastmile macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    #12
    So for a 12-core you've got your fans set to basically run full speed when the Mac is under full load right?

    How do you handle fan control under Windows or do the profiles set under OS X remain active?
     
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #13
    I used vmware fusion to run windows so mac osx was running the fans via the istats menus 3 software.
     
  13. Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Location:
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    #14
    Congratulations. Some have omitted the thermal padding for the IC's, but I see that you went the safe route. Never realized that when I did this with 2x2.26GHz => 2x3.2GHz (using 5580's) in June 2009 that it would still be a viable option in late 2012. After further tweaking and with the aid of SMC fan utility, I got my Geekbench 2 score up to 19,474; then I went the 5680 (EFI hack) route, only to later use the 5680s in a selfbuild and to re-populate that 2009 Mac Pro system with the 5580's.
     
  14. deppest thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    #15
    to: lastmile/CPU temps
    I did some more stress testing with Vray anad Maxwell renderers, both utilise all CPUs at nearly 100% each, i.e. nearly 1600% in total. Render time about 1 hour.

    temps for CPU A: up to 68°C
    temps for CPU B: around 55°C
    ambient: 29°C

    I have not tweaked the fans. They go up to 2200 and I've also seen 2400 RPM but within a few minutes go down to 1800-19000 RPM (while still under full load). Which reminds me I need to check what RPM and temps they are at when idle.

    to:tutor
    thanks, would you mind providing more details about your further tweaking?

     
  15. Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Location:
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    #16
    As I recall, the two things that had the greatest impact were as follows:
    First, by subtraction, i.e., uninstalling things that I did not use that ran in the background. Second, by making my system run cooler, i.e., swapping out the Apple fans for fans with greater air flow capacity, keeping my system, and especially the cpu fans, clean and finding the sweet spot for the various settings for SMC fan control utility. I tweaked the fan settings using Geekbench and Cinebench performance as my guide.
     
  16. nebc100, Oct 2, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012

    nebc100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    #17
    Really nice article!!!!

    Text removed

    If anyone is interested in it, please let me know.

    best regards.

    Nicholas Cross

    P.S. Please accept my apologies if anyone was upset by the entry above. I had not realised what I put was not permitted under forum rules.
     
  17. cristtiah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #18
  18. avemestr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    #19
  19. cristtiah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #20
    Thanks just brought the processors and thermal pad. Do you know where I can buy the other materials needed? thanks
     
  20. cristtiah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #21
    after the upgrade to W5590 can the memory also be upgraded to DDR3 PC10600 1333MHz?
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #22
    As per the rules
     
  22. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #23
    I think that only works if you made your 4,1 a 5,1 with the utility.
     
  23. cristtiah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #24
    Thanks how do I get that utility?
     
  24. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #25
    search this: 4,1 to 5,1 mac pro utility
    not sure where to get it form exactly
     

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