Upgrading a 5,1 12-core

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pertusis1, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    Hey guys,
    I recently bought a 12-core 2.4 GHz Mac Pro (back when Amazon had their price glitch). I was planning on gradually upgrading it over time, and at the moment, it is not badly in need of any upgrades. My upgrade plan had been:

    1) RAM
    2) video card
    3) internal RAID, possibly with SSD
    4) processor upgrade (the processor is definitely not the bottleneck at the moment)

    HOWEVER, it bugs me that Intel is dropping the chips that I will eventually need to use to replace my 2.4 GHz processors. I am worried that come time to replace the chips, I'll be out of luck.

    My question is this. Does anyone have a sense as to how difficult it will be to purchase these processors in a year or two? I am finding 3.46 GHz hex core chips for as low as $858 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-...sor-/221298788099?pt=CPUs&hash=item33866f8703

    I'd rather not spend the money right now, but am wondering if this is going to become impossible to find in a few years.

    Any advice based on prior discontinued Intel chips would be helpful.

    Thanks.
     
  2. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #2
    I was in the same boat as you. Except my machine started life as a 2.4GHz 8 core machine (2010 5,1 Mac Pro)

    1. Before even turing on the machine I put 24GBs of RAM in.
    2. I also moved my MacVidCards modified Gigabyte GTX570 from my 3,1 to the 5,1 and put the HD 5770 in the 3,1 before I sold it. (Note - my GTX570 is now for sale in the Marketplace Section of this forum)
    3. I don't have a RAID, but I did put in an Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 SATAIII card with a Samsung 500GB Series 840 SSD.
    4. I have replaced my CPUs with W5590 (3.3 GHz 8 core)
    5. I recently upgraded the Video Card again with another MacVidCards modified EFI Card. This time a Gigabyte GTX780. A really fast card.

    Lou
     
  3. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    somewhere
    #3

    well it is possible that the price of those cpus might get even cheaper .. really no way to know .. if it worries you then just buy them now and put off the rest for now since the ram / hdd / gpus will always be available for the most part ..
     
  4. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
  5. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #5
    I'm surprised this isn't in a sticky or something.

    It's so simple I can memorize it and I don't sell CPUs.

    Mac Pro 1,1 & 2,1 max CPU 2 @ 5365 4 x 3.00 Ghz each for 8 cores

    Mac Pro 3,1 max CPU 2 @ 5482 4 x 3.2 Ghz each for 8 cores (all can be 8 cores, just get heatsink)

    Mac Pro 4,1/5,4 max CPU 2 @ 5690 6 x 3.46 Ghz for 12 cores or 1 @ 3690 6 x 3.46 Ghz for 6 cores

    Thats it.

    That is all there will ever be to maxing out a Mac Pro in terms of CPU. No secret surprises, no forgotten specs, no mysteries. All right there.
     
  6. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    somewhere
    #6

    yep .. I really wish I would have gotten a used 8 core instead of my used quad .. so i had the option to go 12 core:(
     
  7. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #7
    A friend of mine had a quad and we purchased a broken 8 core on ebay. The daughterboard that holds the CPUs was fine so we put it into his mac pro, upgraded the CPUs and had a 12 core :) It was a gamble, since we wernt 100% sure the daughterboard would be ok, but long talks to person selling it and several pics showed damage to the PCIe slots and sata slots, only those areas, and not the daughterboard. Lucky I guess
     
  8. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    somewhere
    #8
    so you can find a daughter board with dual cpus and slide it into a quad and then its dual cpu ?? hmmm might start looking ;)
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #9
    Yes, this works. Just make sure to get a 4,1 daughter board if you have a 4,1 Mac Pro or a 5,1 daughter board if you have a 5,1 Mac Pro. Mixing will not work.
     
  10. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    somewhere
    #10
    if i get a 4,1 then swapping cpus is a pain right ?
     
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #11
    Not too much of a pain. Many have done it. Count the number of revolutions you make to the heatsink screws and you should be fine.
     
  12. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    there are tutorials on this forum about it actually. You need to add like 2.6mm (around that) of spacers to stop the heatsink from crushing the cpus. Thats the safest way.
     
  13. tombb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    Case Report of 2.66 to 3.46 upgrade

    Hi:

    I just upgraded my 12-core 5,1 (2010) from 2.66 GHz (5650) to 3.46 GHz (5690), and offer some observations for any other non-techie who is considering upgrading such a system.

    1. Ease of Upgrade:

    Installation is easy and has been nicely documented by others in this forum. Anyone with an understanding of screwdriver mechanics should be able to complete the upgrade in under an hour. (Earlier models reportedly require a bit more patience.)

    2. Performance:

    This upgrade increases processor speed from 2.66 to 3.46 GHz (+30.1%). The "turbo boost" processor speed increases from 3.06 to 3.73 GHz (+21.9%). Theoretically, I should thus expect multi-core, processor-intensive tasks to increase in speed by up to 30.1%, and single-core, processor-intensive tasks to increase in speed by up to 21.9%.

    I used GeekBench 3 as my synthetic, processor-intensive task and measured an improvement of about 24% for the "multi-processor" scores and 18% for "single-processor" scores.

    I then used Xcode to do a full recompile on my main project, with nearly 200 source files and about a million lines of code. (Xcode is able to pin all 24 virtual processors during parts of the compile.) Recompile turnaround times dropped from 13.5 to 10.9 seconds (-19.3%). This is a noticeable improvement, making for a more pleasant and productive development cycle.

    (BTW, my previous development system sported a quad core i7 and required 43 seconds to compile the same project. The 12-core Mac Pro was a game-changer.)

    I measured restart times using various operating systems and did document a tiny improvement, but it was not noticeable. One exception: restarting Windows 7 (running on Parallels inside 10.8.5) was 13% quicker.

    Overall, processor-intensive activity on the Mac Pro "feels" about 20% quicker. Disk-intensive activity feels unchanged. Check out the recent report on BareFeats (www.barefeats.com/mp12c346.html) for other benchmark results.

    3. Heat:

    The max TDP rating increases from 95 watts to 130 watts (+36.8%). Some folks have expressed hesitation, worrying about problems with overheating. I ran the GeekBench 3 "stress test" and measured CPU A and B Heatsink temps as well as fan speeds (iStat).

    With a room temp of 78 deg F, I used the system for non-processor-intensive tasks (web surfing, text editing, email, etc.). The "idle" temps at the end of one hour were almost identical pre and post-upgrade.

    After 10 minutes of the GeekBench 3 "stress test," the temps were about 13.5% higher on the post-upgrade system. The highest measured post-upgrade CPU Heatsink temp was 148 deg F.

    I then stopped the stress test. After 1 minute, the temps were almost back to pre-stress levels and the difference between the pre and post upgrade systems was negligible.

    4. Power:

    My UPS monitors power draw. During normal, non-processor intensive activities, the pre and post-upgrade readings were identical (243 watts for the Mac Pro and Cinema Display). During the GeekBench "stress test," pre-upgrade power usage peeked at 450 watts and post-upgrade power usage peeked at 531 watts (+18%).

    5. Noise:

    During the "stress test," all of the measured fan speeds increased by about 200 rpm pre-upgrade and about 400 rpm post-upgrade. Overall noise level in a quiet, residential office went from "quiet" to "still quiet." During normal, non-processor intensive activities, the pre and post-upgrade fan speeds were nearly identical.

    6. Ebay:

    I purchased these processors (used) on Ebay through PayPal. I chose an established US reseller who offered a 14-day DOA warranty and had received good feedback scores selling similar items. By using a bit of caution, I feel confident with such transactions.

    7. Price:

    I paid a total of $1700 for both processors. My old 5650's can be sold for $200 each, however I may hang on to them for a while, just in case I run across unforeseen problems with the 5690's.

    8. Reliability:

    Intel has marketed the 5600 series as a reliable, business-class processor, designed for high-volume server and workstation duty. I suspect, given the measured findings above, that my 5690's will last a long time. I see no reason to worry about the Mac Pro's 980 watt power supply or cooling system. I see no reason to alter fan settings. YMMV.

    Also note that OWC (my favorite site for Mac stuff) offers this same upgrade and feels confident enough to warranty the result for one year.

    9. Is It Worth It?:

    For me, yes.

    This is the "finishing touch" on my Xcode development system and it improves my productivity by a noticeable amount. (And that's what I'm telling both the IRS and my spouse.)

    For you, it depends.

    Does your workflow require processor-intensive software? Have you already purchased the best software for the job? Automated your workflow? Added an SSD boot/work drive? Added enough RAM to avoid page outs? Added enough screen real estate? Appropriate video card? Faster internet? Accelsior?

    Upgrading a 12-core Mac Pro from 2.66 to 3.46 GHz should probably be your last step.
     
  14. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    My guess is that the sockets aren't compatible from Westmere to Sandy Bridge E or Ivy Bridge E and thusly, you're only going to get a nominal bump at best. Not really worth worrying about. By the time RAM, Video card, and storage upgrades have been exhausted and you are still finding yourself wanting more power, it will be time to replace the machine with a cylinder or a newer 27" iMac (as those will eventually be faster in most respects than a non-cylindrical Mac Pro but will have enough USB 3/Thunderbolt expansion to give you similar/faster internal bus speeds than the internal SATA that machine has).
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    Why would it become impossible later? You are likely to find cheaper pricing when businesses start to retire servers that use these chips. Whether that machine is actively supported by Apple and 3rd party developers is a different matter entirely, but buying cpus now or later will not impact that.
     
  16. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #16
    Thank you
     
  17. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #17
    Now this is a helpful thread, I'm tagging along so I can find it again.
     
  18. iancflam macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
  19. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Canada

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