Upgrading Mac Pro 4,1 to 2 x 3.46ghz (X5690)

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 1, 2018
499
259
Middletown, DE
Decided to take the plunge after picking up a DP 4,1 a few weeks ago. It was the base model 2 x 2.26 8 core machine, and came equipped with 12GB of RAM. Immediately, I ordered 6 sticks of 4GB 1333mhz RAM. Now the machine had 24GB. So far, so good.

I had a single X5690 in another 4,1 (a single processor model) that I decided to pirate, and then ordered a second on eBay for $100 shipped. After about 2 weeks, the new (to me) X5690 arrived from China, and I began the teardown.

IMG_0519.jpg
Got the tray out, and removed the heatsinks.

IMG_0521.jpg
I didn't know that there were small spacers on top of the CPUs in the DP setups. Interesting.

IMG_0522.jpg
De-lidded the pair of X5690s using the vice only technique. This process took less than 5 minutes, and was super easy. I had 100% success with this procedure, and it was my first time doing it. Highly recommended to anyone on the fence about de-lidding their own CPUs... DO NOT pay someone $70+ to do this for you!
[doublepost=1526423057][/doublepost] IMG_0524.jpg
Using a razor blade, I carefully removed the gasket and thermal material from the processors. Then, cleaned them up with isopropyl alcohol, and gave them a quick blast with compressed air.

IMG_0526.jpg
Installed the CPUS, put the spacers back on, and began to tighten the heatsinks. I tightened them in an X pattern, switching screws every few turns until I felt resistance. Then, I gave them an extra 1/8 turn and started on the next heatsink. After that one became tight, I went back to the first one and they had loosened up a bit, so I gave them another 1/8 turn each and repeated the process to the second one. Keep in mind, I used very little effort to tighten these screws as I had heard horror stories. Finally, everything was done and put back in the Mac Pro.

Powered up the machine, and was treated with a reassuring bong. "About this Mac" recognized both new CPUs, and the RAM had been bumped from 1066mhz, to 1333mhz. Immediately, I fired up Geekbench and ran the CPU test. For comparison, here's what the machine did before the upgrade (2 x 2.26ghz 4 core CPUs):
IMG_0529.jpg

And here is what my single processor Mac Pro scored with the X5690:
IMG_0530.jpg

And finally, the results of the 2 x 3.46ghz 6 core processors:
IMG_0528.jpg

So, my single-core score increased about 900 points, while the multi-core score leaped ahead by almost 12000 points. Unfortunately, the single-core scores were lower than the single X5690, but I did increase the multi-core score over that setup as well. All in all, it was a worthy upgrade that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone with a 4,1 or 5,1 machine. This will undoubtably increase the lifespan of this computer.

Anyone need a pair of E5520s?
 
Last edited:

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,527
6,780
Just a head's up. If your experience with two X5690 CPUs is like mine (and a couple of other people), the Mac Pro fan behavior will be inconsistently wonky and you'll need to install fan control software.
 

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 1, 2018
499
259
Middletown, DE
Just a head's up. If your experience with two X5690 CPUs is like mine (and a couple of other people), the Mac Pro fan behavior will be inconsistently wonky and you'll need to install fan control software.
Yikes! I haven’t heard of this issue before. I had the machine running for a few minutes doing light tasks and so far so good.
 

tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
620
483
UK
Ive got the 3.46 W and its showing its age... super slow on the majority of programs these days. Especially CC, lightroom is such a pain to use. Its sat in the corner looking sad for itself.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,691
1,952
Believe the fan behavior may be on 4,1>5,1 machines. I'm running an authentic 5,1 with dual X5690 and have not run into this issue on this machine. Several client machines that I've worked on are 4,1>5,1 and they have used fan control software.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,527
6,780
Believe the fan behavior may be on 4,1>5,1 machines. I'm running an authentic 5,1 with dual X5690 and have not run into this issue on this machine. Several client machines that I've worked on are 4,1>5,1 and they have used fan control software.
That was true in my case (4,1).

The fan was fine 99% of the time but there were certain specific applications where, if they hammered the CPU, would cause CPU ramp up to ridiculously high speeds even though the temperature wasn't very high. And then the fan speeds wouldn't go back down until many minutes after the load stopped and long after temperatures had returned to normal.
 

barmann

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2010
938
624
Germany
Ive got the 3.46 W and its showing its age... super slow on the majority of programs these days. Especially CC, lightroom is such a pain to use. Its sat in the corner looking sad for itself.
You might have hardware issues, or with your program configurations or OSX .
Lightroom has always been a pig, but even current versions shouldn't be slow on a cMP as described in your sig .
 

tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
620
483
UK
You might have hardware issues, or with your program configurations or OSX .
Lightroom has always been a pig, but even current versions shouldn't be slow on a cMP as described in your sig .
Nothing wrong with the machine. Im a photographer by trade, edit hundreds of images a week spend about half my week infront of it and they aren't practical as daily workhorses anymore. I replaced it with a dual xeon dell workstation a few years ago because of lack of Apple options. Runs rings round it almost 0 lag, I find CC seems to run a bit better on W10 especially with the availability of CUDA cards.

Its not a bad upgrade for the cost these days but they aren't fast machines anymore, not bad for 10 years old but they are coming to the end of the road.
 

Surrat

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2014
478
167
United States
Something to keep in mind is that the SMC fan and power control system in the dual cpu 2009-2012 mac pros is only setup for max 95 watt cpu's.
The X5690 are 130 watts each, this probably causes the strange behavior under high load.

On my upgraded mac pro's, I have kept to the 95 watt limits, meaning the X5675 6 core 3.06ghz, or the X5672 4 core 3.2ghz. I have had no fan weirdness so far with these processors.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SnakeCoils

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,290
6,875
Hong Kong
Something to keep in mind is that the SMC fan and power control system in the dual cpu 2009-2012 mac pros is only setup for max 95 watt cpu's.
The X5690 are 130 watts each, this probably causes the strange behavior under high load.

On my upgraded mac pro's, I have kept to the 95 watt limits, meaning the X5675 6 core 3.06ghz, or the X5672 4 core 3.2ghz. I have had no fan weirdness so far with these processors.
Since only the 2009 flashed 5,1 users report the fans issue. I suspect when Apple working on the 2010 Mac Pro, they actually try dual 130W CPU options, which makes the SMC can support that. But may be something like fan noise not up to their standard (clearly cooling is not a problem if the fan spin up), therefore, they give up this options, but the SMC still support that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Squuiid

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 1, 2018
499
259
Middletown, DE
Quick question... does the Mac Pro favor one CPU socket over another when it tests the single core for Geekbench? If so, is out socket A or B?
 

Taytrax

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
9
1
Please help!!I just tried this for myself in attempt to build a new station for audio production. I followed your setup to a tee with one exception. I moved my Ssd from my previous computer Mac mini late 2012 with Mojave to the main SATA. After completion I tried to boot. It powered on but I didn’t get a bing or any signal to my monitor or keyboard. Do you have any ideas of what the problem could be? I just spent about $500 bucks on hardware and I’m terrified I totally screwed up. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you
 

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 1, 2018
499
259
Middletown, DE
Is the machine a 4,1 or 5,1? If its a 4,1, did you do the firmware flash before you installed the X5690s?

What OS were you running before you swapped in the SSD? If need be, could you re-install the older HDD with that on it so you can eliminate that variable?

What GPU is installed?

I would need to know a little more about the machine before I can offer any advice.
 

Taytrax

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
9
1
Is the machine a 4,1 or 5,1? If its a 4,1, did you do the firmware flash before you installed the X5690s?

What OS were you running before you swapped in the SSD? If need be, could you re-install the older HDD with that on it so you can eliminate that variable?

What GPU is installed?

I would need to know a little more about the machine before I can offer any advice.
Thanks for the response man. It’s a 4,1 flashed to 5,1 the ssd I transferred has Mojave and the 5,1 has mountain lion. It boots up totally fine with the old HDD in the main but doesn’t recognize the SSD and I figured outAfter the Pro’s GPU doesn’t support Metal and I need to get a new one. Which is fine. I won’t be gaming on the computer just running Logic Pro x and Ableton. Is the Msi gaming rx560 my cheapest option? I’ve already gone over budget on this haha. Also it seems like the 1333mhz ram is still running @1066. it has 2x 3,46ghz westmere. As is, resetting the PRAM isn’t doing anything. Thanks again
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,290
6,875
Hong Kong
Also it seems like the 1333mhz ram is still running @1066. it has 2x 3,46ghz westmere. As is, resetting the PRAM isn’t doing anything.
Sounds like your DIMM spec is wrong.

Is the Msi gaming rx560 my cheapest option?
All RX400 series, RX500 series, HD7000 series, GTX600 series should work. Just search for the cheapest used card that you can get (if you are budget limited).

If in doubt, post your target card here before you buy it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Taytrax

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 1, 2018
499
259
Middletown, DE
For a good budget card I went with the RX480... the 4gb version can be had for under $100 used on ebay. It is almost identical in performance to the RX580, and certainly more powerful than a RX560 (and probably cheaper also). However, I needed a double mini 6-pin to single 6-pin cable to keep it from drawing too much power and crashing the system.

Try doing a PRAM reset 3 times in a row (holding down the 4 keys until after the 3rd chime). Sometimes just a single reset doesnt take.

To verify what speed your RAM actually is, look at the label on your DIMM... PC3-8500 is 1066mhz, while PC3-10600 is 1333mhz. Also, all DIMMs must be the same speed, or it will downclock to the lowest speed out of the set.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Taytrax

Taytrax

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
9
1
Update, new problem. So I just installed a Msi rx580 4gb to the Mac Pro. Used the 2x mini 6pin to 8pin splitter and the lights are coming on. However, my monitor is not receiving any signal. I’ve tried both vga and hdmi. Any ideas? Thanks again guys
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,290
6,875
Hong Kong
Update, new problem. So I just installed a Msi rx580 4gb to the Mac Pro. Used the 2x mini 6pin to 8pin splitter and the lights are coming on. However, my monitor is not receiving any signal. I’ve tried both vga and hdmi. Any ideas? Thanks again guys
Which OS?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,290
6,875
Hong Kong
10.8.5 released on 12 Sep 2013 (after that, only security update, no more new driver).

RX580 released on 18 Apr 2017

It's impossible for 10.8.5 to support a "future GPU".

If you want to use your RX580, you MUST install 10.12.6 or later (recommend 10.14.6 for cMP)
 

Taytrax

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
9
1
Still nothing. I put the original gpu back in and updated to El Capitan 10.11.6 (do I have to update all the way to High Sierra?!?). The other guy said 10.8 should be enough. which booted up and everything, no problems. I just put the rx580 back in and no signal to the monitor. Please help, thank u
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.