Upgrading my CPU (early 2009 4,1) advice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cavedoll, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. cavedoll macrumors newbie


    Apr 5, 2016
    Lost Angeles, Ca
    First post... Glad to be here!

    So, I've decided to overhaul my early 2009 Mac Pro tower. I've already upgraded the firmware from 4,1 to 5,1... upgraded the RAM from 16gb to 48gb (for now). Will be adding a PCI SSD boot disk and new GPU once I get the CPU sorted. So, next step is to upgrade my processors. I currently have 2.26ghz intel 8 core. I'm planning to go for either the X5690 3.47ghz 12-core pair, X5680 3.33ghz 12-core pair, or X5670 2.93ghz 12-core pair.

    I'm going to be taking on the upgrade myself, which I understand can be quite risky. Very possible to **** up and kill the processor board, etc, but I'm willing to take the risk in the interest of learning and furthering my progress into the world of DIY fixes. I've watched all the walkthroughs I can find, read all the accounts etc. I know all the steps and will approach the upgrade with all due caution.

    My question is though, is it really worth spending approx $600 for a pair 5690's as opposed to around $400 for 5680's OR $200 for 5670's?

    Is there really a noticeable difference in performance? Also, because it's my first upgrade of this magnitude I realize it might be prudent to not spend as much just in case something goes wrong. On the other hand, I'm really looking to completely overhaul/upgrade this machine... and future-proof it as best I can.

    Side note... What would you say makes the bigger difference in improving performance? Upgrading the CPU or adding SSD's (PCIe SSD boot disk in particular)???

    Any and all advice is very much craved. Thanks in advance!

    -C Chambs
    "Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day" -the legendary Marwood aka Bruce Robinson
  2. Messy macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    Having just delidded some CPU's for my upgrade, I can tell you it's an absolute pain. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone.

    I used the blade/flame method and used some old copper heatsinks to go on the underside to draw temps away from all the capacitors etc.
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    The best CPU bang for the buck tends to be the high clock quad cores, unless you know for sure your applications can make use of all 12 cores, which is very rare.

    Between the 3.33 and 3.47, there is a 4% speed increase for a 50% price increase. That doesn't seem worth it to me. However, if every minute saved is dollars to you, then it might be worth it.

    Upgrading the CPU and upgrading to an SSD both increase the performance of the computer, but in very different ways. So as to your question of which will help the most, it depends on what you are trying to do. Speed up calculations? CPU. Speed up boot times, application load times, file access, etc? SSD.
  4. cavedoll thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 5, 2016
    Lost Angeles, Ca
    Thanks for the replies so far. I'm gathering that 1. I've got my work cut out for me (which I'm ok with) and 2. I might be best off starting with the X5670, saving myself a lot of money seeing as the speed increase isn't even close to price increase. Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 5, 2016 ---
    I plan on using this method:

    Adding to the thermal pads and removing the heatsink cable from it's housing etc.
  5. Flocarino macrumors regular


    Jun 4, 2010
    Montreal, Canada
    The method in the video is the way to go. I updated twice my 4.1 dual 2.26 and perfect all the time...just the last time some ram didn't show up, but after another round of carefully tighten the screws, everything showed up. Just take your time, add the washers and thermal pads, no worries at all
  6. cavedoll thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 5, 2016
    Lost Angeles, Ca
    Thanks for the advice!
  7. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    If you can max out all your cores (e.g. for rendering, encoding, etc), 3.33 Hex cores can gives you a big boost with relatively reasonable performance to cost ratio.

    For most other jobs, 3.46GHz will give you most performance increment, so X5677 another cheap alternative to increase single core performance.

    If your work flow require frequent access the HD (e.g. frequently access large amount of small photos). SSD will very effectively remove the HDD latency bottleneck and gives you almost instant respond.

    For general use, SSD may also make you feel your computer is much faster, because the machine boot time is much shorter, apps open much quicker, etc.

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6 April 5, 2016