Where to buy W3680/3690 CPU in UK?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sharky II, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. Sharky II, Jul 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014

    Sharky II macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm looking to upgrade from my 8-core 2008 2.8Ghz by buying a 2009 2.66 Quad and upgrading it to a 3.33/3.46GHz 6-core with 1333MHz ram.

    Can you guys let me know where you'd recommend grabbing a W3680 chip - did people who have done the upgrade use second hand chips?

    All the chips on eBay are second hand, which i'm a bit nervous about. Is it generally OK?

    Would love some advice.

    Cheers!

    Ed
     
  2. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #2
    Just to let you know you can also use the Xeon X5680 or X5690 in a single a single processor Mac Pro 5,1 or 4,1 flashed to a 5,1. They do have an advantage in that the X56xx series will recognize 64GB of Ram whereas the W36xx series will only recognize 56GB of RAM. Also the X56xx may be easier to find.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1732968&highlight=ram

    Used eBay CPU Chips are OK as long as they are not experimental and are production chips. Also, check the seller's feedback. I'm running eBay chips in my dual CPU 5,1 without incident.

    Lou
     
  3. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #3
    I also got my 2nd hand W3690 on the net, even worst than eBay, it's from China TaoBao. I am also hesitate to use 2nd product. However, since no way to get the new one, and the used W3690 is relatively cheap now. So I decided to find a online store that has about 50 positive feedback on this chip, give it a try. And it runs 24/7 flawlessly for about 3 months now.
     
  4. mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    switzerland
    #4
    I buy used CPUs all the time, never had trouble, except once. I bought a Xeon from a UK based seller, the chip was super-cheap. but I had a bad feeling as soon as I took it out of the box: it did show visible signs of physical wear/abuse. I then placed it into my Mac Pro anyway, it tried to boot but panicked always almost immediately. sent it back, and luckily I got a full refund.
     
  5. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #5
    I've been told the failure rate on CPUs themselves is very very low. Server pull second-hand is usually fine, it hasn't been overclocked. Just buy from an ebayer with good ratings, and you should be fine. Almost all mac pro upgraders are using second hand.

    The other option is to get involved with forums like Toms Hardware, Hardforum, Reddit Hardwareswap, Overclockers, and buy from someone there. You can usually establish trust, most of these people are pretty tech savvy, the only issue is cpus from these sources are more likey to have been overclocked in a custom setup.
     
  6. Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #6
    Thanks guys!

    Just trying to figure out if i should go for the single or dual quad... keep hearing how difficult it is to find the correct lidless CPU for a 2009 dual quad, or to use washers etc....

    I know the 3.33GHz 6-core is much more powerful than my 2008 8-Core and 'per core' speed is really important for my uses, but i'd love to have 8 cores AND the speed per core... if i can afford it.

    Must do research - appreciate any tips or links though!

    Cheers,

    Ed
     
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #7
    I'd add that you should look at used servers for these chips. You can find servers with the dual CPU's at the same price sometimes less than the CPU's alone. Plus you can also likely find with 16GB RAM using DDR2 FBDIMMS all for about $100 to $150.

    As for age I wouldn't worry. Most CPUs could likely go for 20+ years non stop, especially server grade components. I see servers in small businesses all the time that are 15 years old.
     
  8. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #8
    Single or dual quad? If you already own a single quad, you'll only be able to go to the hex core, unless you buy a double processor backplane, etc. Unless you are rendering video, I'd suggest the most cost effective route is to get a single quad 2009, flash it to 5,1, and get a high speed hex core.

    If you do things that actually use the multicore performance, and to me that is mostly video transcoding, grading, rendering, then you will need to start with a 2009 8 core and get the intel xeon X56XX series chips.

    Its not more expensive in that you need "lidless" cpu, you need standard server pull xeons, but the upgrade is far more intricate a job - several hours of taking care, or outsourcing it. The single cpu job is easier.

    And to get the same single core speed, those chips will cost more than your single processor machine one if you go with a W3690.

    You don't need washers. Look at that recent thread in this forum about Pindelski's guide
     
  9. Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #9
    Hi,

    I haven't bought either machine yet - i'm still running my 2008 2.8GHz Mac Pro, which under certain circumstances struggles at low latencies in Pro Tools and Logic X (one cpu/thread is maxed while the others sit and do nothing) - the lack of a front side bus in 2009+ machines made a quantum leap in the single processor audio performance at low latencies, so that's why i'm upgrading.

    I'll probably go for the single, if it's that much effort to upgrade the 2009 octos (2010 octos are a bit pricey). I'm sure the hex is very powerful, but i HAVE had sessions where all 8 CPUs were taxed quite even, and not having to drop a couple processors of processors would be nice (although 2009 has hyper threading so will appear as 12 cores in Logic). I'm sure the single core jump from 800mhz memory 2.8ghz with a slow FSB to a 1333mhz 3.33ghz westmere will more than make up for it...

    I have seen a few cheap 2.26 octo's though, which is why i was asking. I'll check out that thread you mentioned now!

    Cheers

    Ed
     
  10. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #10
    2009 are the same as 2010-2012, once you flash the firmware from 4,1 to 5,1. But they are cheaper, thus they are the most value to gain once you upgrade.

    http://pindelski.org/Photography/technical/mac-pro/

    That link has the resources, links to the firmware upgrade, etc.

    This used to have a detailed guide to doing the upgrade yourself, which he pulled down for fear of liability i guess, or to get work. Someone's re-uploaded it here recently, I have a copy as well.

    If you've seen cheap 2.26 8cores, you might want to buy one, if you would benefit from the cores. If you are scared to take on the job, after reading about it in detail, there are ways to get someone to do it for you for a price.

    I'm in the UK, but as I'm from the US I'm bringing my 2009 dual 2.26 over from there, once I upgrade the CPUs on the ground there.

    The cpu prices are globally the same, so use ebay, the machine costs are a bit lower in north america.
     
  11. Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #11
    Thanks! He's removed the part with the instructions on upgrading the CPU, instead offering a service to do it for others (for a price). I found an archive of the site, as well as some youtube videos, and it's probably more than i'm willing to bother with.

    6 core 3.33/3.46 is fine!
     
  12. Sharky II, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014

    Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #12
    Hi again all,

    I can only find one 3690 on ebay, and it's from a familiar company (other macrumors people have used them) called xtrememicro. He's selling it for £280 - seems a little steep to me?

    Or is that a fair price?

    There's also a cheaper version (~£210 delivered) from Hong Kong, but i'm not sure if i'll get hit with import tax etc if i were to get that. Actually, i'll probably just get charged VAT, which would be around £40 extra.

    Edit: I've just noticed he has another Hong Kong version of the chip, for £250 as well... not sure what the difference is there...

    It doesn't look like they come up very often from private sellers.... i guess this guy gives a 60 day money back/warranty at least (from both UK and Hong Kong versions)...

    Cheers

    Ed
     
  13. Gav Mack, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #13
    I've bought them worldwide on ebay here in the UK - only thing really matters is how good their feedback is and returns policy. Hong Kong and China mostly for best prices and as the chips are small got past getting clobbered for duty sometimes allegedly...

    Must have got between 15-20 for the cheesegrater alone, quads, hex, single dual socket..

    I have actually got the W3690 cheaper than the W3680 before and the W3670 is a good one for a budget hex...
     
  14. Sharky II, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014

    Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #14
    Hmm, thanks, food for thought. Making me want to take the chance on the £200 Hong Kong one.

    Just sent the chap a message asking why there's one for £200 and one for £250, etc.

    Cheers

    Ed
     
  15. Sharky II, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014

    Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    Here's the reply:

    £50 seems like a lot for 'transaction fees'! I don't understand that..

    Hmmm. Need to think about it!

    Cheers

    Ed
     
  16. spacedcadet macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #16
    Patience

    IF you're patient you should be able to get a beast like the X5690 for £220 or so. 3.46ghz and allows 64GB RAM in the single processor Mac Pro 2010.

    I bit the bullet and went for the W3680 from a US seller who wasn't in the "international shipping" programme where they add £50 or so transaction and import fees upfront. Waiting to see if the Royal Mail do their usual trick of withholding delivery until VAT is paid. I figured I was never going to spend £500 to get 4 x 16gb chips so didn't need to hang on for an X series and the 3.33ghz W3680 was the one Apple used anyway.

    I paid £187 including shipping.

    Hopefully it will work! Seller has good feedback.

    There are a LOT of compatible chips out there now as servers get replaced. The prices seem to have halved all of a sudden.

    Good luck!
     
  17. Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #17
    Hey,

    Yeah, i just put the 24GB of ram in here and i think for the lifespan of my machine, this will be enough for my needs (hopefully)! I also want to keep it triple memory, so i could take this to 48GB if i really needed to!

    So there's no difference from the W3690 other than the ram, so i'd be happy with either - I haven't seen any X5690s for very cheap - however this W3690 from Hong Kong seems like a good option for £200 and the promise of 'highly unlikely' VAT...

    I'll let you guys know if i take the 'gamble'!

    Cheers

    Ed
     
  18. spacedcadet macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #18
    Update: success

    So, I just replaced the stock 2.8 quad core with the W3680 I scored from ebay.
    Remarkably straightforward job, thanks to the attention to detail inside the Mac Pro case. I followed the instructions from another thread on Macrumors.

    Things to note: It was a bit scary at first working out how much force to use to start unscrewing the heat sink, one screw was quite tight. Not all of them were evenly screwed down, some required more turns than others. This applied in reverse when replacing the heatsink. I just turned each one a couple in rotation and kept going until they didn't want to turn further. If you've got a torque measuring hex key you can probably be more accurate I suppose.

    The spring clip that holds down the CPU needs what seems to be a lot of force to close once the new CPU is in place. That worried me too!

    Anyway, the whole thing took under an hour and would have been quicker if it wasn't my first attempt at anything like this.

    Booted first time and my RAM is now running at 1333mhz.

    CPU from ebay from a US based seller with good feedback was £180 including shipping. Sailed straight through customs, may have been lucky there, but preferable to the "international shipping program" some sellers use, which can add £50 up front!

    An excellent upgrade for under £200, should get me a few more years out of my Mac Pro.
     

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