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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mac Pro 2006 CPU Upgrade SL9MV 1.86 ghz L5320 CPU

I went from a 2x2 core 2.0ghz in a Mac Pro 2006 (Xeon 5130s).

I went to 2x4 core 1.86 ghz, 5320's without the BSEL mod. I wanted stability, and this upgrade is CHEAP. I may do the BSEL later or just wait for the 3ghz to get cheap one day. :) SSD is probably next best bang for the buck, and I've got a Radeon 4870 already. Flashed PC Card, 512M memory.

Tool note: I got a 9" 3mm T Handle for the CPU Allen screws for under $4. Grainger had them in stock in Houston. Grainger Item number is 4CT02, cots $3.20 as of Oct 2011.

I used Arctic Alumina for the new heatsink, cleaned the old off with plastic scraper and fingernail polish that had acetone as the main ingredient.

A 50% improvement on Geekbench for $56 minus whatever I can get for the old CPUs.
I went from 4237 to 6330, 6431 on a later run on Geekbench 2.2. This was the unlicensed 32 bit run. 64bit would of course done a little better.

A brief scare when it wouldn't boot but I reversed the RAM risers.

Another brief scare when the Activity Monitor only showed one CPU scale, but that's what it does with over 4 cores; an aggregrate.

About this Mac doesn't report it correctly of course, but benchmark-wise and using other tools it all looks and acts like it should. At the prices for 5320s, no reason not to do this mod unless you just aren't handy with the steel.

SystemLoad at 100% on all 8 cores, 82F ambient air. World of Warcraft in a window with fairly high settings, showing 33fps in the Auction house.

Ran a dungeon and temp didn't go over 120F for one CPU Heatsink and 115 for the other. CPU fan at 703rpm.

I realize 6330 isn't that much of a score on Geekbench but I wanted to go ahead and do this upgrade while the L5320s were cheap and plentiful. Plus of course the sooner I sell my CPUs the more they will be worth hopefully.

Editorial: The 2006 Mac Pros are getting cheap on Ebay. Sure, you could build a Hackintosh cheaper. But, get a Mac Pro, add RAM, better hard drive or SSD, flash a Radeon 4870 from a PC and upgrade to 8 cores on the CPUs. My last batch of RAM was 6 gigs for around $78. I paid less than $100 for the 4870 after I sold the Accelero cooler I got with it. The 2006 models can be had for around $800 or less. It will beat most of the iMacs with an i5 or less in the processor department and it's so much more expandable and upgradeable. And you get to pick your display.

The 8 core 3ghz CPUs will be cheap later. Frankly, it's more about RAM. I've got 10 gigs. The processors even that I have aren't taxed much even with artificial loading.


Anonymous said...

sweet do you have any videos of your setup because here soon ill be buying a 2006 mac pro. i want a mac pro octacore.

Rob said...

Not much to see on video. In addition to the other adds, I put in a bracket to run the extra two ports on the motherboard out to the back for cloning, etc. So, it has eSATA of sorts, but you have to shut down and reboot to mount/eject because the machine just sees them as built in ports, not true eSATA. Still, they are handy sometimes.

I see keeping this machine for quite a while, only moving after the 2008 models get cheaper.

The limiting factor on this machine is really the relatively slow FBDIMM architecture.

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