In a well written step-by-step article , The Mac Observer had better luck on the first try and successfully upgraded a stock Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.
Although the upgraded processors also had an integrated heat spreader, the author was able to carefully install them without damaging the processors or the system. For really adventurous hardware hackers, there is a second option that involves not only an officially unsupported hardware upgrade but also a firmware hack -- or "firmware update" if you prefer -- for the "Early " Mac Pro models.
As elaborated upon by ArsTechnica , this later firmware provides support for faster processors and faster RAM as well as enabling audio support on the Mini DisplayPort:. This firmware update reportedly is reversible, but proceed with caution. Should you apply any firmware hacks, backup everything first, and be prepared to accept any consequences. Ultimately, it is quite possible for one to upgrade the stock processors in the "Early " Mac Pro models with faster ones available at the time the system was new or even more modern processors by taking advantage of firmware hacks.
However, due to the fact that Apple uses different processors than those commonly available for resale, even a skilled hardware hacker should proceed with caution. This is most definitely not an upgrade for those with limited hardware hacking experience. By reading the above as well as the linked tutorials, it is hoped that you will be able to decide whether or not upgrading the processors in your "Early " Mac Pro is something you feel skilled enough to handle or whether it is better to leave well enough alone.
The Most Upgradeable Mac - Apple Mac Pro (Mid ) Review
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Quad core and eight-core Mac Pros (Mid 2010)
Photo Credit: AnandTech Unscrewing Mac Pro Heatsink Essentially, one needs to slide the processor tray out of the Mac Pro, unscrew the heatsinks with a long 3mm hex key, remove the heatsinks, clean off thermal paste residue, remove the processors, install the new processors, re-apply thermal paste, reattach the heatsinks, reinsert the processor tray, and close up the computer. Firmware Hack Option For really adventurous hardware hackers, there is a second option that involves not only an officially unsupported hardware upgrade but also a firmware hack -- or "firmware update" if you prefer -- for the "Early " Mac Pro models.
As elaborated upon by ArsTechnica , this later firmware provides support for faster processors and faster RAM as well as enabling audio support on the Mini DisplayPort: Perhaps of primary interest is that users will be able to install 32nm Westmere Xeons, including six-core variants used in the high-end Mac Pro, into their older machine. A source who applied the firmware update told Ars that Westmere CPUs are identified with "B1" stepping in the identification code. Even if you didn't plan to upgrade the CPU, though, there are other benefits. In the real world, life is not so breezy.
Most software is not written well enough to take full advantage of the extra CPU cores. Or the task itself cannot be split among cores you cannot bake a cake 4X as fast with 4 ovens.
Single-processor models have four memory slots, for up to 32GB of memory using 8GB modules. The 6-core 3. The 2. See the test results— this matters.
Dual-processor models have eight memory slots, for up to 64GB of memory using 8GB modules. The 8-core 2. Skip it unless you know exactly why you want it. See the next page for performance estimates for various scenarios. Except for very specialized tasks, anyone with an 8-core system should not be rushing out to upgrade to a core system.
Whether there is any benefit to 12 cores vs 8 or 6 depends exactly on what software is being used, and what tasks are being performed. See the test pages that follow.
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The vast majority of applications cannot even use four 4 cores effectively , let alone eight or twelve. It all depends— see the test results. Paradoxically 12 core can be slower or faster than 4 or 6 cores.