I got a bunch of questions regarding the 3.33 six-core swap in my Mac Pro, so here are answers:
– When I say 10°F cooler, I mean that it idles at around 95°F now, instead of ~105°F. My Mac lives in a cabinet, so 95°F ain’t bad. It gets up to 125°F when I play games or render stuff.
– I got a good deal on the W3680, so the total cost was $450 (I haven’t sold my W3520 yet). If I hadn’t gotten a good price, I probably would have gone with the W3570, which is the 45nm 3.2 four-core. Actually I probably should have gone with that anyway; I don’t think there’d be much difference in 95% of the stuff I do, and the W3570 is $250. You can also use the LGA1366 i7s if that saves money, although they’re not really any cheaper than their equivalent Xeons.
– No, you can’t use the W3680 in dual-processor machines. The equivalent for dual-socket machines is the W5590. They should be around $500 each these days for used chips. That’s a pretty screaming deal, since the retail price is still $1500 each.
– I don’t have a Kill-a-Watt, so I can’t measure power consumption, but I don’t think it went up by much, judging from Apple’s published specs for the 2010 vs 2009 Pros. Putting in the newer video card probably did a lot more.
– Performance isn’t really any different now that I have the matched set of 1333MHz RAM in there. On the plus side, my RAM is all the same color now, which looks fancier.
– The 5,1 firmware is totally stable. Hasn’t crashed or hung once. I upgraded to the 10.8 GM, and it’s totally fine.
– One guy asked if it would be a good upgrade for a MacBook Pro. Um, not really.