I got a bunch of questions regarding the 3.33 six-core swap in my Mac Pro, so here are answers:
So I just finished the W3680 swap. Really easy, and no troubles with the software side of things. I have the base 2009 Mac Pro, with the W3520, and it’s okay. But because the Pro is a sensible computer, you can put a newer processor in. And I got a great deal on the 3.33 six-core, which is what has come in the top single-processor Mac Pro since 2010. All this also applies to putting a W3670 in the 2009 Pro. That’s the six-core 3.2, which is pretty much as fast and about $100 cheaper.
The only things you need are the W3680, some Arctic Silver thermal compound and thermal compound remover (Amazon or NewEgg has the ArctiClean kit that comes with remover and “purifier”), a long 3mm Allen key, and the Mac Pro Firmware Upgrade Utility (you have to register to download).
The first thing to do is to use the firmware upgrade utility to make your Mac Pro think it’s a 2010. That’s one click. It’ll still identify itself as a 2009 in the System Information panel, but I believe that pulls its information from the serial number; the computer itself behaves as a 2010, and you’re clear to install the newer processor with B1 stepping. It’s worth pointing out that the W3680 is the same chip used in the 2010+ Mac Pro, as is the firmware, so this is all OEM — no weirdness.
Once the software is done, it’s just like swapping the processor on any other computer. Actually, it’s easier, since the processor lives on a daughterboard. Pull that out:
As a result of the shitsville Mac Pro “update”, I got a 2009 Mac Pro, which is pretty easy to upgrade to the current spec. You just need a newer Xeon and one of Apple’s insanely overpriced and outdated GPUs. A quick firmware bebop, and yer done.
I couldn’t find a detailed guide to this, so I made one just in case.
The W123 HVAC is pretty funny, because half of it relies on vacuum actuators and stuff (if your center vents don’t work, that’s why), and the other half relies on PCBs soldered at 90° to each other and then subjected to (usually) diesel vibration for 30 years. Failure of the latter can cause the HVAC not to come on, to come on sporadically, or to come on full-heat or -cool. So re-soldering is a good way to go. Let’s do that…
R. Monkeys and I both realized we liked Pokémon a lot c. 1998, so we decided that it’s on over the holidays. And because my response to challenges is to dump a lot of energy into areas that are tangenitally-related at best, I had to craft a Game Boy of untold power to wield, and it will slowly corrupt me like the Soul Edge. So It has the buttons and de-labeled back of a Pokémon Edition, the front of a yellow regular one, replacement little rubber button pads from a DS Lite, and the frontlight from an Advance SP. So I guess it’s going to shoot a stream of energy into the sky and start using me as its host.
At least it didn’t cost money that wasn’t spent years ago. I used to collect handheld game thingies, and while the good stuff was sold in, like, 2003, stock Game Boy Colors and a Pokémon Edition in rough shape are among the things still around. Those and a Game Gear. Hm, there was rarer stuff, like the Turbo Express, but I think the funnest were the Nomad and Neo Geo Pocket Color. The former was just a Genesis, and the latter had a bunch of weird Japanese RPGs and Match of the Millennium. There aren’t enough submarine RPGs.
Too bad I can’t find my old Red cartridge. My crack team of killers probably died long ago. I’ll have to do a “getting the gang back together” montage.
I have a few of the old colorful iBooks (a Tangerine and a Blueberry), which I like because they’re indestructible, and have a much more naïve design than modern Macs, which are quite Germanic and boring. The Tangerine is overclocked by 133mhz, has CompactFlash instead of a hard drive, and I re-celled the battery so it can get about 12 hours of life. It makes a great simplistic writing machine.
Of course, the essence of technological simplicity is needlessly complicating and overthinking it, then rationalizing more nonsense purchases. I like the FireWire iBooks because the colors are nicer (it’s less translucent and more white), and I also wanted to try a shady Chinese SSD instead of CompactFlash. So I got a preposterous KingSpec 16gb IDE SSD, and another iBook, a 366 Indigo. Here’s the procedure and a little test of the KingSpec.
Here’s the SSD. The mark of quality… must be around here somewhere…
There’s the computer with its keyboard off. In a nice world you could get to the hard drive from here, but the Clamshell iBooks (and every other iBook) are actually among the more notorious Macs to re-hard drive.
There’s the removal of the top case. Surely one can now get to the drive….
…oh. Then the EMI shield comes off. There’s the 60gb 7200RPM drive that I transplanted from a P4 2.8 Toshiba. I was going to overclock this computer to 433mhz like the older one, but Apple moved the resistors that you re-solder to do so in these second-generation clamshells, and I have no idea where they went.
At this point, I became paranoid that the Chinese SSD was playing cards, or nothing, so I took it apart.
There was actually real memory inside there. And it’s from Hynix, a brand I have heard of! I didn’t take the sticker off the controller to see who made that (I thought it might let the ghosts out). It isn’t JMicron, though.
There, now it’s in. I got this down to about 50 minutes from start to finish, so it doesn’t seem that hard. Putting the display back on is kind of annoying because the clutch cover has to go over some tabs, but it’s not bad.
Anyway, then I tried it out. It starts reasonably quicker—49 seconds from power-on to opening a browser, compared to 1:35 on the hard drive. The battery meter on the OEM battery jumped from 3:55 to 6:20, 13 hours on my custom battery, and of course it’s also silent. Here’s the XBench score; SSD on the left, HDD on the right.
You can see the SSD is a lil’ faster with small sequential writes, slightly slower with sequential reads and big seq. writes, and way, way quicker with random reads. That’s nice, because random reads are what a computer spends most of its time doing. For modern comparison, here’s my MacBook Pro’s 500gb 7200RPM SATA HDD (on a much faster bus, of course):
So the cheap Chinese SSD may have an awful controller, but it overpowers a modern HDD by a factor of 10 in small random reads, and that’s handy for making a computer feel quick. Although this one’s pretty CPU-limited. It’s a lot quicker than the CF “SSD”. So I’m pretty happy with this experiment. It runs OS 10.4 and WriteRoom just fine. My rationalization for keeping the other iBooks around will be “emergency Starcraft 1 LAN party laptops”. That actually happens sort of frequently around here, so I am being prudent.
I got new headphones, and then left them alone overnight, and they got better!