Neat Video: noise reduction to make video cleaner.

As usual...warranty is void!

Created on 30 May 2007
Last Modified on 26 June 2007

Since i bought almost a year ago my Mac Pro, i dreamed about the upgrade possibilities with other Woodcrest
(x51xx XEON Socket 771) processors or, better (yup!), with Clovertown ones (x53xx XEON Socket 771).
They don't draw much more power (on charts) BUT they give you plenty of computational power.

HardMac, AnandTech and others tried this way already with positive results but they used
two X5355 ES (Engineering Sample) which aren't production samples readily available
and worst of all, cost more than 1000Euros EACH!!!!

About 2 months ago i found the ideal choice: the nice E5320 (SL9MV).

It's power and thermal specs are quite similar to the 5150: 80W instead of 65W!!!
Also it's the best for trying the BSEL mod since it has a default bus of 1066Mhz,
so modding it to 1333Mhz we can push it to 2,33Ghz from the stock 1,86Ghz!!!

After following this guide you'll have an 8 cores Mac Pro from a "normal" 4 cores one.
For reference, you'll go from a total of 10,64Ghz to 18,64Ghz!!!

And, best of all they cost about 350Euros each, or only 250 on eBay.

So maybe i should call it the El Cheapo Mac Pro Upgrade!!!!

Test Mac Pro configured as follow:

2x Xeon WoodCrest 5150 Dual Core 2,66Ghz
4GB FB-DIMM (8x512MB)
3x or 4x SerialATA 300 Hard Drives
Pioneer DVD Burner "SuperDrive"
Genuine Apple nVidia 7300GT 256MB

Hardware Tools:

Screwdrivers for some screws to open the MacPro (about 5, not much!)
Torx T15 (al teast 20cm long)

Software Tools

Hardware Monitor
FFmpeg (cli)

NOTE 1: Hardware Monitor's Power Consumption (in watts) estimation is about 40-60W less than the real one.
NOTE 2: Fans speed were configured to 1000rpm and 1500rpm on the eight cores upgraded system.

Here's how my Mac Pro was before the upgrade:


Now let's see how good it is without any modifications, simply as Apple sells it, with only some more ram
and storage the estimated power consumption under idle: 147W (about 200 real watts).


a quite effective ffmpeg auto option for threads calculation:


and under full load: 242W (about 300 real watts).


With PowerFractal: average of 30-35GigaFlops, not bad indeed!!!!!!


Now le'ts upgrade!

Open the MacPro as seen on many sites like HardMac or, if you have it, on the official Apple Service Manual.
When only the cpu heatsinks remain, pay attention to the cpu thermal sensor headers!!

Disconnect the CPU-A 2 pin connector...


...and the CPU-B one.


Then unscrew the 8 screws (4 for every cpu hs) with the long torx.
When you successfully remove the heatsinks you'll see the 5150 xeons!


Remove the old cpus.
Here you can see one of the new xeon, soon to be installed! ;-)
Notice twice the cache! From 4MB to a whopping 8MB per CPU!!!


Clean carefully the new cpu and the bottom (the copper plate) of the heatsinks with acetone
and a CLEAN cloth (i suggest to clean the old cpus too right after removing them, much better!).


Here it is a cleaned (at its best) copper plate.


And now the fun begins!

According to the Intel datasheets, to bypass cpu's BSEL (from 1066Mhz to 1333Mhz bus)
you only have to isolate (i.e. cover) the sixth contact on the last row (look at the picture below).
It is easily accomplished with a VERY thin strip of insulator tape.
Pay attention to cover only the required contacts...TAKE YOUR TIME!!!


Ok, now let's put the processors inside the MP mainboard sockets (771)
and apply an even amount of thermal compound (paste).


Fire it up! ;-)

This is what "About this Mac" ahould tell you if upgrade is successful!
The CPU is obviously unknown.


If you looked closely at the previous screenshot,
you should have noticed the cpu speed isn't correctly detected too!
So we have to find the "hard" way! ;-)
If you have Hardware Monitor installed under Window -> Show System Info you'll find what we're waiting for!



Ok, in idle it draws now about 180-200W (230-250 real ones, remember!), but have a look at some benchmarks...

First a full load test with 8 (E I G H T !!) ffmpeg instances...290-300W (or 340-350 measured at the power outlet)


Notice that with normal MPEG4 avis HandBrake (based on ffmpeg) isn't using the total computing power...
only less than 30% average for a 103fps encoding!!!!!


So i tried with 3 instances!!! (you have to duplicate and rename the Hanbrake Application to do so!)
Look below!!!!!

U N B E L I E V A B L E ! ! !

310fps on total average with less than 80% of load!!!!!!
I think it can do about 400fps!!!!!
This is about 5 minutes for a 90 minute long feature!!!!!!!!


And even at its stressfull settings (H264 higher res, 2x AAC audio tracks)
HandBrake remain under 50% global cpu utilization!


When i add a second instance (each at a rock steady 50fps) it barely goes up to 85%!!!!
I presume that the total maximum would be 110-120fps if a more efficient
multi-threaded encoding would have been implemented!!


And look at the PowerFractals results! Between 64GigaFlops and 66GigaFlops!!!
For your reference the Mac Pro 3.0Ghz x 8 does 84GigaFlops...but it COSTS as a CAR!!!! ;-)



A real full load of 330-350w isn't bad for a such powerful workstation, almost double the powerfractal results!
I found that after upgrade is better to keep system fans AT LEAST at 1000rpm
(which produce a very acceptable amount of noise...VERY QUIET!)

About 10-15W each module!!!

Strangely enough the capacity of the modules doesn't matter,
so the SWEET SPOT is with four modules (quad channel)!!!

The full load comes down to 300W if only 4 modules installed.

:: Quick Update ::

Mac Pro it's rock solid, i've used it as my main machine for two weeks now!
I've completed successfully a 2 days and half rendering with 8 threads.
During heavy load (i mean HEAVY), i only raise the fans to 1000-1500rpm when 8 cores crunching!
And maybe only because ambient temps in my house are around 27-32C or about 80-90F
...i don't have air conditioning and here is a pretty darn hot 'n sunny summer! That's a stress test!

If you liked this guide please consider a small donation for my future projects!!!
Considering time involved, risks, hosting fees, the processors since i had to buy them
as soon as possible and so paid 700Euro on top of what i already spent for the Mac Pro itself!!
Thanks anyway for you visit, even without donations, at least help me with the nice offers on this site!!!!

Stay tuned!!!!