Why install a faster CPU?
Faster CPUs with more processing cores and higher speeds can greatly improve performance of your 2009/2010/2012 4-core/8-core Mac Pro, surpassing the 2013 'trash can' Mac Pro at far lower cost, while avoiding the migration issues which come with every new computer. Movie and music makers, graphic artists, photographers, statisticians and mathematicians will find that speed gains from a CPU upgrade significantly improve throughput and efficiency at modest cost.
Applications like AfterEffects, ProTools, Premiere Pro, Logic Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Redcine X, Cinema 4D, Cubase, Kontakt, Aperture, Photoshop, Lightroom, Mathematica and FinalCut Pro 7 and X make heavy use of the CPU when processing images, computations and sound, and gain significant operating speed when used with faster CPUs with more cores, like the ones I offer.
Time is money and the cost of the upgrade is quickly recovered, with none of the potential teething troubles which come with a completely new machine. If you are contemplating the move to a high level Dell Windows machine, your investment will exceed $6,000. And then there is Windows to contend with ....
What do you offer?
I offer CPU upgrades for the 2009/2010/2012 Mac Pros fitted with 4-core/8-core CPUs as sold by Apple. A 6-core CPU is used to upgrade the single CPU Mac Pro and two 6-core CPUs are used in the dual CPU Mac Pro upgrade. Your existing memory, internal or external HDD and SSD drives, graphics card, displays and extension cards will continue working fine. No OS, apps or data need to be migrated to a new machine.
I do not upgrade single CPU machines to dual CPU. The parts' cost makes this uneconomical to do. If you want to upgrade your single CPU Mac Pro to dual CPU sell it and procure a used dual. Then send me the processor tray for upgrade.Is my Mac Pro eligible for a CPU upgrade?
Is your Mac Pro the right model for upgrade? Click on the apple icon top left of your screen, then click on About This Mac. You are looking for 'Early 2009', 'Mid 2010' or 'Mid 2012', as circled below. If it's anything else your Mac Pro cannot be upgraded my me:
Determining upgrade eligibility.
Why not simply buy a new 2013 Mac Pro?
Which do you prefer?
Your upgraded single or dual CPU Classic Mac Pro will be faster than the new 2013 Mac Pro on CPU tasks. You get a faster machine than the new 2013 Mac Pro for a fraction of the cost, with no need to migrate apps or data to a new machine. The latest graphics cards will also outperform the graphics capabilities of the cylindrical Mac Pro, and GPUs continue getting faster. Further, the 'Classic' machines offer abundant internal expandability and storage, a feature not available in the new cylindrical Mac Pro. Does your classic 2009/2010/2012 Mac Pro use special audio or video cards? Best of luck trying to get like connectivity in the new Mac Pro.
Apple has made it clear at its June 13, 2016 World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco that the 'new' 2013 cylindrical Mac Pro is a dead product. Not a single mention of any upgrades to its tired CPUs or obsolete graphics capabilities. And this in a three year old, $10,000 piece of hardware with no PCIe slots for specialty cards. Shameful. Hasta la vista, pro user. Meanwhile the 2009/2010/2012 classic Mac Pros move to ever greater strength with the fastest CPUs installable at modest cost, much faster SSDs, abundant internal PCIe expansion slots, with graphics cards constantly improving.
Today's Apple computers - not made for professional or demanding users.
Face it. The Apple of today is a maker of cell phones and pretty gadgets with no upgradability and short lives. The company has abandoned the working professional and high end hobbyist, be he a video maker, audio producer or scientist. Apple is driven solely by the bottom line and no longer cares about the positive feedback of a small cadre of professional users who contribute a rounding error to its profits. Along those lines, I would not be surprised to see the new Mac Pro discontinued in the near term. And no, the poorly designed iMac, with functionality subjugated to 'thinner and lighter' design thinking, and with its chronic overheating issues, is no substitute for the Mac Pro, with the Mac Mini or MacBook no more than toys when it comes to serious, heavy duty users.
Who are your customers?
My customer base is almost exclusively comprised of demanding, high-end working professionals in the sound and video fields. For these Mac Pro users time is money and the investment made in my upgrade is quickly repaid through enhanced productivity.
If you are an amateur tinkerer, desirous of endless discussions of the arcana of the latest graphics cards or preferring mind-numbing analysis of competing applications to the business of making money, my service is really not suited to your needs and I respectfully suggest you go elsewhere. This is a for-profit business for customers who make profits. It is not a discussion forum for amateurs and I have no time available for such distractions.
There are other vendors out there:
Sure, the usual passel of fly by nights with no reputation so no reputational risk, no track record and no fixed address. Go for it.
My only meaningful competition is OWC/MacSales. My 2009 upgrades are cheaper than theirs and they only offer 4/8 core CPUs, compared to my 6/12 core CPUs, making my upgrades 50% faster for less money. For 2010/2012 Mac Pros, their 6/12 core upgrades cost 50% more than mine for identical results. Stress test data? I provide comprehensive graphs and data. OWC? None. It's unclear if they even perform any stress tests.
I am an engineer with no corporation or lawyers to hide behind and take immense pride in my work and have high reputational risk resting on the success of the result. You are dealing with a principal, not an employee. You want cheap? This is the wrong destination for you.
For all my dual CPU upgrades (2009/2010/2012 Mac Pros) I include replacement of the stock, fragile Northbridge plastic rivets with alloy retainers. When the stock plastic rivets fail - and they eventually will - your Mac Pro will not start. The alloy replacement retainers I install do not fail and replacement is a labor intensive process. No one else provides this upgrade, which I consider essential. You choose.
What does the Mac Pro user have to do to upgrade the CPU?I do not upgrade single CPU machines to dual CPU. The parts' cost makes this uneconomical to do. If you want to upgrade your single CPU Mac Pro to dual CPU sell it and procure a used dual. Then send me the processor tray for upgrade.
The process for the owner of the Mac Pro is simple.
First, if your computer is a 2009 Mac Pro, single or dual CPU, after you pay for your upgrade of choice I will provide you with firmware upgrade instructions (only the 2009 Mac Pros require the upgrade). 'Firmware' is software on a chip inside your Mac Pro. This firmware update is an essential prerequisite to using the 6-core CPUs I install and is a process which takes 10 minutes to do. It's a simple software install and my exceptionally comprehensive instructions provide everything you need. If you get stuck, I provide extensive handholding to make sure you succeed. In over 100 upgrades I have never had a failure.
This firmware upgrade for 2009 Mac Pros must be done before you send me your processor board and must be done by you, as the firmware is inside your Mac Pro's backplane board (where the drives and cards plug in), not inside the processor tray you will be sending me. No technical skill is necessary. The firmware upgrade will have no impact on the working of your Mac Pro with your existing 4/8-core CPUs and uses only original Apple code.
Second, remove your processor tray as shown in the video below and ship it insured for $1,000 to me in Arizona. Leave your memory installed. The CPUs in your processor tray will be upgraded and the processor tray returned to you after two business days or less in my possession. Expedited return shipping is available at cost - please ask.
Third, on receipt of your upgraded processor tray, install the tray in your Mac Pro, restart and you are done. Your existing peripherals - displays, memory, graphics cards, disk drives - will continue working as before.
Removal of the processor tray - video:
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What are the speed gains after upgrading?
The industry standard test of CPU and memory performance is Geekbench which measures the CPUs' speed. Here are the results for the stock 2009/2010/2012 dual CPU Mac Pro and for two of the the three Mac Pro Turbo dual CPU upgrades - the 3.33GHz option falls between these two. These tests were performed with 64GB of memory. Compare with various models of the new, costlier, 2013 cylindrical Mac Pro:
The cheapest Mac Pro Turbo CPU upgrade competes with the $5,500 8-core 2013 cylindrical Mac Pro at one fifth of the cost. Tested with GB3, 64-bit mode.
What are the upgrade options?
Upgrade options are available for both single and dual CPU 2009, 2010 and 2012 Mac Pros - please click the icon below for more details:
Do you sell individual components?
No. I am not in the parts resale business. All I offer if a professional upgrade service. If you want CPUs, memory, Northbridge bolts, etc. go elsewhere. A request to me for these will land you in my spam folder.
Performance and Stress tests:
Comprehensive performance and stress tests are conducted to ensure your upgraded CPUs are functioning perfectly. These include thermal response under full load and measurement of fan speeds under load. 'Before' and 'After' test data are provided to you prior to return of your upgraded tray. For dual CPU ugrades detailed images of the removed stock Northbridge plastic rivets and their alloy replacements are provided.
Northbridge heat sink upgrade - essential for demanding users:
Your Northbridge heat sink fasteners are upgraded at the time of your dual CPU upgrade. This chip acts as the 'traffic cop' in parceling out labor between the two CPUs and runs hot by design. The service limit is 220F - above the boiling point of water! You can see its cooling fins between the two heat sinks on your dual processor tray.
Apple did a very poor job, using cheap plastic rivets under spring tension to retain the Northbridge heat sink to the Northbridge chip, with the result that the weak plastic rivets get brittle from heat and spontaneously fracture with age and heavy use. The spring tension hastens this process. Most trays I get for upgrade see these rivets literally come apart when I remove them.
Demanding video and audio applications put especially high thermal loads on the Northbridge chip and on these plastic rivet fasteners, speeding failure of the stock rivets. The failure of the retaining rivets will render your machine inoperable, as the Northbridge chip will overheat and cause your machine to shut down before it melts.
Most Northbridge rivets on processor trays I receive for upgrade are very brittle and on the verge of failure.My Northbridge bolt upgrade, which replaces the failure prone stock plastic rivets, is included with all dual CPU upgrades at no additional cost. An essential upgrade which will ensure you lose no operating time when a stock plastic rivet fractures - and it eventually will.
Upgrading to more and faster memory:
More, faster memory is a useful and low cost adjunct to enhancing your Mac Pro's performance.
Attractively priced memory upgrades to 64GB (32GB for single CPU trays) of 1333MHz ECC registered server RAM are available at the time of CPU upgrade only. This memory is 25% faster than stock and considerably less costly than alternatives from the usual vendors, who sell only lower quality non-server RAM. Select the option of your choice from the drop down menu in 'Ordering and Payment', below.
Your stock parts - memory and CPUs - are returned to you.
'Downgrade' to a better OS X:
If you are running OS X 10.11 El Capitan you really should 'downgrade' to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, a far more robust OS with none of the operating issues and bugs of El Capitan and complete with the ability to setup disk RAID0 striped volumes mysteriously deleted by Apple from Disk Utility in El Capitan. RAID0 is a great technology which will double your disk input/output speeds for paired drives, HDD or SSD. OS X Sierra, 10.12, is also known to be stable.
As part of your CPU upgrade I can ship to you a virgin OS X Yosemite or Sierra installer flash drive - yours to keep - and worth its weight in gold, as an installer is no longer available from Apple unless you previously downloaded Yosemite or Sierra from the AppStore. In the latter case, go to AppStore->Downloads and re-download the Yosemite or Sierrainstaller, installing it on a spare disk drive.
Free Yosemite or Sierra flash drive available with paid CPU upgrades only.
Ordering and Payment:
Payment should be made before shipping your processor tray to me.
You may pay using PayPal or your debit or credit card. You do not have to have a PayPal account.
PayPal also offers financing options at checkout.
$49 is added for insured return FedEx Ground shipping. Expedited shipping is available at cost - please ask.
First select your Upgrade Option below, then click 'Buy Now'.
For your security I never see your card or account number.
You must do a 10 minute firmware upgrade to your Mac Pro (only 2009 Mac Pros require this) before shipping the processor tray to me. I provide everything you need and it's all stock Apple software.
Prices are firm and never discounted whether you order one or ten upgrades. My labor gets no cheaper when I have to provide more of it. There are no mass production savings to be had here. Requests for discounts will be treated as spam mail.
Click the dropdown box below to see the full range of CPU and price options (approximate Geekbench scores in parentheses); you do not have to have a PayPal account - for regular credit card use click on "Pay with a debit or credit card" after clicking on your choice in the dropdown menu below:
eChecks need 5 business days to clear.
Payments are not refundable if you change your mind:
I have had to add this requirement effective May, 2016 as one 'customer' spent a day debriefing me for a great deal of my intellectual property taking up hours of my time, made payment to procure the firmware upgrade code then, having successfully applied this code to his Mac Pro fraudulently demanded a refund. While I was happy to get rid of this cheat (I should have guessed that his claim to three EE degrees from Berkeley was a fraud, silly me) and this is the first time such a thing has happened to me in over 150 successful customer upgrades, you need to understand that we are entering a legally binding contract when you pay me.
On receipt of your payment I am bound to execute with what is advertised here. I have no duty to refund your money because you change your mind or are a cheat and I will not do so. If you request a refund none will be made and your payment will be donated to charity thirty days from receipt if your upgradeable processor tray is not received in the interim. By paying me you agree to these terms and I promise to execute in accordance with what is advertised here. This is a for profit business, not a dispensary of free advice.
No purchase orders:
I do not sell on a purchase order as I am not in the business of extending credit. All orders must be prepaid.
Shipping and packing - the most important step:
Please click the teddy bear icon below for more details - print and read three times!:
What is the warranty on the upgraded processor board?
For the warranty to be effective, you must first install and test the 5,1 firmware upgrade; this is required when you upgrade 2009 Mac Pros to 6/12-core CPUs (the 2010 and 2012 models do not require this upgrade). This has to be done before shipping your processor tray to me for CPU upgrade. The reason is that the upgraded 2009 processor tray will not work with your existing 4,1 firmware. Testing is simple - just run your Mac Pro with your favorite applications after the 5,1 upgrade and check if all is well. Your Mac Pro with its stock CPUs will continue to run fine after the firmware upgrade, so you do not have to wait until the last moment before shipping to do the upgrade.
The whole process takes 10 minutes - upgrade and testing. It is essential you do this firmware upgrade and testing in preparation for the upgraded CPUs. If you fail to do the firmware upgrade, your tray will be returned to you with your stock CPUs installed and your payment will be refunded.
If your processors do not perform properly in that period, return the processor board for repairs. You are responsible for insured shipping to me and I am responsible for insured return shipping to you in the event of a problem with your upgraded board. After performing more upgrades than I can recall, I have never had a customer return an upgraded board for repair.
I will email you when your processor tray has been upgraded and the upgrade has passed the stress tests. Your 'Before' and 'After' Geekbench and comprehensive related test data are provided with this email. That email includes FedEx insured tracking information. Shipping is by FedEx only, insured, 'signature required'. You can redirect the shipment to your local FedEx Office store online, if you prefer, using the tracking number I provide. You do not need an account at FedEx to do this. This is useful if you cannot be sure of being present when FedEx calls. I use this all the time.
A flat $49 shipping rate is added at checkout when you place your order.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Please click the icon below. Recommended reading - these pages contains a great amount of practical information based on years of experience. If you are also contemplating memory, SSD or GPU upgrades, (easy DIY upgrades), read the FAQ to avoid wasting money.
Read the FAQ first. Your question is almost certainly answered there as the FAQs are based on input from hundreds of customers. If not, click the icon to email me. I do not respond to requests from the 'do it yourself' set and such requests will be tagged as spam. This is a professional service devoted to serving professionals and not a chat board for amateur tinkerers.
Testimonials from satisfied customers:
I have my CPU tray installed along with the new memory. Everything is working exactly as you described. I ran a Logic project that had previously brought my 8 core system to its knees. The difference is like night and day. Not even one processor is above 20 percent on Logic's CPU meter. I am more than satisfied with the results that I am getting. I can now run Logic in 64 bit and have virtually no memory or CPU constraints. I believe that I am set for at least another 4 - 5 years. - RB, Stockton, CA.
We are a post production video facility focusing on commercial work for corporations and government. The Mac Pro Turbo CPU upgrades to several of our Mac Pros have not only meaningfully increased their speed, the fast turnaround and technical expertise have been most impressive. We also benefited from no cost advice regarding GPU and RAM upgrades, saving considerable sums in the process. - ME, Dallas, TX.
Our audio production work has benefitted from two Mac Pro Turbo upgrades, one to 3.06 GHz and the other to 3.33 GHz dual CPUs. We were considering upgrading to the 2013 new Mac Pro instead of which these upgrades have saved us a great deal with material increases in performance. Our primary application is Avid ProTools. - CH, San Francisco, CA.
I am a professional stills photographer in the advertising market, doing demanding work with multi-layer Photoshop CS6 files, often over 50MB in size. I thought that an upgrade to the latest 2013 Mac Pro with 8-core or 12-core CPUs would be required, as my Mac Pro was getting sluggish, but found that a simple - and fast - upgrade of my much loved 2009 Mac Pro dual-CPU computer was all that was needed. I enjoy significant increases in processing speed for modest outlay. - PJH, Los Angeles, CA.
We have had no fewer than 8 machines upgraded. Six trays and two compelete upgraded Mac Pro purchases. These have been running for two years on average in our video production studio with no problems. The level of technical support and configuration advice we have enjoyed has seen our investment pay for itself. Highly recommended. - RMP, Houston, TX.
We do engineering design work for the architectural industry and found Thomas to be expert, a fluent communicator, zero 'sales talk', and very responsive to our demands. After upgrading three 2009 dual Mac Pros, we could not be happier with the return on our investment. We believe that the life expectancies of our Mac Pros have been extended by 3-5 years as a result - TM, New York, NY.
I was at a point of buying a new Mac Pro when I found out about the upgrade option Thomas was offering. As a Music producer I work with Cubase 7.5 and since I was upsampling my projects to 24bit and 96 kHz with more than 100 tracks and a lot of plug-ins, my Mac Pro was getting CPU overloads. I contacted Thomas for the upgrade and he communicated fast and was very helpful. He kept me frequently informed by mail and I received the new CPU mainboard within a week and it worked perfectly. I have more than doubled my CPU power with this upgrade and it saved me a lot of money. Beside this I have updated my memory to 48 GB 1333 and PCIe SSD (Raid 0). The only thing I don't have is a Thunderbolt connection, but my upgraded machine is just as fast as the new Mac Pro (2013 model). Thank you Thomas! - HZ, Leiden, Holland.
I bought a complete Mac Pro from Thomas with upgraded dual 3.33GHz CPUs, a GTX 680 GPU and 64GB of fast memory. It arrived packed in the original Apple box in mint cosmetic condition and worked perfectly out of the box. I expect to get at least 7 years from this wonderful machine. - CG, Frankfurt, Germany.
I did a search for information to upgrade my early 2009 Mac Pro (dual 2.26 GHz CPUs). I came across Thomas's site, and after thoroughly reviewing the site and links, as well as reading the testimonials, I jumped in with both feet and upgraded to the 3.33 GHz CPUs. I followed Thomas's packing directions (don't skimp here - you do the same) and Friday morning shipped the tray overnight. I provided Thomas an overnight return label, and the following Monday morning (at 11AM EST) the tray was delivered to my door. Thomas received the tray Saturday morning, did the upgrade and returned it to FedEx the same day. I couldn't be more pleased with the quality of work or turnaround! Benchmark scores shows my Mac Pro exceeding all expectations. If you are thinking about performing the same upgrade, give Thomas a call. You will find him very knowledgeable and willing to share his knowledge with you. - MP, Chester, VA.
I bought a Mac Pro from Thomas for a very specific reason: I needed a fast computer with multiple cores to run .... ready? .... Windows OS. A comparable machine from Dell or HP would cost > $ 6 k. The computer arrived very promptly with a virgin Mac OS ready to run. I dusted off my old 32" monitor and voila! Everything works perfectly! All components as advertised. Excellent, highly recommended. RP, Liberal, KS.
I wanted the best possible preformance from my single CPU 2.66 GHz 4-core Mac Pro without the expense of having to acquire a dual CPU machine. Thomas upgraded my processor tray to a 3.46 GHz 6-core and my CPU speed almost doubled. I could not be more pleased and the turnaround was very fast. KJ, San Bernadino, CA.
And here's an email from a DIY 'expert' - I receive these frequently and do not reply. I am not in the repair business and this is not a chat board for amateur tinkerers seeking free advice. This fellow is looking at a $1,500 repair bill. Quoted verbatim:
Help!! I Just tried to do this upgrade myself from an 09 mac pro dual quad to a dual 3.06 hex core. I have done the washer and cut connector method, got some thermal transfer paste for the regulators and installed, no red lights, posted. An hour in, machine flat out crashed and CPU B was HOT. I'm not sure what to do with it now or how to repair it (I have technical knowledge but it's been some time since I've done an upgrade of this magnitude.) Is there hope? Can this be fixed?? I am thinking (and hoping) that it's a bad processor or heatsink, but I'm unable to be sure. Is there anything you can suggest to help? Also, Do you do repairs for people like me who tried, succeeded and then failed? - Initials and location withheld to spare embarassment.