Tutorials |Upgrading a Mac Pro 5,1 CPU for Photographers

HOW TO... Upgrading a Mac Pro 5,1 CPU for Photographers

Upgrading a Mac Pro CPU

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When I started this adventure I was pretty confident that I would see a speed increase for the old Mac Pro 5,1 (2010), this goes without saying as I’m upgrading from the original 4-core 2.8GHz to a newer 6-core 3.46GHz processor. What I didn’t expect was almost twice the Multi core processing score.

Just take a look at the GeekBench 4 results:

Mac Pro 5,1 (Mid-2010) 4-core 2.8GHz

Single-core Score = 2357
Multi-Core Score = 6168

Compute score = 9914

I’ve added the Compute score as there will be a slight upgrade in the performance to the graphics processing. Hard disc speed is less likely to be affected by the CPU swap, I checked and really there’s little if anything to it.

Mac Pro 5,1 (Mid-2010) upgraded to 6-core 3.46GHz

Once the CPU has been swapped out the new GeekBench 4 scores are as follows:

Single-core Score = 3083
Multi-Core Score = 13376

Compute score = 9914

I think you’ll agree that’s pretty impressive. I’ve posted some links below to the kit I items used, processor and paste. The Allen Key’s are widely available as well and as soon as I locate a long 3mm I’ll post a link.

The results are in and as the process is very easy, taking around 10 minutes from beginning to end.

How to change your Mac Pro 5,1 CPU for photographers

  1. Power down the Mac Pro, then unplug from the power
  2. Remove the side panel
  3. Push the two CPU tray locks and slide out the tray
  4. Use a 10cm long 3mm allen key to undo all five screws in the heat sink. Undo a little at a time in a crisscross pattern
  5. Lift off the heat sink and place to one side
  6. Release the Molex clamp and lift out the CPU and set aside
  7. Using Thermal Material Remover make sure the top surface of the new CPU is clean
  8. Wipe the top of the CPU with Thermal Surface purifier
  9. Squirt on a blob of High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound and make sure it covers the CPU smoothly 
  10. Reattach the heatsink and in a crisscross pattern screw down the heatsink
  11. Slide the tray back into the Mac Pro, pop on the side and reattach the cables
  12. Power on the Mac and go to ‘About this Mac’, you should now see the new CPU


Upgrading a Mac Pro CPU for Photographers
Article Name
Upgrading a Mac Pro CPU for Photographers
Upgrading a Mac Pro CPU is easier than you might think, in this feature I take a look at how it's done on a 5,1 and achieve double processing speed.
Publisher Name
Camera Jabber
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