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News Archive for Tuesday July 28, 2009     Goto Current News Page
Macs/Mods/Upgrades | Video Related | Storage | Audio/HT | Tips/OS Updates/WiFi

2006 Mac Pro 3GHz (5160's) CPU Upgrade (low-cost, used CPUs)
From a Rate Your CPU Upgrade/OC report today:

"(1st Gen Mac Pro (2006) with dual core Xeon 5130 (2.0GHz) x 2 CPUs)
Purchased a new pair of OEM Xeon 5160 "Woodcrest" CPUs from eBay for <$400. Got a tube of Artic silver from RadioShack and the all-important 3-mm hex wrench with a long handle from Ace Hardware. I found and reviewed instructions from the internet extensively before upgrading. Anandtech did the same CPU upgrade when they first reviewed the Mac Pro. The hardest part was pulling out the CPU fan assembly. Was easier the next couple of times when I had to check that the two CPU heat sinks were installed correctly (the side rubber bumpers are different).

Took about an hour to carefully install the CPUs. While I was at it, I also replaced the old thermal grease under two heatsinks on the motherboard (one covers the Northbridge). "About This Mac" correctly shows "2 x 3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon" since this is one of the built-to-order options Apple offered. Did not do any comparative speed tests since many reviewers did them when these Mac Pros first came out.

Actually waited a month after installation before submitting this report in case of problems. However, the upgrades were trouble free and I did not notice any increase in CPU temperatures or fan speeds. I chose the dual core over the quad core upgrade to get the best bang for the buck. Had bought the Mac Pro used with the slowest 2.0GHz (least expensive) CPUs over two years ago. The OSX user interface feels snappier but the real speed increases came about when I did anything that was CPU intensive like ripping music from my music CDs. My next upgrade will be 8GB of RAM in time for Snow Leopard.

Thank you for maintaining this extremely informative and useful website over the years.

Last week's post on 2006 Mac Pro Clovertown (Quad core) CPU Swaps Revisited also noted using a pair of used (from ebay) CPUs, although he bought Xeon 5355s (2.66Ghz/8MB/1333/Quad-core) "Clovertown" CPUs (appx $600 for a pair, but sold his original pair of 5150 2.66GHz dual core CPUs for $212 to offset the cost). That post also includes links to guides (video and article) on 1st gen Mac Pro CPU swaps and also a reminder to get the long (9-10in) 3mm T wrench to remove the heatsinks (he also bought one from Ace hardware, although many other stores that sell tools carry similar wrenches. I have a complete set of T hex wrenches (metric and english) bought at local 'tool sale' events for much less than sears, etc. wanted for a set.)

If you've upgraded the CPU(s) on your Mac, send a review with your experience (performance/stability/installation, etc.), Mac Model/Upgrade brand info and overall rating (1= worst to 10=best). If you can, please run some tests with the original CPU vs the upgrade (for example time some tests with your favorite app, game, etc. - see full reviews here for example tests with common apps/games/benchmarks.)

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VLC Media Player 1.0.1 update
Several readers sent a heads-up on another update (v1.0.1) to the incredibly popular (freeware) VLC Media Player

VideoLAN is pleased to announce the release of the second version of the Goldeneye branch of VLC: 1.0.1! 3 weeks after the release of 1.0.0, and with almost 14 million downloads, this minor version fixes most of the notable bugs and regressions that were present in the 1.0.0 version. Notable fixes and improvements include:

  • flv and mpeg2 seeking,
  • wmv, wav, rtsp and ssa support,
  • fixes for Qt and MacOS interface,
  • fix of an integer underflow in Real pseudo-RTSP module
  • translations updates,
  • port of the ZVBI module to Windows for full teletext support and
  • codecs updates for Windows and Mac OS.
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More notes on Disabling Hibernate mode
(Late posting this reply to Friday's post on Disabling Hibernate mode/deleting sleepimage file (and recap on disabling SMS, LidWake) - originally a FYI for SSD users, although included comments related to std HDs as well)

"I too had to disable hibernate from our MacBook, but not for ssd. My wife likes to PLUNK down the MacBook right after closing the lid. I had to make the drive stop quickly.
Try "smart sleep", many useful options. it's from
-Barrett W."

And a reply with reminder that w/o hibernate, battery power (if not connected to AC) is used to retain memory contents. (I know most of you are aware of this of course, but just in case anyone isn't.)

"One unfortunate side effect of disabling hibernate should be noted. If you allow your Mac to run its battery down and shut itself off due to low power (as when recalibrating the battery) the next startup does NOT restore the Mac to the same state you were at when the shut down occurred. No hibernate means that there is no image to restore memory contents. So, the next startup is a cold start instead of a resumption of where you were. This can be an issue if you are doing work while intentionally running your batteries down for calibration. Your work will be lost at the point your machine shuts itself down.
If you disable hibernate, you should heed the backup power warning and save your work. Without hibernation, your machine's memory contents (and any work you haven't saved) will be lost when the Mac finally is so low on power that it shuts itself off.
-Guy K."
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Microsoft Tips page for problems opening Office Docs after Mac Office 2008 SP2/12.2.0 update
(Update: On Aug. 6th MS released Microsoft Mac Office 2008 12.2.1 said to address this problem.)
I don't use Mac Office 2008, but Ken sent a FYI on a Microsoft help page titled I can't open an Office document after I install Office 2008 SP2 Update that says this is a "known issue" with the SP2 update and includes solutions/workarounds. (There's posts in MS's mac office forums like Powerpoint won't open .pptx after Mac Office 2008 (SP2) 12.2.0 update.)
BTW - I had to grin on one 'solution' in the MS help doc - reinstall Office 2008 and apply all updates except for 12.2.0.
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Other News/Articles/Reviews, Misc. Software Updates

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Recent Updates and Articles
Listing/links to recent updates, articles and reviews you may have missed.
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