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Soldered IHS Removal Process for upgrading CPU in 2009-2012 Mac Pro Models

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Published on Jun 12, 2016

UPDATE: Before proceeding with the removal of the IHS from off the Xeon processor, please review the following image visual for clarification on how far to cut into the mastic glue to separate the IHS from the PCB board.

https://goo.gl/Lb1sYo

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The Mac Pro 2009-2012 year models were almost identical to each other with the exception of the CPU's, memory and a few other plug-n-play options like video cards and hard drives.

This good news is that it's quite easy to upgrade these older Mac Pro's to the very fastest processors that they support, at only a small fraction of what they originally cost, putting them on par with 2013 model Mac Pro's.

However, there is one condition that needs to be considered, the Intel processors that Apple used in these machines did not have an "Integrated Heat Spreader" or IHS.

Unfortunately, it's extremely difficult to find de-lidded processors, unless you buy them directly from Apple - if they are willing to sell them to you, or happen to find then on ebay where someone has already removed the IHS and you're willing to spend a lot more than the typical cost of what a lidded processor is running for currently on the open market.

I was compelled to make this video due to the lack of adequate visual resources available on the web anywhere, or at least that I could find.

In this video I show how to safely de-lid or remove the IHS from the Intel Xeon X5680 processor (Westmere) and the solder, using some simple tools that will allow for a successful upgrade without having to modify your existing Mac Pro in any way.

This process and method is applicable to virtually any Intel processor that uses an IHS that is soldered to the top of the die including for PC's that use similar processors.

There are a lot of resources and "how to" videos showing how to modify the Mac Pro's heat syncs using lidded processors, i.e. with the IHS on them etc. However, the method I'm showing here is actually, in my opinion, less difficult and less likely to cause serious damage to your motherboard while providing superior performance and cooling based upon Apple's design specifications.

Before embarking on upgrading your CPU's, it's important to research the forums like Netkas.org and elsewhere, for access to the firmware tool to upgrade to at least the 5.1 - 2010 version. The firmware will allow you to fully take advantage of 64 bit processing along with using faster memory modules. Yes, your 2009 Mac Pro model can be as fast as a 2013 Mac Pro at a fraction of the price.

I don't claim that this is the absolute best method for removing the IHS and the solder that resides on the die surface, but it has worked for me multiple times without issue and is actually very easy to do..

I welcome comments and suggestions from those who may provide additional recommendations to the community with regards to upgrading the 2009-2012 Mac Pro's and performing IHS removal.

Update to post:

There has been some discussion on why Intel used solder in the first place to secure the IHS to the die. There is a lot of engineering and metallurgy that goes into the development of CPU's which go way beyond most of our pay grades. However, to learn more about how processors are put together, the reasons why they were developed the way they were, and understand the reasons for non-conductive thermal paste vs conductive thermal paste, thermal expansion, material adhesion etc., here is a very good read on Overclocking.guide. http://overclocking.guide/the-truth-a...

Note:

This tutorial is not about over clocking processors beyond what they were designed for, but making sure your die surface has been properly prepared, by the process of "lapping," then with the proper application of a high-quality thermal paste, with the end result giving you long-term trouble-free operation on your Mac Pro.

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