great upgrade for my older mac pro
I recently got a mac pro 5,1 cheaply with the stock dual 2.6 procs and someone suggested I upgrade it with 3.46's, so I went ahead and gave it a shot. I've done computer repair work in the past but this is my first time upgrading a processor in a mac pro. This model of mac pro isn't terribly difficult to upgrade, but it does take some time and might be a little intimidating for the new guy. You also have to do a reasonably good job with the heat sink compound or you could damage (overheat) the processors. There's a few videos online on youtube that show recommended ways (patterns) to apply the heat sink compound on procs like this so you don't get air bubbles, overflow, or incomplete die coverage.
One thing to keep in mind is that some mac pros are set up to mount procs with the metal plate on the proc ("capped / lidded") and some are not. ("bare die") This will slightly affect the height of the heat sink. If that was all that was being cooled, it wouldn't matter. But the mac pro has a row of other chips (memory access I think?) that are also cooled by the heat sink, so if you change the CPU height, you have to account for the change in height. These procs are capped, so if you have an older mac pro with UNcapped procs, you will need to "shim" a little bit of height on the other chips in the row by the processor so they still get good contact and stay cool. So check in advance before you upgrade that you either have the same type of proc, or that you are prepared to keep the side line of chips cool too. I didn't have this issue because my mac pro's stock procs are capped, but if you do and don't adjust for it, you'll overheat the side chips on the CPU card and might have to replace the cpu card. Observe reasonable antistatic precautions too so you don't damage your new procs.
This seller quickly shipped the procs, and they arrived in a small padded envelope, with the pins in soft foam and with foam wrapped around them, I'd call it well-packed. They were easy to unpack though. They were used as advertised in the listing, but the caps had been well-cleaned of any old heat sink compound, and all the pins looked perfect. They did a great job there of cleaning them up before sale.
I've had them installed for several days now and they're performing great. 2.6 to 3.46 is a 33% increase in clock speed, and my benchmarking (geekbench) shows about a 25% increase in performance, which is about what I was expecting to see.
I used some of my regular isopropyl alcohol to clean off my heat sinks when removing the old procs. The seller included some little packs of heat sink compound also but it was thicker than I'm used to using. I actually ordered an Arctic Silver kit of proc and cleaners from another seller, but he goofed and only sent the cleaner and not the compound so I had to make do with some thermalcote I had on hand, and it seems to be working fine. I suggest using a pattern closer to an "X" than a round dot when applying the compound to such a large cap, as the compound will spread out to the sides before reaching the more distant corners and you'll get compound spillage over the sides if you use enough to make it out to the four corners. Use a non-conductive compound if possible to reduce the risk of a spill causing a short. Try to avoid using too much, but absolutely avoid using too little, and definitely don't use a pattern that could leave an air bubble.