upgrade part II

just a short post.

Getting the front fan cage out was more difficult than I thought it would be. I left it kind of resting on the motherboard after loosening the screws. I knew better and of course, karma hit me upside the head by revealing a broken latch for the video slot. Fortunately, the size of my card bridges the entire damn cage and both heat sinks, being supported by a slot in the rear fan cage. So I won’t miss the latch and I doubt whoever should inherit this machine after me will either.

When you open your box, be patient. That is rule #1.

Rule #2 is wear a grounding strap.

Pulling off the heat sinks was the last step before reaching the final destination. I decided to clean and inspect them before pulling the CPUs, because once I started that I was going to re-assemble until it was all back together.


Tools of the heat sink cleaning trade.

Those things are pretty massive. Motodad noted the copper tuning made them look like they have liquid cooling. The glass bowl holds isopropyl alcohol. When I was a young mad scientist I’d buy a bottle every month to fuel my Bunsen burner. In this case it was only an agent to get the old thermal paste off the copper plates on the bottoms of the sinks.

DirtClean Heatsinks

One down, one to go. You don’t realize how devastatingly handsome these are until you get close to them. Yes, I did lose focus of the gravity of the situation.

Patience and a lot of Q-tips got them nice and burnished. A can of air got the fins clean, but don’t let anyone tell you micro dust bunnies don’t have a sense of self preservation. They managed to wrap themselves around posts, cling to the fin edges, and do just about anything to keep from flying off like they were supposed to.

I didn’t bother to chronicle everything going back together. I put the heat sinks in before the front fan cage, which of course wouldn’t go in. So out came the sinks and the newly applied thermal paste. I didn’t reapply it when I put them back.

I did screw and unscrew the rear cage four times before I got the rear cage, heat sink cover and front cage to all line up and fit nicely. Apple likes putting things together with tight tolerances, and this was no different.

I lugged the 54-pound box back to its place under my desk. Connected all the cables. Forgot the power hungry tower would fire as soon as the AC was connected, and I didn’t have the monitor plugged in, but all was cool.

Logged on. Looked at the system profiler.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.03.21 AM

About that upgrade.

I went from dual quad-core Xeons running at 2.66 GHz to a pair of 8-core chips at 3.0 GHz. I could change the unknown to a known by updating the firmware. But the system fans don’t spin any faster, the temperature gauge doesn’t budge and everything works just dandy, so I’m leaving well enough alone. In the hardware department. For now.

Next mod: Yosemite.

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