Gulftown, Westmere, Nehalem microcode update guide

h9826790

macrumors G5
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
14,244
6,849
Hong Kong
-- ALL credit to LightBulbFun --

⚠Warning!!! Perform the firmware hack in this post may brick your Mac, do NOT do it if you have any doubt


⚠Caution! after microcode update, Windows may shows "Processor not supported" BSOD.

The rule hasn't figured out yet. May be EFI / legacy related, may be Windows version related, may be BootROM version realted. Or may be all of them are related. In most cast, it seems a flesh installation works. But in some case, only flash the original ROM back in can work.

Also, it seems the 0087.B00 BootROM with microcode update has the worst compatibility. This combination may not even able to boot the latest version Windows installation disc. With 0085.B00, you should able to perform a flash installation in either legacy or EFI mode with the updated microcode⚠

This mod will allow you to insert the most up to date microcode (from Intel) to patch your CPU. It contain quite a few bug fixes, and the most important one, protect you from Spectre.

If anyone just want to know your current microcode version, you can run "sysctl machdep.cpu" in terminal to get the relevant data.

Before anyone ask, the answer is NO. I cannot post a pre-patch ROM. The unique serial number of your Mac is stored inside the BootROM. That's why you have to dump it and mod it by yourself. Using others ROM won't brick your Mac, but your Mac will no longer able to access some service (e.g. iMessage). And fix the serial number + UUID may be much harder than you can expect. So, either do this "copy and paste" exercise by yourself (or ask someone to do it for you), but do NOT flash other's ROM.

-----------------------------------------------------------

In order to do this, you will need the following

1. Firmware 0085.B00 (no different on 2009, 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro)
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 02.57.41.png


2. ROMTool (By dosdude1)
http://dosdude1.com/apps/ROMTool.zip
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 02.40.49.png


3. iHex
https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/ihex-hex-editor/id909566003?l=en&mt=12
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 02.38.30.jpg


4. Original (V15) microcode (By LightBulbFun)
https://mega.nz/#!pNZikBbS!30gv0d8cKqCvU_AwAddZWl3Am7Vw0tMjqaDxsdNbD6g
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 02.47.37.png


5. Latest (V30 / V28) microcode (By LightBulbFun)
https://mega.nz/#!UZhxCYbT!nrGMKjv2aDoC4iDFOAj-NR2yPHdSZ7FuruaBsCchhhA
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 02.47.44.png


6. A Mac EFI GPU (If you don't know what it is, STOP here)

7. Optional - Mac Pro 5,1 firmware restoration CD (https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1320?locale=en_US)

-----------------------------------------------------------

Even though in theory this patch should be applicable to any 4,1 / 5,1 BootROM that has microcode V15. Do NOT apply this patch to any BootROM other than 0085.B00, NO body test other BootROM yet, it may brick your Mac.

As fail safe, you should have the 5,1 firmware restoration CD ready. Just in case you flash the wrong ROM, you can still restore the Mac straight away.

Read all steps and screenshots at least 3 times, and make sure you fully understanding what you are going to do before you start this patch.

-----------------------------------------------------------

So, after you download everything from the above links, follow these steps (do NOT go beyond step 17 if you have any doubt, before step 17, you can stop at anytime)

1. Disable SIP

2. Shutdown

3. Remove all hard drivers except your boot drive

4. Boot your Mac to normal MacOS desktop

5. Unzip and Open ROMTool

6. Click “Dump system ROM” to dump your own ROM

7. Name the ROM image 0085.B00.bin and save it

8. Open 0085.B00.bin with iHex

9. Unzip and open stock-MP51-microcode-block.bin with iHex

10. Unzip and open ws30-nh28-MP51-microcode-block.bin with iHex

11. Follow all 17 steps as per the screenshot to find and replace the microcode (it’s nothing more than normal copy and paste)


12. Save as a new bin file 0085.B00_V30.bin

13. Go back to ROMTool and click “Flash System ROM”

14. This will NOT flash the ROM yet, and your system still perfectly safe up to this moment.

15. The tool will tell you to enter firmware programming mode. Obviously we haven’t done it yet. So, cancel it and then close ROMTool.
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 03.32.33.png


16. Shutdown

17. Wait 15 seconds

18. Press and HOLD power button until LED flash and hear the “Do” sound. This is an indication that your Mac is now entered firmware programming mode

19. The Mac will continue boot to desktop, this is normal

20. Now, open ROMTool again.

21. Click “Flash System ROM”

22. This time you can continue and select 0085.B00_V30.bin to flash

23. The flash only take few seconds

24. After flash, you can close ROMTool

25. If in doubt, dump the ROM again to make sure its size is correct. Or even use software to compare it with the 0085.B00_V30.bin to make sure they are identical

26. If you are ready, reboot the Mac

27. Once boot to desktop, open terminal and use “sysctl machdep.cpu” command to check you have microcode version 30
 (or 28 if running Nehalem) now
Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 18.49.24.png


-----------------------------------------------------------

Update 1: 0087.B00 BootROM also safe to mod now. Exactly the same step, but with the microcode posted in the following link

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...microcode-update-guide.2122246/#post-26137406

-----------------------------------------------------------

⚠Warning!!! Perform the firmware hack in this post may brick your Mac, do NOT do it if you have any doubt
 
Last edited:

t8er8

macrumors regular
Dec 4, 2017
245
98
Quebec, Canada
⚠Warning!!! Perform the firmware hack in this post may brick your Mac, do NOT do it if you have any doubt


This mod will allow you to insert the most up to date microcode (from Intel) to patch your CPU. It contain quite a few bug fixes, and the most important one, protect you from Spectre.

If anyone just want to know your current microcode version, you can run "sysctl machdep.cpu" in terminal to get the relevant data.

Before anyone ask, the answer is NO. I cannot post a pre-patch ROM. The unique serial number of your Mac is stored inside the BootROM. That's why you have to dump it and mod it by yourself. Using others ROM won't brick your Mac, but your Mac will no longer able to access some service (e.g. iMessage). And fix the serial number + UUID may be much harder than you can expect. So, either do this "copy and paste" exercise by yourself (or ask someone to do it for you), but do NOT flash other's ROM.

-----------------------------------------------------------

In order to do this, you will need the following

1. Firmware 0085.B00 (no different on 2009, 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro)
View attachment 765246

2. ROMTool
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...rom-dump-request.2119496/page-4#post-26099973
View attachment 765249

3. iHex
https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/ihex-hex-editor/id909566003?l=en&mt=12
View attachment 765252

4. Original (V15) microcode
https://mega.nz/#!pNZikBbS!30gv0d8cKqCvU_AwAddZWl3Am7Vw0tMjqaDxsdNbD6g
View attachment 765251

5. Latest (V30 / V28) microcode
https://mega.nz/#!UZhxCYbT!nrGMKjv2aDoC4iDFOAj-NR2yPHdSZ7FuruaBsCchhhA
View attachment 765250

6. A Mac EFI GPU (If you don't know what it is, STOP here)

7. Optional - Mac Pro 5,1 firmware restoration CD (https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1320?locale=en_US)

-----------------------------------------------------------

Even though in theory this patch should be applicable to any 4,1 / 5,1 BootROM that has microcode V15. Do NOT apply this patch to any BootROM other than 0085.B00, NO body test other BootROM yet, it may brick your Mac.

As fail safe, you should have the 5,1 firmware restoration CD ready. Just in case you flash the wrong ROM, you can still restore the Mac straight away.

Read all steps and screenshots at least 3 times, and make sure you fully understanding what you are going to do before you start this patch.

-----------------------------------------------------------

So, after you download everything from the above links, follow these steps (do NOT go beyond step 17 if you have any doubt, before step 17, you can stop at anytime)

1. Disable SIP

2. Shutdown

3. Remove all hard drivers except your boot drive

4. Boot your Mac to normal MacOS desktop

5. Unzip and Open ROMTool

6. Click “Dump system ROM” to dump your own ROM

7. Name the ROM image 0085.B00.bin and save it

8. Open 0085.B00.bin with iHex

9. Unzip and open stock-MP51-microcode-block.bin with iHex

10. Unzip and open ws30-nh28-MP51-microcode-block.bin with iHex

11. Follow all 17 steps as per the screenshot to find and replace the microcode (it’s nothing more than normal copy and paste)


12. Save as a new bin file 0085.B00_V30.bin

13. Go back to ROMTool and click “Flash System ROM”

14. This will NOT flash the ROM yet, and your system still perfectly safe up to this moment.

15. The tool will tell you to enter firmware programming mode. Obviously we haven’t done it yet. So, cancel it and then close ROMTool.
View attachment 765247

16. Shutdown

17. Wait 15 seconds

18. Press and HOLD power button until LED flash and hear the “Do” sound. This is an indication that your Mac is not entered ROM flashing mode

19. The Mac will continue boot to desktop, this is normal

20. Now, open ROMTool again.

21. Click “Flash System ROM”

22. This time you can continue and select 0085.B00_V30.bin to flash

23. The flash only take few seconds

24. After flash, you can close ROMTool

25. If in doubt, bump the ROM again to make sure it’s size is correct. Or even use software to compare it with the 0085.B00_V30.bin to make sure they are identical

26. If you are ready, reboot the Mac

27. Once boot to desktop, open terminal and use “sysctl machdep.cpu” command now you have microcode version 30
 (or 28 if running Nehalem)
View attachment 765248

-----------------------------------------------------------

⚠Warning!!! Perform the firmware hack in this post may brick your Mac, do NOT do it if you have any doubt
Hey! I’m kind of uninformed on what bootrom does and how it works, but I’d love to have someone explain it to me on what this does and possibly how it works, thanks.
 

thornslack

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2013
410
164
From results I've seen on windows machines there should be no real deficiency, just curious. Thanks for this!
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
14,244
6,849
Hong Kong
I have made some updated microcode blocks for patching/updating the 0087 BootROM :)

I have successfully tested them using a Mac Pro4,1-5,1 @Surrat kindly provided for testing.
Wow~ Thanks for that. I was thinking "all microcode removed" may means a large piece pure "FF" or all "00" in the BootROM , that will be hard to correctly locate the code buy "search and paste" without knowing the exact address. But seems I worried too much now :D
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
2,296
2,230
London UK
Wow~ Thanks for that. I was thinking "all microcode removed" may means a large piece pure "FF" or all "00" in the BootROM , that will be hard to correctly locate the code buy "search and paste" without knowing the exact address. But seems I worried too much now :D
indeed this was the case (its all just FFs) but Luckily the section in the BootROM for where the Microcode is/should be is in a fixed location so I knew roughly where to look. :D

im also further convinced the missing microcode is a screw up on Apples part rather then an intentional thing, as my previous experimentation with Microcodes show that when I added microcode that never existed before hand (for example MP2,1 has never had Clovertown G0 Microcode despite supporting G0 Clovertown CPUs) the Machine would Halt on CPU error and fail to Boot/Chime (however the way microcodes are implanted did change between the 2006 and 2009 Mac Pros I sadly lack any EFI64 Core 2 Duo hardware to do any testing with in this regard).

where as despite Nehalem/Westmere microcode never existing in the 0087 BootROM, I can add it "back" with no issues so I suspect the BootROM is still expecting the microcodes to be there hence it continuing to work when I do add them rather then halting like the Mac Pro 2,1 does :)
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
2,296
2,230
London UK
I Just wanted to say thanks to @h9826790 for writing this guide, its much better then anything I could throw together thats for sure :)

if anyone wishes to read up on this Microcode stuff I recommend you check out these threads:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/updating-a-mac-pro-s-cpu-microcode.2114187/ this thread is where I got started with the Microcode stuff

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mp51-0087-b00-10-13-5-bootrom-update-missing-microcode.2121072/ in this thread I was able to patch the Mac Pro 5,1s EFI with new microcode, with @Surrat and then h9826790 kindly using their Mac Pros as a "guinea pig" for testing. :)

and then of course there is this thread where h9826790 combined it with @dosdude1 nice little ROM flasher to make an Awesome relatively easily to understand guide (as long as your not scared of a Hex editor :) ), so anyone could attempt to update their Mac Pro 5,1s Microcode :)

and then finally I went off the Firmware deep end :D https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/going-off-the-firmware-deep-end.2121762/

I have to say its an interesting time to be a MacPro5,1 owner with all the firmware hacking going on with the likes of my microcode stuff and @gilles_polysoft Awesome NVMe/DXE module insertion stuff allowing us to add EFI drivers to the Mac Pros Firmware :)
 

dosdude1

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,449
6,245
I am currently in the process of writing an interactive GUI application that will allow you to easily add, replace, and remove Microcodes from your system ROM. It will not only work on the Mac Pro, but also any other Intel-based Mac. It's in a very early state at this point, but parsing is working great so far:

image.jpeg
 

reukiodo

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2013
294
134
Earth
I am currently in the process of writing an interactive GUI application that will allow you to easily add, replace, and remove Microcodes from your system ROM. View attachment 765737
Wow! That would be awesome! Would this work on all the intel systems (back to Core Duo), or are you targeting just the Mac Pros? Would this tool also have a reference of all the available microcode versions or would we need to find the microcode ourselves to update?
 

bookemdano

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2011
1,318
744
Wow! That would be awesome! Would this work on all the intel systems (back to Core Duo), or are you targeting just the Mac Pros? Would this tool also have a reference of all the available microcode versions or would we need to find the microcode ourselves to update?
it's right in the post you quoted...

I am currently in the process of writing an interactive GUI application that will allow you to easily add, replace, and remove Microcodes from your system ROM. It will not only work on the Mac Pro, but also any other Intel-based Mac. It's in a very early state at this point, but parsing is working great so far:
 

flaubert

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2015
304
66
Portland, Oregon
h9826790: I see you have a six core 3.46GHz processor. Is it the X5690 (the dual processor Xeon), used in a single processor box? Because I think I saw via a link on Ars Technica to the Intel site that the XC5690 had a microcode update, but the W3690 Westmere processor did not. Or is the microcode that you're using applicable to a range of Xeon processors, including ones that Intel doesn't officially support? Thanks in advance.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
14,244
6,849
Hong Kong
h9826790: I see you have a six core 3.46GHz processor. Is it the X5690 (the dual processor Xeon), used in a single processor box? Because I think I saw via a link on Ars Technica to the Intel site that the XC5690 had a microcode update, but the W3690 Westmere processor did not. Or is the microcode that you're using applicable to a range of Xeon processors, including ones that Intel doesn't officially support? Thanks in advance.
I am using a W3690.

And you are correct. From the Intel web page, it shows that the microcode development for W3690 is stopped.

And my firmware patch test is a prove that the W3690 can be used with the new microcode that written for Westmere.
 

reukiodo

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2013
294
134
Earth
it's right in the post you quoted...
Ok, yes, one part of my question was, but the second part wasn't. Will the tool automatically find the new microcode updates for the system that the tool currently is running on?

If I run this on an early Core Duo, will it be injecting the Xon microcode? Likewise, if I run this tool on an Xserve, will it be injecting Core Duo microcode?
 

dosdude1

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,449
6,245
Ok, yes, one part of my question was, but the second part wasn't. Will the tool automatically find the new microcode updates for the system that the tool currently is running on?

If I run this on an early Core Duo, will it be injecting the Xon microcode? Likewise, if I run this tool on an Xserve, will it be injecting Core Duo microcode?
Yes, I'll be adding this feature in a later release. For now, it will be up to you to add microcodes for the correct CPUID (which isn't difficult, as you simply find the latest based on the listed CPUIDs.)
 
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