Mac Pro 4.1 upgrade questions and notes.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by neomorpheus, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. neomorpheus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #1
    Hello everyone,

    Being a long time lurker, but is time to formally join the group!

    Just obtained a cMP 4.1 with the 2.93 QC cpu and have being reading for over a week now all the post that I was able to read here about the CPU upgrade and the needed firmware to enable this.

    This is what I will like to do.

    I have a gaming PC and now the cMP, I will to eliminate the PC and just keep the cMP. Also, I hate dual booting, so I will like to set up a W7 or 8 in a VM and use 2 vid cards to dedicate one for the W7 VM and the other for regular OSX use.

    I know that I need VT-d for this and here is where things get interesting, I cannot find any info regarding anyone trying to do this before. Also, per Intel ARK, but current CPU lacks VT-d, but that can be taken care of by the CPU upgrade.
    Also noted, the X's CPU's comes with VT-d, but not the W's, but also, the support must be included in the motherboard and bios and here is my dilemma, I don't want to buy a X5690 and end up with no VT-d support because is not on the motherboard.

    So, first question, can anyone that already have such an upgrade test if VT-d is reported being available? This would be visible by using Fusion, Parallels or maybe Xen.

    Regarding the upgrade itself, I keep reading conflicting post regarding the if the CPU is dellided or not on the single CPU cMP 4.1.

    So, second question, does the stock CPU on my cMP is lidded or not?

    Lastly, I have access to a cMP 5.1 CPU tray with what I believe is a single Westmere Xeon 6 cores CPU. I read that I can use that tray on a 4.1, after the firmware update.

    Then third question, Can I just swap CPU trays? Will the 5.1 with a firmware downgrade work with the CPU tray and CPU from a 4.1?

    Sorry if all these has being answered before, but I just couldn't find a proper answer to my questions.

    Thanks.:apple:
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    1) I don't know. If you are not a serious gamer, the Parallel may be good enough. However, never heard anyone can dedicate a graphic card to a VM in 4,1.

    2) Normal lidded CPU.

    3) Yes and No. The Machine will boot, but the fan should go crazy, because the SMC version is different between 4,1 and 5,1. Upgrade the firmware won't upgrade the SMC.
     
  3. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #3
    Upgrading the single processor 4,1 is cake. Uses a regular CPU with lid, and there is a CPU clamp that makes the job easy.
     
  4. neomorpheus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #4
    Thanks for the response.

    Found some more info, looks like OSX just doesn't have the necessary code to enable VT-d, even if the hardware is there, per VMWare. So looks like the only options are either dual boot or keep both systems.

    One more thing that I will like to know, would it work to install W7 as host on the cMP and use lets say VMware Workstation and virtualize OSX?
     
  5. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #5
    Install W7 in cMP -> YES

    Use OSX in VM -> YES

    However, since no hardware acceleration available in virtualised OSX, it will make the OSX VM almost completely useless.

    You can try to install a OSX VM in your current OSX host now, then you will know how bad it is.
     
  6. neomorpheus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #6
    So many damn limitations with OSX, smh.

    Thanks for the info though!
     
  7. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #7
    If you want to game on a Mac Pro 4,1 you gotta use bootcamp. I have a flashed 4,1 W3680 24Gb ram GTX680 2gb flashed to Mac edition and twin 840 Evo SSD's, one for OS X other for 7x64.

    My son plays his minecraft with rudo plays shaders at 70FPS and other games pretty much maxed out at 1920x1200 with the 680.

    Looking forward to what the 980 will do next year :D
     
  8. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    #8
    Two rumours circulating this week. 980 Ti and Titan X are due in early 2015. And e other rumour is they are delayed :D
     
  9. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #9
    No comment :D
     
  10. neomorpheus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #10
    I know, just wanted to avoid the dual booting, since, when implemented properly, a VM with VT-d and 2 vid cards, which I already have, works at around 95% speed regarding your hardware.

    This is my configuration, I have the Mac and the gaming Pc in one room and then I have a Gigabyte Brix connected to my TV.

    Currently, I'm using Steam on both systems and use their streaming option, which works great.

    But I want to use the Mac for other things, non gaming related, so again, with enough resources (2 vid cards and 2 drives), I can have W7 on a VM, leave running as needed and then rest of the time, just have OSX for the other stuff and thus eliminating the gaming PC.
     
  11. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #11
    I have mine running triple boot with Parallels but I hardly use it. I love the performance of bootcamp and even assigning 4 cores it's not a patch on the real thing and is pretty hopeless at gaming. You only need 1 card to do both and a used PC GTX680 off ebay with warranty is pretty cheap. Flash it in bootcamp - job done. It also accelerates CS6 rather well also as I mainly use it for my power apps on both platforms. My boy is the gamer not me!

    Co-incidentally I have a clients Brix land on my desk only today. A GB-BXi7H-4500 with 256Gb 840 Evo MSATA and 1TB spinner..
     
  12. neomorpheus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #12
    If VT-d was working properly, you need to assign one vid card to the VM and it cannot be used by the host. The guest OS gets full access and control of the vid card, thats why the performance is so high and again, eliminates the need for bootcamp and dual booting.
     
  13. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #13

    Games need direct access to the hardware via directx for performance. I would compare the two side by side and I know which one is the runaway winner.

    Though if you boot off an ssd in windows in a sled you must patch the mbr to enable ahci for sleds 1&2 else you have ata-133 and not sata-2. There is a big thread in this forum further back to enable it -search ahci Mac Pro windows
     
  14. neomorpheus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #14
    Direct hardware access is what VT-d provides, thats why you need 2 vid cards, so you can "give" the VM one with direct access.

    Good info on the SSD, since that is the next part of my upgrade, thanks.
     

Share This Page