macOS Catalina Brings Back Expansion Slot Utility App Ahead of Mac Pro Launch

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macOS Catalina, currently available to developers and public beta testers in a beta capacity, revives the defunct Expansion Slot Utility app ahead of the launch of the Mac Pro.

The Expansion Slot Utility app is designed for managing and configuring PCI cards, and its return is clearly meant for the Mac Pro, which has a total of eight PCIe expansion slots that Mac users can work with.


The Expansion Slot Utility app was discontinued years ago following the launch of the 2008 Mac Pro but the new 2.0 version is back for the modular Mac Pro.

New Mac Pro Details from Catalina Beta 2 - Mac7,1 is codenamed J160 - Expansion Slot Utility app lives again - Possible config names - Apple Pro Display XDR ArtworkAlso ICYMI: AMD GPUs /cc @siracusa @_inside @stroughtonsmith https://t.co/fyPbeTbBe9 https://t.co/Sot6kHDtnF pic.twitter.com/WfWu0eoYfN - Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) July 1, 2019


Expansion Slot Utility in macOS Catalina, for the new Mac Pro pic.twitter.com/SL0YHS50id - Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 1, 2019

Signs of the Expansion Slot Utility app are hidden in the second macOS Catalina beta, and when the Mac Pro becomes available at some point this fall, Mac Pro users will be able to take advantage of the utility.

Article Link: macOS Catalina Brings Back Expansion Slot Utility App Ahead of Mac Pro Launch
 
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justperry

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Aug 10, 2007
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I'm a rolling stone.
I've been using Macs for 2 decades now, never heard of this utility, tried to search on Youtube, nothing, it's says it's for configuring PCI cards, can someone tell me what to configure, I thought they were plug and play on a mac (after installing kexts).
 
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casperes1996

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I've been using Macs for 2 decades now, never heard of this utility, tried to search on Youtube, nothing, it's says it's for configuring PCI cards, can someone tell me what to configure, I thought they were plug and play on a mac (after installing kexts).

The screenshots show it all. It's for allocating bandwidth. Seeing if your cards are getting the bandwidth they need, and managing what slots get how much bandwidth to the CPU/chipset.
It's very cool it can even be adjusted like this.
 

stiligFox

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I've been using Macs for 2 decades now, never heard of this utility, tried to search on Youtube, nothing, it's says it's for configuring PCI cards, can someone tell me what to configure, I thought they were plug and play on a mac (after installing kexts).
From the screen shots it looks like it’s for configuring the slots themselves. If you install a WiFi card that is PCI-e x4 in an x8 slot, that’s not very efficient, so you can probably tell that slot to only behave as a x4 slot and save bandwidth/power for other slots that need it.

(That’s just my guess - I’m not too proficient with this stuff outside of a surface layer of knowledge)
 
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jameslmoser

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Sep 18, 2011
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Damn you Apple for pricing this thing out of my budget.

I love you Apple for building this thing and I want it bad.

Such is the war inside my head. The conflict. I am a Sith Lord after all. :p
Exactly... I have the money but don't need it. I could justify buying the Mac Pro previously even though I didn't need it, but I am having a hard time doing that now. The only thing that might make me purchase this thing is if the upgrades aren't ridiculous, but that wouldn't be very apple like... the base config for that price is just ridiculous.
 

-BigMac-

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This should be handy for Hackintosh users! (Providing they're emulating the new Mac Pro)
Sorry I dont know much about that utility. How will this be useful for Hackintoshers?

Will it enable the use of third party pcie peripherals easier?

Maybe the ability to use nvidia rtx cards etc?
 

casperes1996

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Maybe the ability to use nvidia rtx cards etc?
No, no. This tool has nothing to do with support for the cards you might plug in. That's a matter of drivers.
This tool is just about bandwidth distribution. Making sure the cards you do plug in have the bandwidth to run at their best speeds.

But frankly I don't see this helping Hackintoshes at all. This is a tool that communicates with hardware, specifically the motherboard and its PCIe lane distribution chips. I find it hard to believe it'd work with any motherboard out there. Most motherboards don't even support distributing PCIe bandwidth like this, and have the lanes fixed to certain slots.
 

Michael Rebar

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Jan 15, 2018
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I get it. I can not justify the MP when my Hackintosh does more for less.
Having resources to buy something is not a mandate to waste same.
Better luck next time Apple.

License the OS. That would be “thinking different”.

Support NVIDIA and stop being so predictable.

The more Apple becomes like it did before Jobs came back, the more I think of Apple Park like the colleseum in Rome. A round sign that things are ending.
 

duervo

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I've been using Macs for 2 decades now, never heard of this utility, tried to search on Youtube, nothing, it's says it's for configuring PCI cards, can someone tell me what to configure, I thought they were plug and play on a mac (after installing kexts).
You just need to search on Google, not YouTube.

This is the one I’ve found that does the best overall job of explaining it.

https://www.cnet.com/news/managing-pci-express-slots-in-mac-pros/

FWIW, I wouldn’t be surprised if this newer version has additional bells and whistles added compared to its older one.
 
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konqerror

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I've been using Macs for 2 decades now, never heard of this utility, tried to search on Youtube, nothing, it's says it's for configuring PCI cards, can someone tell me what to configure, I thought they were plug and play on a mac (after installing kexts).
It's something you don't want. Legacy Mac Pros didn't have enough PCI-E lanes for all the slots. The old utility allowed you to switch between different lane configurations, for example x16/x8/x1/x1 if you had one graphics card, or x8/x8/x8/x1 if you had 3. This was common on PCs too, sometimes software but other times via a bunch of jumpers.
 

Zdigital2015

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Sorry I dont know much about that utility. How will this be useful for Hackintoshers?

Will it enable the use of third party pcie peripherals easier?

Maybe the ability to use nvidia rtx cards etc?
Hackintoshes probably won't benefit from this as they already should have an EFI BIOS where they can set up which cards get which bandwidth. I doubt this Utility will play well with Hacks, but perhaps @pastrychef and other in the Hackintosh community will have a more definitive and clear cut answer.

PCIe is plug and play for the most part, but there are more PCIe slots than there are lanes on the Xeon W-32XX CPU, so they have to be split up in certain configurations.

No, NVIDIA RTX GPUs require updated drivers approved by Apple for operation under macOS Mojave and/or Catalina.
 

Moonjumper

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Are Apple really going to this much trouble is not just for the Mac Pro? Hopefully there are other Macs coming with expansion slots. Yes, I realise this is extremely optimistic.
 

Zdigital2015

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Are Apple really going to this much trouble is not just for the Mac Pro? Hopefully there are other Macs coming with expansion slots. Yes, I realise this is extremely optimistic.
For the cost of the Mac Pro and the clientele it is marketed towards, this is a very useful utility that will help them ensure that they have a Mac Pro running at peak output. Anyone buying $25K worth of Mac Pro will probably know how the PCIe cards they need and use will work best.

This Utility is of zero use for anything lesser than the Mac Pro, certainly not any of the Core i-Series CPU as they have 1/4 (25%) the number total PCIe lanes to deal with and Apple reserves them for the GPU in the iMac or allocates them specifically in the Mac mini as it lack a dGPU anyways. So unless Apple releases a junior Mac Pro with 3-4 slots and a Xeon W-2XXX Series CPU, Apple is going to to decide how your PCIe lanes are allocated.

Neither a Core i-Series or smaller Xeon W tower is likely to ever happen.
 
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konqerror

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Nvidia are more expensive than Radeons and often for no good reason. The Radeons in the new Mac Pro outperform the Geforce or Quadro at compute tasks. Quadro alone would cost twice the price of FOUR RADEON VIIs while having slower Metal compute performance than one of them.
Software support. For whatever reason, CUDA is near universal in scientific and technical fields. I do wish people would go to a more open solution to give Nvidia competition, but I can't rewrite millions of lines of code.

Metal is not an option for a rewrite anyway because it isn't available on Linux compute clusters or cloud providers.

No Nvidia means the Mac platform is effectively dead to scientists and engineers.
 
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Zdigital2015

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Software support. For whatever reason, CUDA is near universal in scientific and technical fields. I do wish people would go to a more open solution to give Nvidia competition, but I can't rewrite millions of lines of code.

No Nvidia means the Mac platform is effectively dead to scientists and engineers.
I believe Apple doesn't want NVIDIA co-opting OpenML with CUDA, hampering OpenML and Metal on NVIDIA GPUs and writing tools that essentially allow them access to the on device machine learning capabilities of the A11 and A12 Bionic CPUs. Can anyone blame Apple...CUDA isn't going to open up, that would be a strategic mistake by NVIDIA and Apple isn't going to open up, that would be a strategic mistake by Apple, one that would cost them dearly.

NVIDIA would do everything they could to subvert, cripple and kill OpenML and Developers would just see it as "I only have to write for one platform, YAY!" and Apple would be allowing NVIDIA to direct where ML goes and that just isn't going to happen considering how important ML is for the competitiveness of the iPhone and iPad (PHOTOS).
 

AnakinMac

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Sep 24, 2014
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Software support. For whatever reason, CUDA is near universal in scientific and technical fields. I do wish people would go to a more open solution to give Nvidia competition, but I can't rewrite millions of lines of code.

Metal is not an option for a rewrite anyway because it isn't available on Linux compute clusters or cloud providers.

No Nvidia means the Mac platform is effectively dead to scientists and engineers.
You should ask nvidia to do this.
 

BigBoy2018

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I guess this confirms for sure (as if it wasn't already obvious) that the new Mac Pro will not be able to run Mojave (and therefore legacy 32-bit apps).
 
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Zdigital2015

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I think the real baffling part is that you associate piracy with Hackintoshes. How does that work?

And I don't understand how you think Apple takes a financial hit when people build Hackintoshes. Next you'll be telling me that building your own Windows PC, or buying one, is a hit on Apple
Someone using macOS on non-Apple hardware is a clear violation of Apple's EULA, no matter how noble some thinks the cause.

People not buying a Mac, but instead building a PC and then installing macOS on it means that a potential sale of an Apple computer is lost.

Apple does not sell a license for its operating system for use on a PC the way that Microsoft does with Windows, that's the difference.
[doublepost=1562017421][/doublepost]
I guess this confirms for sure (as if it wasn't already obvious) that the new Mac Pro will not be able to run Mojave (and therefore legacy 32-bit apps).
Nope, of course that won't stop someone from trying to run some old 32-bit app that has never been updated, been abandoned or a newer version exists (with associated upgrade cost or subscription fee).

EDIT: And then getting on this site to bitch about it as if it is Apple personally screwing them over, but I digress.