Quad Boot (OS X, XP, Vista 64, Linux)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bpepers, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. bpepers macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008
    Just got my new Mac Pro last week and loving it! I set it up to quad boot so I can play games in XP, test software with Vista 64, and also do some development and testing in Linux using Kubuntu 7.10. I hadn't heard of anyone else setting up their system for quad booting but it wasn't too hard to get working. If anyone else needs to do this, drop me a line and I'll explain the details of what I did!

    The new Mac Pro is just stupidly fast for compiles! Compiling my application which used to take anywhere from 60 minutes on my laptop to 10 minutes on my desktop (which was dual core 2GB AMD) has now gone to 2 minutes on the Mac Pro!
  2. Banacek macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2008
    I would love for you to explain what you did :)
  3. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    What are the specs of your new Mac Pro?

    Here's what I just ordered:

    065-7536 Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
    065-7175 2GB (2 x 1GB)
    065-7183 2 x ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB
    065-7189 320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    065-7203 One 16x SuperDrive
  4. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008

    Alright these are the steps I took:

    1. I ordered the system with the 320 GB drive but bought 2 1TB Seagate drives so when I got the Mac Pro I setup the 1 TB drives in a RAID 0 set and reloaded OS X onto them. In doing this I moved the 320 GB drive to bay 3.

    2. Once reloaded, I used the DiskUtil program in OS X to erase the 320 GB drive. I told told DiskUtil that I just wanted to use MBR on it which is what Windows expects and Linux is used to (though I think Linux can also handle the Mac partitioning method too). I created 3 partitions on the drive of around 100 GB each and created them as FAT32.

    3. I did a reboot with the XP install CD and held down "C" when rebooting which made the Mac boot off the CD. I did a basic install of XP to the first 100GB partition telling it to reformat is as NTFS. Didn't really have to do anything special here. When done and the system reboots you need to hold down the Option key to get a list of drives to boot from. Should be one labeled "Windows" and if you boot from this you get into XP.

    4. I then did the same thing with Vista 64 Ultimate. Boot from the CD and tell it to install in the second partition on the drive. When done I tested that I could boot off the drive labeled "Windows" again. It put me into the Vista boot loaded which gave the option of booting into an "Older version of Windows" which was the XP or into Vista. Two down, one to go!

    5. I had to use the alternative AMD64 CD to install Kubuntu. The desktop install CD wanted to use an old nvidia driver which didn't like the 8800 GT in the Mac and it also seemed to cause crashes with KDE. So burn the alternative install CD and put it in the Mac and reboot and hold down "C" to boot from it. You end up in the grub bootloader for Linux and have the option for a Text install (which is the default). Pick this choice but press "e" first to edit the boot params and then edit the line with the kernel that has "splash" on the end. Remove the word "splash" from the boot line and then press "b" to boot. Note that this removal of "splash" was needed with the 8800 GT but may not be for other graphics cards.

    You should get to the text based installer and be able to go through it all just fine. Everything installs and in the end the system reboots. Along the way it replaced the boot loader in the MBR with grub with the ability to pick to boot Linux or go to the Vista boot loader and pick XP or Vista from there. The problem is that none of these work anymore! The grub setup that the Linux created is wrong. Or at least it was wrong on my system and its wrong because the boot drive isn't the first drive in the system. What seems to be happening is that in my case the 320 GB drive is really the second drive on the system (odd that since its in bay 3 but such is life!) but the Mac BIOS is setting up the boot drive as the first drive on the system. I think this is done to make Windows happy but it confuses the heck out of Linux since it ends up booting off the first drive but when Linux is actually running, its now the second drive. Its only grub that is having a problem though so thats easy enough to fix.

    To fix it, you need to use "e" to edit the boot params. Reboot the Mac and use Option and with the Windows drive and then when you get to the grub boot loader, press "e" to edit the boot info and then change the line that looks like "root (hd1,2)" to "root (hd0,2)". Once you change this press "b" to boot and it should boot into Kubuntu properly. You now need to edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file to make the root change above permanent and also to fix the Windows booting. Edit the file and change the "root (hd1,2)" lines to "root (hd0,2)" and also fine the lines in the Windows section that are remapping the drives (should be two lines starting with "map"). Remove them or comment them out. Reboot now and test that you can properly boot into Linux, XP, or Vista.

    I think that covers everything I did! The tricky bits were caused by the 8800 GT card and the drive mapping. If you just get a blank screen when booting off the Kubuntu install CD, then at least on my system this was fixed by removing the "slash" option. And likely if I had left the 320 GB drive in bay 1 and just installed the new drives in bay 2/3 then I wouldn't have had to do the grub fixing.
  5. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008

    I got the same system except I got the 8800 GT. Its for software development but I also want to play the odd game on it! I upgraded the memory to 10 GB (added 4 x 2 GB) and installed 2 1TB Seagate drives as a RAID 0 drive and re-installed OS X on the RAID drive making the 320 GB free for other use. I heard the default 320 GB drive is relatively slow so I didn't want to use it as the main drive. I'm worried now though by the use of RAID 0 and need to investigate setting up Time Machine and see what other backup options I have to give me some security. But I sure love how fast the drives are in a RAID 0 setup!
  6. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008
    Well the same steps should have allowed me to install just about any other Linux distribution so pick Ubuntu instead if you are perverse enough to like Gnome better than KDE! ;)

    May have hit other issues with other distributions though. Seems like the main issues are the video card and the drive placement though so if you keep the drive in bay 1 and use a text install, I think it should go fairly smoothly.
  7. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    Very nice. Did you get the RAM from OWC? I'm trying to decide between their 2x2GB package and the 4x2GB package. This would give me an end result of either 6GB total or 10GB total. I mainly plan to use the machine as a regular desktop plus virtual machines to test XP/Vista deployments.

    How did you set up the RAID 0? Did you have to buy the "Mac Pro RAID" card?

    I also plan on replacing the included 320GB drive... most likely with a 750GB Western Digital from Newegg (around $150). Seems to be a nice bang for the buck.
  8. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I'm also going to order 8GB extra. I'm still confused as to if taking the stock 2 out and having just 8 is faster than having 10GB.
  9. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008
    I got the RAM from CanadaRAM since I'm not in the US. I think for speed sake its best to add the 4 x 2GB and have those installed as all matching RAM. And then from what I've read you can add the original 2 x 1GB as well and not lose any speed.

    The RAID 0 is software RAID supported on any drives without needing to buy the RAID card. The software RAID only supports RAID 0 and 1 so its not too fancy but the RAID 0 does give some huge increases in disk throughput. The www.barefeats.com has some tests of drive speeds and though they didn't include the Seagate in RAID 0, they do show a Raptor both standalone and using RAID 0 and the RAID 0 is hugely faster than a single drive and you get the same benefits with the Seagate. But you also take a huge risk since a single disk failure loses everything so you have to have a good backup plan!

    The barefeats site also has info on the speed of different RAM installs which is where I read that using 4 x 2GB is way quicker than the stock 2 x 1GB and that added the extra 2 x 1GB along with the 4 x 2GB doesn't hurt the speed.
  10. Crossbone macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2008
    Easy. Simple as Pie.

    Just buy 4 HDDs, and install a OS on each one. :rolleyes:
  11. MrT-Man macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    Yeah, but having all 8 slots full is faster than having 6 slots full. So 8GB can be faster than 10GB, if you have 8 x 1GB versus 2 x 1 GB and 2 x 2GB (as per this chart: http://www.barefeats.com/harper3.html).
  12. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    Right, where do you go to set up the RAID0? Is this during the Mac OS X install disc part or somewhere before in the "BIOS" like on a PC?
  13. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008
    I think during the re-install of OS X one of the things you can do is run the DiskUtil program before starting the install. At least thats how I remember doing it though it is possible that I installed the drives and setup the RAID while still booting off the original 320 GB drive. Certainly that way would work and I was doing this after being up for 30 hours so its a bit of a blur to me now!
  14. Banacek macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2008
    Awesome, thanks so much!
  15. iamjr macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2008
    yes a mac newbie, but wants to hit ground running.

    I am a web and apps programmer (ms xp). I now have a mac book pro, with seagate hd 200gb, rpm72; 2.2 ghz, 2gb ram, core 2 duo.
    i need to develop web applications, and backend apps. i need to test my web applications on different os; 2nd, i need to try out mac and linux platforms (for instant immersion, learning and future infrastructure use).

    --would i be able to partition the 200gb macbook pro hd to work as described in the quad boot layout?

    --would vmware fushion (or bootcamp,etc) offer a comparable robust testing environment, to the quad boot system? (i am not afraid of some extra work if quad bootup is the best option)

    (side note, i hope that the seagate hd 7200rpm over heating issue (in macbook pro) was solved before they shipped out my hd)

    --thanks for your help, and sharing your insight.
  16. bpepers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2008
    I think if you're sharing a drive with OS X as well as the other operating systems then it will take a little more work to do all this since you end up having some operating systems wanting the drive to use the old MBR partitioning method and others using the new Mac partitioning. I'm pretty sure you can work around this but it will involve more steps.

    I think that using vmware fusion is actually a better option in most cases than my quad boot setup. I really did it just to see if I could and also because I wanted to install Linux so I could directly compare compile speeds with my old system. In the end I'll likely just use a single XP boot partition for playing games I can't get on the Mac and then use VMware in OS X for doing any Linux or Windows software development. Starting up a suspended vm instance takes just seconds and you are back where it was at and can use it while still playing your iTunes music from the Mac and getting your email on the Mac and so on. Beats having to reboot into another OS which takes a minute or two and disconnects you from everything you've setup on the Mac. But you do pay a price in speed. I can compile my program in 2 minutes in Linux when run natively using all 8 cores but when running in VMware with a limit of 2 cores the same compile takes 9 minutes.
  17. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008

    How did you configure your hard drives?

    And why not Solaris 10?
  18. iamjr macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2008
    great insight. thanks

    Thank you for your haunch. I'll use the vmware fushion option.
  19. dgdosen macrumors 65832


    Dec 13, 2003
    Follow up...

    What if you consider that you can create your VMs on the RAID 0 drive? The increased disk speed might be something to consider - especially if you're of the thought that the system disk is usually not something you backup, as it's just as easy to recreate/rebuild the OS and apps. It's the data you want to protect, and I'd put that on a different drive.

  20. luke. macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    A detailed discussion on how to quad-boot from a single hard disk on intel Macs can be found at http://forum.onmac.net/showthread.php?t=2793
  21. OnePumpChump macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    The last link did not work for me. So, it is poosible to have Vista 64 Ultimate and Vista 32bit Home edition camped on the same hard drive?:confused:

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