time for a sticky: Xserve upgrade guide

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Flint Ironstag, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #1
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    While I personally don’t have one the nostalgia factor kicks in. I’ve maintained one at my old job.

    I’d love to read through such a thread.
     
  3. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #3
    count me in!

    we need the genius like @dosdude1 ,@tsialex ,@romminator, and other bootrom genius to help us build a mix of the 3.1 xserve and mojave 5.1 bootrom remix and we should be able to enjoy our xserves with x5690 , 192 gb of ram and nvme boot...
    if any of you guys read this, i have two xserve, and a extra motherboard from a maintenance kit and i also have a pair of matching delided x5690 ready to rock.

    I am even ready to pay for beer!

    you guys would give a option to a lot of people to get a very decent machine at a fair price!
     
  4. tsialex, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #4
    I down't own a Xserve, it has the same LITTLE FRANK connector?

    If Xserve don't have a LPC+SPI interface, it's moot to try to mod the firmware. You can be the most careful person in the world, you will brick it.
     
  5. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #5
    I’m willing to spend the 100 $ to buy you one if it is the only hickup...
    you and dosdude have done so much for us!
    i can take a hi res photo of the spare mobo i have if you can help me to figure out if little frank connector is here...
     
  6. tsialex, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #6
    A photo will be useful to check if it has any LPC+SPI interface.
     
  7. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #7
    ok will do this first thing tomorrow !
    --- Post Merged, Nov 27, 2018 ---
    obrigado
    --- Post Merged, Nov 27, 2018 ---
    I can’t help it but when I think about the guys at apple who are going to see xserve resurect from death with x5690 and 192 Gb of ram they are ****ing gone to melt a fuse...
     
  8. reukiodo macrumors regular

    reukiodo

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Location:
    Earth
  9. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
  10. aaronb1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    I don't know about that connector, but I certainly can socket the SPI FLASH chip, and I have the tools to read and write these. I'd guess that the FLASH is the wide-body 8-pin SOIC near the ICH controller (between the ICH chip and the orange colored connector in the 2nd last photo in reukiodo's post). I'll check the part number of that later. Any hints as to what I'm looking for (part number, typical size of the FLASH, etc.)?

    I am very interested in getting the CPU support for the X56xx XEONs. An XHCI and a AHCI driver would be really nice too, in order to boot from SATA or USB 3.0 drives attached to PCI-e boards. I suppose there is something other than the CPU microcode that is necessary to enable the 1333 MHz memory speed supported by some CPUs (including the W5590 I'm currently running). Although I own an NVMe SSD, I don't plan to use it in this machine. Nonetheless, I'm sure others are interested so I would test the addition of an NVMe driver for their benefit.

    I'll post again regarding the SPI FLASH device. How about a link to a thread(s) regarding the LPC+SPI interface?
     
  11. tsialex, Dec 7, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #11
    BootROM SPI it's probably the SST25VF032 near the arrow on the photo below. Xserve probably have at least one more SPI flashe, one for the Ethernet firmware, like MP4,1/5,1.

    LPC + SPI interface is not useful for the end user, but for the person developing the BootROM improvements. It's the connector needed to have direct access to the SPI flash and the LPC signals.

    If you going to do hundreds of tests, you need full/fast access to the BootROM, to be able to dump it fast and flash it fast anytime.


    Xserve LPC_SPI.jpeg

    @edgerider sent me better photos and LPC+SPI is probably this connector, but is not the same Molex used by Apple as LITTLE FRANK into MP4,1/5,1 boards, this one have an index and is more similar as the one used for BIG FRANK - could be the one used to flash the SMC and not the SPI.

    Since I don't own a Xserve, I can't confirm if it is or not.
     
  12. aaronb1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    I understand that this is for the bootROM developer.
    Now that I am home from work, I popped the lid and quickly identified 3 SPI FLASH chips. All 3 FLASH chips are easy to distinguish as wide-bodied SOIC package, clearly larger than other 8 pin SOICs on the board. One is a smaller (as in fewer Mbit) device just off the bottom-left of the PCI-e slot (refer to photo by reukiodo I've re-posted below). The other two are the same type of device. One is physically near the ICH (south bridge) and the other is near the BCM (server supervisor SoC) chip. So I assume the one near the ICH (to the right of the "intel" chip) is the bootROM, and the other is the BCM firmware. I'll pull that one off the board, put it onto a 8 pin DIP adapter, and wire a 8 pin socket to the motherboard. That will allow me to very easily pull the FLASH chip and burn it (or read it) in my programmer with minimal fuss.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #13
    It's certainly possible to do what you are thinking to test, but not to develop. You need to do hundred of tests and more importantly, interact with the BootROM at the boot up, shutdown, initialisation.
     
  14. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #14
    hi guys

    quick update of the situation :
    we need to give @tsialex a way to work directly on a xserve 3.1.

    I also have a spare 3.1 motherboard so experimenting is not too much of a hassle because if i brick a board i will alway be alble to desolder the eeprom of one board to another one...

    I also started to talk to Harald from mattcard, and we are currently trying to see if one of his products such as the medusa would help.

    http://www.cmizapper.com/products/medusa-2.html

    so far we need either to raise the fund to get @tsialex a working xserve in brasil.

    machines are very expensive there and custom dutys are very high...

    so any idea would be welcome !
     
  15. Bion1nc macrumors member

    Bion1nc

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    #15

    Here it is ... Hope that can help, I already flashed it with a MacPro 5.1 even with boot room 140.0 booted fine showed as a MacPro 5.1 and I could put 6 core and 12 core same thing as the Mac Pro. Now you lose the Hard Drive led's activity, and the front panel led too, so I did revert back to Xserve original rom 2009, Installed Sierra, and High Sierra on the other, Got back the LED HD's activity nice I love it, and I managed also to bring back the LED front Panel ... Where It used to be a time where the front panel was working OOB under the Snow and Lion 10.7.5 era with Server install, but I found a way to run the LED's even under ML, Mavericks and UP to High Sierra...
     

    Attached Files:

  16. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #16
    hi there!
    great news!!!!!!!

    so the now we absolutely know there are no hardware limitations and it is worth it to work on it! better aproach would be to port xserve proprietary rom function on a cMP 140.0 rom
    @tsialex @LightBulbFun @dosdude1 @gilles_polysoft we need your help there!
    I am almost sure that those machine will have a future.

    they are really cheap, and rackable...
    with the new cluster approach that apple is taking with 10gbe and the mini, it is going to be very interesting...

    imagine a cluster of 10 xserve 5.1 with 128gb of ram twin x5690, and a x540t2 in one slot and a anfeltec in the other...
    you are looking at 1500€ per machine...
    and a lot of brut power...
     
  17. Bion1nc macrumors member

    Bion1nc

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    #17


    Yeah they all have bright future for sure, I love my Xserves, plus they are still here meaning that it was built in quality seriously I so miss Mr Jobs at Apple... Looks like Apple will one day or another collapse.
    I have seen here on MC and else where people talking about that MacPro7,1 and I thought about it and If there were 50-100 million Pro users willing to ditch Apple Macs and use HP Z-series, that would be a good amount of income to justify the decision and maneuvers. But then again, that's just money, a small yearly flow of some income to the company's (Apple) flood of cash mountains. It's not gonna be enough. Apple will need it's creative class supporters though, to keep it all coming (the money). It needs and wants it, whether their customers are programmers, designers, scientists, crazy scientists, activists or pure artists. Or maybe it's me and you. We don't do our jobs only with iPads, do we? After all, Apple is greedier than ever, don't you think? Is that stupid fact gonna be our savior? Now after that being said I think that Apple is stuck on thin and that it getting in the way of high end systems. The iMac Pro needed down clocked cpus and had to give up a ram door. MacPro 2013 stuck with no way to put higher end parts in without marking it bigger, older MacPro the best!, stuck in the old G5 (Oh by the way I still have it water-cooled and it works like a charm ) case that really needed to be that big just to keep them cool.... I am really exited about this New MacPro but when will it be out? That’s the big question...

    I was looking at the wall street the other day and Apple really got a dirty days .... The stock dropped to about 7%
    Markets have not appreciated what strongly looks like an admission of the end of strong growth in device sales, especially the iPhone. While revenues have increased dramatically thanks to the unit price, but everyone realizes that it can last only one time and that it will be difficult in the long run to sell a $2000 iPhone or a $6000 Macintosh Laptop and $10K Desktops I mean that's crazy when we know the older machine are very powerful and that the system hasn't been elaborated to get the power of the hardware....
    Apart to release a product serving as a new growth vector, I think that Apple is at the end of a cycle, the one initiated by the iPod and finished by the iPhone. You can already imagine the next service-based with the end of the progressive sale of devices to replace them with monthly rentals ( i.e Shadow boxes ). This will further increase revenues while reassuring customers with offers ensuring all possible damage during the life of the devices. It's already initiated by AppleCare contracts that cover damage on iOS devices and even theft on laptops. So we are coming to what I have said already above and we all know that at some point that they are going to rent and If push it further ARM will be the new in house processors if Intel can come up with the new architecture plus Apple could with ARM differentiate itself from the PC world... with that T2 Chip also I think that Hackintosh will say goodbye too...

    All of that because Phill Schiller said : We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a " LONG TIME " ( that I am not so sure about it the techno showed that everything is build to have a short life ) with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.

    Sooooo long life to our cMacPro and Xserves and the rest of the OLD line.... I remember back in 2012 ... 2 machines the regular MacBook Pro 15 upgradeable and the MacBook Pro retina 15 ... remember that? We have voted with are wallet that day and the winner was the Retina, thiner, everything soldered, Proprietary SSD, etc etc ... today it is just the continuity and we can't go back unfortunately ... So Like say I'm happy with my older machines there are some much thing that we can do with and I love that, it is that pleasure that they took away you know what I mean that pleasure of being able to tweak our systems...


    So sorry for my long post....
    Correct me if I am wrong.. It has maybe for sure nothing to do here but I wanted to share that...
     
  18. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #18
    @Bion1nc ,

    my take on that is that since we got 64 bit machines (macbook 2011/macmini 2012/ cMp5.1...) the most performances gain we had came from storage, networks and gpu....

    any machine with a 2,8 Ghz quad core I7 a nvme ssd and a good GPU is capable to tackle the hardest jobs in reasonable time....

    yest retina display are cool, 4k, blablabla...

    but today my 2011 macbook still perform as good as the 2018 of my friends and they didn’t bought a serious workstation, they just went to top of the line macbook...

    truth is they call me to come edit on my cMp because it is faster than their imac or macbook and it is hooked to a tesla 4gpu 1 u enclosure and files are on a 10GBe network to the xserve with a netapp 24 bay raid array...

    keeping my 2011 and spending the 4000€ of a 2018 macbook into a true workstation gave me such an advantage in deadlines, and peace of mind...

    no mater the footage and effect that I throw at it it will never choke or crash...

    so in one word, since the i7 quad and the X5690 we have reach a power witch doesnt justify spending the money versus the performance gain...

    the only thing to remember is that a single X5690 new back in 2010 was 7000€.... so we are comparing performance of old top of the line datacenter hardware, to modern high end user hardware...

    apple could indeed built a quad xeon platinum « hp z8 like » workstation with 4 gpu, 4 pcie SSD and 1,5 Gb of ecc ram... but it would be 50k€ and none of us would buy it...

    the sweet spot for a « solo entrepreneur desktop workstation » is 2-3 thousand €.

    maybe larger companies will buy machines up to 6-8k€.

    and only very big production house would buy a 50k€ machine...

    so why would they do that when the can just make people buy extra mac min to form a cluster now that they have a cheap 10gbe interface...

    with the arrival of the 10gbe interface, gives a solid machine to machine 900mb/s witch is very close to pcie 2x...
    so now imagine a macpro with a cool top of the end i9 10 cores and four 10gbe port .... where you can plug four hexacore mac mini...

    you get a 34 core machine all with dedicated cooling / cpu/ ram/ and outputs.... for less than a maxed out imacpro...

    cluster over 10gbe is the future for me...
    like raid has become normal those day...

    15 years back when i started using raid aray, people where : « WTF do you take yourself for google? calm down mofo! »...

    and now the same people are begging me to built them a storage server with xserve and netapp chassis for 3000€...
     
  19. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #19
    @Bion1nc
    sorry to bug you, but I try to make this as understandable as possible.

    when you say it could boot with 5.1 firmware and 12 core xeon, was this with x5690 or X56xx serie , and did you actually did the swap of two x56 serie cpu in your xserve, or do you just assume that because it has booted just fine with 5.1 firmware, it « would be just like a cMP 5.1 and now support 12 cores ?
    and if you did the 12 core cpu swap, did you remove them to revert to Xserve 3.1
    firmware or do is the machine still function on twelve core after flashing to 5.1 and then back to 3.1?
     
  20. Bion1nc, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    Bion1nc macrumors member

    Bion1nc

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    #20
    This is not it could, It actually works, I have tested myself, when Xserves 2009 is flashed with the 5,1 .rom you can install X56 series, and the W35 series, I have tried with both and I got 3,46GHz Hexacore running, and 2 Hexacore 3,46GHz.
    The Xserve showed not as an Xserve of course but rather as a MacPro 2012 in my case.

    What you loose is; LOM, LED Front Panel ( that is since 10.7 the only operating system managing all of that was Snow Server ), and the Lights Activity for the Caddy Drive.

    After I removed the 12 cores chips, I reverted back to Xserve 3,1 .rom and everything went back to like it was before I had done the flash.

    Now I am not an expert yet with .rom and I am in the process of learning how to reconstruct ( thanks to some here on MR ) we do not need to say names.

    The machine will not boot on 12 or 6 cores if you revert back to .rom 3,1.

    I hope that helps...


    I just want to say something here because I do not have anything to hide, I have done that test a while back ago there is I guess a post that I made saying that I had tried all of that, I am not an expert in .rom ... and LOM I know this and it is not knew to me.

    Hope that some will take my apologizes.

    I think that edgerider by " saying thank you to me " as been taken in a wrong way ... I did not mean to take the credit even it sounded like....


    Thank you....
     
  21. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #21
    thank you so much @Bion1nc !
    yes this is cristal clear!
    yes I am in the same boat!

    this is what i am looking for also.
    if we can make the xserve go with a « xserve5.1 » firmware that brings westmere /nvme/ mojave support
    i think plenty people who would definitively see those machine differently.

    I am currently experimenting with PCIE expender from cyclone microsytem,
    and my xserve is hooked to a supermicro sc846 chassis...
    I have 24 drive with a Areca 1880ix24, and one 1880ix12 to a netapp ds4246 24 bay chassis via sas.
    the cyclone expander have 5 pcie slot : 3 double witdh pcie16x, an 2 single width pcie8x
    so i have my 2 m4000 and the two raid card in the sc846 chassis and planing to put a x540t2 network card in the last free slot. in the xserve i have the expender host card and the anfeltec 4ssd raid0 aray. the ssd raid array is backuped on a raid 5 array of 15000rpm sas drive in the original xserve caddy.

    my plan is to use it as a post production render machine with storage.

    if we manage to make them run with x5690 , i plan on buying 4 more unit to do a cluster.
     
  22. Flint Ironstag thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #22
    If we're starting a fund, I will chip in.
     
  23. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #23
    @Flint Ironstag, I’m sorry but I’m not going to help you all with this.

    I’m already explained my motives to @edgerider and I don’t think that I need to public explain my decision further. I’ll just say that I don’t work with people who copy PM’s verbatim and post like his ideas.

    So, I’m not going to commit my little free time with this. Sorry.
     
  24. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #24
    yes me too,

    but it is up to @tsialex to tell us if he is interested, this is not a simple task, and basically he have no use of it like we do...

    I would totally understand if he doesn’t want to spend countless hours to develop something that every xserve owner will make money on just to get one himself...

    cant blame him for that.

    I would let him explain here what his plan are and how we can help him.

    lets try to keep thing productive here and bring as much people we can to raise fund or idea to make this happen..
     
  25. edgerider macrumors regular

    edgerider

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    #25
    no need, he told me he want to be left alone.
     

Share This Page

53 August 30, 2018