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QuickstartBridg

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 8, 2014
58
2
Tucson, AZ
I am satisfied with my current collection of software for doing what I want to do with a computer but my mac pro 2013 with El Capitan 10.11.6 is getting old like me. I would like to be able to transfer as much software from my mac pro 2013 with El Capitan 10.11.6 to an M1Ultra mac studio as possible. I am doubtful that it is possible at all. Parallels 17 doesn't have an X86 emulator for an M! mac yet. I even run an OSX Mavericks VM in my current Parallels for even older software. Is there any probability that Parallels can come up with an X86 emulator? How does Rosetta 2 fit into this problem?

For others that are moving from an intel machine to the Studio, how are you dealing with your old software that is not updated to run on apple silicon? Is the only solution to buy new software that is compatible with m1?
 

atonaldenim

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2018
210
239
I bet you probably remember VirtualPC from back in the PowerPC Mac days, that emulated an x86 Intel CPU so you could run Windows XP on your Mac.

That kind of CPU architecture emulation is what you’d have to do to run the Intel-only Mac OS 10.11 and all your Intel-only software. That’s kind of what Rosetta 2 does, however Rosetta 2 will only let you run a Big Sur or Monterey-compatible Intel app in Big Sur or Monterey on M1. It won’t help you use older OSes or older apps that are incompatible with Big Sur+.

Fortunately there is an emulator available called QEMU and a Mac app called UTM that lets you emulate x86 Intel chips on an M1 Mac or even on iOS. https://mac.getutm.app/

Theoretically with UTM you could emulate your Xeon Mac Pro system on an M1 Mac and run your existing El Capitan installation in a virtual machine similar to Parallels. I haven’t used UTM so I can’t speak to its performance. VirtualPC back in the PowerPC days was very slow, I wouldn’t have high hopes that UTM on an M1 Mac would be as good or better than the performance you’re used to. UTM also doesn’t emulate GPUs as I understand, so you’d be limited to CPU rendering and very basic GPU abilities.

My advice would be to keep your Mac Pro that you like, and when you get a new Apple Silicon Mac someday to treat it as a brand new system. You can use the built-in remote desktop features of Mac OS to connect to your existing Mac Pro and use your current apps alongside the new M1 Mac.

Another idea is you get the current 2019 Intel Mac Pro (maybe a used one from someone trading up). Or a recent Intel iMac or Mac Mini or something pretty high end. You won’t be able to boot El Capitan directly on a newer Intel Mac because El Cap lacks the drivers to support the newer Mac hardware. But you will be able to use Parallels to run your El Capitan installation as a true virtual machine on the Intel hardware, no CPU architecture emulation required. So you probably would be able to achieve equal or better performance than your existing Mac Pro.

Another possibility, build a hackintosh PC capable of running El Capitan. Or a 2012 Mac Pro which is expandable in ways the 2013 Mac Pro is not…
 

ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
1,680
1,053
My advice would be to keep your Mac Pro that you like, and when you get a new Apple Silicon Mac someday to treat it as a brand new system. You can use the built-in remote desktop features of Mac OS to connect to your existing Mac Pro and use your current apps alongside the new M1 Mac.

Another idea is you get the current 2019 Intel Mac Pro (maybe a used one from someone trading up). Or a recent Intel iMac or Mac Mini or something pretty high end. You won’t be able to boot El Capitan directly on a newer Intel Mac because El Cap lacks the drivers to support the newer Mac hardware. But you will be able to use Parallels to run your El Capitan installation as a true virtual machine on the Intel hardware, no CPU architecture emulation required. So you probably would be able to achieve equal or better performance than your existing Mac Pro.

Another possibility, build a hackintosh PC capable of running El Capitan. Or a 2012 Mac Pro which is expandable in ways the 2013 Mac Pro is not…
On an Intel Mac you also have the option of running VMWare Fusion which unlike Parallels is free.
 

atonaldenim

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2018
210
239
Virtualbox is another free VM option as well.

Also if you’re not necessarily attached to the El Capitan OS, you may be able to keep your apps working with a later Intel Mac OS up through Mojave. Catalina dropped support for 32-bit apps in preparation for the Big Sur / M1 transition. You may be able to upgrade to a newer OS that’s still compatible with your apps, that can be booted on a more recent 2018-era Intel Mac (ie 2018 Mac Mini, iMac Pro, 27” iMac.) No virtual machine required.
 

ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
1,680
1,053
Virtualbox is another free VM option as well.

Also if you’re not necessarily attached to the El Capitan OS, you may be able to keep your apps working with a later Intel Mac OS up through Mojave. Catalina dropped support for 32-bit apps in preparation for the Big Sur / M1 transition. You may be able to upgrade to a newer OS that’s still compatible with your apps, that can be booted on a more recent 2018-era Intel Mac (ie 2018 Mac Mini, iMac Pro, 27” iMac.) No virtual machine required.
I have used VirtualBox. I think VMWare Fusion and Parallels are more polished, particularly when running desktop operating systems.

I currently use VMWare to run a Mojave VM and a desktop Linux VM on my Intel Mac. I use Unbuntu Multipass for a couple of Ubuntu cloud/server VMs.
 
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QuickstartBridg

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 8, 2014
58
2
Tucson, AZ
I bet you probably remember VirtualPC from back in the PowerPC Mac days, that emulated an x86 Intel CPU so you could run Windows XP on your Mac.

That kind of CPU architecture emulation is what you’d have to do to run the Intel-only Mac OS 10.11 and all your Intel-only software. That’s kind of what Rosetta 2 does, however Rosetta 2 will only let you run a Big Sur or Monterey-compatible Intel app in Big Sur or Monterey on M1. It won’t help you use older OSes or older apps that are incompatible with Big Sur+.

Fortunately there is an emulator available called QEMU and a Mac app called UTM that lets you emulate x86 Intel chips on an M1 Mac or even on iOS. https://mac.getutm.app/

Theoretically with UTM you could emulate your Xeon Mac Pro system on an M1 Mac and run your existing El Capitan installation in a virtual machine similar to Parallels. I haven’t used UTM so I can’t speak to its performance. VirtualPC back in the PowerPC days was very slow, I wouldn’t have high hopes that UTM on an M1 Mac would be as good or better than the performance you’re used to. UTM also doesn’t emulate GPUs as I understand, so you’d be limited to CPU rendering and very basic GPU abilities.

My advice would be to keep your Mac Pro that you like, and when you get a new Apple Silicon Mac someday to treat it as a brand new system. You can use the built-in remote desktop features of Mac OS to connect to your existing Mac Pro and use your current apps alongside the new M1 Mac.

Another idea is you get the current 2019 Intel Mac Pro (maybe a used one from someone trading up). Or a recent Intel iMac or Mac Mini or something pretty high end. You won’t be able to boot El Capitan directly on a newer Intel Mac because El Cap lacks the drivers to support the newer Mac hardware. But you will be able to use Parallels to run your El Capitan installation as a true virtual machine on the Intel hardware, no CPU architecture emulation required. So you probably would be able to achieve equal or better performance than your existing Mac Pro.

Another possibility, build a hackintosh PC capable of running El Capitan. Or a 2012 Mac Pro which is expandable in ways the 2013 Mac Pro is not…
atonaldenim, et. al., thank you for your input. Unless new software developments allow running older OSX software on the new Mac Studio, I will need to keep my 2013 mac somewhere on my desk behind the Studio for when I need its capabilities and buy M1 updated replacements for my old software. Not the most elegant solution. I'll look into using the remote desktop feature when I need it.
 
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atonaldenim

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2018
210
239
atonaldenim, et. al., thank you for your input. Unless new software developments allow running older OSX software on the new Mac Studio, I will need to keep my 2013 mac somewhere on my desk behind the Studio for when I need its capabilities and buy M1 updated replacements for my old software. Not the most elegant solution. I'll look into using the remote desktop feature when I need it.
If you have a spare hard drive, you could probably clone your El Capitan install to the drive and then upgrade that drive to Monterey. Any of your Intel apps that still work with Monterey on Intel should work with Monterey on M1 via Rosetta 2.
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,418
6,889
If you have a spare hard drive, you could probably clone your El Capitan install to the drive and then upgrade that drive to Monterey. Any of your Intel apps that still work with Monterey on Intel should work with Monterey on M1 via Rosetta 2.
There is a good chance of compatibility problems with software so old– no 32-bit apps will run in Monterey and many other old apps will just have general issues in the newer OS.
Still, it’s simple enough to migrate the existing apps over to the new computer on initial setup and try them out, and if that doesn’t work it’s easy enough to reset the new Mac and start fresh.
 

Chancha

macrumors 68020
Mar 19, 2014
2,052
1,854
Leave older Macs that are not broken to run on older macOS versions, particularly Mojave as it is the last that runs 32bit apps. Set Screen Sharing on.

Then on your newer Apple Silicon based Mac, buy Apple Remote Desktop app and use it to access these old Macs via LAN, whenever you need 32bit task done. With VPN you can even do it over the internet.
 
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