MP 7,1 What's your action once you've received your new Mac Pro

kittiyut

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 28, 2007
302
27
My last Mac Pro was an early 2008 model and never had another once since, until now - but still waiting for it (got an iMac in 2009 and another in 2013 - both still chugging along - and around 5 Macbooks). In the meantime, I'm haunting this forum for tips and tricks and learning a great deal...

What is it that you folks do when you get your hands on your new 7.1? (in a specific order)

Do you boot the machine up to make sure that everything works first or dive right in and install everything you've bought (RAM, SSD, etc.)

Do you keep the OS that came factory installed or do a fresh install of your own, if so... what do you choose: APFS, HFS+/case sensitive or not, encryption? Why?

Bootcamp?

Cheers!
 

thomast0001

macrumors member
Dec 29, 2019
86
58
Nice hearing someone else stuck with their early 2008 model for years and years! :) (I even have a second 2008 system as a backup to help keep it going.) I finally bit the bullet and got a 2019, 1TB storage, 32GB memory (I'll upgrade it myself), and stock 580X graphics (I'll update that also in due time).

So the first thing I did (and this goes for everyone) is check the outer box and inner box for damage. I took pictures. Once that was out of the way, I extracted and unwrapped the machine, and then opened it to double-check that everything looks correct and ok. (There have been reports of incorrect configuration, plus fit and finish issues.) After that initial inspection, I hooked up the machine and fired it up. (Don't start replacing parts before doing that like at least one person here did. That's just asking for trouble.) I also double-checked the wireless keyboard and mouse. (I use a KVM so those wireless components are back in the box.) And of course I checked for and installed OS updates.

Since the T2 chip and Apple's SSD replacement policy effectively lock us all out of upgrading the stock Apple storage ourselves, I've installed a couple of super inexpensive M.2 NVMe PCIe adapters with 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus drives. I've CCC'ed the Apple SSD to one of the drives. Thus I'll use one drive as the boot drive, and the other for data. In the future I can get a multi-M.2 PCIe adapter, and can use the cheap adapters as backup components in case the "fancy" adapter develops issues. The key has been to bootstrap myself away from using the stock Apple SSD. I can always expand storage more after that.

Something else I've done is install VMware Fusion and create a Catalina VM, Windows 10 VM, plus others. (It's nice having a fast machine again for running virtualized OSes, including Windows.)

I'm now putting together an external backup solution. I don't want to talk about that much yet because it's still in process. (I have the parts selected but need to order them.)
 

OkiRun

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2019
606
326
Japan
Unbox.
Take off metal cover and visually inspect that the RAM and GPU are correct and no apparent structural damage noted.
Grab an old LG4k UHD monitor and connect as the XDR is a month out.
Power-up and set settings for Japan and for Japanese keyboard settings.
Immediately check that all computer hardware is listed correctly, including the CPU.
Run through some general paces to make sure the hardware is operating properly.
Migrate time machine from late 2015 iMac 5k Retina machine and get up to speed with current workflows.
Upgrade RAM and check settings and run through paces.
Connect 2 8Tb Seagate HDDs (a veritable PITS as I had to erase, format and mount in a special sequence)
Connect 4 Tb Seagate HDD for use as Time Machine; same thing.
Connect Yamaha audio monitors and Apollo Twin; had some issues setting up the system but finally working.
Purchased Windows Office and tried to download and install; experiencing problems re: Amazon download.
Connected CalDigit Hub; check ports; no issues.
Put FCPX through some paces checking out the Afterburner Card. Put PP through its paces.
Checked new headset with the Apollo Twin; no issues.
Checked Black Yeti; no issues.
Handed over to editors to make it earn its keep!

* Just a summary.....
 

nigelbb

macrumors 65816
Dec 22, 2012
1,031
201
Nice hearing someone else stuck with their early 2008 model for years and years! :) (I even have a second 2008 system as a backup to help keep it going.)
Me too. I bought a Mac Pro 3,1 in 2008 & have been running it ever since. It's been upgraded of course with a GTX680 & SSD & 4x4TB HDD & USB 3.0 card & maxed out with 56GB of RAM. I also have another that I bought cheap years later as a spare should the original fail. All I am looking for now is the justification for buying a 7,1:) When I bought the 3,1 I was a professional photographer & had just started doing video but I gave that up 5 years ago. I'm retiring soon so perhaps I can buy a 7,1 on the basis that I can take up video & photography again & the 7,1 will last me the rest of my life.
 

thomast0001

macrumors member
Dec 29, 2019
86
58
Me too. I bought a Mac Pro 3,1 in 2008 & have been running it ever since. It's been upgraded of course with a GTX680 & SSD & 4x4TB HDD & USB 3.0 card & maxed out with 56GB of RAM. I also have another that I bought cheap years later as a spare should the original fail. All I am looking for now is the justification for buying a 7,1:) When I bought the 3,1 I was a professional photographer & had just started doing video but I gave that up 5 years ago. I'm retiring soon so perhaps I can buy a 7,1 on the basis that I can take up video & photography again & the 7,1 will last me the rest of my life.
Honestly, my recommendation is wait about a year if you can. If your current system is working fine for you now and isn't holding you back, wait to see how the new Mac Pro ecosystem evolves. I got mine because the 2008 has been stopping me from doing a few things I'd like to do because of El Capitan plus the slower hardware. (I've also upgraded my 2008 in various ways, but don't want to spend more money on it at this point.)

I'm not expecting Apple to switch the Mac Pro to an AMD CPU or the next gen Intel chip socket or PCIe 4 or 5 until at least a couple years from now (if ever). But waiting a little will give you an opportunity to see what compatible storage cards, graphics cards, MPX modules, etc. are made available. (I'm hoping for a cheaper alternative to the J2I.) Also, you really want to avoid Catalina as long as you can so Apple and other SW developers can work the kinks out of it. That includes upgrading products to 64 bit for example.

You've no doubt heard that old adage, "The pioneers take the arrows". Let me and my fellow intrepid Pro-splorers take a few for you. :)
 

doobydoooby

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2011
52
90
Genève, Switzerland
So I kept my mac pro 3,1 from 2008 up to date all the way to 10.14 proudly/desperately upgrading bits and adding ram where necessary. It was creaking on lightroom, absolutely gave up on corel painter's latest version, but otherwise was working really fine. I had been eagerly waiting and waiting for a new machine that I could essentially manage like the 3,1 and finally here it is five years after i started hoping for it. But the funny thing, is apart from lightroom and painter which are now working lovely thankyouverymuchindeed, there...isn't....really...that....much....difference in actual use from the old machine! Duh. I guess thats testament to how great the 3,1 mac pro really was (other than the massive power demands!). So basically I've thrown a whole lot of money at something which is now future proof again, I've got my flexibility and my upgradability back, but its looking and feeling pretty much like the 2008 one. Huh. A bit like buying a shiny new $1000 iphone and then realising it basically looks and feels exactly like the old one you replaced it with.
 

thomast0001

macrumors member
Dec 29, 2019
86
58
So I kept my mac pro 3,1 from 2008 up to date all the way to 10.14 proudly/desperately upgrading bits and adding ram where necessary. It was creaking on lightroom, absolutely gave up on corel painter's latest version, but otherwise was working really fine. I had been eagerly waiting and waiting for a new machine that I could essentially manage like the 3,1 and finally here it is five years after i started hoping for it. But the funny thing, is apart from lightroom and painter which are now working lovely thankyouverymuchindeed, there...isn't....really...that....much....difference in actual use from the old machine! Duh. I guess thats testament to how great the 3,1 mac pro really was (other than the massive power demands!). So basically I've thrown a whole lot of money at something which is now future proof again, I've got my flexibility and my upgradability back, but its looking and feeling pretty much like the 2008 one. Huh. A bit like buying a shiny new $1000 iphone and then realising it basically looks and feels exactly like the old one you replaced it with.
Hah! Perhaps us 2008-2019'ers should form a club. :) All I can say is think of all the money we've saved skipping over all the intermediate generations. And yeah, a phone is still a phone, no matter how they dress up the price.

The one suggestion I'd make is to think about preserving the stock Apple SSD by putting another storage card in place and using that as your boot drive. I've already mentioned how I did it, but there are other options. Apple support will vanish after 7 years after EOL, so we're going to want to keep that stock Apple SSD alive as long as possible due to T2 chip restrictions. Our 2008 systems have survived about 12 years (and counting). Pretty awesome if you think about it! But the days of such long-lived systems are numbered when main storage can fly South, rendering the system inoperable. I'm hoping Apple will make some change in the next 7 years or so that'll make replacements easier, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Snow Tiger

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2019
854
567
I was tempted to take a rusty screwdriver to the T2 chip in order to remove it , but aborted the operation at the last second . 🤪

T2 will prevent this Mac from ever having any non-W Xeon processor installed . The best one that can possibly be installed is the one Apple is currently already shipping , the W-3275M . This is kind of deflating so soon in the game ...

T2 also will require you have a working factory NAND drive ( and only that unique drive ) to store the boot ROM needed to start up your Mac . And when it dies , it is not user repairable or upgradable . You need an Apple technician to get the replacement to handshake again with T2 . An onboard firmware chip would have been a much more durable and convenient choice . My advice to users is to connect this Mac to a really nice line conditioner / surge protector just in case something gets zzzzzzZZZZAPPPED . Thunderstorms and dirty local power are not your friend .

And I wish it would sing to me at start up ( no chime ) . 😕

Outside of that , I really like my MP7,1 .

My used W-3275M is coming in tomorrow and I've already sourced a 1.5TB memory kit for around 10 grand .

Big Bad Boy is slowly getting into his stride . Once the other components are installed - like my Vega F.E.s , I'll finally have something important to say about performance to the crowd here .
 
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ZombiePhysicist

macrumors 65816
May 22, 2014
1,071
756
Did you tried this command ?
sudo nvram BootAudio=%01
Really that enables chime!?! Will that work on new MacBook Pros too? My understanding is apple maliciously removed this with later firmware on the MacBooks so would be surprised to see this back in the Mac Pro (but pleasantly surprised).
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
548
465
Hah! Perhaps us 2008-2019'ers should form a club. :)
Club member here: I too am jumping from a 2008 to a 2019, though by way of a base 2017 iMac while waiting.

Yes, the odd thing about getting a new mac is that it feels a lot like the old one. Indeed, in day-to-day use, I half-expect the new Pro to feel virtually identical to my interim iMac, since the clock speeds and SSD speeds are almost exactly the same (of course, more cores would power through heavier stuff, and so on).

To help get around that feeling of sameness, I am also getting a new standing desk, new monitor, some higher-end speakers, eventually some big fast storage and so on. It's fun to get new toys for your new toy!
 

Moof1904

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2004
1,041
44
Another 2008 ---> 2019 person here! I also bought a spare 2008 from eBay about five years to to have for spare parts. The 2008 has been a rock solid performer for me. My only complaint with the 7,1 (aside from Catalina, that is) is that I really liked the four drive bays in the 2008. That made upgrading internal storage a breeze.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,897
1,752
I was tempted to take a rusty screwdriver to the T2 chip in order to remove it , but aborted the operation at the last second . 🤪

T2 will prevent this Mac from ever having any non-W Xeon processor installed . The best one that can possibly be installed is the one Apple is currently already shipping , the W-3275M . This is kind of deflating so soon in the game ...

There is a huge dose of hyperbole there on multiple dimensions.

First, nothing from the Xeon W 2100 or 2200 product line up will fit. So that has diddly squat to do with the T2. Very likely nothing from a W 3300 series would fit either as Intel is likely changing the socket. That too has nothing to do with the T2. The entire Xeon SP line up that looks like it "happens to fit" is x16 PCIe lanes short on provisioning the system. Not T2's fault in the slightest either.

The Xeon W 3200 is a corner case product in terms of future "hacking" to put a round peg in square hole. The functions of the T2 that primarily relevant span well past the physical constraints.

Second, The T2 basically disallows hacking the "down the metal" level firmware. Products that are suppose to fit in the CPU socket will fit. But trying to come up with firmware hacks to tap dance about obvious physical mismatches won't work.

T2 also will require you have a working factory NAND drive ( and only that unique drive ) to store the boot ROM needed to start up your Mac . And when it dies , it is not user repairable or upgradable . You need an Apple technician to get the replacement to handshake again with T2 . An onboard firmware chip would have been a much more durable and convenient choice .
And it wouldn't be as secure which is primary function being added here. Soldered and secure firmware chip would be mostly the same "boat" in terms of injective rogue firmware into firmware storage. If toss Thunderstorm lightning bolts at previous Mac Pros' SMIC / PMIC chips then have about equally as big problems.
 

profdraper

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2017
111
86
Brisbane, Australia
What is it that you folks do when you get your hands on your new 7.1? (in a specific order)
Check chassis thoroughly for any possible machining defects; ditto inside the case & in particular inside the shroud & that locking mechanism.

Boot with 'D' (hardware diagnostics); requires wired keyboard; boot into Recovery and turn off security & allow boot from external drive.

Boot into the shipped system set up accounts, app store updates etc. Check overall performance & reliability. Do a few reboots, shut-downs, cold starts etc. Reset SMC (disconnect power cable, then cold re-boot).

Do you boot the machine up to make sure that everything works first or dive right in and install everything you've bought (RAM, SSD, etc.)
As above first, then install new Ram. Reboot & check. Then PCIes, then storage etc systematically.

Do you keep the OS that came factory installed or do a fresh install of your own, if so... what do you choose: APFS, HFS+/case sensitive or not, encryption? Why?
Yes, that was all fine if not a little longwinded to clean install all my apps, plugs & sound libraries from scratch (definitely no TimeMachine migration). I also set up a clean, basic system install on an Alt Boot volume NVMe for diagnostics, Carbon Copy Cloner restore etc. For Catalina, only APFS can be used. For all other disks (including TimeMachine), HFS+; also running Paragon NTFS for Windows disks. (No Bootcamp for me, am also running a Dell T7910 workstation).
 

robert91303

macrumors newbie
Jan 20, 2020
8
6
I ordered on Dec. 10th, took delivery on Dec. 19th, and had to fly back East to family Christmas on the 20th. So, I was basically up all night trying installing ****. I also took a few pictures. I kept the factory OS, definitely wasn't going to migrate any Time Machine backups of my MBP. I set up a TeamViewer connection to it, and was able to log in once while out of town, then TeamViewer froze up and I wasn't able to do anything. But I did manage to show dear old dad all those cores in the Activity Monitor's CPU Usage view. So far it's working as expected, although I've been using it less than a full month.

Currently, I'm trying to get one of these HighPoint NVMe SSD cards to work correctly. I bought one from Amazon. Then, it was missing the silent fan feature, so I sent that one to HighPoint to flash the latest firmware, got that one back Friday, and it was faulty, not recognizing one or more of the drives between reboots. Well, Amazon was still eligible for return, so that went back today, and a replacement is supposed to arrive today. I think I'll just live without the silent feature if this replacement works otherwise correctly. HighPoint was asking for logs and other crap, which I'm all out of patience.

Edit: Hate to say it now but it looks like the issue is one of these SB-Rocket-2TB drives is actually to blame. Swear I tested each of them individually. The issue is that the bad drive will occasionally start okay, and then stop working after a short period. I should have tested each more thoroughly. I apologize for throwing any shade on HighPoint, as they don't deserve it. The new HighPoint card I got from Amazon today has a 3-pin fan, and the silent fan feature is showing up in the management application. Amazon is sending a replacement rocket drive.

One fault with this Mac Pro is you cannot work on it without taking the lid off and on every time you want to change and test something. Part of testing the faulty card was testing each NVMe SSD drive individually in the HighPoint card, to see if one of the drive was bad, but they were all fine, but testing them was exhausting, if you can imagine crawling under your desk, unplugging every cable, pulling the unit out, removing the lid, removing the PCIe holders, removing the PCIe card, swapping NVMe drives, putting everything back together, booting up, rinse and repeat until you are sure the HighPoint card is not working correctly and nothing is left to try.

Edit: Did anyone install boot camp first thing? lol
 
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CYB3RBYTE

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2014
349
121
Midwest
And it works for the Mac Pro 2019! :)
A friend also tried it on his iMac Pro and new MacBook Pro and it worked there as well! The bong is back! 😋

Now if only there was a setting to get back the pulsating sleep indicator...
Plug a cheap LED usb keyboard light into your Mac then write a PWM script to get it to pulse, then write an AppleScript to get it to do that every time you sleep.

BOOM, problem solved :)
 
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