Firmware hack can transform a 2009 Mac Pro into a 12-core monster

Apple upgraded the Mac pro in 2010 with Westmere Xeon CPUs, consisting of a twin six-middle alternative which could energy via multithreaded workflows with aplomb. however, what in case you don’t need to shell out all that money for a brand new Mac pro? A smart hacker has found a firmware hack to correctly transform 2009 antique Mac professionals into 2010 Mac professionals, such as compatibility with Westmere CPUs, faster RAM, and audio output via Mini DisplayPorts.

A member of the boards on netkas.org—wherein plenty of hackintoshers and device tweakers exchange tips—found the mechanism Apple makes use of to install EFI firmware updates. via exploiting that mechanism, a user named “MacEFIRom” changed into able to increase scripts to force older, 2009 Mac pros to just accept a firmware replace intended for the 2010 Mac professionals. That firmware permits a 2009 Mac pro to act and operate just like the 2010 Mac pro.

The firmware allows three fundamental features for 2009 Mac pro users. perhaps of primary hobby is that customers may be able to set up 32nm Westmere Xeons, inclusive of six-core editions used within the excessive-end 2010 Mac pro, into their older machine. unmarried-socket machines can use W-collection CPUs, while twin-socket machines will want dual-QPI enabled chips consisting of the E5600 and X5600-series chips. (A supply who carried out the firmware replace informed Ars that Westmere CPUs are recognized with “B1” stepping in the identification code.)

Even if you did not plan to upgrade the CPU, although, there are different benefits. some Nehalem CPUs can support 1333MHz DRAM speeds, however are constrained to 1066MHz on the older Mac professionals. The firmware update will allow the entire 1333MHz pace when you have a CPU and RAM combination that could guide it. And, the updated firmware will channel audio signals through the Mini DisplayPorts on set up GPUs, making it less complicated to apply with HDMI displays.

The firmware trick works due to the fact Nehalem and Westmere Xeons use same chipsets and sockets. As we mentioned in our evaluation of the dodeca-core 2010 Mac seasoned, the internals are not any one-of-a-kind shape that of the octo-core 2009 Mac seasoned we reviewed in 2009. Apple appears to have simply tweaked the firmware and supplied new CPU alternatives for 2010.

 

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at the same time as several customers have applied the firmware hack with success, there are some caveats to word in case you plan to do it yourself. Apple does no longer take into account the CPU in any of its machines to be a consumer-serviceable component; swapping it’s going to void AppleCare, and so will apply an unsupported firmware replace. The device that MacEFIRom launched permits users to revert an upgraded 2009 Mac pro to the original firmware, so it is possible to undo the hack earlier than taking it in for carrier. however, a few refurbished 2009 Mac professionals have a special firmware revision that is not publicly available—if you have one of these machines, you may not be able to revert lower back to inventory.

additionally, for the reason that your 2009 Mac pro thinks it’s miles a 2010 Mac pro (it’s going to report itself as a MacPro5,1 in machine Profiler), your unique machine deploy discs will not paintings. you will want 2010 Mac seasoned repair discs if something catastrophic happens and also you need to reinstall Mac OS X.

subsequently, more recent Mac execs have a more recent version of the gadget control firmware. The SMC controls (amongst other matters) the cooling fans, and the more recent version in 2010 Mac professionals could make a few GPUs run cooler. however, the older firmware for the 2009 Mac execs would not appear to adversely affect the operation of the machine in any way.