Mac Pro 1,1 Yosemite Install

Mac Pro 1,1 Yosemite

Having let the dust settle a little from the initial release of OS X Yosemite, I decided to take the plunge and see if I could coax it on to my Mac Pro 1,1.  As many of you will know the original 2006 Intel powered Mac Pro does not sport the required 64bit EFI to allow either Mavericks or Yosemite to install via the usual method.

You can read all about the method I used to install Mavericks despite this limitation in this previous post:- Mac Pro 1,1 and Mavericks.  Using almost the same method as outlined in that post I have a working installation of Yosemite.

Mac Pro 1,1 YosemiteThere were only two things that I did differently.  Firstly, instead of installing on to a newly formatted SSD I decided to try the upgrade route and install on to my existing drive thus preserving all of my installed applications.  Secondly I used  Pike’s new boot.efi, (thank you to commenter Ralph Sampson for pointing me in the right direction) as I believe Tiamo’s existing version will not work.  More details and latest version here.

The install itself went smoothly and early tests indicate that everything appears to be working with the exception of Facetime which was also broken for me under Mavericks.  Not a huge issue, I may get around to calling customer support as prompted by the pop up window if I feel the need to see if it can be resolved.  I have experienced a few graphical glitches whilst using Lightroom 4.  I’m not sure if this is specific to Lightroom or a wider issue.  I’ll report back in due course.

(Update 18/11/14)

Installed the 10.10.1 update with no apparent problems.  I’ve resolved the graphic glitches for now by selecting ‘Reduce transparency’ in the Accessibility settings.  I’ve also been experiencing random wakes from sleep (wake for ethernet access is not enabled) along with the SSD that I have installed on a card in a PCI slot being randomly ejected.

One other problem that I have which I believe is more likely to be related to some new RAM that I’ve installed is the fans spinning up much higher than usual on wake from sleep.  I decided to try some cheaper RAM without the Apple approved heatsinks to bring the total system memory up to 26 GB.


Mac Pro 1,1 And Mavericks


Back in 2012 I made a numer of upgrades to my Mac Pro to try to extend its useful life.  The upgrades were a success and the posts I made such as upgrading the Xeon CPUs remain some of this blog’s most popular.  It therefore seems likely that I’m not alone in still running one of these venerable machines.

After what seems like an eternity waiting for the new Mac Pro to arrive, as superb as it is it doesn’t suit my needs.  After factoring in the costs of adding Thunderbolt equipped external storage it is also impossible to justify the cost.  From a performance perspective I’m still not suffering any great hardship with my Mac Pro 1,1.  However I have a number of other Macs and have become accustomed to running OS X Mavericks and would really like to be able to run it on the 1,1.

The last version of OS X officially supported for the Mac Pro 1,1 is 10.7.5 Lion.  Later versions require a 64bit EFI to boot.  My Pro is the very first of the Intel machines introduced and is crippled by a 32bit EFI although the Xeon CPUs are of course 64 bit.  A number of hacks have been in the wild for some time and allow you to get around this limitation.  The most common I’ve seen being running the Chameleon boot loader from a separate drive using legacy boot, Jabbawok created a guide.


Useful Increase Under Mavericks

Recently it has become possible, thanks to the excellent work of Tiamo over on the Mac Rumours forum to install Mavericks on the 1,1 without the need for Legacy Boot and additional drives.  I actually took an alternative route to get Mavericks on to my 1,1 but still required Tiamo’s rewritten boot.efi.

Some months ago I managed to install a later, unsupported version of OS X onto both my iMac G4 and Cube.  This was achieved by launching the machines in Target Disk Mode (TDM), attaching them via Firewire to my Mac Mini G4 and running the installation from there.

I decided therefore to attempt the same trick with the Mac Pro.  I removed all other drives and inserted a new Crucial M500 SSD, booted the machine into TDM and attached it via Firewire to my Mavericks friendly 2010 iMac.   I ran the Mavericks installation via the iMac and after initialising the new SSD installed the OS.  When the installation had finished and before rebooting I used the iMac to overwrite the boot.efi in the following two locations on the new drive with Tiamo’s modified version.



I find the easiest way to find these directories is to launch terminal and enter ‘open -a finder /volumes/volumename/usr/standalone/i386’ where ‘volumename’ is the name of the disk on which you’ve just installed Mavericks and ‘open -a finder /volumes/volumename/system/library/coreservices’.  This will launch Finder windows with the correct directories, you can then drag the boot.efi in to place.


Velocity Solo PCI Card

Afterall you don’t want to accidentally overwrite the boot.efi on the machine you’re using to run the installation.  Upon reboot the Mac Pro dutifully launched OS X Mavericks, success!  After setting everything up I now have full iCloud and Internet Accounts integration with Twitter, Facebook and so on all working with the Notification Centre.  As yet I have not experienced any problems.  I do wonder whether any future updates from Apple may wreck things, time will tell.

One easy to resolve problem this process had left me with was that I had to remove a drive to accommodate the new SSD.  I wanted to keep my previous Lion installation intact so I could boot into it when required.  The drive I therefore removed contains my Windows 7 64 Bit installation which itself had involved a fair amount of jiggery pokery to get running and still gets used regularly.


SSD Attached And Ready To Install

With all my drive bays full, I have a 4tb RAID occupying the last two slots, I decided to order a Velocity Solo PCI card from Apricorn.  This card will hold a single SSD and support booting from the drive.

Installation was very straightforward, simply attach the SSD and slot into a spare PCI bay and you’re good to go.  You also get an additional SATA connector on the card which may come in handy.

Everything is working very well at the moment, I even saw an improvement in my Geekbench score under Mavericks, an additional 400 points or so.  The machine definitely feels snappier under Mavericks so hopefully, barring hardware failures, another couple of years out of this extraordinary machine.

Update:- An interesting footnote, running Geekbench simultaneously under Mavericks and Windows 7 via Parallels yields multi-core results of 7555 and 3905 respectively.

Update (24/02/2014):- Updating to OS X 10.9.2 will overwrite your boot.efi files and prevent your installation from booting.  The new boot.efi file in the coreservices folder is locked and tricky to remove or overwrite.  To get around this simply reboot again in target disk mode and copy the boot.efi over from another machine.

Update (27/05/2014):- Have updated to 10.9.3 with no apparent problems.  It appears there is no need to restore the boot.efi after this update as it is not overwritten.

Update (15/07/2014):- Updated to 10.9.4 with no apparent problems.

Update (09/10/2014):- Updated to 10.9.5 with no apparent problems.  Please note however this was done via Software Update.  I have read that some people have encountered problems when downloading the combined update from Apple and applying it.  This may overwrite the boot.efi so be prepared to repeat target disk mode method of restoring Tiamo’s boot.efi where necessary.

Update (07/11/2014):- Updated to Yosemite –

Mac Pro 1,1 Processor Upgrade

Following the previous upgrades to my 2006 Mac Pro I finally decided to take the plunge and swap out the original dual core Xeon CPU’s for some quad core ones.  A matched pair of Xeon 5355’s came up on Ebay at a sensible price and from a reputable seller so I snapped them up.  The seller actually had four pairs for sale and they were sold pretty quickly so there is clearly still some demand for 5355’s.

Heatsinks Removed

There are a multitude of videos available on Youtube detailing the relatively simple procedure of removing the old Xeons and replacing them.  All you need are the new processors, some good thermal paste, a couple of Phillips screwdrivers and a 3mm Allen/Hex key which needs to ideally be at least 6″ long.  You’ll also need something to clean the old thermal paste off of the heat sinks, isopropyl alcohol is ideal, anything else risks leaving residue which will negatively impact on the heat transfer between CPU and heat sink.  Optional extras are a can of compressed air for cleaning out any dust build up and an anti-static wrist strap.

I won’t go into the full procedure here as others have already documented it well.  A couple of points I would make are firstly many who have performed the upgrade refer to issues removing the memory cage screws, I had no such problems but did use a small jeweller’s screwdriver which allowed vertical orientation and full purchase with the screw head.

Original Xeon 5150’s

Secondly, I was surprised by how thick the factory application of thermal compound was when I removed the heat sinks, I had expected a thin veneer but it was definitely thicker than that.  This rather threw me as to how much compound I should apply on re-installation.

In the end I decided to apply a thin line horizontally across the CPU’s with an additional smaller vertical line making a cross.  I didn’t spread out the compound but instead allowed the pressure of re-attaching the heat sink to flatten it out.

Reassembly was straightforward, I even managed to complete the whole operation without dropping one screw.  The machine promptly booted up and I ran Geekbench to assess what performance improvement the new Xeons were giving.

Geekbench Score Shows Huge Improvement

With the original Xeon 5150’s Geekbench would typical return a score in the low 5000’s.  With the 5355’s the score has leapt to 9456, a very useful improvement in performance bringing my 2006 Mac Pro within touching distance of a 2012 iMac Core i7.

The only thing left to do now is monitor the CPU temperatures for a while to ensure the thermal compound is working well.  There are a number of different apps out there that claim to give accurate read outs of the Pro’s thermal sensors, however in my experience they all seem to give different results.  I’ve therefore decided to trust the software that I’m familiar with, namely Marcel Bresink’s aptly named ‘Temperature Monitor”.

Temperature Monitor

This is showing the cores running at an average of about 40°C under light load* which is around 30% higher than the previous processors. Considering there are twice as many cores and that the thermal compound has not broken in yet this seems pretty reasonable to me.  Also a considerable upswing in the ambient temperature that has coincided with the upgrade must be taken into account.

I decided to download SMC Fan Control and crank the systems fans up by a couple of hundred RPM just to be on the safe side, they are still whisper quiet.  There is one last issue that needed resolving, when you perform this upgrade and click on About This Mac you’re likely to get a processor unknown reading although System Report will show the correct number of cores.

There are a couple of solutions to this, you can try upgrading the 1,1 firmware to 2,1 using this utility.  Or you can do what I did which was download the CPU injector Kext from here (updated with new link, see original article here) and install it with a kext utility, I used Kext Helper b7 here (updated with new link.)

*After three months of running smoothly the CPU temperatures under light load are now averaging around 32°C so clearly the thermal compound has bedded in well and I’ve been able to leave the fans running at factory settings.  I recently installed Windows 7 and have been enjoying a number of games, the machine remains stable and reliable.

*More than 12 months have now passed since this upgrade and I’m pleased to report the machine is still running smoothly.  Despite very hot ambient temperatures here presently, the Mac Pro remains whisper quiet.

*Update (08 December 2013) Following John’s post in the comments section below I returned to find some of the links in the original post broken.  I have therefore hosted the CPU Injector Kext and the Kext Help B7 utility myself and updated the links.  The original article covering the CPU injector Kext can by found at the Internet Archive.  With regards to the machine itself it is still running perfectly.

*Update (19 December 2013) I’ve installed OS X Mavericks using the target disk mode method.  Running Geekbench again under Mavericks yields a result of 9841.

*Update (11 October 2014) Another reader has pointed out that the links in the original post are broken again.  I have therefore reolcated and hosted the CPU Injector Kext and the Kext Help B7 utility myself and updated the links.