Mac Pro March 2009: a split personality…

March 3, 2009, the renewal of spring all table lines of Macs on the background of one of the most severe economic crisis of the new Millennium. “Crisis is the best time for a change,” said Steve jobs in 1997. After 12 years, the response to the crisis was the new model Mac Pro. Only this new model, in fact, was the two models. The fact that it was officially “Mac Pro model ID MacPro4,1”, online store has been presented in two basic configurations – single and dual. To turn one of them into another was impossible: besides the number of processors, they are distinguished by other design features (the number of memory banks, for example).

Between single – and dual-processor variations MacPro4,1 of the differences were greater than between a PowerBook or iBook with different diagonal screens, traditionally oboznachaya different IDs.

Any of the basic configurations in the online store could be turned into millions of concrete, the options list was extensive and exciting. But this particular.

In MacPro4,1 used processors with Nehalem architecture after the Core 2. This architecture became the basis for the first generation Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7. And as expected, the new architecture made the processor more powerful, more economical, better – otherwise its development would not have to spend time and money.

One of the features of the most powerful processors of the new architecture QPI (QuickPath Interconnect) technology replacing the front system bus. In MacPro4,1 much had to radically alter.

Inside it was a totally different Mac, like to MacPro4,1 have not been, but this was not injured. The new Mac Pro has become more expensive and noticeably faster, but otherwise it was still the same friendly Mac…

This is the fourth part of a series about the Mac Pro. Links to previous parts of the series here:

First part: Mac Pro 2006: “Apple” Apocalypse;
Second part: April, 2007, unknown Mac Pro…;
Third part: 2008 began with the Mac Pro….

Links to all the parts of a series about the PowerMac G5 can be found here or here.


Nehalem is a relatively small river, which flows into the Pacific ocean in the northwestern part of Oregon. And code name processor architecture Intel, which in 2008 were new.

Processors of this architecture produced under the same technology 45 nm and Penryn, but compared to them, according to Intel, was more economical by 30%, 15-20% more efficient use of each cycle. In addition, they can be accelerated to much higher clock frequencies (which, ceteris paribus, is the most effective way to increase processor performance).

From the processors with the architecture Core 2 they are distinguished and a set of technologies:

HyperThreading: each physical core behave like two logical, technology was used in the beginning, but then was temporarily withdrawn from circulation – and that, after revision and elimination of the revealed shortcomings is back in operation;

Turbo Boost: when the processor was used only one core, its clock frequency is automatically increased, and the remaining core was temporarily switched off.

4-core Xeon W3520 processor with a nominal clock frequency of 2.66 GHz, for example, in Turbo mode clocked loaded the core up to 2.93 GHz;

In the processors of the middle class were integrated North bridge DMI (direct access interface to the processor) and control PCI Express – but MacPro4,1 is irrelevant, it uses the Nehalem processors of the highest class;

Processors of high class was integrated QPI (QuickPath Interconnect), replacing the front system bus, some of the details about it in the next section;

The integrated processor memory controller;

And much more, to the discussion of all the features simply no room.

In the options MacPro4,1 used the Nehalem processors high-class (code name Bloomfield) and X58 Intel chipset (single processor) Intel 5520 (dual).

QuickPath Interconnect (QPI)

Replaced FSB (front system bus, what do you think?) in MacPro4,1 came QPI technology. It is often called “bus”, but it’s not a bus, and a high-speed network deployed on the motherboard, which nodes are its vital components. The data transfer speed compared to the FSB, has drastically increased.

To determine the clock speed QPI is impossible, therefore, to evaluate the performance QuickPath Interconnect used is another unit with a different physical meaning is the number of transactions per second.

For example, a Xeon W3520 with a clock frequency of 2.66 GHz is 4.8 Gigatransfer per second per channel. Each connection consists of two channels that transmit in one transaction 16-bit payload. Theoretically, the throughput of one connection in one direction – from 9.6 to 12.8 GB/s, or from 19.2 to 25.6 GB/s in both directions.

At the time of introducing the technology QuickPath Interconnrect in November 2008, the principles on which it is based has been used for ten years.

The first on this road joined Digital Equipment (DEC), the principles were used in the Alpha 21364. The level of training of engineers, DEC was comparable to the Apple. It was great company, her eternal memory.

With 2003, the main competitor of Intel, AMD, used in their processor technology HyperTransport is the same QuickPath Interconnrect. Intel immediately responded to this by launching in 2003 or 2004 response development. Worked on development of MMDC, Center for Microprocessor Design in Massachusetts, the state of this center, the engineers from Digital Equipment who invented this technology.

Why it took them four years to create the Intel QPI? Apparently, the reasons were. They sought perfection.

The code name for the project MMDC has changed several times. At first it was called Yap, in the style of projects open source (Yet Another Project, that is: “Another project”). Then Yap+. Intel is very smart and tolerant managers, but in 2005, when it was something to brag about to the media, the project called CSI (Common System Interface, “Common system interface”).

And finally, in 2008, the project became known as QuickPath interconnect or QPI Interconnrect, and it was already a registered trademark.

Operating systems

MacPro4,1 supplied preloaded with Mac OS 10.5.6, and, according to official figures, compatible with all versions of Mac OS X up to 10.11.6 (El Capitan). No 10.12 (Sierra), nor with any of the newer versions of computer is incompatible “absolutely.”

I wonder why? Obvious technical reasons… no. It is a way to increase sales or some unknown technical reasons? Ask a question Apple, I don’t know.

But I know how to install Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra), Mac OS 10.13 (High Sierra), and even Mac OS 10.14 (Mojave) on a MacPro4,1 (they are, though not without problems, they work!), and many other “incompatible” models of Macs.

With the help of, respectively, Sierra Patching Tool, High Sierra and Mojave Patching Tool Patching Tool. This application looks into the EFI computer on which it is running, look for its model identifier in their databases and records is this the closest ID present in the allowed lists the desired version of the system.

In the case of a MacPro4,1 model ID is changed to MacPro5,1.

Of course, no one and nothing guarantees that the offender prohibitions always does so at their own risk. A list of problems and incompatibilities impressive. But… You Can!

To be continued

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