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Thread: Mac Pro

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Mac Pro

    Thought I would throw some stuff into this thread on the new Mac Pro.

    Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor
    Ushering in a new era of outstanding performance and completing the Mac transition to Intel processors at the same time the new Mac Pro introduces the 64-bit Dual-Core Intel Xeon Woodcrest processor to the Mac lineup. Running at up to 3GHz, its a state-of-the-art processor that from day one makes the Mac Pro one of the fastest desktop computers on the planet.

    Quad Core. Up to 3GHz.
    Every Mac Pro in the lineup features two of the newest Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors. Two dual-cores. One powerful quad workstation. And you get to decide how fast it flies: 2GHz, 2.66GHz, or 3GHz. And at 3GHz, the Mac Pro runs up to 2x faster than the Power Mac G5 Quad.(1)

    OEM Intel Xeon 5160 Woodcrest 1333MHz FSB 2 x 2MB L2 Cache Socket 771 Processor - $917

    The Mac Pro ships with Mac OS X 10.4.7
    The value of the computer model machine identifier string is MacPro1,1.
    The Xeon processors are socketed, using dual 771 pin LGA sockets.
    This means that the processors may be upgradeable
    Airport antennae are located on the bottom of the machine, covered by plastic.

    The Mac Pro is the first Intel-based Mac to have an Intel-native version of Mac OS X 10.4.x Server available as a custom option.

    And, because it is socket cpu, and uses a bus multiplier, the future could be "interesting." Woodcrest Xeon cpu with the Clovertown Xeon cpu expected to be available next quarter.
    Mac Pro Developer Note (preliminary)
    Mac Pro Schematics
    Mac Pro Technical Specifications

    Mac Pro Do It Yourself Manuals

    Mac Pro: How to reset the SMC
    Last edited by TZ; 08-11-2007 at 04:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Grangeville, ID USA


    RAM Is Good The new Mac Pro supports up to 16GB of RAM (there are now 4GB DIMMs available for up to 32GB memory) using two memory riser cards. Each card provides four DIMM slots for 667MHz fully buffered ECC RAM.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-11-2007 at 04:52 AM.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Apple Hardware Test

    We were unable to access Apple Hardware Test, until we pored through the manual and found that it must be invoked via the "D" key and not by holding down the Option key at startup, as before. (Yet another change in the secret key combinations for critical functions, helping to keep professional Apple technicians in business. At least it's documented!)

  4. #4
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Installing Internal Drives

    The hard drive system worked fine, and we're thrilled to have four internal bays.

    Four drive "sleds" are included, each with the necessary screws for attaching a SATA drive. The 250GB Seagate 7200.9 drive included with the computer had SATA-only power connections, while a 80GB Maxtor SATA drive from our Power Mac G5/1.8 had both SATA and traditional power connections, but it, too, fit into the supplied sockets when the sled was pushed into place.
    Serial ATA Drive Interface

    The Mac Pro comes standard with one 7200 rpm, 3 Gbps Serial ATA (SATA) disk drive and three additional 3 Gbps SATA slots for adding hard disk drives. The SATA drives interface through an AHCI 1.1 controller that supports advanced SATA-II features Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and PHY power management. NCQ increases performance on random workloads by allowing the drive to re-order commands to reduce seek time and increase transactional efficiency.

    In addition, the Mac Pro has two unpopulated 3 Gbps SATA buses for expansion. Looking at System Profiler, all 6 SATA busses seem to be active

    For more information on SATA, see Serial ATA International Organization.
    For information on the AHCI controller, see AHCI Specifications.
    Ultra ATA Interface

    In the Mac Pro, the South Bridge controller provides two Ultra ATA/100 interfaces for optical drives. The Mac Pro comes standard with one SuperDrive. The drive can read and write DVD media and CD media, as shown in Table 1.
    FireWire Controller

    The Mac Pro has two IEEE-1394a FireWire 400 ports, which support transfer rates of 100, 200, and 400 Mbps and two IEEE-1394b FireWire 800 ports, which support transfer rates of 100, 200, 400, and 800 Mbps. For more information, see FireWire Developer Note.
    Block Diagram Note: For additional information and a link to specific documentation regarding PCI Express and the interface to the AirPort Express module, refer to PCI Express Architecture.
    Mac Pro: DIY - Do It Yourself Upgrades

    Thanks to Barefeats for the heads up:

    [QUOTE] the new 750GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 drive is the surprising new Speed King among 7200rm SATA drives for both random and sustained transfers (based on QB4) Western Digital 750GB Caviar is selling for about half as much as the Hitachi 7K1000

    Hitachi: The First 1TB HD The Desktar 7K1000 should be in stores for Q1 2007. Both format, SATA II and PATA 133, will be available. The SATA version will feature 32MB of cache, vs. 8MB of cache for the PATA version. The estimated public price should be 399$. This drive will also be available with fewer platters. You will be able to install 4TB of storage space in a MacPro, without modifying either the case or the internal organization!

    Transintl The Pro Sled - Mac Pro hard disk drive sled

    The Pro Sled gives you the capability of unlimited swappable drives for your Mac Pro.
    Drives can be assigned and labeled for different clients, projects or backup.
    They will plug directly into the Mac Pro main logic board.
    Each Pro Sled kit includes drive screws and sells for $29 (one sled), $49 (two sleds) and $89 (four sleds).

    Transintl Pro Caddy for Mac Pros (add 5th HD in spare optical bay) -
    Pro Caddy for Apple Mac Pro is a unique internal optical bay hard disk drive mounting solution.

    Using the existing optical bay housing the Pro Caddy enables the installation of one additional, bootable hard drive. Once installed, the Pro Caddy frees up all four of the removable hard disk drives in the Mac Pro's factory bays.

    SEAGATE PUZZLES Firmware version 3.AEE or later solves the slow sustained large block write speed issue for a single 7200.10 inside the Mac Pro.

    The remaining performance issue is slow small random read speeds for one, two, three or four drives. No matter how many drives you configure in RAID 0 sets, the average random read speed for combined block sizes from 64K to 1024K is less than 30MB/s (based on QuickBench 3 testing). Until Seagate fixes this, we can't recommend the 7200.10 series as the ideal boot drive for the Mac Pro (or Power Mac).

    Update: the latest Mac Pros seem to have resolved the issue with slow read speed on 7200.10.

    Newer Tech offering SATA Extender cables for Mac Pro (2 unused onboard SATA ports) $24 bootable. helps explain how to, and what to expect.

    Latest comparisons for best boot drive:
    Mac Pro: 10 drive comparison:
    Last edited by TZ; 08-12-2007 at 01:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Graphics/Video Subsystem

    Graphics/Video Subsystem

    The standard configuration graphics subsystem on the Mac Pro is the Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT card with 256 MB GDDR2 SDRAM, connected to the North Bridge IC by a x16 link (16 lane), 2.5 GHz PCI Express bus. The configuration supports two DVI ports for external video monitors and supports video mirroring mode and extended desktop display mode.

    The ATI Radeon X1900 XT and Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 are available as configure-to-order options.
    Video Developer Note.

    PCI Express bus that supports the graphics subsystem and the PCI Express power constraints, refer to PCI Developer Note.

    PCI EXPRESS BUS CONCERNS Intel 5000X chipset for Mac Pro's PCI Express bus dynamically allocates a maximum of 26 lanes between the four slots.

    Lane options:
    16 + 1 + 4 + 4
    16 + 1 + 1 + 8
    8 + 8 + 1 + 8
    8 + 8 + 4 + 4

    THIS developer doc

    By comparison, the Quad-Core G5 uses an Apple proprietary PCI Express controller that provides a total of 32 lanes (16 + 4 + 8 + 4).
    It's also a shame Apple didn't throw in at least one 133MHz PCI-X slot in the Mac Pro since the 5000X chipset supports it without stealing bandwidth from the PCIe slots.
    Barefeats Quick Takes

    Video cards used in Mac Pro's must be EFI compliant cards.
    BIOS compliant video cards will not work in EFI equipped Mac Pro's.

    Apple Video

    Nvidia says GeForce 8800 cards are PCIe compliant

    GeForce 8800-series graphics cards and some motherboards. The report suggested that the compatibility problems arose because the cards weren't fully PCI Express compliant. Indeed, the PCI Special Interest Group's compliant components list lacked (and still lacks) mention of any GeForce 8800 or G80 products.

    Radeon X1900 series R580 GPU incorporated 384 million transistors into its design. The GPU features 512-bit memory interface with support for GDDR3 and GDDR4.

    X2900 XTX retail card comes as a two-slot, 9.5" design with a vapor chamber cooler. Vapor chambers are already found on high-end CPU coolers, so it would be no surprise to see such cooling on a high-end GPU either. The OEM version of the card is a 12" layout and features a quiet fan cooler. 1GB of GDDR4 memory is the reference configuration for Radeon X2900 XTX. Memory on the reference X2900 XTX cards was supplied by Samsung.

    The GDDR3 version of the Radeon X2900 XT, features 512MB of GDDR3 and lower clock frequencies than the X2900 XTX. The X2900 XT is also one of the first Radeons to feature heatpipes on the reference design.

    Native HDMI, will appear on all three versions of Radeon X2900. One 6-pin and one 8-pin (2x4) VGA power connectors are featured on Radeon X2900. Both connectors are also backwards compatible with 6-pin power supply cables.

    Will Apple looks to new NVIDIA graphics for Final Cut
    While aiming at its usual audience of 3D modelers and other graphics pros
    with its new Quadro FX video cards, NVIDIA has let slip that Apple is eyeing the technology closely as a key to driving its video editing tools.[/b]

    The Santa Clara-based GPU maker announced Quadro FX 4600 and 5600 cards, calling them a perfect fit for video editing thanks to a much-improved unified architecture that does much of the heavier work for effects processing and video decoding.

    Nvidia's G92 GeForce 8700 GTS due out November 12
    8-layer PCB
    512MB of GDDR3 memory
    256-bit memory bus, Memory clock speed of 900MHz to 1GHz
    ó that's an effective 1.8GHz to 2GHz
    PCI Express 2.0 connectivity
    HDMI and DisplayPort display outputs
    Nvidia's PureVideo video processing engine
    . . . .
    Aperture and iPhoto 6 also use the pixel shaders on newer video hardware for non-destructive still image editing.

    However, Apple's centerpiece Final Cut Pro editor has so far depended exclusively on CPUs to draw live footage, rapidly scaling down the quality of live previews as an editing crew shifts to editing HD video or multiple streams.

    Offloading some or all of this task to a particularly flexible video card like the new Quadro would free Final Cut Pro to render multiple HD streams in real-time without sacrificing accuracy -- especially for the fledgling 2K and 4K video resolutions that frequently demand specialized hardware.

    TechReport: Radeon HD X2900 XT

    Radeon HD 2950 XTX 3Q '07 - Radeon 2950 XTX will feature a new R650 graphics processor, which will be based on 65nm process technology. The card will also be outfitted with 1GB of GDDR4 memory, and it should arrive in August or September. The 80nm R600 die - will be in a very limited amount of chips, and pulling all resources to go 65 nano

    1GB Radeon HD 2900 XT "Diamond Multimedia Announces the World's First 1GB Single GPU Consumer Graphics Card." will be the same size as the existing modeló no 12"-long behemoth. Price-wise, it will cost something slightly north of $500.
    AMD talks DX10 drivers:
    ... we had to have a new OpenGL driver for HD 2000. And finally, the DX9 driver was mostly inspired from the R5xx DX driver, and so little influence came over from Xenos again. However, from a SW porting standpoint, we can truly make a difference. The HD2000 familyís architecture leverages so much from Xenos, that porting Xenos games to the R600 should be relatively easy. The games should have similar performance characteristics. Thereís a very good synergy there.

    How would you describe the maturity of R6 drivers at this point and how "target rich" the optimization opportunities still are going forward?

    I think we have a very dedicated and excellent set of engineers working on our drivers.

    However, given a new operating system, a new DX, a new OpenGL driver and a whole new architecture, we got the perfect storm!

    I think that the drivers are very stable and give users a good experience. But when it comes to performance, thereís still a lot to optimize for. And it will take time to exploit the full performance potential of the hardware. They have done what was required, which is give the best $399 part, but thereís so much more to doÖ So I would say that a lot of progress has been made, but things are still ďgreenĒ, especially on the DX10 front.


    I canít help but be a little disappointed that we did not have enough time to get more optimizations into our drivers in time for the launch. I still cringe when I see poor performance (especially if itís compared, to, say, our previous generation products)...

    We also had some last minute performance possibilities, which is always incompatible with stability... We see in the latest driver, some 2x to 3x improvement in adaptive AA performance, for example, which is great but came later than I would have liked.
    Beyond3D Interviews AMD
    HD Radeon X2900
    Mac Pro with Radeon X1900 XT
    4 lane, 8 lane, and 16 lane PCIe slots
    Mac Pro 3D Game "Slug Fest"

    Revision 2 Radeon X1900 XTs
    I'm no longer seeing issues with the new card, but that isn't the only change.

    My Northbridge temperatures which formerly ran at a CONSTANT 140-160 farenheit with SMC on default (and about 120 with my fans all turning at 1600rpm) are now running 110-113 degrees farenheit with a 900 rpm PCI fan and only 130 farenheit at default. I'll keep an eye on this as the week goes on, but something definitely changed with this video card compared to the old one.
    Mac Pro/X1900 XT owner notes on WoW FPS Cap preventing artifacts/freezing -

    buying a new replacement ATI X1900 XT The ship time for a new ATI x1900xt (Kit/separate card) is listed as 7-10 weeks might signal a possible graphics card refresh on the horizon....

    Checked the X1900 XT heatsink for Dust clogging it

    One of the hints found on the Blizzard website (this hint only applies while playing WoW) has helped immensely. I have found that if I limit the fps in WoW that I no longer see any of the artifacts or freezing that I was experiencing before. All one needs to do is: in the chat field type:
    • /console maxfps XX (XX being the desired fps frame limit)
    I currently have mine set at 40 fps and am seeing zero problems.

    With that said, I hope that there is GPU refresh on the horizon (Perhaps the nVidia 8800)
    Last edited by TZ; 09-06-2007 at 08:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Default Mac Pro Performance & Pictures & Reviews

    Pictures from the Mac Pro innerts (CPUs, etc)

    Reviews from the web:
    ComputerWorld: Hands on The new Mac Pro is 'one screamer'
    ComputerWorld: Why IT loves the Mac Pro / Xserve
    MacIntouch: Preliminary Review & Tests
    AnadTech reviews Mac Pro
    AnandTech's "Apple Mac Pro - PowerMac Successor"
    Ars Review

    Mac Pro vs G5 Photoshop test
    Barefeats: Quad Intel vs Quad PPC
    MacIntouch Follow-up
    Mac Pro Rumors Archive

    Hands on with the Mac Pro: Putting it to work
    Audio, video, and virtualization tasks put to the test

    * The Mac Pro makes short work of ripping CDs into iTunes, and converting existing tracks between formats.
    * HD video playback doesnít pose much of a challenge for the Mac Pro. Playing back multiple HD clips at once didnít cause any issues, even when I was recording that playback at the same time.
    * The four CPU cores in the Mac Pro greatly speed the process of converting video from one format to another.
    * More RAM is always good, particularly if youíre running applications in Rosetta.
    * Rosettaís performance on a fast Mac is quite impressive. (Rosetta is a great solution in the short term.)
    * The Mac Pro runs very quietly, even with a high-powered video card installed.
    MacWorld: Part II

    for this Geekbench comparison, I’m including most of the recent AMD
    and Intel desktop processors (along with some not-so-recent desktop
    processors) along with a wide variety of recent Mac models, ranging
    from the PowerBook G4 to the Mac Pro.

    Average results from all the computers in the Geekbench Result Browser database. For Mac systems, results were collected from Geekbench for Mac OS X (32-bit) running on systems with standard processors (i.e., no over-clocked processors or processor upgrades) and with at least 512MB of RAM.

    100 is the score a Power Mac G5 @ 1.6GHz would receive.
    As always, higher scores are better.

    This Entry

    "Geekbench Comparison (December 2006)" was written on Dec 06 2006 by John Poole and filed under Articles, Benchmarks, Geekbench.

    AMUG (Arizona Macintosh Club) have put online a very comprehensive article about the MacPro 2.66 GHz.

    firmware flashing procedure of the Sony DVD drive. Once its limitations overriden, it is a NEC again and becomes world champion for DVD ripping (three times faster).

    Nicely down full set of photos of internals and components:
    Last edited by TZ; 08-15-2007 at 09:47 AM.
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  7. #7
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Migration Assistant

    A Basic Guide for Migrating to Intel-Macs

    If you are migrating a PowerPC system (G3, G4, or G5) to an Intel-Mac be careful what you migrate. Keep in mind that some items that may get transferred will not work on Intel machines and may end up causing your computer's operating system to malfunction.

    Rosetta supports "software that runs on the PowerPC G3 or G4 processor that are built for Mac OS X". This excludes the items that are not universal binaries or simply will not work in Rosetta:

    • Classic Environment, and subsequently any Mac OS 9 or earlier applications
    • Screensavers written for the PowerPC
    • System Preference add-ons
    • All Unsanity Haxies
    • Browser and other plug-ins
    • Contextual Menu Items
    • Applications which specifically require the PowerPC G5
    • Kernel extensions
    • Java applications with JNI (PowerPC) libraries
    What Can Be Translated by Rosetta.

    In addition to the above you could also have problems with migrated cache files and/or cache files containing code that is incompatible.

    If you migrate a user folder that contains any of these items, you may find that your Intel-Mac is malfunctioning. It would be wise to take care when migrating your systems from a PowerPC platform to an Intel-Mac platform to assure that you do not migrate these incompatible items.

    If you have problems with applications not working, then completely uninstall said application and reinstall it from scratch. Take great care with Java applications and Java-based Peer-to-Peer applications. Many Java apps will not work on Intel-Macs as they are currently compiled. As of this time Limewire, Cabos, and Acquisition are available as universal binaries.

    Do not install browser plug-ins such as Flash or Shockwave from downloaded installers. These versions are not universal binaries and will not work on Intel-Macs. The version of OS X installed on your Intel-Mac comes with special compatible versions of Flash and Shockwave plug-ins for use with your browser.

    The same problem will exist for any hardware drivers such as mouse software unless the drivers have been compiled as universal binaries. For third-party mice the only current choice is USB Overdrive. Contact the developer or manufacturer of your third-party mouse software to find out when a universal binary version will be available.

    Also be careful with some backup utilities and third-party disk repair utilities. Disk Warrior (does not work), TechTool Pro (does not work), SuperDuper (newest release works), and Drive Genius (untested) may not work properly on Intel-Macs. The same caution may apply to the many "maintenance" utilities that have not yet been converted to universal binaries.

    MacFixit's Rosetta Compatibility Index.

    Additional links:

    Intel In Macs
    Apple Guide to Universal Applications
    MacInTouch List of Compatible Universal Binaries
    MacInTouch List of Rosetta Compatible Applications
    MacUpdate List of Intel-Compatible Software

    As a test, installed a base OS and used the Apple Migration assistant to move over everything from a preconfigured PPC machine. Worked wonderfully. Users, Apps, prefs, everything - almost. A very few things did not work:

    - Unsanity haxies: reinstalled current UB versions - work fine, had to reconfigure prefs.
    - Flip4Mac: reinstalled current UB version - work fine...older version worked fine with Rosetta.

    Other things that were noted in first tests, all using the most current versions available:

    - MS RDC client: works fine via Rosetta.
    - Monolingual: works fine.
    - NetRestore: works fine.
    - Tinkertool: works fine.
    - Batchmod: works fine.
    - Sophos AV: works fine.
    - SharePoints: works fine.
    - Onyx: works fine.
    - Cisco VPN cleint: works fine.
    - WhatSize: works fine.
    - LoginWindow Manger: Works fine.
    - Casper (imaging/updating/admin/remote acecess/tracking tool): works fine.

    Tested on an early MacBook Pro, a MacBook, and a Mini.....all stock, base configurations. Still testing, printing and the like.

    MacStumbler does not seem to work.

    • Intel-based Mac: Some migrated applications may need to be updated
      After using Migration Assistant or Setup Assistant to migrate applications from a PowerPC-based Mac to an Intel-based Mac, some of the migrated applications may not launch or function correctly. [...]
    • When Migration Assistant or Setup Assistant is used to migrate applications between two computers, it will bring over any applications it finds on the source computer that are not already installed on the destination computer. In some cases, a PowerPC-based Mac may have applications that will not run correctly through Rosetta on the Intel-based Mac.
    Last edited by TZ; 04-10-2007 at 03:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Sheep Shaver: Run Classic OS 9

    Run MacOS 9 and the ĀgClassic EnviromentĀh on an Intel Mac

    Who said you canĀft use MacOS9 because you have an Intel Mac?

    It is completely possible with a little bit of tinkering, and a really cool universal application called Sheep Shaver, which came to us via tip from Kazaki. Sheep Shaver is a full speed ĀeClassicĀf emulator for Windows, Linux, and Intel based Macs, that runs older MacOSĀfs at shockingly full speed!

  9. #9
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Cisco VPN Client

    In any case, after setting up the computer with my accustomed work and personal software, I experienced a kernel panic each time I tried to shut down. I traced the problem to the latest Cisco VPN Client (universal binary, version Once I uninstalled the Cisco VPN Client, I no longer got the kernel panic at shutdown.
    I'd like to know if any other MacInTouch readers have seen this problem.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2001
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    Power Usage of Mac Pro It requires 410 watts to start up, idles at 300 watts, and peaks at 430 watts when running Doom 3, the most demanding power wise of the ten apps we tried.

    The Mac Pro had 16GB of RAM, four internal hard drives, and a Radeon X1900 XT. We're confident the Mac Pro's 980 watt power supply can handle just about everything you can do to upgrade or expand a Mac Pro.

    Mac Pro: Power consumption and thermal output (BTU) information

    Mac Pro (Late 2006) Quad Core 2.66 Ghz Mac Pro
    Idle and max consumption:
    171 W 445 W
    854 BTU/hr 1,519 BTU/hr


    *Power consumption data (Watts) is measured from the wall power source and includes all power supply and system losses.
    Additional correction is not needed.

    *"CPU Max" is defined as running a compute-intensive test application that maximizes processor usage and therefore power consumption.

    *These numbers reflect a 23į C (73.4į F) ambient running environment. Increased ambient temperatures will require faster fan speeds which will increase power consumption.
    At 35į C (95į F), 50 W should be added to reflect increased power consumption.

    *1000W PSU do not deliver more than 500-600W effectively

    the main problem is not really power required in load, but rather the power burnt for nothing when being idle or in sleep mode. Power management system for desktop should be strongly improved in order to reach similar level than the one found in notebooks.
    Last edited by TZ; 06-20-2007 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Power Consumptioin Thermal Output

  11. #11
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    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Secrets of GUID and GPT Partitions

    Apple has switched to a new disk partitioning scheme known as the GUID partition table, or GPT. This new scheme offers a number of advantages over the previous scheme, but it also presents some new challenges. This technote describes GPT in general, and gives some specific details about how Apple uses GPT.

    You should read this technote if you're writing software that interacts with Apple's implementation of GPT. Specifically, this technote is vital if you're writing a disk utility for Mac OS X, or trying to run some alternative operating system, like Linux, on a Macintosh computer.

    The Road to GPT

    Apple's previous disk partitioning scheme, known as Apple partition map (APM), was introduced with the Macintosh II in 1987. The scheme was very well designed, and it has survived, with very few changes, for almost twenty years.

    However, in recent years APM's limitations have been looming on the horizon. Specifically, APM is restricted to 32-bits worth of blocks. With a standard block size of 512 bytes, this translates to a maximum disk size of 2 TB. With the rate that hard disks are growing, it's easy to imagine a typical desktop computer shipping with more than 2 TB of storage in the next few years.

    Apple did consider extending APM to support larger disks. However, as such a change would break all existing partitioning tools, it was just as convenient to switch to an entirely new partitioning scheme. After some serious thought, Apple decided to adopt GPT.

    GUID partition table (GPT) partitioning scheme was introduced by Intel as part of an effort to introduce more modern firmware to generic PC hardware. Traditional PC hardware uses BIOS firmware, which uses a partitioning scheme known as master boot record (MBR). MBR has lots of severe limitations, and is not appropriate for a modern computer. Intel's modern firmware, known as the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), includes a new partitioning scheme, GPT.

    Apple's Support for GPT Any Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.4 and later can mount GPT-partitioned disks. Intel-based Macintosh computers can boot from GPT. By default, the internal hard disk is formatted as GPT.

    IMPORTANT: While Intel-based Macintosh computers can boot from GPT and APM, Apple only supports booting Mac OS X on these machines from GPT. Apple's GUI tools, like the Installer, will prevent you installing Mac OS X for an Intel-based Mac on non-GPT disks.

    On all Intel-based Macintosh computers (and, starting with Mac OS X 10.4.6, PowerPC-based computers as well), Disk Utility has full support for GPT. The <code>diskutil</code> command line tool also includes GPT support. See its man page for details.

    f you're using a PowerPC-based computer running Mac OS X 10.4.6, you'll be disappointed to discover that the <code>diskutil</code> man page has not been updated for GPT. Rest assured that the actual <code>diskutil</code> code is GPT-aware. Use the tool's built-in help to learn how to create a GPT disk.

    ESP Explained

    The EFI system partition (ESP) is a special partition from which EFI can load EFI (boot-time) device drivers. The EFI firmware in Macintosh computers fully supports the ESP, although Apple does not currently use it for anything. We create the ESP on big disks to make things easier if we ever need to use ESP-based drivers. We strongly recommend that you do the same.

    The Last Block

    There are a number of third party disk drives that, due to buggy firmware, report an error if you access the last block on the disk. This was not a serious problem for APM. It's easy to create an APM that avoids the last block by creating a small <code>Apple_Free</code> partition at the end of the disk (this is what Apple's implementation of APM does).

    For GPT, however, this problem is much more serious. The GPT specification requires that the last block of the disk contain the backup partition table header; you can't just choose to avoid it!

    Apple handles this problem by ignoring any error when reading the backup partition table header in the last block of a GPT disk. If such an error occurs, the disk has a valid primary partition table and an invalid backup. According to the rules laid out by the GPT specification, such a disk is still considered to be a valid GPT disk.

    On the other hand, when partitioning a disk as GPT, if writing to the last block results in an error, the partitioning operation will fail. Such a disk can't be partitioned as a GPT disk using Apple software.

    GUID Based Partitioning Scheme (half-way down page)

    GUID Partition Table (GPT) and Master Boot Record (MBR)<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Custom Bootstrap Actions</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">MBR System Disk Conversion for 64-bit Windows</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Modifications to Microsoft Boot Components: Update </td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Using GPT Drives</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Windows and GPT FAQ</td></tr></tbody></table>
    Last edited by TZ; 08-15-2007 at 09:06 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Maximum operating temperature

    Here's the full quote from Intel Tech:

    I understand that you are seeking information regarding the operating temperature of the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processors 5000.

    Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processor 5300 Series with system bus speed of 1066 and 1333 MHz

    The maximum operating temperature of the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 5150 is 65 degrees Celsius.
    The maximum operating temperature of the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 5160 is 56.5 degrees Celsius.

    As long as the processor is operating under this temperature it is operating within specifications. We recommend setting any thermal alarms about three (3) degrees below the maximum recommended temperature for the processor. We do not have a normal operating temperature for the processor as this temperature will vary depending on the chassis and other hardware installed on the system as well as the actual load the software is placing on the processor.

    You can double check this above mentioned temperatures at the following websites:

    Recommended temperature for the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 5150:

    Recommended temperature for the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 5160:

    Currently, we do not have the minimum and maximum values for the cores of the processor, nor for the CPU A and CPU B Heatsink.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you need further assistance.


    Adolfo S.
    Intel(R) Technical Support

    Intel(R) Processor Support Web Site:
    Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

    From the author of Hardware and Temperature Monitor:
    - When speaking about temperature specifications it is important to note that all limits can be applied to specific sensor locations and specific measurement methods only. So it does not make sense to speak about a "maximum operating temperature for processor X", you'll have to specify the "maximum operating temperature for the sensor location A when monitoring processor X under condition B".

    - Intel Xeon 5100 processors use a variety of internal and external temperature sensors, and several different monitoring technologies:

    1) The processor case temperature is monitored by an internal temperature diode and the so-called "Thermal Control Circuit" (TCC).

    There are two different mechanisms called "Thermal Monitor" (TM) and "Thermal Monitor 2" (TM2) that allow the CPU to check and control its own temperature. This technology is considered to be *outdated* for the Xeon 5100
    although it is still built in to maintain compatibility with older system designs. Temperature Monitor 4.0 does NOT display this sensor on the Mac Pro.

    2) Each core of each CPU is monitored by several internal temperature sensors that are placed at critical points on the chip-die. These sensors are called "Digital Thermal Sensors" (DTS). Their values are automatically
    averaged and smoothed, reflecting high-precision readings for the situation at the cores themselves. The DT Sensors are displayed as "CPU Core" sensors by Temperature Monitor. They represent the *recommended* technology to monitor current Xeon 5100 processors.

    3) There are external sensors, measuring the temperature at the processor heat sinks under specifications defined by the manufacturer, in this case Apple. These sensors are reflecting the processor package and airflow temperatures. They are being displayed as "CPU Heat Sink" sensors by Temperature Monitor.

    - The maximum operating temperature mentioned by the Intel Tech representative is based on a special measurement method defined by the "Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processors 5100 Series Thermal/Mechanical Design Guidelines"
    ( ).
    The readings basically reflect a "TCC-like" approach, *not* the DTS technology. DTS values are expected
    to be much higher than the values measured at the outer CPU package.

    - It is correct that Intel did not and will not officially publish absolute temperature limits for the "on core" DTS sensors of the Xeon 5100. However, based on a series of tests run with Apple Mac Pro systems, it can be assumed that the maximum allowed DTS temperature for which Intel and Apple designed the Mac Pro is 85&#176;C. (To put this in relation, it should be noted that the maximum DTS temperature for Intel Core processors under normal operating conditions is 100&#176;C and the so-called "catastrophic" limit is at 125&#176;C. For more information, see the official data sheets at .
    Of course the Intel Core series should not directly be compared to the 5100 series.)

    - Temperature Monitor displays the maximum sensor limits in the third column of the window "Sensor Overview". The application makes sure to only display limits for sensor locations where the specifications are known. The values either come from official documentation of Apple, or internal tables built into Mac OS X, or tables built into the firmware of the system, depending on what Macintosh model and what sensor location is being monitored.

    - Even if somebody should assume that the maximum limit of 85&#176;C for the Xeon 5100 DTS core sensors were incorrect, the basic statement of Temperature Monitor that the "displayed reading for core X is Y degrees below the displayed limit" would still be correct. That's because the DTS technology computes the current temperature as *difference* to the upper limit, not as absolute temperature. The core will be overheating only if the current value approaches the limit. It doesn't really matter what the exact limit is for monitoring purposes at that particular sensor.

    - All up-to-date Intel processors simply cannot overheat. As mentioned, they use several different technologies to monitor themselves and will take immediate action automatically if the temperatures reach a critical condition. The CPUs will "throttle down" either by reducing their clock frequencies, or by repeatedly switching to periods of inactivity for some microseconds. These protection mechanisms work independently of operating system and mainboard.

    - The Mac Pro uses four different fans. Each fan is controlled *individually*, using the temperature information in different thermal zones. Some third-party applications to manipulate the minimum fan speeds may give you the wrong impression that fan speeds are controlled by CPU temperature only.

    - Each FB-DIMM contains its own controller, called "Advanced Memory Buffer (AMB)".
    Each AMB also contains its own temperature sensor. The maximum temperature of an FB-DIMM, measured by the AMB, lies in the interval between 95 and 125&#176;C (it will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer), the typical value is 110&#176;C. So all memory-related readings mentioned in the thread should be considered low and well within specs.

    I hope this information is helpful to you. If I can be of further assistance,
    don't hesitate to contact me.

    Best regards,
    Marcel Bresink
    Last edited by TZ; 11-21-2006 at 03:50 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Windows Vista support

    EFI and Windows Vista
    Updated: April 20, 2006

    BIOS as PC Firmware
    EFI as PC Firmware
    Evaluating BIOS vs. UEFI Support
    EFI, UEFI Support, and Windows Vista

    This paper briefly describes Microsoft plans for supporting the Extended Firmware Interface (EFI) in Microsoft Windows operating systems and provides a brief background for related technical issues.

    Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)

    Q: What is UEFI?
    A: UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) will be a specification detailing an interface that helps hand off control of the system for the pre-boot environment (i.e.: after the system is powered on, but before the operating system starts) to an operating system, such as Windows* or Linux*. UEFI will provide a clean interface between operating systems and platform firmware at boot time, and will support an architecture-independent mechanism for initializing add-in cards.

    Q: What is the relationship between EFI and UEFI?
    A: The UEFI specification will be based on the EFI 1.10 specification published by Intel with corrections and changes managed by the Unified EFI Forum. Intel still holds the copyright on the EFI 1.10 specification, but has contributed it to the Forum so that the Forum can evolve it. There will not be any future versions of the EFI specification, but customers who license it can still use it under the terms of their license from Intel. The license to the Unified EFI Specification will come from the Forum, not from Intel.

    Vista also supports booting from GUID.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Demise of FB-DIMMs

    Intel says good-bye to FB-DIMMs in some 2-socket configs

    <!-- /page title --><!-- intro text -->FB-DIMM has been the sole memory option for Xeon machines now for quite some time. FB-DIMMs are necessary for high levels of performance in a shared bus architecture, but they also contain some interconnect logic, which makes them run hot, consume power, and be generally undesirable for all but the highest-end applications.
    <!-- article ad --> <!-- BEGIN-NEW NetShelter Ad Tag for 300x250,336x280 --> <script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"> if (!window.netshel_ord) { netshel_ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000; } if (!window.netshel_tile) { netshel_tile=1; } document.write('<script language="JavaScript" src=";sz=300x250,336x280;tile='+netshel_tile +';ord=' + netshel_ord + '?" type="text/javascript"></scr' + 'ipt>'); netshel_tile++; </script> <!-- END AD TAG -->
    <!-- /article ad --> In the near future, some dual-socket Xeon motherboards will begin offering DDR-II as a memory option. The dual-sockets (up to 8 cores) will only be supported due to the limited bandwidth and memory sizing.

    FB-DIMMs can scale to 16, 24, or more DIMM sockets. DDR-II is limited to 8 DIMM sockets per channel. And whereas AMDís architecture can have 8 sticking off every CPU due to its on-die memory controller, Intelís Xeon solutions must still go through the north bridge. That means a shared, common point of access to the memory beyond.

    FB-DIMM memory consumes a significantly greater amount of power compared to DDR-II. In moving from 2 GB in a system to 8 GB, DDR-II would typically see an increase of about 11 watts. The same memory leap with FB-DIMM would see a 26 watt increase. In projecting forward the power numbers, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB configurations, overall system power draw is much higher thanks to FB-DIMMís hungry hungry hippo attitude toward power consumption.

    Read more about the FB-DIMM to DDR-II migration at The Inquirer. And read more about the power consumption curves at Neal Nelsonís website .

    SamsungSamsung announced that it will launch mass production of 800MHz DDR2 chips based on 60nm engraving process by the end of the year.
    Such chips feature 512MB capacity, and will strongly reduce the cost of 4GB DDR2 RAM modules

    This thinner engraving process is also an advantage for Samsung as it will allow the company to save on production cost. Indeed, one will be able to generate 40% more chips from the same silicon wafer. This increase of the yield will come right on time to allow DDR2 manufacturers to remain profitable during a period where Vista-driven memory over production has not been fully digested by the market.
    Last edited by TZ; 09-14-2007 at 07:26 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)

    Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) Boot ROM

    The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) boot ROM consists of 2 MB of on-board flash EEPROM. It includes the hardware-specific code and tables needed to start up the computer, load an operating system, and provide common hardware access services.The EFI boot ROM connects to the South Bridge IC via the Firmware hub (FWH) bus.

    Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)

    Q: What is UEFI?
    A: UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) will be a specification detailing an interface that helps hand off control of the system for the pre-boot environment (i.e.: after the system is powered on, but before the operating system starts) to an operating system, such as Windows* or Linux*. UEFI will provide a clean interface between operating systems and platform firmware at boot time, and will support an architecture-independent mechanism for initializing add-in cards.

    Q: What is the relationship between EFI and UEFI?
    A: The UEFI specification will be based on the EFI 1.10 specification published by Intel with corrections and changes managed by the Unified EFI Forum. Intel still holds the copyright on the EFI 1.10 specification, but has contributed it to the Forum so that the Forum can evolve it. There will not be any future versions of the EFI specification, but customers who license it can still use it under the terms of their license from Intel. The license to the Unified EFI Specification will come from the Forum, not from Intel.

    EFI firmware update Boot ROM Version MP11.005C.B04
    Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.1

    Reader reports of problems - the EFI update often doesn't work until all external devices are unplugged. In my case, I reverted back to stock keyboard and mouse, and it ran fine after that.

    Drivers, pre-boot applications and OS loaders for EFI are written in C,
    not assembler. The EFI specification includes clean APIs for text and
    graphical screen output, keyboard and mouse input, and access to file
    systems and block devices. EFI allows settings to be stored in NVRAM in
    the form of named variables, i.e. key-value pairs.

    OSx86 Project: Extensible Firmware Interface

    According to an unofficial Apple/Intel FAQ, the graphics drivers seem to have a direct association with EFI modules. This can be seen in the System Profiler listing that they provide as "EFI Driver Version: 01.00.063". Some users have commented that an EFI module may be responsible for ROM BIOS initialization on ATI graphics cards.


    ATI Radeon X1600:
    Chipset Model: ATY,RadeonX1600
    Type: Display
    Bus: PCIe
    VRAM (Total): 128 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x71c5
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    EFI Driver Version: 01.00.063

    See Also:
    More Power to Firmware (Kernelthread)

    The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) specification defines a new model for the interface between operating systems and platform firmware. The interface consists of data tables that contain platform-related information, plus boot and runtime service calls that are available to the operating system and its loader. Together, these provide a standard environment for booting an operating system and running pre-boot applications.

    In the rare case that your computer displays a black screen after starting up, you will need to restore your computer's firmware back to factory condition before you can apply the firmware update. Follow the directions at here to restore your firmware.

    About firmware updates for Intel-based Macs

    Mac OS X: Firmware Updates for Intel-based Macs

    Firmware Restore CD

    Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - EFI<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">EFI and Windows Vista</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Imaging Guidelines for Windows Server Longhorn on UEFI Systems </td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Microsoft Extensible Firmware Initiative FAT32 File System Specification, V. 1.03</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Microsoft Portable Executable and Common Object File Format Specification</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">UEFI Support and Requirements: Microsoft Windows Server "Longhorn" </td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Unified EFI Update [WinHEC 2005; 493 KB]</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Extensible Firmware Interface Specification</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16"></td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Implementing the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface with Intel's Framework</td></tr></tbody></table>
    Last edited by TZ; 08-15-2007 at 09:03 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb SMC Firmware and Update

    About the SMC Firmware Updates
    • Power and thermal management, the Sleep LED, and battery.
    • Controlling the fans, supporting Sudden Motion Sensor, ALS, and the power switch.
    There are two parts to this process: Installing the firmware update
    application, and using the firmware update application to install the
    SMC Firmware Update.
    1. Download the SMC Firmware Update 1.0, which is available at Apple Downloads.
    2. Quit open applications, which are marked in the Dock with a small triangle.
    3. Double click the SMC Update.pkg file.
    4. Click Continue after reading the licensing agreement, then click Agree if you accept the terms.
    5. Click Install to install the update application.
    6. After the software is successfully installed, click Close to start the
      updater application. (If you inadvertently skipped this part, you can
      find the updater in /Applications/Utilities.)
    7. Read the onscreen firmware update installation instructions, then click Restart to proceed.
    As your computer starts, the SMC will be updated. Your computer's fans will run at full speed during the update but will return to normal once the update completes. The computer will restart again once the firmware
    update is complete. Important: Do not interrupt the update process.

    After your computer restarts a second time, you should see a message
    stating that the update was successful. Click OK to continue.

    Note: If you see the dialog that you saw in step 7 instead of a message that the update was successful, try installing the update again (use the updater in /Applications/Utilities/ ).

    Note: This update requires a Macintosh-formatted disk or
    partition. If you are starting up using a RAID (Redundant Array of
    Independent Disks) subsystem, you must connect a Macintosh-formatted
    storage device to apply this update.

    Some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from
    installing correctly. If you are having trouble installing an update
    try disconnecting non-essential devices and use only an Apple keyboard,
    mouse, and display.

    How to reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

    The SMC controls several functions, including:
    • Telling the computer when to turn on, turn off, sleep, wake, idle, and so forth.
    • Handling system resets from various commands.
    • Controlling the fans.
    Note that resetting the SMC does not reset the PRAM.

    Resetting the SMC will not resolve issues in which your computer is unresponsive in these situations, restarting your computer will generally suffice. If your computer isn't responding, perform these steps one at a time, in this order, until the issue has been resolved:
    1. Force Quit (Option-Command-Escape).
    2. Restart (Control-Command-Power).
    3. Force Shut Down (press the power button for 10 seconds).
    Resetting the SMC can resolve some computer issues such as not starting up, not displaying video, sleep issues, fan noise issues, and so forth. If your computer still exhibits these types of issues after you've restarted the computer, try resetting the SMC. To reset the SMC on a Mac Pro:
    1. From the Apple menu, choose Shut Down (or if the computer is not responding, hold the power button until it turns off).
    2. Unplug all cables from the computer, including the power cord and any display cables.
    3. Wait at least fifteen seconds.
    4. Plug the power cord back in, making sure the power button is not being pressed at the time. Then reconnect your keyboard and mouse to the computer.
    5. Press the power button to start up your computer.
    Another way to reset the SMC on a Mac Pro computer is:
    1. From the Apple menu, choose Shut Down (or if the computer is not responding, hold the power button until it turns off).
    2. Open and remove the metallic outer door.

    3. Press the SMC_RST switch that is located slightly below and to the
      right of the row of diagnostic LEDs. Use a non-metallic, non-conductive
      object, such as a wooden pencil.
    4. Replace the metallic outer door.
    5. Press the power button to start up your computer.
    Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1

    The SMC Firmware Update 1.1 adjusts fan behavior in Mac Pro.
    08/08/2007 544KB

    After this update has completed successfully, your SMC Version will be:
    1.7f10 (Mac Pro)
    1.5f3 (Mac Pro 8-core)

    Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1 (#3): Problems with startup, fix; Display issues, fix; more Problems with startup, fix Some users have reported problems starting up after applying Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1. This issue can sometimes be resolved by disconnecting all external USB devices then re-attempting startup.

    MacFixIt reader Randall Calvert:
    "Upon restarting, I got the white screen, the Apple logo, and the little 'clock' icon -- and then the Gray Screen of Death, 'You need to restart your computer.' This happened several times. On two of about eight tries, I got completely restarted, but then the Gray screen again. Finally I came across the instructions about possible conflicts with 'Some USB and FireWire devices.' Upon unplugging all these, I was able to restart. First time I plugged USB hub (with all devices) back in, Gray Screen again. Second time, success (so far...)."
    Display issues, fix It appears that some users are experiencing issues with graphic distortion after applying the Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1. One reader writes:
    "I installed the firmware update and everything was fine. the next day a portion of what was on my main monitor was actually stretched across both monitors and I could not see or reach my dock or my menu. The image of what I could see of my desk top was over zoomed and the pixels were displaying very large. I thought I had accidentally zoomed in but I had not. "
    This issue can sometimes be resolved by performing a PRAM/NVRAM reset as follows: shut down your Mac, then start it back up while immediately holding the following keys: Command, Option, P and R. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the third time.

    Fan activity We previously reported that the Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.1 -- as indicated by release notes -- modifies fan behavior for the machine. Some users noted that fans rev at very high speed for about 1 minute whenever the computer is brought out of sleep. Users are continuing to report this behavior -- which appears to be normal. It may be important to not interrupt the fans while they are throttling, as MacFixIt reader Sebastian did with problematic results:
    "The update was no problem. But after my mac pro went for the first time in sleep-mode and wake up again, I recognized some strange fan behavior. The fans of the Mac Pro (2,66 GHz, 3 GB RAM, Radeon X1900XT, 500 GB Samsung HD and 160 GB Western Digital HD), not of the Radeon, spin faster and faster for 50 seconds or a bit longer depending how warm the heatsink was at wakeup. Another problem came up when I shut down the Mac Pro immediately after wake up from sleep before the the fans starting to spin faster. The Mac Pro froze, and did not shut down. I reset the Parameter RAM and push the SMC button, but the problem did not vanish. Maybe someone else got the same strange behavior after the SMC-Upgrade."
    Last edited by TZ; 08-16-2007 at 07:42 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Lightbulb Eight Core Mac Pro

    Eight Core Mac Pro Benchmarks
    Anandtech: Quad Core Intel Xeon 53xx Clovertown
    How to upgrade the processors in the Mac Pro
    Mac Pro
    quad-core Xeons
    GeekPatrol - 8-core MacPro Benchmarks
    GeekPatrol Benchmark Redux


    As the number of processors increase, the amount of contention for common memory objects increases. Internal OS-level locking (needed to prevent corruption of these objects) can create bottlenecks that all threads have to wait for. This is why even massively multithreaded apps won't see a 2x speedup when you double the number of cores. It also can cause single-threaded apps to run slower than they would on a system with fewer cores, even at the same clock speed.

    This creates a very strong rate of diminishing returns. Operating systems that can support massive numbers of processors (or cores), like some of the systems produced by IBM, SGI and Sun, are not using generic SMP tech. They need specialized code in the kernel (fine-grained locking, duplicate copies of some objects, alternate memory management schemes, etc.) to make it perform well.

    I'm sure we will eventually see an 8-core Mac, but Apple is going to need to make some changes to Mac OS X (and possibly some of their apps) if they want to make efficient use of all those cores.

    Quad Core Test Results summary: All test results have shown that even-though Mac OS X natively supports multi-core CPUs better than Windows, the benchmark applications won't prove so. From our point of view applications must be written with libraries supporting multi-core processors. Of course apart from what all synthetic benchmarks showed, our general impression was that Mac OS X was faster with Core2Duo processors, we hope the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 to have better support for multi-core systems. cdrinfo

    Upgrading CPUs of a Mac Pro to Quad Core Xeons
    Dual Core Xeon CPUs of a Mac Pro 3.0GHz by Quad Core Xeon X5355 CPUs clocked at 2.66GHz.
    As shown below, OSX perfectly handles doubled number of cores:

    Intel Quad Xeon MP Platform

    Better RAS than other platforms
    Good integer performance thanks to huge L3 cache

    Expensive MP CPUs, especially compared to Xeon E5345, and very expensive platform (motherboard, memory boards.)
    Pretty bad FP/rendering performance
    Very high latency memory subsystem, L3 cache. (bad HPC performance)
    Bad Performance/Watt, compared to Xeon E53xx and Opteron

    Intel Dual Xeon Platform / Clovertown

    Quad socket performance...
    ...For very low dual socket price in CRM, SAP, Financial analyses and Java server
    Excellent rendering performance at high resolutions (>=720p)
    In some cases, a simple upgrade for Xeon 51xx.

    Mediocre scaling in many applications
    Slightly higher power consumption but little or no performance gain compared to Xeon 5160 in flow modeling, 3D rendering (lower resolutions), structural simulation, MySQL and TPC.

    To the financial analysts, CRM, ERP and Java server people, the new quad core Xeon E53xx is close to irresistible. We observed at least a 40% performance increase compared to probably the best dual core CPU of today: the Xeon 5160.

    You get better animation and 3D manipulation performance (mostly single threaded) and better rendering performance at resolutions lower than High Definition with the Xeon 5160. 3D render servers are better off with the Quad Xeon E53xx but only if they have to render at 720p or full HD (1080p) resolutions.

    When Intel does move to 45nm proc's it will also be more efficient, ultimately moving to "point to point bus" rather than a shared bus. Intel's Penryn and Nehalem

    Mac Pro 8-core vs 4-core:
    ... speculation that the 8-Core Mac Pro maybe bottlenecked by the memory bus and also considers the possibility that Mac OS X Tiger may not be well optimized for the 8-Core Mac Pros.

    "My workstation was a PowerMac G5 Quad until March, 2007. It offered excellent performance for most tasks, but the Mac Pro outperforms it handily for almost everything, so long as the program being used is a Universal Binary (one that contains Intel code)."

    Apple introduced an 8-core Mac Pro model today, utilizing dual 3.0GHz, Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors in a build-to-order configuration carrying a $1498 premium over the standard configuration.

    Apart from the new processor option, we didn't note any changes in prices or specifications.
    8-core processing: Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors
    Intel Core micro-architecture
    8MB of L2 cache per processor (16MB total; each pair of cores shares 4MB)
    128-bit SSE3 vector engine
    64-bit data paths and registers
    Energy efficiency optimization
    1.33GHz, 64-bit dual independent front-side buses
    Quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel - Apple has added a new option for fibre channel cards: Apple Quad-Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express Card, price = $999. It shows up as a new option for the Mac Pro configure-to-order.

    Re: "Does anyone know if the Mac Pro can boot over Fibre Channel? I'd like to run a Mac Pro with no internal (or local) drives for even booting/applications."

    At WWDC the storage project manager said that Mac Pros and Intel Xserves could boot off the 4Gb PCIE Fibre Channel card, but not off the 2 Gb card.
    Mac Pro (8-Core): Memory and hard drive kit compatibility
    Mac Pro Developer Doc
    Intel Xeon Processor 5300 Series support site)
    Ram Expansion Developer note
    Thermal considerations for Mac Pro FB-DIMMs
    How to identify a Mac Pro (8-Core) computer
    Power consumption remains unknown, but it should between 120W (Quad Core 2.66GHz Xeon 5355) and 160W

    Intel's well-defined roadmap Xeon

    "We are indeed shipping a 3.0GHz Xeon 5365 version," Bill Kircos from Intel said. "For now, the product is in limited production and Apple has chosen to adopt it. We will introduce another 3.0GHz Xeon SKU later on as well."

    Preliminary Barefeats tests and benchmarks:

    Memory: The difference in the memory is that all memory modules have a little program embedded in them. Apple changed the program in the 8 core memory modules to make them play nicely with the new 8 core processor. Also, the new 8 core memory module has a larger heat sink.

    Hard Drives: Notice that Apple uses the word "Kit" in the Knowledge Base Article. A "Kit" consists of a hard drive mounting sled and a SATA II hard drive. The sleds from the quad core Mac Pro are larger than the sleds in the 8 core Mac Pro. The smaller 8 core Mac Pro sled allows for greater air circulation, hence better cooling.

    8-core Mac Pro versus 4-core Mac Pro

    Normally the CS3 action file consumes as many cores as you have to give. We saw 796% usage on the 8-core when Photoshop was the only busy application. This action file normally takes only 37 seconds to complete on *BOTH* the 8-core and 4-core Mac Pro. In other words, it's a tie if Photoshop is the only active application.

    But if three other CPU hungry apps are fighting it for CPU cycles, we see a whole different picture...

    CONCLUSION If your work flow means doing more than one thing at a time on your Mac Pro, then you will see significant gains if you spend extra to get the 8-core version. Our Photoshop CS3 actions were completed 39% faster on the 8-core when we had 3 other apps busy crunching. This advantage emerges in spite of the memory bus limitations of the 8-core Mac Pro.
    Last edited by TZ; 07-18-2007 at 05:29 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Hardware Monitor

    Hardware Monitor is an application to read out all available hardware sensors in Macintosh computers. The program can display and visualize measured values in a large variety of fashions. It can also store and export readings.

    The application Temperature Monitor is available for free, but is limited to accessing temperature sensors only. The application Hardware Monitor is commercial shareware, but can access additional sensors if your computer is equipped with them. This includes the following sensor types:
    Version 4.2:
    Added support for a large number of voltage, current (amperage), power, and light sensors for Intel-based Macintosh systems.
    Added full support for the new Apple Xserve Quad Xeon.
    Added support for S.M.A.R.T. temperature sensors in SATA drives connected via an SAS bus.
    Removed support for the internal Intel CPU sensor monitoring the target value of the core voltage. This is now superseded by the voltage sensors monitoring the actual core voltage supply.

    Added new "disk saver" preference which allows users to stop monitoring of internal hard drive sensors when the system is idle. Idle drives can now enter sleep mode and be held in sleep mode, independently of S.M.A.R.T. monitor time interval settings.

    Almost a must to monitor FB-DIMMs, Risers, PCIe slots and PSU fans and temperatures. Add smcFanControl and you are good to go!
    Last edited by TZ; 08-11-2007 at 07:18 AM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Xeon Servers

    Sun recently ended an AMD-exclusive x86 server relationship, partnering with Intel to produce a new line of Xeon servers. In exchange, Intel will promote Solaris as a mainstream x86 server operating system (see our coverage).
    Sun admits Intel pays for Xeon server engineering

    45nm-Engraved Xeon in 2007 based on the Penryn core will be available into production for the second half of 2007." Intel's latest desktop guidance claims 45nm desktop SKUs will also launch in late 2007, with volume shipments occurring in 2008. As it stands right now, only the mobile 45nm SKUs are expected to launch in 2008.

    Skaugen also confirmed that Penryn-based Xeon processors will utilize the same server platform as Xeon 5000, 5100 and 5300. Nehalem, Intel's next-generation micro architecture on the 45nm node slated for 2008, will require new platform technology and is not compatible with the Penryn platform.

    45nm quad-core Harpertown and dual-core Wolfdale were originally slated to spearhead the next-generation Xeon launch in Q1 2008. The existing Bensley platform, Intel 5000P chipset, will still provide the heavy lifting for volume dual-socket on 45nm Xeon. A new platform, Cranberry Lake, will replace Bensley-VS for value dual-socket Intel platforms, and will support Harpertown and Wolfdale.

    So, price of the current Quad Core Xeon might quickly decrease and while higher clocked models should appear.
    Future Xeons, Itaniums to share a common platform
    Cyril Kowaliski- 02:05 am, February 27, 2007

    During an interview with ZDNet, Intel VP and Digital Enterprise Group co-manager Pat Gelsinger revealed that future Xeon and Itanium processors will eventually share common platform and architectural elements.

    According to DailyTech, convergence between the Xeon and Itanium lines will be aided by Intel's Common System Interface, which will be the company's answer to AMD's HyperTransport interconnect. The site says both Tukwila and upcoming "Tigerton" Xeons, which it says are due later this year, will use CSI.

    Crucial FB-DIMMs Xserve

    According to DigiTimes, Intel plans to introduce a set of "Tigerton" processors intended for four-way servers some time at the start of September.

    Tigerton CPUs will essentially be spinoffs of Intel's Core-based Xeons tweaked for operation in 4P systems.

    DigiTimes says the Tigerton lineup will include quad-core models clocked between 1.86GHz and 2.93GHz with either 4MB or 8MB of cache as well as dual-core models running at 2.4GHz and 2.93GHz with 8MB of cache.

    Prices will range from $856 for the cheapest dual-core model to a whopping $2,301 for the 2.93GHz quad-core part.

    Today, Intel's only 4P-capable parts are still based on the old Netburst architecture.
    Last edited by TZ; 06-28-2007 at 10:34 AM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip

    Lightbulb Compilers for multicore

    Intel updates compilers for multicore era
    By Jon Stokes

    Intel has announced major updates for its C++ and Fortran tools, updates that are aimed at making it easier for programmers to exploit thread-level and data-level parallelism in multicore processors.

    On the data parallelism side, the Intel C++ Compiler and Fortran Professional Editions both sport improved auto-vectorization features that can target Intel's new SSE4 extensions.

    For thread-level parallelism, the compilers support the use of Intel's Thread Building Blocks for automatic thread-level optimization that takes place simultaneously with auto-vectorization.

    The version 10.0 compilers are actually the first from Intel that can do both auto-vectorization and thread-level optimization simultaneously in one pass.
    "Combining these capabilities in a cooperative and coordinated manner brings our customers added performance benefits and compiler reliability, which in turn gives greater PC responsiveness for gamers and everyday PC users," said Kevin J. Smith, director of the Intel Compiler Products.

    Intel is encouraging the widespread use of its Intel Threading Tools as an interface to its multicore processors. As the company raises the core count with each generation of new products, it will get harder and harder for programmers to manage the complexity associated with all of that available parallelism.

    The Thread Building Blocks are Intel's attempt to insert a stable layer of abstraction between the programmer and the processor so that code scales less painfully with the number of cores.

    Cache and memory in the many-core era

    As CPUs gain more cores, resource management becomes a critical performance challenge. Here's how Intel is addressing the problem of resource contention for our multi-core, virtualized future.

    Multi-core overhaul
    Converting single-threaded software to be multi-threaded is a highly specialised skill and a challenge for developers. The extensions initially focus on performance analysis via the company's new Light-weight profiling (pdf) specification. This technology will enable real-time feedback for performance optimisation that can be directly used by software, said Earl Stahl, vice president of software engineering at AMD.

    "Developers will incorporate [the technology] into the software, and the software can utilise it to at runtime to discover, for example, cache contention with their memory allocator and reallocate that memory," Stahl said.

    Over time, other hardware extensions could be added in such areas as software transactional memory, high-performance message-passing, and fast context-switching for lightweight parallelism. AMD plans to offer the full gamut of specifications released under the plan up for public review.

    Software that would leverage the extensions could be applications based on platforms like Microsoft's Common Language Runtime or the Java runtime, Stahl said. Access to the extensions by developers could be done either through compilers or via a small API layer.

    The extensions, however, will not be in AMD chips for an estimated three to four years. They will not be in the upcoming AMD Barcelona and Bulldozer chips.

    Intel has focused on software tools to help with multi-threaded development, while AMD is offering support in hardware itself, he said.
    Intel readies research papers on programmable multicore architectures
    provide details on how the company expects future microprocessors with simplified parallel programming models to evolve.

    What's different in developing software for multicore environments is the need for parallel programming, which is the divvying up of tasks from an application among multiple processors, and having them perform the work simultaneously. The complexity of such an environment requires different development tools than the ones typically used today.

    Intel is proposing the in-hardware implementation of a function called task scheduling, which is the mapping of work to cores for execution. The software-based methods used today introduce too much overhead for use in highly parallel workloads.

    Multicore Processors Are Reshaping Computing
    "The bus-based multicore system will fade in the next year or two,"
    Last edited by TZ; 08-17-2007 at 03:05 AM.

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