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Author Topic: Mojave and new Boot rom upgrades for an X-Serve  (Read 334 times)
Rominator
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« on: June 09, 2018, 11:58:46 AM »

I was reading the thread(s) at MR about adding some missing Microcode and NVME to latest Mac Pro 5,1 boot room.

Someone had suggested adding the Westmere CPUs to the X-Serve 3,1 boot rom. It is basically a 2009 4,1 in many regards, down to having 1 or 2@ 2.26 Ghz 4 Cores as base.

I bought an X-Serve a couple years back to work on iMac MXM cards. I figured it was only Mac with MXM 3 A or B size card that could be swapped with 1 or 2 screws. I planned to bootcamp the X-Serve into Windows to flash, then back to OSX to test. X-Serve has a DP port wired through MXM card to back panel. And it used same crappy GT120 as an iMac.

Anyhow, I got the cheapest X-Serve I could get. It had apparently been in service on a submarine that sank. Water damage, things fixed with hammers, parts missing. I wanted cheap and I got it.

It's junk but it runs. Single 4 Core at a blistering 2.26 Ghz. I can watch my beard grow while it boots.

But the whole plan came to a grinding halt when I found out that Windows doesn't run natively on an X-Serve. And running in a VM doesn't let you touch the hardware the way I needed. (Flashing EEPROM on MXM card) Became a large, and potentially dangerous door stop.


I recently decided to finish this quest. So I got the cobwebs out of the X-Serve and fired it up.

Saw those Microcode threads and got excited. Decided I was going to have the first 6 Core X-Serve. Downloaded the various tools and modules.

Digging through the X-Serve boot rom I couldn't locate the 15 Microcode. So I used some thought and located the table that it contains. I would like to contribute the attached files, when used as h9828** thread at MR, it works. I swapped the Microcode on the X-Serve boot rom and was able to up the level from 25 to 28. So that worked.

But sadly, I could not get a W3690 to work. X-Serve is cursed with another similarity to 4,1. Even the single core X-Serve has a dreaded "lidless" CPU. At hand I had a W3690 and a W3520. I tried the 3690 several times, it just never lit the "blue lights of joy" when it attaches to EFI display and boot finally is visible. When I tried the W3520 it worked first boot. So, the Microcde doesn't bring magic all by itself.

Maybe I'll get a chisel out tomorrow and de-lid the Dxxxxxd 6-Core. But I did bend one pin in my ham handed efforts with 6 Core so I'll settle for my minor upgrade to 2.8 Ghz for now.

But hey, the Boot Rom thingie worked.

I'm going to try the NVME boot next. X-Serve never even got APFS so I may need help finding that and adding it.

Oh, and I installed Mojave. Runs just like on a 4,1/5,1. Smooth as butter as long as you don't need Finder.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: I was surprised to find that microcode didn't enable Westmere. But obviously this isn't defining piece of code. Otherwise, why do all 5,1s still work with 87 boot rom that lacks any and all Microcode? So by definition, the ability to run 6 Cores lies elsewhere in the rom. No new magic, but protection from bad guys should be important to any remaining X-Serves in Service.


* Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 1.54.23 AM.jpg (130 KB, 854x595 - viewed 40 times.)
* xserve old microcode.rom.zip (37.96 KB - downloaded 11 times.)

* Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 10.39.16 AM.jpg (97.39 KB, 1302x726 - viewed 23 times.)

* Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 10.38.46 AM.jpg (88.18 KB, 1270x700 - viewed 24 times.)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 07:11:22 PM by Rominator » Logged

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Rominator
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2018, 12:22:42 PM »

Crucial Detail, don't use h9827**'s "new microcode" file with my old one.

Follow his instructions, but use Dosdude's file from his post.

0087-ws30-nh28-MP51-microcode-block.bin

Is the same but I agree with Dosdude including what looks like a header, while h98 has left it off.

They should probably agree on a format and all stick to it. Right now using h98's file on Dosdude's fix or vice versa is an issue, they are different lengths due to missing header.

So replace my previous linked file with DOSDUDES file of the above name per h98's instructions using hex editor. Copy and paste twice, save, flash.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/gulftown-westmere-nehalem-microcode-update-guide.2122246/#post-26137406

Thanks to Dosdude and lightbulbfun and h982** for their pioneering effort in this.

Working on NVME now, will post screens with Mojave on X-Serve
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 01:12:10 PM by Rominator » Logged

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Rominator
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 01:34:23 PM »

I used Dosdude's patcher app for High Sierra and installed High Sierra onto an old NVME drive I got when we hosted a driver. A Samsung 512 Mg .

I did the post install patcher applications and choose it as boot drive.

Didn't work.

So I took my Microcode updated X-Serve Boot rom and added the NVME DXE per Dosdude's tool. I then rebooted, and got into my BRAND NEW FRESH NVME INTSALL of High Sierra. Worked on next boot, it had already been selected, machine had defaulted to other drives since it couldn't
 "see" NVME before that boot.

Now it sees it just fine. Booted up smooth and fast. So in 1 day I confirmed both new microcode update and NVME via bootrom. These guys have done the Mac world a huge favor.

I did have one problem, my High Sierra installer and NVME drive were both PCIE, so I had to use an MXM GPU. The GT120 is weak knee'd and doesn't work in Mojave. So I slid in our new GTX660M. Boot screens and Metal Family 1.4. Nice little card. And another first, a "new" Nvidia MXM card, trying to think of any iMac models that might need such a card...

So, I confirm 28/30 Microcode and NVME fixes work in X-Serve 3,1 bootrom. Easy, simple, and fast. DOSDUDE has done some impressive and beneficial work. My junky old X-Serve feels a whole lot newer and more relevant all of a sudden.

Now to go through the pix from photo shoot today of eGPU 1080Ti for Pre-Sales that were supposed to start 5 hours ago.

Yikes !



* x.jpg (100.89 KB, 720x851 - viewed 42 times.)

* nvme.jpg (94.96 KB, 648x784 - viewed 39 times.)

* profile.jpg (54.16 KB, 644x415 - viewed 48 times.)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 01:46:37 PM by Rominator » Logged

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netkas
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 06:38:03 PM »

/usr/standalone/i386/apfs.efi

on your 10.13 filesystem

but it's too big to be embeded into firmware

in new efis, apple has a module which loads apfs.efi from disk container, verifies signature and runs it
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netkas
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2018, 07:53:22 PM »

this is probably it: APFS Jump Start Driver
file with guid CFFB32F4-C2A8-48BB-A0EB-6C3CCA3FE847 in mbp114 firmware
9kb

but you would want to extract it from mp5,1 firmware for best compatibility

open mp's efi in uefitool, search for text apfs, here it is
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LightBulbFun
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2018, 09:48:05 PM »

very nice work Smiley

pretty cool to see you where able to update the microcode of your Xserve3,1

im not too surprised that it did not enable Westmere support sadly.

I recommend you check out my first Microcode thread here https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/updating-a-mac-pro-s-cpu-microcode.2114187/ for some more info on it all

we need to find where in the Macs EFI the CPU "support code" resides we should be able to "port" that over from the MP5,1 to enable Westmere CPUs on the Xserve3,1

also pretty cool you got NVMe booting working too Smiley someone should mod a MacPro3,1 then install 4 NVMe drives on a Squid card for shits and giggles  Grin

BTW if you really want to go off the Deep end you could try flashing the Xserve3,1 to a MacPro5,1... https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/going-off-the-firmware-deep-end.2121762/

also finally it should be possible to Boot windows on an Xserve3,1 I have a quick n dirty guide here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/instal-actual-not-virtual-windows-on-x-serve.1974421/#post-22940424 sadly I only own an Xserve1,1 and on there windows is BSODing on something but as im booting Blind I cant tell what its crashing on (I even disconnected the SAS controller and it still BSODs on something...)

« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 09:49:43 PM by LightBulbFun » Logged
Rominator
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2018, 06:24:36 PM »

Yeah, the NVME is pretty easy now that others figured it out.

Nice of Apple to leave that supported machines boot plist the same so you can just use a 10.10 one in 10.14 and everything is easy breezy.

Tackled the 3,1 last night, but that will be another thread.

Next is APFS.

Anyone get this done yet?
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