Apple releases the Cheese grater MK II!

As someone who’s owned a few G5’s over the years, and 2 intel ‘cheese grater/Mac Pros’ this is like exciting news! Although I don’t see why this machine took YEARS to churn out after the trashcan fire, but here we go!

Mmmm Cheese

Somehow the aesthetic is even more cheese grater than the prior G5/Pro’s. Almost a desperate call back to pros saying you missed the grater, so here it is again! Now with more grating action, and like the iPhone now with rounded corners!

Single Processor!

One thing I’ve heard time and time again is that XNU really struggles with multiprocessor setups. And I guess we’ve hit that peak as that 2013 Mac Pro was single processor, and the new Mac Pro continues in this trend with a single processor, a Xeon from the ‘W’ or workstation lineup. Which I guess isn’t all that surprising.

The real great thing is expandibility is back! SLOTS SLOTS SLOTS! Although there is no front 3.5mm RCA audio (lol remember that?!) there is 2 USB-C on the top of the case for somewhat accessible ports. Still not too bad.

Another quick to open and upgrade machine. Just like the good old days of the cheese grater!

Although many were hoping for an end to the NVIDIA embargo, bringing CUDA to the table, there was no such luck. Instead the whole ‘dual GPU’ thing was doubled down on.

Radeon Pro Vega II Duo

Bundled is the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo card, featuring dual GPU’s on the same card. Although the case is now large enough for two of these cards giving you 4 GPUs in the box.

So far, so good right?!

And then there is the expected MSRP. $5,999 USD. For the cheapest ‘base’ model featuring a bare 8 core, 16 threaded processor clocking in at 3.5Ghz.

However this does mean for people who want to collect old Mac stuff, the trashcans are no doubt going to crash in price. If you enjoy having a stack of external peripherals, and wires and cables everywhere. Kind of like the old Power Mac G4 Cube.

T’is the season for upgrades!

I’ve had this 2006 MacPro for quite a while. I’ve taken it home as didn’t have a ‘good’ home machine as I have my better stuff in the office. Anyways the machine is far obsolete with 10.7 being the last official release supported, and although you can treat it like a hackintosh and go much further, Apple is making their binaries tuned heavy enough that all the spectre/meltdown patches broke the old Xeons.

So I installed Windows 10, and found I can go all the way to 1809 without any issues. I put in a GT 1030 with DDR5 RAM and it can even game to extent, although the 13 year old 2Ghz processors were certainly holding it down. Upgrade processors have always been available when I had this machine but they were expensive, and I wasn’t sure if they’d work. Well I picked up a pair of Xeon x5365 for $88 RMB each and pulled the plug.

A score of 167!

Supported features of the old Xeon 5130’s:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

I thought the thing to do was a quick benchmark of before and after. I was getting a whopping 167! That means if Cinebench scales to 100% efficiency I get a core score of 41. While my ‘newer’ machine’s E5-2620 v2 was scoring 52, and the current E5-2667 v2 is scoring 77.

It took two hours, but I finally got these 2 Xeon x5365’s installed giving me a score of 560, or a score of 70 per core. Nice!

Much progress

And here is the CPU features of the Xeon 5365:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

If you are expecting to run new and exciting software that requires SSE4/SSE4.1/SSE4.2 and the infamous POPCNT and LZCNT instructions you will be disappointed. Sorry Apex Legends fans. This also means that VMware Player is capped to version 12.

Also, while there is a POPCNT Emulator, it will trigger anti-cheat software, and you will get perma banned. Pitty.

Another thing worth noting is that it’s worth looking at the TDP of the various sSPEC of Xeons. I was lucky and I was able to source the SLAED variation which has half the idle TDP of the SLAC3 variant.

So yeah, this is basically as far as this thing can go CPU wise. Although I have 16GB of RAM, apparently it can go to 32GB, which means buying all new memory modules. I guess I can do a better video card. I’m hoping that I can run more stuff at once, I was hitting a point with all 4 cores were maxed to 100% way too much.

I was going to show off the new CPU’s but apparently the pictures didn’t come out and I wanted to get this upgrade over with, as I had mentioned it did take 2 hours. The plastic retainer in the memory cage, and that stupid cover for the processors was the hardest PITA to remove. I probably spent at least 30 minutes pulling that damned thing off. I never removed the CPU shield before and 13 years, 3 nations, 2 continents worth of dust was unreal. Maybe it’s just as well the pictures didn’t come out, as it was pretty disgusting in there. It’s also no wonder the old CPU’s were running hot.

I wonder if this machine counts as being vintage now? Apple’s sliding scale of support is a weird thing.

Installing Windows 10 pro onto an older Mac Pro

So I have this 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 that I’ve had laying around and I wanted to put my old Nvidia 1030 into it, along with Windows 10 for a newer (stronger?) home machine.

So I burnt the downloadable ISO from Microsoft onto a DVD, tried to boot it up and got this:

Ignore the microwave…

I got stuck at this “Select CD-ROM Boot Type : ” prompt, which you can’t type anything into. Apparently it’s a common and known issue with 64bit boot code, as the older Intel Apple Mac’s are of course 32bit only. So there is a fix, you have to use something called “oscdimg” to rebuild the ISO with a 32bit friendly loader.

So first I just used 7zip to extract the downloaded ISO, and then create the new 32bit ISO with the following:

oscdimg -n -m -bc:\temp\Windows10\boot\etfsboot.com c:\temp\Windows10 c:\temp\LegacyBootWindows10dvd.iso

And yes, it boots!

Brigadier

Now what about those special ‘bootcamp’ drivers? Obviously under Windows 10 there is no nice way to get the ones you want. And what about which model/download package to get?

Then I found Brigadier!

It’ll probe your hardware type and grab the drivers for you!

https://github.com/timsutton/brigadier/releases

Installing Classic (MacOS 9.2.2) from OS X 10.4

I just got another PowerBook, and the disk had been wiped by the prior user, and all it did was boot up to the blinking mac face. So not very useful. I did luckily buy some CD’s from a user on reddit a few months ago, so I had 10.4 install DVD, and an install of 9.2.2 for the emac.

Now the OS 9, is an install disc, not one of the recovery discs, and naturally the aluminum powerbooks don’t boot OS 9, so I’m kind of out of luck for getting Classic working, or so I had thought. I copied the System Folder from the CD onto the hard disk, and told the classic applette to boot it, and it updated some system files, and then gave me this fine message:


The system software on the startup disk only functions on the original media, not if copied to another drive.

So this got me thinking, back in the Sheepshaver days when trying to boot from an ISO as a disk file, it fails the same way because the image is read/write. If it’s read-only it does boot up however. So I used disk util, and made a new read-only disk image from a directory, and pointed it to a directory that I’d moved the CD’s system folder, desktop to. After mounting the read only image, it booted!

Now for the best part, I then kicked off the installer from the CD, and had it install a copy of OS 9, onto the OS X disk.

OS 9 Installer running under OS X

It’s worth noting that just about every optional install fails. It’ll come back with an error, and you can skip the component. It’s probably just easier to install the minimal OS image.

But rest assured it really does install.

After the install you can eject the CD, unmount the read-only copy and tell the classic to stop and then boot from the new installed copy of OS 9 on the OS X disk. It didn’t interfere with my OS X from booting, although the ‘sane person’ would probably have disk image make a small (1gb) read/write virtual disk, and have the installer install to that.

So to recap, copy the system folder from the CD onto read-write media, and let classic update it. get it to the point that it’s not happy about being mounted read-write. Move it to a read-only disk image and have classic boot from that, and then run the OS 9 installer to install itself to whatever target disk you need or want.

SimCity 2000 on Classic / OS X

I’ve run Netscape 4, IE 3 & 4, QuickTime 4, and the SIMS version 1 (the OS 8/9 carbon version). using 10.4.0 on an aluminum powerbook.

I don’t know if anyone else has done this, I couldn’t find any real concrete guides for installing OS 9 from OS X.  So here we go.

Source to the Apple-II MIT Logo recovered

;  LOGO Language Interpreter for the Apple-II-Plus Personal Microcomputer
;  Written and developed by Stephen L. Hain, Patrick G. Sobalvarro,
;  and the M.I.T. LOGO Group, at the Massachusetts Institute of
;  Technology.

It’s over on github: https://github.com/PDP-10/its/blob/master/src/aplogo/logo.958

Adding an Xserve RAID

Xserve Raid

So yeah, I wanted to get a ‘real’ SAN for a while, but they always cost too much.  So I just decided to look for something older, like a MSA-1000, which are surprisingly still expensive.  Failing that I thought about how I could get that MacPro 2010 for ~$300 so I said what the heck and picked up a super cheap 7TB fully loaded out Xserve RAID.

I got a PCI-133 LSI Logic “LSI7202XP” Fiber Channel card for my G5, as I figured that this stuff was of the same era, may as well configure it with a PowerPC.

Configure the LSI

After setting the LSI to 2GB and in point to point mode, the system needed a reboot, and it would report a link on the FC adapter. Great.

To actually configure the array, you need the Xserve RAID admin tool, along with a working copy of Java on your machine.  I downloaded version 1.5.1 which is thankfully still on Apple’s site. It runs fine from OS X 10.5, although the readme does make mention of 10.2, so perhaps it’d run there, although I didn’t feel like booting into 10.2 to find out.  By default the password for read only access is ‘public’ and for admin control it’s ‘private’. Yes just like SNMP community strings.

Finding the array

You need to connect the Xserve RAID to an Ethernet network.  I’ve only used the MSA’s and they let you configure them over the FC, but no so with Apple, it’s a Bonjour enabled service, so you don’t have to setup the Ethernet, just plug it in, and that’ll be good enough.

Creating the array is straight forward, however the SAN with it’s two controllers aren’t redundant, rather it’s really 2 SAN’s in one chassis with a left & right hand side.

A new disk appears!

So the solution is to use 2 connectors to the dual card, I have 2 DAC cables so I’m set.

But for now it’s just more so messing with the unit.  I’ll probably just set it in JBOD mode, and pass it up to something like Solaris 10 with ZFS exports.

Source code to EXXOS / ERE Informatique Captain Blood not exactly released

It’s no secret that I always was fascinated with the 1988 game Captain Blood.  Last time I played it through was when I’d modified it to run with a virtual floppy drive on an Amiga 600.  While the game had been ported to numerous 8 bit and 16 bit platforms, it basically vanished into the haze that was French 80’s SciFi body horror.

But then I saw this tweet:

And sure enough I grabbed a copy of the IIGS emulator KEGS32, the ROM, an OS disk, and booted up System 6.0.1 after putting the OS disk into slot S7D1. I then mounted up the source code diskette found at brutaldeluxe.fr

Captain Blood source code release

Great right?

Well it’s a bunch of assembler files.  Ok, so when I try to open one from System 6.0.1 I get this:

Corruption

So not giving up just yet, I loaded up a program called CiderPress that can read the IIGS disk image files, and using that I was able to extract the source.

CiderPress extraction

And then I saw this gen scattered in the ASM files that were.. well honestly pretty bare of any comments.  Or sane labels.

TFBD generated externals

Which of course is the output from The Flaming Bird Disassembler, a product of Brutal Deluxe, aka where this ‘source’ came from.  Although apparently it can be re-assembled into a working executable, as Antoine had fixed it so the mouse used toolbox calls for the mouse for ROM 03.

I put the source code online in CVS.  Although I don’t think many people would care, as it’s reversed and VERY terse.

Darwin 0.3 single user mode test drive

So I asked around for some old Darwin CD’s and I got lucky!

Darwin 0.3 Front

Volume 1, Summer of 1999!  Although the back doesn’t really give it justice:

Darwin 0.3 back

As you can guess, when they talk about binary and installers, it’s for the PowerMa computers of the era, and not x86.

So once more again, I was able to rebuild a kernel, and build some of the OS.  There isn’t really anything to see, it’s not even slightly usable.  However at the boot loader type in

-s

hit enter, and it’ll boot up in single user mode.

Darwin 0.3 single user mode

Darwin03_qemu090_24_4_2017.7z

There is no games, nothing fun to do, I didn’t even build a compiler.  It’s just enough to show that it’ll boot up.  If you manually conifgure the loop back you can ping yourself, launch inetd you can even try to telnet in, but control break is .. broken, and there is no NetInfo running so no passwords.

Of course for anyone finding this site today there are more newer, and capable images on my sourceforge page:

aapl-darwin/files/qemu-images/

Thanks Apple!

iPod is disabled
iPod is disabled

I only have to wait 24,153,992 minutes to unlock my iPod!  That is just under 46 years.

So I haven’t used this in a few months, and the battery went flat, but with iOS 9 or whatever this is running it reset to 1970, and now won’t let me even try to unlock it.  Good thing the MacBook Air I sync’d it with is dead too.  I guess that’s 2012 for me.

I just don’t want to hard reset it, so I guess I’ll have to see if there is a root kit/hack to set the clock.

A/UX Documentation Update

(this is a guest post from Tenox)

I have recently received a large box with Apple Unix 3.0 documentation. Scanned and published here: http://www.tenox.net/docs/

The latest additions are these documents:

  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Essentials
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Installation Guide
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 MacX User Guide
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Networking Essentials
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Programming Languages and Tools Vol 1
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Programming Languages and Tools Vol 2
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Roadmap to A/UX
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Setting up Accounts and Peripherals for A/UX
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 Toolbox: Mac ROM Interface
  • Apple A/UX 3.0 X11 User’s Guide for A/UX

 

To my knowledge only 2.0 version of these were floating around.

This should go nicely with the latest release of Shoebill Emulator.