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Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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johnstump_organist

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Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 8:21 pm

A plea to the collective wisdom here.
I have now used my Mac Pro as a dedicated computer for HW for a long time, disconnected from the internet and running OS 10.8.5 and running all the upgrades to HW 4 that have come along without a hitch. However, I now see in the FAQ's by Martin, that anything older than 10.10 will definitely not work with HW V. I've been researching online and it seems if I really know what I'm doing and follow all the steps I might be able to get to "SIerra" 10.12 (which Martin in the FAQ's says might work for V, but not supported) but it appears I can not achieve High Sierra" 10.13.6 , the minimum that will be supported for V.
Can the knowledgeable people let me know if I'm correct in this? Also, if I break down and take it to an apple store, might they be able to help?
Or am I doomed to begin my search for a new HW computer even though my MacPro is still going strong? Between original price and upgrades, I have about 5,000 USD in that computer. I would love to use it as long as I can, but I really want to upgrade to V when it comes out.

Thanks in advance
John
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Romanos

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 9:28 pm

John, unfortunately I think the only help you’ll find for one of that vintage is forums and recycled parts retailers. My laptop wasn’t quite that old and I tried to have it repaired nigh 2 years ago and the parts were no longer stocked by apple. 10 years is an eternity in the computer world I’m afraid. I’m not the right one to comment on the technical questions above, but I must warn you that the outlook isn’t good. I’m also a Mac guy and I’m faced with replacing my iMac soon and it’s 6 years old, not 10.

One ray of hope since I assume yours is a “cheese grater”: It is possible you might be able to find a motherboard that is a year or two newer that could be slotted in and upgraded appropriately (assuming your processor is still adequate) to a supported macOS version. You might not need to ditch it completely.
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pwhodges

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Dec 04, 2019 5:26 am

My Hauptwerk machine is a Mac Pro 2009, and it is running Mojave; it will not, however, be able to run Catalina.

The updates required are unofficial, and a modified machine will be turned away by any Apple store (they're surely out of warranty anyway).

The motherboards of the 2009 and 2010 are actually physically identical. You can change the firmware to update its behaviour. Various sites are around with the instructions and links to the necessary firmware - here is one (though I don't think it's the one I used four years ago):
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+Upgrade+the+Firmware+of+a+2009+Mac+Pro+41/98985
This change needs to be done with meticulous care, but is not hard so long as you follow the instructions precisely.

After this modification you can use a wider range of memory types, and more of it (I took advantage of this to go to 64MB registered - and 128MB is possible), and you can upgrade the cpus from four-core to six-core (I haven't done this). You can update the OS as far as Sierra using the firmware linked on those sites.

The change from Sierra to High Sierra required a further firmware update, but the Apple system saw that as routine and was able to perform it in the official manner.
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/299769/mac-pro-4-1-flashed-high-sierra-firmware-update

To make the step to Mojave you need to change the graphics card to one which supports the Apple system called "Metal". Sadly these are normally more powerful cards which have a fan; the one I have is the only audible part of my system now. Here is a typical site suggesting possible cards:
https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/these-older-graphics-cards-are-compatible-with-macos-mojave
Changing the card is easy, of course. You can change it while running High Sierra and then check that Metal is shown as available.

This will allow Mojave to be installed; but note that afterwards various parts of the boot process will not display on the monitor - this make dual-booting impractical, for instance.

I have seen reports of people running Catalina on a 2010 (hence also 2009 that's been modified); but the process was much more techie - one route involved installing on a supported machine, modifying the boot code and then moving the disk back... I've not investigated enough to know if someone's found a more straightforward process.
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/what-you-need-to-do-to-make-catalina-work-with-macpro5-1.2183978/
Last edited by pwhodges on Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mdyde

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Dec 04, 2019 6:22 am

[Topic moved here.]
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Dec 04, 2019 3:18 pm

Your Mac Pro is a couple of years newer than mine. Any Mac Pro of this series, even those with a 32-bit EFI, will run 64-bit Windows 10. It's circuitous to say the least to get it installed, with all the right drivers, etc. I wouldn't go there, but it apparently works fine.

That said, I am decommissioning my Mac Pro, and upgrading (it really is an upgrade) to a Mac Mini. 13 years is enough, and I've gotten more than my money's worth out of the original machine. I'm going to wait a few months to see if there is any movement in Apple updates to the Mini, and run HW5 on my Catalina MacBook Pro with a few smallish sample sets in the meantime. With a few adapters, it fully supports my existing console, including firewire audio, dual monitors, touch, etc.

It's hard to say for sure of course, but the vector processing capabilities in the Gen 8/9 Intel CPUs, which has been taken advantage of in HW5 coding, may give some real performance advantages, and a reason to move on from the older Intel chipsets in that generation of Mac Pros.
Grant
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johnstump_organist

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Dec 04, 2019 6:12 pm

Thanks all,
If I can use Paul's suggestion and get to High Sierra so I can run V for a couple of years, that will work for me. I will eventually upgrade computers. I've always been a PC person except for this MacPro that was so highly recommended for HW. It has worked great. I've installed a 1TB ssd and 96 of memory (of which it it is currently only seeing 80 but that seems to be more than enough). Next time I may go the PC route, since I more comfortable tweeking Windows stuff. I did once in an emergency situation run my console from my windows 7 Laptop. Followed all the directions for glitch free audio and it seemed to work fine.
Does anyone know if I manage to get the High Sierra upgrade done, will that mean a re-install of HW4 and Touch Screen drivers?

Thanks again
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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Dec 04, 2019 8:28 pm

I didn't have to re-install anything.

Paul
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johnstump_organist

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 7:24 pm

EXITO! SUCCESS!
I have now, thanks to the links from pwhodges, upgraded my old MacPro to High Sierra.
Had a little bit of panic right at the end when the OS installer seemed frozen after 12 hours with a mm to go on the progress bar, but on a cold re-start it started the installer again and this time finished up without a hitch.
I was going to install HW5 in trial mode, but missed the option at some point and it just upgraded to 5, which turns out to be just fine.
I was playing on a single stereo pair immediately, so if I had some important practicing to do, I could have.
I spent about 10 minutes with the audio section of the guide and had my earphones and sub working right away.
Another hour or so with the advanced section of the audio guide and I was able to replicate my old multi-channel setup.
Altogether from start of OS upgrade to my main sample set installed in multi-channel, it was about 24 hours, having done many other everyday things in between the various steps.So I'm a happy camper.
I have not migrated the few licenses that I have over yet, but I will figure that out tomorrow.
For anyone wondering, I think HW5 is well worth it. The wind model is vastly more responsive and improved. The built in Reverb is fantastic. The ability to re-route ranks and cyclilng styles all without having to re-cache the organs is fantastic.
The routing and voicing possibilities for surround sound and multi channel setups, seem amazing, though I don't use surround sound much. The ability to truncate releases on front sounds and leave them long on rear channels seems like a real nice option for creating a direct and remote sounds out of the same samples. All my piston settings and combinations came over from HW 4, I did not have to reconfigure the Master generals, reversibles, etc.
It was much easier to install and setup than I had anticipated, after all the blah blah from some on here.
I frankly think it is an incredible bargain for the price, I don't know how any one is making much money from HW given all the work and man hours that must have gone into this upgrade. It must truly be a labor of love on Martin's part.
The Ilok system is relatively easy, especially if you watch the tutorials.
If you don't have to upgrade your OS, the upgrade to HW5 could easily be done in a few hours, much less if you don't have to figure out multi-channel.
I'm looking forward to experimenting with much of it. I really want to see what the randomized routing of notes does for moving the sound around the various channels.
Anyway, that's my two bits worth,
John


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mdyde

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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostThu Jan 16, 2020 6:20 am

Thanks very much, John.

Excellent -- glad to hear it's all up and running and it's very nice to hear that you like it so much.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostThu Jan 16, 2020 6:09 pm

Thanks for sharing your success, John! And Paul for the tips! I have an early 2009 MacPro and I'm still in doubt whether to try installing Hauptwerk V on El Capitan, or do the flash to 5.1 and High Sierra.

Last week I upgraded to El Capitan as a first step. I lost the calibration of my touch screen upon upgrading and the calibration software doesn't see a touch device (probably a driver issue, didn't look further into it yet). My 2009 audio interface (Focusrite Saffire) was fine with that upgrade.
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Re: Updating a Mac Pro late 2009

PostTue Feb 18, 2020 10:50 pm

Sadly I had to scrap my 2007 MacPro when my Focusrite Saffire died. I couldn't find any way of upgrading the OS in order to run the drivers for the Fireface UC that replaced it. I'm now running on an old Dell laptop while I am considering what should replace it (though the 2013 Dell has 32GB RAM to the Mac's 24GB, and actually runs Hauptwerk better than the 2007 MacPro did).

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