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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Anyone played around with OpenCore?

Anyone played around with OpenCore?
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reader50
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Jul 4, 2020, 07:54 PM
 
So I got tired of being stuck at Mojave 10.14.3 due to the sleep crashing & audio glitching introduced with 10.14.4+; this meant no security updates, which are only offered for 10.14.6 or Catalina.

I first upgraded my MacPro 4,1 to dual X5680s (6-core 3.33 GHz) which fixes the software issues. They're caused because Apple stopped compiling for the earlier MacPro CPUs. Those machines (like mine) were unsupported as of Mojave.

With the later CPUs, it became possible to install OpenCore. I like the quietness of my Radeon RX580, but wanted boot screens and boot picker back. Without paying double to MacVidCards for an RX580 with Mac firmware. MacRumors has a good thread on installing OpenCore (first post has everything you're likely to need).

For those who haven't heard, OpenCore is an import from the Hackintosh world. It takes advantage of the hypervisor functions built into later Intel CPUs. ie - the Mac boots from OpenCore on a hidden EFI partition. Then boots from a regular volume. OpenCore remains running in the background, invisible to the OS.

In the Hackintosh world, OpenCore does a lot. It conceals the non-Mac differences on the host machine, so an unmodified copy of macOS runs perfectly. On a processor and motherboard never used by Apple. Say, a Ryzen 3950X with 16 cores, or a threadripper with up to 64 cores.

On a Mac, OC usually does just one thing: makes a PC video card act like it has Mac firmware*. Specifically, it translates the Mac's low-level graphics language into that used by PC video cards. So your Mac generates boot screens, which you see on your monitor. OC also provides a boot picker screen to replace the one included in your firmware. It's a text picker by default, but the forum thread explains how to install the optional graphics picker.

*opencore is also used to make later OS and software updates install without issue. i think it makes your mac appear to be an iMac Pro for installation purposes. AboutThisMac still reports the mac identity correctly, but Apple's installers stop giving you the finger on your unsupported Mac.

OpenCore adds a few seconds to boot time, and apparently causes a 5% speed penalty to software-rendered graphics. But no other penalty that I can see.

OC is independent of OS version - it even works for Windows and Linux. Tested with Win10 and Ubuntu 20.04. Both were selected via the new boot picker, and both showed full boot progress. It even allowed me to boot back to Snow Leopard, with software rendering - the usual behavior of a full Mac card, when used without high-level drivers. My RX580 officially has drivers starting with Sierra, so it was nice to see it be nearly as compatible as my old Radeon 7970.

Installation is definitely nerdy, but once it's in, there are no obvious down sides.

Note, you still want high-level drivers for your video card. ie - OC does not make later nVidia cards compatible, because Apple blocked the high-level drivers from being released. OC only makes software rendering compatible, which is what the boot-sequence uses. So a Radeon RX 5x0 card only runs fast in Sierra or later. High Sierra for a Vega 56 or 64. Radeon VII only works fast in 10.14.4 and later. RX5700 and later have high-level drivers in 10.15.1 and later.

Anyone with a 2009-2011 iMac who wants to install Mojave or Catalina should be interested. Apple never shipped a metal-compatible MXM graphics card, so the only options are software hacks for non-metal cards, or PC cards without boot screens, or flashed PC cards with homebrew Mac firmware. MacVidCards was going to offer flashed MXM cards for these iMacs, but nothing came out.
( Last edited by reader50; Jul 5, 2020 at 12:12 AM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 5, 2020, 04:57 AM
 
Have you added Thunderbolt to your Mac Pro?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
reader50  (op)
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Jul 5, 2020, 01:53 PM
 
Last I heard, available thunderbolt cards were only so-so compatible. I haven't tried any. NVME cards are supposed to be better, but I don't have any sticks for one.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 5, 2020, 11:01 PM
 
The Titan Ridge cards supposedly work if you flash them but there's 50+ firmwares flying about and people have different favourite versions.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
P
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Jul 7, 2020, 08:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I first upgraded my MacPro 4,1 to dual X5680s (6-core 3.33 GHz) which fixes the software issues. They're caused because Apple stopped compiling for the earlier MacPro CPUs. Those machines (like mine) were unsupported as of Mojave.
Interesting. This would mean that Apple now requires AES support in the CPU.

Note, you still want high-level drivers for your video card. ie - OC does not make later nVidia cards compatible, because Apple blocked the high-level drivers from being released.
This is Nvidia FUD. They could make the drivers all they want, they just don't want to because the market is tiny with Apple not making any expandable Mac Pros for many years. Apple requires their drivers to be signed, and they don't want to do that. Possibly they expect that Apple will be able to see those drivers if they're signed and notarized, but even if Nvidia don't sign them, they could release them and let people disable SIP to install them.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
reader50  (op)
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Jul 7, 2020, 02:13 PM
 
MacRumors news post, November 2018.
While some customers have expressed frustration towards Nvidia, a spokesperson for the company informed MacRumors that "while we post the drivers, it's up to Apple to approve them," and suggested that we contact Apple. We followed that advice, but Apple has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment.
So nVidia had drivers waiting for Apple to sign as of late 2018.

Gizmodo post, November 2019.
The last vestiges of Nvidia and Apple’s long-term relationship are ending shortly. On Monday Nvidia published the release notes for the next update of its CUDA platform and noted that “CUDA 10.2 (Toolkit and NVIDIA driver) is the last release to support macOS for developing and running CUDA applications.” That means all future versions of CUDA will lack support for Apple devices, which could leave a decent share of the pro community, as well as the hackintosh community, without support for the most popular discrete GPUs being made at the moment.
I've found it posted elsewhere that Apple fully controls the [graphics] drivers in Mojave and later. No signature from Apple, no loading. nVidia's web drivers continue to work through High Sierra, but apparently disabling SIP is not enough to get a graphics driver working in Mojave+. Perhaps it could be done by download dev tools, and each user self-signs the driver kexts. I don't know if that was too much to ask a customer, or if Apple really has locked down graphics drivers beyond anyone's ability to load without cracking the OS.

AppleInsider investigative story.
     
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Jul 12, 2020, 04:43 AM
 
So post the drivers for High Sierra, then. I had not heard that disabling SIP would not let you load a graphics driver (and frankly I doubt that that is true) but if so, just post for High Sierra.

You can’t have people self-signing kexts, because that would require access to the driver source code, and NVidia is super-secretive about that ever since Maxwell.

As a general rule: if NVidia says something that is even slightly contentious, assume they’re lying. NVidia is the worst company out there for doublespeak at the moment, worse that even Facebook. I haven’t seen worse since Microsoft c:a 1997.

In this particular case, I think that the problem is that NVidia doesn’t support Metal 2, and without Metal 2, the windowserver is not accelerated in Mojave. Now, where it gets trickier: does NVidia require some sort of documentation from Apple to write that support, perhaps? If so, it would be a delicious irony if NVidia couldn’t because Apple wouldn’t give them the documentation.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
reader50  (op)
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Jul 12, 2020, 02:29 PM
 
I lack any inside info on the nVidia drivers subject, and do not own an RTX card to experiment with. Pity - apparently nVidia wanted to release those drivers. Enough that they developed card firmware with dual GOP / UGA support. RTX cards show boot screens on Mac and PC without modification. They'll even boot into Mojave or Catalina, only without acceleration.

-----

Back to OpenCore, my RX580 unexpectedly did not boot into Catalina. All other OSs tested work fine, but my MP turns off during the Catalina boot process. Right about where the high-level drivers load. Apparently Catalina drivers momentarily max out the card during initialization.

Regular RX580s are fine, but my triple-fan ASUS card is overclocked enough to require more max power. A 2-fan Sapphire RX580 has a thermal target of 145W whereas my 3-fan ASUS ROG has a 185W target. Actual max power draw seems to be around 40% higher than thermal target, suggesting my card can reach ~260W. Well above the 225W max the PCIe slot (75W) plus power connectors (75W each) are believed capable of.

So I have a hardware-modification project coming up. The Pixlas Mod is the most popular solution - using insulation-offset connectors to tap extra power from the cable going to the logic board. That seems tacky to me, so I plan to modify my power supply instead. Solder additional power cables to the power rails inside, so my PS has extra cables. The MP power supply is said to be rated at 980W, so it's got a ton of headroom for extra taps. Useful for my RX580, and critical if I ever get a Vega or Radeon VII card.

All parts are on order, so I foresee a thread with pictures in the future.
     
   
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