I have just inherited a Mac pro workstation dual quad need help!

Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
3,734
I have inherited a mac pro workstation dual quad setup, what do I need to reinstall the osx without dvd's? can it be done over the internet? This is a 2012 model not the newer trashcan design. I think the hdd is bad and I do not have recovery dvd's. BTW I have worked on pc's for 15+ years but I'm a real newbie to mac.
 
Do you have any way to get access to a Mac for about half an hour (including a nearby Apple Store)? If so, you can create a USB recovery drive that will let you install OSX directly from the internet.
 
Your model should have internet recovery. Restart the computer and while it's restarting, as soon as you hear the chime, hold down Command + Option + R and it will start in Internet Recovery Mode.

If you think the hard drive is defective you can test it before you re-install OS X with the console (Disk Utility).

You can buy a USB with OS X on it from eBay but it's the same thing you can do yourself at home, via the internet recovery mode, or downloading an ISO to a different computer and creating the install media, or going to an Apple store and doing it yourself or asking a genius to install the OS for you.
 
ok sounds good I have it at the apple store now, having it checked out since the command options didn't work for me or them. I am hoping it is a hard drive issue or something cheap since they told me a replacement drive from them is 280 dollars!
 
I can install an os myself since if that's the problem it is available. I just hope it isn't a logic board, since I am sure it would cost a fortune.
 
The Command options might not work if the Mac hasn't ever been updated to Lion and didn't have the recovery partition installed.

The point of having them install the OS for you is that they have USB sticks but if you want to do it yourself you'll need to download the OS via their internet, which is actually quite fast but you'll probably end up being there an hour or so.

I suggest letting us know what they tell you before you authorize any repairs.
 
Last edited:
For being (possibly) the most valuable company in the world, Apple does have some pretty shitty servers, so don't be surprised if it downloads at like 1MB/s (or less!) when doing Internet recovery.

There are no retail discs after Snow Leopard. Everything after that was through the App store and relied on either USB installers or recovery partitions. That being said, there is absolutely ZERO copy protection on Apple software (excluding some high end stuff). So take that however you want......if you get my drift :)

EDIT: And yes, once that recovery partition gets blown away, it can be tough to get it back. I believe that El Capitain will create it hassle free, so try to get an El Capitain installer. Previous installers were not as robust when it came to making the recovery partition. This is also comes into play when making your own Fusion drive, which I would highly recommend because Fusion is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!
 
Yeah none of the command key strokes worked. That is why I took it to apple to start with.
Let me ask you people here will this system be unable to boot at all without a hard drive?
The apple tech stated you have to have a hard drive installed to even boot to the bios.
 
In a PC you can unplug the drive to see if that is what is causing the problem, the apple store said that isn't the way their machine works.
 
I've never tried to boot an Apple without a drive. It does not have a "BIOS" menu like on a PC because there isn't a need to configure things in that ecosystem (PC motherboards have to be adaptive to many types of operating systems).
 
Well depending on how you asked the question and how they interpreted it what they said was true. There is no "BIOS" in a Mac to boot into, but there are ways to boot a Mac without a hard drive inside of it.

You can completely remove the internal hard drive and Option boot from an external hard drive, a bootable USB stick, Command Option R boot into internet recovery, and there is even a way to network boot from a server.

But if you're talking about booting it up and just letting it sit there with nothing then no that wouldn't work.

Depending on the reason you're asking the question: if you want to check the hard drive the easiest option is to simply boot from a USB recovery OS like one of the light *nix distress, or from another OS X install if you have one from someone, or any external *bootable* USB drive. But to do that you hold down Option (not Command) until the little icons show up after a restart.
 
yes I read all that but none of the boot options worked it either gave a folder with a question mark in it or a simple cursor on a gray screen it never would allow any other options. That is why I took it to the apple store to get a diagnosis before deciding a course of action. But I am hopeful that it turns out to be a hard drive related issue since that would be the cheapest option to repair. Would you believe apple wants 280 dollars to replace the hard drive?
 
That's because there is no BIOS like you are expecting. It's looking for something bootable. You could use an internal drive, an external drive, a USB, or even bootable optical media and networks, and then Option should work. But if there's nothing there then it won't do anything except tell you there's an error.

You don't have to pay them the money to change the hard drive if you do it yourself. I don't know which drive they're replacing so I can't comment on how much that is or isn't, but there's also the value of them diagnosing and installing it for you.
 
Last edited:
I tried a install DVD it still didn't boot to the options screen, even they couldn't at the apple store. But apple is diagnosing the true problem for me.
I just hope it isn't a real expensive repair. Something simple would be great.
 
If its that new you should be able to just plug it into the internet and it will download and install OSX.
 
Yea the case on those are heavy as everything. What's inside is the xeon equivalent of a Q9xxx series processor IIRC. So even though it's dual quads, a modern i7 desktop processor is still faster than it. It's fine for messing around with OSX, but it's not a powerhouse anymore. (The actual processor in it is from 2009 even though the box was made in 2012)

Even though it's a mac it's still just a standard connector for drives. You can plug in and DVD+RW drive that's sata from a PC and that will work for you. Same with the HDDs. No need to get a mac certified one. Also, if you didn't open the case yet just note that model has a terrible design for mounting drives. It has a crappy tray that you pull out and it screws into the bottom of a 3.5" drive and not into the sides like most things do. So you'll have to get creative if you want to try to mount a 2.5" ssd into it as even some conversion kits aren't going to have the proper holes to work with their mounting.
 
Yea the case on those are heavy as everything. What's inside is the xeon equivalent of a Q9xxx series processor IIRC. So even though it's dual quads, a modern i7 desktop processor is still faster than it. It's fine for messing around with OSX, but it's not a powerhouse anymore. (The actual processor in it is from 2009 even though the box was made in 2012)

Even though it's a mac it's still just a standard connector for drives. You can plug in and DVD+RW drive that's sata from a PC and that will work for you. Same with the HDDs. No need to get a mac certified one. Also, if you didn't open the case yet just note that model has a terrible design for mounting drives. It has a crappy tray that you pull out and it screws into the bottom of a 3.5" drive and not into the sides like most things do. So you'll have to get creative if you want to try to mount a 2.5" ssd into it as even some conversion kits aren't going to have the proper holes to work with their mounting.


He said its a 2012 model those have Westemere Xeons in them in them. Mac Pros have been i7 xeons since 2009ish.

Westermere is still a decent chip even by todays standards.
 
He said its a 2012 model those have Westemere Xeons in them in them. Mac Pros have been i7 xeons since 2009ish.

Westermere is still a decent chip even by todays standards.

Actually nope, we're both wrong. Officially the W3565 processor that's in it is part of Nehalem. It's a 45nm part but it's a tock, not a tick. Penryn would have been the tick to 45nm, and Nehalem was the tock of the new architecture release. It is a Bloomfield processor based on LGA-1366, so it is the server part of the i7-960.

Mac Pro (Mid 2012) - Technical Specifications

So if you look closely at that link, apparently if you have quad cores they are Nehalem and if you have the 6 cores, they are Westermere.

Nehalem (microarchitecture) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Intel® Xeon® Processor W3565 (8M Cache, 3.20 GHz, 4.80 GT/s Intel® QPI) Specifications

So yea, it's definitely faster than I thought, but it's still pretty old. I doubt I'd be able to find a proper comparison of IPC, but there is 5 generations of processor upgrades in there, so I wouldn't be surprised if clock for clock it's close to 50% by now not including the lack of AVX. Thankfully the clock speed on those particular chips is high so that certainly helps keep the clock speeds a bit closer to higher end desktop parts.
 
I hope a ssd does that good I love how it looks, it appears to be made like a tank.

It's a pissant, lightweight tank... those aluminum feet on the top/bottom were a shitty, shitty, design. Don't put any extra weight on the machine or they'll bend. Or God forbid you try to ship the machine without protecting the feet and then the whole case gets fucked up. The current Mac Pro I own I had to do a case swap on because the damn rivets got blown out from the side of the case because the top-rear foot was bent in so bad during shipping.

Granted I still love the classic Mac Pro tower, given the upgradability you get with it, yet I'm still waiting for my dual processor Mac Pro to sell. Cool machine but definitely not the quietest machine I've had around.
 
Last edited:
Also, agreed on buying an aftermarket SSD and rolling your own. I'm surprised you can't get internet recovery considering it is a 2012 machine and Lion came out in 2011. I believe you just need to hold CMD+R to get into recovery though... and it needs an active internet connection to do so (wireless or hardwired)

If you hold down option during startup if will normally give you a list to boot from and then you can put in a wireless SSID/password in if the tower isn't connected via Ethernet.
 
I think there may be some confusion about the CPUs in the rig. He either has dual quads like he suspected but that would make his a 2010 *or* he has dual sixes in a 2012. Presumably the previous owner told him it was a dual cpu or he looked inside and saw two configurations for processors, but the previous owner may not have known it had 6 instead of 4 cores per processor or this is all just guessing by anyone handling the computer.

The computer hasn't ever booted in his presence so it's entirely possible he doesn't know what is inside, but to my knowledge there wasn't a dual quad option in 2012.
 
Good catch! I see now on everymac that there were only six-core processors for the dual processor rigs. You could still get a quad core in a single processor configuration but that was it.

I guess I could pull the drive try to do internet recovery on this 2009 (flashed to 2010) and see if it would work or not.

Edit: Nevermind, looks like it might not be supported:
You can also start your Mac from OS X Recovery or Internet Recovery if your Mac was manufactured after 2011.

To start your Mac from the Recovery System, use these steps:

  1. Start up or restart your computer.
  2. Hold down the Command and R keys on your keyboard until you see the Apple logo appear onscreen.

How to choose a startup disk on your Mac - Apple Support

But hey... I've got a snow leopard recovery disc I can mail you to get you bootstrapped at least :D
 
Ok here is the deal I was looking at the wrong serial number it it a 2008 mac pro not a 2012 system it is dual quad from what I can tell. I did find the problem a loose connection inside the case then I showed my ignorance and erased the installation :( well then I find I cannot install from the internet because The past installation is tied to a apple id. great now I have to buy a lion install for 20 dollars and wait on them to send me a code so I can download. On a high note I didn't mess up my recovery portion of the hard drive so I can get to the recovery part and the internet does work I just cannot download from their server until it is updated saying I paid for the download.
 
Have you paid for the OS yet? because I am sure an apple store will do it for free
 
You don't need to upgrade from Lion to El Capitan. You can update directly from Snow Leopard to El Capitan (and it's free). You just need to use a Snow Leopard install disk and then install this over it:
OS X El Capitan on the Mac App Store

The Internet Recovery is trying to download whichever version's recovery partition was installed last. You don't need a copy of Lion, it's just trying to download a Lion install (which wasn't a free update). You could also do an El Capitan clean install if you had access to install media. The Apple Store has done it for people in the past but I don't know if they will always do it for free.
 
yeah I paid for it because apple told me at their store I would have to pay for the os install then I will go to el capitan once done. I didn't have any install dvds to reinstall with 20 isn't too bad.
 
Yes, $20 bucks isn't a horrible price tag for the techs to diagnose your computer all night and get you up and running the next day.
 
Well here is the update I have the system up and running El capitan and it is a Dual Quad core system I am currently looking to buy a adapter to mount a ssd in a standard drive cage. I am also looking for the drive sleds for the 2008 mac pro if anyone has them.
 
Back
Top