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Alder Lake / Big Little Compatibility with Hackintosh

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If there is a next Intel based Mac Pro (8,1) in 2022 that is actually good news. That means Apple has to provide support for it within macOS. We can adapt our Intel hacks to use that SMBIOS and get many more new versions of macOS than we had previously expected.
This is what I was thinking when it was announced.
 
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Bad news: there's been a leak that the next up-coming Intel Mac is going to use the Xeon W-3300 processor, which DOES NOT have big/little cores. This is rather disappointing as it would give us some hope for the next generation of processors and extend the usability of Mac OS:
:rolleyes: I don't quite understand your reaction. These rumours have always been about an updated Mac Pro with Ice Lake Xeon. If you were expecting a consumer-grade processor, you were fooling yourself.
Now, a Mac Pro with a W-3365 would be a very slick machine (given XNU's limitation at 64 threads, the W-3375 makes little sense). Regardless whether anyone manages to hack a C621A platform, that would mean longer support for x86 by OS X, which would be good news for all of our present hacks.

But there's no reasonable hope of an updated consumer-grade Mac. The 10th generation on 400 series is what a hackintosh user should target. Yes, that's already the previous generation but at least it has working iGPU and is well documented. Limitations begin with the 500 series. 600 series and later will be for dedicated hackers only to attempt—and may require hard work or not work at all as hackintoshes due to the different architecture.
Irrespective whether there is an Ice Lake Mac Pro, our x86 hacks are all bound to become living fossils, to loose feature parity with Apple Silicon and eventually turn into retrocomputing exercises—just like running MacOS on PowerPC or 68k (remember those?). An Ice Lake Mac Pro would only push slightly forward the end-of-useful-life date for our hacks but not avoid the unavoidable.

And, of course, Apple is still the same company which was happy to keep selling the MacPro 6,1 with the same IvyBridge-EP CPUs for most of the previous decade. The cylindrical design was very nice looking but was not suited to cool more powerful CPUs than what it was originally designed for. When Intel increased the TDP on the following generations of Xeon E5, Apple just sticked to its design for six years without bothering to update it for the new socket and processors. (It's actually amazing that Apple could source LGA2011 E5v2 long enough to keep selling its "trashcan" Mac Pro from 2019 until 2019, while Intel had released and then discontinued LGA2011-3 Haswell E5v3 and Broadwell E5v4 Xeons in between.)
The current tower design should certainly be able to accommodate upgraded cooling for W-3300 Xeons, but there is still no guarantee that Apple will bother releasing a new C621A motherboard for them rather than just keep selling the current W-3200 range until Apple Silicon can catch up with these.
 
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:rolleyes: I don't quite understand your reaction. These rumours have always been about an updated Mac Pro with Ice Lake Xeon. If you were expecting a consumer-grade processor, you were fooling yourself.
No, I was hoping that whatever Intel processor they went with, be it Xeon or Core series, would have big/little core support which would let us upgrade to Alder Lake.
 
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So let's say you weren't fully up on the architecture of Intel processors… Because the so-called "third generation of Xeon Scalable" is a hot mess, with two different architectures (Cooper Lake for 4 to 8-way servers, Ice Lake for 1- or 2-way) on two slightly different variants of the same socket and a whole new slew of confusing letters to label them, but they have been out for some time and there's no hint of big/little (or "big/bigger") in them—and no indication this might come to Sapphire Rapids.

If you were waiting to update your 4th generation build next year with the latest and greatest from Intel, I suggest you either scale down your expectations and consider instead the present and previous generations as the end of the road for hackintoshing, or begin saving for buying into Apple Silicon. "This is the end, my friend…"
 
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So let's say you weren't fully up on the architecture of Intel processors… Because the so-called "third generation of Xeon Scalable" is a hot mess, with two different architectures (Cooper Lake for 4 to 8-way servers, Ice Lake for 1- or 2-way) on two slightly different variants of the same socket and a whole new slew of confusing letters to label them, but they have been out for some time and there's no hint of big/little (or "big/bigger") in them—and no indication this might come to Sapphire Rapids.

If you were waiting to update your 4th generation build next year with the latest and greatest from Intel, I suggest you either scale down your expectations and consider instead the present and previous generations as the end of the road for hackintoshing, or begin saving for buying into Apple Silicon. "This is the end, my friend…"
Yeah, that's the thing, I'm not in a major rush to upgrade, so I'm OK to wait a little (or a bit) for Alder Lake and see how that turns out with Mac OS. My 4790k isn't giving me any issues, my 5700 XT is plenty fast for me as well. But I'm prepared to accept Rocket Lake being the last supported CPU for OS X. I am, also, planning on buying an M1 MacBook Pro anyway to replace my 2012 MBP... If anything, at that point I'd have best of both worlds.
 
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If there is a next Intel based Mac Pro (8,1) in 2022 that is actually good news. That means Apple has to provide support for it within macOS. We can adapt our Intel hacks to use that SMBIOS and get many more new versions of macOS than we had previously expected.

It does not necessarily have to happen. The last "clean" computer on the Intel processor is iMac 2019. All others already have a security T2 chip, which in the future can become a MacOS security key.

Regarding Alder Lake, the first tests have already appeared in GeekBench i7 12700:

GB5 i7-12700-geekbench.png


https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/9487530

i9 12900K:

GB5 12900k.png


 
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Apparently the gracemont cores can be disabled via BIOS. Any ideas if that could help with getting Alder Lake to work with OSX?
 
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Disabling Gracemont will not help if the hybrid architectures means that cores are addressed differently than with the previous generation.
It is a poor fix to ensure consistent scheduling in the absence of a sophisticated scheduler.

But, form this article by Intel, Golden Cove cores do have AVX-512, which is disabled when Gracemont cores are present and enabled. So, if disabling Gracemont allows to enable AVX-512 on Golden Cove cores, Alder Lake CPUs would better match the abilities of the Xeon CPUs in SMBIOS iMacPro1,1 or MacPro7,1 (iGPU-less) and this could indeed help to get OS X working.
 
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