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Big Sur Build for Developing on Xcode

Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
2
Motherboard
Asus X570-Plus
CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Graphics
MSI GTX 760 / GTX 970
Hello everyone!

Since I can't accept being price gouged by Apple to use their products to develop apps for iOS devices, I have decided to see about using my current PC for the job and I'm hoping the community can help me out. Here's what I have available to work with:
  • GTX 760 (in storage) & 970 (current GPU)
  • TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI)
  • AMD Ryzen 3600
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • One 500GB M.2 SSD
  • One 120 GB SSD (will use this for OSX drive)
  • A few 1TB HDDs
  • 600W BQ EVGA PSU (yes, should've gone higher)
Now here's the challenge!
  1. Will the X570-PLUS allow dual-booting to OSX with a secondary Big Sur compatible GPU installed?
  2. Will virtualization for emulation on Xcode still work?
  3. What AMD GPU would fair well for development and won't break the bank? (This GPU will only be used for OSX and Xcode emulation)
  4. Would a CPU with integrated graphics meet my needs just as well for development instead of a 2nd GPU?
  5. Are there any other complications with this build that I may have overlooked?
Note Windows 10 is my main OS so I plan on dual-booting for OSX.

Thanks!
 

Edhawk

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  1. iMac
  2. MacBook Air
  3. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
In answer to your questions:
  1. Yes, the AMD board will not hinder dual-booting macOS and Windows.
  2. Sorry, don't know for sure if an AMD system can run the Virtualisation required for Xcode. But I would err on the side of no if pushed.
  3. The price of any AMD GPU is currently going to 'break the bank' due to the bitcoin mining explosion. Even recent (RX580) 2nd-hand AMD cards are ridiculously priced.
    1. Rather than buying an overpriced AMD GPU, you could switch to an Intel system, Z390/Z490 board with a Coffee Lake CPU, which has an IGPU that would work sufficiently for your Xcode work, no need for 2nd GPU, no need to upgrade the PSU. Could be a cost saver all round.
  4. AMD APU's are not supported in macOS. The only CPU's with Integrated Gpu's that work in macOS are Intel based.
  5. Disabling a specific discrete GPU (dGPU), while leaving another working is not as simple as disabling a single dGPU.
    1. Your GTX 760 would work in macOS as your second dGPU. It is natively supported in Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur. Possibly Monterey too, but too early to tell if Apple will retain the Nvidia drivers when the OS is released for general consumption.
    2. You would need to think about how the two GPU's were connected to your monitor, which connectors are available on the display(s) and which are available on the dGPUs.
    3. Switching from one dGPU to another, just using the display(s) built-in options, without having to remove and plug in the same cable would be ideal.
Summary:
If you plan to use the system as a work machine I would recommend you go with an Intel system over an AMD system. Primarily because we know Intel systems work the same as real Mac's and AMD systems have issues with specific applications such as Adobe Photoshop etc. I think that AMD's virtualisation setup is different to Intel's and this may hinder your Xcode work.
 
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
2
Motherboard
Asus X570-Plus
CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Graphics
MSI GTX 760 / GTX 970
In answer to your questions:
  1. Yes, the AMD board will not hinder dual-booting macOS and Windows.
  2. Sorry, don't know for sure if an AMD system can run the Virtualisation required for Xcode. But I would err on the side of no if pushed.
  3. The price of any AMD GPU is currently going to 'break the bank' due to the bitcoin mining explosion. Even recent (RX580) 2nd-hand AMD cards are ridiculously priced.
    1. Rather than buying an overpriced AMD GPU, you could switch to an Intel system, Z390/Z490 board with a Coffee Lake CPU, which has an IGPU that would work sufficiently for your Xcode work, no need for 2nd GPU, no need to upgrade the PSU. Could be a cost saver all round.
  4. AMD APU's are not supported in macOS. The only CPU's with Integrated Gpu's that work in macOS are Intel based.
  5. Disabling a specific discrete GPU (dGPU), while leaving another working is not as simple as disabling a single dGPU.
    1. Your GTX 760 would work in macOS as your second dGPU. It is natively supported in Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur. Possibly Monterey too, but too early to tell if Apple will retain the Nvidia drivers when the OS is released for general consumption.
    2. You would need to think about how the two GPU's were connected to your monitor, which connectors are available on the display(s) and which are available on the dGPUs.
    3. Switching from one dGPU to another, just using the display(s) built-in options, without having to remove and plug in the same cable would be ideal.
Summary:
If you plan to use the system as a work machine I would recommend you go with an Intel system over an AMD system. Primarily because we know Intel systems work the same as real Mac's and AMD systems have issues with specific applications such as Adobe Photoshop etc. I think that AMD's virtualisation setup is different to Intel's and this may hinder your Xcode work.
You're a gem, Edhawk!

It's just the AMD virtualisation for Xcode that remains in question now, so if anyone is using an AMD CPU with their hackintosh build and doesn't mind installing Xcode and running its iOS emulation, it would be extremely helpful if you can report back here and let us all know how it worked out. Thanks in advance!

In the meantime, I'll see about executing this myself. I won't be able to use Big Sur yet but I should be able to prove whether or not Xcode iOS emulation will work. Wish me luck!


EDIT: Never mind. According to the following source AMD CPUs do not support virtualisation for IDE's like Android Studio and Xcode at this time:

  • Virtual Machines relying on AppleHV
    • This includes VMWare, Parallels, Docker, Android Studio, etc
    • VirtualBox is the sole exception as they have their own hypervisor
    • VMware 10 and Parallels 13.1.0 do support their own hypervisor, however using such outdated VM software poses a large security threat

Perhaps support will become available in the future. Curse you, Apple! :banghead:
 
Last edited:

Jamesbond007

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Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
6,435
Motherboard
Z390 Designare
CPU
i7 9700KF
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Never mind. According to the following source AMD CPUs do not support virtualisation for IDE's like Android Studio and Xcode at this time:



Perhaps support will become available in the future. Curse you, Apple! :banghead:

I can understand your frustrations. However, Apple has never used AMD CPUs in its Macs (from the beginning of the Intel transition in 2006) so it is no surprise that the Apple hypervisor on Big Sur won't work with them, which have different virtualization hardware compared to Intel CPUs.

No point to "curse" Apple about this, and don't expect Apple to add such support to MacOS in the future with Apple busy about the Apple Silicon transition.

With regard to the hardware limitations regarding the Apple hypervisor, it is not the complete picture :

The current version of VMware Fusion (12) uses the Apple hypervisor when running on Big Sur (and therefore won't work on AMD CPUs), but the same version of Fusion when running on Catalina uses its own hypervisor, so I would expect it might work on an AMD system (but if it requires Intel specific CPU instructions then it will still fail) if it is running Catalina (never tried this myself so cannot confirm). Older Fusion versions (say 11) use its own hypervisor.

This, by the way, is the source of one major problem with VMware Fusion 12 on Big Sur. Since it depends on the Apple hypervisor, problems in it causes significant performance problems using nested virtualization (running a virtual machine inside another). The same version of Fusion when running on Catalina has no such performance problems since it uses its own hypervisor. This problem is at the heart of my refusal to upgrade to Big Sur as I need to run nested virtual machines on VMware Fusion myself. The problem has been known at least since Big Sur beta last year and almost one year later there is no real effort to try to fix it by Apple :

 
Last edited:
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