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OS X Mavericks on an Original Mac Pro

14 October 2013 10,907 views 11 Comments

The list of OS X Mavericks compatible Macs, like that for OS X Mountain Lion, doesn’t include the original original Mac Pro (a.k.a. MacPro1,1). However, with a little gumption, graphic card upgrade and some Terminal voodoo, there is a way to run Apple’s newest desktop operating system on its oldest (Intel) pro desktop.

Yes, there are caveats. For example, to make a 2006 Mac Pro run OS X Mavericks, you will be hacking it. Definitely going off res, but actually not that big of a deal that’s roughly on par with jailbreaking an iPhone.

That said, to run OS X Mavericks on an original Mac Pro, you will need a newer, more powerful graphics card. The good news here is that since OS X Lion, Mac Pro owners have been able to install most GPUs made for Windows PCs — Mike Hennessie, a Google+ acquaintance, is using an MSi GTX 570, which can be found for about $250 (Amazon).

Need to know more than that, like if the specific Apple supported or third-party GPU card you have in mind is compatible and/or will require flashed BIOS? The best advice here is to go deep dish on Netkas.org forums — geeky people talking and doing geeky stuff.

Of course, it bears remembering that a new graphics will cost a whole lot less than a new Mac let alone a new Mac Pro.

OS X 10.9 on an Original Mac Pro: More Nitty Gritty

Apple’s OS X Mavericks system requirements are the same needed to run Mountain Lion. Happily enough, that means the same method can be used — well trodden ground — to run Mavericks on an original Mac Pro.

Among the best sources for getting the job done — creating and installing a 64-bit capable system folder — is Jabbawok. Although the task requires multiple steps, none are particularly difficult or involved — it’s a recipe.

While you mull the possibilities, check out Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller’s introduction of the original Mac Pro way, way back in 2006.

MacPro1,1 @ EveryMac

So, the original 64-bit Mac Pro? Not entirely, but there is a way to make up the shortfall.

Gonna take the plunge and hack your 2006 Mac Pro to run OS X Mavericks or would you rather just spend the money on a new, faster Mac?

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  • Lou Cioccio said:

    Yes, thats my winter project. Although I have updated the MacPro with an iMac 27 (2012) 1GB Fusion and maxed out the RAM I have already built Hackintoshes. In fact I am currently teaching a class on Elements 11 and I use the Hack as its a lot lighter than the Mac Pro.

    Its really not hard if you have made Hackintoshes before; I have been following Netkas forum on the project (up to 55 pages) and all and very informative.

    Lou Cioccio

  • Jake said:

    Does the hack allow 64 bit extensions for external devices? Or, is it just to start up Mavericks?

    I guess another way to ask the question, does the hack turn the efi from 32 bit to 64 bit for other Apps to use?

  • Lou Cioccio said:

    Just like regular Hackintoshes its a 64 bit machine. You bypass the 64bit EFI an boot into 64 bit using a boot loader.
    Right now one of my hacks is EP45UD3 with a Quad Core Q9300 CPU, 8600GTS dual DVI and 8GB RAM with 3 hard drives and an HP DVD Writer (Apple Supported) that I lugged to teach a class.

    Lou Cioccio

  • Hansel said:

    I want to run the new version, but I have a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 running Mac OS X 10.7.5. I need instructions or better a video that goes step by step on how to do this

  • GPB said:

    I have a MacBook Pro from Oct 2006 that has a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, previously upgraded the memory to 4GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, graphics is ATI Radeon X1600 128MB and is currently running Lion 10.7.5. What do I need to do to get Mavericks running here, if it is possible? Thanks.

  • the rocr (author) said:

    Pretty sure it isn’t possible…

  • Alexandru T said:

    I have the following:

    Mac Pro 1,1
    Processor 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory 16 GB 667 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM
    Graphics ATI Radeon HD 6850 1024 MB (SAPPHIRE)
    Primary Drive: Corsair Force 3 SSD

    Can i run OS X Mavericks on this?

  • Preston said:

    Where is the tutorial to hack my macPro 1,1 to run mavericks?

  • Kris said:

    Here’s what worked on my MacPro 1,1:

    1) Get a Mavericks supported video card. I got a used PC Radeon HD5770 for cheap and flashed it to Mac firmware, worked perfect.
    2) Upgrade the firmware on the Mac using Netkas MacPro 2006-2007 Firmware Tool which will upgrade the MacPro 1,1 to MacPro 2,1 firmware and ID.
    3) Download “Sixty Four On Thirty Two” (SFOTT) which is an application that automates Terminal commands necessary to create a custom bootable Mavericks USB Installer on any 8GB+ USB key from the Mavericks Installer application.
    4) Place the Mavericks installer application in your Applications folder, start SFOTT and in the setting identify the USB key, and the volume that the Mavericks.app resides upon. SFOTT should identify you Mac automatically along with the “board-id” necessary for patching, and then in about 20-30 minutes it will create a custom bootable USB Mavericks Installer USB key.
    5) Boot the new installer key, and install Mavericks absolutely normally, just like any supported Mac, and the custom SFOTT USB Installer will install a perfectly patched Mavericks system that works immediately without further modification. It can be safely upgraded from 10.9 to 10.9.1 using Software Update which is now the App Store, so that means Apple ID login unless you find another source. Very easy, no need for Chameleon boot loader, or anything else. If you have an iMac or laptop where you can’t upgrade the video card to a Mavericks supported card, your other option is MLPostFactor which is more difficult to use, and installs a modified kernel so that older 32-bit video card drivers will work in Mavericks. AFAIK the MLPostFactor method is not upgradeable from Software Update/App Store, so any upgrades will require a new version from MLPostFactor which don’t seem to come very often. Even Mavericks 10.9 is a stretch for the current MLPostFactor app, but if you have non-Mavericks video card, this is your only option. Having a supported card and using SFOTT is much easier and better if possible.

  • Preston said:

    Thanks for the guide I will give it a shot.

  • Preston said:

    So I am not able to locate “Sixty Four On Thirty Two” (SFOTT) could you point me in the right direction.

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