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Dell Precision 670 -=Solved=-


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#1
Kafluke

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I have been at this for days. I know that this system can run a one of these OSX86 distros and run it well. I just keep having problems getting the dang thing to work. The only distro I can get to work is iDeneb 1.3 and I think that is pretty old.

I've tried many many more and every time they finish installing I get a boot loop.

What I'd like to be able to do is install the retail disc I have of snow leopard. I don't know if that's possible though. I don't understand the difference between chameleon boot and boot-123.

When I finished a good install of iDeneb 1.3 the network card didn't work and someone told me that an updated version of iDeneb has the drivers for my network card. I can't get 1.5 or 1.6 lite to work though. They all just get stuck in a boot loop.

If there is anyone that has had success with these dual xeon dell precision 670 systems and ANY recent distro or build of OSX86 please share with me the details of a proper install so I can get going on this thing. Thanks

-Kafluke


I found nawcom and booted with that. All default settings. It worked perfectly with my retail store bought copy of Snow Leopard!

#2
Kafluke

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I found nawcom and booted with that. All default settings. It worked perfectly with my retail store bought copy of Snow Leopard!


Now if I could just figure out how to get the network card to work.

#3
Kafluke

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And get some accellerated graphics action. I've seen snow leopard running on macs and they are much nicer looking than what I got going on (and its not just resolutions). I'm talking animated app tray at the bottom etc.

#4
Hervé

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Same here. I also gave that box a try last summer with Nawcom ModCD + Retail SL 10.6.3. Went straight in.

My specs are:

  • 2 single-core 64bit Xeon 3.8GHz (Irwindale)
  • 4Go DDR2-400 ECC RAM
  • 320Go SATA + 160GO SCSI + 40Go IDE
  • Intel E7525 chipset
  • Adaptec AIC-7901 Ultra320 integrated RAID SCSI controller (unsupported)
  • nVIDIA Quadro FX1400, dual DVI (with dual screen)
  • SoundMAX/AC'97 integrated audio
  • Intel Pro/1000 MT integrated Ethernet

 

Still a good Workstation and it does run well under SL albeit with default graphics and no network capability. I guess, it's a simple matter of replacing the existing Graphics card by a compatible model and adding a compatible Wireless USB/PCI adapter.



#5
Hervé

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'never updated this old thread after my hardware update many moons ago...
 
I had replaced my original Nawcom's ModCD installation with a myHack installation and made up a booptack. It's been running 10.6.8 pretty well. I eventually replaced the unsupported Quadro FX1400 card with a supported GeForce 9800GT (a dual-DVI+HDTV Twintech model with 512Mo DDR3) obtained for pennies. Initially this required an enabler kext (NVEnabler64) to work OOB until I finally extracted the DSDT table to patch it and found out I had to set PCI root to 4 (an absolute must or DSDT injection remains ineffective). The alternative to that can be to set PCI root UID to 0 in the DSDT (at the beginning of Device (PCI0) section) so that default PCI root 0 can be used. Such a change is without adverse affects.
 
SpeedStep appears to be working thanks to Kozlek's recent FakeSMC/HWMonitor package (although I only ever see 2 states at 2.8GHz and 3.8GHz, i.e. min and max). Built-in Ethernet finally got to work with an older 32bit-only AppleIntel8254XEthernet kext v1.1.2 (from Tiger?). Full details on this are here. I also patched the DSDT to add some info about the Ethernet so that it's reported in System Profiler as per information found in attached IOReg file. A Tenda W522U (Ralink chip) 802.11n USB dongle gives me good wireless connectivity.

System can run in 32bit or 64bit kernel mode, but audio does not work in 64bit mode for some unknown reason. Calling on audio in 64bit kernel mode will actually make the system crash with some audio garbage noise. At some point, I did manage to get it stable in 64bit mode with npci set to 0x2000 or 0x3000 but then no sound ever came out although audio hardware was detected Ok and kexts loaded.

Attached File  SystemProfile_PCIcards.jpg   73.3KB   2 downloads

 

The only thing that probably still requires a DSDT patch to work is Sleep.
 

---------

EDIT - 15Jan2015 :

It's actually a bad idea to modify DSDT for Firewire as that proves to break Sleep! See posts below...



#6
yanooshe

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Dear Hervé,

  1. Why you moved from Nawcom's ModCD method to myHack?
  2. Exactly, which kernel you're using?
  3. Could you write some basic guide for 670 myHack installation?

 

Thanks :)

 



#7
Hervé

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I'm using Nawcom's legacy 10.6.8 kernel, i.e. Darwin_10.8.0 (v2). Initially, I installed retail SL 10.6.3 with Nawcom's legacy 10.6.3 kernel (Darwin_10.3.0), then ran combo update 10.6.8 + replaced legacy kernel Darwin_10.3.0 by Darwin_10.8.0.

 

I switched to myHack because that is what we use and advocate at OSXLatitude across the board. myHack offers the ability to add new kexts or supersede vanilla kexts in a very easy and clever way that leaves /S/L/E folder totally unmodified. It also automatically repairs permissions and rebuilds kext cache. You can find a guide I made some time ago here (there's a copy of the 10.6.8 legacy kernel in post #3).
 
In the case of your ModCD installation, once you replace the vanilla AppleIntel8254XEthernet kext by the older version, you have to manually repair permissions, then rebuild your cache for the change to be effective. To do that, open up a Terminal window and type:
sudo chmod -R 755 /System/Library/Extensions
sudo chown -R 0:0 /System/Library/Extensions
sudo touch /System/Library/Extensions
 
Then reboot.
 
The alternative is to remove the vanilla AppleIntel8254XEthernet plugin kext from the IONetworking kext in /S/L/E, then use a tool like Kext Wizard to install the older kext in /S/L/E and repair permissions + rebuild cache before you reboot.

Attached File  KextWizard_kext.jpg   50.03KB   3 downloads Attached File  KextWizard_SLE.jpg   57.67KB   2 downloads



#8
Hervé

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I made some additional DSDT edits to reflect the Adaptec SCSI controller + AC'97 audio controllers.

Attached File  WS670_revisedSysProfiler.jpg   73.72KB   0 downloads

 



#9
Hervé

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I've combined boot option arch=i386 with -force64 in order to boot 32bit but be able to run some apps (HWMonitor, PlistEditorPro, etc.) as if I were in 64bit mode. They would not run otherwise.

 

On the benchmarking side, the workstation rates decently for its age & specs:

Attached File  GB32_WS670.jpg   84.61KB   2 downloads

 

Now if only there was a legacy Lion kernel that would support that machine, things would be even greater.



#10
Hervé

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Following DSDT patching detailed here + use of SleepEnabler to enable Sleep & Wake functionalities, here are revised bootpacks, IOReg output and final DSDT table:
Attached File  WS670_Bootpack_SL10.6.3.zip   6.85MB   6 downloads Attached File  WS670_IOReg(v2.0b1).ioreg.zip   292.99KB   6 downloads Attached File  Patched_dsdt.aml.zip   5.05KB   10 downloads

And here are the changes to apply to the 10.6.3 pack for a 10.6.8 installation + my own (tuned) final setup:
Attached File  WS670_Bootpack_SL10.6.8.zip   4.66MB   8 downloads Attached File  WS670_final_10.6.8_setup_with_GeForce9800GT.zip   15.23KB   8 downloads

 

That Precision 670 is now 100% functional under Snow Leopard 10.6.8:thumbsup_anim:



#11
Hervé

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A behaviour change with recent Chameleon trunk versions (post r2290) highlighted a small defect in the boot plist settings provided in above pack and the kernel handling. I have set boot option UseKernelCache to Yes and refer specifically to the legacy kernel, not to standard/vanilla mach kernel.
 
This leads to the generation of an incorrect kernel cache as, by default, cache is built with vanilla mach_kernel. Leaving such kernel unchanged at root level therefore leads to a kernel cache that is incompatible with legacy kernel and which causes a system reset/boot loop when loaded, unless the cache is built with option -K <legacy kernel filename> (or -kernel ...). This was not an issue up to Chameleon r229x because these versions would ignore kernel cache when non-standard mach kernels were used. I've come to realise this changed with post-r229x Chameleon trunk versions and kernel cache will be loaded whatever the kernel.
 
To fix this, proceed as follows:

  • at HDD root level, rename mach_kernel file to something else such as mach_kernel_bak (or remove entirely)
  • at HDD root level, rename legacy kernel Darwin_10.8.0 (or whatever name the legacy kernel bears) to mach_kernel
  • using Chameleon Wizard, uncheck Kernel case in the boot plist or replace the named Darwin kernel by mach_kernel

The result is that kernel cache will no longer be built on original/vanilla mach kernel but actually on the now-renamed legacy kernel. Any cache refresh/rebuild made manually, through myHack or any other tool will subsequently be totally safe to load.



#12
Hervé

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Having upgraded to 2 x Paxville DP dual-core Xeon (those need the XC837 motherboard), I was able to install Lion with Bronya's 10.7 RC13 AMD kernel (vanilla kernel remaining unsupported). It doesn't like native CPU power management at the moment, but is totally stable with NullCPUPowerManagement though. Despite this, I'm still seeing some speed-stepping using Kozlek's FakeSMC. Can't get sleep to work properly under Lion for the moment (neither natively, nor with SleepEnabler).

 

Attached File  WS670_Lion.jpg   117.85KB   1 downloads

 

Apart from Sleep, everything working perfectly in 32bit mode (including LAN and audio). No LAN and buggy audio in 64bit mode.



#13
Hervé

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Keeping on the momentum, I turned my eyes to ML and got it installed with Bronya's 10.8 RC5 AMD kernel (vanilla ML kernel appeared unsupported too). 64bit kernel mode means no support for LAN, AC'97 audio is buggy (getting is bad hissing sound with every audio output) but getting full QE/CI. Still needing NullCPUPowerManagement kext. Sleep & wake working just fine natively.

 

Attached File  WS670_ML.jpg   179.39KB   2 downloads

Attached File  WS670_ML_DualScreens.jpg   35.7KB   1 downloads

 

Good omen for a potential success with Mavericks now!



#14
Hervé

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And looking pretty much Ok with Mavericks 10.9.1 using Bronya's 10.9 RC7 AMD kernel. Getting full QE/CI but noticed some tiny graphics corruption around names of Desktop items... 64bit AC'97 audio remains buggy as hell. NullCPUPowerManagement kext required as per previous Lion and ML installations. Sleep & wake working Ok natively as per ML.

 

Attached File  WS670_Mav.jpg   222.4KB   4 downloads

 

Edit: I had 3 typos in my DSDT patch for the GeForce 9800GT; this prevented native graphics support and forced me to revert to NVEnabler64 to get graphics to load. Once typos were fixed, NVEnabler was no longer required and those little graphics defects on desktop disappeared.



#15
Hervé

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10.9.2 seems a no go at the moment, at least as a straight update like 10.9.1 was...  :(



#16
Hervé

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Thanks to Slice and ErmaC, Chameleon can now properly inject proper Xeon CPU information to the OS; the mod was provided in draft/temp r2378.
Attached File  r2378_Paxville_Xeon.jpg   109.97KB   3 downloads



#17
RobertX

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Thanks to Slice and ErmaC, Chameleon can now properly inject proper Xeon CPU information to the OS; the mod was provided in r2378.
attachicon.gifr2378_Paxville_Xeon.jpg

...something changed that your memory shows 0 MHz DDR2?



#18
Hervé

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Well spotted!



#19
Hervé

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Temp Chameleon r2378 actually needs boot option UseMemDetect=No to fix that defect.



#20
Hervé

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Sticking with current official Chameleon versions (latest being r2377 at time of writing), an alternative is to add option SMoemcputype=1026 to the SMBios plist file:

[...]
        <key>SMoemcputype</key>
        <string>1026</string>
[...]






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