Installing OpenCore and RadeonBoost on a Mac Pro

NOTE1: Some issues were observed with the 10.15.5 Catalina update and OpenCore. This guide will be updated soon to address these issues and make updating safe.

NOTE2: After some investigation it was found that Apple put the Radeon Boost code into the latest update to Catalina so therefore you need to remove the Radeon Boost code from the Config.plist file before updating. You will still have full hardware acceleration without the boost code now on 10.15.5. I have not confirmed if Mojave got the same code update so use at your own risk.

NOTE3: I have confirmed that Open Core Version 0.5.9 works with my 4,1-5,1 cMP. If you are upgrading to Catalina you must do some things in the config.plist file on the EFI partition. Read down below for the way to get Catalina to actually upgrade without using the dosdude1 patcher.

Here is my step by step guide on installing OpenCore 0.5.8 to the Mac Pro. I will try and be as detailed as possible and will provide screen shots when I can. Some may be pictures taken of the screen as there is no way to take a screen shot of some of the items.

Before we begin, what is OpenCore for?
• OpenCore gives Mac Pro users (4,1 and 5,1) that use an unflashed graphics card, a boot screen again! This means you can select a startup disk if multiple are available. This also means you will see progress bars during OS installs of software updates and the usual boot progress bar under the Apple logo.
• OpenCore also allows you to change the Model Identifier of your Mac. For example you can change your Mac Pro 5,1 into a Mac Pro 7,1.
• Hardware acceleration for H264 and HEVC so no more need to transcode footage to ProRes. Faster export speeds with lower CPU usage as well. While this is not part of OpenCore, you need OpenCore installed to get this done. More on this below in the RadeonBoost section.
• Software updates just like on a supported Mac (for Catalina).

System Requirements:
– 2009, 2010 or 2012 Mac Pro (2009 4,1 must be flashed to 5,1)
– Westmere or newer CPU architecture
– 144.0.0.0.0 Boot ROM

First off you will need to install Mojave or Catalina on a fresh hard drive. You can do this on your current drive but I suggest you try it this way first to make sure you can do it before you screw up your working drive. I suggest downloading the dosdude1 patcher and using it to install Catalina onto a new drive. You can go to his website to download the installer. Of course no patcher is required for Mojave.

Now that you have your drive created and have a fresh OS to test with, I suggest you remove all other drives from your cMP when doing this as you will be using the EFI partition on the boot drive and you can mess it up to the point your machine will not boot. If you get to this point you can put a flashed metal video card into your computer and select the MacOS boot disk to boot up and then try again. I had to do this several times when getting open core onto my system because I was trying things I should not have. Below are the steps needed to do the install.

  1. Disable SIP. If you installed Catalina using the Dosdude1 installer then you already have SIP disabled. No need to do this step then. If you do need to disable SIP, follow these steps:
    • Restart your Mac
    • As soon as your Mac turns off to restart, hold down Command+R
    • The recovery OS will load. Once loaded, open Terminal from the Utilities menu
    • Type “csrutil disable” without the quotes and hit enter or return on your keyboard
    • Restart your Mac again, SIP is now disabled
  2. Download Open Core 0.5.8 from this website. This is the thread where I got this information from but I am trying to simplify the process a little bit because it is very convoluted. There is a video to watch but I will explain in detail what the video shows. You’ll end up with a file called “OpenCore 0.5.8 NdkBootPicker.zip
  3. Open up the folder that contains the Open Core files that you downloaded in the previous step.
  4. Click and open up Clover Configurator. You may have to right click and click open for it to open up because of the security of OS X.
  5. On the left side you will see the “Sections” and “Tools” menus. In the “Tools” Menu select and click on Mount EFI.
  6. Next you need to select your MacOS boot drive under “EFI Partitions” and click on the ‘Mount Partition’ button on the right side. Enter your system password when asked. Click on Open Partition button.
  7. In the Open Core file finder window drag the EFI folder over to the EFI partition. There may be a folder already present on your EFI partition called “APPLE”, do not touch that folder and just place the OpenCore EFI folder next to it.
  8. Next you need to double click the Bless OpenCore automator file in the OpenCore install directory you downloaded. You may have to right click and select open. Enter your system password when asked. If this script works, you will not get any kind of confirmation.
  9. Reboot and enjoy your new boot screen on your unsupported graphics card.

There is no need to hold down the alt/option key, OpenCore’s boot picker will show up automatically. After 7 seconds the default boot drive is selected and the Mac will boot from it. You can also hit enter if you don’t want to wait.

Installing the RadeonBoost Kext file to OpenCore

WARNING: If you are using a NAVI capable AMD GPU then do not use Radeon Boost. You will get kernel panics until you can put the drive on another computer and edit out the Radeon Boost text in the config.plist file. 

NOTE: You need OpenCore installed if you want to use RadeonBoost!
Ok now that we have OpenCore working the next step is to get your Radeon Card working to it’s full potential. I have the RX 5700 XT card and when running GB5 Compute the scores are horrible. So in order to fix that a Kext was developed to use the full potential of your graphics card. This is a little bit more manual work than the Open Core install so you will have to pay close attention. You can download the RadeonBoost.kext file here. The linked page will also explain why RadeonBoost was developed, which cards are supported etc.

Here are the steps needed to get this to work.

  1. First open back up the OpenCore install folder you saved from the OpenCore installation above. You will need to open the Clover Configurator again and mount the EFI the same way you did in step 5 and 6 above.
  2. Next open up the EFI partition and open up the EFI folder then open up the OC folder. In that folder you will see several folders and a config.plist file. You will need to open this file up in a text editor of your choice. (At this point I suggest making a backup file before continuing. Copy it to your desktop so you can always go back if you screw something up.)
  3. Scroll down until you find the <key>Kernal</key> Entry. Now look for the following code:
    <key>Add</key>
    <array>
    Below this is where you will copy and paste the text shown below.
    <dict>
    <key>BundlePath</key>
    <string>RadeonBoost.kext</string>
    <key>Comment</key>
    <string></string>
    <key>Enabled</key>
    <true/>
    <key>ExecutablePath</key>
    <string></string>
    <key>MaxKernel</key>
    <string></string>
    <key>MinKernel</key>
    <string></string>
    <key>PlistPath</key>
    <string>Contents/Info.plist</string>
    </dict>
  4. After inserting this text in the appropriate location, save the changes and close your text editor.
  5. Next we need to put the RadeonBoost.kext file into the kexts folder. Just drag and drop it.
  6. Reboot and enjoy accelerated graphics and hardware encoding.

This guide is for OpenCore version 0.5.8. As openCore is under constant development new releases become available once a month. Now that you are familiar with the process, you may be more comfortable switching over to the official guide on MacRumors for future updates.

How to update to a newer version of OC

In order to update it is a very simple process. First mount your EFI partition using Clover Configurator as you did in steps 4-6 above.

Once you are in you can just copy over the two folders OC and BOOT into the EFI directory. When asked if you want to overwrite just say yes. After that reboot and enjoy a new version of Open Core.

Greg made a video about installing OpenCore which you can see below.

FAQ:
1.
Q: Do I need a Mac flashed GPU to install OpenCore or RadeonBoost?
A: No, an unflashed card can be used.

2.
Q: How do I uninstall OpenCore/RadeonBoost?
A: Look on the MacRumors page for details as thich tends to change

3.
Q: Do these installs only work on a clean OS?
A: No, the clean OS is just so you can test if it works. Once confirmed, you can apply the installs to your existing macOS drive (but always have a bootable backup ready to go!)

4.
Q: Can SIP be re-enabled after OpenCore and RadeonBoost have been installed?
A: I have read that this can be done but have not confirmed it myself.

5.
Q: If I use a DosDude1 patched system install, anything I should know?
A: Yes, do NOT run the post-install patches! It will cause the Mac to not boot and you will need a Mac flashed GPU to be able to select a startup disk again the old fashioned way.

6.
Q: How do I update to newer versions of OpenCore?
A: Simply replace the new Boot and OC folders in the EFI partition with the new ones. Then re-do the Radeon.kext install from before and you get the newest version.

7.
Q: Which versions of macOS do I need for OpenCore and RadeonBoost to work?
A: Mojave and Catalina

8.
Q: Can I do software updates as I normally would? What if these include new firmware?
A: If you are running Mojave (natively supported on a 4,1 and 5,1), you can install updates as you normally would. If you are using Catalina through the DosDude1 patcher, then you can not install updates through the OS. For DosDude1 patcher users, follow the normal update procedures as outlined by DosDude1.

9.
Q: RadeonBoost gave me little to no performance improvement, should I still keep it installed?
A: I’d say yes. Because with RadeonBoost you now also have hardware acceleration available which you did not have before. H.264 and HEVC hardware acceleration has it’s benefits!

 

If you feel you must uninstall Open Core it is really easy. First mount the EFI partition like you did above and open up the EFI folder in the partition. Delete the two folders you added up above. (I suggest you make a backup copy of them in case you do want to put Open Core back on your computer). Reboot your computer and you will now have no boot screen anymore along with no hardware graphics encoding anymore.

7 thoughts on “Installing OpenCore and RadeonBoost on a Mac Pro”

  1. I’m running a 4,1->5,1 with an RX 580, 144.0.0.0 firmware, and Mojave. I’ve been through all the steps a few times as a standard user and administrator, but my boot continues as before with no visible signs of OpenCore. On first install, there was no Apple folder in the EFI partition. Any suggestions?

    Reply

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