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Display Connections for HDMI/DisplayPort Displays on 2019 Mac Pro or Other Macs

Jack Z writes:

I assume you are using the latest Mac Pro and I’d be grateful if you could advise if an older BenQ display with the following ports:

HDMI 1.4
DisplayPort 1.2
DVI
D-SUB

...can be connected to the current Mac Pro. I couldn’t find the answer in the spec. And Apple support people were clueless.

MPG: the 2019 Mac Pro has no DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort connectors, and no HDMI port either. Certain of the video card upgrade options offer an HDMI port, but HDMI is less good than DisplayPort for display calibration (I can’t recall the details as I write this).

The best solution so as to not lose a Thunderbolt port is the 14-port OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock which has a Mini DisplayPort port along with its USB ports. Connect the display to the Dock with a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable. The new OWC Thunderbolt Dock is slick, but it lacks the Mini DisplayPort.

Some storage solutions offer an HDMI port. But connecting a display to a storage device is not my preference since I might want to turn the storage device off at times.

For an HDMI with some USB ports, the travel dock is slick. The dual DisplayPort adapter is good, but it dead-ends the Thunderbolt daisy chain (and I could not get it to work on the OWC Thunderbolt Hub, only direct-connect).

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Kernel Panics are Oh So easy to Provoke — Remove an SD Card

If you’re not happy with only being able to crash a highly protected modern operating system in Photoshop, this one is for you.

It isn’t new to macOS Big Sur; it has happened regularly before. It happens fairly often to me, perhaps in 1 in 6 times:

  1. Unmount a volume for a camera card (SD card). It might have to be in a dock or external reader (not sure since the Mac Pro has no built-in SD card reader).
  2. Remove the card.

A crash of macOS follows.

Good work Apple! Now get to work on those new emoticons and stick one in the screen of death just to make things better.

panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff80185ee1e6): Kernel trap at 0xffffff7fba624c3a, type 14=page fault, registers:
CR0: 0x000000008001003b, CR2: 0x0000000000000070, CR3: 0x000000001cb2b000, CR4: 0x00000000003626e0
RAX: 0x0000000000000000, RBX: 0xffffff95b26ee830, RCX: 0x00000000e00002ca, RDX: 0x0000000000000000
RSP: 0xffffffa5979e3e50, RBP: 0xffffffa5979e3e50, RSI: 0x00000000e00002ca, RDI: 0x0000000000000000
R8:  0x0000000000000000, R9:  0x0000000000000013, R10: 0xffffff801ae8f4c8, R11: 0x0000000000000000
R12: 0x0000000000000000, R13: 0x0000000000000000, R14: 0xffffffa276ae5a18, R15: 0x00000000e00002ca
RFL: 0x0000000000010202, RIP: 0xffffff7fba624c3a, CS:  0x0000000000000008, SS:  0x0000000000000010
Fault CR2: 0x0000000000000070, Error code: 0x0000000000000002, Fault CPU: 0x0, PL: 0, VF: 1
Backtrace (CPU 0), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffa5979e3870 : 0xffffff80184bab4d 
0xffffffa5979e38c0 : 0xffffff80185fd7e3 
0xffffffa5979e3900 : 0xffffff80185ede1a 
0xffffffa5979e3950 : 0xffffff801845fa2f 
0xffffffa5979e3970 : 0xffffff80184ba3ed 
0xffffffa5979e3a90 : 0xffffff80184ba6d8 
0xffffffa5979e3b00 : 0xffffff8018cbef9a 
0xffffffa5979e3b70 : 0xffffff80185ee1e6 
0xffffffa5979e3cf0 : 0xffffff80185edecd 
0xffffffa5979e3d40 : 0xffffff801845fa2f 
0xffffffa5979e3d60 : 0xffffff7fba624c3a 
0xffffffa5979e3e50 : 0xffffff7fba63e44a 
0xffffffa5979e3e90 : 0xffffff801af428d3 
0xffffffa5979e3f20 : 0xffffff801ae811b7 
0xffffffa5979e3f80 : 0xffffff801ae8121f 
0xffffffa5979e3fa0 : 0xffffff801845f13e 
     Kernel Extensions in backtrace:
        com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[B5300908-BF34-3D47-8776-FB154A6DEE4C]@0xffffff801af3f000->0xffffff801af50fff
        com.apple.iokit.IOSCSIBlockCommandsDevice(436.40.6)[17662AB7-6B15-3342-9F23-AB161202B652]@0xffffff801ae7f000->0xffffff801ae8cfff
           dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOSCSIArchitectureModelFamily(436.40.6)[E5CB0567-FBD1-39AE-8847-C559B51918B1]@0xffffff801ae5a000->0xffffff801ae6dfff
           dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[B5300908-BF34-3D47-8776-FB154A6DEE4C]@0xffffff801af3f000->0xffffff801af50fff
        com.softraid.driver.SoftRAID(6.0.1b53)[04BE793D-D81D-356C-9D79-9C0CCE5A5D0F]@0xffffff7fba613000->0xffffff7fba641fff
           dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[B5300908-BF34-3D47-8776-FB154A6DEE4C]@0xffffff801af3f000->0xffffff801af50fff
Process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task
Mac OS version:
20D91
Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 20.3.0: Thu Jan 21 00:07:06 PST 2021; root:xnu-7195.81.3~1/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel UUID: C86236B2-4976-3542-80CA-74A6B8B4BA03
KernelCache slide: 0x0000000018200000
KernelCache base:  0xffffff8018400000
Kernel slide:      0x0000000018210000
Kernel text base:  0xffffff8018410000
__HIB  text base: 0xffffff8018300000
System model name: MacPro7,1 (Mac-27AD2F918AE68F61)
System shutdown begun: NO
Hibernation exit count: 0
System uptime in nanoseconds: 273152701564715
Last Sleep:           absolute           base_tsc          base_nano
 Uptime  : 0x0000f86e51bf0c25
 Sleep   : 0x0000f3d2b3b91111 0x000000017edbe6b2 0x0000f3c3216a0203
 Wake    : 0x0000f3d326eb859e 0x000000017efcaa8e 0x0000f3d30b18b1df
last started kext at 27312085758694: @filesystems.msdosfs

Arne K writes:

Just read your experience with the latest Apple core rot. To be honest, I'm glad I don't have to rely on the latest OSX on my workhorses. I always stay 2 versions behind and watch the "dernier cri" of Apple stupidity unfold on stage.

But what I see and hear from my customers and friends about failures and problems with the latest OSX since the glory days of Snow Leopard to this day leaves me sitting speechless and stunned. It seems to be a mixture of ignorance, arrogance, helplessness and kamikaze.

Although I am a German, I know what it means when something "goes down south". Well, so what do we expect from something that is even called "Big Sur" then ?!? ;-)

And about the pointless configuration bars: Let's remember the old saying of WW2 soldiers, when something is fucked up beyond all recognition: F.u.b.a.r. That's the new Fubar's! hey! 

Apple management is looking more and more to me as if the "Brain Bug" from Starship Troopers paid them a visit....

MPG: technology is now so advanced, that’s hard to imagine any elegant designs happening any more. Features (most of which go unused) result in more and more complexity, which results in more and more bugs. And so the steady drumbeat of weekly software updates, which fix half the bugs and replace them with another new crop.

Compare that to the just introduced Sony A1 digital camera. A technological tour de force, it’s a tool that works for a purpose incredibly well. And it never bothers me with updates or demands to login. And it never crashes.

As someone who has used technology all my life, more and more I am turned off by most technology—so much of it makes life more of a hassle, not a convenience.

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macOS Big Sur: Finder Randomly Depopulates Favorites in Sidebar

Depopulated Favorites Sidebar
macOS Big Sur Finder

A few days ago, I was baffled by the disappearance of an item from the sidebar of Finder windows. I shrugged, and re-added it.

Today, my Favorites sidebar was mostly wiped out, with half of its entries just gone.

So it seems that the Finder (or something in macOS) is sporadically wiping out entries on the Favorites area of the sidebar

These entries are used in Finder windows but also in the Save/Open dialogs, and they save me a lot of time navigating around. So it’s not a minor thing, it directly impacts my workflow.

Then there is the sidebar itself, which when it’s not losing entries is a major nuisance in itself, that is, reappearing constantly even though I’ve hidden it (Finder windows).

Dozens of little quirks and problems like this that make macOS increasingly irritating to use. We have not seen any real usability progress for what now... a decade?

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Kernel Panics with Adobe Photoshop on macOS Big Sur Continue

I can’t seem to get clarity from Adobe if this is an Adobe bug, or an Apple bug.

I am hesitant to blame it on Adobe, for two reasons: (1) I spend a lot of time in Photoshop (thus increasing the likelihood of it seemingly being involved), plus it exercises the hardware substantially, and (2) I don’t know how an application can cause a panic from “NMIPI for unresponsive processor”, since that’s a hardware-level thing (not software).

Still, the majority of kernel panics I’ve had have been in Photoshop and generally when I open a lot of raw files at once. But also at other times.

No change in moving to macOS Big Sur—this happened on macOS Catalina also. It has been a problem ever since July 2020 or so, maybe August. If I had to guess, I’d say it relates to one of Apple’s security updates back then.

I thought it might be related to the GPU, but then why an unresponsive CPU?

Symptoms

  1. Working in Photoshop, the machine goes unresponsive—no mouse, no application switching.
  2. After about 20 seconds, the screens blank and the machines shuts off.
  3. Pressing the power button, the Mac Pro comes up with the usual “Your computer shut down unexpectedly... press any key to restart”. The usual kludge that means “we at Apple can’t get our stuff to work reliably”.
  4. Pressing a key and rebooting, the computer comes up. Usually I have to unplug and replug USB devices like keyboard and mouse as they do not work at first. Then I login, but the 2nd display is missing. Often I have to reboot again to fix that.

This whole clusterfuck takes down all work in progress as well as a 10-minute cycle just to get operational again. And because I might have lost a dozen open files, I have to start over sometimes, which can be a half-hour hit.

It can also desroy the file system on backup drives, so I like to keep them turned off.

So infuriatingly unacceptable.

Maybe it’s a hardware error, but when I tried to run Apple’s hardware test, that hung on me. And tearing down my entire work environment to wait a week for Apple service is just a nightmare proposition.

AFAIK, the TLB thing refers to “translation lookaside buffer” and relates to virtual memory mapping on the CPU. Suggesting a CPU bug or a macOS implementation bug.

Panic(CPU 0, time 13929063302739): NMIPI for unresponsive processor: TLB flush timeout, TLB state:0x0
RAX: 0x00000000000002d5, RBX: 0x000000000000002e, RCX: 0x0000000000000021, RDX: 0xffffff8014ea5500
RSP: 0xffffffa5731f0d10, RBP: 0xffffffa5731f0d50, RSI: 0x00001d1534fe6e4e, RDI: 0xffffff8014ea5500
R8:  0xffffffa5727ede4c, R9:  0x0000000000000001, R10: 0x000c902010008a01, R11: 0xffffffa5727c7a0c
R12: 0xffffff88ff22aad0, R13: 0x0000000000000000, R14: 0x0000000000000000, R15: 0xffffff8014ea5500
RFL: 0x0000000000000093, RIP: 0xffffff80140d0724, CS:  0x0000000000000008, SS:  0x0000000000000000
Backtrace (CPU 0), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffa5731f0bc0 : 0xffffff80141ed5bb 
0xffffffa5731f0c10 : 0xffffff801405fd39 
0xffffffa5731f0d50 : 0xffffff80140db6d3 
0xffffffa5731f0e10 : 0xffffff80140db152 
0xffffffa5731f0e50 : 0xffffff80140db01c 
0xffffffa5731f0e80 : 0xffffff8014108d7b 
0xffffffa5731f0f40 : 0xffffff80141d98b3 
0xffffffa5731f0f80 : 0xffffff80141ed6b9 
0xffffffa5731f0fd0 : 0xffffff801405fbdd 
0xffffffe5f8933fa0 : 0xffffff801405f133 
Process name corresponding to current thread: Adobe Photoshop 2021
Mac OS version:
20D91
Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 20.3.0: Thu Jan 21 00:07:06 PST 2021; root:xnu-7195.81.3~1/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel UUID: C86236B2-4976-3542-80CA-74A6B8B4BA03
KernelCache slide: 0x0000000013e00000
KernelCache base:  0xffffff8014000000
Kernel slide:      0x0000000013e10000
Kernel text base:  0xffffff8014010000
__HIB  text base: 0xffffff8013f00000
System model name: MacPro7,1 (Mac-27AD2F918AE68F61)
System shutdown begun: NO
Hibernation exit count: 0
System uptime in nanoseconds: 13929063336675
Last Sleep:           absolute           base_tsc          base_nano
Uptime  : 0x00000cab1cdf4ee0
Sleep   : 0x00000101d3c531ab 0x00000001812accec 0x000000f2067e2c3d
Wake    : 0x00000102464b73c0 0x000000017ee49c72 0x000001022a7685ec
last started kext at 37665812666: @filesystems.msdosfs	1.10 (addr 0xffffff7fb51de000, size 57344)
...
Panic(CPU 55, time 13929563490834): NMIPI for unresponsive processor: TLB flush timeout, TLB state:0x0
RAX: 0x0000000000000024, RBX: 0xffffffe5fb233bd0, RCX: 0x0000000000000037, RDX: 0x0000000000000000
RSP: 0xffffffe5fb233ac0, RBP: 0xffffffe5fb233b00, RSI: 0x0000000000000003, RDI: 0x0000000000000006
R8:  0xffffff88ff9375a0, R9:  0xffffff80140ba3ed, R10: 0x0000000000000000, R11: 0xffffffe5fb233bc0
R12: 0xffffffe5fb233bd0, R13: 0x0000000000000003, R14: 0xffffffe5fb233bd0, R15: 0x0000000000000000
RFL: 0x0000000000000086, RIP: 0xffffff80140ba7cd, CS:  0x0000000000000008, SS:  0x0000000000000010
Backtrace (CPU 55), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffa593c94f80 : 0xffffff80141ed5bb 
0xffffffa593c94fd0 : 0xffffff801405fbdd 
0xffffffe5fb233b00 : 0xffffff80141fd7e3 
0xffffffe5fb233b40 : 0xffffff80141ede1a 
0xffffffe5fb233b90 : 0xffffff801405fa2f 
0xffffffe5fb233bb0 : 0xffffff80140ba3ed 
0xffffffe5fb233cd0 : 0xffffff80140ba6d8 
0xffffffe5fb233d40 : 0xffffff80148bef9a 
0xffffffe5fb233db0 : 0xffffff80140d086b 
0xffffffe5fb233e20 : 0xffffff80140dd606 
0xffffffe5fb233e80 : 0xffffff80140dd3f6 
0xffffffe5fb233ed0 : 0xffffff80140e9cae 
0xffffffe5fb233ee0 : 0xffffff80140e9d34 
0xffffffe5fb233ef0 : 0xffffff80141d1fc3 
0xffffffe5fb233fa0 : 0xffffff8014060216 
Process name corresponding to current thread: Adobe Photoshop 2021
Panic(CPU 4, time 13929563494621): NMIPI for unresponsive processor: TLB flush timeout, TLB state:0x0
RAX: 0x0000000000000024, RBX: 0xffffffa59615bbd0, RCX: 0x0000000000000004, RDX: 0x0000000000000000
RSP: 0xffffffa59615bac0, RBP: 0xffffffa59615bb00, RSI: 0x0000000000000003, RDI: 0x0000000000000006
R8:  0xffffff88ff36c000, R9:  0xffffff80140ba3ed, R10: 0x0000000000000000, R11: 0xffffffa59615bbc0
R12: 0xffffffa59615bbd0, R13: 0x0000000000000003, R14: 0xffffffa59615bbd0, R15: 0x0000000000000000
RFL: 0x0000000000000086, RIP: 0xffffff80140ba7cd, CS:  0x0000000000000008, SS:  0x0000000000000010
Backtrace (CPU 4), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffa593bc0f80 : 0xffffff80141ed5bb 
0xffffffa593bc0fd0 : 0xffffff801405fbdd 
0xffffffa59615bb00 : 0xffffff80141fd7e3 
0xffffffa59615bb40 : 0xffffff80141ede1a 
0xffffffa59615bb90 : 0xffffff801405fa2f 
0xffffffa59615bbb0 : 0xffffff80140ba3ed 
0xffffffa59615bcd0 : 0xffffff80140ba6d8 
0xffffffa59615bd40 : 0xffffff80148bef9a 
0xffffffa59615bdb0 : 0xffffff80140d086b 
0xffffffa59615be20 : 0xffffff80140dd606 
0xffffffa59615be80 : 0xffffff80140dd3f6 
0xffffffa59615bed0 : 0xffffff80140e9cae 
0xffffffa59615bee0 : 0xffffff80140e9d34 
0xffffffa59615bef0 : 0xffffff80141d1fc3 
0xffffffa59615bfa0 : 0xffffff8014060216 
Process name corresponding to current thread: Adobe Photoshop 2021
mp_kdp_enter() NMI pending on cpus: 0 1 2 3 5 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 37 39 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51
mp_kdp_enter() timed-out during locked wait after NMI;expected 56 acks but received 13 after 19633979 loops in 1246874999 ticks
panic(cpu 36 caller 0xffffff80141c8af1): "Uninterruptible processor(s): CPU bitmap: 0x1, NMIPI acks: 0x0, now: 0x1, deadline:
13929063300548"@/AppleInternal/BuildRoot/Library/Caches/com.apple.xbs/Sources/xnu/xnu-7195.81.3/osfmk/x86_64/pmap.c:2679
Backtrace (CPU 36), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffe5fba6ba10 : 0xffffff80140bab4d 
0xffffffe5fba6ba60 : 0xffffff80141fd7e3 
0xffffffe5fba6baa0 : 0xffffff80141ede1a 
0xffffffe5fba6baf0 : 0xffffff801405fa2f 
0xffffffe5fba6bb10 : 0xffffff80140ba3ed 
0xffffffe5fba6bc30 : 0xffffff80140ba6d8 
0xffffffe5fba6bca0 : 0xffffff80148bef9a 
0xffffffe5fba6bd10 : 0xffffff80141c8af1 
0xffffffe5fba6bd80 : 0xffffff801417339b 
0xffffffe5fba6be60 : 0xffffff8014169c7f 
0xffffffe5fba6bf20 : 0xffffff8014645dee 
0xffffffe5fba6bf40 : 0xffffff80147698cb 
0xffffffe5fba6bfa0 : 0xffffff80140601f6 
Process name corresponding to current thread: Adobe Photoshop 2021

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Diglloyd Tools IntegrityChecker Java 2.0.0

re:data integrity
re: Validating Data Transfer/Copy Before Deleting the Source/Original Data: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker
re: Detecting Corruption / Validating Data Integrity Over Time and Across Drives and Backup/Restore
re: Reader Question on diglloydTools IntegrityChecker: “verify terabytes of content back and forth between the cloud and other local RAID drives I have”
re: Apple Core Rot: macOS Finder File Copying: Fails to Replace "dot files" When Replacing a folder = DATA LOSS
re: Detecting Data Corruption Caused by Bit Rot or Bad Drives or Software Bugs with diglloydTools IntegrityChecker

diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java version 2.0 runs on any computer with Java—Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.

Buy diglloydTools

IntegrityChecker Java (icj) version 2.0.0

License and download page...

This release formalizes version 2.0 from the prior 2.0 fc4 release. A few bug fixes and improvements:

  • 2021-03-06 fixed bug whereby a change in case for a folder name on a case-insensitive file system would add a duplicate entry and see the folder as missing
  • 2021-03-06 improved help to show available options, added white space.
  • 2020-10-01 minor changes to installer to work on Linux
  • 2020-10-01 minor changes in detecting operating system specific behavior for Linux ("id -urgg")
  • 2020-10-01 minor change to address internal redundant folder scanning warning

Documentation/help

See the online help for IntegrityChecker java.

If you need support, please copy/paste the text from the Terminal window—don’t send screen shots as they are very large and frequently contain too little information.

More about IntegrityChecker and why every professional should be using it.

HOT! the OWC Thunderbolt Hub Delivers Unprecedented Rock-Solid Thunderbolt, a mini review

re: Thunderbolt 4 Is Here...
re: OWC Thunderbolt Dock
re: Thunderbolt hub

OWC Thunderbolt Hub

Thunderbolt is supposed to allow 6 devices per port/bus daisy-chained*, but users with more than two devices daisy-chained almost certainly have run into the dirty little secret of Thunderbolt daisy-chaining that neither Apple nor Intel will discuss: sporadic random disconnects.

CLICK TO VIEW: OWC Thunderbolt Hub, Dock, cables

Ever have macOS tell you that a device has disconnected unexpectedly (that you should eject it first?). If it’s on Thunderbolt and you didn’t physically do something, that’s a disconnect bug.

I’ve had severe problems with disconnects over the years, and cable swapping with new cables has never fixed anything.

Low-level usage doesn’t provoke disconnects very often, but put a heavy I/O load on that Thunderbolt bus and the odds of problems spike dramatically. This is a huge headache if you are trying to let an overnight backup complete, or you are validating data integrity, or need to process a ton of video for the next day’s work.

Three devices can be stable... until it isn’t. Four devices you’re just asking for trouble, five or six (the max) and you might as well keep keep a slab of concrete handy just to bang your head against so the disconnects don’t feel so bad.

In my experience, daisy-chaining three or more devices is just asking for trouble.

* Daisy-chaining refers to connecting devices one after the other; if one device goes wonky, then all the other devices after it are affected, and maybe the ones before it as well.

More ports with total reliability: the OWC Thunderbolt Hub

Get OWC Thunderbolt Hub at macsales.com.

Got an iMac 5K with only two Thunderbolt ports? Add the OWC Thunderbolt Hub and you have 3 Thunderbolt ports plus a USB 3.2 10Gbps port. Plug in two hubs and you have 6 Thunderbolt ports, plus two USB 3.2 10 Gbps ports.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub has two key benefits:

  • Helps eliminate daisy-chaining and all its disconnect headaches.
  • Turns a single Thunderbolt port into three, and adds a USB 3.2 10 Gbps port.

Plug the Hub into the Mac, and then plug in your devices. Those ports all share the bandwidth, but that’s not an issue with even 14 hard drives as in my test. Besides, the same limitation applies were daisy-chaining used.

With the Hub, the four devices now each have their own separate chain:

Mac => Hub => device1
Mac => Hub => device2
Mac => Hub => device3
Mac => Hub => device4

Without the Hub, it would be (in my years of experience) a highly unreliable daisy chain:

Mac => device1 => device2 => device3 => device4 <---- 4-device chain = trouble

Continues...

OWC Thunderbolt Hub

OWC Thunderbolt Hub In use

My goal was to do a major reorganization of all my data, which meant bringing all backups to date from 32TB of SSD storage consisting of: 16TB OWC Mercury Accelsior 4M2, 8TB OWC Thunderblade, 8TB Apple internal SSD. Not all full, total data of about 15TB, spread across the SSDs.

All of this needed to be backed up onto the external drives, which was complicated by the fact that the 14TB drives could not hold it all; I had to split the data across a mix of 14TB drives, 8TB drives, and some 18TB drives and 28TB striped pairs of 14TB drives.

I happened to have the perfect real-world stress test for the OWC Thunderbolt Hub: a major reorganization of my backups which in total were some months out of date because I knew it would take a whole weekend to get the job done and I had procrastinated (I did have adequate first-level backups).

Starting Friday night, I eliminated all daisy chaining from my system, connecting three OWC Thunderbay 4 units to the OWC Thunderbolt Hub, along with an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual (36TB) via the 10 Gpbs USB-A port on the Hub. That’s 14 drives in 4 devices into the Hub. I also directly connected an OWC Thunderbay 6 to another port on the 2019 Mac Pro. Together with the OWC Thunderblade also directly connected to the Mac Pro.

I set Carbon Copy Cloner to work and wondered whether I’d wake up in the morning and see 8 or 10 disconnected volume notifications. To my surprise and delight, things were still running flawlessly on Saturday morning.

Never before in my use of Thunderbolt have I ever been able to move around a hundred terabytes or so of data with ZERO problems.

Yet that is exactly what I experienced from Friday night to Sunday night: zero disconnects, zero glitches, perfect function. And that’s why I say “unprecedented”—heretofore I have never been able to reliably do this amount of data transfer withut disconnect problems.

There is one downside—Thunderbolt hubbing support requires macOS Big Sur. But this is such a big relief in reliability that it might actually be worth it.

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended Storage from Large to Huge

Should you need the same hub capabilities along with some additional ports and/or gigabit ethernet and/or 3.5mm audio out and/or an SD card reader, the OWC Thunderbolt Dock supplies those ports (see image below). If you don’t need those extra capabilities but do want more Thunderbolt and USB ports, then two Hubs is the better choice, for only a little more money.

OWC Thunderbolt Dock

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java: Optimizing Performance by Working Around macOS Caching Performance Bugs

re: data integrity and diglloydTools and IntegrityChecker Java
re: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java: Optimizing Performance on Hard Drives
re: Optimizing Performance by Working Around macOS Caching Performance Bugs

MacOS utilizes unused main memory for file system caching via the “unified buffer cache”.

On systems with very large amounts of memory, hundreds of gigabytes can be used for this caching. For example, I have seen 330GB of caching on my 384GB 2019 Mac Pro, see “Cached Files”:

Massive performance drag in macOS caused by pathological file system caching

Caching is good, right? Yes, when done right, but it’s an incompetent implementation whose performance drag escalates with more memory. The more memory you have, the worse the I/O performance gets. In technical terms, it doesn’t 'scale'. The bug exists to this day in all recent macOS versions.

Worst cases

The worst situations are those where large amounts of data are read, because even if it’s reading it once and only once, macOS caches it all, then cycles through its now-full cache for new reads, exerting a huge performance drag. Examples include:

  • Playing-back or processing video stream.
  • Backups or cloning or file copying.
  • Data integrity verification as with IntegrityChecker Java.
  • Sluggish application performance and spinning rainbow beachball problems. Weird delays of 1/2/10/30 seconds at unpredictable times.
  • Minutes to launch some applications instead of seconds. For example, my web server can take 3 minutes instead of 12 seconds to start up, then is glacially slow as it is I/O bottlenecked.

Implications

There are two key implications to this macOS performance bug:

  • On my OWC Mercury Accelsior M42 PCIe SSD and my 2019 Mac Pro with 384GB memory, the caching hit is so bad that performance rapidly drops from 6.5 GB/sec to under 2GB/sec, and stays there until the cache is cleared. What’s the point of
  • It can take MINUTES of a CPU pegged out at 100% to clear the cache (e.g., 'sudo purge'). That also means application performance can suffer strange long pauses as the cache is cleared when an application needs memory.

Working around the bug for IntegrityChecker Java

IntegrityChecker Java builds in a special facility to clear-out the cache every 5 seconds. But it can only do so if run with 'sudo', as in:

sudo icj verify ...
sudo icj update ...

When invoked this way, you will see the 'purge' process running steadily while icj does its thing, and icj will annotate its progress with a "P" each time a purge is done. Even so, macOS caching is so pathologically inefficient that purges tend to take 10-40 seconds each! And the battle is still lost—in macOS Big Sur the purging code is so slow that often caching never drops below the 100GB level. In spite of constant invocations of 'purge'. Still, it manages to keep the performance in the 5.3 GB/sec range, which is way better than below 2GB/sec.

Hashing 412056 files totaling 12585.9 GiB in 28445 folders... 
0%: 435 files 16.1 GiB @ 5478 MiB/sec, 00:03.013
0%: 861 files 33.3 GiB @ 5669 MiB/sec, 00:06.019
0%: 1316 files 50.2 GiB @ 5695 MiB/sec, 00:09.029
0%: 1873 files 68.2 GiB @ 5805 MiB/sec, 00:12.0
0%: 2425 files 86.5 GiB @ 5891 MiB/sec, 00:15.0 P
0%: 2786 files 104.9 GiB @ 5956 MiB/sec, 00:18.0
0%: 3069 files 119.2 GiB @ 5806 MiB/sec, 00:21.0
1%: 3356 files 136.0 GiB @ 5795 MiB/sec, 00:24.0
1%: 3692 files 153.8 GiB @ 5825 MiB/sec, 00:27.0
1%: 3990 files 170.5 GiB @ 5814 MiB/sec, 00:30.0
1%: 4290 files 187.9 GiB @ 5824 MiB/sec, 00:33.0
1%: 4575 files 205.4 GiB @ 5836 MiB/sec, 00:36.0 P
1%: 4892 files 223.8 GiB @ 5871 MiB/sec, 00:39.0
1%: 5164 files 241.2 GiB @ 5875 MiB/sec, 00:42.0
2%: 5496 files 257.7 GiB @ 5859 MiB/sec, 00:45.0
2%: 5926 files 275.5 GiB @ 5873 MiB/sec, 00:48.0
2%: 6558 files 292.2 GiB @ 5862 MiB/sec, 00:51.0
2%: 7015 files 309.3 GiB @ 5860 MiB/sec, 00:54.0
2%: 7243 files 325.2 GiB @ 5837 MiB/sec, 00:57.0
2%: 7557 files 341.6 GiB @ 5825 MiB/sec, 01:00
2%: 7854 files 358.3 GiB @ 5820 MiB/sec, 01:03
2%: 8252 files 375.1 GiB @ 5815 MiB/sec, 01:06
3%: 8534 files 390.5 GiB @ 5791 MiB/sec, 01:09
3%: 8541 files 403.2 GiB @ 5730 MiB/sec, 01:12 P
Massive performance drag in macOS caused by pathological file system caching
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diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java: Optimizing Performance on Hard Drives (macOS)

re: data integrity and diglloydTools and IntegrityChecker Java
re: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java: Optimizing Performance on Hard Drives
re: Optimizing Performance by Working Around macOS Caching Performance Bugs

Optimal thread and buffer configurations are wildly different for optimal performance on an SSD versus a hard drive. Worse, macOS also has a sporadic 30.000 second hang bug on hard drives with too many I/O requests outstanding.

While IntegrityChecker Java (icj) optimizes its threads and buffers to the extent it can, a reliable way to always detect the type of volume (hard drive or SSD or RAID, etc) is not available.

Seeing the info for a volume

On macOS, use 'diskutil' to view information on whether a volume is an SSD or hard drive.

diskutil info "volumeName"

IntegrityChecker Java queries this information, but it is sometimes unavailable. Examples include RAID volumes, external enclosures that do not convey the drive info, etc.

Optimizing IntegrityChecker Java for hard drives

If the volume information is available, all is well. Otherwise, icj defaults to SSD optimizations. But optimizing for SSD results in significantly impaired performance for hard drives, up to 40% slower.

Also, more outstanding I/O requests on hard drives can sporadically trigger a macOS file system bug that stalls all I/O for 30.000 seconds (icj warns when this happens and resumes execution). Yes, years later after Tim Cook’s promises about a focus on software quality, macOS Big Sur still has many bugs in it.

For icj update or icj verify on a hard-drive-based volume lacking that info as per above, insert the --optimize option like this:

# 'target' is a volume or folder, etc (or more than one).
icj update --optimize HDD target
icj verify --optimize HDD target

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Apple Core Rot: the Arrogance of Apple User Interface Design in macOS Big Sur

I get it—a few million people really do want their Macs to look like a shitty tiny iPhone screen. It has a certain value from a familiarity standpoint.

That’s why I like a steering wheel just like the one in my car on my f***ing bicycle.

I don’t mind so much if Apple wants to spend it’s engineering money on a few useless doodads. But I do mind a lot when (a) bugs are out of control, and (b) there is no way to turn this useless crapware off—unlike every other thing that goes into the menu bar.

I use my 2019 Mac Pro for work, for long hours. It has to perform. Accordingly, I take a dim view of bugs and crapware that gets in my way for getting that job done.

Does Apple really think I spent $19K on a Mac Pro for this engineering diarrhea? Worst 'spend' on Apple EVER. I wish I had stuck to an iMac. What a turd-flush of capital and no goddamn plunger to be found and my socks feel wet.

As shown below, every single feature in this new macOS Big Sneer control panel is USELESS to me, because I never use them*. Yet there is no way to remove this new turd from the menu bar.

Thing is, I could live with this stupidity if macOS Big Sure weren’t so full of other bugs. Whatever manager needed to piss on the fire hydrant instead of having the engineers fix bugs ought to be fired.

* Gigabit ethernet, no need for Bluetooth, never AirDrop, never screen mirror, my display is calibrated to a target brightness, sound is already in the Sound icon in the menu bar, and I don’t listen to music on my Mac Pro. Crapware.

100% useless macOS Big Sur controls

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diglloydTools and IntegrityChecker Java Working Fine on macOS Big Sur

re: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java v2.0 fc4 Available for Download

What follows applies to Intel-based Macs as I don’t have an M1 Mac to verify the same. But M1 Macs have lots of problems for general use for developers, starting with OpenJDK supportbeing missing.

Having just “upgraded” to macOS Big Sur on my 2019 Mac Pro, I’ve tested diglloydTools and IntegrityChecker Java. Both run flawlessly.

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“Upgraded” to macOS Big Sur on 2019 Mac Pro — No Workflow Benefits, All Downside So Far

re: OWC Thunderbolt Hub
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Quality Apple engineering on display
aka state of the art incompetence

I wasn’t keen on upgrading to macOS Big Sur, since it still has tons of problems, but to test and use the OWC Thunderbolt Dock and OWC Thunderbolt Hub products, macOS Big Sur is required.

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macOS Big Sure Install yuck

The install process is a nightmarish nail-biter of “will it screw my machine up?!” with display problems, many minutes of black screens, followed by another multi-gigabyte update, followed by half an hour of trying to get my NEC PA302W to work.

About as horrible an “upgrade” experience as I have yet seen from Apple. It’s clear that Apple never tests its software except on a single Apple display. Feckless management that show contempt for every pro user out there.

There is no going back because Apple mangles calendar and mail databases during the “upgrade”. To modify user data in an irreversible way without asking permission of the user is unacceptable.

No benefits, and a dumptruck full of bugs

I’m still looking for even a single benefit of macOS Big Sur (aside from Thunderbolt 4 support).

On the plus side, diglloydTools runs just fine, as does IntegrityChecker Java. Safari seems snappier.

Setting aside the desired Thunderbolt 4 support, just about everything has gotten worse from a usability standpoint:

  • Severe display syncing problems with my NEC PA302W. After real scare in which I could not get the PA302W to sync at all (multiple reboots, etc), then syncing at low resolution, I finally got it working—about a 30 minute effort. And macOS has a new bug now such that sometimes even with the cable unplugged, the OS thinks the main display is still there, so no menu bar, and impossible to operate the machine. I’ve developed a voodo keypress sequence to get the display to sync coming out of sleep, but once in a while I have no choice but to let the machine sleep again (5 minutes or so), and try all over. Shame on Apple for their wanton engineering incompetence—this display performed flawlessly for years until Apple just started breaking things last year with macOS Catalina.
  • Samsung T5 driver no longer works (and I reinstalled the latest and checked firmware). The only way I could get my Samsung T5's to work was to plug them into my iMac 5K running macOS Mojave, and turn off encryption. Apple, this is just unacceptable.
  • The new toy alert dialogs cut off the very information I need to see.
  • I use Spotlight as a calculator dozens of times a day. Now it has about a half-second delay every time—incredibly annoying when working quickly.
  • Apple Mail is a cluttered undifferentiated mess, with mailboxes impossible to distinguish from each other (e.g., 3 different "Sent", "Inbox", etc) along with the loss of any distinguishing text (e.g. bold) along with much wider spacing for the list of messages. Who designs this garbage?
  • I constantly find myself not being able to distinguish the new icons at a glance, making it take that extra half a second to locate something in the Application bar or Dock. Who designs/tests these user interface changes for functionality? Visualize a dog 'marking' a fire hydrant, and that’s about all the value that accrues.
  • Graphics glitches in Photoshop that temporarily mangle images.
  • Special effort is required to let critical developer tool mvn run without code-verification dialogs over and over.
  • SoftRAID is compatible only in the 6.0 beta. Which I’m using, otherwise it would be a disaster. So far it seems to be OK.
  • Still no fix for unbounded caching under steady read I/O (on machines with a lot of memory), so a fast PCIe SSD still drops from 6.5 GB/sec down to ~2GB/sec within a few minutes due to horrific inefficiency in the unified buffer cache. This is gross software engineering incompetence in place for over two years now.
  • The crappy useless control panel like an iPhone occupies space in my menu bar, cannot be removed, and I have absolutely no use for it. I’d have no objection if I could check a box and just get rid of it, but it’s foisted on us, unlike every other control panel thing.
  • You can no longer make a bootable clone with Carbon Copy Cloner except by erasing the entire volume. This is Apple’s fault, and a major headache should you like the idea of not being SOL if you boot drive fails. But I keep plenty of stuff on my boot volume and I’m not about to erase it every time and copy 240GB or so every day, every time. Nice job Apple! Blue ribbon for worse software engineering since MS DOS! Wait, DOS at least did not make pretenses!
  • Image Capture is dumbed-down even more. To remove items from phone, you now must use Edit => Delete, and no command key shortcut or checkbox to do so after downloading. What idiot engineer thought that up? And it cannot even drawn its window properly, leaving blank spaces.
  • The Finder cannot empty the Trash sometimes; it just gets into a state where this is impossible. You have to quit the Finder and relaunch it, where it is prone to hang, or logout and login.
  • Finder file copy speed is pathetic—about 40 times slower than Carbon Copy Cloner for a task I needed done (14 hours for Finder estimated 10 minutes in, vs about 20 minutes for CCC!). Or course, the Finder also craps out with large copies, so it cannot even get the job done.
  • Searching with Spotlight for local files such as source code defaults to a USELESS web search (e.g searching for my source file “ICJ.java” suggests and defaults to a web search for that name, with the source file down th elist). What moron thinks this stuff up? There is no way to reorder Spotlight search order preferences to fix this!

Who designs this stuff? Does anyone at Apple test anything for usability, let alone usefulness and function?

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