Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together

Posted by: freelance

Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/07/19 02:43 AM

I've just erased a five-paragraph preamble. The question is:

Can I use a new iMac as a monitor for my 2010 Mac Pro 5,1?

I want to keep the Mac Pro as a server via a router and ethernet, but also be able to work from it if required (if I need to launch in Snow Leopard).

I'm thinking I could get a Thunderbolt 3 hub with an HDMI port for video with a DVI-to-HDMI cable from the Mac Pro. Would that work? Is the iMac able to switch from internal video to an external source?

Or, do I need a second, small monitor? I hope not, my desktop is cluttered enough as it is.

What do you learned chaps think is the best solution?

Thanks.
Jerry
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/07/19 07:55 AM

Originally Posted By: freelance
Can I use a new iMac as a monitor for my 2010 Mac Pro 5,1?

The short answer is not directly.

The long answer is you can log onto Your Mac Pro from the new iMac and run programs on it through an ethernet or WiFi connection. MacOS sports this without additional software but I have found Screens 4 provides a vastly superior interface. From my experience I can highly recommend Screens for this task it beats heck out of the built-in software.

Originally Posted By: freelance
I want to keep the Mac Pro as a server via a router and ethernet, but also be able to work from it if required (if I need to launch in Snow Leopard).

I do this all the time with a Mac mini that I run as a headless (no monitor, no keyboard] server. except for some lag in refreshing the screen it works just fine. (You could just leave the Mac Pro at Snow Leopard and other than vulnerability to exploits it would be fine in the role you propose.

Originally Posted By: freelance
I'm thinking I could get a Thunderbolt 3 hub with an HDMI port for video with a DVI-to-HDMI cable from the Mac Pro. Would that work? Is the iMac able to switch from internal video to an external source?

Or, do I need a second, small monitor? I hope not, my desktop is cluttered enough as it is.

If both computers have an ethernet port you might want to connect them with an ethernet cable but if your WiFi network is decently fast that works quite well for me.

NOTE: You would not want to play video games through this kind of hookup because of the communications lag, but for text or passing heavy duty processing to the Mac Pro it should be perfectly adequate. If you are interested in trying this, I can pass along the setup details.
Posted by: freelance

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/07/19 08:24 AM

Screens 4 looks like a good steer, thanks.

The Mac Pro has two ethernet ports, but the iMac only has one, so I'd probably have to go via my router. My broadband WiFi signal is 70mbps down and 18mbps up. I'm guessing that ethernet through the router would be faster? Or does Mac-to-Mac WiFi work differently, i.e. faster?

I don't play video games, I'd mainly be using the Mac Pro as a file server. I want a SSD in the iMac, not a fusion drive (I've seen one go wrong in a friend's iMac).

The Mac Pro has just been too good a machine to discard.

Yes, any hookup suggestions you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

Even if I bought a Catalina iMac, I presume that I could use Screens 4 to run any of my 32-bit apps from the Mac Pro, but the iMac would be doing the "driving"?

Thanks for your help!
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/07/19 03:45 PM

Your LAN (Local Area Network) speed is independent of your internet connection speed. The internet speed is regulated by your ISP the LAN speed is specified by the IEEE 802.11 standards and dependent on the hardware built into your internet devices. In this case your Mac Pro will most be the limiting factor at 802.11g or 802.11n but in either case the speed is the same in both directions.
  1. On your Mac Pro while you still have a monitor and keyboard attached
    1. In System Preferences > Sharing
      1. ✔ File services - choose which drives and folders you want your iMac to be able to access then specify which users will have access to each and whether they will have Read only, Write only, or Read/Write. Choose a user account on the Mac Pro and grant them Read/Write access.
      2. ✔ Remote Login — Allow access for the same user you chose in File Services
      3. ✔ Remote Management — Choose the same user you chose in File Services then click options and check every option available.
    2. System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Options > Automatic Login — specify the user named in File Sharing
    3. NOTE: It is essential that you choose the same user in each case or this will not work correctly! Don't ask how I know that to be true. blush
    4. Verify your Mac Pro is logged onto your Local Area Network
    5. Do NOT remove the monitor and keyboard from the Mac Pro until you know everything is working correctly.
  2. On your iMac
    1. Assuming your are logged onto the same WiFi network as your Mac Pro, in the Finder sidebar under Locations you should see your Mac Pro. If not check the settings on your Mac Pro.
    2. click the Mac Pro icon and you will be presented with options to Connect or Share Screen. — in either case you will be prompted to log in. Use the same user account name and its password that you specified in setting up File Services, etc. Note: You can save the userid and password in Keychain so that will be automatic in the future.
    3. For a superior screen sharing experience install Screens 4 on your iMac and use it instead of Finder to share the Mac Pro's screen.
    4. Once you are satisfied everything is working correctly you can shut down the Mac Pro, remove its monitor and keyboard, reboot the Mac Pro and thereafter logon from you iMac via Screen Sharing.

FULL DISCLOSURE I have no relationship, pecuniary or otherwise with Screens 4 or their publisher other than that of being a satisfied customer.
Posted by: freelance

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/08/19 08:06 AM

Thanks a lot for that! I will let you know how I get on sometime in the next few months.

Just to be clear: Using Screens 4 on a Catalina-based iMac, I will be able to run apps on my WiFi-linked Mac Pro from a window on the iMac as though I was using the Mac Pro?

I say "Catalina-based" instead of "Mojave-based" in a worst case scenario. I will leave it as late as possible to purchase the iMac before Catalina is released.

Cheers!
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/08/19 10:24 AM

Not "...as though i was using the mac pro", you ARE using the Mac Pro. The only difference is the keyboard and monitor on the iMac are connected to the Mac Pro through screen sharing. You can have all kinds of other apps running on both computers at the same time and switch back and forth by changing windows on your iMac.

IMPORTANT I strongly recommend running Screens or Screen Sharing in Full Screen mode to get the optimum screen resolution from your Mac Pro.

Don't forget you can tinker with what you see on the iMac screen by changing the settings in System Preferences > Displays on the Mac Pro. Setting the resolution too high can have a negative effect because it creates a LOT more data that has to be pushed through your WiFi link, which is another reason to connect the two via ethernet, if possible. An ethernet switch (£12.35) and a good Cat 5 or Cat 6 ethernet cable (£5.63) are relatively cheap.
Posted by: freelance

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/08/19 03:12 PM

Thanks again. Is an ethernet switch a better solution than plugging everything into the back of my broadband router, which has four ethernet ports?
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Using new iMac and Mac Pro 5,1 together - 08/08/19 04:00 PM

In that case I would plug both the Mac Pro and iMac into ethernet ports on the router. That would mean both devices would be on your LAN and both would have internet access so neither would have any need to connect to your WIFI network. In fact unless you have other devices connecting wirelessly you would have no need for the WiFi and could turn it off completely. That would not help your internet speed, but it would make your LAN speed significantly faster.