SUCCESS: Asus Rampage II Gene, i7, NVidia GT240 & HDMI Audio

Discussion in 'User Builds' started by carukc, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. carukc

    carukc

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Mobo:
    GA-Q77M-D2H
    CPU:
    3770
    Graphics:
    HD4000
    Mac:
    iMac, MacBook, Mac mini
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    Sep 5, 2011 #1
    carukc

    carukc

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Mobo:
    GA-Q77M-D2H
    CPU:
    3770
    Graphics:
    HD4000
    Mac:
    iMac, MacBook, Mac mini
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    I recently decided to buy a Mac Mini to use as my primary media system so I decided to re-task my old media PC. Since I'm a bit crazy about the noise that most PCs make I tend to go a bit overboard on the 'silence' side... Hence the Mac Mini.

    It took some time, but I finally managed to I managed to get my first system working (with HDMI audio and an Apple remote) so I thought that I should share the build here.

    The only thing not quite working now is sleep but I can live without that.

    Specs:
    Asus Rampage II Gene
    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... e_II_GENE/
    - I used IDE rather than AHCI for the drives and configured the system with 1 2GB DIMM and 1 CPU to do the initial install.

    NVidia GT240 - Gigabyte GV-N240SL-1GI
    http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3609#ov

    Intel Core i7 950
    http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-950-Processor-3-06GHz-LGA1366/dp/B002A6G3V2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316872839&sr=1-1

    mCubed Case
    http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/info_1276.html

    Seagate 500GB Momentus XT 2.5" Hybrid SSD/HDD
    (mostly because they really are very fast compared to a standard drive!

    Already Owned

    Main Media Storage
    - Norco RPC-4220 case
    - Supermicro X8DTH-6F
    - 20 x Samsung F4
    - 2 x 6 core Xeon
    - 48 GB RAM
    - Seagate Hybrid to boot to ESX.

    ok... overkill for media storage... in fact it's running ESX 3.5 and MS Storage Server as a Virtual for media... the rest is for my development work.


    THE BUILD
    The build was challenging but I got there in the end as follows:

    First... create an iBoot CD and boot with it. When the system finishes booting, swap the iBoot CD for retail Install disk and install on basic hardware as in:
    See: http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/04/ ... -x-on.html

    It took me a while to get the motherboard configuration just right but would up with the BIOS configured for 1 CPU and IDE (rather than AHCI ... for the drives) and physically configured with 1 2GB DIMM.

    Before the MultiBeast setup I created a user DSDT file using the DSDT Updater tool here:
    See: http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index. ... pic=235523

    and left it on my desktop.

    Next I ran MultiBeast... (Note... Don't just select everything... you MUST select only the options that you need/want, which is dependent on your motherboard / setup. It helps to understand what every one of the settings do. If minimally you know what every option does, you will find it much easier to resolve the minor problems that you encounter.

    MultiBeast does a great job at managing a broad range of configurations but you really do need to understand what you are setting.

    I first managed to get Voodoo audio working with the built in XFi chip and the kexts that came with MultiBeast but the quality was pretty poor. So I decided to disable the XFi chip and rely try to get HDMI audio working. I went through an Asus 5740 and GT210 before settling on the Gigabyte GV-N240SL-1GI. It's passively cooled and has a reasonably low profile so it fit well in the mCubed case. I found that many of the passive cards that I looked at had heat pipes that extended up quite some distance from the radiators. By comparison the GV-N240SL has quite a low profile.

    This tutorial proved useful in getting it working properly:
    See: http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/10/ ... tions.html

    Th 'Advanced Method' worked just fine for me and because the card is a GT240 I did not have to bother with the 'Advanced DSDT Fixes'.

    The standard configuration works just fine with the

    I have yet to try the new nVidia drivers. That's the next step for me.

    Also worth reading is this:
    viewtopic.php?f=162&t=22028

    I quite like the apple remote so I buoght an actual Apple IR.. This guide helped a great deal: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=8913

    As an asside... For those of you in the UK... I just tried a Bluemicro Pro Bluetooth dongle on a i5-2500K / HA65M-D2H-B3 that I am playing with. It can be had for £5 with free shipping on Play.com and work perfectly on OSX (at least it does on Lion)!

    COMMENTS
    After just about everything was working and I had installed Plex I found that the system was not being discovered properly so I installed the RealTek 81* kexts using MultiBeast. So far this seem to have resolved the problem with Bonjour.

    For the moment I am sticking with OSX 10.6.7 because I know that it works quite well with Plex but will try to move to 10.6.8 or Lion at some point. For an HTPC though I am not sure that there is a particularly good reason to go to Lion.

    The BEST resources that I found for a mini project of this sort are:
    This site! http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/
    TonyMac86 wiki: wiki/index.php/Main_Page
    http://www.insanelymac.com/
    http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/
    http://www.insanelymac.com/osx86db/
    http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

    So far, I've had 1 unexplained freeze in the last 3 days or so but otherwise Plex is working perfectly using HDMI for audio and video.

    I would suggest to anyone attempting a build to check out the following tools:

    - an account at tonymac86!
    - iBoot - viewforum.php?f=125
    - MultiBeast - viewforum.php?f=125
    - Hex Fiend - http://ridiculousfish.com/hexfiend/
    - DSDT SE - http://www.osx86.es/?p=610
    - XCode

    Be prepared to do allot of tinkering.... but it does work and when done plays silky smooth video and perfect audio (over the HDMI)

    New Media
    New downloads all go on a Synology 1515+. These things are GREAT. I highly recommend them to anyone who is building a home media system. I also quite like FreeNAS for storing media... it's easy to use and free. I have a couple HP Microservers running FreeNAS too.

    For those of you who are interested in storing large amounts of media I suggest that you take a look here: http://www.servethehome.com/ . It's a great site for all things storage!
     
  2. bilk

    bilk

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    56
    Mobo:
    MSI Z77MA-G45
    CPU:
    i7 3770K Ivy Bridge
    Graphics:
    EVGA NVidia GeForce GTX 660Ti SLI 3GB GDDR5
    Mac:
    Mac Pro
    Sep 5, 2011 #2
    bilk

    bilk

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    56
    Mobo:
    MSI Z77MA-G45
    CPU:
    i7 3770K Ivy Bridge
    Graphics:
    EVGA NVidia GeForce GTX 660Ti SLI 3GB GDDR5
    Mac:
    Mac Pro
    Can you post the bios settings you used for this MB? I have the same board. I also don't your explaination regarding what you did with the memory and drive. Thanks in advance.
     
  3. carukc

    carukc

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Mobo:
    GA-Q77M-D2H
    CPU:
    3770
    Graphics:
    HD4000
    Mac:
    iMac, MacBook, Mac mini
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    Sep 5, 2011 #3
    carukc

    carukc

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Mobo:
    GA-Q77M-D2H
    CPU:
    3770
    Graphics:
    HD4000
    Mac:
    iMac, MacBook, Mac mini
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    I used diffent BIOS settings when setting the system up than I run now.

    To Setup I used default BIOS settngs (which means that most things were set to auto) and only changed the following:
    - In 'Extreme Tweaker' set 'AI Overclock Tuner' to [XMP]
    - In 'Main->Storage' I changed 'SATA Configuration' as [Enhanced]
    - and 'Configure SATA as [IDE]
    - In 'Advanced->CPU Configuration' I set 'Intel Virtual. Tech to [Disabled]
    - and Active Processor Cores to [1]
    - and Intel HT Tech to [Disabled]
    - I also seem to recall turning Turbo Core off
    - In 'Advanced->Intel VT-d' I set it to disabled
    - In 'Onboard Device Configuration' disable J-Micron eSATA
    - and I set High Definition Audio to [Disabled]

    Basically you want to turn OFF as much as possable and do not use RAID or AHCI. Keep things simple to start.

    I also used the Intel SATA interfaces and seem to recall that I had to use SATA1 and SATA3 as opposed to SATA0 and SATA1.

    I used the most recent BIOS.

    Once you have installled and configured you can start turning things back on again... For example.. Turn all CPU cores on and enable Intel HT (Hyper Threading). But you should turn on one thing at a time and reboot after each one. That way if something does not work you know what happened.

    re Memory... I installed with only 1 stick... which would have forced the system's memory controller into single channel mode.

    Also... be prepared to dedicate 2-3 solid days/evenings to this. I think that every configuration is slightly different and for each there seem to be unique challenges. That said... finding the appropriate resources (like a DSDT for that board) took a huge amount of time. Time that, hopefull you will save, by using my notes and reading the sources.

    Where specifically are you having trouble?
     
  4. bilk

    bilk

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    56
    Mobo:
    MSI Z77MA-G45
    CPU:
    i7 3770K Ivy Bridge
    Graphics:
    EVGA NVidia GeForce GTX 660Ti SLI 3GB GDDR5
    Mac:
    Mac Pro
    Sep 6, 2011 #4
    bilk

    bilk

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    56
    Mobo:
    MSI Z77MA-G45
    CPU:
    i7 3770K Ivy Bridge
    Graphics:
    EVGA NVidia GeForce GTX 660Ti SLI 3GB GDDR5
    Mac:
    Mac Pro
    Say thanks for your time and the reply. So no AHCI? All of the recipes say switch to AHCI. That is interesting. Funny thing is I switched my W7 install to AHCI so I didn't have to keep changing it in my attempts to install SL to the other drive. I will probably have to set up an alternate boot bios so I can use both. Also I just realized my board is the Gene III, not the II. However the architecture must be similar - well I hope. I have a working hack on an Asus eeepc and figured I'd try to get my desktop working as well.

    Yes I've already dedicated a lot of time through unsuccessful attempts, but I'm not giving up yet. I still have my iMac and miss using it regularly. I installed Lion on that and really like the changes. It will be even better when iOS5 is live and all will work in concert - iPHone, iPad and Macs.

    Thanks again and I'll post here on what ever happens with my machine :)
     

Share This Page