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Best ASUS EX 3 Thunderbolt card & UAD Sound card Configurations for 2018

Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
52
Motherboard
Asus Rampage V5 Edition 10
CPU
i7 6850k
Graphics
GTX 1080ti



Hi, I wanted to create a current 2018 thread for other Hackintosh users who combine these two hardware devices and/or other similar UAD sound card configurations, and also for those Hackintosh builders who also want to do so. I wanted to share my best and stable system settings and reach out to others who may have found better BIOS/System tweaks to ensure the UAD thunderbolt card will boot seamlessly every time (if that's yet possible in 2018) and run stably.

My configuration (95% stable :headbang::headbang::headbang:) is a powerful Audio/visual Media Power horse for hi-end Audio Mixing and 4k Video Editing and Post-Production built around an ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard with a 6850k 3.6Ghz 6-Core processor overclocked to 4Ghz, 64GB Ram overclocked at 3000, Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 SSD as system disk with a Samsung EVO 850 SSD as it's clone drive.
The ASUS Rampage V has a thunderbolt header port so the ASUS EX 3 connected easily into the PCI-EX8-2 port with the header cable connected to the header port, and I use a Startechcom Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adapter to connect to my Apollo Quad sound card.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018
After some research I have moved my card to the PCI EX16/EX8-3 Port and it has proven to be now 100% stable in this port.


KGP's "The Perfect Custo-mac Pro guide" is I believe still one of the best detailed and clearest guides to date for building stable and powerful production systems with many of the x99 motherboards like mine and brings together great info for getting the M.2 drives working on a hackintosh as well as solving many of the other common desires and problems associated with stable Hackintoshes running OS Sierra/High Sierra :clap::clap::clap:

https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...ill-tridentz-aorus-gtx-1080-ti-xtreme.211621/

To get thunderbolt working as a post-install operation I first needed to confirm the ASUS EX 3 card would work in Windows and I setup BIOS for the card in the following way:

A. BIOS/ADVANCED/Intel(R) Thunderbolt

Intel Thunderbolt Technology ON
Security Level UNIQUE ID
AIC Location Group CPU0 NB PCIE Slot
AI Location (Select appropriate slot where card is installed. In my case NB PCIE X16/X8_3
Thunderbolt PCIe Cache-line Size 32

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018

The ASUS EX III card comes with an install software disk but I recommend installing the software files manually to ensure it will be found in Windows. This guide explains in detail the process

https://www.overclock.net/forum/6-i...tall-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-asus-x99-mb.html

Note: While I do recommend manually installing all relevant setup files up to the most updated versions that recommended in this guide, I do not recommend installing the firmware update at all. This in many cases will lead to an unstable installation of the card and my system has now been 100% stable since August 2018 without this firmware update.


B. Reboot and Windows 10 should now find the thunderbolt card in Device Manager.

Most importantly though, your newly installed Thunderbolt software should now recognise your card, as explained in the above attached overclock.net guide.

C. Current UAD Apollo software only works with the Windows 10 Anniversary update so I updated Windows 10 to this before continuing. After installed the Universal Audio driver software for the Apollo 8 Quad and rebooting, Windows 10 should then find the sound interface when it is turned on.

OS SIERRA installation
A. I disconnected both my Thunderbolt EX 3 and Black Magic Graphics card before installing OS Sierra. Once the system booted fine without the USB Clover flash disk I installed driver software for both cards.

NOTE: For those who have already installed OS Sierra and are having trouble getting the thunderbolt card to activate then you would need to go back to Windows anyway and confirm it all works there first, then go forward into OS Sierra.

B. in Bios I re enabled the Thunderbolt settings with the following changes

BIOS/ADVANCED/Intel(R) Thunderbolt

Intel Thunderbolt Technology ON
Security Level LEGACY
AIC Location Group CPU0 NB PCIE Slot
AI Location (Select appropriate slot where card is installed. In my case NB PCIE X16/X8_3
Thunderbolt PCIe Cache-line Size 128

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018
Previously these settings were not sufficient enough to maintain stability of the EX III card and the UAD Apolloin OS Sierra and I was having a lot of trouble in booting, often needing to reboot my system a number of times when the Apollo was connected. These additional Asus x99 BIOS settings allow OS Sierra and High Sierra to load first time every time with the Apollo card turned on or off and so far I have maintained rock solid stability which is a miracle considering that so many other users are reporting no end of trouble with the ASUS EX III card.

BIOS/BOOT
Fast boot DISABLED (an obvious necessity to get clover to boot an OS system)
Int 19 Trap Response POSTPONED
Above 4G Decoding ENABLED


C. The thunderbolt card and the UAD Apollo will now function in OS Sierra as long as the Apollo is connected and powered before booting the OS. While OS doesn't recognise the thunderbolt driver in About this Mac / System Report / Thunderbolt, the audio drivers for the Apollo are recognised as "Universal Audio Apollo" in About this Mac / System Report / Audio and the Software will pick up the device so all should be good to go.

This procedure ensures that the Apollo sound card is 100% stable on my system.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018
Occasionally it happens that the Apollo will miraculously stop showing up in a mac system after it has been working without problems. The best way to resolve this problem is to go back to the Windows 10 system disk to see if the ports of the EX III card are showing up in the Thunderbolt software and the Apollo card's software also recognises the Apollo and. If not then the EX III card will need to be reinstalled. I would advise going back to this guide and following they're process for uninstalling the ASUS thunderbolt software and drivers (but leave the UAD software in place)

https://www.overclock.net/forum/6-i...tall-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-asus-x99-mb.html

It's important to also follow they're order of processes for disconnecting the EX III card and then re-installing the drivers in the correct sequence (I still wouldn't recommend don't install the firmware update though).

When the card then re-shows itself in windows it should re-show itself in OS Sierra or High Sierra and remain stable with the correct Bios settings.


Please share your thoughts and experiences and if I can assist Noobs with their similar setups then I will try. I'm especially keen to hear if others have achieved successful 100% system boots every time with these two hardware devices and what different BIOS settings they use to achieve this.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
68
Motherboard
X299 Deluxe, Z370 Prime-A
CPU
7980xe, 8700k
Graphics
GTX760
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. Mac Pro



Hi, I wanted to create a current 2018 thread for other Hackintosh users who combine these two hardware devices and/or other similar UAD sound card configurations, and also for those Hackintosh builders who also want to do so. I wanted to share my best and stable system settings and reach out to others who may have found better BIOS/System tweaks to ensure the UAD thunderbolt card will boot seamlessly every time (if that's yet possible in 2018) and run stably.

My configuration (95% stable :headbang::headbang::headbang:) is a powerful Audio/visual Media Power horse for hi-end Audio Mixing and 4k Video Editing and Post-Production built around an ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard with a 6850k 3.6Ghz 6-Core processor overclocked to 4Ghz, 64GB Ram overclocked at 3000, Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 SSD as system disk with a Samsung EVO 850 SSD as it's clone drive.
The ASUS Rampage V has a thunderbolt header port so the ASUS EX 3 connected easily into the PCI-EX8-2 port with the header cable connected to the header port, and I use a Startechcom Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adapter to connect to my Apollo Quad sound card.

KGP's "The Perfect Custo-mac Pro guide" is I believe still one of the best detailed and clearest guides to date for building stable and powerful production systems with many of the x99 motherboards like mine and brings together great info for getting the M.2 drives working on a hackintosh as well as solving many of the other common desires and problems associated with stable Hackintoshes running OS Sierra/High Sierra :clap::clap::clap:

https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...ill-tridentz-aorus-gtx-1080-ti-xtreme.211621/

To get thunderbolt working as a post-install operation I first needed to confirm the ASUS EX 3 card would work in Windows and I setup BIOS for the card in the following way:

A. BIOS/ADVANCED/Intel(R) Thunderbolt

Intel Thunderbolt Technology ON
Security Level UNIQUE ID
AIC Location Group CPU0 NB PCIE Slot
AI Location (Select appropriate slot where card is installed. In my case NB PCIE X16/X8_3
Thunderbolt PCIe Cache-line Size 32

B. Reboot and Windows 10 should now find the thunderbolt card in Device Manager.

C. Current UAD Apollo software only works with the Windows 10 Anniversary update so I updated Windows 10 to this before continuing. After installed the Universal Audio driver software for the Apollo 8 Quad and rebooting, Windows 10 should then find the sound interface when it is turned on.

OS SIERRA installation
A. I disconnected both my Thunderbolt EX 3 and Black Magic Graphics card before installing OS Sierra. Once the system booted fine without the USB Clover flash disk I installed driver software for both cards.

NOTE: For those who have already installed OS Sierra and are having trouble getting the thunderbolt card to activate then you would need to go back to Windows anyway and confirm it all works there first, then go forward into OS Sierra.

B. in Bios I re enabled the Thunderbolt settings with the following changes

BIOS/ADVANCED/Intel(R) Thunderbolt

Intel Thunderbolt Technology ON
Security Level LEGACY
AIC Location Group CPU0 NB PCIE Slot
AI Location (Select appropriate slot where card is installed. In my case NB PCIE X16/X8_3
Thunderbolt PCIe Cache-line Size 128

C. The thunderbolt card and the UAD Apollo will now function in OS Sierra as long as the Apollo is connected and powered before booting the OS. While OS doesn't recognise the thunderbolt driver in About this Mac / System Report / Thunderbolt, the audio drivers for the Apollo are recognised as "Universal Audio Apollo" in About this Mac / System Report / Audio and the Software will pick up the device so all should be good to go.

This procedure ensures that the Apollo sound card is 100% stable on my system once the system successfully boots with the Sound card turned on. The only annoyance is that sometimes my system just does not want to boot easily with thunderbolt attached even after 5 or 6 re-boots. Only way I've got around this is to boot with my EVO 850 SSD clone drive or to boot with BIOS setting Thunderbolt Security Level to 'Unique ID' which has the affect of not recognising the thunderbolt connection in the reboot, shutting down, resetting BIOS thunderbolt Security Level back to 'Legacy' and rebooting, and presto!!! the UAD sound card miraculously shows up. I've also tried resetting SMBIOS and restoring all BIOS settings and then it behaves itself again for a while. Basically these still appear random fixes because sometimes the UAD device boots with no problem. I suspect there is a compatibility problem with the ASUS Thunderbolt EX 3 card and OS-X as one would think an ASUS motherboard and an ASUS card would configure easily together. So far I can live with a 95% stable system but would love to iron out this bug.

Please share your thoughts and experiences and if I can assist Noobs with their similar setups then I will try. I'm especially keen to hear if others have achieved successful 100% system boots every time with these two hardware devices and what different BIOS settings they use to achieve this.


I'm using a Focusrite Red 8Pre in a x99 A ii, but I think running into some similar issues.

It seems to me that the root of the problem that causes random boot failures is the Aptio memory issue, with the TBEX3 must be grabbing a lot of the ram there. I'm a little out of my depth here to be honest, but I was able to get my system working by setting a custom slide value with the older OsxAptio fixes and messing with a custom slide value (I just guessed here)...

I still haven't been able to figure out how to calculate the correct slide values (hex calculator). Did you ever find a combo that was working? I had sierra running fairly well, but I'll be using 3 of these workstations in a studio so ultimately I wanted something a little more solid. I'm also wondering if there are some bios settings we should play with and/or if any different bios revs will have less fragmentation of the memory.
 

BreBo

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Joined
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Messages
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@RyanC, please update your profile (personal details) with your Motherboard (Mobo), CPU and Graphics Card.
The Rules said:
Profiles need to contain at least your primary system to assist others with helping you.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
52
Motherboard
Asus Rampage V5 Edition 10
CPU
i7 6850k
Graphics
GTX 1080ti
I'm using a Focusrite Red 8Pre in a x99 A ii, but I think running into some similar issues.

It seems to me that the root of the problem that causes random boot failures is the Aptio memory issue, with the TBEX3 must be grabbing a lot of the ram there. I'm a little out of my depth here to be honest, but I was able to get my system working by setting a custom slide value with the older OsxAptio fixes and messing with a custom slide value (I just guessed here)...

I still haven't been able to figure out how to calculate the correct slide values (hex calculator). Did you ever find a combo that was working? I had sierra running fairly well, but I'll be using 3 of these workstations in a studio so ultimately I wanted something a little more solid. I'm also wondering if there are some bios settings we should play with and/or if any different bios revs will have less fragmentation of the memory.

Interesting point about the Aptio memory issue. I haven't looked into this tweak myself but will investigate and experiment to see if I can improve boot performance. I'm wondering also about tweaking further my thunderbolt settings in BIOS. The tweaks I offered above have so far been the best in ensuring smooth performance with audio playback and recording once I have established a system boot, so to answer your question, my sound is stable once I get a proper boot but it may take 0 - 5 times to boot stably, often my system booting first time if the computer is cold, and sometimes 4 -5 times if I'm restarting.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
68
Motherboard
X299 Deluxe, Z370 Prime-A
CPU
7980xe, 8700k
Graphics
GTX760
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. Mac Pro
Interesting point about the Aptio memory issue. I haven't looked into this tweak myself but will investigate and experiment to see if I can improve boot performance. I'm wondering also about tweaking further my thunderbolt settings in BIOS. The tweaks I offered above have so far been the best in ensuring smooth performance with audio playback and recording once I have established a system boot, so to answer your question, my sound is stable once I get a proper boot but it may take 0 - 5 times to boot stably, often my system booting first time if the computer is cold, and sometimes 4 -5 times if I'm restarting.

Yeah, I'm almost 100% sure that your boot failures are related to the Aptio memory issue. Do you get the circle with the line through it right after the apple logo? If that is what's happening when you boot in verbose mode you should see that it get's stuck on those first few lines in the aptio fix.

Which aptio fix are you using by the way? And you are still on 10.12?

I also picked up a Asus z370 Prime and 8700k to test out. Interestingly it has many more TB options. I will post back with some updates as I have time to work with it.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
68
Motherboard
X299 Deluxe, Z370 Prime-A
CPU
7980xe, 8700k
Graphics
GTX760
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. Mac Pro
Just an update-

I found that Asus has a firmware update for the TB here-

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboard-Accessory/ThunderboltEX-3/HelpDesk_Download/

I applied this on my Z370 system (in W10 after a "good boot" with TB working), and not only is TB booting every time, but HOTPLUG IS ALSO WORKING! Now I have full sleep functionality, and can add TB hard drives etc without rebooting.

Very excited about that as I'm going to be using these in a multi-op recording studio and explaining weird TB workarounds to freelancers is a bit of nightmare (OK when the clover screen loads you just have stand on one foot, plug this in here, but not too fast, then pray to the TB gods and hit enter... lol).

I will be testing the updated firmware with my X99 builds also. The 8700k is snappy as hell at 5G, but I think (will test more) that Logic/ableton/Pro Tools performance is superior with the 5960x @4.5G.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2010
Messages
154
Motherboard
HP Elitebook 840-G2
CPU
i5 5300U
Graphics
HD 5500
Mac
  1. MacBook
Just an update-

I found that Asus has a firmware update for the TB here-

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboard-Accessory/ThunderboltEX-3/HelpDesk_Download/

I applied this on my Z370 system (in W10 after a "good boot" with TB working), and not only is TB booting every time, but HOTPLUG IS ALSO WORKING! Now I have full sleep functionality, and can add TB hard drives etc without rebooting.

Very excited about that as I'm going to be using these in a multi-op recording studio and explaining weird TB workarounds to freelancers is a bit of nightmare (OK when the clover screen loads you just have stand on one foot, plug this in here, but not too fast, then pray to the TB gods and hit enter... lol).

I will be testing the updated firmware with my X99 builds also. The 8700k is snappy as hell at 5G, but I think (will test more) that Logic/ableton/Pro Tools performance is superior with the 5960x @4.5G.
--Greetings RyanC... Would you mind listing your Z370 system components that you're referring to? Been thoroughly investigating TB3, as I'm embarking on a DAW build, compatible with my UAD2 Quad Satellite. So many variants, based on motherboard/hardware compatibility. Trying to nail down "dead-on" TB support. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
68
Motherboard
X299 Deluxe, Z370 Prime-A
CPU
7980xe, 8700k
Graphics
GTX760
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. Mac Pro
Looks like I spoke to soon about hotplug functionality. I saw that when the computer was sleeping the TB light on my Red 8Pre went off, and then it came back on after, I had never seen this before (after the light went off I had to reboot)...My test setup here makes it a little hard to get back to the cables so when I actually tried a hotplug it didin't work.

That being said, on my past systems once that TB light went off, the only option was to reboot. I know some X299 guys have hotplug working. Ultimately that isn't that big of a deal for me...
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
68
Motherboard
X299 Deluxe, Z370 Prime-A
CPU
7980xe, 8700k
Graphics
GTX760
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. Mac Pro
--Greetings RyanC... Would you mind listing your Z370 system components that you're referring to? Been thoroughly investigating TB3, as I'm embarking on a DAW build, compatible with my UAD2 Quad Satellite. So many variants, based on motherboard/hardware compatibility. Trying to nail down "dead-on" TB support. Thanks!

Sure man, I'm using a Asus z370 Prime A, 2x8gb corsiar 2400 ram (I already had it), a 8700k and a older GTX760 video card and samsung 850 SSD. I prefer 2.5 SSD's over M.2 because I have 3 workstations and it's nice to just pop the SSD out when I need to update all of them. On my system, more than 2 memory modules work, but low latency stability in PT and Logic goes downhill...

I found a EFI already setup for the Asus prime A and didn't have to change anything, although I did mess with Aptiomemfix vs OSXaptiofix options to see if that would fix my intermittent TB booting (I would guess it was working 9 out of 10 times). But it turned out the ThunderboltEX3 firmware is what fixed it.

If you don't need hot plug (you just have to reboot if you change any TB devices) this setup works really well...AFAIK, only a handful of people ever got hotplug TBT working on a hack.

That all being said, I'm going to work on this a bit more this afternoon but from my early tests the X99+5960x OC'd to 4.5Ghz is faster than the Z370+8700k at 5Ghz for audio (I'm testing in PT and Logic)...I'm going to need to test more to see the pros and cons there because the 8700k is SUPER SNAPPY, and in PT it will glitch at a 32 sample buffer when you get up over 90% CPU, but it doesn't stop playback (I prefer playback glitches to 9172 errors).

In either case, the 8700k at 5Ghz is better than my 12 core nMP. I would say it's a slight edge in overall power, a good step in low latency performance (below 64 bugger) and a giant leap in UI responsiveness. Honestly if Apple would make a mac mini with a 8700k stock it would sell like hotcakes for audio people.
 
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