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Efficient Semi-Passive Gaming Build: Asus Maximus VIII Gene / i6700k / EVGA 1070 FTW

Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
93
Motherboard
Asus Maximus VIII Gene
CPU
6700K
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mobile Phone
iOS
Efficient Semi-Passive Gaming Build: Asus Maximus VIII Gene / i6700k / EVGA 1070 FTW


Components

Caselabs - Bullet BH4 mATX Case
http://www.caselabs-store.com/bullet-bh4-matx-case-customizable/

DEMCiflex filter set for the case
http://www.demcifilter.com/p0671/CaseLabs-Bullet-BH4-Dust-Filter-Kit.aspx

Intel - Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012M8LXQW/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117559

Noctua - NH-C14S 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XUV3JTK/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608073

Asus - MAXIMUS VIII GENE Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012NH1MCM/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132569

G.Skill - Trident Z 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-3400 Memory (F4-3400C16Q-64GTZ)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJB3ZUE/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820232260

Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OBRE5UE/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147373

Samsung - SM951 512GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive (AHCI Version)

Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive (WD40EFRX)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EHBERSE/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236599

EVGA - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 Video Card
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I60OGUK/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487259

Silverstone - 700W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G26SMTQ/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256166

Microsoft - Windows 10 Home - Full Version (32 & 64-bit) / USB Flash Drive
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01019T6O0/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832588528

Acer - XB271HU bmiprz 27.0" 2560x1440 165Hz Monitor (Gsync, IPS)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0173PEX20/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824106004

PC/HACKINTOSH - APPLE BROADCOM BCM94360CD - 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC + BLUETOOTH 4.0
http://www.osxwifi.com/apple-broadcom-bcm94360cd-802-11-a-b-g-n-ac-bluetooth-4-0-with-adapter-for-pc-hackintosh


Already Owned
NEC Multisync LCD2690WUXi2 Color Critical Monitor with SpectraView

Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad


Comments
I wanted to build a small machine for coding, photography, audio creation, and gaming. I wanted a machine that had an aesthetic and build quality at least on par with the metal Apple machines, so I picked out the Caselabs bullet case in all white. I went with the mATX because its only barely bigger than the ITX version and allowed me to double the system RAM while giving me an option to sacrifice the Broadcom card for a second GPU. The ASUS board was a logical choice because of pci slot layout. While there are only two pci 8/16 slots, they are positioned so that a double wide GPU in the x16 slot doesn't block the other x8 or x1 slots. Seems obvious huh? The build quality is superb and the system is still dust free due to the filters. I put the filters on the inside of the case where possible for aesthetics.

I wanted the system to be dead silent under normal usage but be able to handle games all the way turned up. I picked the Noctua cooler because it was the biggest one I could fit in the case. The case has venting above so a good amount of heat radiates up and out. When the CPU fan turns on its also set to exhaust out the top of the case. The PSU is OK. This case uses the SFX size so choices are limited to basically Silverstone and Corsair. The Silverstone had a better rating and a 120mm fan. While the system is capable of a 4.7 or 4.8 GHz overclock, doing so kept cranking up my fans in earlier test builds, blowing the whole silent part. I used some sorbothane bumpers and sheets to isolate the computer from the hollow cabinet its sitting on and to isolate the PSU vibrations when the fan is on. Currently, when the fans are off, the CPU sits around 55 C. I have further tweaking to do because when the system fans are off sometimes the GPU fans turn on, which doesn't happen when the system fans are on. The loudest noise in the system comes from the PSU fan when it turns on.

Energy efficiency is important to me. I want the system to be sleeping when its not in use, and I want it to use its power efficiently. That's why I held out for the 1070 instead of picking up a Maxwell card. Unfortunately, thats also why I can't use the HD 530 graphics to drive my second monitor. I picked the EVGA 1070 FTW card because Gigabyte and ASUS cards were a little too long to fit in the case. Plus I've never had leds in a system and wanted to see what they were like :) With the exception of a couple of bugs the system is working excellently. Moving to the 17,1 definition would also theoretically give me improvements in power management.

Gaining the ability to set the fans to 0 took a little research. Some versions of ASUS Fan Xpert allow setting fans to zero. Mine did not. However, I found this link, which details a way to hack around the issue by editing an xml file that Fan Xpert uses to determine minimums. Note that the actual location of FanCalibrationData.xml was different for me. I don't have the path right now but can get it on request. Once that was done, I found a program called Macs Fan Control. It allows tying the fans to different sensors and setting them to "0" which is really a minimum value. After doing the xml hack in windows, the fan control program in MacOS was able to use true zero for its fan speeds.

I'm really glad I followed forum advice and skipped the NVMe SSD. The AHCI version just works, and there are plenty of other things I need to actually pay attention to.

I decided to buy the Broadcom card from OSXWifi rather than building my own because in the past I've had tons of problems with bluetooth disconnecting on genuine apple hardware, even across multiple laptops. I paid a little extra as insurance so if I had any issues I could just deal with one business to resolve them. Thankfully I'm not having those bluetooth issues anymore. I first built this rig with 10.12.0 and at the time I was having range issues connecting to the Apple Watch so I replaced the antennas with 6dbi antennas.

One unexpected benefit was that the MB has an optical audio out that I can use to send audio directly to the NuForce DDA-100 digital amp that is driving my big DefTech speakers without the AirPlay lag. I'm using Audio Hijack to send the different audio sources to different outputs.

Installation

This build is based on pastrychef's build and Stork's build.

1. I copied the BIOS settings directly from their builds. I'm currently using BIOS 2202. According to pastrychef, later BIOS versions break NVRAM emulation, so I haven't played with them yet.

BIOS settings from his build:
Extreme Tweeker
AI Overclocker Tuner > X.M.P.
Extreme Tweeking > Enable

Advanced Items
System Agent (SA) Configuration > VT-d > Disable
PCH Configuration > IOAPIC 24-119 > Disabled
USB Configuration > Legacy USB Support > Auto
USB Configuration > XHCI Hand Off > Enabled
APM Configuration > Power on by PCI - E/PCI > Disabled

Boot Menu
Fast Boot > Disabled
Boot Logo Display > Disabled
Secure Boot > OS Type > Other OS
Boot Option 1 > USB installer thumb drive
Exit > Save Changes

2. I put together the installer usb using UniBeast 7.1 and MultiBeast 9.1.

3. Boot from installer usb and install macOS.

4. Run MultiBeast with the following settings:

5. Open up latest version of Clover Configurator (I used 4.42.0) and use it to install the latest version of Clover if newer than the one on the installer usb. (Optional, but when I was getting FileVault working I figured I should have the latest)

6. Open up the new config.plist in a text editor (I used Atom) and paste in SMUUID, etc., from getting iMessage working on a previous installation. Just open up your previous config.plist and the new one from Multibeast and look at the end of the file. Its pretty obvious where the values go, but ask me if you have questions. If you don't have these ids yet, skip this step for now, but don't log into iCloud until you have the ids. See the What Works section for links to the specific posts that helped me get stuff working.

7. Install latest NVidia Web drivers. I also installed the CUDA drivers in case any software I use can leverage them.


What Works
Handoff & Continuity including unlocking with Apple Watch
iMessage
FileVault
Clover themes and correct 2560x1440 startup resolution (open your config in clover configurator, choose Install Drivers, then in the Drivers UEFI 64 bit section, select CSMVideoDxe)
DisplayPort audio using the cloverHDMI script
iTunes DRM protected videos play correctly
Better power management with the beta ssdtPRGen.sh script

I got errors on cpu-type, system-type, and board-id in the ssdtPRGen.sh script. cpu-type was easy enough to fix. I just pasted the value suggested by the script into the type field in the CPU section of Clover Configurator. The system-type error was harder to track down. The script said that i was set as desktop not mobile. To set the system-type requires checking the mobile checkbox in the SMBIOS section of Clover Configurator. I chose not to do this, however, since this is a desktop. The last error was about board-id not supported by Skylake. This turned out to be an iMac 14,2 vs 17,1 issue, where 14,2 boards are not compatible with Skylake, hence the error. I chose to proceed anyway and it worked, although theoretically sub optimally. It still brought my CPU idle down to 800mhz from 1000. Update: I realized that after doing this, About my Mac showed an i3 CPU. So I believe that although the script complains about the wrong CPU type, go with it. I removed the value from my config, rebooted, and About my Mac said i7 again. Then I ran the script again and accepted all 3 errors. I think that the 17,1 definition probably doesn't offer any benefit here since the script can already detect that its a desktop skylake and is only complaining that such a Mac shouldn't exist.


What Doesn't Work
Optical audio out cuts out after a few minutes, but works again if I switch the audio input to something else and then back. But, it keeps cutting out. Works fine in Windows. Update: This actually works, I hadn't tested it for months but with the latest install based on the latest Multibeast everything works as one would expect.

Connecting the second monitor results in random lockups. And I can’t use HD530 for the second monitor because sleep doesn’t work.

Something goofy is going on with storage. Erasing a disk in Disk Utility usually fails the first time, and upon boot my data hard drive is never ready in time for auto-opening apps.

Gpu monitoring through HWMonitor doesn't currently support Pascal cards. There are reports of people hacking around this, but for now I'm just waiting for RehabMan's FakeSMC branch to merge in changes from hwsensors.com, which has beta support for Pascal cards.

I'm getting a few random overclocking failures upon wake from sleep that seem to be related to the 3400 RAM. I've been experimenting with turning down the clock. Right now its at 2600 and the failures are rare. I need to figure that part out.


Updates
Update #1, 5/16/2017: Updated to 10.12.5 using the App Store. No issues, everything continues to work including sound and FileVault. The OS update installed, then rebooted using the default video drivers. I was prompted to install the new Nvidia web driver, which I did and rebooted. Then I was prompted to install the latest CUDA driver, which I did and rebooted. Everything just worked :)


Benchmarks







 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
1,506
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z370M D3H
CPU
i3-8350K
Graphics
RX 560
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Classic Mac
eMac, iBook
Mobile Phone
iOS
Really neat build - I like that clean cable-management :thumbup:

Interesting about the system definitions. Goes to show that 17,1 might be best for Skylake CPUs in theory, but I use 14,2 because it is so much more reliable and removes a GPU problem. Your post explains those error messages seen in a verbose boot. They don't seem to stop a boot however (at least here!)

I'm not 100% sure of my facts here, because I don't have an ASUS card, BUT I am using a Gigabyte 1050 and to change the cooling-fan "curve" I booted Windows 10 and loaded the Gigabyte Pascal utility. I feel sure ASUS must have something similar (?) By default it was set to start the GPU fan at something like 60 degrees-C. Meaning it is totally silent until then. Well I reduced this to 40 degrees-C.

Once saved this appears to hold for macOS too so I'm thinking perhaps a setting is saved on the card somewhere (that's the bit I'm not sure about). Obviously I have NVRam emulated to hold system settings for the card too.

The card has rarely got any hotter than this, idling at desktop somewhere around 36 degrees, so the fan never spins up.

:)
 
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
28
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z270M-D3H
CPU
I7-7700K
Graphics
EVGA GTX 1060
Mac
iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
iOS
Wow, really cool man! I love it.

I'm gathering tons of information about hackintosh, hardware compatible, etc.

I'm Mac Mini (late 2012) user atm, and I'm looking for an update. Gotta keep looking for this kind of builds, Mac mini style, little , power and silence.

Gj with this build :D
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
93
Motherboard
Asus Maximus VIII Gene
CPU
6700K
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mobile Phone
iOS
Really neat build - I like that clean cable-management :thumbup:
Thanks! I'd never done custom cables before, but the default PCI power cables are double headed and it takes two to power the 1070 FTW. all that extra cable was blocking the fans. Plus space is tight in the bottom section so custom cable lengths reduced the amount of brute force I needed to get the HD / SSD section back into the bottom of the case.

Interesting about the system definitions. Goes to show that 17,1 might be best for Skylake CPUs in theory, but I use 14,2 because it is so much more reliable and removes a GPU problem. Your post explains those error messages seen in a verbose boot. They don't seem to stop a boot however (at least here!)
For sure! I've seen a lot of posts about people wanting to use 17,1 because it more closely matches Skylake hardware, but this is the first concrete example I've found for something that the 17,1 definition might actually give you.

I'm not 100% sure of my facts here, because I don't have an ASUS card, BUT I am using a Gigabyte 1050 and to change the cooling-fan "curve" I booted Windows 10 and loaded the Gigabyte Pascal utility. I feel sure ASUS must have something similar (?) By default it was set to start the GPU fan at something like 60 degrees-C. Meaning it is totally silent until then. Well I reduced this to 40 degrees-C.
AFAIK you are right. Usually I use the Win10 installation to run the MB and GPU software and the settings just carry over to MacOS. With the 0 RPM hack that didn't seem to happen and it reset to some defaults in MacOS. I think that MacOS has some hard lower limits for fan speed and it didn't like something about the values that Windows stored (presumably in the MB and GPU BIOSes)

Once saved this appears to hold for macOS too so I'm thinking perhaps a setting is saved on the card somewhere (that's the bit I'm not sure about). Obviously I have NVRam emulated to hold system settings for the card too.
This is an interesting statement. I've been nervous about upgrading my BIOS because of breaking NVRAM emulation. Maybe I should just do it and emulate the NVRAM and maybe it will allow the 0 rpm fan settings to work automatically in MacOS.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
93
Motherboard
Asus Maximus VIII Gene
CPU
6700K
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mobile Phone
iOS
Wow, really cool man! I love it.

I'm gathering tons of information about hackintosh, hardware compatible, etc.

I'm Mac Mini (late 2012) user atm, and I'm looking for an update. Gotta keep looking for this kind of builds, Mac mini style, little , power and silence.

Gj with this build :D
Thank you! It took be about a year of gathering information before I was ready. There is an amazing amount of knowledge to gain, and then in hindsight everything looks super simple like it should have taken 1 hr to do the whole thing :) If you post any question threads let me know and maybe I can save you some research time. I know there are lots of neat passively cooled mini-sized cases out there!
 

pastrychef

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Messages
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Motherboard
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CPU
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Mac
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Classic Mac
iBook, Power Mac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
iOS
What Doesn't Work
Optical audio out cuts out after a few minutes, but works again if I switch the audio input to something else and then back. But, it keeps cutting out. Works fine in Windows.

Connecting the second monitor results in random lockups. And I can’t use HD530 for the second monitor because sleep doesn’t work.

Something goofy is going on with storage. Erasing a disk in Disk Utility usually fails the first time, and upon boot my data hard drive is never ready in time for auto-opening apps.

Gpu monitoring through HWMonitor doesn't currently support Pascal cards. There are reports of people hacking around this, but for now I'm just waiting for RehabMan's FakeSMC branch to merge in changes from hwsensors.com, which has beta support for Pascal cards.

I'm getting a few random overclocking failures upon wake from sleep that seem to be related to the 3400 RAM. I've been experimenting with turning down the clock. Right now its at 2600 and the failures are rare. I need to figure that part out.
Nice build!! :clap:

I can't comment on optical audio because I've never used it with the Gene. I did compare the difference between optical audio and the normal audio out on my old Mac Pro and was unable to hear any difference. Since then, I've switched to speakers that only has mini plug...

I tried a second monitor connected to the HD 530 once and it didn't work at all. I didn't bother trying to connect it to the video card.

I have the same issue as you when trying to erase drives in Disk Utility but it always works on the second attempt and I never paid any attention to it.

I have my RAM running at 3466MHz and sleep/wake has been working well.

It's interesting that you got Macs Fan Control working. I never even tried. I've left all the fan management to the BIOS and Fan Xpert. I may mess around with it now that I know you've had success. :thumbup:
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
93
Motherboard
Asus Maximus VIII Gene
CPU
6700K
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mobile Phone
iOS
Nice build!! :clap:

I can't comment on optical audio because I've never used it with the Gene. I did compare the difference between optical audio and the normal audio out on my old Mac Pro and was unable to hear any difference. Since then, I've switched to speakers that only has mini plug...
Thanks! I would never have tried it if I hadn't seen your build. Interestingly enough, I just tried the optical audio again for the first time since the latest install with the new Multibeast, and it works! I played audio for a few hours without a cutout, so I've now invested in Audio Hijack so I can sling different apps to different speakers :) I'll update my post to reflect that optical audio is now working.

I tried a second monitor connected to the HD 530 once and it didn't work at all. I didn't bother trying to connect it to the video card.
Yeah I tried various combinations of monitors hooked up to the various GPUs. But maybe I should try it again since optical out works now.. maybe updated drivers or a bug fix from apple...

I have the same issue as you when trying to erase drives in Disk Utility but it always works on the second attempt and I never paid any attention to it.
Oh good, I'm not crazy :) Yes its totally not a big deal but I thought it was worth mentioning. I remember when I started this journey I had no idea if there were little broken things that no one talked about when they said things worked, so I'm hoping to be detailed for the next generation of noobs :)

I have my RAM running at 3466MHz and sleep/wake has been working well.

It's interesting that you got Macs Fan Control working. I never even tried. I've left all the fan management to the BIOS and Fan Xpert. I may mess around with it now that I know you've had success. :thumbup:
I need to get on it and call up G.Skill.. I also used to have my clock reset to 2040 on random reboots.. something ain't quite right. AFAIK Macs Fan Control is not usually necessary. Set your curves in the bios or windows and let it ride. It was just with the hack to get 0rpm fan speeds that led me in that direction. Its probably worth experimenting more.

Thanks for your kind words, and here's hoping this build helps folks the way yours helped me!


g
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
65
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UP5 TH
CPU
i7-3770K
Graphics
HD 7970
Love this build and will follow it. Very helpful thinking about the direction of my third build later this year - shared priorities around power but with efficiency and silence (when possible.)

Particularly interested in seeing how you get your RAM sorted. Thanks for the write up!
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
93
Motherboard
Asus Maximus VIII Gene
CPU
6700K
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mobile Phone
iOS
Love this build and will follow it. Very helpful thinking about the direction of my third build later this year - shared priorities around power but with efficiency and silence (when possible.)

Particularly interested in seeing how you get your RAM sorted. Thanks for the write up!

Thanks! I hadn't built a rig for 15 years, and the last one sounded like an entire room of servers :(. I saw this video:


which showed me that this was even a thing. I'm really happy and proud that I finally got the Hackintosh version working. I honestly think the RAM is just bad. I need to get off my ass, contact them, and prove it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
4
Motherboard
GA-Z87M-D3H
CPU
3.6 Ghz i5
Graphics
750ti
Mac
MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
iOS
Nice build Overkill303!

Have to ask... Is that a sneaky Gibson cuddled up to the upright?

Looks like a nice upright stand you've got. I'm looking to find a suitable perch for mine... Any suggestions?

Also, what do you run it out of for amplified gigs?

Cheers!
 
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