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GC-ALPINE RIDGE in hands

Joined
Apr 5, 2016
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739
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GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 7
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GTX TITAN X
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The GC-ALPINE RIDGE has three outputs: HDMI 1.4, Thunderbolt 3 port 1 and Thunderbolt 3 port 2. The two DisplayPort inputs can only go to two of the outputs at most. If two displays are connected to one Thunderbolt port (via additional Thunderbolt devices), then both inputs will go to the one Thunderbolt port. The inputs are not tied to any particular output. The display routing will be set when you connect inputs or outputs.

Did you install any software with the LG UltraFine 4K displays? I would try removing that.

Did you try Windows?

Are the USB functions of the LG UltraFine 4K working?
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
14
Motherboard
ASUS Prime Z370-A
CPU
8700K
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Sapphire Pulse RX 580
The GC-ALPINE RIDGE has three outputs: HDMI 1.4, Thunderbolt 3 port 1 and Thunderbolt 3 port 2. The two DisplayPort inputs can only go to two of the outputs at most. If two displays are connected to one Thunderbolt port (via additional Thunderbolt devices), then both inputs will go to the one Thunderbolt port. The inputs are not tied to any particular output. The display routing will be set when you connect inputs or outputs.

Did you install any software with the LG UltraFine 4K displays? I would try removing that.

Did you try Windows?

Are the USB functions of the LG UltraFine 4K working?
Yes, I know that only two outputs can be used at a time. I don't even care about using the HDMI output, I was just testing it.

I did not install any software for the LG displays.

I have not tried Windows, from what I've read they don't work very well in Windows anyway.

Yes, the USB functions (brightness control, sound output) do work on the one display that passes through correctly. I did determine that the header cable must be connected to the motherboard for this functionality, otherwise you only get display passthrough.

I went so far as to purchase a second GC-AR card, thinking the first one was bad, but the second one behaves the same. I have tested in two different motherboards, the Auros Gaming 7 and an ASUS Prime Z370-A. I also tried putting both cards in the Auros simultaneously, but that resulted in only one of the them outputting a signal to the LG 4K, though it appeared the one active monitor was considered by macOS to be the secondary display because the Dock did not appear, and it also introduced terrible lag on the mouse input.
 
Joined
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Messages
739
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 7
CPU
i7-6700K
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GTX TITAN X
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
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Yes, I know that only two outputs can be used at a time. I don't even care about using the HDMI output, I was just testing it.

I did not install any software for the LG displays.

I have not tried Windows, from what I've read they don't work very well in Windows anyway.

Yes, the USB functions (brightness control, sound output) do work on the one display that passes through correctly. I did determine that the header cable must be connected to the motherboard for this functionality, otherwise you only get display passthrough.

I went so far as to purchase a second GC-AR card, thinking the first one was bad, but the second one behaves the same. I have tested in two different motherboards, the Auros Gaming 7 and an ASUS Prime Z370-A. I also tried putting both cards in the Auros simultaneously, but that resulted in only one of the them outputting a signal to the LG 4K, though it appeared the one active monitor was considered by macOS to be the secondary display because the Dock did not appear, and it also introduced terrible lag on the mouse input.
The only thing I can think of that could be causing this problem is that the LG UltraFine 4K is slightly larger than a 4K display (3840x2160 or 4096x2160) at 4096x2304. Maybe the GC-ALPINE RIDGE has a bug in the firmware that does not allow two of them to be connected simultaneously even though they are connected to two different Thunderbolt 3 ports. That would be strange since Apple says you can connect four of them to an iMac Pro (but only at 8bpc).

Do you have a display that is 4K or smaller that can be connected to a USB-C port (with or without adapter)? Connect that display first, then the LG UltraFine 4K, then disconnect the first display and connect the second LG UltraFine 4K.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
14
Motherboard
ASUS Prime Z370-A
CPU
8700K
Graphics
Sapphire Pulse RX 580
The only thing I can think of that could be causing this problem is that the LG UltraFine 4K is slightly larger than a 4K display (3840x2160 or 4096x2160) at 4096x2304. Maybe the GC-ALPINE RIDGE has a bug in the firmware that does not allow two of them to be connected simultaneously even though they are connected to two different Thunderbolt 3 ports. That would be strange since Apple says you can connect four of them to an iMac Pro (but only at 8bpc).

Do you have a display that is 4K or smaller that can be connected to a USB-C port (with or without adapter)? Connect that display first, then the LG UltraFine 4K, then disconnect the first display and connect the second LG UltraFine 4K.
The specs for the GC-AR state specifically "2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports supporting up to 40 Gbps bandwidth and a maximum display resolution of 4096x2304@60Hz" so I don't think the resolution is the issue. I tried connecting an HDMI display via a Aukey USB-C to HDMI adapter, and it works when it's the only device connected; I can use either one LG 4K display, or the one HDMI display via the Aukey adapter, but I can't use both simultaneously.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that today I received the GC-TITAN RIDGE card and am currently looking at two pristine LG 4K displays! The GC-TR, in addition to the TB3 motherboard cable, has another USB 2 header cable that connects to the motherboard, as well as 2 x 6-pin GPU power adapters to supply the stated 100W power delivery (no idea what you'd use this for? connect a laptop to your desktop to charge it?). I did connect the extra USB header cable, but I did not connect the GPU power connectors to the PSU, and the two LG 4K displays work properly. Brightness control, as well as sound output, works on both.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Messages
739
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 7
CPU
i7-6700K
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GTX TITAN X
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iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Apple, LC, Power Mac
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The specs for the GC-AR state specifically "2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports supporting up to 40 Gbps bandwidth and a maximum display resolution of 4096x2304@60Hz" so I don't think the resolution is the issue. I tried connecting an HDMI display via a Aukey USB-C to HDMI adapter, and it works when it's the only device connected; I can use either one LG 4K display, or the one HDMI display via the Aukey adapter, but I can't use both simultaneously.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that today I received the GC-TITAN RIDGE card and am currently looking at two pristine LG 4K displays! The GC-TR, in addition to the TB3 motherboard cable, has another USB 2 header cable that connects to the motherboard, as well as 2 x 6-pin GPU power adapters to supply the stated 100W power delivery (no idea what you'd use this for? connect a laptop to your desktop to charge it?). I did connect the extra USB header cable, but I did not connect the GPU power connectors to the PSU, and the two LG 4K displays work properly. Brightness control, as well as sound output, works on both.
It's not the resolution that's the problem. It's the fact that you were trying to connect two displays with that large resolution that I was speculating was causing the problem, even though the LG only does 8bpc which at 4096x2304@60Hz requires less bandwidth than 4096x2160@60Hz 10bpc. But you say it doesn't work with a smaller display - is it 1080p or 4K? Is the Aukey adapter active or passive? You said the GC-AR supports two displays when one is connected to the HDMI output but not when both are connected to Thunderbolt 3 ports? Do both Thunderbolt 3 ports work individually? Maybe it's something that should be brought to the attention of Gigabyte. Maybe the card is defective. Maybe it doesn't matter now that you have the GC-TITAN RIDGE.

You'll notice that the USB functions of the LG displays are connected to the USB controller of your computer instead of the USB controller of the GC-TITAN RIDGE. I wonder if Titan Ridge chips have a functioning USB 2.0 controller and if so, why Gigabyte chose not to use it.

The LG display's audio - is there anything that ties a display's audio to the display? Or do you have to try each one?

The LG brightness - there's a brightness control in the display's preferences that controls only the brightness of that display? Maybe there's an ID that ties the USB brightness control to the display. I think my old Apple 30" Cinema Display uses EDIDSerialNumber. But when I disconnected and reconnected the USB cable, brightness control stopped working until restart.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
14
Motherboard
ASUS Prime Z370-A
CPU
8700K
Graphics
Sapphire Pulse RX 580
It's not the resolution that's the problem. It's the fact that you were trying to connect two displays with that large resolution that I was speculating was causing the problem, even though the LG only does 8bpc which at 4096x2304@60Hz requires less bandwidth than 4096x2160@60Hz 10bpc. But you say it doesn't work with a smaller display - is it 1080p or 4K? Is the Aukey adapter active or passive? You said the GC-AR supports two displays when one is connected to the HDMI output but not when both are connected to Thunderbolt 3 ports? Do both Thunderbolt 3 ports work individually? Maybe it's something that should be brought to the attention of Gigabyte. Maybe the card is defective. Maybe it doesn't matter now that you have the GC-TITAN RIDGE.
The HDMI display I tested with is 1440p. Not sure about the Aukey adapter, there's no model number printed on it. I bought it from Amazon a couple years ago but the product page is gone, looks like they have a newer model now. Yes the GC-AR worked with one USB-C and the HDMI outputs, but it was always/only USB-C port 1. I could not get USB-C port 2 on the GC-AR to work under any scenario. That's why I thought maybe it was bad and ordered a second one, but that one is the same. I did open a ticket with Gigabyte.

The LG display's audio - is there anything that ties a display's audio to the display? Or do you have to try each one?
There's no identifier, like "1" "2", to distinguish between the two. There are just two entries in the sound output menu named "LG UltraFine Display Audio". If I choose the first one sound outputs to the first display, choose the other and it outputs to the second display.

The LG brightness - there's a brightness control in the display's preferences that controls only the brightness of that display? Maybe there's an ID that ties the USB brightness control to the display. I think my old Apple 30" Cinema Display uses EDIDSerialNumber. But when I disconnected and reconnected the USB cable, brightness control stopped working until restart.
Yes there's a brightness slider in the display settings for each, and they both work properly. Brightness keys on the keyboard work as expected too. Pressing the keys adjusts the display that the mouse cursor is currently on, and holding the Control key + brightness adjusts the other display that the mouse is not on.

Sigh... I just discovered a problem with display sleep. I thought it was working properly, but it's not. I have the "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off" option enabled; I only want the displays to sleep, I keep the computer awake. I use a Hot Corner to put the displays to sleep, and when pushing the mouse to that corner both displays do go to sleep. If I wake them after only a few seconds, they both wake. If I wait more than a few seconds, say 10 seconds, only the primary display (as set it the Displays preference pane, the one that shows the menu bar attached to it) will wake. This is regardless of which USB-C output port is used on the GC-TR, so it's not an output port issue. macOS still thinks the display is attached, I can move my mouse off onto it and it shows in the Displays preference pane, but it doesn't wake and actually display the image. If I disconnect and reconnect the display it comes back on. I also tested with and without screen lock (require password on wake), both are the same. I know shutdown/restart/sleep/wake are generally problematic with a Hackintosh, so I guess I need to do some research on this issue now.
 
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Sigh... I just discovered a problem with display sleep. I thought it was working properly, but it's not. I have the "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off" option enabled; I only want the displays to sleep, I keep the computer awake. I use a Hot Corner to put the displays to sleep, and when pushing the mouse to that corner both displays do go to sleep. If I wake them after only a few seconds, they both wake. If I wait more than a few seconds, say 10 seconds, only the primary display (as set it the Displays preference pane, the one that shows the menu bar attached to it) will wake. This is regardless of which USB-C output port is used on the GC-TR, so it's not an output port issue. macOS still thinks the display is attached, I can move my mouse off onto it and it shows in the Displays preference pane, but it doesn't wake and actually display the image. If I disconnect and reconnect the display it comes back on. I also tested with and without screen lock (require password on wake), both are the same. I know shutdown/restart/sleep/wake are generally problematic with a Hackintosh, so I guess I need to do some research on this issue now.
For sleep/wake, you'll want to make sure it's not the fault of the GC-TR by connecting two displays directly to the graphics card and maybe even remove the GC-TR to be sure.

As for GC-AR, I have no problems with the two rev 1 versions I have. They support a DisplayPort display from either USB-C output. It seems that it won't route DisplayPort input 1 to USB-C output 2 and it won't route DisplayPort input 2 to USB-C output 1. Things change when you connect a Thunderbolt device with DisplayPorts later in the chain. I left the HDMI output disconnected. I don't have USB-C displays to test.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
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ASUS Prime Z370-A
CPU
8700K
Graphics
Sapphire Pulse RX 580
For sleep/wake, you'll want to make sure it's not the fault of the GC-TR by connecting two displays directly to the graphics card and maybe even remove the GC-TR to be sure.
Good call. I tried with one LG 4K through the GC-TR and a DisplayPort display direct to the GPU, and both will wake from display sleep properly, so it is a problem with the GC-TR card. I tried to go into the BIOS to test different options, and now the Thunderbolt settings are completely missing from the BIOS. Thunderbolt sucks! Remember the good old days? Where we had dedicated ports for each type of external device, and when you plugged something in, wouldn't you know, it actually just worked!

[EDIT]: Ignore the text in red above. Turns out one of my two LG 4K displays wasn't fully updated, the one that wouldn't wake after more than a few seconds of display sleep. I downloaded the LG Screen Manager, which is now exclusively available in the Mac App Store, and updated the display to version "(3.11,3.4, 5226,3.04,0.2f)" (yes, that's exactly how it's shown, punctuation and spacing, I only added the quotes) from version "(3.06,3.4, 5226,2.14,0.28)" (yes, seriously, that's for real) and now it wakes properly.

Thunderbolt settings are still missing from the BIOS, even after clearing CMOS and loading optimized defaults. Next step would be to reflash the BIOS I guess, but at this point I don't really care as long as the displays work. Oh, and I still stand by my statements re: Thunderbolt sucking and dedicated ports working better!
 
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Because the public BIOS don't support the card at all despite what the update page says. Gigabyte made me a custom BIOS and now it works great. The card MUST be installed in the last PCIe slot (PCIE_8).
@genzai Can you post a copy of the customized BIOS. I'm desperately trying to get my GC Alpine Ridge to work with the Z170X Designare.
 
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Feb 1, 2017
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GA-X99 Designaire EX (rev 1)
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Intel i7 6950X
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Because the public BIOS don't support the card at all despite what the update page says. Gigabyte made me a custom BIOS and now it works great. The card MUST be installed in the last PCIe slot (PCIE_8).
Hi genzai, another request for your custom BIOS here. Its been two years since i tried to get the GC AR card working and i came close again, got it to register in windows, flashed both ports, all good. But I’ve never managed to get it to work in OSX. Now whenever i try to boot back into OSX i get hang at PCI Configuration begin.... even after removing the card and reverting back to previous setup I cant get past the clover screen. Gonna try again tomorrow but was hoping you can help with a copy of your BIOS Settings. Im currently using F4 bios. Many thanks!
 
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