Contribute
Register

[GUIDE] Atari VCS (2020) Console

Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
vcs-hires.jpg


This is a guide for booting macOS on the Atari VCS natively.

This is probably one of the most fun Hackintosh projects I've done in a while. I was an original backer for the Indiegogo campaign, who after receiving one of the (6,000) limited Collector's Edition systems wanted to do something special with my console...which other than games (you guessed it), was to turn it into a Hackintosh!

One of the most exciting facts about this new VCS is that aside from being a games console than can run other OSes it is one of the first few boards ever available that has the latest generation AMD Ryzen 1606G Embedded chip inside it. The board is classed as a Raven Ridge 2 with Picasso (Vega 3) graphics, and is capable of outputting up to 3x 4K displays!

Screenshot 2021-01-30 B.png


vcs2.png
vcs3.png


Screen Shot 2021-01-31 at 1.28.01 PM.png


atarivcs-geekbench2b.png


ajatestatarivcsb.png


unigine-valley-windows-vcs.png

(Unigine Valley in Windows)

atarivcs-cpuid.png
atarivcs-cpuid2.png


What works

Full screen 4K & 1080P (HD) display
Video playback (as of May 4th 2021 via Big Sur 11.3)
Audio (via Cyberdrive USB DAC)
WiFi
1GBe Ethernet
USB 3.0 & 2.0 (hot-plugging and eject on USB 3.0 works)
Sleep/Wake

What doesn't (yet)
Audio
Bluetooth
GPU graphics acceleration
WiFi

COMPONENTS

Atari VCS console
2 x 16GB Kingston DDR4 laptop RAM (optional)
250GB/500GB WD Blue M.2 SATA SSD (optional)
2 x 16GB USB Flash Drive (recommended brand Sandisk)
M.2 compatible fixing screws
A spare Mac/Hackintosh (ideally) to download and edit files
A copy of MountEFI https://github.com/corpnewt/MountEFI
A copy of Opencore Configurator
A copy of Clover Configurator
USB keyboard and mouse (attached to VCS)
Windows 10 (optional)
Rubber pry tool

I also upgraded some of the components for better performance, and will outline them here.

Upgrading of components

There are 3 variants of the Atari VCS available - Collector's Edition, Tribute Edition and Onyx Edition. The units come fitted with 32GB eMMC storage as standard.

The VCS I had was the Collector's Edition (with wood paneling finish) and came with 8GB of internal DDR4 RAM, but I decided to upgrade them to 32GB to maximise performance and usage. That also included adding a 500GB M.2 SATA SSD which I set aside for Windows (but you can use it for macOS).

To add these extra components, it is necessary for you to have a set of small Torx and Philips screwdrivers, plus some M.2 SSD compatible screws. You should also have something to place the VCS case onto (as it can scratch quite easily), such as a teatowel or soft cloth.

IMG_7938.JPG


There are at least a dozen screws that need to be removed. The first 4 are found underneath the console, covered by the long rubber pads. You will need to gently remove the pads which has grommets in them, by pinching one side of them, and then lift. That should reveal the screws beneath which you can then remove.

IMG_4148.JPG


The next thing would be to remove the rear and front panels to the case. Using the rubber pry tool, you should be able to gently pop off the rear panel by hand first, as well as the front - but must be extra careful with the front panel (especially for those with Collector's Editions). For the front you should gently try to pry with the tool one side first ie. left, then slowly move to the other, and it will eventually open. But you must bear in mind there is an internal antenna cable attached to the innards of the top lid of the console - and that needs to be unplugged from the card first before you can open the lid fully.

Once that is clear, you should be able to see the empty M.2 internal slot on the bottom of the board where you can install your WD Blue M.2 SATA drive.

IMG_3040.JPG


Continuing with the upgrade, next you will need to remove and unscrew the WiFi card that is in the secondary M.2 slot.

And then when that is done, you need to remove the two flat ribbons which are attached to both the left and right sides of the console case. To remove the ribbons you must lift up the small grey latches on either side of the connector, and then slide the ribbons out.

Afterwards, you will need to remove the small clear diffuser for the Atari logo LED which also has two small clear washers attached.

Then you will need to remove around 5 screws which hold the metal covering. This will allow you to completely remove the board from the console case. All you then need to do is turn the board over, and remove and swap over the new 32GB RAM and put everything back once finished.

IMG_9989.JPG


Making USB bootable installer:

Getting a copy of macOS Mojave:
If you have a Windows only system you can follow this guide to make a bootable USB stick
but download Mojave instead of Catalina:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/guide-booting-the-usb-installer-using-opencore.296375/

If you have a Mac, you can grab a copy of macOS using this script and running it in Terminal:
https://github.com/corpnewt/gibMacOS

Most of the following instructions were run on a Mac:

To run script, right-click gibMacOS.command and select Open.

When you run the script it will show you a list of available downloads. You must select the 'full install' of Mojave 10.14.6 (18G103) (which usually is around 6.52GB).

Once it has downloaded you need to create the Mojave installer on the USB. To do this type this in Terminal:

Code:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Once it's done, you'll need to copy the following attached EFI folder onto your USB stick's bootable EFI partition. The file is a ZIP so must be decompressed first.

First you must run MountEFI to mount the USB's EFI partition. Right-click to open MountEFI.command script and then select your USB's number in the Terminal list. Type in your password, and your EFI root directory will appear in your Finder. Select the EFI partition and drag the EFI folder you downloaded into root.

You'll need to then run Opencore Configurator (right-click to Open) to add in your unique system UUID and board serials. So select the config.plist under /EFI/OC/config.plist and edit it.

Go to PlatformInfo on the left, and select Datahub - Generic - PlatformNVRAM tab on the top. Select generate underneath the UUID field on the right. It should create a unique system UUID key. You'll need to also do this for your system Serial Number and MLB field keys on the left. If your Serial Number or Board ID doesn't generate, you'll need to get a copy from Clover Configurator. Simply run Clover Configurator, go to the SMBIOS section, select the Mac model using the arrows key on the bottom right corner highlighting iMac19,1 and then simply copy the Serial Number on the left to Serial Number in Opencore, Board Serial Number on the right to MLB in Opencore Configurator, and the ROM value to the two ROM value fields in Opencore Configurator. What you should end up with is something looking like this. Then Save the file.

1492585744_ScreenShot2021-02-01at9_15_21AM.thumb.png.04f1bce900cab3e5c78742698fed0ecd.png

Make sure the top half of Databub section on top does NOT contain a UUID key or any other keys.

Preparing the VCS BIOS:

To make macOS bootable on the VCS you'll need to make it Hackintosh-friendly.
Boot into Atari VCS pressing ESC key for the BIOS with the magic words 'Piano18482' for Supervisor mode.

Once in, change the BIOS to the following settings:

Boot Configuration > Fast Recovery > Off
Peripheral Configuration > Trust Platform Module > Disabled
ACPI Table/Features Control > HPET Support > Disabled
CPU Related Setting > SVM Support > Enabled, SVM Lock > Disabled, SMM Code Lock > Disabled
Above 4GB MMIO > Enabled
H2OUve Configuration > Disabled
Boot > USB Boot > Enabled, EFI Device First > Enabled
Boot Type > Dual Boot Type
AMD PBS > Discrete GPU's Audio > Keep HW Default Setting

Press F10 and reboot into BIOS

Administer Secure Boot > (enter password) > Enforce Secure Boot > Disabled

Press F10 and reboot

Installing macOS

I have included and added the relevant OC build, Vanilla AMD patches and updates to the attached EFI folder.
The EFI contains the following SSDTs, drivers and kexts derived from CaseySJ's B550 AMD Ryzen build, Opencore 0.6.3 and Vanilla-AMD-OSX patch update:

SSDTs:
SSDT-EC.aml
SSDT-SBUS-MCHC.aml
SSDT-USBX.aml
SSDT-X570-Vega56-slot-1.aml

Drivers:
AudioDxe.efi
HfsPlus.efi
OpenCanopy.efi
OpenRuntime.efi
UsbMouseDxe.efi

Kexts:
AMDRyzenCPUPowerManagement.kext
AppleALC.kext
AppleMCEReporterDisabler.kext
Lilu.kext
MacProMemoryNotificationDisabler.kext
NVMeFix.kext
SMCAMDProcessor.kext
VirtualSMC.kext
WhateverGreen.kext

Tools:
OpenShell.efi


To install macOS, simply plug in your Mojave USB stick and boot the VCS by pressing ESC key. You should be able to see your USB Flash shown on top in BIOS. Select it and it will boot the Opencore bootloader in the VCS. At the boot page, select Install macOS Mojave icon on your keyboard, and it will run the installer.

When it finishes, it will ask you to install on to which device. I used another Sandisk USB flash drive as the main drive but you should be able to use any drive. Select the Disk Utility, give it a name and format the drive as APFS format. Then quit Disk Utility and select Install Mojave in the menu for your USB drive.

Once the installer completes, you'll need to run it a 2nd and 3rd time. The VCS will reboot and you will need to hit ESC key again to re-select your USB stick to reboot.

Once installation is completed, you'll need to just copy your Mojave USB's EFI folder to the Mojave drive of your macOS installation using the methods above, so you can boot from your main drive. That's it!

Update: (April 29th 2021)

I successfully upgraded the BIOS from V.18 to V.21. While pressing Esc key at power on allowed me into the BIOS menu, it would not let me boot my Big Sur macOS external SSD. So I had to use the new password Atar!C3l3br8te$50Ye4r$ and log into the Administer Secure Boot section and basically turn off Secure Boot. That allowed my external drive to run macOS. But before that I also had to re-implement the changes made to the BIOS settings as I'd mentioned in my guide in the first post:

Boot Configuration > Fast Recovery > Off
Peripheral Configuration > Trust Platform Module > Disabled
ACPI Table/Features Control > HPET Support > Disabled
CPU Related Setting > SVM Support > Enabled, SVM Lock > Disabled, SMM Code Lock > Disabled
Above 4GB MMIO > Enabled
H2OUve Configuration > Disabled
Boot > USB Boot > Enabled, EFI Device First > Enabled
Boot Type > Dual Boot Type
AMD PBS > Discrete GPU's Audio > Keep HW Default Setting

After that, the drive booted perfectly.

Screen-Shot-2021-04-29-at-7.04.08-AM -2.png

So Atari VCS has been updated to latest Big Sur 11.3 and is running perfectly.
Process took about half an hour to complete including reboots and downloading via ethernet. To update you will need to do the following:

1) Update Opencore to 0.6.8 Release.
2) Update main kexts (Lilu, Whatevergreen, AppleALC etc).
3) Update AMD Kernel to latest version - use Propertree to make changes. Open two windows and copy & paste the Ryzen 17h_19h patches.plist data over to your config.plist under Kernel/Patches.

Update: (May 4th 2021)

Updated VCS to Big Sur 11.3.1 from System Update with no problems.
Video and audio playback is now possible thanks to native Apple Picasso driver.

Additional steps to enable native Picasso driver:

1) Disable ACPI > SSDT-X570-Vega56-slot-1.aml
2) Add 'keepsyms=1 debug=0x100 npci=0x2000 agpdmod=pikera alcid=1' to NVRAM > 7C436110-AB2A-4BBB-A880-FE41995C9F82

Update: (May 6th 2021)

WiFi now also works
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot 2021-01-30 B.png
    Screenshot 2021-01-30 B.png
    10.2 MB · Views: 412
  • EFI.zip
    3.8 MB · Views: 191
Last edited:

tonymacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
8,568
Motherboard
PRIME Z490-A
CPU
i5 10600K
Graphics
Vega 56
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
Classic Mac
  1. Apple
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Great write-up.

My .02, when I read the first line, I thought it was booting the Atari in some virtual space within MacOS. This is booting MacOS on the Atari.
Yes indeed! :angel:
 
Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
I can also confirm, the VCS is now able to run Big Sur :)

Screen-Shot-2021-02-04B.png


Just use the same EFI and settings as before, no changes needed.
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,730
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
Graphics
GTX960
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Middleman thank you for documenting this project. Great work that inspires!

Neil
 
Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
1,747
Motherboard
Gigabyte B550 Vision D
CPU
Ryzen 5900X
Graphics
RX 6800
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. MacBook Air
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. Mac mini
  6. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Power Mac
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Top