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How to build your own iMac Pro [Successful Build/Extended Guide]

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I received this connector (http://pcpartsandcables.com//product_info.php?cPath=34&products_id=104) which is a 5 pins adapter 2.54mm pitch to 2mm pitch. This allowed me to connect the ASRock TB3 AIC card (or the Asus ThunderboltEX card) to the gigabyte Gaming 7 Pro motherboard. Simply connect the pin as-is, don't revert them as mentioned in another thread.

Thanks to @maleorderbride SSDT, I have hotplug working (both USB and TB3 devices)...
I believe it should work with the Designare too, the ASRock TB3 card uses the same intel thunderbolt chipset, and the ACPI path of the TB3 with the Gaming 7 Pro is the same as the Designare.

Thanks for the advice : i received today the connector you indicated : well I can begin to install my ThunderboltEX3 on my mobo !
[Edit 1] Plugged on 4_2 Pci port and on the Tb port on mobo with connector , booted windows and and installed drivers , next step later boot on MacOs High Sierra
 
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Thanks again to you and @kgp. I followed the steps (and updated the BIOS) and had slightly better results. What I've discovered is this (and perhaps it was mentioned earlier):

The Gigabyte GC-ALPINE RIDGE Thunderbolt3 Certified PCI-E Expansion Card Rev 2.0 works with the Prime X299-Deluxe and has better results with the Arrow device. Once I have that installed, I'll report back. The Arrow almost works, it ought to work, and perhaps I'm missing a step on the OSX end -- but the Arrow still gives crackling audio that freezes up the machine while it processes on Windows (permanently locking up the machine on OSX); and having tried nearly everything else, including replacing the TB cable -- based on what I've read -- it's time to replace the TB3 card with another.

Hi @Leukipp0s ,

Could you provide me a link to the: "null" apple bootcamp driver. It includes Apple's own thunderbolt driver ?
As i really want to try it out :)

Thank you!
 
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I've been using my new "iMacPro for several weeks now. Special THANKS to
  • kgp -- For the great guide
  • izo1 -- For Gigabyte Designare EFI
  • bogdanw -- For RX 560 help
It has been rock solid, runs cooler than expected and is fast at EVERYTHING. My 2015 MBPr is feeling neglected. I will likely upgrade the video card in the near future. I've had it working with a FirePro W7000, GTX 1050 TI, and the RX 560. Next I will try either the RX 580 or a WX7100. Leaning toward the later because it should be totally supported and I haven't found anyone who is actually using the WX7100 yet.

The one part I feared I would regret is the 2TB 960 Pro NVMe card. It was worth every dime of the $1200 I had to pay. Lots of room and fast (see below)

THANK YOU ALL, and Thank Tonymacx86 for providing a forum for us.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 12.00.39 PM.png
 

RuleBreaker01

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I was searching this forum for a solution for my Thunderbolt 3 card installed on my asus x299-deluxe connected to a apple thunderbolt display, and i see that you have managed to make it work.. Do you have any advice in order to make it work on high sierra 10.13.4 ? I only have the display working but no camera or sound works..
I have managed to make it work in windows 10 with a working camera and sound!

you must have the TB3 card put in Slot 4... Otherwise the webcam, microphone, audio output and usb won't work. But the ethernet and FW800 port will though...
No idea why it needs to be in slot 4, but that's how it is...

If you're not running Asus latest bios, you may have to only connect the Apple TB display during the clover screen. Otherwise, it won't post...

hope this helps
 

RuleBreaker01

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Thanks for the advice : i received today the connector you indicated : well I can begin to install my ThunderboltEX3 on my mobo !
[Edit 1] Plugged on 4_2 Pci port and on the Tb port on mobo with connector , booted windows and and installed drivers , next step later boot on MacOs High Sierra

I switched to the ASRock X299 Professional Gaming XE yesterday... So far it's working great: hotplug with thunderbolt and connected to CPU PCI lanes.

I have two spare 2.54mm to 2mm adapter, should have told me earlier I would have sent one to you
 

RuleBreaker01

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Hi @Leukipp0s ,

Could you provide me a link to the: "null" apple bootcamp driver. It includes Apple's own thunderbolt driver ?
As i really want to try it out :)
they are easy to obtain. On macOS with SMBIOS set to iMacPro,1, launch the Boot camp assistant, and select Action -> Download windows support software. This will download all the drivers, in the Drivers -> Apple folder you'll find the null ones.
Oterhwise, I've attached it here.

Mind you, those drivers do absolutely nothing but attached themselves to the Intel Thunderbolt chipset. It's almost the same as not having any drivers installed at all.
 

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I switched to the ASRock X299 Professional Gaming XE yesterday... So far it's working great: hotplug with thunderbolt and connected to CPU PCI lanes.

I have two spare 2.54mm to 2mm adapter, should have told me earlier I would have sent one to you

So I've done a little reading about about the whole TB3-PCI vs TB3-PCH and now I'm thinking of possibly switching to a different motherboard. Though, I wonder if the bandwidth limitation of TB3-PCH is something that will be evident while using a TB3 audio interface. Couldn't find anything that would address the effect of TB3-PCH limitation in audio realm. Most of the articles I've found were about eGPU performance differences.

Considering that I already have a GC-Alpine Ridge card, I'd think it would make sense to go with something like AORUS Gaming 7, or I could go with Prime X-299 Deluxe for the sake of better compatibility with this guide. What would you recommend?
 
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So I've done a little reading about about the whole TB3-PCI vs TB3-PCH and now I'm thinking of possibly switching to a different motherboard. Though, I wonder if the bandwidth limitation of TB3-PCH is something that will be evident while using a TB3 audio interface. Couldn't find anything that would address the effect of TB3-PCH limitation in audio realm. Most of the articles I've found were about eGPU performance differences.

Considering that I already have a GC-Alpine Ridge card, I'd think it would make sense to go with something like AORUS Gaming 7, or I could go with Prime X-299 Deluxe for the sake of better compatibility with this guide. What would you recommend?

Audio is unlikely to be affected, at least datarate-wise (and realistically, latency neither). 48 channels at 48Khz and 24Bits is 55.2megabits per second. USB2.0 is 480megabits per second.
 
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Audio is unlikely to be affected, at least datarate-wise (and realistically, latency neither). 48 channels at 48Khz and 24Bits is 55.2megabits per second. USB2.0 is 480megabits per second.

I figured it most likely won't have any noticeable effect for audio performance, but wasn't entirely sure. Thanks for the info.
 

RuleBreaker01

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So I've done a little reading about about the whole TB3-PCI vs TB3-PCH and now I'm thinking of possibly switching to a different motherboard. Though, I wonder if the bandwidth limitation of TB3-PCH is something that will be evident while using a TB3 audio interface. Couldn't find anything that would address the effect of TB3-PCH limitation in audio realm. Most of the articles I've found were about eGPU performance differences.

Considering that I already have a GC-Alpine Ridge card, I'd think it would make sense to go with something like AORUS Gaming 7, or I could go with Prime X-299 Deluxe for the sake of better compatibility with this guide. What would you recommend?

If the only device you have in TB3 is an Audio card, I wouldn't worry about it. PCH or CPU won't make a difference.
If you care about PCH vs CPU lanes, then no point getting any Gigabyte X299 board, they are *all* wired via PCH. The TB3 card must be placed in the designated slots: PCIe x4_2 (https://www.gigabyte.com/au/Motherboard/GC-ALPINE-RIDGE-rev-20#ov)
The Designare is better than the Aorus Gaming 7 Pro (make sure you get the pro, it has the same VRM has the Designare) ; the only exception is that I got TB3 and USB-C hotplug working with the Gaming 7 Pro, but not the Designare....
However, in the future, if you get a TB3 external disk, using PCH lanes will be a worry, especially as the NVMe share the same bandwidth

The Asus X299 Prime Deluxe is the cheapest of those cards, with the most features that's for sure... Your GB TB3 card will work with this motherboard just fine.

I'm very pleased with the ASRock x299 Professional Gaming. It has 10Gbit/s nic (in addition to the intel i211 and i219). There are caveats in getting the AQC107 to work, you *must* go through 10.13.3. There was a bug in 10.13.3 that reflashed the AQC107 into an Apple branded card (the same as the iMac Pro). Once the AQC107 got reflashed, it would then work perfectly in macOS. That bug got corrected in 10.13.4, and the card no longer work. If it has been reflashed in 10.13.3 however, it will work.

In the ASRock, the TB3 card works in any of the slots, without having to configure anything in the BIOS, and all PCIe slots are using CPU lanes.
The main NVMe slot also use 4 dedicated PCU lanes, which will give the best performance.
Another thing of interest over the Gigabytes board, it supports Intel VROC: that is you can split any of the PCI x16 ports into x8/x8, x4/x4/x4/x4, x8/x4/x4 or x4/x4/x8 ... So more storage option (the Asus can do that, but only with their M.2 PCI cards)
The ASRock has massive heatsink and the most over-designed VRM of all.

I have TB3 hotplug working now (not USBC however).
I have all USB ports working, and sleep is almost working (it wake from sleep only after 2-3s, which I'm hoping I will find a solution for).
For now, I've had the best results with macOS on this board.

I wouldn't use the availabity of @kgp guide as the reason for choosing the Asus Prime Deluxe. You can achieve the same rather easily with all x299 board out there.
The Designare is a great motherboard, certainly the highest quality one I've seen. The only downside is that the TB3 ports go through the PCH.

Using the SSDT-TB3.aml I posted earlier did you manage to get hotplug and usb-c working ?
 
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