Contribute
Register

Little Mac Pro: i5-6600K - ASUS Z170M-PLUS - R9 280 - Fusion Drive

Fl0r!an

Moderator
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
2,721
Motherboard
Asus Z170M-Plus
CPU
Intel i5-6600K
Graphics
AMD Radeon R9 280
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Little Mac Pro: i5-6600K - ASUS Z170M-PLUS - R9 280 - Fusion Drive



Components

BitFenix Prodigy M - Tower - Mikro-ATX
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00EKS9BQM/

ASUS Z170M-Plus Micro-ATX Mainboard
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B0126R44FG/

Intel i5-6600K "Skylake"
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B010T6DCBS/

EKL Alpenföhn Brocken ECO CPU Cooler
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00KIRLV58

G.Skill Value Series - DDR4 - 2 x 4 GB
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B015FXXGJI/

Corsair CX500 - 500W ATX/EPS 80 PLUS Bronze PSU
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B009D79N3G/


Already Owned

Dell U2515H - 25" 1440p IPS LED Display
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00P6O3YYO/

Sapphire R9 280 Dual-X 3GB
http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?pid=C4D1B443-6105-4A63-85DE-1732CC9C443D&lang=eng

Crucial M4 128GB SSD
https://www.crucial.com/wcsstore/CrucialSAS/pdf/product-flyer/ssd/productflyer-crucial-m4-ssd-7mm-9-5mm-en.pdf

Samsung 850 EVO 256GB SSD
http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00P736UEU/

Western Digital Blue 2TB


Comments

The Build
So I've finally decided to do a new build to replace my trusty old i5-750 / P55M. It has been rock-solid over the years, but despite several upgrades (Radeon R9 280, USB 3, more RAM) it starts to show its age in several applications and games.

Amusingly I didn't start my build with the mainboard or the processor, but with the case. After I first saw the Bitfenix Prodigy, I knew I had to do a hackintosh build with it, especially because I have a genuine MacPro and a hackintosh in a modded G5 case at home.
It comes with two preinstalled 120mm case fans (which might get replaced with more silent ones in the future). I also might buy some additional fans if the temperatures under load gets critical.

After multiple positive reports on Skylake builds, I decided to go for Skylake. In my opinion, the i5-6500 and i5-6600K are the best value-for-money choices in the current Skylake setup. In the end I chose the K-version because of its overclocking possibilities.
I don't want to push it to it's limits on the first day, but it's good to know that there are some power reserves which can be easily unlocked. Since I want to use this build as long as my last one, this will help me getting another year out of it.
Nevertheless I'll (carefully) tinker with the BIOS settings and post results in this thread.

I didn't have any special requirements on the motherboard besides the mATX form factor and a "Z" chipset for overclocking. When I planned this build, ASUS had a nice cash back campaign, which got me the Z170M-Plus for less than 95€, so the choice was simple.
1306406-3.jpg
It features a M.2 slot, which will surely be populated by a (big!) PCIE SSD when the prices have come down a little further. For the time being, I'll recycle the 2TB Fusion Drive from my last build.
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-05 um 16.05.49.png
Boot loader updates (especially Chameleon) have been a PITA on this drive, because I had to manually write the boot loader to the MBR. With a UEFI system this won't be a big issue, the boot loader can easily be installed in the file system on the EFI partition.
Of course this drive won't be able to compete with a real SSD in terms of read/write speeds, but it's way faster than a usual HDD and I won't have to care about splitting up the data between 2 drives, so it's fine for now.

I'd like to keep using my Sapphire R9 280 Dual-X, which has done a great job in the past 9 months since I bought it. However, the ongoing issues with AMD graphics have kept me from upgrading my P55M build to El Capitan, and I might have to consider switching to a NVIDIA card if they won't get solved.

The Installation
Thanks to the pioneering work of many brave people, the installation was surprisingly easy. I won't cover every step in great detail (you can read that up in the Skylake Starter Guide), but focus on specifics of this build. Especially the combination "Skylake & Radeon graphics" is something only very few people did so far.

Before starting the installation, I had to tweak a few BIOS settings:
  • Load optimized defaults
  • Disabled Serial port
  • Disabled Parallel Port
  • Adjusted DRAM frequency (not necessary)
  • Enabled XHCI Handoff
  • OS Type: Other OS
Installation of OS X:
I started of making a bootable USB drive with latest UniBeast. To make it bootable on Skylake, I had to
applied the following fixes from http://www.tonymacx86.com/el-capitan-desktop-guides/179221-skylake-starter-guide.html:
  • 2. IOAPIC Fix
  • 7. USB: USBInjectAll.kext (in /EFI/Clover/kexts/10.11) & raised port limit (otherwise garbled screen at boot)
  • 5. Ethernet: IntelMausiEthernet.kext in /EFI/Clover/kexts/10.11
  • 6. Audio: HDAS to HDEF patch
The last two fixes are not mandatory to reach the OS X installer.

After installing OS X I rebooted to El Capitan with full graphics acceleration and working Ethernet.
To enable audio, I mounted the ESP, ran CloverALC with Codec = 887, Audio ID = 2 and rebooted with working audio!

Note: Above I said that I wanted to recycle my old Fusion Drive form my last hack. I still plan to do this, but since I had to keep my old hack in a usable state for a little longer, I've installed OS X on an empty Samsung EVO 850 256GB. I'll do another install to the Fusion Drive when I get a chance.

Fine Tuning:
Sadly OS X El Capitan introduced a very annoying bug: Hacks with AMD Radeon graphics won't wake from sleep (more @ IM). Luckily there's a workaround: You have to use your integrated graphics as primary GPU. All I had to do was changing two BIOS settings:
  • Primary Display = CPU graphics
  • iGPU Multi-Monitor = Enabled
Unlike other Intel HD graphics, you don't need to use InjectIntel to activate it, the driver will automatically pick it up. If you choose to use Inject Intel (e.g. if you want a proper GPU display name instead of the generic "Intel HD 7000"), you'll have to supply a matching ig-platform-id:
Code:
<key>ig-platform-id</key>
<string>0x19120000</string>
Note: Since the iGPU is pretty much unusable due to heavy graphical artifacts (and some other bugs), I didn't care about doing a framebuffer patch since I won't connect anything to the motherboard ports anyways. I also tried to inject the same ig-platform-id which the iMac17,1 is using (0x19120001, 0 framebuffers), because it seems to be a logical choice for my use, but it'll KP as soon as the Intel drivers load, so I'll keep it like this for now.

You can see that the iGPU is now properly working as headless OpenCL device:
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-06 um 21.20.54.png
But more importantly, sleep/wake is now working properly! It's a good idea to configure Clover for auto booting, since you won't see anything until OS X loads. I've chosen the "LastBootedVolume" option.
The machine won't sleep when anything is connected to iGPU, most likely due to the buggy Skylake iGPU driver.

Additionally I've installed the HWSensors FakeSMC plugins to monitor temperatures and others. The latest official build won't work due to missing Skylake support, so I used these binaries (based on Kozlek's latest Git code).
Fan readings and voltages are missing, besides that it's working fine.
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-09 um 10.55.49.png

My audio output will break randomly (happened 3-4 times so far), I'm not sure why. It'll come back after sleeping & waking the machine.

I've added a i5-6600K SSDT to EFI/Clover/ACPI/patched and dropped SSDT/CpuPM and SSDT/Cpu0Ist to improve power management and SpeedStep. Turbo Boost states will be missing otherwise, maxing out at 3.5GHz. With this setup it'll turbo-boost up to 3.9GHz (single-core load) as it's supposed to.
The CPU was once stuck in 3.6GHz state until reboot, I don't know why. Beside that single issue it has always worked fine.


Summary
This Hack is really awesome! The installation went better than I had expected and so far it's rock-solid and blazing fast. I hope the Radeon-issue will be solved in the future, but since I rarely reboot my machine, the workaround will do for now.

What works:
  • All ports (USB, Audio, Ethernet)
  • Sleep/Wake
  • SpeedStep / PowerManagement
Untested:
  • USB C port
  • iMessage
ToDo:
  • Better solution for Radeon issue
  • Track down random audio issues
  • Redo USB properly without using USBInjectAll (works perfectly fine until now though)
Benchmarks
Well, as mentioned in the "Components" section I planned to install a huge air cooler on the CPU. When I unpacked it, I had to find out that a pair of mounting bars was missing, so it couldn't be installed. I've RMA'ed it and am currently waiting to receive a proper one, but for now I'm stuck with the boxed cooler from my old i5-750. It does its job, but it's definitely overchallenged at full load, so I'll postpone any heavy benchmarking (and overclocking) until I have a proper CPU cooler mounted. The temperatures will easily go beyond 70°C without OC, and I didn't want to fry the CPU on the first day...
Foto2klein.jpg

I did some more GPU demanding benchmarks though:
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-08 um 18.22.59.png
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-08 um 15.11.56.png
Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-06 um 21.20.54.png

Overclocking
No cooler => no overclocking :(

Undervolting
Since I still don't have a proper CPU cooler, I decided to tweak the CPU in the other direction: Undervolting (while maintaining the stock clock speed) to decrease the power draw.
This doesn't require any modifications in OS X, just the usual BIOS tweaks. Sadly, HWSensors doesn't (yet?) support CPU voltage readings, so I don't know the stock voltage exactly. When entering the BIOS, it usually shows a core voltage around 1.2V-1.23V.
I think this is already quite high for a 14nm CPU, so I decided to lower the turbo voltage ("adaptive mode" in my ASUS BIOS) to 1.05V (instead of "Auto").
I'm running my machine for a few days with this setting now, and it's still perfectly stable. The maximum power draw when running Prime95 has decreased by almost 15W!
Due to Prime95's excessive use of AVX instructions, it'll draw way more power than you'll ever see in any real workload, so I decided to do my final testing with an x264 encoder (Handbrake).
As you can see in the following screenshot from Intel's "Power Gadget", the power draw maxes out at ~56W, so the temperatures will reach a steady state around 61°C, which I think is very good, considering my crappy Intel stock cooler.
Handbrake_Undervolt.png
When gaming (e.g. CS:GO), the CPU temperature won't go beyond 50°C. My GPU temperatures are very trouble free as well, since the axial fans are pointing directly towards my case's top exhaust. They usually won't go beyond 60°C, which is perfectly fine as well.
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
258
Motherboard
x79 RIVE W/ EK MOSFET and chipset blocks
CPU
3930k
Graphics
EVGA GTX780 SC 2x Komodo Water Blocks
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Apple, eMac, iMac, Performa, Power Mac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
This looks excellent. I was unable (for some reason) to get El Capitan running on a h97n & 4690k, and have been wanting to get my hands on skylake and build something in the new iMagic pi mini case. Perhaps I can use this as my jumping off point. I wonder what ITX board is most compatible.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2011
Messages
26
Motherboard
OSX Mountain Lion
CPU
Core i7 2600K
Graphics
GTX 560Ti x2
Mac
Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Just 1 question: Can you help me show some post "how to install Fusion drive with Clover bootloader"?

I'm in stuck with this.

Thank you.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
13
Mac
Mac mini
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hey Fl0rian,

I'm hoping to make a build quite similar to yours, seen here:

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 2.00.19 PM.png

Are there any updates or other details I should know before I start? I'll be using your guide for reference as much as possible. Any help/advice you're willing to give will be very helpful too!
 

Fl0r!an

Moderator
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
2,721
Motherboard
Asus Z170M-Plus
CPU
Intel i5-6600K
Graphics
AMD Radeon R9 280
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Looks fine to me :)
You'll most likely need this patch to bypass the "Nvidia black screen" when using iMac17,1 SMBIOS as well as the Nvidia WebDrivers because of your Maxwell card.
And you definitely won't need a 650W PSU for that system, even a good 400W would be easily sufficient.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2016
Messages
12
Motherboard
z170m-plus
CPU
6700k
Graphics
onboard
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Crash after Multibeast

Question.
I followed your guide and the installation went fine but after running MultiBeast when i get to the
apple loading bar the computer shuts down and start again. What MultiBeast options did you use?
PS. i am using the integrated graphics of the 6700k for now and have a samsung-sm951 AHCI M.2 SSD.
 
Top