My cube has been a wonderful addition to my office for the last few years, but is starting to lag behind the rest of the pack.
I previously had designs to build a second cube, but I have been so satisfied with this one that I focussed my hobby efforts on restoring old 1970's computers instead and that has kept me busy up until now. Last week my son showed up with about $1500 worth of computer hardware and asked me to help him build his gaming rig. That got me exited about putting some time into my hacks and bringing them back up to snuff, starting with my cube.
I decided that I would replace the motherboard, etc in it with the one I purchased for "Cube 2".
So here is the plan:
1) Motherboard: Intel DH61AG -> Intel DQ77KB
This upgrades from an H61 chipset to a Q77 chipset which will give me SATA 3 speeds for my SSD, as well as USB 3.0.
2) CPU: i3 2125 -> i3 3225
This upgrades from a Sandy Bridge to an Ivy Bridge (matching the mobo) and gives me HD 4000 graphics instead of HD 3000 graphics. Also, faster RAM is supported (DDR-1600 instead of DDR-1333)
3) RAM: 8GB-1333 -> 8GB 1600
Because its the right thing to do.
4) Mac OS X: Mavericks 10.9.1 -> El Capitan 10.11.5
The first thing I did was to assemble all the new (relatively) parts together on the bench and get Mac OSX installed and running happily. I started by creating an UniBeast installer and installing to a new SSD using my stable Haswell Hackintosh.
I then connected it to the DQ77KB and it booted fine and I added the appropriate MultiBeast drivers. A few tweaks to the bios to get the RAM to run at full speed and I was good to go! This board is really compatible!
From there, it was a relatively straightforward task to disassemble my cube and remove the old DH61AG board. Almost all the connectors are in the same or close to the same spots. The only one I had to compensate for was the standby power for the sensor switch. I had to lengthen the wires so they would reach the location of the Custom Solutions Header. The installation of the new board was a breeze, everything fit nicely.
My Geekbench 64 score went from 7686 to 8708, a nice, roughly 10% bump in speed which I expected.
More importantly, I am now running the latest Mac OS and the compatibility of that is priceless.
Here is the bottom:
Here is my upgraded setup:
I can post detailed installation notes if anyone is interested.
They found a new home in a really neat Mountain Mods enclosure!
It took most of the day to flash the DH71AG BIOS up to version 0109. I started at 0043 and flashed it to 0099. At that point the board seemed bricked. Nothing would boot and the bios would not upgrade or downgrade using any normal method from there. Even a DOS flash drive wouldn't boot! Out of desperation I burned a CD with the just the bios file on it, hooked up a solitary SATA drive and pulled the jumper to initiate BIOS recovery mode. It worked! I finally had 0104 installed. From there, I went straight to 0109 which is the current version.
I then hooked up the two SATA drives (an 120GB SSD, and a 250GB HDD) and installed El Capitan on the SSD and Windows 10 on the HDD. With a bunch of tuning I got most of the features working on the Mac side. I still have no audio and the USB 3.0 ports don't work either. Also, right after a kext change, my screen has graphic artifacts until the second boot, which clears them up. So I still have some work to do on the Mac side. Windows, seems fine.
I will document and post my settings in the next few days.