neilhart’s ASUS Maximus VII Impact w M.2 XP941 booting OS X via Clover [XW1]

Discussion in 'Retail Cases' started by neilhart, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:36 PM #1
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    neilhart’s ASUS Maximus VII Impact w M.2 XP941 booting OS X via Clover [XW1]

    Background: I read the bit-tech review of the ASUS Maximus VII Impact motherboard and was strongly attracted to it. I purchased the board and started a G4 Cube project thread: ( http://www.tonymacx86.com/powermac-g4-cube/150747-maybe-another-cube-project-just-idea-point.html ).

    I found that it was a no go for a cube and proceeded with this build.

    I had a SilverStone TJ08B-E case under my work desk from some prior and forgotten project.

    [​IMG]

    I pulled it out and dusted it off and thought it would be nearly perfect home for the ASUS Maximus VII Impact with the i7-4790K CPU and the MSI GTX760 ITX GPU. On second thought, it was just too massive for an ITX case.

    Here is the case on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163182&cm_re=Silverstone_case-_-11-163-182-_-Product

    Humm… what to do? Oh! Why not just make it smaller? So I did that and I took about 4 inches out.

    [​IMG]

    The original front to back was 385mm and now is 280mm (15.25 inches to 11 inches).

    To get the case this small required that I cut the frame vertically and reassemble the two pieces removing the 4 inches. I cut down the removable motherboard tray and retained the neat removability feature. Then to maintain the great looks of the SilverStone case, I sectioned the top and two side panels (adding a window on the right side).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Even with my resizing the case, it will still accept a Micro-ATX form factor motherboard.

    As indicated in the past, I now use 2.5 inch drives (HDDs and SSDs) and no longer purchase 3.5 inch hard drives although I still have a stack of them sitting around. So here I made up a drive stack for 4 2.5 inch drives and currently running two 120 GB SSDs, in a RAID 0 drive set, along with 2 1TB HGST Travelstar HDDs for backup partitions, data and Time Machine.

    And I have used an Antec h2o 950 AIO CPU cooler which fills much of the space adjacent to the Mini-ITX motherboard. This cooler was a Black Friday purchase that was too good to pass up.

    And one of the main attractions of this motherboard is the M.2 socket which sets on a 4x PCIE buss interface. So in theory this setup should boot and run a Samsung XP941 M.2 drive.

    The XP941 is too expensive IHO. Anyway I used up some VISA Reward Points on Amazon along with some cash and purchased a 256GB XP941. Here it is installed in the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see this a very compact MB and to get the XP941 installed I had to completely diss-assemble the machine. So I brought up the new Samsung drive on the bench.

    I went through the UEFI BIOS pages setting the machine to boot to the M.2 device. The first boot with the M.2 drive installed defaulted to my RAID 0 SSD drive set and booted into Mavericks. But OS X did detect a new drive and the dialog asking to “initialize” the drive popped up. I saw this as good news.

    I was able to use the Disk Utility app and format/partition the XP941 (looking good)! So I cloned a copy of Mavericks 10.9.5 onto the drive and the ran the Chimera 4.0.1 boot loader app hoping that I was making the XP941 bootable.

    No such luck. Long story short, after exhausting my bag of tricks trying to boot the XP941, I conceded that it was beyond my technical understanding and gave up on conventional means.

    I suspected that this would be the case as I could find no leads in my WEB searches that indicated that Chameleon or Chimera would boot this device.

    I was very pleased the when I used my “TonyMacX86 Clover/Yosemite USB flash drive installer” and booted into the XP941 cloned Mavericks 10.9.5 with everything working (well Ethernet, WiFi and sound).

    For the record, I am standardized on Clover_v2k_r2976 and won’t move a newer version until there is a need.

    I then set off on installing Yosemite 10.10.2 with the Clover/Yosemite installer. I followed Tony’s guide and installed Clover to the EFI partition on the XP941. This worked and the machine happily booted the XP941 into Yosemite. YEA!!!

    Well okay I proved the point that I had set out to do, “be able to boot OS X from the XP941”.

    However I am not a fan of Yosemite (can I say that?) and used SuperDuper to clone my Mavericks 10.9.5 RAID 0 to the XP941.

    So I now have this system with Clover booting to anyone of 6 partitions. The boot to the XP941 and the RAID 0 set of SSDs are “silly fast”.

    Blackmagic Disk Speed Test bench marks follow;

    XP941: [​IMG]

    SSDs: [​IMG]

    Other Bench marks (note the system is not OC’d at this point);

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Other things:

    I made up a touch panel. It is the lighter grey panel in the upper front. The panel contains 4 touch pads, unmarked at the moment. The sensor is identified here: http://www.tonymacx86.com/hardware-parts/155762-touch-sensors-three-models.html

    The touch pads are pennies attached with RTV to the reverse face of the grey panel with leads to the “Standalone 5-pad Capactive Touch Sensor Breakout”. And seen here is the relay panel that I made up for Power, Lamps On, Lamps Off and Reset functions.

    [​IMG]

    And the Lamps are this strip of white LEDs that sit just above the top of the right side window. When on they provide enough light to see the guts of the system…

    [​IMG]

    The ASUS motherboard arrived with the original BIOS. I updated it to the latest version found on the ASUS Support Web site; version 2102.

    My original installs were made using Tony’s tools; Unibeast and MultiBeast installing Mavericks and Yosemite booting with Chimera 4.0.1 and the MB optimized UEFI/BIOS default setting.

    When trying to bring up the Samsung XP941 I set everything that I could find in the BIOS to boot the M.2 device.

    This is the BIOS screen that shows the version:

    [​IMG]

    This screen is an enable M.2 function:

    [​IMG]

    And setting the boot order to have the Samsung XP941 as the default UEFI boot device:

    [​IMG]

    This is where I am at today. I intend to move a copy of Yosemite 10.10.2 onto the RAID-0 SSD drive set. Or I may pull the SSDs as they will see little use with the XP941 being the main system drive.

    I also intend to try a little tuning and over clocking just to see what there is to see. As it is in this case, the system is very quite and appears solid but only time will tell that story.

    I am open to questions.

    Good modding,
    neil

    XW1 = Xtream Wee One
     
  2. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Mobo:
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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
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    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Feb 10, 2015 at 9:44 PM #2
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Mobo:
    ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
    CPU:
    Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
    Graphics:
    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
    Mac:
    MacBook, MacBook Pro
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    And here is my Clover boot screen.

    [​IMG]

    Where I have too many boot partitions:

    From left to right:

    A fat32 USB stick
    Mavericks 10.9.5 on the M.2 device
    Mavericks 10.9.5 on the RAID 0 SSD drive set
    Mavericks 10.9.4 partition
    Mavericks 10.9.5 partition (parent for the clone to the RAID set and M.2 device)
    Yosemite 10.10.1 partition
    Yosemite 10.10.2 partition

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  3. rehpotsirhc

    rehpotsirhc

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    Feb 21, 2015 at 12:23 AM #3
    rehpotsirhc

    rehpotsirhc

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    I was able to get my 4790K up to 4.7 boost without even having a super OC friendly / specific motherboard. My best Cinebench was 958.
     
  4. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
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    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Feb 25, 2015 at 11:09 PM #4
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
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    rehpotsirhc while I do intend to play with over clocking at some point. The only change that I have made in the BIOS is to set the memory to 2133 MHz as it was being detected as 1600 MHz.

    The hack runs without issue and is very quick, however I feel as it is not complete yet.

    I reconfigured the RAID set by installing Yosemite 10.10.2 and I can boot the RAID using Clover or Chimera.

    The Samsung XP941 M.2 drive is the default boot drive with Mavericks 10.9.5 and will only boot with Clover.

    And I have reconfigured one hard drive to reduce the number of bootable partitions to four.

    But I want the system to have more eye candy so to speak. With the current configuration the radiator and fan block viewing the motherboard and GPU.

    I see my alternatives as leave it alone (no way!), modify this case, or do a new case.

    The overall case width is a little more then 8 inches and the Antec radiator is 5 inches. Here is a photo of the rear of the system.

    [​IMG]

    I am thinking that I could reconstruct the guts of the case to change the orientation of the motherboard. Change it so the MB is still in the vertical orientation but rotated to face the left side of the system.

    To do this I have purchased this 2U riser card from an Amazon seller, Nextronicus.

    [​IMG]

    This riser will let me have a very thin board package, However I do need to pull the system apart and test to insure that the system will tolerate the riser card.

    More to follow.

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  5. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
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    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Mar 13, 2015 at 3:42 AM #5
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Graphics:
    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
    Mac:
    MacBook, MacBook Pro
    Mobile Phone:
    iOS
    [​IMG]

    This is the machine this evening. Is it done? No, I'm still toying with ideas. I may redo my rear panel. And then it all has to come apart and the frame needs to be painted.

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  6. Uwillparish

    Uwillparish

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    Apr 1, 2015 at 11:59 PM #6
    Uwillparish

    Uwillparish

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    Your like the kipkay of hackintoshes, always got a little project going ;)
     
  7. donsjgm

    donsjgm

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    Apr 2, 2015 at 12:43 AM #7
    donsjgm

    donsjgm

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    hey Neil, Great build and a great description. Impressive craftsmanship and I really enjoyed seeing and reading about it.

    Happy Hacking :)
    Don
     
  8. Tanos

    Tanos

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    Apr 2, 2015 at 2:39 PM #8
    Tanos

    Tanos

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    Did you disable c-states?
     
  9. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Apr 12, 2015 at 5:44 PM #9
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
    Mac:
    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Well no. The power management as I am currently running it works with only a few states; at idle it sets with an x8 multiplier and under any load it jumps up to 40, 41, 42.

    And an update:

    As I used this machine, I found that I wanted to get at the hard drives several times as I was trying different install processes and my plan was to save the installed image by putting aside the target 2.5 inch hard drive.

    This entailed shutting down the machine, repositioning it, removing the right side cover, and so forth. Once is not a big deal. But on the third cycle, I started to think that I could make my life much easier if I spent and little time and designed a “Drive Swap” port to facilitate quick and easy changing of HDD/SSDs.

    So a quick tour through my parts salvage boxes, I came up with a KingWin SATA Drive Hot Swap adapter from some prior project. Note that I used one of these in the “White One” project.

    [​IMG]

    And it was a no brainer to see that this device would have to be mounted in the vertical at the top of the system… as that was about the only available space without a complete re-design.

    So long story short. I used my razor saw and cut the bottom (or rear) mounts off the device and used ABS glue to reattach them in the same orientation about an inch closer to the front. This allowed me to retain the shock mounted mounts and reduce the overall mounting impact to the rest of the structure. Once mounted, with the front, now top of the device in a plane flush to to where the top panel mounts… I proceeded to cut and finish a “access port”.

    [​IMG]

    And after a couple of quick coats of black paint (cured in the oven) it is ready to reassemble.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More to follow. I need to get the cables to this device and get all of the panels back on.

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  10. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Apr 13, 2015 at 9:09 PM #10
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
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    MacBook, MacBook Pro
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    Just another update to share where this system is at now.

    I am using it as my main workstation and has been running well, mostly 24/7 except for a few days down as I modded the modds adding my top drive access port.

    It is back together and up an running. I took these photos as it was reassembled but before going back in its’ working position.

    [​IMG]

    The rear with the final rear panel modded and in place.

    [​IMG]

    The left side now has the window, which is enlarged to nearly the full side.
    The front is the same as before.

    [​IMG]

    And another shot of the top viewed from the rear of the system. The magnetic mounted dust filter did not make the photo shoot.

    Questions and comments are welcome.

    Good modding,
    neil
     

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