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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 project for OS X

neilhart

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Edit: 11/18/2015 - I made a change to the thread title, removed Mini-ITX as this project is changing in nature... neil

This thread is intended to document my next project for those that would like to follow along and share my decision process along with the fabrication details as they occur.

At this point I have a desire to produce a small efficient machine that has external access to the drives. This would mean that I could change the boot device(s) without disassembling the machine.

Also, the itch includes using a Z170 Mini-ITX motherboard that has the usual things along with USB 3.1 and M.2 (4x PCIe Gen 3.0 with 32 Gbs). This itch appears to be satisfied by the ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming motherboard although the Maximus VIII Impact (TBA) will probably also fit the bill. I am waiting for these boards to become available in the US.

You can view the details here: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Z170I-PRO-GAMING/



I am also waiting for the i7-6700T (35W) CPU. This low power unit should produce a very functional machine and keep the power budget down.

DDR4 memory… this will be my first experience with it.

A Samsung M2 device… whatever is currently best performing if not the SM951.

SATA Express? No experience with this tech so will need to take a look.

On board slot for WiFi/BT. This should be a given on the ITX motherboards.

A GPU. Well this is TBD but should be capable of running multiple displays and would be nice to be at 4K and a good refresh. More research needed. Will need to be compact to fit the case.

And so forth.

I am very pleased with the Mini-ITX tower that I designed early this year (see this project: ). I think that I will reuse many of those design concepts, adding a little to the width of the case to facilitate not having the bulge at the GPU harness connectors and to allow access the the bottom of the MB to facilitate M.2 device swaps.

I will also have to do some mach ups to see if the “t” version CPU can be cooled adequately without resorting to a CPU AIO water cooler.

And in the end this rig will have to run OS X well to be a success.

**** The above is my pipe dream. My main issue is the expense now that I have given it a little thought. There are always options. I may need to build and refine the case using parts that I already own and see where it goes.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

Hey if the hype is correct the Samsung 950 Pro is the way to go. It would be nice to own one of each... so far all that I have is the XP941.

Today I almost purchased three 256GB EVO 850s on Newegg where the special was at $86 US. However I decided to save my funds for motherboard, memory and CPU as I have other drives that I can use now.

Any more ideas?

Good modding,
neil
 
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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

neilhart, I can suggest you to read New IONVMeFamily.kext and ADATA SR1020NP M.2 SSD posts. You will find out what SSD experience with NVMe is not so great and will be surprised with manufacture statement (specially Intel Monopolist) that Booting an NVMe* PCI Express* Solid State Drive is possible to boot only on an Intel® Z97 Chipset, or an Intel® X99 Chipset and of course Intel 100 Series Chipset. So money rolling machine is up to date to f(h)uck dum consumers. :D
 

neilhart

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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

Yes it is a hoot! I have lived with integration issues that comes with not waiting for the herd. However I love problems and the rush that comes with discovering the solution.

I am still frustrated as I have not found a source (yet) for the i7-6700t and the announced ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming has yet to hit the retail shelves.

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

neilhart, I can suggest you to read New IONVMeFamily.kext and ADATA SR1020NP M.2 SSD posts. You will find out what SSD experience with NVMe is not so great and will be surprised with manufacture statement (specially Intel Monopolist) that Booting an NVMe* PCI Express* Solid State Drive is possible to boot only on an Intel® Z97 Chipset, or an Intel® X99 Chipset and of course Intel 100 Series Chipset. So money rolling machine is up to date to f(h)uck dum consumers. :D
Humm...

So Coool what do you think of the "ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII IMPACT LGA 1151 Intel Z170 Intel USB 3.1 USB 3.0 U.2 Mini ITX Intel Gaming Motherboard" which is currently available at Newegg?

U.2 socket on this MB is a new one to me. A real unknown.

I really have my sights set on the ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming but it is not to be found in distribution (yet).

edit: Well I spoke too early. I have found the ASUS Z170I in distribution (Amazon) and put one one order...

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

Four days ago, in the US these were just not to be found in the distribution channels.

Found orderable on the afternoon of the 18th and ordered one.

And on my door step today (with free shipping). Thanks Amazon.



Good modding,
neil
 
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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

I have to not recommend any of the boards you have mentioned above or have already purchased. Also looks like your ASUS board has a crazy audio chipset (SupremeFX?).

The issue is the fancy boards like the ASUS board you got have newer tech that Macs don't have anyway like SATA-Express, High-end USB 3 chipsets, weird Ethernet gaming cards, and M.2 slots.

The fancy gaming boards have M.2 instead of Mini PCI-Express - but Mini PCI-Express is needed to use the Apple Broadcom wireless card with a Mini PCI Express adapter for native WiFi and Bluetooth. There are no M.2 OS X compatible WiFi cards. Additionally, it needs to be a VERTICAL mini PCI-Express slot so it can fit the Broadcom card with the adapter. Most boards have a horizontal Mini PCI-Express, but you would need a vertical slot.

If you don't need WiFi in your desktop build, then no worries about vertical Mini PCI-Express. If you've realized you need WiFi after the fact of purchasing your board, you can purchase and use an Apple Airport Express set to bridge mode connected to your Home WiFi and plug it into your hackintosh via Ethernet. It will basically be an external WiFi card into Ethernet.

I have completed my Mini-ITX Z170 hacktinosh build and used the ASRock Z170M-ITX board. I used this board because it is a Z170 but comes with the older components like ALC892 audio, Realtek Ethernet, vertical Mini PCI-Express, and Intel USB 3. It does NOT have M.2 or SATA-Express which no other Mac has. Because of older components, the board is both cheaper and more compatible. The newer ALC1150 audio chipsets have some popping issues in El Capitan.

I had to drill the aluminum port insert for two more WiFi antenna holes and separately purchase two more WiFi card antenna connectors because the Broadcom wireless card has four antennas and not two.

Here is a link to the board on NewEgg. As far as I can tell it's the only Z170 board to come with older components and vertical Mini PCI-Express.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157651&cm_re=Z170M-ITX-_-13-157-651-_-Product

In this Z170 situation I would say that you don't want the fancy motherboard stuff - you want the older more compatible components which are cheaper anyway.
 

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neilhart

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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

I have to not recommend any of the boards you have mentioned above or have already purchased. Also looks like your ASUS board has a crazy audio chipset (SupremeFX?).

The issue is the fancy boards like the ASUS board you got have newer tech that Macs don't have anyway like SATA-Express, High-end USB 3 chipsets, weird Ethernet gaming cards, and M.2 slots.

The fancy gaming boards have M.2 instead of Mini PCI-Express - but Mini PCI-Express is needed to use the Apple Broadcom wireless card with a Mini PCI Express adapter for native WiFi and Bluetooth. There are no M.2 OS X compatible WiFi cards. Additionally, it needs to be a VERTICAL mini PCI-Express slot so it can fit the Broadcom card with the adapter. Most boards have a horizontal Mini PCI-Express, but you would need a vertical slot.

If you don't need WiFi in your desktop build, then no worries about vertical Mini PCI-Express. If you've realized you need WiFi after the fact of purchasing your board, you can purchase and use an Apple Airport Express set to bridge mode connected to your Home WiFi and plug it into your hackintosh via Ethernet. It will basically be an external WiFi card into Ethernet.

I have completed my Mini-ITX Z170 hacktinosh build and used the ASRock Z170M-ITX board. I used this board because it is a Z170 but comes with the older components like ALC892 audio, Realtek Ethernet, vertical Mini PCI-Express, and Intel USB 3. It does NOT have M.2 or SATA-Express which no other Mac has. Because of older components, the board is both cheaper and more compatible. The newer ALC1150 audio chipsets have some popping issues in El Capitan.

I had to drill the aluminum port insert for two more WiFi antenna holes and separately purchase two more WiFi card antenna connectors because the Broadcom wireless card has four antennas and not two.

Here is a link to the board on NewEgg. As far as I can tell it's the only Z170 board to come with older components and vertical Mini PCI-Express.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157651&cm_re=Z170M-ITX-_-13-157-651-_-Product

In this Z170 situation I would say that you don't want the fancy motherboard stuff - you want the older more compatible components which are cheaper anyway.
Well thank you for your input. However I already have old and current tech in my hacks. This project is another "early adopter" and pushing on the new...

Good modding,
neil
 
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neilhart's Q4 - a Z170 mini-ITX project for OS X

Good choices Neil!

I will watch this thread how are you going on. Especially because I'm struggling with the installation of El Capitan on Skylake, I just upraged to z170-A, 6700K. GPUs are the same, 970s in SLi. I used the same gpu-s with i5 4690k and I was happy with it, everything worked fine under clover. But now, I can not even load the installer. Looks like I updated too soon probably :p Anyway, the power that delivers the DDR4 and the new i7 is awesome, if you edit videos you will sure experience the difference. And yes, you have to get your hands on those samsung pros. I'm a Kingston-HyperX fanboy, but I have to admit, these will rock the productivity off the limits. Hope we get some straight compatibility soon.


GL HF!
 
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