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pastrychef's Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming (WI-FI AC) build w/ i9-9900K + AMD 6600 XT

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Asus Z370 Strix E
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i7-8700K
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Vega 64
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Yes, I currently have IGPU disabled. Some people have IGPU enabled with iMacPro1,1 but I haven't personally tried that yet.

Obviously, we lose Quick Sync with IGPU disabled, but the changes in the way graphics is handled in macOS 10.14.5 pretty much negate any disadvantages to having Quick Sync disabled. As far as I can tell, h.264 and HEVC are handled perfectly now. I use the Sony Food Fizzle demo video in QuickTime as a test. This video will bring Skylake and older systems to its knees but it's buttery smooth with iMacPro1,1 system definition in 10.14.5.

As for encoding, all those who have been using iMacPro1,1 system definition with FCPX seem to have no complaints. There are a few users who have been experiencing slow GPU performance, but that's a separate issue.

The darkwakes was probably the primary reason that triggered me to try iMacPro1,1 and it's been a revelation.
I'm just doing some testing now with the iMacPro definition to see if the darkwakes resolve themselves now. With iMac19,1 the system will go to sleep but once it wakes up, it'll stay awake. I'm also running the latest Public beta of Catalina but this issue was present in 10.14.5 after switching to iMac19,1 from iMac18,3.

Also as you mentioned I can confirm the processor now idles at 800Mhz instead of 1.3Ghz.

I have been able to boot with and without iGPU enabled. It would be interesting to see if I could get Quicksync working along with DRM...

Is there anyway to test DRM content in Safari? I don't use Netflix
 

pastrychef

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Asus Z370-G Gaming (Wi-Fi AC)
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I'm just doing some testing now with the iMacPro definition to see if the darkwakes resolve themselves now. With iMac19,1 the system will go to sleep but once it wakes up, it'll stay awake. I'm also running the latest Public beta of Catalina but this issue was present in 10.14.5 after switching to iMac19,1 from iMac18,3.

Also as you mentioned I can confirm the processor now idles at 800Mhz instead of 1.3Ghz.

I have been able to boot with and without iGPU enabled. It would be interesting to see if I could get Quicksync working along with DRM...

Is there anyway to test DRM content in Safari? I don't use Netflix

You can test DRM in Safari with Amazon Prime Videos or HBO or Showtime, etc.
 
Joined
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Asus Prime z370 A-II
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i9-9900K
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Radeon VII
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Hey @pastrychef,
Found the z370-G motherboard on Amazon and about to buy... know of anyone who's added thunderbolt 3 via pci to this? Also, do you lose a SATA port if you install the NVMe? Reading conflicting info.
 

pastrychef

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Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Asus Z370-G Gaming (Wi-Fi AC)
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i9-9900K OC'd @ 5.0GHz
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RX 6600 XT
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  1. MacBook
  2. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
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Hey @pastrychef,
Found the z370-G motherboard on Amazon and about to buy... know of anyone who's added thunderbolt 3 via pci to this? Also, do you lose a SATA port if you install the NVMe? Reading conflicting info.

I don't know of anyone who has tried to add Thunderbolt, but you should assume it doesn't work.

No lanes are shared on this motherboard so you won't lose anything if you use both M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs.
 

pastrychef

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Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Asus Z370-G Gaming (Wi-Fi AC)
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i9-9900K OC'd @ 5.0GHz
Graphics
RX 6600 XT
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  1. MacBook
  2. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. iBook
  2. Power Mac
  3. PowerBook
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A couple of weeks back, I picked up a PowerColor Red Dragon Vega 56 because I wanted to see how a Vega 56 would do with the fabled Samsung HBM, improved cooling, and a Vega 64 BIOS. Additionally, this along with the XFX Vega 56 Double Dissipation are the only Vega cards I'm aware of with after-market, "open" style coolers that only take up two PCI-e slots. All the others I've see are triple slot. The only reason why I went with Red Dragon over Double Dissipation was because it was the first and cheapest one I found with Samsung HBM.

First, let's start with some baseline benchmark results. These results are with the stock Red Dragon Vega 56 BIOS and native macOS drivers and power tables.:
control-1.pngcontrol-2.png control-3.png

Of course, the first thing I did after receiving the video card was to take it apart and apply some Liquid Metal. With the liquid metal, temps have never even reached 70C. The cooler does an amazing job at cooling the card and, even with the fans cranked up, the noise is never offensive or annoying. At stock settings, the fan is inaudible to me even when the card is under load and, at idle, the fans don't spin.

To extract better performance from the card, I flashed the BIOS with the Sapphire Nitro + Vega 64 firmware. Since all Vega cards have dual BIOS, I left one setting at the stock Red Dragon firmware and can switch back within seconds.

Secondly, I used VGTab to undervolt the GPU voltage from a stock of 1200mV to 1050mV. I left the GPU clocks at the stock Nitro + setting of 1630MHz and overclocked the HBM to 1050MHz. I also cranked the fans up to about 75%. Temps topped out at 65C with these settings. I'm pretty sure I could push both the GPU and HBM clocks a bit higher but I just got too sleepy to do anymore testing...

Here are the results:
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 12.40.22 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-07-03 at 12.44.21 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-07-03 at 12.34.56 AM.png

As you can see, the improvements in performance are quite substantial and was achieved very easily. Again, I'm very confident there's still more headroom for even more performance. However, the gains in performance come at a cost... Power consumption and heat.

With the above settings, total system draw peaked at a whopping 481W!! With the default Vega 56 BIOS and default power tables, I observed total system draw of 343W. Total system power draw when the system is idle is ~100W.

While the liquid metal and heatsink do a fantastic job of cooling the card, the card itself nonetheless generates a considerable amount of heat and, by nature, the the "open" style cooler keeps the heat inside the case rather than blowing it out the rear of the system. This, in turn, causes other components in the system to get hot. There was enough heat trapped inside the case to cause the motherboard VRM to overheat and eventually the entire system would shutdown. (*Note: I did my initial testing on a very warm summer day and ambient temps were right at 28C.)

To combat this, I had two options, (1) open the side panel which is impractical and would turn in to a royal PITA really fast or (2) increase the case fans enough so that the hot air is evacuated from the case before it can cause any problems. For me, this meant setting case fans to 50% at idle. At 50%, I have to go out of my way and put my ear an inch or two from the case before I can hear them. With this setting, CPU temps are also lowered.

So, the moral of the story is, the Vega cards have a ton of potential. All we have to do is keep everything cool enough. Squeezing lots of performance out of a Vega can and will increase power consumption dramatically.

Just for kicks, I wanted to see what would happen if I opened up the case and pointed a desk fan at the system...
vornado.png

Update:
1640MHz core clock. 1070mV. 1075HBM. 50C Target Temp. 2400rpm idle fan. 4900rpm max fan.
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.49.00 AM.png Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.54.27 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.57.54 AM.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
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GA-Z690-UD D4
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i7-12700F
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Hi, what FCPX BruceX H.264 export times do you have with your current setup? I'm struggling to get it below 20 seconds with a 4.90GHz 9900K + Vega64 in 10.14.5.

I'm running the Z390 Designare, but people in this thread seem more knowledgable about QuickSync which is of primary concern to me.

I tried running your R5.05 and pretty much in any other configuration as well, and it at best nets me a slight bump (450MHz) in iGPU clock speed when testing the Sony 4K files, but never when using FCPX; it's a flat line.

I've run a couple of tests with your EFI:
iMac Pro1,1, iGPU disabled, WEG: ~21sec
iMac Pro1,1 iGPU disabled, noWEG: black screen
iMac Pro1,1 iGPU disabled, noWEG, Radeon DeInit: black screen
iMac19,1, iGPU enabled (64M), WEG: ~ 20sec
iMac19,1 iGPU enabled (64M), noWEG: Black screen

As far as I understand I don't need to manually add Device Properties anymore since 10.14.5, and Lilu+WEG should handle the rest?

I had trouble compiling the latest Whatevergreen and AppleALC, Lilu went fine but the other two had Build Failed and would result in corrupted kexts.

In previous tests, a few weeks back, I was able to get the BruceX export time to around 12 seconds, still relatively high I believe, but better than 20 sec. I lost the settings, but they were including Device Properties (not sure what combination).

My EFI folder is literally your R5.05 with only changes made to the SMBIOS and removal/adding Whatevergreen.kext. My previous self-made EFI folder had similar results.

Is there anything I'm missing, you think?
 

pastrychef

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Hi, what FCPX BruceX H.264 export times do you have with your current setup? I'm struggling to get it below 20 seconds with a 4.90GHz 9900K + Vega64 in 10.14.5.

I'm running the Z390 Designare, but people in this thread seem more knowledgable about QuickSync which is of primary concern to me.

I tried running your R5.05 and pretty much in any other configuration as well, and it at best nets me a slight bump (450MHz) in iGPU clock speed when testing the Sony 4K files, but never when using FCPX; it's a flat line.

I've run a couple of tests with your EFI:
iMac Pro1,1, iGPU disabled, WEG: ~21sec
iMac Pro1,1 iGPU disabled, noWEG: black screen
iMac Pro1,1 iGPU disabled, noWEG, Radeon DeInit: black screen
iMac19,1, iGPU enabled (64M), WEG: ~ 20sec
iMac19,1 iGPU enabled (64M), noWEG: Black screen

As far as I understand I don't need to manually add Device Properties anymore since 10.14.5, and Lilu+WEG should handle the rest?

I had trouble compiling the latest Whatevergreen and AppleALC, Lilu went fine but the other two had Build Failed and would result in corrupted kexts.

In previous tests, a few weeks back, I was able to get the BruceX export time to around 12 seconds, still relatively high I believe, but better than 20 sec. I lost the settings, but they were including Device Properties (not sure what combination).

My EFI folder is literally your R5.05 with only changes made to the SMBIOS and removal/adding Whatevergreen.kext. My previous self-made EFI folder had similar results.

Is there anything I'm missing, you think?

I recently tested BruceX and got 14 seconds with my reference Vega 56. I posted results here.

Based on all that I've read, Vega 64 users should see ~12 seconds and Vega 56 users should see ~14 seconds with macOS 10.14.5 and FCPX 10.4.6.
  • WhateverGreen is an optional kext. Use it only to help get your video card and/or DRM working. If you don't need DRM or multi-monitor support, there's a good chance you can live without WhateverGreen.
  • WhateverGreen should not have any impact on performance.
  • Radeon DeInit should not be used with Vega cards anymore.
  • Yes. Correct. You should not need to manually enter ig-platform-id or device-id for IGPU anymore.
  • Enabling IGPU/Quick Sync is no longer as important with 10.14.5. Apple has improved the way dGPUs work to the point where IGPU/Quick Sync isn't nearly as important as it once was. I assume this is to improve performance of real iMacPro1,1s vs real iMacs.
In the thread that I linked to above, one user was also seeing ~20 BruceX scores and claimed to improve his FCPX performance by removing one of his M.2 NVMe SSDs. The issue does not appear to be any sort of Clover configuration issue. In my opinion, it has something to do with hardware/motherboard.

You should not have any issues using my EFI folder. However, since you are on Z390, you should install EmuVariableUefi-64.efi + RC scripts because Z390 still doesn't have native NVRAM support.

Also, if/when you update your BIOS, you may need an additional patch.

I use Hackintool to help with building the latest AppleALC/Lilu/WhateverGreen. It has worked very well for me. If you continue to have issues, you can always look in post #1 of this thread. I usually stay pretty updated with that stuff.
 
Joined
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Please make a backup of your existing EFI folder and try this one.

Sorry for the late response. I test it but nothing change monitor goes to sleep after finishing the verbose.
 

pastrychef

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Asus Z370-G Gaming (Wi-Fi AC)
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Sorry for the late response. I test it but nothing change monitor goes to sleep after finishing the verbose.

The video out ports on your motherboard need patching. Please try the config.plist from this post.
 
Joined
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The video out ports on your motherboard need patching. Please try the config.plist from this post.

BTW I tried DVI connection but the problem still same after the verbose monitor goes to sleep. You are right definitely video ports need a patch.

Thank you @pastrychef for your help. :thumbup:
 
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