- Oct 25, 2018
- Asus Prime Z390-A
- Vega 64
- Mobile Phone
ASUS Prime Z390-A HDMI, SATA III, USB 3.1 ATX Motherboard
Ballistix Tactical Tracer 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2666MHz DRAM RGB Memory (BLT4K16G4D26BFT4)
Intel i7-9700K Coffee Lake w/UHD Graphics 630 Processor (BX80684I79700K)
Corsair Hydro Series, H115i PRO RGB, Liquid CPU Cooler (CW-9060032-WW)
XFX Radeon RX VEGA 64 8GB Video Card Liquid Cooling (RX-VEGMXWFXW)
SAMSUNG 970 EVO 1TB M.2 NVM SSD (MZ-V7E1T0BW)
Asus ThunderboltEX 3 Expansion Card
Western Digital Black 6TB 7200 RPM SATA III Hard Disk Drive (WD6003FZBX)
EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3, 80+ GOLD, 1000W Power Supply (220-G3-1000-X1)
NZXT H500 CA-H500B-W1 Matte White/Black Steel and Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Fenvi FV-T919 Wireless AC1300 PCI-E Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.1 adapter
27” Apple Thunderbolt Cinema Display
SAMSUNG 128GB 860 EVO SSD
This build is my first attempt at a Hackintosh, and actually my first PC build as well. I wanted a computer that was quick and cutting edge for my music production, and my 15" Mid-2012 MacBook Pro just isn't cutting it like I want anymore. I'm tempted by Apple's current offerings, but they're sadly behind in the hardware department. With the new Mac Pro redesign being pushed back and back and back, I finally decided to pull the trigger with this latest release of intel CPU and chipset.
Single Core speed, RAM, OS speed/ File transfer speed, and Thunderbolt 3 are all extremely important things to me in my build. I utilize UAD's Apollo 16 with thunderbolt 2, as well as a Blackmagic Design Capture Mini, so thunderbolt is a deal breaker for me. This is why I opted for the Asus Z390 prime as it has the required Thunderbolt 3 header I would need to run a TB3 card, while still being cost effective.
I toyed with the idea of only using the iGPU and not getting a discrete graphics card, but I also want to use this system to stream and capture video as well. So I decided to spring for an AMD Vega RX 64 (Liquid Cooled) graphics card for native plug and play setup, and super quiet operation! I've gotta say, I absolutely love how easy it was to setup this card, and how quiet it is for my use case of music production with occasional video and gaming usage.
***(Apparently, this liquid cooled card is now sold out everywhere I've looked online, so it looks like the Air Cooled version would be the way to go until they make more and/or a newer version is released by AMD?)
For RAM I'm particular to Crucial as my father works for Micron Technology, so I gotta keep that in the family ya know!
My SSD I went with the Samsung M.2 NVME Evo drive in a 1TB option as they are tried and tested, and were on sale at the time on Newegg. Crucial also doesn't offer an M.2 PCIE based drive in the consumer market at the time of this build, so I opted not to go that route. That may change in the future, but I've been quite happy with the Samsung drive thus far!
As for a case, I toyed with the idea of a custom converted Cheese-Grater style Mac Pro case for my build, but after seeing the cost and time it would take I decided against. I still wanted something that looked the part though, and when I saw the NZXT case I knew I had a winner. It could be a bit bigger and flow a tad better, but it ticks a lot of boxes for me and is nice and quiet. It barely, and I mean BARELY, fits my CPU AIO Corsair H115i Cooler. I even had to disassemble the front USB and power button section and flip the USB ports around so that the USB cables wouldn't actually come into contact with the radiator. After this simple mod was made, fitment was very very close quarters but still fit. The fans that are included with the Corsair kit are extremely quiet and do a great job! The fans included with the NZXT case are so so, but they get the job done. I may upgrade them to the Maglev Corsair fans in the future though.
I've placed the GPU radiator on the back of the case, in which case the only real case vent being the top case fan. I placed a fan on the bottom of the case that is loose in an effort to try and direct more air from the bottom of the case, up and out the top. Not sure it's needed and will prob do some testing to see if temps improved at all during heavy load, but for now it seems to do the job just fine and doesn't slide around at all.
When I went to install Mojave with Unibeast, I found that my computer would get stuck at the 2min install mark, and needed to reboot at that point but wouldn't. I probably could have manually rebooted back into the USB drive, and selected the NVME install drive at that point, but didn't really try that out. Instead I opted to install High Sierra first and get that working. That installed without much trouble at all. I then proceeded to update to Mojave, and then update to 10.14.1 just as you would update a normal Mac. I then copied my EFI from my USB to my NVME drive with multi-beast, and I was booting from the NVME drive from then on with the USB being my working backup. Unfortunately there were still things that weren't working so I had to try and remedy those after the install was complete.
I spent a lot to time playing around with different settings and would get a lot of different errors during my trial and error testing. Mostly browsing the forums or google looking for solutions to the same problems I was having. Nothing seems too out of the ordinary from problems other people have had on other builds. I mostly have used Clover Configurator as a way to change settings and manipulate the config.plist file and to install drivers or kexts. I'm sure multi-beast could be used instead if the correct settings were known. I've been in the dark though since the processor and mobo is so new and I haven't had a whole lot to go off of for required settings that I needed to select in multi-beast.
A key part to my setup working more reliably was changing my SMBIOS to iMac 18,3. I had originally done a Mac Pro config, and while that seemed to work it caused my machine to freeze after 10min or so of active use. I read this is mainly due to the Mac Pro utilizing ECC memory, of which mine is not as the z300 series chipset is NOT configured for ram with ECC. After changing the SMBIOS to the iMac 18,3 I stopped getting any freezing issues. I utilized this tutorial on the forum to set my SMBIOS settings correctly.
I also had a bit of trouble with a memory problem occasionally during boot up and utilized the AptioMemoryFix in order to correct that. I believe enabling "decode above 4G" in UEFI/ BIOS also helped clear this up. (Can't be 100% sure on that though.)
If I remember correctly, FixShutdown did not fix my Reboot/ Shutdown issue. I ended up having to emulate NVRAM with clover configurator, after which shutdown and restart started working correctly. (If I did that incorrectly or without cause, I'm sure someone will let me know! Lol)
In an effort to get my iGPU working, I've enabled it in BIOS with PCIE being the primary display. I have installed the lilu & whatevergreen kexts but this does not appear to work. Clover will boot and I can select the OS X partition in clover, but then it just displays the apple logo and never actually loads anything. I was reading on another recent build that there's a way to set this iGPU up as a 'headless' gpu and that it actually helps performance quite a bit, so I'm sure there's something simple I'm missing here that can be fairly easily remedied. I'll get this going when I have some free time!
To get the onboard audio to work, all I did was select the AppleALC kext in clover configurator, which downloaded and installed it to the 'other' folder. I then enabled the audio in UEFI/BIOS and rebooted, after which it started working straight away.
A NOTE ABOUT THUNDERBOLTEX 3:
My Asus TBEX3 card is working currently, but was a huge pain. It doesn't seem to like shutdown, or has some sort of power issues. It won't recognize TB devices upon booting up again after shutdown. It also doesn't like Restart. And It definitely doesn't like hot plugging devices in OS X. This all applies to windows 10 as well, (minus the hot swap which DOES work in Win10.) so I know it's not the hackintosh settings. It just so happens it seems to like to work and recognize devices in both OS X and WIN10 most reliably when the machine power supply itself is turned off as well after shutdown. Then when I want to use the computer, I power everything up and then boot, and everything is recognized. (and plugged in of course since there is no hotswap still for the OS X side of things.)
After hours and hours of headaches though with this card, I've come to find this Asus TB3 card is extremely hated by Windows and Hackintoshers alike on many different forums. From RMA issues, to things just breaking out of the blue, to it being extremely finicky. To alleviate this, I have just ordered a Gigabyte Titan Ridge TB3 card and have heard great things about it including working hot swap in OS X! I will report here on how that goes once the new card arrives. I'm hoping the new TB card works like a dream and I can throw this current one in the trash!! Lol
UPDATE: I ordered a GC-TITAN RIDGE AIC to replace the ASUS card. After installing the card and a few hours of trying different things with it, I don't think it's going to work with my ASUS mobo for one reason or another. It doesn't pass the display port video onto my Apple Thunderbolt Display for some reason, so that's a bit of a non-starter right there for me. It seems to connect to my UAD Apollo audio card alright, but for some reason the audio seems like it clips or drops samples every few 4-5 seconds or so. I've tried different bit rates and all and it still had the same issue. So unless my card was DOA, I've gone back to my ASUS TBEX3 card for now. Everything is working with that card albeit if you power down I still have to turn the power supply off for some reason? Oh well, still ultimately works I suppose!
Current things that ARE NOT working:
-Thunderbolt Hotplug/Swap (Thunderbolt works as long as devices are plugged in during boot though.)
-iGPU (I’m using discrete graphics card, so not extremely concerning to me at this time.)
More details as the build is refined and updated!