- Aug 31, 2016
- Asus MAXIMUS XI HERO
- RX5700 XT
- Classic Mac
- Mobile Phone
Tazling's Second ASUS ROG BuildComponents
Core i7-8700K - ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO - 32GB RAM - Sapphire RX 580 8GB
Core i7-8700K - ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO - 32GB RAM - Sapphire RX 580 8GB
CoolerMaster HAF XB "black cube" case
SilverStone Strider SST-ST70F-TI 700W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS TITANIUM Pwr Supply
2x Thermaltake Riing 12 Series 120mm LED PC Case Cooling Fan
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO with WiFi
Intel i7-8700K Coffee Lake
Noctua NH-U9S, Premium CPU Cooler with NF-A9 92mm Fan
2x16GB Ballistix Sport LT DIMMs DDR4 2400MHz
Sapphire PULSE RX 580 8GB
Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD 500GB
2x 2Tb Western Digital Red (NAS) SATA drives
1x ASUS DRW-24F1ST SATA DVD writer
1x WD My Passport SSD 512GB
Various HDMI monitors, including LG Ultrawide 29 inch
Various 16GB thumbdrives -- used trusty old Kingston Data Traveller (stainless model)
Thanks Stork for fixing whatever trouble I was in with the Media side of the web site! In this Flickr album there are some more detailed pics if you want to see what the mobo looks like in the case, etc.
My first Hackintosh was based on an ASUS ROG Maximus VIII GENE, with Ballistix Sport memory, a Silverstone power supply, a Noctua CPU cooler, and a Samsung M.2 SSD for the boot disk. After I got it into a CoolerMaster HAF XB case, it has been incredibly reliable (zero problems since the pain of first bootstrap was over). The only time it reboots is when the power goes out, which is often where I live; but thanks to a surge suppressor, GiGi has weathered tens of power hits -- some darned ugly -- without any damage.
So the core of the new system was a no-brainer: I knew I'd buy the current versions of the same stuff that worked so well last time
I'd like to sing the praises of this CoolerMaster case for a moment. It is roomy and easy to work in. It has lots of ventilation. The mobo is horizontal so there are no gravity-stress issues with PCI slots and monster GPUs (been there, done that). But best of all, top and sides come off quickly and easily with knurled thumbscrews, so you can get hands and tools in there and fix stuff. The mobo is fully supported on its own "tray" (solid metal) which can be used to transport it safely without any bending.
The case is admittedly kind of large and clunky. It's not elegant. It doesn't have cool sci-fi lighting or crypto-crustacean style details to match the mobo. It's not a lightweight; but it has good carry handles. (I do put my boxes on dollies so I can easily roll them under tables and get them out again with no back strain.)
Well you get the idea: I really like this HAF XB case & recommend it highly. That said, I did have a factory defect in this one. (My first one was perfect) On this one, something's wrong with the PCB that goes behind the hotswap drive bays. One of its SATA ports is never visible. I diligently swapped cables, drives, ports, etc., no dice. That port doesn't exist. But this board is a $10 (US) part so I'm not too upset; ordered one from CoolerMaster. In the short term, I'll live with a slooooow external USB drive for my extra storage.
Having settled on the box, motherboard, P/S, memory, boot device and CPU, I only had to consider the graphics card.
I've been wanting an 8GB card for a while. Loved my old NVIDIA GTX 970 while times were good for NVIDIA, but when they had a lovers' tiff with Apple and there was less and less hope of any drivers for Mojave ever, well... it was time for a change. I heard good things about the Sapphire AMD RX5xx series. So, when the time came (and the price of GPUs got sane again), I invested in two of Sapphire's Pulse RX 580 8GB cards.
One of these is for the new machine (KiKi) and one for the old one (GiGi) for Mojave compatibility. Then I waited, nervously, for macOS compatibility with these cards to be demonstrated in practise. At first, weird little hacks were required to get them working; not feeling clever enough to do these hacks correctly, I waited for months ... Stork and others got very tired, I'm sure, of my dithering and anxious queries about the details of Sapphire compatibility. Then one day I started reading that Sapphire RX 580 cards were now "just working" out of the box... which I'm happy to say mine did!
Western Digital (WD) is my go-to disk drive mfr every time, so I bought WD NAS-rated SATA drives. And since my oldest real Macintosh (2011 veteran still running great) is finally going off to a good home and taking its internal optical drive with it, I bought an ASUS DVD writer for the new Hackintosh. The word on the street was that it would "probably" work with Mojave, and it was only a $30 gamble, so why not. And guess what? It worked OOB with no fuss.
I also got a little external WD SSD in the hope of making it my rescue boot device, and a 4TB external backup drive for (a) transferring files from GiGi to KiKi, and (b) later use as a Time Machine backup for KiKi.
I don't really care about WiFi and Bluetooth for these machines, but I did order a GMYLE BT dongle just for grins. Haven't got it yet, but I'll report back when I've tried it out.
So that's how I chose these particular components. Track record, basically. The only component whose mfr I haven't had prior experience with is the Sapphire GPU.
Now, if you visit the photo album you'll see that I originally ordered the wrong cooling fan. It was a dumb late-night mistake. Browsing through the Recommended Hardware on this site, I thought "that looks like a nice compact little cpu fan unit!" and ordered one. But when I actually started building the box, I had doubts. It seemed too small, somehow, too light. I tried to ignore my misgivings and actually installed it. But it still couldn't feel comfortable. And sure enough, when I finally checked the specs, it was only rated 65W whereas my CPU is rated 95W. Oh well. I had forgotten that older, lower-power CPUs (and the coolers for them) are still listed in Recommended Parts.
So be warned, newbies. Don't assume you can just pick and choose components from the approved list without checking the specs.
Anyway, after realising my error I rush-ordered a Noctua CPU cooler. It's more compact than the one I used for GiGi, but still pretty impressive and rated at 95W. (Of course I installed it backwards on the first try. That seems to be my track record with building Hackintoshes, I usually get it wrong the first time.)
There's not much to say about the build really, no gotchas. ASUS hid the M.2 drive under a decorative little heatsink, which puzzled me for about 30 seconds. The 92mm fan Noctua cooler is very nice -- smaller and less clunky than the older model I used last time. It was a much easier install than its larger sibling, and pleasingly quiet in operation. A word of warning though: that lovely heatsink is very fragile. It's frighteningly easy to bend the super-thin plates, so handle gently and with care.
Silverstone ships a good set of cables with their P/S, colour coded as well as keyed. The HAF XB manual, though it's mostly pictures and very "international," is plenty good enough to walk you through the construction phase. Their internal cables are well routed. Really it's pretty painless building a system in one of these boxes -- no skinned knuckles and very little cussing. The Asus motherboard manual is superb. The ASUS XI Hero motherboard has some pretty LED accent lighting on its upper surfaces, which I wasn't expecting: gave me a laugh. And my Riing fans have a halo of blue LED light around them, which is silly but also kind of cool.
On first power-up, I used the native HDMI on the motherboard. I saw the American Megatrends splash and the BIOS editor, and that was very reassuring although that was also when I realised there was a SATA drive missing. So I propped the board up on top of the open case and started swapping parts. Different drives, different cables, oh well... it's gotta be the PCB. After absorbing that disappointment, I installed the Sapphire GPU and was relieved to find that its HDMI-1 port immediately worked (no confusion about which port is the console).
After that I followed Stork's High Sierra and Mojave build logs, as well as the basic TonyMacX86 "How to install Mojave" guide. It was a little confusing for a non-expert like myself. (It's been three years since my first build!) I had to jump back and forth from one writeup to another, to piece together the recipe. But I struggled along. This time around, my 2nd build, I was expecting headaches and gotchas, so I wasn't disheartened by mysterious hangs and crashes and weird messages and ventures into the BIOS; just kept Googling like mad every time KiKi threw a weird message at me, to find out what other people did to get past that point.
There were some very frustrating moments. But here's what I remember of what I did to make it all work.
First, Load Optimised Defaults.
Legacy USB Support: Enabled
Power on by PCI/EPCI: Disabled
Fast Boot: Disabled
Secure Boot: Disabled
(NOTE: on this mobo this really means deleting all the Secure keys)
Boot Logo Display: Disabled
OS Type: Other OS
Intel Virtualisation Technology: Enabled
(NOTE: only if you need it. I run Parallels VM, so I need this turned on)
XHCI Handoff: Enabled
Drivers and Kexts
I have to confess that at one point in the process I did use a pre-packaged EFI folder from @pastrychef which I found in a forum -- a handy shortcut to success -- so I didn't do a lot of Clover Configurating except to generate the plist content for the four USB Port Limit patches.
If anyone who's trying to put together an ASUS Maximus XI HERO system, would like to start with my EFI folder (might save you some time and head-banging), I'm willing to attach it as a zip file on request. However, it might be better for you to find your own way through the various boot issues so that you have some idea of what each kext and patch is doing for you. I confess that I did not venture into the scary new technical world of DSDT. It sounded intimidating, so I stuck with the old-fashioned methods.
I did encounter some frustrating issues with the Mojave installation. There was a point where the install hung (apparently forever), and I had to relaunch it manually. I found the method here:
The most common errors I made were: hand-copying kexts around (does not always work) instead of using KextBeast (which seems to work every time). Forgetting to update the EFI of the new internal boot drive to match the heavily patched and kexted thumbdrive EFI. Getting confused about which internal disk number the boot EFI partition is on I made one typo in the USB Port Limit patches and really mucked things up for a while (it seemed to take several installer boots to recover). However, in the end I did prevail (I'm sitting at KiKi right now typing this) and I think I only installed Mojave twice
After setting up the new machine in place of my Old Faithful, connecting my jungle of USB devices (game controller development leads naturally to USB hell) and starting to use it for ordinary work, I quickly found two new gotchas.
The second monitor when connected had the well-known Purple Haze problem (the entire image was magenta-fied). There are several ways to fix this, but the simplest way was for me to use HDMI port 2 for that monitor instead of the DVI port with a DVI/HDMI adapter cable (which I used to use with the GTX 970). This immediately resulted in normal video on the 2nd monitor. There is a third monitor which eventually I'll want to connect (that could get interesting), but for now 2 will do. I hope to defer the Purple Haze challenge for a while.
The other gotcha was the "Mojave Hackintosh won't open JPG files" problem. Preview hangs when I try to look at any JPG file. Since I do a lot of image sorting and processing (photography) this was a disaster! The fixes for this are various, ranging from scary to less scary. The fix I chose is the "shiki" boot arguments:
My SoundBlaster Omni is not working. It lights up (USB power) and when I turn the knob I briefly get a volume control slider overlaid on the screen, but the slider motion is not continuous (it fades away instead of staying up when I turn the knob) and I'm not getting sound out of it. However, I don't really need the SB any more because the normal audio output port (HD Audio) is working just fine.
I was not able to boot the Recovery partition from Clover. When I tried, I got an immediate panic reboot.
Upgrade the Old Hackintosh
The next phase of my project was to do a High Sierra->Mojave update on GiGi, before giving it to my DH for Christmas to replace his 2013 iMac with only 1GB of VRAM (hopeless for gaming).
At first, I tried to boot KiKi's Mojave install bootable thumb drive with the intent of installing from there. This did not work! It rebooted instantly to the OSX drive inside GiGi (but with the EFI stuff from the thumbdrive, including "no NVIDIA" -- so the graphics were "interesting" to say the least). So I gave up on that, and instead brought my clover and kexts and drivers up to date on GiGi's primary EFI partition, then tried installing Mojave as an upgrade from the official Apple installer app, with HS running.
This was a somewhat painful experience with many boot cycles, but, eventually, I had a working Mojave on GiGi. Interestingly, the shikigva boot parameter did not work for GiGi, even though it worked on KiKi (different mobos?). I had to change GiGi's system type to MacPro6,1 instead of iMac. This fixed the dreaded jpg viewer hang. Also interesting: SoundBlaster 5.1 works on GiGi, but not on KiKi. Whatever. Both machines have some kind of audio output, that's good enough for me. I had a bit of housecleaning to do (getting rid of old kexts left over from High Sierra).
After a thorough cleaning (the vacuum cleaner kind), GiGi in its new Mojave/AMD configuration was installed along with a new ultra-wide monitor, and found to be "just great" by my DH who is a flight simulator junkie (XPLANE-10). He can now turn on all the graphical bells and whistles, including Real Weather, and still get 30 fps (which is adequate for flying). The old iMac (still HighSierra!) came back to my workbench to do non-challenging things like WireShark. So everyone's happy as 2020 begins, but I kinda wish I had some excuse to build a third Hackintosh...
What works and what doesn't (KiKi)
AMD GPU: Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB
USB external disks (various)
2 keyboards, 2 mice, 3 or 4 joystick devices
Internal SATA optical drive (DVD R/W) (ASUS)
Internal SATA hard drives (WD)
Internal SSDs (m.2 and PCIe) (Samsung and Seagate)
Audio (green analog port at back of board)
Parallels VM (requires Intel Virtualisation Technology enabled in BIOS)
Bluetooth (need dongle)
Sound Blaster Omni
Booting Recovery partition from CloverThere's a weird recurring glitch with Terminal, that it comes up sometimes with a bogus font. Usually resizing the text restores the appropriate font (Andale Mono).
I can't see my fan speeds with iStat Menus, but a brief Google tells me this is a known problem and can probably be solved by switching from FakeSMC to VirtualSMC. So that's on my list.
Sometimes after a power hit (we've had quite a few over the holidays) KiKi boots with no knowledge of my USB hub. Unplugging the power cord and replugging seems to fix this (for some unpredictable period of time). Only power hits seem to cause this problem, not normal reboots.
https://flic.kr/p/2ibLQHg https://flic.kr/p/2ibPcfT https://flic.kr/p/2ibLJcq
Just after New Year, the replacement hotswap PCB arrived from CoolerMaster; so I had to strip the box down to get at the hot swap drive bay (underneath the mobo), and replace this part. It was more tedious than difficult, because the case is so easy to work on. The replacement part solved the problem; I was very happy to see all 3 SATA devices (two hard drives and DVD-RW) in the American Megatrends BIOS splash screen.
SSDs are getting a bit cheaper, and I'm loving the speed. So I decided to splurge just a little more and add a 2nd internal SSD (PCIe). Bought a "EZDIY-FAB Dual M.2 Adapter with Heatsink and Cooling Fan" and a "Seagate Barracuda 510 ZP512CM30041 512 GB Solid State Drive - PCI Express" to go with it. Installed the SSD in the adapter and plugged it in to the last PCIe slot on the mobo (GPU is in the first slot nearest the CPU). I'm hoping it won't adversely impact my GPU performance. I put my Parallels Windows 10 VM on it, for better performance. Might even put bootable Windows on it someday, for gaming purposes.
I acquired a couple of DisplayPort to HDMI cables (one to use and one spare) and am now running 3 monitors quite happily. I expect it would be no problem to have 4 screens. Two are standard 1080p and the third is an LG Ultrawide. It's nice that Apple (finally!) supports ultrawide monitors so we no longer need Florian's mac-pixel-clock-patch and SwitchResX. Everything Just Works.
My only disappointment so far is that the RX 580 is a "sidegrade" not an upgrade to my well-loved GTX970. While I appreciate the reduced hassle of native drivers that work, I was hoping that 8GB of VRAM would make more of a difference and that the GPU might be a bit faster. But no, my favourite sim is pegging the GPU and barely using a third of the VRAM. So a faster AMD card is now on the way... will post an update when it arrives and gets installed. That means a Catalina upgrade (gulp!) but fortunately the authors of my favourite 32 bit app (Joystick Show) have just released a 64 bit version so my main reason for not upgrading no longer applies.
Many, many thanks to the clever people who build the tools that make this process possible for the less clever people like myself. And to the whole TonyMac community for the ongoing conversation that sooner or later reveals everything one needs to know to succeed! I'd also like to acknowledge also that I really don't know what I'm doing, in any solid technical sense -- just following the instructions and hoping for the best -- so I hope other people who are also not expert will be encouraged by my ability to muddle through and end up with a working Hackintosh.
If anyone sees something here I should have done differently -- if my benchmarks aren't what you would expect, if I've made any mistakes -- please add comments.
Happy New Year all! Happy New Hackintoshes!