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[THANK YOU] Gigabyte Z170MX-Gaming5 and the RX 480

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Sep 4, 2016
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Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170MX Gaming 5
CPU
Intel i5 6600K
Graphics
AMD RX 480
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
This is the story of my first hackintosh build and the lessons I've learned along the way. I wrote this for people who might be in the same boat.

I began with zero knowledge about Macs, except flipping the lid on the MacBook Air and switching it on. Today, I have a stable desktop hackintosh, running a dual boot with Windows 10, that I hope to use for the next three years. This is proof that you, dear reader, can also make it work.

I have been a silent lurker in this forum since 2012. It was the year, around the time I needed a new desktop for graphics work. The parts just couldn't be found where I'm from. So I bought what was available and ran Windows 7.

In 2014, I interned for a semi-famous judge in the Philippines; the position entailed travelling a lot for his speaking engagements. I needed to be where he was and the MacBook Air was a solid choice. I needed a workhorse on the road.

Manila has probably the worst traffic situation in the world. I travel about 20 kilometres each day for work and for law school. It takes me three hours on a good day; twice that when the streets are inundated with stranded passengers after a meagre thunderstorm, actual flooding caused by typhoons and monsoon rains, and throngs of protesters against the previous administration. It was time I could've spent reading, studying or just being with my wife.

The MacBook offered a decent solution for me to get my life back. I had it read my law school notes and cases, from text to speech then iTunes, then to my iPhone for listening on the road. The output isn't perfect, but with the correct amount of commas, line breaks, and semi-colons - I am able to prepare for class while being stuck in traffic.

Enter my Hackintosh.


What I Needed from this Build

My expectations for this build were simple. With the looming retirement of the judge, we were reverting to a more stable, less mobile work schedule. I now needed a desktop for my failing eyes. Multi-monitors aren't practical. Desk space comes at a hefty premium for me.

I needed to be able to boot Windows 10 for Metal Gear V: Phantom Pain, for the odd weekend off; and for the rest of the work week, a reliable workstation for reading cases, writing notes and exporting them to iTunes. Here's what I absolutely had to have:
  1. Dual Boot for Windows 10 and El Capitan - on separate SSDs.
  2. Internet connection for Safari, DropBox and YouTube.
  3. On Board Audio for my notes.

Lessons Learned

If this is your first hackintosh, congratulations. You are standing on the doorway of a massive adventure. You are not on the road of least resistance; but know that you will never walk alone.

If you are an experienced builder, my thanks to you, on behalf of all the members - both present and future. You are proof that this forum works; and that it'll continue to work long after the founding members turn old and grey.

These are some of the lessons I've learned along the way. I am now passing them on to you, dear reader. I hope you find them useful.


Lesson 1: Visualise the Experience.

Approach your build with an end in mind. Visualise yourself sitting on your desk, with the latest and greatest hardware, running on OS X. Think of all the things you'll want to do with it. For my part, that's mostly using OmniFocus to help me keep track of my 16-hour work days, and Daniel (the notes-reader) pontificating to me on the finer points of Transportation Law.

If you're looking to edit videos for your YouTube channel or recording your guitar work, visualise that. Play around with the idea in your mind. Do it while you're waiting for your train; when you're stirring your first cup of coffee. Make it real in your mind. This will give you the mental fortitude you'll need later.


Lesson 2: Read, read, read.

There is really no substitute for it. You'll have to put in the time and the effort to read through this forum. If you don't know where to start, you can click here. These are carefully composed and well-thought out guides for when you're new here. I've read and re-read them.

Some of these threads can span hundreds of pages. This is where the search functions come in handy. Search for your motherboard. Look for specific issues others have encountered before you. Look for solutions and bookmark them, should you need to revisit them.

My wife constantly tells me to put my iPad down when it's time for bed. I get about four hours of sleep in my schedule and sometimes, I don't spend it all dozing off. This is where I turn on YouTube and play videos and guides specific for my parts, often falling asleep in minutes.

We're approaching a time when all we really need to learn, we can learn from YouTube. Be wary of guides with awesome production values. Chances are, these have been dressed up and edited. Some people have become so engrossed with their hackintoshes that they just want to put the information out there. These are often gritty, grainy and reek of reality TV. Feel free to jump to the parts you need. After reading through the guides here, you find that you already know what you're looking for.


Lesson 3: On using the Forum

The moderators here have done most of the heavy lifting. The information and the software they provide for us comes at no cost. Sure, they may make a bit of money when you purchase parts through their affiliate links, but that's that. They do not owe us anything, really. What they do, they (probably) do for fame and for you.

I feel their frustration through the curt replies, to posts and questions from people with a massive sense of entitlement. Any number of these questions can be answered by taking the time and the effort to look for answers. When in doubt, go back to Lesson 2: Read, read, read.

Think of this project as an RPG in real life. If you encounter an obstacle, you can:
  1. Reset, do the same thing and hope for a different result.
  2. Stop, take a step back and assess the situation; then execute.
  3. Consult a game guide.
  4. Ask a buddy to play the level for you.
Any one of these approaches will help you get through. Which one will give you the greatest feeling of triumph, is entirely your call.

If by some small chance, your issue is new, novel or you're stuck with the luck of the draw - ask your question in the correct forum. The more details you provide, the better they can help. The more specific your question, the more people, you in turn, will be able to help in the future. It's the accumulation of questions and answers, issues and solutions that truly makes this forum, one of the best in the world.


Lesson 4: Take the Leap of Faith.

Block out a day or two on your calendar for this project. Make sure you'll be uninterrupted during this period. While it's truly tempting to go ahead and install OS X just before you screw on your side panels, don't (at least not yet).

Clear your work space. Have a pad and a pen next to you for notes. Put on your get-psyched playlist. Your patience will be tested, I assure you. Get in the zone. For the next two hours, you are a rock. Remember the joy and the happiness from Lesson 1. The time you've spent reading through the forum and watching fuzzy YouTube guides will count.


My Installation

This is what worked for me and the Gigabyte Z170MX-Gaming 5. Follow the guide from the beginning. Do not skip steps; do not deviate.

I've already had Windows 10 running on a separate SSD. I assigned that as the last boot priority; ahead of my Steam Library and a shared drive for media. I had my monitor running through my reference RX 480 HDMI port. No deviations from the guide.

For the longest time, I couldn't boot to the Clover Menu. So I retraced my steps. I made another OS X installer from the same drive. It didn't boot again. I retraced my steps again, back to downloading OS X El Capitan from the App Store. It turns out that my download had been interrupted before, and possibly became corrupted.

Back to UEFI for my board, back to my boot priorities and still no Clover Menu. I retraced my steps again, this time using a nicer 32GB Kingston USB 3.0. I also plugged it in front of the case. Finally, the Apple Logo.

My joy was short-lived. I tried thrice to get in, but nothing. It turns out I missed IOAPIC - disabled. Finally, a running progress bar under the Apple Logo. From there, it was pretty straightforward. No deviations from the guide. I clicked on the continue and agree buttons. This is the most oddly satisfying part.

Another lesson learned, is to be very patient. When you're making your boot drive, it takes a while. It takes about 10 to 45 minutes, depending on who you ask out there.

The progress bar from the Apple Logo also took a while. I know you're itching to hit reset and do it over again. Be patient. Make a cup of coffee; make another cup of coffee. Call your parents. Call you grandparents. Kick a ball around. Just chill.

For what it's worth, I placed a kitchen timer at the base of my monitor just to get a feel of what's going on. If it's been 10 minutes since it last moved - there must have been something wrong. Abort, reset and retrace your steps.

What worked for me was a pad and a pen. I took notes of what I was doing. It's useful to think of what we're doing as brain surgery. Diagnosing is pretty much a stab in the dark if you don't have surgical notes. Plus, it gives your hands something to do while you wait.

Trust the guide. It's been written for the benefit of people like us, who actually have no idea what we're doing. They've laid it out for us and it's really just there for the taking. Trust that others have made it work. Know that you can do it too.


For the Z170MX-Gaming 5 Audio

This appears to be a known issue and it can really weigh you down. I've come to appreciate what a sound means to a computer, now that I don't have it. Luckily, this tutorial helped me get it right for the Z170MX-Gaming 5. The same solution is offered here but includes other boards for me.


OS X El Capitan: Moving Forward


Now that I've met my objectives for the build, I am now looking at a new set of goals:
  1. Get the clock for both Windows 10 and OS X to sync.
  2. Install OmniFocus and DropBox
  3. Rebuild my iTunes Library from the MacBook Air
  4. Clone/copy this running drive on to another SSD.
I am not done and I feel that, that's the best bit, if I'm honest. It's a journey in and of itself. I'll be reading more posts on how to accomplish the new objectives. I'm also looking forward to the final build on Sierra and support for the Rx 480.

A massive thank you, to all the people who have made this possible. The programmers who have made Clover, Unibeast and the wealth of tools we use; the YouTubers who give us the proof of concept for our builds.

Thank you to the members of the community of tonymacx86. By being here, dear reader, we make it easier for the moderators to believe that what they do matters. Thank you for reading this post.

I do have some questions now - will this hackintosh behave like a store-bought Mac? Can I install the things I need? Will it brick if I install the security updates from the App Store? There are answers to these questions, buried somewhere in this forum. I will look for them. I will find them...
 
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