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The 4K Dell OptiMac - 9020 MT - Core i7-4790 - Radeon RX 570 - LG 4K IPS Monitor

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
17,550
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
The Dell Optiplex 9020 and LG 4K IPS Monitor


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Components

Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 Mini-Tower

Amazon - Newegg

Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 Small Form Factor
Amazon - Newegg

Dell Optiplex 9020 Ultra Small Form Factor
Amazon - Newegg

4K, QHD and 1080p Monitors with DisplayPort Input

LG 27UL650-W 27" UHD 4K IPS Monitor
Amazon

BenQ PD2700Q QHD IPS Monitor (best value)
Amazon has CAD/CAM mode + 100% sRGB

BenQ GW2480 24 inch IPS 1080p Monitor
Amazon Has a DP input for use with HD4600

Dedicated 4K Graphics Cards - Single and Dual Slot

1. The SFF Dell Optiplex only takes low profile single slot graphics cards
Screen Shot 19.jpg

AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 LP 4GB (4 mini DP outs) 4K@60Hz
Amazon - Newegg

Nvidia Quadro NVS 510 2GB (4 mini DP outs) 4K@60Hz
Amazon - Newegg

MSI Geforce GT 710 2GB DDR3 4K@30Hz (via HDMI)
Amazon (avoid the GDDR5 versions)


2. Full Height Dual Slot Graphics Cards for the MT Dell Optiplex
Screen Shot 22.jpg

Sapphire PULSE RX 5500XT 4GB (Mini-Tower only)*
Newegg (only works with Catalina/Big Sur)

Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GB (Mini-Tower only)*
Amazon

MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT MECH 6GB (Mini-Tower only)*
Amazon - Newegg (only works with Catalina/Big Sur) Learn more

* The 5500 XT/RX 580/5600 XT will need a PSU upgrade - Newegg


Modify your Dell Mini-Tower and Use a Longer 10"+ Graphics Card

Video Demo - how to fit Longer Graphics Cards

PC Case Upgrade - Move your MT Dell OptiMac to a new Case

Lian Li 205M MicroATX PC case - Steel and Tempered Glass
Amazon Also available in ATX form factor (black or white)

Cooler Master NR400 MicroATX Case - Front and top mesh for airflow
Amazon

7020/9020 MT only - Front Panel I/O + Power Switch Header Adapters
Ebay.com - Ships to USA, Canada, UK and EU countries + Australia
(not to Africa/Asia or South/Central American countries)

Power Switch Header only (no front panel I/O)
Ebay.com

Cables and Adapters

Mini DP to DP Cable for NVS 510 - Amazon

DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter
- Amazon 4K@60Hz
(Connect a dedicated card to a 4K television or Monitor w/HDMI 2.0)

DisplayPort Cable Nylon Braided - Amazon 4K@60Hz

RAM and SSD Upgrades

Hynix DDR3 1600 MHz 16GB (2 x 8GB)

Amazon - Newegg

Crucial 2.5" 500GB Sata SSD

Amazon - Newegg

HP EX900 250 GB NVMe Drive
Amazon - Newegg

WD Black SN750 500 GB NVMe Drive
Amazon - Newegg

M.2 NVMe SSD to PCIe x4 Adapter Card
Amazon - Amazon (No heatsink)

Natively Supported Wifi and Bluetooth

Fenvi FV-HB1200 Broadcom 94360CS2 Wifi/BT Adapter
Low Profile
or Full height (Win10 driver attached below)
Amazon - Newegg

Fenvi FV-T919 Wifi/BT Adapter (Mini Tower Only)
Amazon - Newegg

Power Supply Upgrade (Get at least a 550W for a 580/590)

EVGA 550 N 550W (Non-Modular) Budget PSU
Newegg

EVGA SuperNOVA 550W G3 80+ Gold (Fully Modular)
Newegg

24 To 8 Pin Power Supply Adapter (Needed if you upgrade to an ATX PSU)
Amazon See this post for more info about the adapter

CR2032 Energizer CMOS Lithium Battery - 2 pack
Amazon

Replacement CPU Cooler

CoolerMaster i70 95W TDP LGA 1155 Intel Cooler

See this post for more info on this 3 pin cooler and the 5 pin adapter needed.

Operating System

macOS High Sierra or Mojave
See my gibMacOS guide for how to download older versions of macOS

macOS Catalina or Big Sur
Download from the Mac App Store on an eligible Mac or Hackintosh

Shortcut to Attachments - Download Kexts and SSDTs

BIOS update and Configuration - BIOS update

Start with the Mojave Install Step - Install macOS Mojave



Dell Optiplex + iMac = The Dell OptiMac
This build is based on the Late 2014 5K iMac 15,1. That iMac model has an i5-4690 or i7-4790K, a maximum of 32GB of RAM and a Fusion drive. This was the first iMac with the 5K Retina monitor. It was a CTO (configure to order model).

Screen Shot 19.jpg

This OptiMac guide builds upon what I learned from my Optiplex 7010/9010 guide that I posted back in May of 2018. The Dell OptiMac will work well for home video and photo editing with FCP X and the Adobe suite of apps. If you want to record and edit music while using Logic Pro or Pro Tools, this build will get you started, without breaking the bank.

If you are a video editing professional and need HEVC, H.265 encoding and decoding you'll be better off building a new Intel based system with an i7 or i9. The primary advantage of the Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 is that you'll get a lot of performance for a lot less money. All new ninth or tenth gen Intel based hardware will cost about 3x more. This build will not work for you if you'll need 6 to 8 cores and more than 32GB of ram for the work you do on a daily basis. I can highly recommend the two Intel based Golden Builds by moderator CaseySJ.

If you've yet to puchase your Dell, opt for a 7020 or 9020 model. The 3020 uses an inferior chipset (H81), has fewer Sata ports and USB ports. There are only two memory slots that limit you to 16GB of ram. The small amount of money saved is not worth it. If you already have a 3020 then search this site for available 3020 guides.
Any six year old iMac in good condition, that is fully functional, maintains a high resale value. A 27" Retina 5K iMac like the one mentioned previously can cost you a hefty sum of money. You can configure a Dell Optiplex MT with 32GB of ram, an i7-4790 and an AMD RX 580 8GB for about 1/3 of the price of an iMac with similar specs. The AMD Radeon RX580 is much better than the older R9 M290X that comes with the Late 2014 iMac. The Core i7 CPU will not thermal throttle as it does in the airflow restricted iMac. You get a lot more performance for a lot less money. An 8th gen Intel Core i5 27" iMac that will perform slightly better than the Dell OptiMac with i7-4790, would cost you $1749 on Amazon right now: 8th Gen iMac

Here's a 2014 5K iMac in like new condition on Ebay. Open box and never used.

Screen Shot 19.jpg


The downside of any iMac is that it's an enclosed all in one that is difficult to repair or upgrade. When you buy a Dell Optiplex and install macOS, repairs and upgrades are easy and as low cost as possible. You can do them yourself in a matter of minutes whereas iMac parts, repairs and upgrades are expensive and time consuming. I recently purchased a like new Optiplex 9020 MT motherboard for fifteen USD shipped. Compare that to what the 2014 iMac board would cost and how difficult it is to install one. (Cost of a used/working 2014 iMac logic board would be well over 200 USD)

This OptiMac build includes your choice of either a Mini-tower Dell or a Small form factor Optiplex you can put on your desk. Optional 4K LG monitor, a separate NVMe drive and a 1TB mechanical hard drive not being combined as a Fusion drive. In the SFF version a 2.5" Sata SSD can be placed in the Optical drive bay once that is removed. It also gives you the option of using multiple (4) 4K monitors via the NVS 510. Dual 4K monitors via the 2 DP 1.2 outputs can also be utilized. This will require that you change the DVMT pre-allocation to 64MB. More on how to do that in a minute.

Here are the Optiplex CPU, Memory and Graphics specs from the Dell Owner's Manual.

Screen Shot 17.jpg


Every Intel i5 or i7 CPU that came pre-installed in these has the HD4600 graphics built in. These include the Haswell i5-4570, i5-4590, i5-4670 and i5-4690 etc. HD4600 is preferred because it has full support in macOS Mojave and Catalina. You can also use HD4600 exclusively with Big Sur, no dedicated graphics required. Just make sure to use SMBIOS 15,1 if you will eventually upgrade to that newest macOS version (Big Sur) in 2020/21.

You can use any of the following Intel CPUs in the chart. Any of the K variants such as the i5-4690K i7-4790K can be used but cannot be overclocked. The Dell Optiplex cooling system is good enough to cool the K version CPUs. If you plan on using your Optiplex for gaming in Windows, consider a case with better airflow options. See post #3 for more on that.

Recommended Core i5 and i7 CPUs with HD4600 Graphics
i5 - 4570___i5 - 4570S* ___ i5 - 4690___i5 - 4690K

i5 - 4590
___i5 - 4590S* ___ i7 - 4770___i7 - 4770S*

i5 - 4670___i5 - 4670S* ___ i7 - 4790___i7 - 4790K

* S CPUs are clocked lower by 300 MHz from the stock clock speed

The S Intel CPUs are often used in the USFF and SFF models because they have lower TDPs. The i3-4330, i3-4340 and i3-4360 are dual core CPUs and all have HD4600 graphics but offer no significant advantages over the Core i5 quad cores.

Use a DisplayPort Connection to your Monitor
The best way to connect a 4K, 2K or 1080p monitor is direct DisplayPort out to DisplayPort in on the monitor. If using onboard graphics this works with the suggested LG 4K monitor which has a full size DisplayPort 1.4 input. If your monitor has no DP inputs then get a DP to HDMI adapter when using onboard graphics. Ideally you want a straight DP to DP connection. If you plan on only using HD4600 onboard, then get the BenQ GW2480 listed in the Buyer's Guide above. It's the only 24" 1080p monitor I've ever seen for under $120 that has a full size DP input and is also Vesa mountable.

BenQ GW2480.jpg


Apple has always preferred to use DP in Macs vs. HDMI or VGA. They stopped supporting analog VGA connections over ten years ago. Take home point: Do not try to use a VGA connection for the macOS install. It will end in failure.

Screen Shot 20.jpg

To use three monitors or more, buy one of the graphics cards listed above in the components section other than the GT 710. Those have only two digital outputs. Get at least a Quadro NVS 510 or WX4100 graphics card for a three monitor setup. AMD RX 500 series graphics cards are preferred if you want to use a 4K @ 60 Hz resolution and edit 4K video in FCP X.

You can power a 4K/60Hz display with HD4600 graphics when running Windows 10 with no UEFI modification. When running macOS, scale the resolution to 2560 x 1440 for the best experience when using this guide for the Mojave install/post install.

Intel HD 4600 Graphics Specs

HD4600 Graphics Resolution.jpg



Why 4K via onboard DisplayPort does not work OOB

The issue with HD4600 and 4K screens and macOS. The DP 1.2 ports on these Dell Optiplex models are 4K/60Hz capable. Apple never released any iMac with HD4600 graphics that powered a 4K display. The Azul framebuffer (used by the HD 4600 IGPU) does not natively support 4K at 60Hz. This is why 4k/60Hz works in Windows and not macOS.

Because there is no DVMT pre-allocation setting in the BIOS that can be increased, 4K via onboard graphics is not feasible without some changes to the UEFI. The first step is to remove the CFG lock and then increase DVMT to 64MB. You would need too do this after you've updated your BIOS as described in Step #2 below. Choose the newest BIOS version Dell offers for either your 7020 or 9020 Optiplex.

If you want to modify your Dell UEFI firmware to make 4K work with HD4600 graphics then read and post here:
Note that you'll need to use a USB drive with an OC EFI folder in the EFI partition to boot to a GRUB shell. Changing the DVMT pre-allocation from 32MB to 64MB enables a 4K monitor to work via your onboard DisplayPort output.
  • This is a completely optional step, you don't need to do this unless you have a 4K monitor
  • If you are a hackintosh beginner, I'd advise you to skip this step until you need 4K functionality
Note that the UEFI modification guide does incur some risk of damaging your system if done incorrectly. Go slowly, read it carefully and perform each step as described. The other way to power a 4K monitor is to purchase a compatible graphics card from the mini buyer's guide list above. DisplayPort on a graphics card should also be your first choice for connecting.

Choice of Dell Optiplex Form Factor
Choose the small form factor (SFF) for your OptiMac if you prefer the smaller size and don't need the more powerful RX 570/580 graphics for gaming/editing. I've got the 9020 MT with a Gigabyte Aorus RX 570 installed and a 7020 SFF that I've used in testing for this guide. Both perform splendidly with Mojave 10.14.6.


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You can apply this information to the Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 USFF form factor. Just note that those do not give you the same I/O, x4 or larger PCIe slots or ram upgrade options past 16GB. They are mainly intended to be general use machines. The Micro (far left) should not be used with this guide. For example, the 9020M or Micro, comes with a Core i3 T processor. Core i3 T CPUs have HD4400 which is not OOB supported in macOS. The Micro versions also use a different Realtek audio chipset (ALC3234) so that needs a different config.plist setting in Devices/Properties to work properly. The procedure to unlock CFG is also slightly different for the 9020M. Don't attempt that with this guide.

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The 9020 Optiplex SFF and MT PCs are not significantly different from the 7020s in respect to creating a CustoMac with them. I suggest that you get either of those form factors as they give you the option for a maximum of 32GB of ram and have PCIe slot expansion. Prices are lower than the Micro/USFF versions too. Purchase one with at least an Intel Core i5 that has integrated HD4600 graphics. Always a good idea to have fully supported integrated graphics in any hackintosh.


Install a Supported AMD Radeon Graphics Card
If you purchase the MT form factor, that will give you the option to use an RX 570 or 580. Dell redesigned the 7020/9020 MT motherboard to accommodate longer graphics cards. Up to 9.2 inches / 234 mm full length cards will not block Sata ports or the USB 3.0 header. Cards that are 10 inches in length or more will run into the hard drive cage.

The area in the blue rectangle below has no Sata ports or USB 3.0 headers there that will be hindered by a dual slot AMD graphics card. Most double wide graphics cards will block the use of your x1 PCIe slot next to the CMOS battery.

9010 Gfx clearance.png


Amount of Room for a Full Size Graphics Card

gfx card length.png

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Here's a full description of all the important motherboard features of the Mini-Tower motherboard that you'll need to be familiar with. The SFF models have a similar layout. They do not have a PCI (white) or a PCIe x4 slot on the board.

9020 MT Motherboard.png

Note that you will need to upgrade to a 450W or larger name brand ATX PSU to use an RX570 or RX 580. When playing graphics intensive games, the RX570 can use up to 200W of power. The Dell OEM 290W PSU isn't going to handle that very well. The other thing you'll need is a 24 pin to 8 pin power adapter to connect your new PSU. Buy from amazon.com


Preliminary Steps
1. Replace the Existing Thermal Paste on the CPU IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader)
Even if you bought your Dell from a professional refurbisher, it's highly unlikely that they took the time to replace the thermal compound between the CPU and heatsink. After four or five years, it needs to have the old compound removed and a fresh coat applied. Use 99% isopropyl alcohol and some guaze pads to remove it. If you can't obtain the 99% IPA use the 70% version as a replacement. Then apply some new paste like the Arctic MX4 which is available on Amazon or Newegg. If you don't have experience doing this look for some online video tutorials that show you how. A new coat of thermal paste will help keep temps much lower when you are pushing your CPU during gaming or video/photo editing.

2. Replace the CMOS Battery
These Dell Optiplex PCs are about 5 years old and may have sat on a shelf for two years unplugged from power. When Lithium batteries stay in a fully discharged state for long periods it greatly reduces their ability to hold a charge. My 9020 MT model had a battery like this. I kept getting a black screen at boot up. Was not able to even access the BIOS until I removed the battery for a minute and reseated it. I had checked the battery with a multimeter and it read 3.0v. Should be good right ? Even if it reads 3.0 volts it still may not be able to provide adequate voltage under load. When I test new CR2032 batteries the reading is often from 3.4 to 3.5 volts. That's how a good battery should test out.
Replace yours with a fresh new one before you make the BIOS changes in Step #2. Once you remove it from your board, all BIOS setting changes will be lost and you'll have to reapply them. Link to amazon to purchase a 2 pack is found above.

3. Remove any Add in Cards
If your Dell has any kind of wireless adapter installed (USB, PCIe or Mini PCIe) remove it before attempting the installation of macOS. Use Ethernet until after you've got everything else working properly. Then you can work on Wifi function after that. If you have a supported Broadcom card like the Fenvi FV-HB1200 you can keep that in a PCIe Slot during initial install.

Finally, If you are unfamiliar with any of the terminology used here, please consult the tonymacx86 CustoMac Glossary for a clear and concise definition of the various acronyms and hardware components mentioned in this guide.

To start with an install of Catalina first, see the Catalina Mini Guide: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...k-27-ips-monitor.277811/page-115#post-2062602


Step 1. Create your Mojave Unibeast Installer

Download Mojave
from the Mac App Store on a 2012 or newer iMac or Mac mini running Mountain Lion or a newer version of macOS. A Mac Pro should be 2010 or newer and eligible MacBooks should be 2015 or newer models. MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros should be from 2012 or newer.

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A hackintosh must also be running Mountain Lion or a newer edition of macOS and use one of the following minimum system definitions or newer. Then the CustoMac will appear as Mojave eligible at the Mac App Store.

MacBook 8,1 / Early 2015
MacBook Air 5,1 or 5,2 / Late 2012
MacBook Pro 9,1 or 9,2 / Mid 2012
Mac mini 6,1 or 6,2 / Late 2012
iMac 13,1 or 13,2 / Late 2012
iMac Pro 1,1 / Late 2017
Mac Pro 5,1 / Mid 2010/2012*
Mac Pro 6,1 / Late 2013

*The 2010/2012 Mac Pro would need a Metal 2 capable graphics card.
See: Mojave compatible graphics card choices

If you have a 2011 or older Intel based Mac and need to download Catalina see: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/gibmacos-tutorial-how-to-download-macos-catalina.295248/

If you don't have access to a Mac capable of making the Unibeast Installer

1. Purchase the Snow Leopard 10.6.3 retail DVD-ROM Full Version. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0095KAABA/?tag=tonymacx86com-20 Buy only the Apple made DVD. Some sellers burn a copy to DVD and try to sell you that. Those will probably not work for installing with this method. Don't throw your money away.

2. Use iBoot Haswell to install Snow Leopard. https://www.tonymacx86.com/resources/iboot-haswell-1-0-1.204/
Use only a CD disc to create the iBoot installer. A DVD disc will not work. Every Dell has an optical drive included.

3. Upgrade to 10.6.8 with the Combo Update from Apple. https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1399?locale=en_US

4. Download Yosemite and run that installer. https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...mg-files-to-upgrade-from-snow-leopard.287340/

5. Create a Yosemite USB installer with Chimera Bootloader and then boot from that to clean install Yosemite.

Create your UniBeast installer by following the standard tonymacx86 guide. Use a 16 or 32GB USB flash drive. Anything larger than 32GB in size must be partitioned to less than 32GB. Use UniBeast for Mojave. Version 9.2.0. If installing Catalina instead, then use Unibeast 10.3.0 to create the USB installer.

There is one critical step to remember when formatting your USB or other drives in Disk Utility. Always click View and then Show All Devices instead of leaving it at "Show Only Volumes" when using High Sierra or Mojave to make the installer. After you select the Parent name, click on the Erase tab and format the USB as directed in the tonymacx86 guide.

Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 11.41.45 AM.png


Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 11.43.14 AM.png

Once creation of the UniBeast installer has completed, you will need to replace the UniBeast created config.plist with the custom one attached below. Do this before ejecting the UniBeast installer or you'll have to mount the EFI manually later. Now go to Finder -> Preferences and then select the "Show Hard Disks on the Desktop" option.

A. There will be an external drive on your desktop that represents the UniBeast USB's EFI partition
B. Double click that EFI drive icon to open it up and reveal the EFI folder on that partition
C. Now open the Clover folder inside of that EFI folder
D. Download the Custom Clover config.plist (zip file) Attached below
E. Delete the existing config.plist and then add in the new Custom one you just downloaded

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F. Open up the kexts/other folder and drag and drop the release version USBInjectAll.kext into that folder
G. Download "SSDTs" zip file from the end of this post and place those files in the /Clover/ACPI/patched folder
H. Add the HFSPlus.efi driver to the Drivers64-UEFI folder. This is also attached below.

Step 2. Update your BIOS and Change the Settings


Download the latest Optiplex 7020 BIOS A18 - Download the latest Optiplex 9020 BIOS A25

This is included as a mandatory step because the version that your Dell came with is likely much too old to work. Mine came with A05 from late 2015. For testing purposes, I tried the Mojave install and it worked. There were many USB related issues that could not be resolved until I later flashed to a newer 2018 BIOS. If yours is A10 or lower for the 7020 or A18 for the 9020 or lower, you must do this to get a fully functional OptiMac. Especially if you want working USB 3.0 ports.

After you do flash to A18 or A25 you can still downgrade later to an older BIOS. That is an option you have. In my testing the A18/A25 BIOS versions with patches for the latest Intel CPU vulnerabilities don't slow down i5 or i7 CPUs. Get the latest version direct from Dell. You'll need to be on either of these for use with Big Sur eventually.

Flashing the BIOS to a newer Revision

It's easiest by far to flash your Dell to a newer BIOS from the Windows Desktop. You simply update the BIOS from right within Windows by double clicking on the .exe file. This will initiate the flashing process. Make sure you have Internet Explorer or Edge set as your default browser. Let your Dell reboot automatically to complete the process.

If you don't have a Windows 7 8.1 or 10 install on the hard drive of your Dell you could download a Windows 10 iso from Microsoft and create an install USB but that is very time consuming and tedious. Dell offers a simple way to create a DOS based USB that you can boot from and flash the BIOS without having a Windows installation on your Optiplex.

There is the Dell Diagnostics Deployment Package software (a free download from Dell) that you can use to make a bootable USB and then boot from that to flash the BIOS to a newer version. Follow the directions in this video.


Drag your BIOS executable file to the USB flash drive you just made. It should look something like this:

Screen Shot 20.jpg


Run the BIOS update utility from a DOS environment in Legacy Boot Mode

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 7.23.45 AM.png


Now boot from the USB and you'll get a Diag C:\> prompt.

Type in dir first, then press enter to see your BIOS executable file name.

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Now type in all the letters and numbers of your BIOS file. It starts with the capital letter O as in Optiplex.

IMG_20200820_161001661.jpg


Enter (in this example) O9020A25 and press your return key. Make sure to type in the name of the file exactly for it to work. All of the Dell BIOS files start with the letter O. Follow onscreen directions after that. The next screen will look like this. Type in y and then enter to start the BIOS flash.

IMG_20200820_161046677.jpg


Setting up the Dell BIOS (Tap intermittently on the F2 key at boot up to access your BIOS)

Load Optimized Defaults
after you've flashed the BIOS and before you make any other changes to it.

There is a "Load Defaults" tab in the lower central part of the window. Click on that and then click OK. Now exit and enter the BIOS again via the F2 key and make some changes to it.

Summary of BIOS Setting Changes

General

Boot Sequence -> Boot List Option -> UEFI
Advanced Boot Options -> Uncheck - Enable Legacy Option ROMs
UEFI Boot Path Security -> Set to Never

System Configuration
Integrated NIC -> Enabled
Serial Port -> Disabled
Sata Operation -> AHCI

Video
Primary Display -> Auto (For HD4600)
Primary Display -> Nvidia or AMD HD Graphics (if using a graphics card)

Secure Boot
Secure Boot Enable -> Disabled

Power Management
Deep Sleep Control -> Disabled

Virtualization Support
VT for Direct I/O -> Disabled

Password protect Intel AMT as directed in the Optiplex 7010/9010 guide: Important Preliminary Steps Step #3. If you open the side panel and see a yellow or white sticker and a 1 on it then AMT is enabled. You need a password. This is important for security reasons. Having it password protected is a very good idea. If you see a 3 or 6 then it is disabled. No need for a password. See the info regarding the use of Intel HD graphics if your AMT is disabled.

Note about Primary Display Setting
On my 9020 system with an RX 570, I switched it back to Auto from "AMD HD Graphics" so that the Quick Look feature would work. I use that all the time with my Optiplex MT used for video editing. Here's an Apple tutorial on how to use it:

Advice Before Installing macOS


It took many long hours of testing and research to put this working guide together. It shouldn't take you more than 1-2 hours to complete the Mojave install and post install. Don't be in any hurry to get this done. The guide works if you follow it exactly. If you're in a rush you'll miss things and it will end up taking longer. Haste makes waste as they say.

Step 3. Install macOS Mojave

For those that want to skip Mojave and go straight to Catalina, follow the Catalina Mini Guide which is found here:
Remember that 32 bit apps have been deprecated in macOS Catalina. They simply won't work. If you can't do without 32 bit apps then it's best to install and stay with Mojave until all your 32 bit apps have been updated for Catalina.

If you have previously installed High Sierra or Mojave on your 7020/9020 I highly suggest you perform a "clean" install. This means that in Disk Utility you will format (completely wipe clean) the hard drive you are installing Mojave to.

A. First, disconnect the Sata data cables from any Windows or Linux drives you may have in your Dell.
B. Put your Unibeast installer into a front USB port. Use a USB 2.0 port as sometimes the USB 3.0 has problems.
C. Boot UEFI from the Unibeast installer (tap on the F12 key at boot up)

Always boot in Verbose mode during the install. It enables you to see the exact place where a kernel panic may occur. If all you see is a progress bar, you'll have no idea. Get to the Boot Manager screen by pressing the spacebar on your keyboard at the Clover Boot Menu screen. Then place a checkmark in the Verbose (-v) box.

The initial boot from your Unibeast drive to the macOS installer is very slow. Even with the Samsung USB 3.1 drive I used that reads at 200 MB/s, it took 3 or more minutes. Be patient and let everything happen in it's own time. When you finally see the Utilities window on your desktop, select Disk Utility. Follow the tonymacx86 guide for formatting the hard drive you will be installing on. Use GUID Partition Map and APFS file system as your choices in Disk Utility.

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There will be 3 to 4 automatic reboots after you agree to terms and start the install to your hard drive. The progress bar may only go about 1/4 of the way across, then you'll see what appears to be a kernel panic. It's not. You'll end up back at the Clover Boot menu. That is normal for this part of the install. If you don't see the Clover boot menu after the first reboot here's what you'll need to do. Press the F2 key to enter BIOS. Go to the Boot Sequence and remove the Mac OS X entry from the boot order. Highlight it first, then delete. See the following image for directions.

Screen Shot 2.jpg


Now you can see that only the HDD appears in the UEFI boot sequence.

Screen Shot 3.jpg

Don't forget to apply the changes after you delete the Mac OS X entry. If you don't save the changes, nothing will happen.

Select the hard drive you are installing to in the Clover Boot menu each time it reboots. If it stops at the "Install macOS Mojave" USB icon in the boot menu i.e. your Unibeast installer drive, use your keyboard's arrow key to select the other drive.

If you've followed this guide verbatim up to this point, you should reach the "select country" screen part of the initial setup. Choose your region, your keyboard, etc. but do not sign in to iCloud at this time. Choose Setup Later instead. Signing into iCloud registers the serial number of the computer, this serial number will change in Post-Installation, which will then result in two new systems being registered in iCloud. So skip iCloud sign-in until post-installation is done and you've created your unique System and Board serial numbers and smUUID in step number 5.

After you've created your Admin account you will reach the macOS desktop.

D. Now open up Terminal and copy/paste this text into it and hit enter:
Code:
sudo spctl --master-disable

While you've still got Terminal open, it's a good idea to disable hibernation. Enter each line one at a time and hit enter.
Code:
sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage
sudo mkdir /var/vm/sleepimage

To disable other hibernation features
Code:
sudo pmset -a standby 0
sudo pmset -a autopoweroff 0

If you'd like to create a 2nd Admin account you can also do that at this time. May help in situations where you are unable to sign into your primary account in macOS.

To complete step #3 you should eject your Unibeast installer. You won't need it in steps 4 through 6. Keep your Unibeast installer handy if you ever need it for recovery. When your system won't boot you'll be able to easily boot to the desktop.

Step 4. Install Kexts and the Clover Bootloader

We'll be using Multibeast 11.3 to install the Clover bootloader and some required kexts to the system drive's ESP.
408594https://www.tonymacx86.com/resources/multibeast-11-3-0-mojave.430/

Make the following selections in Multibeast. Leave your SysDef at the default iMac 14,2 for now.
M.Beast Choices.png
Next, click on the Install icon in the lower right corner and Multibeast takes care of the rest for you.

Now we will install three more kexts that are needed for working audio and graphics. Download Kextbeast from the tonymacx86 "Downloads" section. We will then get the three kexts, Lilu, WEG and AppleALC from Github.

Lilu, Whatevergreen and AppleALC. Download the RELEASE.zip file for each one of these.
You can also download these three below in the Lilu.WEG.ALC zip file attachment. At the end of this post.
Drag the 3 kexts to your desktop and then run Kextbeast. Select install to the /Library/Extensions folder.

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 7.53.52 AM.png

After you have run Kextbeast and closed the app, make sure to run the Kext Utility app to repair permissions and rebuild caches. Let it run for a minute or more until it finishes. You'll see the "Quit" button appear when it's done.
1569763996326.png



Find the app attached below at the end of this post. Don't use Kext Utility to install kexts as it will put them in the wrong place, /S/L/E which is only to be used for official macOS, Apple signed kexts. All other 3rd party kexts for specific hardware are best installed to /Library/Extensions.


Next go to Finder -> Preferences and then select the "Show Hard Disks on the Desktop" option.

After you do that you'll see the EFI partition mounted on your desktop.

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A. Download the Dell Optiplex SSDTs from the zip file at the bottom of this post.
B. Go to /EFI/Clover/ACPI/patched - copy and paste the files from that SSDT folder into the patched folder.
C. Once again, add the Custom Clover config.plist (attached below) to your Clover folder after deleting the existing one.
D. Add the HFSPlus.efi driver to the Drivers64-UEFI folder. This is also attached below.

Optional:To enable Filevault on your SSD see the following mini-guide for the drivers you will need to include for that.
Click on this link to see the guide

Drag and drop or copy/paste the following kexts to your "other" folder from /Library/Extensions

E. Add the USBinjectall kext to your Clover/Kexts/other folder just as you did when making your USB installer.
F. Also add Lilu and WhateverGreen to your Clover/Kexts/other folder as well.


Here's how the kexts in the "other" folder should look after you have completed step 4.

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Now you can reboot your OptiMac and when you reach the desktop, test out your audio, ethernet and graphics.
Here's what you should see if you enabled audio correctly. Two Line in ports and all of these outputs. I'm using
HD4600 now so this shows HDMI audio working via DP. If your monitor doesn't output audio you won't see HDMI.
If you have an LG 4k (or other 4K monitor) and connect via DP input on your monitor, then under Type it should be showing as DisplayPort instead of HDMI.

NOTE: Only one of the onboard DP outputs can provide DP/HDMI audio. If you don't get DP/HDMI audio to show up in your sound preferences panel, switch to the other port. Then it will work normally.
Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 10.08.55 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-05-30 at 10.08.43 AM.png
Step 5. Enable iMessage and Generate a Unique Serial Number

Before you complete this step, make sure that you've got the system definition (SMBIOS) that works best for your hardware. For those that will use the iGPU (HD4600) exclusively iMac 14,1 is a good SMBIOS choice. It has no dGPU. Some have reported success with iMac 14,3 when using only onboard Intel graphics. These iMacs did have an Nvidia GPU such as the 750M. It seems to work well when using only HD4600 integrated graphics.

What about macOS Big Sur Support ?
The iMac 14,1 14,2 and 14,3 sysdefs will not work Big Sur. If you are just installing Mojave or Catalina now and want Big Sur later, then choose iMac 15,1 for the option of upgrading to macOS 11.0.

If you have a Haswell refresh i5-4690 or i7-4790 and AMD graphics such as the RX 570/580 then select iMac 15,1 as your SMBIOS. It's the perfect match for the best CPU power management. These general guidelines are not set in stone. Experiment to find the best fit for your specific configuration.

Link: iMessage Guide for Messages and Facetime Perform these steps to make your OptiMac completely unique from other iMacs. You won't want to be using the serial number from any iMac computer that is in Apple's database. You will do this through the Clover Configurator application. Clover Configurator Global Edition P1LGRIM's guide gives you all the step by step directions. Read the guide carefully and implement each step. Your OptiMac will then work normally with Apple services. This is a very important step so make sure to take the time to complete it.

Step 6. Install an NVMe SSD into the PCIe x4 slot (Optional Step)

You cannot boot directly from an NVMe drive on an Optiplex 7020/9020 but there is still a way to use one as your system drive where you install macOS Mojave. If you install the NVMe drive into it's adapter and then into the x4 slot you can install macOS Mojave to the drive the same way as you have in steps 1-4. The only difference is that you won't install Clover or the FakeSMC kext to the EFI partition of the NVMe drive.

It's easiest to install to NVMe by simply cloning the Sata drive over to the NVMe with Carbon Copy Cloner. CCC should take care of the NVMe drive formatting. You can also do that with Disk Utility. Make sure to format the NVME drive HFS+ and not APFS. Since both drives are internal, cloning to the NVMe drive will happen very quickly. Then you don't need to run Multibeast later. Here's the link to get the free trial of CCC. If you do want to run Multibeast on the NVME drive after you installed directly to it, here are the choices you'd make in Multibeast. Leave out the Clover UEFI Quickstart selection. Do not select Clover in the Bootloaders section either.

Drivers > Misc > FakeSMC
Drivers > Network > IntelMausiEthernet v2.4.0
Drivers > USB > USBInjectAll
Also get the current, newest AppleALC, Lilu and WEG from Acidanthera/GitHub and Install with Kextbeast to /L/E.

Now the last step is to add APFS.efi and NvmExpressDxe-64 driver to the drivers64uefi folder inside the Clover folder of the SSD or HDD you will initially boot from. After you've done this keep your Sata SSD or mechanical HDD connected and first in the BIOS boot order. Here is how you can find the current APFS.efi driver for the version of Mojave you have now:

To find your current apfs.efi:

1. Boot into macOS Mojave 10.14.x
2. Choose Finder > Go > Go To Folder
3. Navigate to /usr/standalone/i386/
4. Copy apfs.efi to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/

Choose your NVMe from the Clover Boot Menu. You will see the NVMe drive as an option there. Booting from this NVMVE gives you blazing fast boot times and the ability to easily work with large 4K video and even larger photo files. I've attached the NvmExpressDxe-64 driver below so you can easily install it to your Sata SSD or HDD. If you cannot fit either a Sata or NVMe based SSD into your budget, the mechanical 3.5" HDD is still very usable as a boot drive. The APFS file system helps speed things up and boot times are longer but tolerable.

Note: You can also install the NVMe drive to your x16 PCIe slot to get the fastest speeds. That is the newer revision 3.0 PCIe and the PCIe x4 slot is the older revision 2.0. If your are using only HD4600 graphics this will be quite easy to do.

Alternate Realtek Audio (ALC280) Layout IDs
If the default layout-id of 13 does not work for your needs, there are others you can test out.

According to Acidanthera any of the following will work to enable different combos of mic, line out, headphones and internal speaker:
layout 3, 4, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21

For Video Editors and Graphic Designers
If you have a Metal 2 Capable graphics card and want to speed up renders in your video editing programs.
See this section of the iDiot's Guide to Lilu and it's Plugins - Headless Platform ID's

Only do this if you will be using Motion, Compressor, Davinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, iMovie or Final Cut Pro X on a regular basis. Enabling headless mode for your iGPU will help to speed up graphics rendering tasks by enabling the Quicksync capability of your Intel CPU. What you lose is the ability to run a monitor from the onboard DP outputs on your Optiplex.
You can run in headless mode full time if you'd like, that's the way the Late 2013/2014 iMac functions. If you want to only use it part time, keep a separate config.plist that has this AAPL,ig-platform-id value. You can switch to it in Clover -> Options ->Configs when booting up if you will be working with video. Name this config.plist something like headless.config.plist. Keep it in the Clover folder. Running headless iGPU all the time uses more energy as HD4600 stays clocked at 1.2 GHz instead of idling at 200 MHz.

Here's the change you'll need to make to your config.plist Devices/Properties section in Clover Configurator. Note that setting the ig-platform-id of 0B001204 is the only change you make to the existing config.plist used in this guide.


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Keep the other two Devices entries that are already in your config.plist. These enable your onboard Realtek audio.
PciRoot(0)/Pci(0x03,0) and PciRoot(0)/Pci(0x1b,0) Here's how it will look when you're done editing.

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If you've set the correct ids for your Haswell/HD4600 CPU you should see this in the Hackintool System Info section: VDA Decoder - Fully Supported. If you see the following, "Decoder Failed" then Intel Quicksync is not enabled.

Headless - Not working.png


Also check what shows under Patch -> Connectors. You should see the headless icon and the four dummy connectors.

Headless icon.png
Conclusion
Once you have everything working and all of your programs installed it's important to make a clone of your system drive.
You can easily make a bit for bit copy of this drive that is bootable by using Acronis True Image. There are both free and paid ways to use Acronis to complete this task. The paid way is quicker and easier. The free way takes more time but works.

How to use Acronis True Image 2020

Making a bootable backup for recovery purposes

Whether it's an NVMe drive or a Sata based drive, if you do this with Super Duper, CCC or Clonezilla, don't forget to copy and paste the EFI folder over to the EFI partition of your newly cloned drive. Once you've done all that, see if the drive will boot on it's own. Keep your clone drive disconnected from your Dell and in a safe place. If anything ever does go wrong, you can install that and easily boot from it to be able to access your other Mojave drives in your Dell Optiplex.

I'm interested in hearing about your experiences with this guide and your Dell Optiplex system. Fill out your hardware profile and and also upload your problem reporting files if you want help with specific issues that come up. I'll do my best to help you sort them out. See: Black.dragon74's Script to gather problem reporting files


Download Config.plist, Kexts and SSDTs

Note:
The SSDT-USB.dsl file is only to be used for creating a custom SSDT-USB.aml. Edit the .dsl with MaciASL and then compile and save it as .aml. Do not place the .dsl file into EFI/Clover/Kexts/other folder. Only use the compiled .aml once you've created that. The .dsl version does not include HS13 which is the internal USB 2.0 header only present on the Mini-Tower Dell motherboards. If you have an SFF or USFF Dell you won't need to include HS13 in the SSDT.

See: The Beginner's Guide to creating a custom USB SSDT by UtterDisbelief for detailed info on USB SSDTs.
 

Attachments

  • USBInjectAll.kext.zip
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  • Kext Utility.zip
    285.8 KB · Views: 1,284
  • NvmExpressDxe-64.efi.zip
    17.1 KB · Views: 863
  • HFSPlus.efi
    24.3 KB · Views: 1,652
  • LG Spec Sheet.pdf
    731.3 KB · Views: 625
  • config.plist.zip
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  • BCM943602CS_Win_10_build_1903.zip
    13.9 MB · Views: 928
  • SSDT-USB.dsl.zip
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  • Custom SSDTs.zip
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  • Dell DDDP.zip
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  • EFICheckDisabler.kext.zip
    2.8 KB · Views: 518
  • 9020 MT manual.pdf.zip
    3.5 MB · Views: 208
  • 9020 SFF manual.zip
    3.7 MB · Views: 214
  • ALC.Lilu.WEG.zip
    1.3 MB · Views: 116
Last edited:

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
17,550
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Current best Dell OptiMac Deals @ Newegg/Amazon

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The Optiplex SFF model with a Core i5-4590 CPU is the very best bang for you buck in terms of price/performance. Make sure to buy a minimum of 2 x 4GB of ram to run in dual channel mode. You can always upgrade the ram later on yourself to save a little money.

When you click the link to Newegg and go there, select the "Sort By" Lowest Price option to find the best deals.
Screen Shot 4.jpg

https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?d=Optiplex%20SFF%20Core%20i5-4590%207020&Order=PRICE

The Mini-Towers with i5-4590 sell for 20 dollars more. Buy that if you want to game with an RX 570/580.

9020 MT with Core i7-4770 128GB SSD / 3TB HDD and 8GB of ram. Upgrade the ram up to 32 GB if need be.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077N5TLVR/?tag=tonymacx86com-20 If you buy this plus the 4K monitor and install an RX 580 8GB you'll have a system that can handle most anything in terms of 1080p gaming or editing. Make sure to upgrade the PSU to at least 550W Gold rated. Total cost would be around $800 for an awesome system. Much better than an iMac 15,1 Late 2014 that sells for $1500.

If you want a Mac mini sized desktop then get the 9020 Ultra Small or USFF.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078RK79PW/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

Genuine Hynix DDR3 16GB Ram Kit
This is the best choice for ram in your Optimac. No need to worry about compatibility or fit. It fits in the MT, SFF and USFF models. For about $49 16GB is more than enough for most things you'll be doing. If you want to max out your 9020 SFF or MT this is the best deal for new ram. Always stock up when prices are low. Refurbished ram is cheaper, but may not have any warranty and may not work.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IV19HZE/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

LG 4K monitor 27UL550W is selling for about $397 at Amazon.com. Has small bezels and is adjustable. You get a full size DP in port so no adapters are needed. There are two HDMI 2.0 inputs on the monitor which can be used with a gaming console. This is the 2019 model and is also VESA/wall mountable if you don't want to use the included stand.

The UL500W (non-adjustable) can also be bought at Amazon but for significantly less.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PX8JMJV/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

Replacement 7020/9020 MT Motherboard

These can still be purchased new on Amazon.com for just over $80 shipped. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07323HV2N/?tag=tonymacx86com-20 If you want to try the used/refurbished market on Ebay you'll find lower prices there. Remember that if you want to buy just the mobo and install it in a micro ATX case you'll need a power switch and the temperature sensor cable. If using your own PSU you need the Optiplex 24pin to 8pin adapter from moddiy.com Link above.

Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB Graphics card for the Mini-Tower


Replacement PSU for the Optiplex Mini-Tower
https://www.newegg.com/seasonic-focus-550-gold-ssr-550fm-550w/p/N82E16817151203
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Here are the dimensions that the PSU must be to fit in a Dell MT case. The Seasonic Focus Gold has been tested and does fit quite well in the Mini-Tower form factor. You can buy the 450W or the 550W version if you will need that much power.

Other brands such as EVGA offer 500W power supplies with these dimensions. The lower cost ones are not semi-modular and have much shorter warranties than the Seasonic Focus Gold. Install it so that the fan points downward, not up.
Whichever PSU you choose, it should be 5.51 inches (140mm) in length from front to back.

How to install your new Power Supply


From this video you'll see why it's best to use at least a semi-modular
PSU and a graphics card that is under about 9.5 inches in total length.


Recommended Third Party mATX Cases for your Dell OptiMac

Darkflash DLM 21/22
@ 65 USD
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4L54NX/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

Fractal Design Define Mini C @ 79 USD
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N05CPU8/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

Thermaltake Versa H17 Micro ATX @ 45 USD
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07THWKT6V/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

Extra 120mm Case Fans - 4 Pin PWM by Noctua
The Thermaltake Versa case and the Darkflash DLM21/22 will need at least one 120mm fan for adequate cooling. The Define Mini C includes two case fans. These are very affordable Noctuas at 14 dollars each. Very quiet and you can hook them up to a fan controller. Even if you run them at full speed they are still quiet. So pick up one of these if you buy either of these cases for the transfer.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CG2PGVG/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
91-WKoE6sTL._SL1500_.jpg

You can also adapt the 5 pin case fan header to 4 pins and run it from that. The adapters cost only a dollar each from China but closer to 5 dollars each from US and EU sellers. If you can wait for shipping times of a 3 weeks or longer try these:
 
Last edited:

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
17,550
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android

How to move your Dell Optiplex Mini-Tower to a New Case

Q: Why would anyone want to do this ? Isn't the Dell OEM case good enough ?

A: The Dell case is solidly built and functions perfectly well. It is a PC case designed for business use. Most business people do not install AMD gaming graphics cards into their Dell Optiplex. In certain scenarios it does make sense to transplant your Dell MT motherboard into a 3rd party manufacturer's case. Primarily when you'd like to use a graphics card over 10 inches long and also need more airflow through the case. You can modify your Dell case using drills and dremels and install another fan but a transplant is an easier way to give you more room and airflow.

If you truly need more airflow, better cooling to prevent your CPU and GPU (such as an RX 580/90) from overheating, the transplant technique is probably worth your time and effort.

Q: How does one go about doing all this ? Is it as simple as building a new PC from component parts ?

A: In some ways it is and in others it isn't. The install of the Dell mATX motherboard is exactly the same as installing one in any PC case. Put in the I/O shield, line up the board over the stand offs then screw in the 8 screws through the holes of the board into the standoffs. Connect up all the connectors to the board and that's it.

Q: What mATX case do you recommend ?

A:
As of today the Lian Li 205M case from Amazon.com looks like the best choice and value. It's solidly built, not too large or heavy and will look really good as well. Includes two 120mm four pin PWM fans, has room for cable management.

See this case at Amazon: Lian Li 205M

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If you prefer a white/black themed case with a glass side panel, have a look at the Darkflash DLM21. I have the non-mesh white version of this and it works nicely with my 9020 MT system. Got a great deal on one at 50 USD.

Bring along your OEM Dell CPU cooler and fan. It works perfectly well and is quiet enough. Also a good idea to keep the Dell rear exhaust fan in the new case. When you plug it into the 5 pin header it prevents error messages at boot up.

You will need to use a standard ATX Power Supply in any case that doesn't have space for a top mounted Dell PSU. Then you must adapt that ATX PSU's 24 pin power connector to the proprietary 8 pin header on the motherboard.

Screen Shot 18.jpg
You will also have to bring along your Dell's proprietary power switch/button and temperature sensor to the new case. You can also bring along the front panel I/O which includes the audio headphone and mic jacks and front USB ports.


Moving the Dell 9020 MT into a new mATX or ATX Case
I've built many PCs from scratch over the last 8 years. This was relatively easy for me to accomplish. If you don't have any PC building experience you should watch Youtube tutorial videos to learn the basics. You can damage your motherboard if you don't know what you're doing so learn and take the proper precautions before proceeding.

Here's a video showing you step by step how to do the transfer from a Dell 9020 MT


The way the Jon the Net Guy shows you how to enable the front power switch/button is just one way you can do that. The problem with his video is that he doesn't show you how he removed the plastic connector around the 5 power button pins. You can easily damage the pins when you do that and it is rather difficult. There are other methods you can use and we'll go into those in detail shortly. See these closeup pics of the connector with and without the cable plugged in.

DSCN0011.JPG
DSCN0012.JPG



Four Options for Your Front Power Switch Connection

1. Connect up the original power switch cable (OEM) that came with your Optiplex. Use Dell's led lit power button.

2. Cut your OEM Dell cable and then connect the black and yellow cables to the power switch cable (POWER SW) that is attached to your case’s power button.

3. Remove the plastic connector piece that surrounds the five pins of the header and then connect up the case power switch cable from your case to the front two pins of the header on the board.

4. Purchase a power switch adapter from Harbin Repairs and place it correctly on the 5 pins. Then connect up the new case's power switch and LED wires easily. These are designed for the mid tower (not SFF or small form factor) desktops. It allows you to connect standard PC case front panel wiring to the Dell Optiplex.
See: Two Optiplex 7020/9020 PWR SW and Front panel pin adapters

Number one is the easiest and requires no modding. The problem is that you must then reach into your case each time you power on or off. If you don't power your system off and on very often it's not a big deal.

Number two requires cutting the OEM cable and removing part of the sheath to expose the color coded copper wires. You'll need to strip off the colored sheath, then attach the black/yellow wires to the case power switch cable. The following video shows you how. Solder is not mandatory but if you're handy with a soldering iron, why not ?


Number three requires permanent removal of a plastic piece that connects to the motherboard. There is the potential of damaging the pins when removing it. The plastic around the pins won't let you insert a standard power switch connector (POWER SW) from your case's front panel. Dell did this on purpose so people wouldn't put these in non-Dell cases. I don't recommend this technique unless you have a very sharp Swiss army knife and are very skilled with it.

Number four costs the most money but may be worth it to you if you dread the thought of cutting away the plastic casing around the 5 power switch pins. It is a rather difficult task for many. Doing damage is possible.

You will also need good lighting and keen vision. You assume all risk when trying this. Ideally you would cut into the plastic on the side and remove just the lower left corner as depicted. Leave the bottom piece intact. Do not try to break the plastic piece off by hand or you'll probably break the pins along with it. Don't ask me how I know this. I broke off one of the 5 pins but I can still short the two pins with a small screwdriver tip to power on. Tough lesson learned. Don't make the same mistake.

Screen Shot 17.jpg
IMG_20200808_112236661 copy.jpg


Before and after pictures of the only piece you'll need to remove. I used the blade of a Swiss army knife to do this. Probably best to leave the other sides intact. If you don't want the power switch error message at boot up you can jumper the middle two pins (red and blue) permanently. Then you don't need to hit F1 at every boot up. A standard hard drive jumper you can get for 2 dollars on Ebay should do the job. Note the front power LED will not work then.

The yellow and black cables are contacting the two far left pins of the power switch when this is plugged in.
Screen Shot 15.jpg
IMG_20200808_112352995.jpg

Picture of the power switch cable connected to the correct pins. The mod of the casing around the pins is not really noticeable. Power button and power led work reliably.

The orange and blue wires can be used in method two or three to light up the white or blue LED button on the front of your case. You simply connect up the LED+ and LED- to the corresponding case connectors for those. Nothing you'd need to do with the red cable. If you can manage the first option with your chosen case that is the best solution. If not, I'd suggest you use option #2 instead. You can strip the casing off the wires and connect them with something like this:

Here you can see my front I/O except for headphone and mic jacks is working. The HDD LED light doesn't work but that makes no difference to me. I'm happy with how this case transfer has turned out.

DLM21 I:O.jpg


The best feature of my DLM21 Darkflash case is the hinged glass side panel that opens and closes easily. I have access to the front panel mic/headphone jacks without having to remove any screws from the side panel. Really nice. I'm currently using option #3 and and not the Dell power button cable. Much more convenient to power on via the case's power button right on top where it's easy to reach.
Click the following link to see examples of how the interior would look in a DLM21 mATX case

1578011014208.png


Close up of the 2 pin Temperature sensor connector and Front I/O
Connect the temperature sensor to enable PWM fan control to run the fans at normal speeds. Without it your CPU and case fans will run full speed all the time. Your Dell "thinks" temps are too high when it's not connected to the header.


Reasons for choosing a Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 pre-built Desktop


1. Ease of installation, post install and macOS updates
If you follow this guide and install Mojave it can save you many hours of your precious time when attempting to get a fully working hackintosh. Especially if you are a "first timer" otherwise known as a newbie. It's been my experience that macOS updates will less likely "break" the install on one of these Dell OptiMacs when you follow the guide in post #1.

2. It is already fully assembled out of the box
No need to buy PC components, wait for delivery and then unpack them all from their individual boxes. Then spend a couple of hours putting it together, risking ESD damage to components or messing up the build in some other way. If you do include a graphics card with your Dell like the NVS 510, it only takes about 30 seconds to install it. No tools are required.
It's much more like buying an iMac except that you get the option to choose your own monitor and graphics card. The only upgrade that requires more time and effort is the PSU upgrade in the MT Dell Optiplex. Most people should have no problem with this if they want to install a gaming capable graphics card like an RX570 by AMD.

3. Quality of Dell Optiplex Systems
These are some of Dell's most expensive and high quality PCs. The cases are made of thick steel, very close to server quality hardware. A new Optiplex 7020 SFF with i7-4790 retailed for close to $1,300 back in 2014. I bought one new for $200 in May 2019, a savings of $1,100 !! Here's what a new 9020 MT with i7-4790 costs today on Ebay.com.

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4. Replacement Parts
Anything you might need to replace or upgrade is available on Ebay at an amazingly low price. There is a huge supply of parts that Ebay sellers steeply discount to make sales. You'll never have to look much to find parts at rock bottom prices.
You can replace the MT motherboard for about 30 dollars and only pay about 14 dollars for the SFF version.

5. Thermal Throttling
It's been well documented that iMacs cannot fully utilize all of the potential of Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs. The limited airflow in the iMac chassis makes it difficult to keep them cool. Because of this the clock speed of the CPU is automatically lowered when CPU temps reach the mid 90s Celsius. That happens quite often in the 2014 iMac.

FAQ: Questions And Concerns

1. Why call it the OptiMac ? Isn't this just a Dell Optiplex ?
I've created the "OptiMac" designation for this build to indicate that this is a hybrid between a Dell Optiplex and a Late 2014 iMac. It means that you can get most all of the great features of an iMac without all the downsides that come with that AIO machine from Apple. With the OptiMac, you get a much lower price, easy hardware upgrades, 10 total usb ports built in, 4 of which are USB 3.0. You'll also have the ability to connect any monitor you'd like and of course, replace it if it fails. To me those are very important features of any desktop computer.

2. How is it possible to turn a Dell business PC into a fully functional iMac running Mojave ?
It's due to the work of many people over the past 10 years. It all started with the OSX86 movement in the latter 2000's. This community started in about 2010. You can primarily thank RehabMan and the other Clover developers for the chance to get this Custom iMac for an affordable price that does everything you want it to.

3. What about older versions of macOS ? How far back can I go and still get a functional system ?
You can go as far back as Mavericks 10.9.5 if you need to. Note that the newer AMD Radeon cards will not work with most of the older versions of macOS. Some of the Nvidia cards will be a better option there. The Quadro K600 or NVS 510 for example, would work with Mavericks through Catalina and probably Big Sur. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacOS#OS_X_10.9_Mavericks
 
Last edited:

trs96

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Geek Bench 4 Results for the i7-4790 in the 7020 SFF

CPU Benchmark


409101


Here's the $800 plus Mac mini for comparison

Multi-Core is over 3,000 pts. lower than a 7020 SFF w/i7-4790

408988


Note that if you upgrade the ram to 32GB in the 7020 SFF the multi-core scores will
be well over 16,000. Just make sure to buy a low profile DDR3 1600 MHz kit 1.5V


OpenCL Score with the Gigabyte RX 570 in a 9020 Mini-Tower

414612



OpenCL Score with the AMD R9 M290X - iMac Late 2014

414614


Black Magic Disk Speed Test

409160

This test was run with the HP EX900 120GB NVMe SSD
I placed the adapter in the PCIe x16 slot for the best performance

Write speeds will be much higher with the HP EX900 500 GB NVMe drive

i7-4790 CPU Power Usage at Idle - Intel Power Gadget
IPG readings i7-4790.png

USB Port Discovery

This will be useful information if you have to do any USB troubleshooting. There are a total of 14 USB ports on the SFF models. They have no internal USB 2.0 header. The Mini-Tower does have the internal USB 2.0 header. HS ports are USB 2.0 and SS ports are USB 3.0/2.0 dual ports. No need to worry about Apple's 15 port limit.

409156


409157


NOTE: You should always connect your monitor to DisplayPort out and not the analog VGA (blue) 15 pin.
VGA is not supported in macOS. Apple dropped support for VGA analog video connections in about 2008.

The Dell Optiplex MiniTower Motheboards have Internal USB 2.0

Mintower Schematic.jpg


HS 13 is included in the custom SSDT-USB.aml file attached at the end of this post.


7020 SFF back panel I:O.jpg
 

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Dell 9020
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RX570
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First thing first, thank you so much for all your time and effort to give something to others. I have a huge respect for this.
I took your advice and will go down with this route. I have found i7 SFF https://www.gumtree.com/p/desktop-w...3.40ghz-8gb-ram-1tb-win-10-pro-pc-/1339007256 but as far as I can understand my GPU options will be limited. Will you please tell me what sort of GPU I can use with them and what sort of RAM I should get?
Many thanks
 

trs96

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First thing first, thank you so much for all your time and effort to give something to others. I have a huge respect for this.
I took your advice and will go down with this route. I have found i7 SFF https://www.gumtree.com/p/desktop-w...3.40ghz-8gb-ram-1tb-win-10-pro-pc-/1339007256 but as far as I can understand my GPU options will be limited. Will you please tell me what sort of GPU I can use with them and what sort of RAM I should get?
Many thanks
Since its an SFF case limited to a single slot GPU the choices are limited. You could use an NVS 510 as per the guide. If you want to edit 4K video though I would get the MT version of the 9020 and the RX 570 graphics. AMD is much better with macOS currently and I don't know how long Apple will support the older Kepler based Quadro cards like the K600 and the NVS 510. We may know more by the time WWDC happens next week in California.

EDIT: The next version of macOS (Catalina) will still support Kepler based graphics cards that worked in Mojave.
 
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OK will go for MT, opting out AMD for a new system is not wise I guess.I will replace the power supply and go for RX570 . I hope I can do it :)
 

trs96

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It's an ok deal. Personally I would want a case that is in better condition. The top looks very distressed and it probably hasn't gotten a good cleaning so you'd have to do that yourself. I don't think the AMD card is supported but you could try it. If it does work report back here about that. It also shows 3 DIMMS of ram in the picture so how it equals 16 GB is hard to figure. 5.3GB each ??? No PCIe slot covers is also a drawback. Take some time to search more for a better deal before you buy one.

You could ask this seller for actual pictures of the one you'd get. You can easily sell the 1050 Ti to buy your RX570 card.
 
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@trs96, Thanks again for doing this. This may be an upgrade I want to do from the 8300 as this allows for larger GFX and a little bump in CPU.

Can you post any GeekBench scores yet?
 
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