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

trs96

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A Short Story about CMOS Batteries
My Optiplex MT was starting to have some issues so I thought I'd rule out the CMOS battery. I replaced it with a brand new Maxell CR2032 fresh out of a blister pack. I had bought it on Amazon a year or so ago. I usually even test new CR2032s with a multimeter but didn't bother as that wasn't anywhere nearby. The battery was brand new anyway.

I flashed the BIOS again and set it up as per the guide. It worked well for a few days, then the strange problems started again. :think: The mouse would get laggy, it wouldn't boot normally and eventually I couldn't even get into the BIOS. Just a black screen, nothing else. For a minute I thought the BIOS was at fault. I took out the CMOS battery, left it out for 5 to 10 minutes with the power cord unplugged. Replaced the battery and tried to boot. Still no Dell Logo or ability to even enter the BIOS. Weird right ? Was this a board failure or what ?

Since I'd seen this before on my older 7010 Optiplex, I knew I had to replace even that "brand new" CR2032 battery. I was certain it wasn't software or EFI related. Sure enough, I put in a new Energizer brand battery and then everything started working normally. So why did the other Maxell battery not work ? My guess is that it was either defective or had just gotten too old even before I bought that pack of CR2032s. These coin cell batteries never have expiration dates on them. The truth is they don't last forever even if still in original packaging. Some Amazon sellers have them sitting around for many years before you buy them. So it's always best to buy from the bigger selllers like Amazon/Newegg rather than 3rd party sellers on their sites that may not have the freshest stock batteries.

If you go with Amazon Basics, you can be sure these get off the shelves rather quickly. The prices are low and people trust buying directly from Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. These are what power AirTags from Apple so many more people will be buying these now. They only last for about 1 year in an AirTag. In your PC/Hackintosh they should last 5-6 years or more if the machine stays plugged into the wall outlet. I've seen some last for 8+ years.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0787K2XWZ/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

1622334826527.png


Make sure to buy fresh CMOS batteries and avoid problems like this with your Dell.
 
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trs96

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Two year Anniversary of the Dell OptiMac Golden Build
The original Clover guide was posted on May 24th, 2019 and has evolved greatly since then. I've used OpenCore and Big Sur since last August 2020 and can now completely recommend using that as your OptiMac bootloader. I had some free time over the holiday weekend to experiment with OpenCore and Mojave/Catalina on the OptiMac systems I own.

Everything works other than wake from sleep when my RX 570 is installed in the MT. That issue is probably related to the use of a monitor with only HDMI input. It's optimal to use DP to DP to connect a dGPU to your monitor. That solves most of the sleep/wake problems.

I have now revised step one of the guide to use OpenCore instead of Clover bootloader. Have a look at the revised step one of the guide. I know that many people recording and editing audio need to stay with Mojave for 32 bit app and plugin support. This change now gives them the option to use OpenCore bootloader.

Step 1. Create your Mojave or Catalina OpenCore Installer

Download Mojave/Catalina
from the Mac App Store on a 2012 or newer iMac or Mac mini running Mojave or macOS Catalina. 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. Here's the official Moajve/Catalina links from Apple.
May of 2021 update
I've been using the OpenCore bootloader on both of my Dell OptiMacs long enough now to know that it's clearly far superior to Clover. So if you are just starting out and want to skip using Clover and start with OpenCore (OC) that is what I recommend. OC can be used with either Mojave or Catalina. I'll be attaching a working EFI folder below (0.6.9 OC EFI) that you can place in the EFI partition of your USB installer.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to this build to make it really a great low cost hackintosh desktop option.
 
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Stork

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Newegg has a 32" version of the 27" LG monitor in the OptiMac Buyer's Guide. It's not an IPS monitor but is a VA panel. There are two main advantages a VA panel has over an IPS equivalent. Better black uniformity and contrast. IPS panels will generally give you better color accuracy as well as wider viewing angles...
I purchased this monitor upon seeing it in my Newegg newsletter for the $297USD plus shipping. Works great for my uses, which are general purpose computer and audio recording of my band (me, myself and I).

I had to change just one monitor setting so far. The monitor comes set to DP1.4. I'm using a KVM switch that uses DP1.2. Consequently, I set the monitor's DP options to 1.2. Now, guess what's next on the upgrade list. Yep, DP1.4 KVM and DP1.4 cables.

Only problem, which I'll fix (when I get "round to it"), is, after boot up, the monitor goes to sleep just before reaching the login to macOS because it loses the graphics signal at that time. Using my KVM switch, I switch to another computer, wait a few seconds and switch back. The macOS login screen comes on, and I'm good to go.

Not a bad 32" 4K monitor for the price. :headbang:
 

trs96

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Not a bad 32" 4K monitor for the price.
Can't argue with that. It's about the cost of a 43" 4K TV. The problem with using those (a 4K TV) as a monitor is that you must sit farther away. Text is not as sharp and you don't get any DP inputs on a 4K TV.

What kind of scaling do you use on your 32" LG ? Are the viewing angles any problem since it's a VA panel ?

Apple uses LG made IPS panels in their iMac line so you know they are the best quality.

Looks like they are currently sold out on Newegg but Amazon still has them for sale at this price.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MV7B7WF/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
 
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Stork

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Can't argue with that. It's about the cost of a 43" 4K TV. The problem with using those (a 4K TV) as a monitor is that you must sit farther away. Text is not as sharp and you don't get any DP inputs on a 4K TV.
Agree with you.

What kind of scaling do you use on your 32" LG ? Are the viewing angles any problem since it's a VA panel ?
I'm using the 4K resolution because the 32" is so much more "readable" than my smaller Dell P2715 4K monitor, which I have to drop down the resolution. However, I do have my browser at 150% so I can read the smaller print.

Apple uses LG made IPS panels in their iMac line so you know they are the best quality.
I don't notice the difference on the quality. But, I'm retired, and my eyes just enjoy the screen size and crisp characters that the 4K provides.
 

trs96

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Here's one of the better "starter" hackintosh deals going right now. A 9020 MT with a core i5-4570 CPU and 8GB of ram for $170 at newegg. The MT gives you the most upgrade options down the road. You can add a full height dGPU and upgrade the CPU to an i7-4770/90 later on. Even add 24GB of more ram for photo and video editing.

It's really difficult to find a used Haswell based Mac for anywhere near this price. Look at what core i5, Late 2014 iMacs sell for. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=imac+retina+5k+27-inch+late+2014&_sacat=0&rt=nc&Processor=Intel%20Core%20i5%204th%20Gen%2E&_dcat=111418
It's really easy to buy a 27" LG 4K monitor and connect it to these via DP. This saves you about 4-500 dollars over what a used Late 2014 iMac would cost. Even a used 2014 Mac mini with Core i7 (dual core) sells for close to $500.
When you use the Optiplex to run macOS you never experience thermal throttling. That is when the CPU gets down-clocked because it's over heating. This happens frequently in Macs.

We'll find out next Monday whether the Dell OptiMac still has native support from macOS 12. If not, the SMBIOS can always be changed to something more current than iMac 15,1 if you use a supported AMD card like an RX 570. There are three of these left in stock from this seller at this price. A really good all around hackintosh that leaves many options open.

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0001-11B21

Screen Shot 10.jpg
 
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Hey friends,

I've recently upgraded my graphics card from GeForce GT 640 2GB to Radeon RX 470 8GB on Catalina 10.15.7 and everything has been working nicely with a single monitor setting, but dual monitor. There was no issue with GT 640. I have been searching everywhere and doing trials and errors but haven't figured it out yet. I certainly keep trying by myself, but if you know some trick and would advise me, that would be great. Thank you in advance!
 

trs96

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I've recently upgraded my graphics card from GeForce GT 640 2GB to Radeon RX 470 8GB
How are you connecting an RX 470 to an SFF (small form factor) 9020 ?
I've never seen a LP version. Are you using a riser card of some kind ?

Screen_Shot_14.png


If you want to have your EFI folder checked, upload that with the serials removed from the config.plist.
 
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Let me thank you first, trs96 for your awesome guideline. It is phenomenal.

I'm so sorry, I should've been more specific. I have 9020 SFF MoBo in a non-branded ATX case. And yes, I'm using a PCIe extension cable temporarily for testing while waiting for 90 degree-angled SATA connectors coming in(my RX 470 touches those connectors on the board when it's installed in the PCIe 16 slot so I need them).

My RX 470 has 5 ports: 2 x DP, 2 x HDMI, and 1 x DVI. I have two monitors: Philips 323E7QDAB with 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI, and 1 x VGA. LG 32MN500M-B with 2 x HDMI.

When I use a DP on the graphic card to connect either of the monitors via DP-HDMI adaptor as single monitor setting, I don't get any issue. However, when I connect to a monitor using DP via DP-HDMI adaptor AND another monitor using HDMI/DVI to get dual monitor setting, I get into trouble.

Description of the trouble:
Turning on the machine, I can get Dell logos, Clover Bootloader screens, Apple logos and progress bars on both of the monitors normally. However, when it gets Mac OS login prompt, the monitor hooked up via HDMI/DVI is gone (black screen with a bit of flicker every a few seconds with weird clicking noise). Another monitor, which has Mac OS prompt, has horizontal noise sporadically. I can log in and operate the machine except for the noise.

I guess the problem might be blamed on HDMI/DVI port on the card, I've ordered another DP-HDMI adaptor so that I can try without using those suspicious ports. Do you think I missed a simple but important procedure to enable dual monitor setting? I'm a quite newbie here so any help would be appreciated!

I'll upload my EFI when I get home.

Thank you!!
 
Joined
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Dell Optiplex 9020 MT
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Here is my EFI folder. Thanks in advance!
 

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