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The 4K Dell OptiMac - Core i7-4790 - AMD Radeon RX 570 - LG 4K 27" IPS Monitor

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
13,480
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
Android
The Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 Mini-Tower SFF and USFF


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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

LG 27UL550-W 27" UHD 4K IPS
Amazon - lg.com

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Hardware Upgrades - Tested Working

Dedicated Graphics Cards - Single and Dual Slot

The Small Form Factor Optiplex only takes low profile Graphics Cards
such as the Nvidia Quadro NVS 510,
K600 or GeForce GT 710.

AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 is also supported in macOS Mojave.
The MSI RX 560 LP will fit but you'd have to install it to the x4 slot.


Nvidia Quadro NVS 510 2GB (Fan Cooled) 4K@60Hz
Amazon - Newegg

MSI Geforce GT 710 2GB (Passive Cooling) 4K@30Hz
Amazon - Newegg

Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 Gaming 4GB (Mini-Tower only)*
Amazon - Newegg

MSI Radeon RX 570 Armor 4GB GDDR5 (Mini-Tower only)*
Amazon - Newegg

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

* The 570/580 will need a PSU upgrade - Newegg

Cables and Adapters

Mini DP to DP Cable for NVS 510 - Amazon

Active DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter
- Amazon 4K@60Hz
(Use this Active adapter to connect to a 4K television or Monitor w/HDMI 2.0)

DisplayPort Cable Nylon Braided - Amazon 4K@60Hz

Ram and SSD Upgrades

Samsung 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

HP EX900 500 GB NVMe Drive
Amazon - Newegg

M.2 NVMe SSD to PCIe x4 Adapter Card
Amazon - Newegg

Wifi and Bluetooth

BCM94360CS2 Wifi/BT PCIe Adapter Card
Ebay.com

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

Power Supply Upgrade

Seasonic Focus Series 450W 80+ Gold (Semi-Modular)
Newegg


24 To 8 Pin Power Supply Adapter (Needed if you upgrade to an ATX PSU)
moddiy.com - Ships free to anywhere in the world. Use their 10% off coupon.

CR2032 Energizer CMOS Lithium Battery - 2 pack
Amazon

Operating System

macOS Mojave
iTunes

Shortcut to Attachments - Download Kexts and SSDTs


Dell Optiplex + iMac = The Dell OptiMac
This build is based on the Late 2014 5K iMac 15,1. That iMac model has an i7-4790K, a maximum of 32GB of RAM and a Fusion drive. The best part of the iMac is the 5K Retina monitor that is built in. The downside of the iMac is that it's an enclosed all in one that is difficult to repair or upgrade. This 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 4K monitors via the NVS 510 or just a single 4K monitor via the DP 1.2 output and the HD4600 graphics. 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, i7-4770 and i7-4790.

The best way to connect a 4K 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. Dual monitors do not work properly when using onboard HD4600 with SMBIOS 14,2 or 15,1. You can try iMac 14,3 if you want to use both DP outputs on your Dell. To use three monitors or more, buy one of the graphics cards listed above in the components section. The other issue with HD4600 and 4K screens is that while 2560 x 1440p works perfectly, there are problems when running a 4K monitor at it's native resolution. The DP 1.2 ports on these Dell Optiplex models are 4K/60Hz capable as well as the HD4600 graphics. Because there is no DVMT pre-allocation setting in the BIOS that can be increased, 4K via onboard graphics is not feasible without a BIOS modification to add that setting. You can power a 4K/60Hz display with HD4600 graphics when running Windows 10. To do the same with macOS get at least a Quadro NVS 510 graphics card. 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.

Intel HD 4600 Graphics Specs
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The Dell OptiMac can be used as a low cost graphics/editing workstation that won't "break the bank." Used/Refurbished Late 2014 iMacs cost anywhere from 800 to 1,200 USD. They often have scratches, dents and chipped glass. If you want one in Grade A condition it will cost you about $1500. I bought my SFF Optiplex 7020 with i7-4790 for $200 new in the original sealed Dell box. That leaves room in the budget for a beautiful new, color accurate 4K IPS LG 27" monitor. LG makes the LED lit LCD panels used in iMacs. A new 2019 base level 27" Core i5 5K iMac with SSD will start at $1900 + at least $100 sales tax. It's a good value but if you can't come up with two grand for one, the OptiMac at 1/3 the price is a nice alternative.
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I’ll be using most of what I learned from my Optiplex 7010 guide that I posted back in May of 2018. That was a very lengthy and detailed step by step guide for beginners. You can refer to that guide for most of the background info such as the 3 preliminary steps before the install, BIOS flashing options and also to discover the other graphics cards that are Mojave compatible. The OptiMac will work well for home video and photo editing with FCP X and the Adobe suite of apps. If you are a video editing professional and need H.265 encoding, build a new Coffee Lake based system with an i7 or i9. Choose the SFF form factor for your OptiMac if you prefer the smaller size and don't need the more powerful RX 570/580. I've got the 9020 MT with a Gigabyte Aorus RX 570 installed that I've used in testing for this guide.

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You can apply this information to the other Dell Optiplex 7020/9020* form factors such as the Micro (far left) and USFF (2nd from left) models. 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. For example, the 9020M or Micro, comes with a Core i3 T processor. They are clocked lower and are lower TDP. The prices are higher than SFF or MT models. i3 T CPUs have HD4400 which is not OOB supported in macOS. You'll be on your own to figure out how to get the HD4400 graphics working.

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. Most (up to 9.5 inch/241 mm) full length cards will not block Sata ports or the USB 3.0 header. The area in the blue rectangle below has nothing there that will be hindered by a dual slot AMD graphics card. Cards over 10 inches in length will run into the HDD cage and should be avoided. 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 intesive 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. www.moddiy.com

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For-DELL-OptiPlex-7020-SFF-LGA1150-DDR3-Q87-Desktop-Motherboard-2YYK5-JM41M_jpg_640x640.jpg

Dell Optiplex 7020/9020 Mini-Tower Motherboard ___________________ The SFF board's x16 slot is next to the side of the case
Supports Longer Full Length AMD Radeon Graphics Cards _______ ______ A dual slot MSI RX 560 in the x4 slot fits and will work

*This guide has not been tested on the Optiplex 3020 which uses the H81 Intel chipset. The 7020/9020 uses the Q87 chipset. A 3020 will need some changes to the config.plist to work fully with macOS Mojave.
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. 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. 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.


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 newer versions of macOS. A Mac Pro should be 2010 or newer and the eligible MacBooks that can be seen below should be 2012/2015 or newer models. A hackintosh must also be running Mountain Lion or newer and use one of the following minimum system definitions or newer. Then the CustoMac will appear as Mojave eligible at the Mac App Store.

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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

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 only. Version 9.2.0.

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.

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Credit: CaseySJ​

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 A17 - Download the latest Optiplex 9020 BIOS A24

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, it's best to do this to get a fully functional OptiMac. Especially if you want working USB 3.0 ports.

You do have a choice of which BIOS to flash up to. Getting the November 2018 version linked above will give you all the latest microcode patches to protect you from exploits. If you don't want the latest Intel Spectre and Meltdown updates to the CPU microcode then flash only up to A13 instead of A17. For the 9020, the equivalent BIOS revision to A13 would be A20.

You can update the BIOS from right within Windows by double clicking on the .exe file. This will initiate the flashing process. Make sure you have IE or Edge set as your default browser. If you don't have access to a Windows drive simply create a DOS bootable USB on a PC and boot from that and flash the BIOS. Rufus works well to make a DOS USB.

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 Apply.

Summary of BIOS Setting Changes

General

Boot Sequence -> Boot List Option -> UEFI
Advanced Boot Options -> Uncheck - Enable Legacy Option ROMs
(If using only HD4600 graphics, re-check this post install)
UEFI Boot Path Security -> Set to Never

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

Secure Boot
Secure Boot Enable -> Disabled

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

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 sticker and a 1 on it then AMT is enabled. If you see a 3 then it is disabled. Nothing you need to do. This is important for security reasons. Having it password protected is a very good idea.

Step 3. Install macOS Mojave

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. Let this process happen without interference. 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 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 required kexts and the Clover bootloader to the system drive's ESP.
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If you already have the Multibeast 11.3 app on your system you can download the MB 14,2.mb file attached below, click it twice and it will open Multibeast for you with the iMac 14,2 System Definition config. It will also include Clover UEFI and the the kexts needed to get ethernet, audio and your graphics working properly.

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Next, click on the Install icon in the lower right corner and Multibeast takes care of the rest for you. How easy is that ?

After you have run Multibeast 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. Find the app attached below. Don't use Kext Utility to install kexts as it will put them in the wrong place (S/L/E).

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 USBinjectall kext to your Clover/Kexts/other folder just as you did when making your USB installer.
E. Also add Lilu v1.3.6 and WhateverGreen v1.2.9 to your Clover/Kexts/other folder as well.
F. Add the HFSPlus.efi driver to the Drivers64-UEFI folder. This is also attached below.

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

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Placing these kexts in "Other folder" will let Clover inject them when booting Recovery, MacOS Installer or MacOS Updates.

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.

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. If you are using a Haswell i5 or i7 CPU such as an i5-4570 and use HD4600 exclusively, select iMac 14,3. If you have an i7-4770 and a Nvidia Quadro card, then iMac 14,2 should be the best fit. 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. 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. 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. 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 > Audio > AppleALC
Drivers > Misc > FakeSMC
Drivers > Network > IntelMausiEthernet v2.4.0
Drivers > USB > USBInjectAll
Customize > Graphics > Core Graphics Fixup

What you will do is keep your Sata SSD or mechanical HDD connected and first in the BIOS boot order. Choose your NVMe from the Clover Boot Menu. You will see the NVMe drive as an option there. The only additional driver you need to install into Drivers64UEFI (on your Sata drive) is the NvmExpressDxe-64 driver. That is what allows you to boot into your NVMe drive via the Clover Boot Menu. This 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.

For Video Editors and Graphic Designers

Run your iGPU in Headless Mode

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 guide in the iDiot's Guide to Lilu and it's Plugins
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 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 GPU info section. QE/CI and Metal enabled and VDA Decoder Fully Supported. In the VideoProc app, H264 Hardware Acceleration.

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Conclusion
Once you have everything working and all of your programs installed it's important to make a clone of your system drive. Whether it's an NVMe drive or a Sata based drive 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
 

Attachments

Last edited:

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
13,480
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
Android
Current best Dell OptiMac Deals @ Newegg/Amazon

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Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF INTEL Core i7-4790

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0001-115W9?Description=Optiplex%204790&cm_re=Optiplex_4790-_-1VK-0001-115W9-_-Product

Another two Core i5-4590 deals for a budget build. Cost for the PC is under $195 shipped from Newegg or Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H3C1LSV/?tag=tonymacx86com-20

https://www.newegg.com/dell-optiplex-7020-student-home-office/p/1VK-0001-2HF33?Item=9SIADZE9H24933&Tpk=9SIADZE9H24933

Maxed out 9020 MT with Core i7-4770 128GB SSD / 3TB HDD. All for $339 at Newegg
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077N5TLVR/?tag=tonymacx86com-20 If you buy this plus the 4K monitor, upgrade to 32GB and install an RX 580 8GB you'll have a system that can handle most anything in terms of 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.

Best 9020 SFF Deal on Ebay.com
9020 SFF with Core i5 and 8 GB of Ram
If you want a Mac mini sized desktop then get the 9020 Ultra Small or USFF.

Click this link for: Barebones Dell 7020/9020 SFF Desktops for $40 on Ebay.com
If you already have a Haswell i5 or i7 CPU and some DDR3 1600 MHz Desktop ram, this is the best deal you'll get.

Genuine Samsung DDR3 16GB Ram Kit
This is the best price I've seen on a new 16GB kit since about 2012. No need to worry about compatibility or fit. This is the kind of ram that most likely shipped with these Dells when new. For under $54 this is a real steal right now. The seller's name is Memory Masters or Dataram and they have many kits in stock. If you want to max out your 9020 SFF or MT this is the best deal. $108 for 32 GB of ram was unimaginable just two years ago. Always stock up when prices are low.
LG 4K monitor 27UL550W is selling for $299 at Amazon.com. Has small bezels and is adjustable. Amazing price too. 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.
https://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-27UL550-W-4k-uhd-led-monitor For detailed info and specs
1559563526953.png
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This LG monitor is excellent for gaming with your RX 570 or 580 card as it has AMD Free Sync. You can also use it for coding as it will rotate into portrait mode. Try to do that with an iMac. Not likely to work very well.

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This picture will give you an idea of the small footprint of this monitor on your desk.

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RX 570 graphics card by MSI for Mini-Tower
https://www.newegg.com/msi-radeon-rx-570-rx-570-armor-4g-ocv1/p/N82E16814137414

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The best part about this is that the latch for the PCI brackets can close easily, there is no plastic in the way. Many of the RX 570 and 580 cards do have some problems with the Dell PCI bracket latch.

Replacement PSU for the Optiplex Mini-Tower
https://www.newegg.com/seasonic-focus-450-gold-ssr-450fm-450w/p/N82E16817151204
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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.

Now, lets' compare the OptiMac to the Best Selling iMac on Amazon.com that is refurbished and sells for 500 USD
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  • 21.5" 2.7GHz Dual Core i5 (Laptop class i5)
  • 8GB Memory, 1TB Hard Drive (5400 RPM spinner)
  • Integrated Intel Iris Pro 5200
  • Connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports, dual Thunderbolt ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n compatible), and Bluetooth 4.0.
So what would you rather have for your 500 dollars ? A quad core i7 at 3.6 GHz, a 27" 4K display with many upgrade options for your Optiplex or a laptop Core i5, 21.5 inch 1080p display and a terribly slow mechanical drive ? It is nice to have the Iris Pro graphics and two Thunderbolt 2 ports, but who will use those ports on a 500 dollar iMac anyway ?

Even if you choose a low cost 7020 SFF Optiplex with an i5-4590 it will run circles around the all in one 2013 iMac that sells at Amazon.com. If you buy the 7020 at $185 and add a 27" 4K monitor for $299 you are still paying less than the wimpy 21.5" iMac costs. You can add a 120GB SSD for around 20 dollars to your Dell and also have much faster boot and program load times.

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The 21.5" 2013 iMac gives you practically nothing that is upgradable* by you, the buyer. It's an easy choice to pick the OptiMac.
*By default, this system has 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. Apple does not intend for one to upgrade the RAM in this system. However, as first reported by site sponsor OWC, this system has two SO-DIMM slots (204-pin). Unfortunately, accessing these slots requires one to pry off the display that is glued to the case and remove the logic board. Quote from: www.everymac.com
 

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trs96

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FAQ: Questions and Concerns
There are a number of good reasons for choosing one of these Dell pre-built desktops in 2019 and beyond.

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.

6. 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.

7. 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 devs for the chance to get this Custom iMac for an affordable price that does everything you want it to.

How much money can I really save with an OptiMac ?
Here's a used 2014 iMac in very good condition with specs similar to the User Build in post #1

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You can buy the Optiplex 7020, Quadro Graphics card and LG 4K IPS monitor for about $500 in the US. Add the 70 dollar cost of the ram upgrade and 50 dollars for the NVMe drive and adapter then it's just over half of the cost of this used iMac. About 200 USD less than the entry level Late 2018 Mac mini that doesn't come with any monitor. Remember that it's many times easier to upgrade or repair the OptiMac as opposed to the iMac. You will save large amounts of money on those two things as well. Here are some actual pics of the SFF that I bought with an i7-4790 for $200. No fingerprints, scratches or dents ! It was built by Dell in October of 2015 and I was the first to ever open up the factory sealed box.

0528191439a 2.jpg

Dells have brushed Aluminium too. Well, not really, just the look.

0528191437.jpg

0528191433 (2).jpg
These have a very nice black powder coat paint job. Even the back panel I/O shield is much improved from the 7010 which has all the garish color coding (purple, green, blue) that matches the colors of the PS2 and audio I/O ports.
 
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trs96

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

CPU Benchmark


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Here's the $800 plus Mac mini for comparison

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

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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

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OpenCL Score with the AMD R9 M290X - iMac Late 2014

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Black Magic Disk Speed Test

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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


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.

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NOTE: You should always connect your monitor to DP out and not VGA (blue) 15 pin. VGA is not supported in macOS.
 
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Dell 9020
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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-workstation-pcs/dell-optiplex-9020-sff-intel-core-i7-4770-3.40ghz-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-workstation-pcs/dell-optiplex-9020-sff-intel-core-i7-4770-3.40ghz-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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