tonymacx86's ASUS Test Build: Z97-A - i3-4340 - HD4600 - Thunderbolt EX II

Discussion in 'Golden Builds' started by tonymacx86, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 14, 2014 at 3:15 PM #1
    tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    tonymacx86's ASUS Test Build:
    Z97-A - i3-4340 - HD4600 - Thunderbolt EX II

    CA-166-BX_89943_350.jpg
    Components

    ASUS Z97-A SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K2MAU5Q/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132118

    Intel Core i3-4340 Processor
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J2LIFDC/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116944

    Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006YG9EEW/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148545

    ASUS ThunderboltEX II Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Card
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ISKS45M/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995027

    BitFenix NEOS Case - White/White
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LIQF6J0/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811345046

    Corsair RM650 650 Watt Full Modular, ATX/EPS, 80PLUS Gold-Certified Power Supply - CP-9020054-NA RM650
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EB7UIRS/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139054

    lNDDO2hTFMFn6P2V_setting_fff_1_90_end_500.jpg

    Comments

    Picked up this ASUS Z97-A for testing. Longtime ASUS motherboard users know that since UEFI BIOS was introduced in 6 Series, there have been a few outstanding issues making their choices a bit harder to configure for OS X.

    Turns out ASUS's latest BIOSes for this board (version 1204+) are completely fixed for legacy bootloaders. GUID drives boot using legacy bootloader and MSR is Unlocked- there is a CFG lock Disabled/Enabled switch (Disabled by default) as shown below:

    140630142422.jpg
    Issue #1: GUID formatted drives (FIXED!)
    Previously, ASUS 7/8 series motherboards could not boot Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) GUID formatted drives system drives. This made the BIOS unfit for legacy boot loaders such as Chameleon/Chimera. Without the fix, alternate bootloaders or alternate drive formatting procedures were necessary.

    Issue #2: MSR CFG Lock (FIXED!)
    MSR lock was previously enabled for UEFI, causing power management issues. Without the fix, alternate bootloaders or patched drivers were necessary to prevent a kernel panic at boot.


    Basic Setup

    First thing to do is load BIOS version 1205. Then load Optimized Defaults, and set Boot > Secure Mode > Other OS. Then save and reboot.

    Used default UniBeast + MultiBeast 10.9 Installation guide with DVI port on the motherboard. If you don't have a discrete graphics card, you may need to type the boot flag -v or -x in order to reach the installer, and for 1st boot. Although prepared for Gigabyte motherboards, Stork has a guide that explains the process for 9 Series here.
    Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 10.15.33 AM.png As stated in the Buyer's Guide, 9 Series chipsets are not recognized by OS X natively. There are a few fixes that must be performed after installation in order to achieve Integrated Graphics and Audio.

    http://www.tonymacx86.com/graphics/...phics-acceleration-9-series-motherboards.html

    http://www.tonymacx86.com/audio/134002-quick-fix-onboard-audio-9-series-motherboards.html

    9 Series ALC 892 Green rear output is not working. All other inputs and outputs work. Testing is currently in progress for a solution.
    [​IMG]
    Thunderbolt EX II PCIe Card
    (Suggest installation of the Thunderbolt card after OS installation.)

    The Thunderbolt EX II PCIe card works, but as with Gigabyte boards the Windows driver needs to be loaded to initiate the firmware, and hot-swapping devices doesn't work. Thunderbolt devices (besides mini-DisplayPort monitors) need to be plugged to thunderbolt port at boot time.

    More here:
    http://www.tonymacx86.com/general-h...ex-ii-pcie-expansion-card-testing-thread.html
     
    TpwUK and devilsonmaycry like this.
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
  2. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM #2
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Tony thank you for the report on your testing the ASUS Z97 product. Do you have any opinion that you care to share on the M.2 and SATA Express implementation?

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  3. tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM #3
    tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    I haven't tested either, as I don't have devices, but the M.2 seems like a new standard now, replacing the mSATA. I'll try to update with info when/if I can test, but I can say that all of the SATA connectors are functional.
     
  4. spmcveigh

    spmcveigh

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    Jul 15, 2014 at 4:42 AM #4
    spmcveigh

    spmcveigh

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    Only reaction appropriate for this:

    [​IMG]

    Now all we need is 4k Thunderbolt monitors.

    Great work as always tony.

    A Z97-WS build w/Thunderbolt card would be a killer build... :D
     
  5. Solidww

    Solidww

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    Jul 15, 2014 at 6:37 AM #5
    Solidww

    Solidww

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    Yes, you are correct. That Z97-WS board with Thunderbolt card would be an amazing build.
     
  6. joshking93

    joshking93

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    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM #6
    joshking93

    joshking93

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    Tony, does this mean the Asus Z97m-plus should work fine?

    the only thing I can see different is Realtek ALC887 audio instead of the 892, for which there are drivers in Multibeast.



    Regards,

    Josh King
     
  7. WonkeyDonkey

    WonkeyDonkey Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:22 PM #7
    WonkeyDonkey

    WonkeyDonkey Moderator

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    Neil,

    I've sent an email to a supplier who said they have forwarded it onto Asus. In it, I asked about compatibility with M.2 SSD's; specifically in this case the Samsung XP941 working on Asus Z97 boards. I have not had a reply back yet. The supplier did tell me that following receipt of the email, Asus ordered one of these and had it shipped to the U.S for testing with their Z97 boards, in particular with reference to them being bootable without loading any pre-install drivers. While it probably wouldnt be tested in OSX, I'm hoping it will provide some clues. I will post back with any replies I get.

    :thumbup:

    The actual email from the supplier said this :

    The company I enquired with is flexxmemory.co.uk.

    This page shows what came up when I searched for the Samsung SSD's.

    Note the transfer speeds of the XP941! Although this does of course depend on how it is implemented and how many PCIE lanes are dedicated to the M.2 socket.
     
  8. WonkeyDonkey

    WonkeyDonkey Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:43 PM #8
    WonkeyDonkey

    WonkeyDonkey Moderator

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    Well waddya know, I just sent them an email to check on progress and this is what I got back :

    The Samsung model I enquired about is of course M.2 2280; some boards with M.2 sockets will have the smaller ones. I think this is a positive result though.

    :D
     
  9. thomasjudge

    thomasjudge

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    Jul 16, 2014 at 1:49 PM #9
    thomasjudge

    thomasjudge

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    Any idea if the Thunderbolt Apple Cinema Display
    will work with this system?

    Thanks
     
  10. doc.hackintosh

    doc.hackintosh

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    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:25 PM #10
    doc.hackintosh

    doc.hackintosh

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    Yes. Tested it. It does work. - no hot swapping of course....
     

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