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

tonymacx86

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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.pngAs 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/134690-quick-fix-intel-hd-4600-graphics-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.
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-hardware-discussion/135959-asus-thunderboltex-ii-pcie-expansion-card-testing-thread.html
 
Last edited:

neilhart

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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
 

tonymacx86

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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
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.
 
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Only reaction appropriate for this:

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

WonkeyDonkey

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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
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 :

Hi.
I just got reply from Asus and they still do not know, they actually bought one 512GB from us to test it on their Z97-I mobo.

We are shipping this drive to them to USA today so once they have it and test it, they will let me know about booting and I will update you regarding this.

Sorry that I cannot give you answer at this moment.
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.
 

WonkeyDonkey

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

Apologise for late reply.
yes, we have confirmation from Asus, that this drive is fully compatible and bootable on their new Z97 motherboard.

If you bought your mobo earlier, you will need to go to asus website and update firmware or Bios.
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
 
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Any idea if the Thunderbolt Apple Cinema Display
will work with this system?

Thanks
 
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