- Feb 13, 2012
- UHD 630
- Classic Mac
- Mobile Phone
UtterDisbelief 2020 Coffee Lake Refresh
Gigabyte Z390M-Gaming 1151 M-ATX DDR4 Motherboard
Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB kit (2x16GB) 3000mhz DIMM, DDR4
Intel Core i5 9600k Hex-Core CPU Retail Socket 1151, 3.7GHz, 9MB cache
Golden Field PhuBoss Z8 CPU Cooler with 4x Heatpipes
Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX560 OC 4GB GDDR5DVI/DP/HDMI
Crucial MX200 250GB SSD - Main O/S Drive
Western Digital 500GB SATA III Black Data Drive
MQUPIN BCM94360CS2 1200Mbps 802.11ac Wireless WiFi Adapter, PCI-E Card Bluetooth 4.0 for MAC Hackintosh
ASUS DVD-RW SATA Optical Drive
Cooler Master Silencio S400 Midi-Tower M-ATX Case
Corsair CX500M ATX Power Supply Semi-Modular
Be Quiet SilentWings Pure 120mm case fan (Front) - 7-years old now and still going strong, still quiet.
The idea for this M-ATX build was to explore the new Z390, get more than 4x cores and increase memory, all in a format I favour and am used to building. We’re not all pros with deep pockets, so I spent money where it counted and tried to make savings elsewhere. I made a couple of doubtful choices but luckily all has worked out well.
The Z390 chipset is only slightly trickier to work with than its predecessor the Z370, but posed no serious problems. I also went with an i5 six-core CPU breaking my long run of using i3’s. Wanting more memory 32GB of RAM was chosen. Prices are always in flux and it is currently costing around half what I paid for the 16GB in my previous build, so I just bought twice as much for the same cost. Not doing much serious gaming or rendering the RX560 is a simple, reliable choice, pretty much the same as the one I used previously but now the more compact single-fan version. It has fewer stream processors so may run a tad slower but it uses less power and takes all it needs from the PCI-e slot.
First worry was the CPU cooler I chose. Sometimes you just get carried away and hope it works out. It’s from a manufacturer known for budget items, but the heatsink looked decent enough with 4x direct-contact heatpipes and had a good, strong mount behind the motherboard. My plan is to swap the fan for a Noctua very shortly, but the one that came with it should at least illuminate the case internals. Everything being black it could use some light!
Another concern was the wifi-bluetooth card I chose. Must have been the same Internet browsing session as the cooler. I found this one while searching for something similar to the well-known Fenvi FV-T919. This one has fewer aerials and costs less too, but is still based on a Broadcom BCM94360CS2 chip so is good-to-go for hand-off, continuity and airdrop. It’s not a manufacturer I’d seen before, and came in a totally blank cardboard carton, but so far everything works just fine and as hoped.
The power-supply is an old favourite - a Corsair CX500M semi-modular. I know I should upgrade to a newer model with Gold certification but this particular design is very compact and has been a rock-solid choice. I’ve used these for at least the last five years without any problems.
Finally, the case, a departure for me as a long-time Lian-Li fan, but the company seem to have stopped producing those old aluminium-only designs and have moved to a steel/aluminium hybrid approach. The Cooler Master Silencio S400 is a good-looking steel alternative with an optical-drive bay and great internal layout. What I particularly liked was the space above the motherboard to make wiring-in the auxiliary CPU power cables easy, with plenty of space behind the motherboard too. The PSU tunnel design was new to me but learning something new is always a good thing. The quality of every part of this case from panels to accessories, is spot-on.
As the build went together I realised that my SATA data cables weren’t the straight type, instead mostly right-angled, which meant using the SSD mounts behind the motherboard would have to wait until some new cables arrived. Less easy to find are straight SATA power adapters for the existing PSU leads. Time will tell if I can find something. In the mean time I’ve mounted my SSD above the data HDD in the same hard-drive cage, hidden forward of the PSU.
(Picture 1 - the components in my basement - Picture 2 - The main build complete - Picture 3 - When the Noctua arrives it will be dark again)
I created the UniBeast installer on my old iMac with a 16GB USB3 Sony memory stick.
The necessary BIOS settings are covered in the Installation Guide but there was a hiccup - In BIOS version F8 and above for this board there is no option to disable the on-board Serial Port, and that's the version it came with. My colleague @pastrychef has not had any problems with his build, but after having a few teething-problems with mine, I chose to re-flash the BIOS to the previous F7 version and get back the ability to definitely turn it off.
I used UniBeast to install macOS, as per the main Installation Guide, but note you will need to press the SpaceBar at the Clover drive menu and from the drop-down options select “Disable KASLR (Slide=0)”. If you don’t do this you will probably get the no-entry/prohibited sign during boot. If you are using an AMD GPU - and installing an earlier version of macOS than Catalina - you will probably need Lilu and Whatevergreen kexts on your UniBeast stick to get around the dreaded black-screen at boot. UniBeast 10 for Catalina has these included so this shouldn't be a worry.
With macOS installed, my advice is not to sign into your iCloud account just yet. Get all the configuration done first, particularly SMBIOS.
Remember to add the "slide=0" command-line to your config.plist boot arguments.
Next use MultiBeast to add the necessary customisations. The Catalina version is on the way but you can still use the latest Mojave version, with a couple of exceptions, until it arrives. Remember for Catalina you need to disable the System drive Write Protection.
The two exceptions I mention are that:
1) you should use the latest stand-alone Clover build from @MacMan to make your new installation bootable, instead of the MultiBeast one, and
2) Install the latest versions of Lilu.kext, Whatevergreen.kext and AppleALC.kext. For Mojave and earlier these can go in Library/Extensions or EFI/CLOVER/kexts/Other. For Catalina only use the latter.
For the Intel Ethernet NIC IntelMausiEthernet.kext is the usual choice but did not work for me, however there is a new fork of the code called IntelMausi.kext created by Acidanthera which does and is available from his repository.
Once the new kext is installed and the system rebooted you will need to look at System Report and check which “BSD name: en*” it has been allocated. Mine was “en2” but it should be “en0”. An easy fix, navigate to the Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration folder, delete the NetworkInterfaces.plist, reboot then check again.
Next I configured the motherboard’s USB ports. As you might expect I followed my own guide here and it worked perfectly (sorry, but it did). All done in about 20-minutes. To keep within the 15-limit I chose not to activate the USB-C port because I have no USB-C devices. I did keep the red Type-A port though, mainly because it appears to be USB port #1, vital to know for any future troubleshooting. USB3.1 Gen 2 is native to the Intel Z390 chipset, so these red ports do count in the Apple limit.
With your system up and running you now need to generate your own unique serial-numbers - Clover Configurator is a good option - or you can spend a little time and learn more about the process - with this guide. There’s a lot of discussion over which is and which isn’t the correct system-definition to use but as usual I chose iMac14,2. Hardware-wise the PC is actually closer to an iMac19,1 or iMac19,2 but during testing I experienced 'prohibited' signs halting boot. The cause could be one of many things - eg memory driver, SATA controller - but this simply doesn't happen with iMac14,2.
Things to do:
Not much. General tweaking as things occur but nothing major … Okay, maybe that Noctua fan:
Noctua 120mm PWM fan (CPU)
Special thanks ...
...on this build go to @pastrychef for his help and guidance when I got stuck early on. He has longer experience of using this motherboard than me so check out his build.
Below are important Updates. I'm not giving them new posts just to "bump" my thread, so read on ...
Update Feb 12th:
Reliable so far, nearly 2-weeks in.
I have had some audio interference - "birds on the wire" / crosstalk - which I believe was caused by shielding either of the SSD or wireless card.
When using OpenCore to boot instead of Clover, Catalina is very smooth and poses no problems with this motherboard. There are a couple of "Quirks" to replace that "slide=0" command.
I'm still using the F7 BIOS to keep positive disabling of the Serial-Port. F9g has been tested and does work but ... that's my choice as a control-freak.
Note about MSR: There is often talk of "unlocking MSR" because it is needed for NVRAM. This switch used to be more commonly known as "CFG Lock" if the term is new to you. It was once commonly available as a toggle in your BIOS but nowadays seems to have been removed - a bit like the Serial Port toggle I mentioned earlier. This lock/unlock is not simply something for NVRAM but actually a way to protect certain areas of your BIOS from being written to by macOS or Clover. This can include such things as "C" states and power-management as well as NVRAM settings and many other variables.
Edit 14th August 2020: There is an alternative, easier and safer method to unlock MSR written by one of our Moderators here. Clearly more research has been done to hone the process and this seems much less intimidating.
Personally, I have had no problems so far not unlocking MSR, and continuing with emulation.
Update Feb 14th:
Although I have a separate SSD running Catalina with OpenCore, and another for Mojave with Clover, for daily use I'm still using High Sierra 10.13.6, again with Clover. If you do choose Mojave remember you may need a workaround to get Preview and QuickLook working for JPEGs. Some folk report this is not necessary, so play it by ear.
For this build I inserted this boot-command into my config.plist using Clover Configurator:
... and that cured it.
Update Feb 27th:
Still running sweetly with no crashes, no glitches and no problems. I've changed the ASUS Optical DVD drive for a Pioneer DVR-S21WBK.
Update September 14th 2020:
I think it is worth pointing out here what a rock-solid platform the Z390M Gaming motherboard, i5-9600K and RX-AMD platform is. This PC has never crashed once. Yes, I've made mistakes editing this or that but it's always been easily recoverable and back to normal in no time. A real workhorse that never overheats or makes itself known in the room.
@pastrychef 's build on the same foundations is now a Golden Build and it's easy to see why. His support is legendary and incredibly knowledgeable. These components really do seem at a sweet spot. If you want cutting-edge, then sure, go for 10th Gen and the buzz of excitement uncertainty brings.