Installing OS X El Capitan on Asus Z97 Deluxe, Nvidia 980Ti, and Dell UP2414Q in its native 4k resolution at 60Hz.
I updated OS X to 10.11.1 directly from the App Store without any problems (so far). Once the update was downloaded I was asked to restart the computer. On the Clover boot screen I replaced "nvda_drv=1" with "nv_disable=1" to make sure the old Nvidia driver would not be loaded. Once OS X was up and running I downloaded and installed the new Nvidia driver (v346.03.03f01). Everything was back to normal after the next reboot.
Oct-20-2015 update: added workaround for the DVD drive being ejected on boot and Clover polluting the list of boot drives in the BIOS.
The Original Article:
This is my first Hackintosh build and it took a good 4 days to get (almost) everything working, so I thought I would share my experience with the world.
The hardware I used:
- Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II
- Mainboard: Asus Z97 Deluxe (the cheaper version without the Thunderbolt add-in card)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K
- RAM: 32GB DDR3
- Graphic card: MSI GTX 980Ti Gaming
- Hard drives: Samsung 840 Pro for Windows, Samsung 850 Pro for OS X, 3x WD RED ZFS Raid-Z array
- Sound card: Sound Blaster X7
- Keyboards: Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse (wireless), a USB mouse and USB keyboard (you need those two as Bluetooth won't work until everything is set up)
- Displays: Dell UP2414Q (3840x2160) and Dell U2413 (1920x1200), both via DisplayPort
- a 16GB USB 3 stick
The BIOS settings:
- integrated GPU disabled
- VT-d may be left enabled (it's overriden by the "dart=0" boot setting)
- HDA audio disabled
- CSM disabled, boot mode: UEFI other OS
- everything else at its default setting (no overclocking)
- to use both displays, the Dell UP2414Q running in a 60Hz 3840x2160 retina resolution (with DisplayPort 1.2 enabled in the monitor settings)
- the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse working
- Sound Blaster X7 for audio
- to have access to the ZFS RAID-Z array
I stuck mostly to the guide at tonymacx86.
- Download El Capitan from your legit Mac, don't start the installation.
- Download UniBeast 6.0.1, plug your USB drive to your Mac and create a bootable USB installer. Use UEFI boot mode, nothing to inject. Wait for the installation to finish.
- Download the El Capitan Post Install Tools and copy the 'Post-Installation' directory to the USB stick (I deleted the legacy Clover app from the directory and only kept the UEFI one).
- Download Clover Configurator and copy it to the USB stick (I placed it to the 'Post Installation' directory).
- Download BluetoothFirmwareUploader, scroll to the bottom of the first post and get BTFirmware_uploader_2.8.7.zip (or newer). The zipped file contains BTFirmwareUploader.kext, copy it to the 'Post Installation' directory on the USB drive.
- Download KExtBeast and copy it to the 'Post-Installation' directiory on the USB drive.
- Download the Nvidia Web Driver v.346.03.02f02 and copy it to the USB drive. Newer versions might be out by the time you read this.
- Eject the USB stick and plug it into your Hackintosh computer. I used the USB 3 connector on the front of my case. The keyboard and mouse are plugged into USB 2 ports at the rear of the case, as is the Sound Blaster X7. Use DisplayPort for both displays, but only the 4k display should be on. The other display must be turned off. If it is connected via DVI or HDMI, the cable must be unplugged from the back of the computer. I checked, turning the screen off is not sufficient with DVI/HDMI. It took me 3 days to figure that out. The Nvidia web driver crashes on boot if both screens are turned on. You can also use the other display during installation (and turn off the 4k display), which may be better as everything is very small on the 4k display and you only get a retina resolution after the web driver is installed.
- Before you start, it is a good idea to back up everything you have on your hard drives, or maybe even unplug the SATA cables from all disk drives except the one you want OS X to be on. I did over 10 installations before I wrote this guide and managed to wipe my Windows installation. Both my SSDs are Samsung drives and Disk Utility showed only "Samsung..." in the left column and I accidentally erased everything from the wrong drive during my very last installation. Good thing I had backups of everything important (I hope I did).
- Since I did so many installations, I made it a habit to wipe the OS X destination drive from within Windows before I started over in the hope the free space on the SSD was properly trimmed. I did it by opening up an elevated command prompt, running "diskpart" and "select disk x" to select the El Capitan drive (use "list disk" to find the proper x). After that, "clean" did the magic. I am not sure this actually issues a TRIM command, but it does wipe your drive clean without any further warnings. You have been warned here.
- Turn on/reboot your Hackintosh computer with the USB stick plugged in. Hit F8 to select your boot drive, pick UEFI: (name of the USB drive).
- The Clover boot screen should show up, go to Options, click on Boot Args and append "nv_disable=1" after "dart=0", go back ('Return'), select the icon with the installer (labelled "External"), and hit Enter. Go grab a cup of coffee and come back a couple of minutes later.
- When you come back the welcome screen should be displayed (very tiny on 4k at 24 inches). Pick your language and select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. Find your disk (the proper one so you don't end up like I did), click on Erase, name the drive El Capitan, format: OS X Extended (Journalled), scheme: GUID, click Erase and Done, close the Window, hit Continue, Continue, Agree, select your destination disk (El Capitan) and click on Continue again.
- The installation shouldn't take very long (10 minutes), so wait it out and when the computer restarts hit F8 to select the boot drive. Pick UEFI: (name of the external stick) again.
- In the Clover boot screen go to Options and append "nv_disable=1" to the boot args (after "dart=0"). Go back ('Return') and DO NOT select your USB drive this time, pick the one labelled HFS El Capitan.
- Finish the installation - skip iCloud for now, create a local account, don't send diagnostics to Apple.
- If all went well, you should be now running OS X. Go to System Settings/Security & Privacy and set "Allow apps downloaded from anywhere" (you can set it back after you have everything up and running).
- Open Finder, click on the USB stick, and copy the "Post Installation" directory to your desktop. Eject the USB drive and physically remove the stick from your computer.
- From the "Post Installation" directory on your desktop run Clover_..._UEFI.pkg. If all goes well you can delete the file afterwards.
- Install "CustomMac Essentials.pkg". You can delete the file afterwards.
- Run "Clover Configurator" (we won't be deleting this one). Since the EFI partition is still mounted at this point you will be given a list of config.plist files on your EFI partition - click on config.plist located in EFI/CLOVER/. This should update the current window with the settings found in the plist file. Select the "ACPI" section on the left, check "Generate P states" and "Generate C states", check C2 through C7 (and hope your PSU is Haswell ready). In the "Boot" section make sure "dart=0", "nv_disable=1" and "rootless=0" is checked, everything else should be unchecked. Enter "El Capitan" (your boot volume's name) as your "Default Boot Volume", set the timeout to 5 or 10 seconds. In the SMBIOS section, click the magic wand, select Mac Mini / Mac Mini 6,2. You must go with Mac Mini 6,2 if you want 60Hz on your Dell UP2414Q display with the Nvidia web driver, otherwise you will be stuck with 30Hz. If you don't have a 4k display you should probably go with Mac Pro 3,2. Do a File/Save. You can update Clover from the "Install/Update" section at this point, too (I went from v3270 to v3292). Close the Clover window and quit the Clover app. Ignore any messages about permanent version storage.
- Reboot the computer, hit F8 to select the drive to boot from, pick the UEFI: El Capitan drive this time (we ejected and removed the USB drive earlier so it should not show up anymore). You can also permanently select your new boot drive in the BIOS. If your El Capitan drive is not preselected, highlight it. All Clover boot options were set by Clover Configurator, so you should now only have to hit Enter or wait 5/10 seconds for the boot process to start.
- Once in OS X, move kExtBeast.app and BTFirmwareUpdater.kext out from the "Post Installation" directory so they reside directly on your desktop. Run kExtBeast.app, you can delete it (if you want to) together with BTFirmwareUpdater.kext after it does its job. This was the Bluetooth driver installation btw, more on it later.
- We want our SSD to receive the TRIM command, so open the Terminal and type "sudo trimforce enable". Enter 'y' twice and wait for the computer to reboot. Boot into OS X as shown earlier.
- You should now have Bluetooth up and running, so it is time to pair Apple's wireless keyboard and the magic mouse. Bluetooth is a pain in the neck, it completely dies when the computer wakes up from sleep. So what I do is disable sleep completely (System Preferences / Energy Saver / Computer Sleep: Never). Bluetooth also likes to die when the computer is turned off and then back on the next day. The only workaround I have found for this so far is booting into the login screen of Windows and rebooting the computer back into OS X afterwards. It looks like the Bluetooth driver in Windows resets/initializes Bluetooth properly. This sucks, but I don't know of any other fix. I hope the next BTFirmwareUpdater version will correct this. Until then just make sure you have a USB keyboard lying around so you can reboot into Windows and then back to OS X.
- Install the Nvidia web driver. Run the installer but don't click on the Reboot button after the installation is completed. Keep the installer open and run Clover Configurator. Since probably no EFI partition is mounted at this time tell Clover to navigate to the "Mount EFI" section. Once there, click the "Mount EFI partition" button and close the Clover window. Reopen it and it should show the available config.plist files in your EFI partition. Pick the one in EFI/CLOVER/, it closes the current Clover window and opens one with the selected config.plist settings. Go to the "Boot" section, uncheck "nv_disable=1" and check "nvda_drv=1". Leave "rootless=0" and "dart=0" checked. Save, close, quit Clover. Reboot by clicking on the restart button in the Nvidia installer window. Make sure you are booting with the 4k display attached and the other display turned off (or unplugged completely from the computer if you are using DVI/HDMI). The Nvidia driver will crash with both displays turned on. One more note on 4k@60Hz: you need to boot into OS X with SMBIOS already set to Mac Mini 6,2 before you install the driver. If you already have the Nvidia driver installed and are stuck with 30Hz - set the SMBIOS to Mac Mini 6,2 - reboot - and reinstall the Nvidia driver.
- OS X should now come up on the 4k screen in a nice 60Hz retina resolution. As for the other screen, it can be turned on by pressing its power button once OS X is up and running. This is annoying, but not as painful as the Bluetooth issue. Do not forget to turn off the second screen for any consecutive OS X boots.
- If you have ZFS drives, get the latest OpenZFS driver from openzfsonosx.org. Installing it just works (1.4.2 did). Reboot your computer. Run "sudo zpool import <name of the pool>" in a terminal window.
- Sound Blaster X7 works out of the box. This is a very welcome change for a Creative product. Download and install the Sound Blaster Control Panel from Creative's web site.
- Other things to do: download Intel Power Gadget to check if the CPU's P and C states work properly (the installation took an eternity during one of my many installation attempts of OS X, so just wait it out if that happens). Install XCode, Homebrew, MySQL, Subversion etc, whatever you need.
- You can now remove "rootless=0" from the Clover Boot arguments and set "Allow apps downloaded from" to "Mac App Store and identified developers" in System Preferences / Security & Privacy.
- For those of you dual booting Windows and OS X: OS X assumes the BIOS clock is stored in UTC, Windows thinks it's in local time. This can lead to the time jumping up and down by a few hours every time you boot into the other OS (unless you live in GMT+0). You can force Windows to use UTC as well - launch regedit, navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SYSTEM, CurrentControlSet, Control, TimeZoneInformation. Create a new 32-bit DWORD value, name it RealTimeIsUniversal, and set it to 1. Reboot.
- Two annoying things left to fix: OS X ejects my DVD drive on every boot. No idea what to do about it (other than detaching the SATA cable from the DVD drive, but that makes it unusable). One workaround for it seems to be keeping a non-empty DVD in the DVD drive. The other problem is Clover polluting the boot menu in my BIOS. It looks like turning off the computer, detaching the SATA cable from the OS X drive and starting the computer straight into BIOS clears all unwanted entries. I have set the first boot drive in the BIOS to the OS X disk and haven't ran Clover Configurator since and my BIOS boot menu has stayed clear so far.
- Now all I am wondering about is if the next OS update from Apple will brick this installation.
Any help or comments are welcome, send them via email to (click here to reveal the e-mail address), put 'hackintosh' without the quotes to the subject line. Please don't send any spam, 90% of my emails is already junk and half of the regular emails ends up in the Junk folder too (so don't be angry if I don't answer, I might have not read your message at all).