The Hackintosh Way – Part 2

My final parts for xMac arrived today, so it’s time to get serious on getting the machine up and running in a stable configuration. I’ve got the EVGA 650 Ti graphics card installed, and disconnected pretty much any extra hardware except for:

  1. DVI video to my single monitor (from the EVGA card’s DVI-D output)
  2. SSD for eventual system boot drive
  3. One HHD for the eventual main data storage drive
  4. USB for keyboard and mouse
  5. Ethernet
  6. Sound

The rest of this post will document every step I take from here on in case it helps anyone else building this type of configuration. Again, I’m following the installation guide for Mac OS X 10.8 from Tonymacx86.

  • Powered the system up and start repeatedly pressing the forward delete key (DEL) to enter the UEFI configuration screen (can also use F12 and then go to “Setup” from the resulting menu)
  • Follow UEFI setup guide for the Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard. For future reference, I’m runing version F11 of the UEFI dated 09/03/2012, which is what shipped on the board. My BIOS ID is 8A11AG06.
    • Press F7 to load “optimized defaults” for the board
    • In the System section, changed the time to match my local time.
    • Go to Peripherals section, ensure xHCI mode is set to Auto (Smart Auto doesn’t work in OS X). You also want to make sure that xHCI and EHCI Hand-off is enabled (xHCI was already Enabled, but EHCI was not).
    • Also in Peripherals, set up graphics section correctly for the configuration. With my EVGA card installed, I set this to Init Display First to PEG for PCI Express Graphics.
    • In the Power Management section, ensure High Precision Event Timer is Enabled. Set Wake on LAN to Disabled for now to avoid a “looping reboot” issue where the machine will start right back up after shutdown. NOTE – In my case, this did not appear to be necessary so I was able to go back to Enabled.
    • In BIOS Features, set the boot order properly.
      • QUESTION – The Tonymacx86 guide for this board says to avoid using boot drives with UEFI prefixes under Mac OS X, but that’s the only option I’m getting (I don’t have the legacy “P0:” prefixed option). Is this a problem? Or do I change it for the legacy “P0:” version in Hard Drive BBS priorities as noted here?
      • NOTE – I’ll have to go back and change this once the system is set up and I connect optical drives, etc.
    • Hit F10 to save the BIOS and exit, rebooting the system.
  • System boots correctly into Chimera. Select my USB key to run the Mac OS X installer. I’m installing straight to Mountain Lion 10.8.4.
  • Got gray Apple screen with the spinning “wait” cursor, then screen cleared and went straight to the Install OS X screen at the right video resolution for my monitor. NOTE – This is already a better result than I got using internal video!!! 🙂
  • Go to the Utilities menu and use Disk Utility to reformat my SSD boot drive by creating a new whole-disk partition. GUID Partition Method in Options, Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.
  • Close Utilities and run the OS installer. Wait patiently…
  • Let system reboot from complete installation, booting to USB stick again. From Chimera screen, select the new Mountain Lion installation.
  • Got the gray Apple with spinning “wait” cursor again for a little bit, then smoothly booted into Mac OS X setup. Again – PERFECT result! In prior attempts, the boot process hung up there and I started having to take out graphics drivers to get things working. Now, I’m automatically at the right graphics resolution and everything!!!
  • Set up Mac OS X according to personal preference.
  • Once at Finder desktop, launch Safari and navigate to Tonymacx86 Downloads to grab MultiBeast for Mountain Lion (5.3.1 at this writing). Using a Gigabyte motherboard, so I don’t need to download a DSDT file.
  • Run MultiBeast and configure as shown here. NOTHING else selected at this time.
  • After installation completes, eject the USB drive and restart the system.
  • GOT STUCK AT GRAY SCREEN in bootup process. Googled “hackintosh gray screen boot” and got reminded that I need to have selected one additional option in MultiBeast since I’m using a graphics card and not internal graphics. See this thread for detail. Hit the reset button to reboot, then typed “GraphicsEnabler = No” from Chimera boot screen to successfully boot up to my login prompt.
  • Ran MultiBeast again and selected Customization > Boot Options > GraphicsEnabler=No to apply it to the system permanently. Rebooted – everything boots smoothly. Confirmed that the graphics flickering I was encountering before with my messed-up install using internal HD4000 graphics are a thing of the past by testing the Safari Top Sites tab, looking at the Notifications area (where I had some scrollbar artifacts), and playing a YouTube video fullscreen to ensure there were no major issues.

With that, I’m going to shut down for tonight and regroup tomorrow, bringing back in some of my other hardware and ensuring it works smoothly. I’m VERY happy with today’s results!

About Neil

Happy husband. Proud father. Systems engineering consultant, and former U.S. Air Force officer. A music fan, science fiction nut, geek, and die-hard Mac user who grudgingly deals with Windows at work only because his employer and clients aren’t enlightened enough to move to Mac OS X.
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