New hack for 2016…

I need to replace my current Skylake setup – my current setup sucks – and I want to use parts that I already have here, but this time I want a motherboard with HDMI/DisplayPort, and without unused legacy ports like PS2 and VGA. Who need that in 2016 anyway. Here is my initial setup:

Asus Z170 PRO (or better).

Intel i7-6600 (to be replaced by K variant).

32GB G.Skill Trident Z (DDR4-3200 Cl14)

512 MB Samsung SM961 (not a typo).

I am still using the Intel HD Graphics (530) but I also want to play with the new Nvidia GTX 1070 and/or 1080 (not the founders edition).

SeaSonic 80 PLUS Platinum 400 Fanless (to be replaced by a 520 Fanless when the Nvidia GPU arrives).

I am currently using a 27″ Dell monitor (2560 x 1440) but I want something new so I ordered the Dell UltraSharp 34″ (curved) monitor and the Philips BDM4350UC 43″ 4K IPS monitor. One or both may be returned without the next 30 days. Or not. That is if I like them both.


I would love to have a motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 and WiFi support, but paying 200 Euro extra, on top of the Z170 Pro, that is in my opinion not worth it. But perhaps someone else here knows a better motherboard?

p.s. I only want USB 3.1 port(s) driven by Intel chipset.

21 thoughts on “New hack for 2016…

  1. Heh, I’m thinking of upgrading to a similar setup (Z170-PRO/i7-6700K/GTX 1070) from my current Ivy Bridge setup (GA-Z77X-UD5H/i5-3570K/HD 7970). The Z170-PRO does have the Alpine Ridge controller for Intel USB 3.1 (which can also be used for Thunderbolt, but it needs Intel certification), and I think with some UEFI var editing it could be possible to enable Thunderbolt 3 support.

    0x59EC2 			Setting: Intel Thunderbolt Technology, Variable: 0xE86 {05 91 32 05 94 05 18 2A 01 00 86 0E 14 10 00 02 00}
    0x59ED3 				Default: 8 Bit, Value: 0x0 {5B 06 00 00 00 00}
    0x59ED9 				Option: Disabled, Value: 0x2 {09 07 05 00 00 00 02}
    0x59EE0 				Option: USB 3.1 Mode, Value: 0x0 {09 07 93 05 00 00 00}
    0x59EE7 				Option: Enabled, Value: 0x1 {09 07 04 00 00 00 01}
    • Good idea!

      I remember that Gigabyte had a free BIOS update to enable Thunderbolt 3 on their gaming motherboards, so perhaps we can compare the vars and look for missing/different values? Or we could ask Asus reps for a BIOS update.

      • Took a look at the GA-Z170X-UD5H TH UEFI, it doesn’t have a USB 3.1 Mode option, only enabled or disabled (it’s set to enabled by default).

        0x31379 			Setting: Intel Thunderbolt Technology, Variable: 0x1178 {05 91 B1 0A B2 0A 81 28 01 00 78 11 14 10 00 01 00}
        0x3138A 				Default: 8 Bit, Value: 0x1 {5B 06 00 00 00 01}
        0x31390 				Option: Disabled, Value: 0x0 {09 07 04 00 00 00 00}
        0x31397 				Option: Enabled, Value: 0x1 {09 07 03 00 00 00 01}

        0xDCA equals 0x1 {12 06 CA 0D 01 00}

        Seems like it should be simple to manually edit the UEFI vars, but it would be nice if Asus released an updated UEFI ROM with the options visible.

      • I am just using it and currently don’t know if it working, I don’t posses any equipment capable of thunderbolt3. Just recommend the board for u if you wanna update. By the way, I am using you ssdtGen and your patch for Nvidia card using iMac17,1. Thanks a bunch!

  2. GA Z170X UD5 TH, I have that mobo, and tbh it isn’t the most stable hardware out there.

    1st: It took more than the usual patch for the HD530 to work on that board, and when it did, I had some weird boot screen graphics artefacts and I’m still unable to hot swap graphics input in my monitor. As I switch inputs back and forth, no video is signalled to the monitor, forcing me to hard reset the computer. (no problems here with a dedicated graphics card)

    2nd: HDMI 2.0 it still doesn’t give 4K @ 60fps (that might be configuration, but I’m unsure since I don’t know anyone who’s made it work)

    3rd: This might be silly for some, but the Gigabyte tool for replacing mobo boot screen doesn’t work on a separate windows disc I have, it keeps giving error when loading an image. Also, bios for some reason, creates so many entries for boot devices (same SSD boot disc) that you have to regularly reset bios to defaults to make them go away.

    I haven’t had a change to try the USB type C port, either as USB 3.1 nor Thunderbolt 3.. There aren’t many devices yet that would work with this protocol.. Anyone here can verify??

    You mentioned about the 1070/1080, besides being very hard to find (my supplier can’t even get me one), are you certain they would work, like with 9 series? webdriver and hello graphics..?

    • Hi,

      There are many interesting motherboards, and this is probably one of them, but you also mention a some serious issues that need to be addressed, by Gigabyte… before I will consider it.

      Not to mention that I will probably wait for the Intel i7-7700(K) and then we may need a new motherboard, or one that supports it with a BIOS update, but not all motherboards will support Kaby Lake processors.

      Yes. The new Nvidia graphics cards are still very hard to get, but I believe that this will change in the coming weeks. And no. I have no idea if they will work.

      • Hello,

        I’m sure you’ll be one of the first ones to know what the current motherboards will be capable of doing, in terms of Kaby Lake. All brands have articles where they mention the compatibility to new Kaby Lake with bios update on the 100 series motherboard, but well, we will see..

        I’m trying to get a hold of a 1080 at the moment, I hope I can have one to test soon.

        A simple advice if I may; I have tried almost all GTX graphics card, and I ended up with Asus Strix series.. They are very silent (compared to Gigabyte one’s who’s fans tend to run at high rpm for no reason and be quite noisy) and they are usually clocked higher.

        Wish you well🙂

  3. hi,pikeralpha
    I’m wondering if the sm961 nvme ssd is working on OS X through the nvmegeneric.kext?
    I really want to know it.
    Wish you well

    • It should still work with Yosemite, but not with El Capitan and the next version of OS X. A better solution is probably a firmware fix/patch so that the Apple driver can be used.

      • yes, that would be great if a firmware fix/patch is applied in order to use the vanilla apple nvme kext.

        so you are saying that sm961 on Yosemite through nvmegeneric.kext is working fine, right?

        now i’m looking for a temporary solution on El Capitan. I just got confirmed from my friend that a kernel panic occurred for the new toshiba xg3 nvme ssd with the nvmegeneric.kext when he was installing 10.11…

        also, it’s not news for sm951 and 950 pro which can be installed on 10.11 using that kext, and I also heard from my friend said that sm951 and sm961 are using the same driver on windows which makes me think it should also work on 10.11 --!

        I’m really struggling at this moment… ><!

      • I cannot confirm that, because I have a Samsung firmware patch in place, but Jim’s driver is, in general, more stable with Yosemite than with El Capitan, and I don’t know if there are plans to update the driver and solve issues for El Capitan, and future releases of OS X, or that development stalled completely already. In which case people are &*($% and will need to look for other solutions.

      • Hello! You mentioned on the other reply that you use a samsung firmware patch.. Would you be kind as point us in some direction as in how or where because i’ve never heard of such patch, I’ve been having trouble with M.2 devices and the already outdated kext. Thank you so much Pike

  4. I think Jim has left the development of the kext, he no longer responds to the forum where he published the kext

  5. Hello Pike,

    Could you update on the Dell UltraSharp 34″ and the Philips BDM4350UC 43″ monitors: How are they comfortable for your eyes? How long can you spend time behind ones without disturbing sensations? Did you consider other options?


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