"SecondHandPuter" - a Ryzentosh with R9 3900X + Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury - mostly working OC 0.6.1

I replaced my Late 2012 Mac mini (Core i5, 16GB RAM, 275GB SSD) with a Dell Optiplex 9020 "OptiMac" (Core i7 4770, 16GB RAM, 480GB SSD, 32TB HDD) as the main media server for the house. My primary machine (Core i7 4790K, 16GB, 4TB SSD, 8TB HDD) has been a Windows workhorse for years, but the availability of great performance for less $ led me to the "SecondHandPuter" project: could I build a second hand computer with (semi-)modern components for the cheap? running both Windows and MacOS? Read on.

TLDR: 3900X Ryzentosh is a screamer. You CAN buy an incredible machine built with parts that are second (third, fourth) hand for a fraction of new.

Goal: acquire components that have been used or considered open box

Method: r/hardwareswap first, eBay and CL second

Component Details Cost (taxes and all) Condition
CPU AMD Ryzen 3900X $250 Used, damaged pins but functional
CPU Cooler NH-D15 Chromax Black SE-AM4 $60 Used
GPU Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti FE $300 Used
GPU Cooler Raijintek Morpheus II Core $30 Used
GPU Sapphire Radeon Nitro R9 Fury 4GB HBM $120 Used, in box
RAM Team Group 2x16GB CL16 3200 Vulcan $93 New
Motherboard/BIOS Gigabyte Aorus X570 Pro WiFi, BIOS F22 $200 RMA sealed - "open box"
Ethernet Built-in Intel Gigabit Ethernet - -
WiFi/BT Fenvi T919 $36 Used
SSD (Primary - MacOS) PNY CS900 480GB SATA $30 Open box
SSD (Primary - Windows) Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB NVMe $50 Open box
Case Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 $165 New
SSD (Storage) Crucial MX300 750GB SATA - -
SSD (Storage) Micron 1110 2TB SATA - -
HDD (Storage) HGST He 8TB 5400RPM - -
PSU Corsair RM1000x $150 Used
Fans Corsair AF 120mm (x3), be Quiet! Pure Wings 140mm (x2), Akasa Piranha 120mm (x2) $40 Corsair - New with case; be Quiet!, be Quiet! and Akasa - open box
Bootloader OpenCore 0.6.1 - -

Wait, the RAM and the case were brand new. What gives?

RAM prices are in a steady fall and the used market has been hit or miss because folks that bought RAM 6-12 months ago paid a premium. Offering sub-new prices for used RAMs was met with trepidation. It was easier to get a good price on a new kit than negotiate for used price that made sense.

Oh that case. Ever since I saw the Corsair Carbide Series Air 540, I loved it. The closest to used I could get was eBay and that was for only $10 off new. Condition was definitely used, and since I wanted this computer to look good regardless of the age of the components, it just made sense to buy it brand new.

What guides did you use?

The OptiMac that I pieced together was based on Clover and a lot of configuration files that were available for the system. For the Ryzentosh, I wanted to learn - so I used the AMD OS X guide and the vanilla OpenCore guide together as a basis. To have a little hand holding, I watched Technolli: Ryzen 3900X Guide YouTube video to get a general understanding of the OpenCore stack of tools.

Additionally, I added the Ryzen specific KEXTs (TrulySpinach: SMC AMD Processor) for power control and additional CPU-related fix-ups to OpenCore. Once you read the guides and watch the YouTube video, you get the idea of where things need to be and how to update the config.plist to enable the additional kexts.

I did experience some black screen issues with the R9 Fury card that was fixed using the debug versions of Lilu and WhateverGreen (release versions did not work - NO IDEA) and a couple kernel command line options. Once I swapped the release versions for debug versions, I got a screen to display with full video acceleration.

What's working? not working?

Everything is working as expected using the guides above. Having a MacOS compatible WiFi/BT takes care of Continuity. Graphics is working very well with the R9 Fury (with the GTX 1080 Ti quietly and sadly unsupported). The 3900X is a screamer with the NH-D15 (see the screenshot of an R20 run) - over three times faster than the 4790K (OC @ 4.8GHz all core) that it replaces.

What doesn't work is sleeping. Sleeping the display. Sleeping the computer. Both have issues.

When the display sleeps, sometimes it comes back to life. Sometimes the displays comes on and immediately goes back to sleep. Will be digging into WhateverGreen to try to figure this out.

When the computer sleeps, it powers off the display but never fully enters sleep. From what I can gather, this may be an AMD specific problem with the USB controllers. I'm still digging into this.

Do I recommend it?

This depends on your tolerance of dealing with configuration files, driver kexts, etc. If you want a turn key system, it's best you get a turn key system (I have both real Macs and hardware that runs MacOS - real Macs are easier). If you don't mind a challenge and leverage the plethora of donated time and smarts to getting MacOS running on non-Apple hardware, absolutely. It's not only doable, but the OpenCore Vanilla method of doing it will teach you that it's not so scary what's happening in the boot loader. I'm still clueless as to what Clover is doing and am afraid of breaking it so OptiMac gets left alone. Ryzentosh, however, is something that is now familiar to me and uses the open source community to get the best support and compatibility for non-Apple hardware.

Good luck, folks!

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