Hackintosh ThunderBolt 3 Support (Motherboard Requirement)

Looking to get a ThunderBolt 3 device working on a hackintosh? The way to get TB3 support on macOS with a hackintosh isn’t actually by purchasing a motherboard with a thunderbolt port on the rear IO. I made this guide to provide some clarity on ThunderBolt 3 and what needs to be done for ThunderBolt 3 devices to work.

I have a motherboard with a  USB-C Port why won’t ThunderBolt 3 work?

For thunderbolt to work in Mac OS you need a ThunderBolt port based on the Alpine Ridge Controller. If you bought a new motherboard with a USB-C port thinking you will get TB3 support on macOS that’s unlikely because only a tiny bit of motherboards come with an Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt Controller. For example right now the only Coffee Lake motherboard to come with a Thunderbolt 3 port is the ASROCK Z370 Fatal1ty ITX and I’m not aware of anyone who has gotten a TB3 device to work nor do I have the motherboard yet myself to test. As to why there is only one motherboard with a ThunderBolt 3 support I would venture to guess that’s there simply isn’t a demand for TB3 and not worth the cost to these manufacturers to add it. But some of these motherboards have support for Thunderbolt AIC, in which case you can get Thunderbolt 3 working using a PCIe card.

How to get Thunder Bolt 3 support on a hackintosh?

To get ThunderBolt 3 support on a hackintosh you need one two things. The first thing you need is a motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 AIC Support or in other words a ThunderBolt 3 Internal Header (TB_Header) 5-pin connector on your motherboard and then you will need a ThunderBolt 3 PCIe card based on the Alpine Ridge Controller. The PCIe card will include a cord that connects to the TB3 Internal Header of a compatible motherboard addition to being placed in a PCIe slot. I recommend you pair ASUS motherboard with an ASUS PCIE card or a Gigabyte motherboard with a Gigabyte PCIE card. Not every motherboard comes with  included with a TB3 Internal Header and right now only ATX motherboards are available with it. Here’s an example of a motherboard and PCIE card you’ll need depending on what brand you’re using.

ASUS TB3 Hackintosh Setup

The only motherboard for ASUS that I’m aware of with external TB3 support is the ASUS Prime Z370-A to which ASUS said has full support for the ThunderboltEX 3 PCIe Card. The ThunderboltEx 3 card can also support Z170 and Z270 motherboards with a TB_Header.

(Motherboard) ASUS Prime Z370-A

  1. https://www.amazon.com/PRIME-LGA1151-Motherboard-Generation-Processors/dp/B075RJHN2D/
  2. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813119038

(Card) ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 PCIe Card

  1. https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Expansion-Card-Motherboards-ThunderboltEX/dp/B01HDUVJ54
  2. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995053
  3. https://www.neweggbusiness.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIV1A36EF1726
  4. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2322090.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XASUS+ThunderboltEX+3.TRS0&_nkw=ASUS+ThunderboltEX+3&_sacat=0
  5. https://www.google.com/search?q=ASUS+ThunderboltEX+3&source=lnms&tbm=shop&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikn8XOzq3aAhWs54MKHaORByQQ_AUICigB&biw=1919&bih=1042#spd=0

 

GIGABYTE TB3 Hackintosh Setup

(Motherboard) GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 

  1. https://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-Z370-HD3-LGA1151-Motherboard/dp/B075LGLHBY/
  2. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813145035

Note: Since Gigabyte supports a wide range of motherboard’s the Gaming 5 is only a recommendation of mine. Other supported motherboards include: Z370 AORUS Gaming 7Z370 AORUS Gaming 3Z370XP SLI, Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming, Z370 AORUS Gaming WIFI. For a full list of supported motherboards see: https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GC-ALPINE-RIDGE-rev-10#ov

(Card) Gigabyte GC – Alpine Ridge PCIe Card

  1. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAEUY7196044
  2. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=ASUS+ThunderboltEX+3&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR2.TRC1.A0.H0.XGigabyte%C2%A0Alpine+Ridge+PCIe+Card.TRS1&_nkw=Gigabyte%C2%A0Alpine+Ridge+PCIe+Card&_sacat=0
  3. https://www.frys.com/product/9175378

ASROCK TB3 Hackintosh Setup

ASUS and Gigabyte and the preferred choice for Thunderbolt 3 as ASROCK may have issues related to ThunderBolt and sleep, but it still should works, as long as you are able to get working in Windows as the reviews aren’t too hot for the ASRock AIC card with some complaining they can’t even get it working in Windows. I’m not aware of anyone who has tested the ASROCK AIC with a Z370 motherboard, but it does work with Z270 motherboard.

(Motherboard) ASROCK Z370 Taichi

  1. https://www.amazon.com/ASRock-Intel-Z370-motherboard-TAICHI/dp/B07638ZKSD/
  2. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813157792

Note: Z370 SLI/ac, Z370 K6Z370 Extreme4, Z370 Pro4, Z370 Pro i7 also support ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC

(Card) ASROCK Thunderbolt 3 AIC

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Asrock-Thunderbolt-AIC-Express-DisplayPort/dp/B072JD1WWK
  2. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815548003
  3. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XASROCK+Thunderbolt+3+AIC.TRS0&_nkw=ASROCK+Thunderbolt+3+AIC&_sacat=0

ThunderBolt 3 Hackintosh Setup

1. Firmware update

The first thing you do when you get a TB3 PCIe card is update or flash to the latest firmware on Windows for support on the latest motherboards.

2. BIOS Settings

Be sure to enable the Thunder Bolt Card in BIOS

3. Hackintosh ThunderBolt 3 Hotplug Limitaion

Hotplugging with TB3 is the main thing that’s still a problem on a hackintosh. Hotplugging is the process where you plug one device and plug in another while the operating system is running. This means you will need to have the thunderbolt device plugged in before you boot the machine. If you happen to unplug the device and then plug it back it it won’t work, you will then have to restart to get the TB3 device detected once again. People in the hackintosh community are trying to get hot plugging which you can read up on and make use of  their incomplete SSDT patch to help improve your TB3 hackintoshing experience.

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19 Comments on "Hackintosh ThunderBolt 3 Support (Motherboard Requirement)"

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Eightarmedpet
Guest
Eightarmedpet

What about the Asrock Fatality? I have a dual boot hack and my LG 5K display works in Windows but I am yet to test in macOS as I am unsure how to trouble shoot (plus its busy being connected to my TV).

My only issue if it works in macOS is getting the GPU piped through the mobo and out the TB3 when in W10, although I am not sure there is any fix for that.

Kiran
Guest
Kiran

Waiting for Asrock Fatality z370 fix as well…

Guest
Andrey

Hello. And why only these boards are suitable? such motherboard does not fit – ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero ?

dkjackson
Guest
dkjackson

The ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero (WiFi) has a special connector on the motherboard for a USB-C port and I just got a header cable to put it out the back. Is the correct chipset on this ASUS mobo or do I need the card?

PinataMS
Guest
PinataMS

Howzit, this all works fine, but but I have an issue where the Mac would boot up with no entry sign, if I do Ctrl+alt+del, and boot up again, it works fine. Sometimes have to do this up to 3 times.
Could it be a Bios setting? i7 6700, Asus Z170 Deluxe, 32GB ram. it also doesn’t want to see a Lacie TB2 drive thats plugged in. even after the reboot. Any ideas?

Guest
Jordan

After installing an AsRock TB3 AIC on a Z370 Extreme4, I get stopped by a “does printf work?” Error. Has anybody else came across this?

Guest
Jordan

I was able to boot after replacing AptioFix3DRV with AptioMemoryfix and enabling X.M.P. Except now I loose Thunderbolt after a shutdown, but get it back after a restart. Anybody have a fix for this?

Felipe
Guest
Felipe

At least my mistake has earned you something ……… I like it …
Thank you

DmitriZ
Guest
DmitriZ

Getting the crossed circle when trying to boot macOS after installing the Gigabyte GC-Alpine Ridge card! 😮

DmitriZ
Guest
DmitriZ

Please see my post in the forums – need help flashing my GC-Alpine Ridge Card!

Tanner J
Guest
Tanner J

Can the firmware update be completed with a Linux install instead of windows? I really don’t want to buy a windows license if it can be avoided. Thanks for all the info!

mauroe
Guest
mauroe

I would also want to know this.
But you can download Windows without buying it. You only buy a key for activation. You can fully use Windows without activation, you just get a watermark and some personalization settings are disabled. I know this because I successfully updated my Gigabyte Gaming 7 Bios firmware that way, before installing High Sierra.

Drujon
Guest
Drujon

The ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme has a TB_Header as well

Nikademo
Guest
Nikademo

I am in the process of building a new hackintosh for my recording studio. I have the z370 Aorus gaming 7 board with the Alpine ridge card. Mac os high Sierra says there’s no driver and it is not working. I have it enabled on my mobo. My bios has the newest update. Any suggestions?

mauroe
Guest
mauroe

I would also want to know this. I plan on getting Gigabyte Alpine Ridge card. Or maybe the Asus Thunderbolt EX 3 one.
I hear a lot of people talking about updating the card to the new firmware but only in Windows.
This article has a link in there for that.
If you try this please reply becuase I would love to know if this helped before buying.
So the card as well, not just motherboard bios firmware.
Let me know! Otherwise I’m selling my UAD Apollo and buying the USB one.

mauroe
Guest
mauroe

One question for people here that are following this discussion.
As I still haven’t bought either TB cards this article is referring to I wonder if the firmware can somehow be updated via Parallels virtual machine inside Hacintosh Mac OS?
I updated everything via Windows before (motherboard bios and other) but since then I got rid of the Windows instalation becuase dual boot doesn’t interest me.
I keep reading that the TB cards need firmware updates in Windows first for them to work and be seen by High Sierra Mac OS?

madicineman
Guest
madicineman

I bought the GA Z170X Gaming 7 as one of the few motherboards which are having Thunderbolt support by default – I thought… I can switch on TB at the Bios, but then the HighSierra (10.13.6) crashes during hibernation. Even the reboot button does not work than… I think, it is quiet disappointing to find out, that you need Windows for flashing the TB moduls. I do not own Windows for over 10 years now and I am not planning to change that… Is there any method within OSX or with Linux. My iHac is a dual boot… Any clues?