Gigabyte’s new UEFI BIOS is particularly well-suited for building Hackintoshes. However, many of Gigabyte’s recent motherboards, including all of the MicroATX Z77 and H77 boards, use the VIA VT2021 HD Audio codec chip, which is not well-supported. In contrast, the Realtek line of HD Audio codecs are generally well-supported. The ALC885 and ALC889A in particular don’t even need editing AppleHDA.kext for the device ID.
The Intel High Definition Audio Specification defines defines a standard 48-pin package for the codec chip, although it is “not a compliance requirement for all codecs”. It appears that Both Realtek and VIA codecs usually follow the standard package, so it’s likely they’re (almost?) pin-compatible. Update: The pin-outs of the ALC885 and VT2021 are the same.
Since I’m building a Hackintosh with a GA-Z77M-D3H with a VIA VT2021 chip, I decided to work around the audio issues by swapping the VT2021 with a Realtek ALC885 chip.
- Desolder the existing codec from the motherboard
- Clean off any bridged pads on the motherboard (oops)
- Add flux and solder new chip
- Inspect, then power on
Here are close-up photographs of the removed VT2021 chip and newly-installed ALC885.
Surprisingly, the replaced chip appears to work fine. It was auto-detected and configured automatically in Linux, and also works in OS X with the usual amount of headache. I have not rigorously tested whether all of the output ports work. Those that I tested (rear microphone and rear line out) work fine.
The codec chip and its accompanying 12V-to-5V linear regulator (AS78L05, left of the codec) get suspiciously hot (around 50 C?). I do not know if it’s normal for the ALC885 to dissipate enough power to reach that temperature, nor did I think of checking the VT2021′s temperature before replacing it. Since the audio output is working, I currently have no proof that this is abnormal…