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Building a new machine, looking for advice


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#1
Dee_Ann

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Hi guys,

I've been using Hackintoshes since 2006, I built one on an OLD Dell, it still works and still has Tiger on it. It's too old and limited to upgrade.
I don't really use it anymore but it's still around gathering dust.

Last year I built another one using my old Gigabyte based system, it was a 2008 mobo that I ran Linux on for a long time.
I was able to convert it to Lion but it never worked right.

It would crash a lot at random for no apparent reason. I never got the sound to work on it and I never could get it to boot from hard disk.
I had a pen drive in it that it would boot from.

Over time though, it became a real problem. When it would crash it wouldn't come back to life. It would power up but it was "dead", black screen, no response.

I found out though trial and error that it was corrupting the CMOS NVRAM. I found that I could power it off, as in remove the power cord, short the CMOS reset pins and wait an hour.
Then I would have to go through the setup routine and set everything back and then I could boot it up.

It also seemed that it wouldn't boot or come up if the hard disk was plugged in so I began pulling the data cable when I would pull the power.
I would have to let it sit an hour or two then power up with the hard disk disconnected. Power up, get into setup, reload saved configuration and tell it to save and exit.
The system would power down for a second on it's own. I would have to hit the main power switch while it was powered off, plug the hard disk back in then power it up again.

This was a monumental pain in the backside. And the downtime I would have to wait kept getting longer and longer, it went from minutes to hours and from hours to DAYS...

At this point the machine will no longer come up. I've written it off and it's time to move on and build a new one. I'll pull the disk and put it as a second drive in my new machine so I can get all my files off of it, I have about a terrabyte of irreplaceable stuff on it (I'm an amateur photographer) plus all my email and just tons and tons of personal stuff.

So I need to build a new machine from scratch. I am a power user and I need some real muscle behind the new one. BUT, I have to balance out the costs, I want to keep the costs down as best as possible.

What I'm looking at is a middle of the road machine, maybe just a notch below top of the line. Entry level will not cut it. No way, no how, not happening.

I was looking at the mid-range mac-pro shopping list at lifehacker, h++p://lifehacker.com/5919132/build-the-mac-pro-that-you-wish-apple-released

It seems to be a reasonable shopping list but what I'm wondering is if the suggested hardware is still valid?

I want to of course use Mountain Lion. Some of the items, I will almost certainly make different but similar choices. Western Digital? NO WAY... Garbage. You couldn't give me a WD disk.
The case, I have to be careful to find one that will fit in my rack. Yes, I have a 5' tall rack next to my desk full of equipment. I want my new mac to be rack mountable with the option of stand alone if I decide to move it out of the rack. For the case I'll have to look outside the normal sources.

A firewire card I do not need, I think the mobo has it built in anyway. I don't have any firewire stuff anyway..
I need an internal DVD burner but I'm also going to get an external Blu-ray burner so I can move it to other machines if I need to.
I'm going to get an external 2tb disk for time machine (which like a dummy I wasn't using before) and a Rosewill HD docking bay so I can pop disks in and out. I have about two dozen 2tb drives in various formats from Mac, Linux, NTFS, and other *nix machines that I need to go through and clean out years of junk. The dock (I have one on my Dishnetwork tuner) is great because I can access any disk with extreme ease. I know I'll have to tweak OSX to read the *nix and M$ disks but that's not a problem, I know how to do that.

So anyway, here's what they suggest as a decent, mid-range system:


Our Mid-Range Hack Pro; Price: $1,276

Here's an mid-range Hack Pro you can build for $1,276, or a little more than one-third of the cost of a similar Mac Pro:

Cooler Master RC-692-KKN2 Case ($90) Looking for something different, probably go with this one, h++p://www.rosewill.com/products/2311/ProductDetail_Specifications.htm
Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H Motherboard ($99) (Probably will go with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H instead)
Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz CPU ($350)
MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (448 Cores) PCI-E 16X Graphics Card ($300)
32GB 8GB Corsair DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, 2x4GB ($50)
2TB Western Digital Caviar Black ~~Seagate~~ 7200 RPM Hard Drive ($195)
Corsair Professional Series 650W Modular Power Supply ($117)
Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial ATA Internal Drive ($17)
SYBA FireWire 400/800 Card ($28)
Mac OS X ~~MOUNTAIN~~ Lion Download ($30) or Thumb Drive ($69)


One thing I would consider is adding an SSD, I was looking at this one, h++p://www.amazon.com/dp/B007BNE7MQ (180gb OCZ), it seems to be the best value and has the best performance specs of the family.

I'm also considering and probably going to go with the higher end mobo they list in their suggestion of a high end Hackintosh, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Motherboard.

The big question are, will these components be 100% compatible and will my machine be rock solid and 100% reliable?
How hard will it be to make the system where it will boot from disk without a pen drive, where it won't corrupt the CMOS like my old one and will everything work?
Like my old one, there is some issue about the built in ethernet that the Apple App Store rejects and won't let me log in to the store.
I have a valid app store ID, I own a new iPhone 5 and a 2012 iMac (entry level model :bag:, I got it from my son ) but my Hackintosh was a no go.

OH, one note, it will be an OSX only machine. I do not need or want dual boot. I quit using M$ years ago with the exception of a media center PC my ex built some years ago that I still use only for watching TV. As the disks fill up I pull them and put new ones in. I want to be able to read those NTFS disks so I can handbrake all the old videos from mpeg2 .ts to .mkv files. But no, I do not need to boot any other operating systems on this machine, it will be a dedicated OSX machine..

I need to get moving on this, I want to start ordering tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

Do you think the hardware shopping list is a reasonable one? If I get those items will I have a machine that will hold me over for 2-3 years?

Thanks! :)

#2
Mr.D.

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That is an interesting list - I assume the strike thru parts are where you made changes as appropriate for your wants?

MB:
Gigabyte board have always been the easiest to make work in a Hackintosh.
CPU:
The only two advantages of i7 over i5 are more L3 cache and Hyper-threading. Do you need more that what the i5 provides? Do you need the K?
RAM:
32BG? Are you sure you need that? My suggestion would be 2x8GB to start, then if you need more, you can upgrade later.
PSU:
I bought 'Bob's Pretty Good PSU' for my rig running at 725w and havn't looked back. Cost me 50 bucks and I know it'll power my machine thru all the upgrades I'll need. Unsure how much power you need, go here. The more expensive PSUs have great warranties and better power efficiency than mine do. Go that route if those are concerns for you. My utilities are included in my rent, and the first thing I did was void my waranty on my PSU so I didnt care about either.
GPU:
NVidia or AMD - my only recommendation (since you'll be MacOSX only) is to get one that has known good drivers for it. A good place to look for that is here.
Optical Drive:
OEM drives are a dime a dozen. Get one with a name brand on it you recognize (like Asus) but other than that, its 6 of one, half dozen of the other.
OSX:
ML 10.8.x (last I checked) isnt available on the thumb drive. Download it to your iMac, copy it to a thumb-drive of your choosing, and have at it.
HDD: I only use seagate drives as well. 2TB is a really good price point. Me personally, I see little to no advantage with an SSD. You configuration may benefit from it. I don't want to open up old wounds, so if you want to see a debate about HDD vs SSD - go here.

Cost:

If money is no object, load the machine up to the gills! I assume that you, like most people, have a budget - hence why I suggested only 16GB of RAM and an i5 rather than an i7.

Reliability:

This machine will hold you over for as long as you are OK with the performance. My laptop is nearing 3 years old and I have no need for a faster one. My Hackintosh is 6 months old and is still bleeding edge.

Good luck with your build and keep us updated on your system!

#3
Dee_Ann

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Hi,

Thanks for the reply! :)

Yes, I definitely do need the i7 and 32gb ram. I wish I could have 64gb of ram but unfortunately I don't see an affordable mobo that supports that.

My old Hackintosh had 16gb ram and I taxed it heavily. I really hammer a system hard right out of the gate. I am merciless and I brutally hammer a machine to it's absolute limits.
I have a Canon EOS 5D MkII camera and the raw images are enormous. A single raw image can be as much as 35mb.
I'm also going to begin shooting video with the same camera in 1080p and those files are freaking enormous.

I call myself a hobbyist but the truth of it is I'm more or less an unpaid professional. The Buddhist temple I am a member of has appointed me to the position of "Unofficial official temple photographer and videographer and archivist".. :D

I will soon be recording our Abbot giving Dhamma talks each week and then I will be posting them online. I'll record in 1080p on the 5D and the files are massive, unwieldily beasts. I have to edit the videos then process them from their native format into a web compatible format. I'll upload them to youtube in the highest resolution and then viewers can select whatever works best for them, youtube will down convert according to each individual.

I also do photography for my dad, he has a wee small business (more like a hobby he gets paid to do) so I shoot a few hundred photos a month for him.

When it's all up and running solid and 100% dependable I am going to be putting Adobe CS6 on it. I have CS5 on this little iMac and on my old (now dead) hackintosh but I want to bump it up this year.. I'm thinking it will be late spring, early summer before I take that leap.


As for the strikethroughs, yes, those are where I intend to deviate from the suggested list.

As for the SSD I was thinking that I would set it up so that the most disk intensive operations (swap, temp, scratch) would be done on it with the regular disks being simple storage devices.
I very quickly tire of waiting for mechanical disks to do my bidding. I do not have the patience to wait while a machine chugs and chews and thinks about things. I want to get things done and over with in as short a time as possible.



Screens, I already have a matched pair of 24" LED HDMI displays that I was using before, I run them at 1080p.
I'm partial to Nvidia because I've been using it like, forever. I've never owned an AMD. If Nvidia will work OOB then that's what I want.
I need everything to work OOB with as little tweaking as possible.

On my old Hackintosh nothing worked right and I had to use some utils to modify it (I have read that the name can't be mentioned on this site) and it never really worked right.
It mostly worked but it was unreliable and troublesome.

I'll definitely read through the links you provided, I appreciate that very much!

Thanks! :)

#4
Dee_Ann

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This is what I'm looking at getting..


MSI N560GTX-Ti 448 Twin Frozer III PE/OC - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (448 Cores) PCI-E 16X Graphics Card by MSI Computer Corp. $348

Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K Offered by Everest Online by Intel $319.00

Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVID​IA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H by Gigabyte $179.99

Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ32GX3M4X160​0C10) by Corsair $149.99

OCZ Technology 180GB Agility 3 Series SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Midrange Performance Solid State Drive $147.16

Corsair Professional Series HX 650 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (HX650) by Corsair $101.99

Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD 6X USB2.0 External Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive (Black) by Samsung $96.99

Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracuda 7200RPM 2 TB SATA 6 GB/s NCQ 64 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive by Seagate $96.26

Rosewill 1.0 mm Thickness 4U Rackmount Server Chassis, Black Metal/Steel RSV-L4000 by Rosewill $90.38

Rosewill RX-DU300 2.5-Inch & 3.5-​Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Dock Offered by kube sound by Rosewill $36.99

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Offered by LLYtech by Asus $22.35

Rosewill RX-DU101 Plastic 2.5-Inch & 3.5-​Inch USB 2.0 Docking Station, Black by Rosewill $19.99

Mediabridge Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Cable - (6 Feet) Offered by Mediabridge Products, LLC



So far it looks like I'm around the $1,600 mark, more or less.

The mobo comes with sata cables but it doesn't say if they are sata III or II. I'm hoping at least one of them will be sata III.. I assume so because I saw that two of them are light blue in color and two are black. The Rosewill docks comes with cables so that's good. The blu-ray writer doesn't so I went ahead and planed on a new one for it, just to be sure. I have cables here but they are old and scattered all over the place. Good luck finding them.. As for all my old drives, I have plenty of sata cables for them and eventually I plan to clean them up and I'll end up with spare drives and cables.. I don't think I've overlooked anything. But if you see any glaring omissions please speak up..

Thanks! :)


edit: I almost forgot. I have a genuine Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad, they are pretty new, I ordered them directly from Apple in mid 2012, I guess it was around August. I also have a genuine Apple mouse, it's a USB model, #A1152 that I often have to resort to when the battery in the trackpad dies. Once it would die it would not reconnect to the trackpad without cycling power on the machine. The bluetooth dongle is an iogear GBU421. Is there a better one?

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#5
Mr.D.

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Why external BluRay? Do you just wanting that closer to your workspace? I used to do that with a DVD drive and a FireWire enclosure that sat under my monitor so I didnt have to access my machine. I went to Roswell's website and saw that it supports 3 5.25" bays.

I wouldn't assume those cables are SATA 3.0 cables. My motherboard and the tester case I bought both came with cables, but never specified. I have bought about 20 cables thus far, trying to get the right length, color, and left vs. right angle - but all were SATA 3.0 and all were less that $3 each.

With as much pounding as you do to your machine, sounds like you could definitely use an SSD. I saw the photo editing, but didn't know about the video, and yeah - that's gonna eat up your RAM real quick-like.

Only way to get more than 32GB is go the x79 route (using the core extreme processor which is just a Xeon). I know the boards are expensive, but the procs are also quite spendy as well. Guess its a matter of price vs performance at that point, and you're getting as much bang for your buck as you can with the z77 and the unlocked i7.

With regards to mentioning 'he who shall not be named' and his products - its not that you cant mention him, its just that we dont support him or his methods. Mentioning TonyMacx86 as a reference for a system that didn't work would never be an issue.

Good luck with the build - I wish I could build your system. It should be a sweet ride. As always, ask way when/if you run into any snags.

Welcome! अभिनंदन

#6
Dee_Ann

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I did a little tweaking to my list and selected a different video card, eliminated some redundant items and added a few things.

As for the Blu-ray, I was thinking that it would be best to have it external so I can move it to other machines if I need to.
BUT, having an internal sata burner would probably be more reliable and faster.

I have a few hours to think it over, I'm ordering about 10am..

Also, I think I will order a few sata III cables just to be safe..

Thanks! :)

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#7
Mr.D.

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GPU with more than 2GB of RAM, go here.

Its just a laptop drive - I don't think that reliability will be an issue. As long as you aren't planning on abusing it, normal wear and tear should be fine. I have always liked the idea of having an external drive that's easier to get to. My drive in my G5 case is a PITA to get to.

#8
Dee_Ann

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GPU with more than 2GB of RAM, go here.

Its just a laptop drive - I don't think that reliability will be an issue. As long as you aren't planning on abusing it, normal wear and tear should be fine. I have always liked the idea of having an external drive that's easier to get to. My drive in my G5 case is a PITA to get to.


Ooooooh.... I see the graphics card will be a challenge... Ouchy.... :worried_anim:

I'll be needing some help to set this all up, thank you for the heads up! I'm not much on programming, hardware I can deal with. Software frustrates me.
I was a hardware tech once upon a time, many moons ago. I was never a programmer. My frustration level is low. :wallbash: That's why I don't work for anyone anymore.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that an internal BD burner would be a better option.

I like the idea of being able to move it to other machines but I really don't think I would be doing that very often. And it would be less clutter and less junk plugged into an AC outlet..

:)

Going with an internal BD burner saves me $30 and an AC outlet.

One of the many great things about the rack mount case I'm getting is that the optical drives mount horizontally. In my old case I had them vertically and they were trouble. Not to mention I couldn't put those mini-CD's in them. Even using normal discs was a problem and like 8/10 times even when the drive was empty it wouldn't eject. That was annoying. A few times a disc fell out of the tray into the drive and I had HELL fishing the disc out. With the new case and horizontal drives this problem will be history..

I'm liking this already!

:D

#9
Dee_Ann

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Got my stuff ordered today! Woo hoo !!

------------------------------------------------------


1 of: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K $320.00

1 of: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H $180.98

1 of: Rosewill 1.0 mm Thickness 4U Rackmount Server Chassis, Black Metal/Steel RSV-L4000 $79.99

1 of: Rosewill RX-DU300 2.5-Inch & 3.5-Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Dock $36.99

1 of: Corsair Professional Series HX 650 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (HX650) $101.99

1 of: Corsair Cooling Hydro-Series All-in-One High-Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CWCH60 $60.25

1 of: EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti 2048MB GDDR5 DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, DP, SLI Graphics Card (02G-P4-3660-KR) Graphics Cards 02G-P4-3660-KR $299.99

2 of: OKGear 18 inch Blue Premium SATA III Round Cable 6GB/s Straight to Right Angle w/latch $9.18

1 of: Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) $22.39

4 of: Tripp Lite P952-003 eSATA to SATA Signal Cable, 7P-M/7P-M - 3ft $19.84

1 of: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ32GX3M4X1600C10) $163.79

1 of: Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracuda 7200RPM 2 TB SATA 6 GB/s NCQ 64 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive $96.05

1 of: OCZ Technology 180GB Agility 3 Series SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Midrange Performance Solid State Drive (SSD) with Max 525MB/s Read and Max 85K IOPS- AGT3- $147.16

1 of: LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner Rewriter WH14NS40 - Bulk Drive - Black $75.70

1 of: EarlyBirdSavings 3 Slots Triple Docking USB 2.0 2.5/3.5" IDE/SATA HDD Dock Docking Station Clone $39.99


Unfortunately, according to Amazon, things will be trickling in all week and it will very likely be late next week before I can start to assemble it. The case which I absolutely MUST HAVE, won't ship until the middle of next week. Without it there's nothing at all I can do. Same with the CPU. It won't be here until late next week.. :(

But, at least the ball is rolling now..

So, when all the goodies are in I'll be looking to you guys for help setting it up..

:)

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