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Hackintosh workstation for audio/music productions

music noise studio daw logic sound logic x haswell dual monitors quiet

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#1
portablebook

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Hello everybody,

Within 2-3 weeks I want to buy my first Hackintosh. It's primary use will be music production (Logic X mostly). I've worked with Macbooks for many years but now it's time for a real workstation. Noise level is the most important part of this configuration (besides stability ofcourse), I really want this machine to be as quiet as possible.
 

  • Intel Core i7-4790
  • Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87X-D3H or Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB (OS, apps)
  • WD Red 1TB or Seagate 7200.14 1TB (samples, projects, documents, etc.)
  • Asus GT640-DCSL-2GD3 - passive cooling
  • Cooler Master Silencio 452
  • 2x Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB DDR3-1600 CAS Latency 8, supported by both motherboards
  • Seasonic G-Serie 550Watt PCGH Edition
  • TP-Link TL-WDN4800
  • 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2412M Black, 1920x1200 each

This configuration will cost about 1450 euros in my country. I want to use Mavericks as it's primary OS, I won't switch to Yosemite until 10.10.3 or something like that. Here are some arguments and doubts about the components.

CPU and CPU Cooler
The 4790 is a little bit faster than the previous 4770 and costs the same, it's compatible with both motherboards. I'm used to dual-core processors, this will be my first quad-core so I'm really thrilled about this little monster! I don't want a passive cooler because it needs more airflow (thus more and louder casefans). I've read many reviews and this cooler should be the quitest.

Motherboard
The differences between the GA-Z87X-D3H and GA-Z87X-UD3H are: 2 SATA ports, 2 eSATA ports, Display Port and a different audio chip. All of those things don't really matter to me. 6x SATA is enough, I don't need a Display Port since I use a dedicated GPU and I won't use the onboard audio at all (I currenly use an Apogee Duet 2 and will buy a 19" interface later this year). I tend to go for the UD3H, not because of the extra features, but I found a lot more success stories with this board. I've read stories about the D3H where a beta BIOS is required to gain stability. I need the latest BIOS due to the Haswell Refresh CPU.

Storage
I can't choose between the WD drive the Seagate drive. The first seems more quiet but not exactly built for my needs, it's primary use is for NAS-systems. The Seagate seems noticeably faster but is also noisier. I have no idea "how much" noisier this drive will be.

Case and PSU
The Fractal Design R4 has been recommended many times and there are no reviews between this case and the Coolermaster I choose. The Coolermaster gets very positive reviews and I like the design better. The Seasonic is very efficient and must be very quiet. I'd love to hear suggestions for quiter PSU's, this is the best I could find.

Graphics and dual monitors
I guess 2x 1920x1200 won't be a problem for a Geforce GT640 2GB. I won't use it for heavy gaming or video editing or something like that. It's the fastest passive GPU I could find which is OOTB supported. I don't want to take any risk with buying a HD7750 or R7 250. 

 I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions. Thanks in advance!  ^_^



#2
theconnactic

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I'd go for a thunderbolt capable board, because of the newest thunderbolt interfaces from Universal Audio, such as the Apollo.

All the best!

#3
Riley Freeman

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My X79 build uses the R4 case. It's not bad but it feels a bit cheap in places. The plastic front door for one. The stock fans could be a bit quieter (I have them on the middle setting I think). For ages I had an annoying buzz that would show up often from inside. If I tipped it slightly in one direction it would stop. Eventually I wanted to get to the bottom of it as others had suggested it might be the bottom fan filter vibrating. I took out all the extra drive bays and that sorted it.

 

Overall the system is very quiet. The noisiest part is the hard disk. I went with a 2TB WD Black because I always use those for system disks. Just didn't realise how loud it would be inside a system built for quiet running. I thought about replacing it with a Blue or Green but it's not that big a deal right now. I've always stuck with WD drives and they've been great.



#4
portablebook

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I made a major mistake with the CPU cooler. It turns out the Scythe isn't quiet at all! I'll swap it for a Noctua NH-U12S.

 

I'd go for a thunderbolt capable board, because of the newest thunderbolt interfaces from Universal Audio, such as the Apollo.

 

You're absolutely right but the Gigabyte motherboards with Thunderbold are very expensive. There are some cheaper Asus and Asrock boards but they require a modded BIOS.

 

 

Overall the system is very quiet. The noisiest part is the hard disk. I went with a 2TB WD Black because I always use those for system disks. Just didn't realise how loud it would be inside a system built for quiet running. I thought about replacing it with a Blue or Green but it's not that big a deal right now. I've always stuck with WD drives and they've been great.

 

Yesterday I've ordered a 3TB WD Red for my fileserver so I can listen to the noise and make a final decision.



#5
nwcitizen

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I too, am about to put together a system very similar to yours for music production...primarily Logic X. I'm very much a novice in the Hackintosh world as I'm gathering information (much of it opinions) from various sources on the web. I do have a few comments on your item selections that maybe you and others can elaborate on:

 

Motherboard - I decided to go for the GA-Z87x-UD5H. It was on sale for less than your two choices. Also, it has firewire, though only 400 I believe, and it also has a 2 legacy PCI slots. In the music world, you never know, could come in handy when you least expect it. 

 

CPU - I've been told that the i7-4790 is not fully supported by OSX at the present time and that apparently wake issues may occur as a result. I have no idea if this is true. I have also been told that it runs cooler than the i7-4770 which is a plus. I'm undecided right now.

 

CPU cooler - Not sure why you're not going for the Noctua NH-D14. I could be wrong but I think it's even quieter than the NH-U12S. 

 

Graphic card - Asus GT640 - passive cooling. This is my choice, too. I was surprised to see this on your list as almost no one suggests it. But why not use the onboard video? From what I've gathered, the GT640 won't have any appreciable performance gain over the onboard video. The only reason I'm opting for the Asus GT640 is that I'm going to install two of them as I will be running six monitors in windows via a dual-booting configuration.

 

PSU - I have the Seasonic X series 650 on my list (SS-650KM). I think it might be quieter than the one you've chosen.

 

Case - I'm going with the Fractal Design Define XL R2. I got it at a great price. It's bigger than the R4 and has a few more options. I recommend, if you haven't already thought of it, to use all Noctua fans in whatever configuration of fans that you decide upon in your case.

 

Good luck! I hope you continue to post updates here as I will as well. I see that you also posted over at tonymac. I've posted there a few times recently with questions based on this particular configuration and didn't get much in the way of any beneficial responses.



#6
portablebook

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I too, am about to put together a system very similar to yours for music production...primarily Logic X. I'm very much a novice in the Hackintosh world as I'm gathering information (much of it opinions) from various sources on the web. I do have a few comments on your item selections that maybe you and others can elaborate on:

 

Motherboard - I decided to go for the GA-Z87x-UD5H. It was on sale for less than your two choices. Also, it has firewire, though only 400 I believe, and it also has a 2 legacy PCI slots. In the music world, you never know, could come in handy when you least expect it. 

 

CPU - I've been told that the i7-4790 is not fully supported by OSX at the present time and that apparently wake issues may occur as a result. I have no idea if this is true. I have also been told that it runs cooler than the i7-4770 which is a plus. I'm undecided right now.

 

CPU cooler - Not sure why you're not going for the Noctua NH-D14. I could be wrong but I think it's even quieter than the NH-U12S. 

 

Graphic card - Asus GT640 - passive cooling. This is my choice, too. I was surprised to see this on your list as almost no one suggests it. But why not use the onboard video? From what I've gathered, the GT640 won't have any appreciable performance gain over the onboard video. The only reason I'm opting for the Asus GT640 is that I'm going to install two of them as I will be running six monitors in windows via a dual-booting configuration.

 

PSU - I have the Seasonic X series 650 on my list (SS-650KM). I think it might be quieter than the one you've chosen.

 

Case - I'm going with the Fractal Design Define XL R2. I got it at a great price. It's bigger than the R4 and has a few more options. I recommend, if you haven't already thought of it, to use all Noctua fans in whatever configuration of fans that you decide upon in your case.

 

Good luck! I hope you continue to post updates here as I will as well. I see that you also posted over at tonymac. I've posted there a few times recently with questions based on this particular configuration and didn't get much in the way of any beneficial responses.

 

According to this review the NH-U12S should be a little bit quieter! I also posted to a Dutch forum and they told me the Cooler Master V550 PSU is more quiet than the Seasonic at high levels. Another change I'm considering is the SSD. The Samsung 840 EVO serie doesn't support the 'powerloss' feature. The Crucial MX100 does, although it's a little bit slower. I'll keep you updated ofcouse :)



#7
nwcitizen

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You are most likely correct as it is smaller thus one would think should be quieter. I had looked at this review which had many of the results in their table appear to be a little suspect to me. Though is does seem to be a very thorough review.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: music, noise, studio, daw, logic, sound, logic x, haswell, dual monitors, quiet


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