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Save up for Mac Pro or build a Hackintosh now?


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The PPC Dual 1.8 feels really slow for running Logic and I really need an upgrade. The Quad Mac pro with 4GB of ram will cost me around $3000 Canadian while I could make a silent hackintosh for a little over a grand. I am willing to spend a week or two making it work using this great forum but I do not want to spend LOTS of time messing around with it after that, so do you think I should go for a hackintosh or save up for another 6 months when I can buy a Mac pro?

 

Please only speak from experience and not what you read here and there.

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It's all about the passion to tweak and modify things beyond their original intent, to me.

 

Personally, I like having a Hackintosh. Having put mine in a custom built case, it's really turned into quite a hobby. Granted, I really don't have the time these days for such things, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

You could go all the way from a cookie-cutter PC setup into a Hackintosh, or make a custom case out of nilla wafers and credit cards... it's up to you.

 

I sold my MDD Dual 1.25 to build mine, and barely had to spend any money at all. It's well worth it to me.

 

Have fun with it, I say :P

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Don't get me wrong I love building PCs and tweaking computers, but once I launch Logic Pro my computer becomes a musical instrument a I want it to work without trouble. So the question was, once everything is up and running can I expect my hackintosh to work like a real Mac if I have all the compatible hardware?

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I've really enjoyed my Hackintosh experience but it is a different matter if you are using it as a tool for your job.

 

If you want that 100% guarantee that you won't have to tweak and hack, I'd go for the real Mac Pro. Bang for buck, Hackintosh is great but I wouldn't gamble my livelihood on one (although I'm sure there are many pro tools users here who have).

 

What attracted me to Macs in the first place is that they Just Work and you can focus all of your energies on actually using them to do Other Stuff. With homebuild, you running a Hackintosh becomes a task in itself. For me that's fine - its a hobby. But when I'm at work, I expect to just switch my Thinkpad on and use it as a business tool.

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I am prepared to spend time to make the setup work and I'm going to buy a system where most of the hardware would work right out of the box but once everything is setup the way it should be, is maintaining a hackintosh really a heavy task in itself as you say?

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I am prepared to spend time to make the setup work and I'm going to buy a system where most of the hardware would work right out of the box but once everything is setup the way it should be, is maintaining a hackintosh really a heavy task in itself as you say?

 

It's not bad, but it can have it's problems. The hackintosh in my sig for example bit the dust recently. Don't know quite what happened, but the video card is fried (I'm running a 7300LE spare I had in it now), and it got to where it would lock up when the screen saver started (and then sometimes wouldn't boot anymore). Now this wasn't insurmountable - once I got it booted the last time I copied all my data to another computer on the network, then wiped out the HD and reinstalled using 10.5.1. It's running ok again now.

 

This wasn't too bad, but I had other computers to use during the downtime, and it DID take 2-3 days for me to get sorted out (not working constantly - just off and on).

 

The bottom line is that a hackintosh, while it can be used for everyday use (and is by many people here), IS at it's core a hobbiest machine, and as such you have to be able to live with the fact that something might render it useless for a while. If you want professional level reliability, you kinda need to spring for a real Mac.

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since most hacks have audio not really solved, besides usb-audio, maybe for that special field its difficult to advice.

for me, my computer is a working machine, hack or mac.

 

I'll be using a $1500 firewire sound card not the onboard, I have checked the wiki and this should not be an issue

 

buy the Open Pro Psystar.. :(

 

 

Belive it or not I have been checking this forum for last 6 months and never really thought of building a hackintosh untill I saw the psystar post on engadget.

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I am using my Hackintosh as a semi pro musician/producer for the last few months. I can honestly say that

I haven't found one thing wrong as far as software compatibility or hardware problems in that time. It works

better than any real mac I have owned in the past (at least 5). Additionally, it's not like real macs don't have quirks and

issues as well, anyone who says that either hasn't owned them long enough or is lying.

 

As a musician who uses your computer to make money, you have probably learned by now not to upgrade immediately

to the newest OS, software, etc, as then you have to wait for new drivers often, and can break compatibility with software. good studios go years before updating to make sure they don't break things once they are stable. you can rest assured that by the time you want to update, someone from here will have it all figured out for you, or can help you if you have issues.

 

I was extremely hesitant before mine, but it was seriously one of the easiest (and most fun) "hack" projects I've ever done. I have had to do absolutely no extra tweaking once it started running either.

 

Just make sure you read a bunch and buy extremely well tested and proven hardware, and you really can't go wrong.

I can tell you my hardware below works great, but definitely look around as everyone has different opinions on what to use.

 

Good luck...

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Chuckeroo, I'm glad you posted here, I found the pcwiz guide from you sig and I must say I have never been so confident to build a hackintosh. Before I wanted to go for a super stable motherboard and I read here that intel is the way to go but would you recommend the DS4 over say BOXDX38BT? If you were building a system now from scratch would you choose the same motherboard? and one more question, does the PCI slots work?

 

Thanks for your help

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Glad I could offer some assurance, I know where you are coming from in the uneasiness catagory, and it took me a little while to get the confidence to go for it. I

am not really able to comment on the intel boards, but i have been fully satisfied with the p35-ds4, 100% reliable, and no issues at all under heavy use daily. They also make an x38-ds4 if you really want the x38. I was told that x38 doesn't offer much over the p35, and i really wanted to use ddr2 ram as it's much less expensive and some x38 boards only do ddr3 i think(dude, having 8 gigs of ram has changed my life). The pci slots have been fine for me, i am using an add on firewire card and external sata that comes with the board. No matter what get sata everything for hard drives and disc drives.

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Glad I could offer some assurance, I know where you are coming from in the uneasiness catagory, and it took me a little while to get the confidence to go for it. I

am not really able to comment on the intel boards, but i have been fully satisfied with the p35-ds4, 100% reliable, and no issues at all under heavy use daily. They also make an x38-ds4 if you really want the x38. I was told that x38 doesn't offer much over the p35, and i really wanted to use ddr2 ram as it's much less expensive and some x38 boards only do ddr3 i think(dude, having 8 gigs of ram has changed my life). The pci slots have been fine for me, i am using an add on firewire card and external sata that comes with the board. No matter what get sata everything for hard drives and disc drives.

 

P35-DS4 does support 45nm and I think that's all I need. Good to hear that PCI slots work, I need them for my UAD1 cards. Right now I'm using 3GB of ram with my PPC and it was enough for logic on tiger, now with leopard and logic I think I need 4GB and that should be enough, do you really recommend 8GB of ram?

 

You do know that you can buy a refurbished Mac Pro from Apple with a warranty for $1999 and from other companies for $1850. It may not be the fastest Mac Pro, but you can always upgrade it.

 

You are right but still after memory upgrade and the tax it would be around $2500. Hackintosh isn't gonna cost me more than a grand.

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from my point building a hack is the cheapest way you can get a close-to-real-mac experience. once you build it well, so everything is working right(or as should work) you wont have to do some major works BUT(theres always something:( ) the thing is nobody can guarantee( and you cannot as well) that this hack wont stop working one day just because some strange error in kernel or something. once again, hacks are good for home, hobby(im using a hack all the time, dont have any windows partiion- just VM, but im doing backup once a week, just in case) but when u want to have it as a work tool i would save money and go for real mac. you know, someone will tell that hacks works the same, but the thing is you only see they work "the same" we dont know whats happening under the hood and to be honest, nobody is 100% certain it wont just stop working after some event/time or so.

once again, its rather a hobby, and for work u would go for a real mac:)

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I got 8gb for less than $150 on newegg, started w/ 4 and it was nice, but definitely a difference when the next 4 went in. It's so nice to have all your audio progs and effects going with tons of tracks, and not have to worry about crashing/sound breakup/etc.

 

I can only tell you from experience, but i wouldn't get too worried about what people are saying. No one can really ever guarantee you anything in life, and I'm not really

buying the whole "not sure how it's working under the hood" argument. One thing I can guarantee though is this: a $1000 computer is a whole lot less expensive than a $2500 computer, and mine benchmarks faster than the ones that cost over $3000.

Not to mention the stupidly expensive ram and video cards you will eventually end up buying for a real mac in the long term. That extra $2000 for me can go to new synths and equipment.

 

Like I said, no one can ever guarantee anything, but this has been one of the best buying decisions I have made in a really long time. Plus it's fun!

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I'm a musician and I am starting to do my own editing in Peak Pro. Mine has been stable but it took some time to get there and you really can't be 100% sure. Get a Mac Pro if it's your business, there really is no way around it and you need to be able to go to Apple if you have a problem.

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I'm a musician and I am starting to do my own editing in Peak Pro. Mine has been stable but it took some time to get there and you really can't be 100% sure. Get a Mac Pro if it's your business, there really is no way around it and you need to be able to go to Apple if you have a problem.

 

No it's not a business, at least not yet. It's a home studio built for my own projects, often I produce for friends as well but of course I don't charge. I'd rather spend the extra $2000 on acoustic treatment for my studio than spend it on a Mac pro. I have a feeling that Apple will introduce mid range desktops soon or later, until than I'm gonna use my hackintosh. I will keep you guys posted once it's finished. Thanks for all the replies really, you people have been very helpful.

 

 

 

ps. I haven't been into PCs for years, Is it still true that you should only use 2 sticks of ram to OC not 4 sticks?

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You can use 4 sticks but it supposedly pulls a lot more juice/heat.It works fine for me though

as my system is silent and so fast!I run Logic8.0.1 and reason 4.1.I use a m-audio firewire ozonic as my interface.

Works great.If you want to overclock, make sure you get a good heatsink and have plenty of airflow!

Check out my case!It has a mesh grill in front and I mounted a silent 140mm fan to pull in air and blow into

my arctic freezer 7 pro.Every part in my system was chosen to be as silent and cool as possible for an audio workstation.

I'm so proud of how solid it runs.That motherboard was a lil difficult to overclock but did some googling and

learned a lot from some overclocking forums.I'll help you if you need it.Just buy the right parts!

Start by getting a Seasonic s12 or Corsair hx620.I got my Seasonic for $75 on Ebay used.Just don't be cheap with the power supply.Both of these are very quiet and cool.I spent around $1000 or a lil less to build my system.I'd love to help anyone with a similar setup as mine.

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trance4jim, thanks for your recomandation but I already have lots of parts from building passive PCs in the past that I'm gonna use for my hackintosh project. I have a P150 and Ninja, I've got a good PSU the Antec Neo, but I'm gonna buy the Enermax EMD625AWT (it's better than Seasonic/Corsair stuff) , I'm also getting two WD6400AAKS and possibley Thermalright HR-07. CPU is gonna be the Xeon X3350 and the motherboard will be Gigabyte EP35-DS4. I'll post pics when it's done.

 

 

 

Just FYI, the Mac Pro may be overkill...for $1299, the new 20" 2.4ghz iMac completely smokes a 1.8ghz G5 Dual

 

But a hackintosh is fine...

 

I need a workstation not an iMac.

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Nice setup, a 45nm Quad-core...good choice

 

Got $80 off because it was an open box, let's hope it wasn't returned because of its OC capabilities.

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