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12core Mac Pro 5.1 vs i7-6700k Hackintosh

Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
5
Motherboard
GA-Z170X-ULTRA GAMING
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
MSI GTX 980 ti 6GB
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
So, to make a very long story medium long.

I have been using my 2013 15" rMBP and a 2012 27" iMac for a long time, and they have started to feel slow, especially since I upped my game from FullHD-editing, for 4K editing last year.
But I couldn't really finance a new mac for 4000$. Considered Windows for a while, but that made me shiver.

Then I got offered to buy a cheap 2009 Mac Pro 4.1 with dual xeon processors earlier this year.
I bought it, and made a project out of maxing it out, for as little money as possible.
(Father of 2 kids under 2 years old, a house in big renovating needs, no time, no money, but a lot of inspiration!)

I didn't max it out all the way, mostly ended up with "the next best things", since the best was almost twice the money.
I started with upgrading firmware to 5.1, then installed new processors (2x X5680 @ 3.33 GHz 6 core each) and installed 64 gb of RAM 1333 MHz DDR3.
That was the obvious part. Then after some research I eventually got my hands on a cheap M.2 SM951 256gb drive (Really fast drive, ~ 1500mb/sec r/w speed) since the cMP only supports SATA2 (~500mb/s r/w), this really speed things up! I installed it with a M2 to PCIe adapter.
To be able to use all of my external drives that I keep my projects on, I also bought a USB3 card that was plug-and-play.

For graphics I started out with a GTX680 2GB which worked fine, but felt like a bottleneck in my 4K editing. So I eventually upgraded for a GTX980TI (And a few weeks later Nvidia announced the mac support for Pascal architecture.
).
I didn't buy a flashd card, since I had the original Apple GT120-card aswell, if I ever needed to see the bootscreen. (Happened once.).

So, this became a beast of a machine! Total buildcost around 1200$. Not that bad!
Worked perfectly well for my 4K editing, after effects rendering and playing the Original Starcraft that was re-released a few weeks back!

My Lacie 2.Big Thunderbolt 2-cabinett also supports USB 3, so the lack of thunderbolt didn't really bother me.

BUT after seeing some Youtube-videos of people making a clear statement that a CustoMac Pro Hackintosh would be "SO much better" than the cMP, I started to doubt that my build really was that good. And after seeing used Mac Pro 4.1/5.1 with lesser specs than mine for over 2000$, I got tempted to see if I could make a profit off selling a 8 years old used computer.

And I did!

I stripped my Mac Pro off the best hardware, that is the GTX980TI and the SM951 M.2 drive, and sold the Mac Pro 5,1 with a 1000$ profit! (There's crazy people out there.)

In the meantime I had started to research what my Hackintosh build would look like. I was tempted to go with a i7-6950X processor, but since I still was on a budget (and that 1000$ profit went into a black hole) I settled with the i7-6700k, and decided to go with 32GB of ram instead of 64GB, since the Mac Pro rarely used it all.

So my complete build is:

CPU: i7-6700K
CPU-Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3i
MOBO: Gigabyte GA Z170X Ultra Gaming rev 1.0
GPU: MSI GTX980TI 6GB
RAM: 32GB 2x16GB 2400MHz
CHASSI: Corsair Carbide 330R Blackout Edition
HARDDRIVE: M.2. SM951 256GB

OS: macOS Sierra

And I got all of that for what I had spent on the Mac Pro-system. (Note that I kept the graphics card and M.2. SSD)

It was a fun project to both plan and assemble everything. Both of these projects were my first computer builds, though I have been fiddeling around inside a lot of electronics in my days.

In post-install, I used iMac 17,1 as system definition, got a hold of a kext to fix the black screen after searching this forum for a while (Can’t remember what thread anymore! Sorry! My kids make me forget things! But it’s here somewhere!)

And from there It just worked.

I actually even got Thunderbolt working! I just followed this guide:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/success-sierra-build-mini-guide-to-get-thunderbolt-3-working.214799/
The bios settings had a bit different names, but I managed to figure it out anyway.
And I also bought the Startech Thunderbolt 3(USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.
As long as my thunderbolt-drives are powered and connected on startup, they’re recognized by the system. Even Daisy-Chain works!

There’s an issue with my Samsung T3 512GB external drive, which is USB 3.1, won’t work in USB 2 or USB 3 ports, but since I have a USB 3.1 port I don’t really bother looking into it right now. And the front USB-ports won’t work either.

Is this a better computer than the cMP?

I'm sorry, but I honestly don’t think so.

According to the Geekbench 4-trial results, this machine is a lot better. But I don’t feel it when I’m using it.
(https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/compare/2162589?baseline=2967896 Comparison between the machines.)

I have to tell myself that I made a frickin 1000$ profit off the Mac Pro to see that this was worth it.

The hackintosh is a lot quieter, got better connections, and uses more modern components, but my Premiere and After Effects performance does not really catch up with the performance I had on my Mac Pro.
But that is a hard statement to make, since I’m not currently working on the exact same projects, and techniques as I did on the Mac Pro.

Sometimes I miss my Mac Pro, but I think this machine is good enough. And it was a fun project to complete! And the main reason I could do such a good deal on my Mac Pro is the fact that i got it at a really good price to begin with.

In my opinion, this machine is a really good budget(in comparison to a 4k$ Mac) placeholder before either Apple announces something worth buying, or if they don’t, when I’m able to afford an i7 EXTREME-system!

NOTE: I roughly translated the currencies in this post from 10 SEK to 1 USD.
 

trs96

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Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
13,824
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
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HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
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Android
Upgrading graphics to even a 1070 Ti or 1080 would make a difference in your Premiere and after effects performance. Maybe look into selling the 980 Ti and getting one of the Pascal based cards.
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2014
Messages
15
Motherboard
Mac Pro
CPU
2.4 Quad
Graphics
5780
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Thanks for the post, I am thinking of an upgrade to my 2010 2.4 8 core Mac Pro & undecided on a new Coffee lake Hackintosh 8700k build or upgrading my existing to 12 Xeon, my main interest is Logic Pro, so I doubt I need a big gpu updrade & if I look at the geekbench scores they are about the same but the Xeon has more cores..as much as I’d love to do build (I would get a mega gaming pc too) maybe it’s better to keep the old Mac Pro, I already did an ssd & USB 3 upgrade..
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
24
Motherboard
ASUS X99-E
CPU
i7 6800K
Graphics
GTX 980
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
The hackintosh is a lot quieter, got better connections, and uses more modern components, but my Premiere and After Effects performance does not really catch up with the performance I had on my Mac Pro.
But that is a hard statement to make, since I’m not currently working on the exact same projects, and techniques as I did on the Mac Pro.
Here's why the i7-6700K seems faster, but isn't as much when using Premiere and After Effects, you went from a 12-core machine to a 4-core machine.

I stumbled upon your post as I myself am planning on going from a X99 Hackintosh with i6800 - 6-Core/12-thread cpu with 64GB ram to a Mac Pro that can have up to 12-cores/24-threads.

The one thing I did notice is the speed gains you got with a PCIe to SSD/M2 card going to 500MB/s to 1500MB/s that by itself shows me a lot of promise in getting a faster system drive for my Windows/VR Machine.

Hope it helps! And I'm certainly glad you made $1K off on your Mac Pro machine.. But I've realized that the time I spend on keeping the machine running rather than just having a machine that'll work no matter what is worth more my time since I too am a father of 3-kids with 1 of them just 6 months old.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2011
Messages
787
Motherboard
X299 Designare EX
CPU
i9-7980XE
Graphics
Vega 64
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
512K, Plus
Mobile Phone
iOS
The 12 core Mac Pro is like a dump truck. It can do massive amounts of work, but does NOT handle like a Ferrari! I just upgraded mine to Mojave. GOT to love a 9 year old Mac that can still run the latest OS! That video card is a W7000 FirePro running a 4k BenQ PD3200U monitor. shweet!

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