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A Haswell build with not so recent graphics card

Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
112
Motherboard
Asus P8C WS
CPU
Xeon E3-1245v2
Graphics
Asus GeForce GT 640
Classic Mac
LC
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hello

I am building a replacement for my Mac Mini. I wish to know which graphics cards are 1) supported currently in all versions of El Capitan without Nvidia's drivers and 2) are as much compatible backwards as possible?

Is GT 740 my only chance? Or could I go with GT 730? Or which 6xx series cards should I attempt to get? Am I good with any 6xx that is 640 or greater?

I want an Apex MI case, so I don't want anything too big. Or you can suggest any case that is less than 17 cm (6.7 in) high and less than 34 cm (13.4 in) wide.

I will use a Noctua low profile cooler. I'll purchase a Corsair SF450 power supply if the included supply does not accept 230 V.

Will Haswell or Skylake give me better compatibility with current Yosemite and El Capitan versions? I assume I need the most recent El Capitan for Skylake and I have no problem going with a Haswell if that will save me any trouble or uncertainty.

Also, which Apex MI do you think looks best?

[Update 1]

I need a Mini-ITX motherboard. Now that there are more recommended brands than just Gigabyte, are they all equally good?

Do I need to go with Skylake to have 4k 60 Hz output from the CPU's integrated graphics?
 
Last edited:

nobodynose

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Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
4,211
Motherboard
ASRock Z370M Pro4
CPU
i7-8700
Graphics
RX 560
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
iBook, iMac, Quadra
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
Hello

I am building a replacement for my Mac Mini. I wish to know which graphics cards are 1) supported currently in all versions of El Capitan without Nvidia's drivers and 2) are as much compatible backwards as possible?

Is GT 740 my only chance? Or could I go with GT 730? Or which 6xx series cards should I attempt to get? Am I good with any 6xx that is 640 or greater?
Kepler-based cards work OOB without installing Nvidia drivers. Kepler cards still readily available include the GT 740, some 730 models (others are Fermi-based and require Nvidia drivers), GT 720's, GT 710's, some GT 630 models, and most GT 640's (if you can still find one). There are also Kepler GTX 760's, GTX 770's, and GTX 780's. I can't guarantee that all of them will work without Nvidia drivers, but since they're Kepler-based, they should. My information comes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units, the models starting with "GK" in the Code Name column are Kepler-based; "GF" is Fermi, "GM" is Maxwell, etc.

Will Haswell or Skylake give me better compatibility with current Yosemite and El Capitan versions? I assume I need the most recent El Capitan for Skylake and I have no problem going with a Haswell if that will save me any trouble or uncertainty.
You are correct - El Capitan 10.11.4 (or 10.11.5 which was just released today) is required for Skylake support. Shouldn't be any more or less trouble than Haswell.

Also, which Apex MI do you think looks best?
The MI-100 by far.

I need a Mini-ITX motherboard. Now that there are more recommended brands than just Gigabyte, are they all equally good?
A lot of folks have been reporting positive results with ASRock ITX motherboards. Personally I would stick with Gigabyte, but that's just me.

Do I need to go with Skylake to have 4k 60 Hz output from the CPU's integrated graphics?
No. Haswell processors with Iris Pro 5200, Iris 5100, and HD Graphics 5000/4600/4400/4200 should be able to do up to 3840x2160@60Hz on up to 3 displays (with some restrictions on which ports the displays can be connected to): http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/graphics-drivers/000005556.html?wapkw=intel+hd+4600+graphics+resolution.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
112
Motherboard
Asus P8C WS
CPU
Xeon E3-1245v2
Graphics
Asus GeForce GT 640
Classic Mac
LC
Mobile Phone
iOS
Ok, thanks. Looks like if I want to have more memory than 16 GB in a Mini-ITX form factor, I need to go Skylake.

My intended case is now a Thermaltake Element Qi. I think it has a better power supply and a heavier build than the Apex MI cases. It is also more readily available here. Then there is also the Spire Powercube 210, but I think it is the lightest of these three.

I already have two hard disks for this build. I ordered a Noctua NH-L9i yesterday. If not satisfied with the case's included power supply, I will get a Corsair SF450. The CPU is going to be some affordable i3. Then I need a good bracket to use the 5.25" bay for a 3.5" disk. Any suggestions for one?

Does anyone, who has built a machine around an i3, wish to have done it with i5 or i7 instead?

Then I have Wifi, Bluetooth and memory left to think about.

[Update 1]

To have working sleep, I need to go with Haswell. I rarely if ever use sleep in my real Mac Mini, but to miss it feels somehow a failure. But then I would be stuck with 16 GB maximum memory. I now have 8 GB in this Mini, and it is clearly too little. I could maybe get along with 16 GB for some years and then rebuild as a Skylake machine. But then I would need to buy new memory, new motherboard and a new CPU.

I only wish there was a microATX case less than 13.7" wide and 6.6" tall in a HTPC or pizza box form factor. Then I could have a Haswell with 32 GB maximum memory.

[Update 2]

There is at least one case, Apex MJ, that I could fit into the space I have for the machine. But that is quite basic, even bare. What draws me to Haswell is the idea that as many things as possible would just work.

Is there anything in the Gigabyte's Z motherboard that I would miss if I go with a H model?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
112
Motherboard
Asus P8C WS
CPU
Xeon E3-1245v2
Graphics
Asus GeForce GT 640
Classic Mac
LC
Mobile Phone
iOS
How are the fan controls in the Z version? The H has three modes (silent, normal, full) and one custom mode that only allows to control the slope of the signal from a fixed set of choices. The formula is like PWM_PERCENTAGE = CURRENT_TEMP * x, where x you can select between 1.25 and 2.5 in steps of 0.25, meaning full speed at 40 °C or 80 °C with 4 choices in between.

I already went with H and I am managing somehow. Asus P8C WS lets one choose two temperatures (min, max) and two PWM percentages. Between those temperatures there is a slope. Below min temperature, the min PWM percentage applies and above MAX temperature the max PWM percentage applies. If the Z version is similar to P8C WS, I would have gone with it had I known this.
 
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