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Advices for building a Motion Design Workstation with GTX 1080 Ti ?

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Gigabyte GA-H270M-D3H
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Hello everyone,

I'm planning to do a big hardware update to my workstation and since I'm not very knowledgeable about hackintosh (a store did it for me 5 years ago), I'd like to ask you some questions. I'm a motion graphic designer and I use heavily After Effects in my work, I also use more and more Cinema 4D. My work is becoming more render-demanding and I need the hardware to follow through.

My actual workstation's motherboard has died recently so it's time for me to make the leap, here are my actual components :
  • Gigabyte Z77-DS3H motherboard
  • Intel i7-2700K processor
  • 32Gb Kingston RAM memory
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 graphic card
  • 1x Crucial 256Gb SSD drive
  • 2x Seagate 2Tb sata hard drives
  • Seasonic 760W power supply
  • Cooler Master 450W case
  • 2 screens
  • Blu-ray DVD player / SD card reader / USB wifi card
  • OSX 10.8.2 Mountain Lion

I'm planning to buy the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition for my new workstation and install OSX Sierra. According to this, what are the best choices for buying a Motherboard, Processor and RAM ? What are the most compatible brand models for the new build to work with the best performance and easiest setup ?

Here's the list of what I'm putting in my new workstation, according to what I've read so far in May 2017's MacBuyer's guide :
  • New motherboard (100-series I guess, what's your advice ? Can't tell what's better)
  • Intel Core i7 6700K (Can I go higher or should I stick with this ?)
  • 64Gb RAM DDR4 (Can I keep my previous 32Gb RAM ? Should I stick with 2133Mhz DDR4 as advised or can I go higher ? )
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11Go
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 (my actual card, can I go with dual cards ? What are your opinions ?)
  • 3 screens (I'm planning to add a new one)
  • Can I keep my previous hard drives or do I need to buy new ones ? If so, why ?
  • Same question for the power supply, the case and the other components : what can I keep and should I do it ?
  • OSX Sierra
I hope it's clear enough and that we'll have a nice discussion about the best choice for a new computer tailor-made for heavy motion design. If you need any new information I'll do my best to provide them.

Thanks !
 
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In my opinion, since this is for your work, consider keeping your existing machine as a backup. This also potentially allows you to offload some work onto the older machine that doesn't require the speed of the newer machine. You could automate backups of the data from the new machine to the old machine as well, furthering it's usefulness as a backup in an emergency situation.

Generally, if you want a Hackintosh build to work, follow the buyer's guide/golden builds. That means not going higher than i7-6700K, picking a motherboard from the list that has an onboard video that will support one of your current monitors, and plug the other two into the GTX 1080 card. You may not need two graphics cards since you are only using one now anyway. Keep the old one in your backup machine. If you really need a second graphics card you can add a new one later. The RAM from a 5 year old machine will probably not fit your new 100 series motherboard and even if it did, it's 5 years old, and 5 years slower. Go with new RAM from the buyer's guide. Buy new hard drives (7200 RPM or higher for the drives, and fast SSD for your OS/boot drive). Drives wear out eventually - if your data matters, buy new ones. And buy a couple more so you can have live backup. And a UPS. If you really want speed, put everything that matters on SSD and backup to 7200RPM drives. This will be more expensive, but it will be incredibly speedy. A side note - the reason why I don't need to upgrade my almost 6 year old machine is that for what I use it for, the SSD keeps things feeling very fast. I'm not doing serious heavy lifting on it, though, as you do.

Case/power supply - again, buy new since this is for work and you are (possibly) keeping your old one as a backup. The newer cases (even the 300R) have some nice features that your old case might not have. I built a machine last year (not a Hackintosh but I used the buyer's guide anyway) and the 300R case design, internal component trays, and such were much nicer than the cases in the same price range I bought 5-6 years ago.
 
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H270M-D3H
CPU
i7-7700K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti
Mac
iMac
In my opinion, since this is for your work, consider keeping your existing machine as a backup. This also potentially allows you to offload some work onto the older machine that doesn't require the speed of the newer machine. You could automate backups of the data from the new machine to the old machine as well, furthering it's usefulness as a backup in an emergency situation.

Generally, if you want a Hackintosh build to work, follow the buyer's guide/golden builds. That means not going higher than i7-6700K, picking a motherboard from the list that has an onboard video that will support one of your current monitors, and plug the other two into the GTX 1080 card. You may not need two graphics cards since you are only using one now anyway. Keep the old one in your backup machine. If you really need a second graphics card you can add a new one later. The RAM from a 5 year old machine will probably not fit your new 100 series motherboard and even if it did, it's 5 years old, and 5 years slower. Go with new RAM from the buyer's guide. Buy new hard drives (7200 RPM or higher for the drives, and fast SSD for your OS/boot drive). Drives wear out eventually - if your data matters, buy new ones. And buy a couple more so you can have live backup. And a UPS. If you really want speed, put everything that matters on SSD and backup to 7200RPM drives. This will be more expensive, but it will be incredibly speedy. A side note - the reason why I don't need to upgrade my almost 6 year old machine is that for what I use it for, the SSD keeps things feeling very fast. I'm not doing serious heavy lifting on it, though, as you do.

Case/power supply - again, buy new since this is for work and you are (possibly) keeping your old one as a backup. The newer cases (even the 300R) have some nice features that your old case might not have. I built a machine last year (not a Hackintosh but I used the buyer's guide anyway) and the 300R case design, internal component trays, and such were much nicer than the cases in the same price range I bought 5-6 years ago.
Thank you very much for your reply ! Just for information, I can't keep the old computer for backup since its mobo is dead, that's why I'm building a new one. Your advises regarding buying new components is useful, I understand that it's better to just update everything. I'll have to see what I can do with my previous components, since my previous mobo is dead, the rest is still working perfectly, maybe I'll have to see if I can find a similar mobo somewhere on the market.

Also I already had a SSD for system files and SATA for storage. Actually I backup online and I'm quite satisfied with it. But you say that new hard drives are faster than the 5-years-old ones ? Damn that Moore law !

What's a UPS ? Also, do you have any advice regarding mobos in the Buyer's list ? What criterias should I look for, regarding the use I'll have for it ? I don't know mobos at all, what makes a mobo better than another one ?

Thank you very much !
 

Stork

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I recommend you choose a 100-series (Skylake) motherboard system since it is easy to install macOS, and the 200-series (Kaby Lake) motherboard systems are not yet supported in macOS Sierra which require kext mods (and patting head and rubbing tummy at the same time).

pastrychef uses his mATX ASUS MAXIMUS VIII GENE build for his professional work and has updated his build with a Gigabyte GTX 1080 (Post #423). I, too, have this build (see link in my signature block) and am testing a Gigabyte GTX 1060 which will go into MyHero build. MyHero is an ATX version of the our two GENE builds. Both pastrychef and I find we can do everything we need to accomplish with the mATX GENE. However, I call both builds to your attention so you can see what's involved with these two great systems. :thumbup:
 
Joined
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Messages
44
Motherboard
GA-Z370M-DS3H-F4
CPU
i5 8400 2.8 GHz
Graphics
Intel HD 630
Mobile Phone
iOS
New (spinning) hard drives aren't faster (unless you buy higher RPM drives). I meant that SSDs are faster than spinning drives.
UPS - uninterruptable power supply - basically a battery (with outlets) between the wall outlet and your computer, which prevents crashes if the power goes out. Gives you a few minutes (or a few hours depending on how much money you spend) to shut down your machine properly if your power goes out.

Generally, the different motherboards have different chipsets, sound controllers, network controllers, numbers/types of USB ports, SATA/M.2 connectors, RAM slots, etc. If you are planning to overclock your i7, you need a motherboard that supports overclocking. Chances are, your new machine will be so much faster than the old one that you won't need to overclock initially, but I think the mobo has to support it if you select a chip that has it (one of the K chips like you have specified above). Note that you could save some money by NOT going the overclock route. The 6700, a motherboard that doesn't support overclocking, and regular (non overclocking) RAM will be a bit cheaper, and still way faster than what you had 5 years ago.

I haven't really researched it much, but since you are building an i7 based machine you should consider going with one of the motherboards recommended in the "CustoMac Pro" section of the buyer's guide. Check the specs via the Amazon link to make sure it supports overclocking if you are sure you are going with the 6700K chip.

Check that the mobo has enough SATA/M.2 spots to support the number / types of drives you plan to install now, possibly with a little room to grow.

Check that it has enough RAM slots for 64GB RAM (probably does if it's in the CustoMac Pro category, but might not if it's a board in the Budget mATX category). If you think you are going to overclock, make sure you buy RAM that supports overclocking.

Are your current displays connected with HDMI? DVI? Check to ensure the motherboard has a port for one of those to use with built in graphics. Again, picks from the CustoMac Pro list will probably have you covered there, but you should check.

Notice I've refrained from picking a motherboard for you :) I don't have the time right now to do that research, and hopefully what I've said above will be enough information for you to select one based on your needs.
 
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H270M-D3H
CPU
i7-7700K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti
Mac
iMac
New (spinning) hard drives aren't faster (unless you buy higher RPM drives). I meant that SSDs are faster than spinning drives.
UPS - uninterruptable power supply - basically a battery (with outlets) between the wall outlet and your computer, which prevents crashes if the power goes out. Gives you a few minutes (or a few hours depending on how much money you spend) to shut down your machine properly if your power goes out.

Generally, the different motherboards have different chipsets, sound controllers, network controllers, numbers/types of USB ports, SATA/M.2 connectors, RAM slots, etc. If you are planning to overclock your i7, you need a motherboard that supports overclocking. Chances are, your new machine will be so much faster than the old one that you won't need to overclock initially, but I think the mobo has to support it if you select a chip that has it (one of the K chips like you have specified above). Note that you could save some money by NOT going the overclock route. The 6700, a motherboard that doesn't support overclocking, and regular (non overclocking) RAM will be a bit cheaper, and still way faster than what you had 5 years ago.

I haven't really researched it much, but since you are building an i7 based machine you should consider going with one of the motherboards recommended in the "CustoMac Pro" section of the buyer's guide. Check the specs via the Amazon link to make sure it supports overclocking if you are sure you are going with the 6700K chip.

Check that the mobo has enough SATA/M.2 spots to support the number / types of drives you plan to install now, possibly with a little room to grow.

Check that it has enough RAM slots for 64GB RAM (probably does if it's in the CustoMac Pro category, but might not if it's a board in the Budget mATX category). If you think you are going to overclock, make sure you buy RAM that supports overclocking.

Are your current displays connected with HDMI? DVI? Check to ensure the motherboard has a port for one of those to use with built in graphics. Again, picks from the CustoMac Pro list will probably have you covered there, but you should check.

Notice I've refrained from picking a motherboard for you :) I don't have the time right now to do that research, and hopefully what I've said above will be enough information for you to select one based on your needs.
Thanks again ! Well it's a lot of information to digest, especially since I don't know much about mobo specs. To answer you, I dont intend to overclock my computer, does it mean I don't have to buy the i7 6700K but the i7 6700 instead ? Does the K mean it's overclocked ? Sorry if I spout non-sense. If I choose overclocked components, does it have an effect on the install later ?

Thanks for the UPS info, I already have one then. About the M.2 ports, I can use it for a SSD drive right ? Will be faster than a SSD on a regular bus ?

Also, are the 100-series for mobo the ones with 'Z170' on their name ? Just to be sure. There are a lot of different ones and I can't really tell the difference when I read the specs on Amazon. I can't buy on Newegg since they don't ship to France.

And thanks for showing me the CustoMac builds. It's a good reference to start with.
 
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H270M-D3H
CPU
i7-7700K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti
Mac
iMac
I recommend you choose a 100-series (Skylake) motherboard system since it is easy to install macOS, and the 200-series (Kaby Lake) motherboard systems are not yet supported in macOS Sierra which require kext mods (and patting head and rubbing tummy at the same time).

pastrychef uses his mATX ASUS MAXIMUS VIII GENE build for his professional work and has updated his build with a Gigabyte GTX 1080 (Post #423). I, too, have this build (see link in my signature block) and am testing a Gigabyte GTX 1060 which will go into MyHero build. MyHero is an ATX version of the our two GENE builds. Both pastrychef and I find we can do everything we need to accomplish with the mATX GENE. However, I call both builds to your attention so you can see what's involved with these two great systems. :thumbup:
Thank you very much ! I've just learned about golden builds ! That's an interesting way of choosing what to buy and how to install, since it's custom-made for a specific build. I've checked your two builds, do you have the link for MyHero build ? Or any build that includes a 1080Ti ?

I've checked the GENE mobo in your link, it seems great ! I've understood that it's a micro-ATX, is there an equivalent in ATX format ?

Also, this mobo takes memory up to 3800. Should I follow Buyer's Guide recommendation and buy only 2133 or is it ok to go higher ?

I've looked for other builds and this one seems interesting. But as you said, maybe it's too much for me to chew on ? I would like to get the most powerful I can afford, but maybe I should be humble and consider my limits :) I never installed a CustoMac by myself so I'm quite afraid of the technical problems I could meet ahead.

Do you think your GENE builds are the closest to my needs ? Thanks !
 
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Stork

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The link to MyHero build is also in my signature block. This build is an ATX size motherboard.

The higher the speed of the memory, the more it costs. So, plan accordingly. Additionally, I'm not sure where is the point of diminishing returns for memory speed as I don't overclock my processor.

Since the 200-series motherboards and Kaby Lake processors are not yet supported in macOS Sierra, I can not recommend them to a newbie. See this thread to see what I mean: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...cpus-200-series-motherboards-in-macos.219877/

As to if the GENE motherboard based system meetings you're needs, I'd ask pastrychef. I never use my Macs or Hackintoshes for professional use. So, I'm not really knowledgeable about the subtleties of After Effects, etc., application(s).
 
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H270M-D3H
CPU
i7-7700K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti
Mac
iMac
The link to MyHero build is also in my signature block. This build is an ATX size motherboard.

The higher the speed of the memory, the more it costs. So, plan accordingly. Additionally, I'm not sure where is the point of diminishing returns for memory speed as I don't overclock my processor.

Since the 200-series motherboards and Kaby Lake processors are not yet supported in macOS Sierra, I can not recommend them to a newbie. See this thread to see what I mean: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...cpus-200-series-motherboards-in-macos.219877/

As to if the GENE motherboard based system meetings you're needs, I'd ask pastrychef. I never use my Macs or Hackintoshes for professional use. So, I'm not really knowledgeable about the subtleties of After Effects, etc., application(s).
Oh sorry when you talked about signature block, I was looking at the avatar block. I found it and saw the thread, scary... As a noob, I'll follow the most known way, hoping I'll learn a little more about customizing and using all these softwares and tweaks you all mention and which I don't understand at all. It's really a dive into the depths of computer configuration :D

For the moment I'll go with a similar build than your MyHero, with GTX 1080 Ti, 64Gb, one SSD in M.2, and 4 or 6Tb SATA hard-drive. As you said for the memory, I'm not into overclocking so do I need 2133 with a i7 6700K cpu or 3200 (as your build) is ok ?

I'll contact PastryChef about specifics of a CustoMac for After Effects. How do I contact him ?

Thank you very much Stork.
 
Last edited:

Stork

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Oh sorry when you talked about signature block, I was looking at the avatar block. I found it and saw the thread, scary... As a noob, I'll follow the most known way, hoping I'll learn a little more about customizing and using all these softwares and tweaks you all mention and which I don't understand at all. It's really a dive into the depths of computer configuration :D

For the moment I'll go with a similar build than your MyHero, with GTX 1080 Ti, 64Gb, one SSD in M.2, and 4 or 6Tb SATA hard-drive. As you said for the memory, I'm not into overclocking so I'll go for 2133 and a i7600K cpu, is it relevant ?

I'll contact PastryChef about specifics of a CustoMac for After Effects. How do I contact him ?

Thank you very much Stork.
I'd go for the 3000-3200 memory speed depending upon the cost. (Newegg has sales on memory all the time.)

I'd ask pastrychef in his thread, and asked him why he picked a mATX vs an ATX motherboard to start the conversation.
 
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