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Building a CustoMac: Buyer's Guide January 2013

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tonymacx86

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Motherboard
Z370N WIFI
CPU
Core i7 8700K
Graphics
Radeon RX Vega 56
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Apple, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
iOS

Welcome to our brand new monthly Buyer's Guide! When running OS X as you main operating system, supported and compatible components are extremely important. That is why we have created a large selection of pre-configured systems along with a list of choices.

For maximum ease of use with tonymacx86.com guides and methods, we'll be revising this buyer's guide monthly with all of our current recommendations. These might not be the only components that work, but based on our research they're the easiest and best supported options. Use these as a shopping list or as a jumping off point. Either way you'll be supporting the site by purchasing through these links, so thanks in advance!

Table of Contents

CustoMac Mini (mini-ITX)
CustoMac Mini Deluxe (mini-ITX)
CustoMac Budget (mATX)
CustoMac Budget (ATX)
CustoMac Pro (ATX)
CustoMac Socket 2011 (E-ATX)
Graphics Cards
CPUs
Motherboards
Drives
CPU Coolers
Power Supplies
Cases
Accessories



CustoMac Mini

The CustoMac Mini is a bare-bones CustoMac in a shoebox sized case featuring a H77 mini-iTX motherboard and a dual-core Ivy Bridge processor. The graphics are integrated, so there's no need for a power-hungry discrete graphics card. The case also includes a power-efficient power supply unit. Less parts, less power, less heat, less cost. Please note that the motherboard's Intel mini-PCIe card includes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but only the bluetooth features are available under OS X. If you don't use the PCIe slot, we recommend the TP-Link PCIe card below for native Wi-Fi support. Also, there are a few native wifi-only Atheros mini-PCIe replacement card suggestions if you don't need bluetooth.

CPU Intel Core i3-3225 Amazon Newegg
Motherboard GA-H77N-WIFI Amazon Newegg
RAM 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case + Power Supply Apex MI-008
(w/ 250W Power Supply)
Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Wifi Card TP-Link PCI Express
Wifi Adapter
Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



CustoMac Mini Deluxe

The CustoMac Mini "Deluxe" is a no-compromise build featuring a Z77 mini-ITX motherboard and a quad-core Ivy Bridge CPU. The BitFenix Prodigy case is a unique way of thinking about a mini-ITX system, as it's not exactly small. It's about the size of a mATX case, making room for multiple hard drives, and a full sized graphics card. The Z77 motherboard is also capable of overclocking if you use a "K" CPU, and there is even room for a water cooler for the CPU. Please note that the motherboard's Intel mini-PCIe card includes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but only the bluetooth features are available under OS X. If you don't use the PCIe slot, we recommend the TP-Link PCIe card below for native Wi-Fi support. Also, there are a few native wifi-only Atheros mini-PCIe replacement card suggestions if you don't need bluetooth. If the BitFenix Prodigy is unavailable, we've listed some alternate cases below.

CPU Intel Core i5 3570K
Intel Core i7-3770
Intel Core i7-3770K
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Motherboard GA-Z77N-WIFI Amazon Newegg
RAM 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case BitFenix Prodigy
(No Power Supply)
White Amazon Newegg
Black Newegg
Orange Newegg
Red Newegg
Power Supply Corsair 650TX Modular Amazon Newegg
Graphics GeForce GT 640
GeForce GTX 650
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 680
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
CPU Cooler Corsair H60 Liquid Cooler Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



CustoMac Budget mATX

A powerful desktop build with budget-minded parts and no graphics card. This build contains a mATX sized motherboard, a dual or quad core CPU and Intel HD 4000 onboard graphics.

CPU Intel Core i3-3225
Intel Core i7-3770
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Motherboard GA-B75M-D3P (mATX)
GA-Q77M-D2H (mATX)
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
RAM 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case Fractal Design Core 1000 Amazon Newegg
Power Supply Corsair 500 Watt Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
CPU Cooler Corsair H60 Liquid Cooler Amazon Newegg
Wifi Card TP-Link PCI Express
Wifi Adapter
Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



CustoMac Budget ATX


A powerful desktop build with budget-minded parts and no graphics card. This build contains a ATX sized motherboard, a dual or quad core CPU and Intel HD 4000 onboard graphics.

CPU Intel Core i3-3225
Intel Core i5 3570K
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Motherboard GA-Z77-DS3H (ATX) Amazon Newegg
RAM 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case Corsair Carbide 300R Amazon Newegg
Power Supply Corsair 600 Watt Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
CPU Cooler Corsair H60 Liquid Cooler Amazon Newegg
Wifi Card TP-Link PCI Express
Wifi Adapter
Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



CustoMac Pro

These full sized ATX builds have quad-core CPUs, maxed out RAM, and lots of expandability. Well suited for any demanding uses. Each has few high-end graphics card options that work in OS X Mountain Lion.

CPU Intel Core i5 3570K
Intel Core i7-3770
Intel Core i7-3770K
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UP5-TH
GA-Z77X-UD5H
Amazon Newegg
Amazon
Newegg
RAM 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case Corsair Carbide 500R Amazon Newegg
Power Supply Corsair 650 Watt Modular Amazon Newegg
Graphics Card GeForce GT 640
GeForce GTX 650
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 680
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Wifi Card TP-Link PCI Express
Wifi Adapter
Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



CustoMac Pro Socket 2011

These rigs are the most powerful single CPU systems you can build. Warning: Power Management is NOT working, and may not ever work. This means no speedstep, sleep, etc...

CPU Intel Xeon E5 2609(4 core)
Intel Xeon E5 2630(6 core)
Intel Xeon E5 2640(6 core)
Intel Xeon E5 2650(8 core)
Intel Xeon E5 2690(8 core)
Intel Core i7-3820(4 core)
Intel Core i7-3930K(6 core)
Intel Core i7-3960X (6 core)
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Motherboard GA-X79-UD5 Amazon Newegg
RAM 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3
32GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Case Corsair Graphite 600T Amazon Newegg
Power Supply Corsair 750 Watt Modular Amazon Newegg
Graphics Card GeForce GT 640
GeForce GTX 650
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 680
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Storage SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Amazon Newegg
Operating System Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac App Store



Graphics Cards

One of the most important components in a custom build is the graphics card. If you're building a CustoMac, it's an especially tricky decision. Not only do you have to worry about what will be a good performer for the cost, but you also have to be informed about what is fully supported, and what is not. The following graphics card examples are all natively compatible without modifying drivers. Each gives a range of port options, install compatibility, and is known to work with minimal configuration. Furthermore, it's now possible to use multiple NVIDIA cards in tandem- dual and triple cards are enabled by default.

GeForce GT 640
PCIe-powered
900 MHz Clock for low
power & quiet use.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
PNY Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 650
Mid-range card with high
performance.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
PNY Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
Mid to high end performance card.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
PNY Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 670 Standard
High end - our top recommendation.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
PNY Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 670 Upgraded
Higher graphics clock speed.
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 680 Standard
The top end card.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
PNY Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg
GeForce GTX 680 Upgraded
Higher graphics clock speed.
ASUS Amazon Newegg
EVGA Amazon Newegg
MSI Amazon Newegg
Zotac Amazon Newegg



CPUs

We recommend these specific Ivy Bridge CPUs for Socket 1155 motherboards because they feature fully working HD 4000 integrated graphics.

Intel Core i7-3770K
3.5Ghz
4 Cores / 8 Threads, Turbo
Unlocked for Overclocking
Amazon Newegg
Intel Core i7-3770
3.4Ghz
4 Cores / 8 Threads, Turbo Amazon Newegg
Intel Core i5-3570K
3.4Ghz
4 Cores / 4 Threads, Turbo
Unlocked for Overclocking
Amazon Newegg
Intel Core i3-3225
3.3Ghz
2 Cores / 4 Threads, Turbo Amazon Newegg



Motherboards

We recommend these specific Gigabyte 7-series motherboards because of native power management support, network, and audio. They are the most compatible with OS X and are the easiest motherboards to get up and running for first time builders.

Gigabyte
GA-Z77X-UP5-TH
ATX, VGA, DVI, HDMI
Dual Thunderbolt, Bluetooth/Wifi*
Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-Z77X-UD5H
ATX, VGA, DP, DVI, HDMI Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-Z77-DS3H
ATX, VGA, DVI, HDMI Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-Q77M-D2H
mATX, VGA, DVI, HDMI, DP Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-B75M-D3P
mATX, VGA, DVI, HDMI, DP Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-Z77N-WIFI
mini-ITX, DVI, HDMI
Bluetooth/Wifi*
Amazon Newegg
Gigabyte
GA-H77N-WIFI
mini-ITX, DVI, HDMI
Bluetooth/Wifi*
Amazon Newegg

*Wifi not working in OS X. Native wifi PCIe adapter listed below.

Drives

We recommend using a fast solid state drive for your system drive. Choose a 1TB or less hard drive if planning to use Chimera/Chameleon as your bootloader. Also, choose 512B format drives. 4K advanced format drives will not work with the bootloader without workarounds. Note that this is only applicable for the boot drive, whereas your storage drive can be any size. The following drive examples have been hand picked to work without issues.


SATA 6Gb/s 500GB HDD Amazon Newegg
SATA 6Gb/s 1TB HDD Amazon Newegg
SanDisk SATA 6Gb/s 120GB SSD Amazon Newegg
SanDisk SATA 6Gb/s 240GB SSD Amazon Newegg
SanDisk SATA 6Gb/s 480GB SSD Amazon Newegg



CPU Coolers

Corsair H60 Liquid Cooler Amazon Newegg
Thermaltake Performer 2.0 Water Cooler Amazon Newegg
Thermaltake Frio Air Cooler Amazon Newegg



Power Supplies

Corsair 500 Watt Amazon Newegg
Corsair 600 Watt Amazon Newegg
Corsair 650 Watt Modular Amazon Newegg
Corsair 750 Watt Modular Amazon Newegg


Cases

The case is one of the most universal parts, although you need to make sure that your motherboard and chosen parts will fit. Each link refers to the details of the product, where you can see what sizes are recommended.

mini-ITX Apex MI-008
(w/ 250W Power Supply)
Amazon Newegg
mini-ITX CoolerMaster Elite 120 Amazon Newegg
mini-ITX Thermaltake Element Q
(w/ 200W Power Supply)
Amazon Newegg
mini-ITX Silverstone Sugo SG07B
(w/ 600W Power Supply)
Amazon Newegg
mini-ITX BitFenix Prodigy White Amazon Newegg
Black Newegg
Orange Newegg
Red Newegg
mATX Fractal Design Core 1000 Amazon Newegg
mATX Silverstone PS07 Amazon Newegg
mATX/ATX Corsair Carbide 200R Amazon Newegg
mATX/ATX Corsair Carbide 300R Amazon Newegg
mATX/ATX Corsair Carbide 500R Amazon Newegg
ATX/E-ATX Corsair Graphite 600T Amazon Newegg



Accessories

These parts are known to work well with CustoMac desktops. If planning to use Bluetooth exclusively, access to a USB keyboard is also helpful to get into the UEFI and to access the bootloader menus.

8GB USB Flash Drive Amazon Newegg
Sony DVD Optical Drive Amazon Newegg
LG BluRay Optical Drive Amazon Newegg
Apple Wired Keyboard Amazon
Apple Wireless Keyboard (Bluetooth) Amazon
Logitech Wireless Keyboard K50 Amazon
Logitech Wireless Mini Keyboard K60 (Bluetooth) Amazon
Apple Magic Trackpad Amazon
Apple Magic Mouse Amazon
IOGear Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter
(10.8 Mountain Lion Only - Wakes from Sleep)
Amazon Newegg
IOGear Bluetooth 2.1 Adapter
(10.6+ - No Wake from Sleep)
Amazon Newegg
TP-Link PCI Express Wifi Adapter Amazon Newegg
Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter Amazon
Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter Amazon
Seagate GoFlex FreeAgent Thunderbolt to SATA Adapter Amazon
Apple Thunderbolt Cable (2.0m) Apple
Apple Thunderbolt Cable (0.5m) Apple



Remember, when building and configuring your own computer, it's easy to get frustrated- don't give up! There are users with similar specs here at tonymacx86.com to help you out if you get stuck.

Oh, and don't forget, if you end up buying anything, click through one of the links here. That way, you'll be supporting the site, as well as getting the best prices. Thanks in advance! Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

 

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Joined
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Asus X58 Sabertooth
CPU
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Graphics
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Mac
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Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
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Great guide.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Z68XP-UD5 rev. 1.0 U1A
CPU
i7-2600k
Graphics
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Mac
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Mobile Phone
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Great job guys and many thanks.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
gigabyte
CPU
i7 4770k
Graphics
nvidia gtx550 ti
Mac
iMac, MacBook
Classic Mac
512K, iBook, iMac, LC, Performa, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
OMG best buyer guide EVER
 
Joined
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Messages
36
Motherboard
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Graphics
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Mac
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Mobile Phone
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Article: Building a CustoMac: Buyer's Guide January 2013

Cool nicely done!
hey, can anyone confirm that the gigabyte gtx 650ti 2gb will work, same as the 1gb ? I have it, and it is crashing my machine with the nvidia driver - but only using chrome web browser(and watching video). i have read about chrome crashing macbook pros on mountain lion, and google admit that it is their code, and a combo of apple drivers... not sure to see if it is driver related or app related.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
OS X 10.8.1
CPU
2.7GHz, Intel Core i7
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce GT 650M
Mac
MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Android
Thanks for this, very much appreciated!
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
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Motherboard
G4 Cube
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450
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Radeon 32 Mo
Mac
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SE
Mobile Phone
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Thanks a lot ! Merci beaucoup !
(why no Ati/amd cards?)
 
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