Building an Adobe Premiere/Cuda/OpenCL Hackintosh

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May 22, 2017
Greetings. I'm new to Hackintoshes but used to build PC's years ago. So I am pretty familiar with concepts, builds, general and technical but out of date on current details, especially with a Hackintosh. Been watching tons of YouTube videos to get caught up. So here's my situation...

I have an iMac that I had custom made way back in 2011. It cost almost $5K when I bought it. Here are the specs:

iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011),
3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
24 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 (No, I didn't get it with that much--upgraded later)
AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB

I have also replaced the hard drive with a 1TB SSD. The system all in all still works really really well but there are limitations. This was one of the last iMacs they made before introducing USB 3. All I have is USB 2 and Thunderbolt 2. It's just not fast enough for video editing, especially with 4K video. I'm having to create proxies and even the I have to run them at 1/2 or sometimes even 1/4 resolution. Not sure if that is due to the drive bottleneck or the graphics card...or both.

So I am wondering if I can make a hackintosh that will exceed the specs of what I have above for motherboard, processor and graphics card. I want to be able to use USB 3 and USB C (of which I am trying to figure out). I really want it to be able to use the Apple ecosystem with iMessages and such, but honestly, wifi is not critical and I probably could get away with not having BluTooth but that would be nice. I will be using SSD's for any internal storage.

So the system MUST have:

1. Ability to use Adobe's media encoder with OpenCL/CUDA. Software rendering for the kind of work I do is simply not an option.
2. Smooth playback of video in Premiere at 4K if at all possible. Proxy generation ok, but I don't want to have to then drop it to 1/2 or 1/4 res.
3. Use of a 4K monitor like those Del is putting out. Would like to be able to use dual monitors.
4. Highest compatibility possible for Apple ecosystem.

One more possible thing...I just found a brand new Prodigy M case at a thrift store for $45 and couldn't pass it up. The Prodigy M uses Micro ATX, Mini-ITX motherboards, but I hear can be modded if needed for larger boards.

Can I get what I need in the above requirements and built it in that case?

I'm a bit overwhelmed as to where to start, as I have looked over a lot here on YouTube. Wondered if anyone out there has done pretty much this setup. Like I said, the i& from 7 years ago is still doing great. I just can't upgrade the system anymore to make up for the io limitations and the graphics card starting to get a little lagging.

Thanks for any advice you have. Much appreciated.

If you primarily work with video it may be best to get a Kaby Lake I7-7700K which can be overclocked fairly high to get 6 core like performance. This way you avoid all the complexity and frustration for a beginner trying to get an X99 system running and also makes it easier to handle things like updates that can quickly break an installation. A good quality liquid or air cooler is essential for an overclocked I7. Research that as well. It will need to fit in your Bitfenix case.

If you want a mATX motherboard you can go with the Gigabyte or Asus Z270M in the Kaby Lake early adopters guide.
If you will need two PCI-e x1 slots the Asus is the way to go. The Gigabyte doesn't have them.

This Asus Maximus VIII Gene board is also very good. This Skylake guide is very detailed and helpful with installing on the 1 year older system.
Pretty much every detail has been worked out and documented for you. Also see Stork's Gene build in Golden Builds.

The quality of the Gene motherboard is probably the best you'll find in the mATX category. The 6700K doesn't require any CPU ID spoof. You can overclock the 6700K as well, just not as high as some have with the 7700K. There is no Maximus IX Gene yet.

I always prefer ATX motherboards for Pro Audio and video systems for the extra PCI-e slots that you get. If mATX will work for you there's no reason you can't use one.

Graphics card choice is easy. Get the best Nvidia Pascal card that will fit your budget. A 1080 Ti would be great for 4K video work. Your iMac's 6970M is probably the main bottleneck that is limiting what you can do with 4K video. Add a 32 GB DDR4 2400 MHz kit and you've got the core components.

Make sure you get a good quality new PSU of at least 650W to power everything. Seasonic and EVGA (Supernova series) are the best choices. Some of the Corsair line as well. Get an 80+ Gold rated model.
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Excellent, thank you! I will begin to look into this. Much appreciated.

The motherboard sizes are a bit of a muster to me still. Is the only major different between ATX and Micro-ATX is that you get more PCI-e slots?

Thanks again.
Excellent, thank you! I will begin to look into this. Much appreciated.

The motherboard sizes are a bit of a muster to me still. Is the only major different between ATX and Micro-ATX is that you get more PCI-e slots?
Yes, I don't see much difference in terms of how well the CPU or ram performs when you compare a Z270 ATX to a Z270M (mATX) so the difference in PCI-e expansion slots is the main thing to consider.
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