Contribute
Register

Building an iMac Pro beater - any current options?

Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
200
Motherboard
ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac
CPU
i10 10700 3.8GHz
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
If I wanted to go insane and put together an iMac Pro build (Xeon based) are there currently any options? I looked in the Buyers Guide but CustoMac Pro seems to max out at Core i7?

Has anyone done a. Xeon build I could read though?

Thanks,

Steve
 

Jamesbond007

Moderator
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
6,182
Motherboard
Z390 Designare
CPU
i7 9700KF
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
If I wanted to go insane and put together an iMac Pro build (Xeon based) are there currently any options? I looked in the Buyers Guide but CustoMac Pro seems to max out at Core i7?

Has anyone done a Xeon build I could read though?

Thanks,

Steve

The current Intel high end "consumer" platform, X299, is not yet natively supported on MacOS High Sierra, which is why they are not included in the Buyer's Guide. Also, the X299 motherboards do not work with Xeon W CPUs, even though Xeon W CPUs use the same 2066 socket. Intel has mandated that Xeon CPUs require a motherboard with server chipsets starting with Skylake.

Now that the iMac Pro is confirmed to use socket 2066 based Xeon W CPUs, there is a reasonable possibility that High Sierra will have native support for the X299 platform in later updates.

If you can find a C422 chipset motherboard and a Xeon W CPU then you may be able to build a Xeon W build to run High Sierra in the future.

You can also try to search for Xeon builds using the older X99 platform.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
2
Motherboard
27" iMac
CPU
quad core i7
Graphics
stock
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook
  3. Mac mini
  4. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Centris
  2. Performa
  3. Power Mac
  4. PowerBook
  5. Quadra
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
The current Intel high end "consumer" platform, X299, is not yet natively supported on MacOS High Sierra, which is why they are not included in the Buyer's Guide. Also, the X299 motherboards do not work with Xeon W CPUs, even though Xeon W CPUs use the same 2066 socket. Intel has mandated that Xeon CPUs require a motherboard with server chipsets starting with Skylake.

Now that the iMac Pro is confirmed to use socket 2066 based Xeon W CPUs, there is a reasonable possibility that High Sierra will have native support for the X299 platform in later updates.

If you can find a C422 chipset motherboard and a Xeon W CPU then you may be able to build a Xeon W build to run High Sierra in the future.

You can also try to search for Xeon builds using the older X99 platform.

Here's a motherboard with the C422 chipset: http://b2b.gigabyte.com/Server-Motherboard/MW51-HP0-rev-10#ov
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
200
Motherboard
ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac
CPU
i10 10700 3.8GHz
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Thanks @tpiselli

Wow. prices seem to be around $600 for that board, about the same as my entire current i7 build! :)

Different league in price and performance I guess.

Stevr
 

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
19,125
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Thanks @tpiselli

Wow. prices seem to be around $600 for that board, about the same as my entire current i7 build! :)

Different league in price and performance I guess.

Stevr

If you look in the HS Desktop Guides section you'll see many X299 + Core i9 systems that some are using with success. That's the best way to get a build with iMac Pro like specs right now.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
4
Motherboard
GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
CPU
i7-2600K
Graphics
RX 580
There are 3 C422 board in existence right now as far as I have found. They should be similar to whatever the imac pro has in it:
http://b2b.gigabyte.com/Server-Motherboard/MW51-HP0-rev-10#ov
https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C420/X11SRA.cfm
https://www.asus.com/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/WS-C422-PRO-SE/

I do think we will see some C422 builds with these as prices come down.

Problem is that the XEON Ws that socket in here (and are likely running in the imac pro, except maybe slightly down-clocked for thermals):
upload_2017-12-31_2-56-56.png


are eerily similar to the the Skylake 7000 X-series chips that run on X299 (on the exact same socket), except that the upper Xeons are about $500 more than their counterparts.
upload_2017-12-31_2-59-33.png


It wouldn't surprise me if they are the same silicon in some cases (7900X = W-2155) with overclocking turned off on the XEONs and some virtualization features, ECC RAM, etc. turned off on the consumer line of X-series products.

So on the one hand, you could build a XEON system, but that would really only come in handy for most people if you wanted to use ECC ram or LR ECC ram which would take the max from 128 GB to 256 or 512 respectively.

I thought I had read somewhere that xeons would just lose their special features in a consumer board (not actually fail like we are told), but I don't want anyone to spend $1000 to test my theory.

I do hope/expect the imac pro system definition to bring some compatibility to the i9s and x299 boards (we have already seen things get easier with High Sierra). Current best practice for these chips is probably:
Skylake-X/X299 - Live the Future now on macOS High Sierra 10.13 - [Successful Build/Extended Guide]
[Success] High Sierra on i9-7900x X299 GA Aorus 9, Radeon Vega
 
Last edited:
Top