Custom Mac Pro for audio work station, please advice

Jul 13, 2016
Mac mini, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
1.Sorry but dongle doesn't make sense, cause that audiocard is firewire for a reason if I go trough thunderbolt with a dongle it will loose will work but not the same as a direct firewire connection
None of my audio engineer friends have an issue with it for audio interface devices. However, before I ran my mouth I checked in with a few, not one of them expressed any issues with FW ---> TB2/3. It not firewire for a reason it is firewire because it is old. If you go threw thunderbolt with a dongle you will lose nothing TB has more bandwidth then Firewire. Now you might have an issue plugging some kind of Thunderbolt device into a FW port.
May 14, 2019
Gigabyte Z390 Designare
iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
iMac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone

I'm planning a similar machine for Audio / Music Production to use for some years, so i'm doing my best to choose the right parts.

MB: Gigabyte Z390 Designare
CPU: Intel i9-9900K
Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 CL16 (2x 16GB, later I will buy another 2x16GB to make it 64GB)
PSU: Seasonic FOCUS Plus 550W 80+ Gold
Case: Fractal Design Define C
OS: Samsung 970 Evo 256GB M.2 NVMe
Home: Samsung 860 Evo 500GB SATA 2.5"

DAW: Bitwig Studio 3

GPU (later): RX580 8GB or Vega 64

Audio Interface / Setup (currently): Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 Firewire
Audio Interface / Setup (planned): RME RayDat HDPSe PCIe Interface + AD/DA Converters (maybe starting with Behringer ADA8200, later to upgrade, maybe Ferrofish ;) )

Z390 Designare Motherboard has Intel Titan Ridge Thunderbolt Header and 2 USB-C Thunderbolt ports, which can be used for Firewire devices with Apple USB-C TB3 to Mini-DP TB2 and Mini-DP TB2 to Firewire 400 Adapter. If buying the adapters, and chaining them is expensive and ugly... you can buy a PCI Firewire card to directly connect the RME Fireface, or in my case Saffire Pro 40.

My ultimate goal is to have RME RayDat audio interface, which gives 4 ADAT in + 4 ADAT out... being a PCIe card, it's really fast and latency timing is tight, especially in lower buffer sizes. I don't know the comparison of RME Fireface 800 and RME HDSPe series, but the PCIe cards should be, at least in theory, faster than the Firewire device.

I'm no expert but as far as I heard, water cooling system also make a pump noise, which may be worser than air cooler sound (because it's a rhythmic sound, like a kick drum). Water cooling systems are also using air coolers to cool down the water, so it's not exactly quiet solution. I'm reading really good reviews for Noctua D15, everyone says it's good enough to cool down 9900K, comparing to water cooling. Also Dark Rock Pro 4 is on the similar level with D15.

You don't need to follow the Buyers Guide of tonymacx86, especially for stuff like case, keyboard, mouse, cpu cooler etc. You can buy any case, which suits your needs and suitable for the type of Motherboard you're getting (ATX, mATX, ITX etc.). My original idea was to build a 19" Rack-mountable 4U ATX case, it may sound stupid but almost all of the cases looks ugly and as a server chassis, they're not really designed for being quite (there are more expensive options). Later I liked the design of Cooler Master HAF XB Evo, it looks weird but somehow I liked it, and it can "sit" inside a 19" rack cabinet. But now I decided to go with Fractal Design Define C model. It's a compact case, comparing the R5 or R6 from the same company, it's well designed and quieter (than more open models like rack cases or HAF XB).

For the motherboard, you must have a solid guide for the motherboard of your choice. The current "Golden Build" is CaseySJ's Z390 Designare build, at least for my taste. ASUS Maximus XI Hero is a really solid motherboard too, but make sure that you know the guide and will follow it step-by-step.

- Think about getting RME RayDat,
- compare Maximus XI Hero with Designare for your taste and find a golden build guide to follow,
- buy any case you want (should be ATX in your case)