Contribute
Register

Hack Pro for 4K film editing and VFX

Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
61
Motherboard
none
CPU
none
Graphics
none
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi everybody !!

I need a strong and super-stable hackintosh for movie production with 4K video files (on CS6 / Nuke / Maya / Resolve...)
- with thunderbolt capability so unfortunately, with this motherboard I can't take more than an i7-3770K -
so I study the customac guides 2012, and made a list. Honestly I don't really care about the look,
and I just need a cold, stable, silent and efficient workstation for long days of intensive work (sometimes full week without shut it down !).
If anyone can confirm me I didn't forget anything, and what I chose will work together and be as... stable... as a mac can be ! ; D
Thanks for your help. (PS: Is there a video guide for building the tower ? I didn't do that since 10 years !!)

- i7-3770K
- Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5-TH
- 32GB-Kit G.Skill RipJaws-X PC3-12800U CL9
- EVGA GTX 680 4gb classified graphic card (short supply, so need to change it)
- Blackmagic DeckLink output card
- Samsung 840 SSD 256gb (for OS and software)
- 6x Seagate Barracuda 3tb or Hitachi Desktar 4Tb (5x for video files and 1x for software temp files)
- blu-ray burner.... but which one work with OSX ???
- Corsair Carbide 500R mid-tower
- Corsair HX750 power supply (enough or too much for all my disk ?)
- Noctua NH-D14 air cooler
- will I need something more ? cables ? paste for CPU ???

Thanks for your help !!
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
61
Motherboard
none
CPU
none
Graphics
none
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Thanks for your answer "Going Bald".
So I decided to buy a Classified GTX680 4Gb, and a 750W PSU.
But the bluray burner you advise me is no more available....
so what is the best brand to buy ? LG, LiteOn, Pioneer, Asus.... ?

I also read there is 1x mSATA and 7x SATA port on the GA-Z77X-UP5 TH,
so I think I will use 6x 3,5" bay for Barracuda HDD (video files),
and 2x 5,25" bay for one mSATA SSD (OS) and one Barracuda HDD (temp files).
(I just need to find some adapter plate for 5,25" bay)

In this case, with so many drives and 2x PCI cards, will the 750W PSU be enough ?

Last thing, what kind of fan will I need for my CPU ?
On the Carbide 500R tower, there is 3x fans supplied
(200mm side panel fan, 2x front-mounted 120mm fans, and 1x rear 120mm fan)
so will I need more fans for this tower ?
And..... will I need something more, like cooling paste, SATA cable, etc ?
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Messages
212
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UD5H
CPU
i7 3770k
Graphics
Gigabyte WFIII GTX 670
Mac
MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Other than custom water cooling kits, the Noctua NH-D14 is the best CPU cooler. EXTREMELY cool temps, very quiet, and pretty affordable($80...reasonable for a high end system). HOWEVER, this heatsink is VERY LARGE. It will fit in the Corsair 500R, but will not work with Corsair Vengeance Ram, as they are too tall. You either need Corsair Vengenace Low Profile(LP) or Gskill Ripjaws.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
121
Graphics
RX Vega 64
Mobile Phone
Android
If you're building a systems dedicated to 4k editing and VFX, may I ask why you're not going with LGA 2011 x79? The extra cores will definitely make some difference, plus the additional PCI bandwidth can come in handy for those cards like the Decklink and whatever else you may end up adding. I guess if Thunderbolt is a must for you, then it makes sense.

I agree with StickyS on the Noctuna. I use the older U12P SE2 and my temps idle in the low 30s and peak around 60/61 under load with my 3930k.

Have you had great experience with the Seagates? I'm a bit weary of drives with a 2 year warranty even though they seem to get great performance for the price/size. I use WD Blacks in an array in my editing rig and have been very pleased. Unfortunately a 2tb Black drive will set you back a bit more than a 3tb Seagate. They do come with a 5 year warranty though.

Also, since you mentioned some serious graphic intense programs, the 5xx cards appear to be better than the 6xx series at double precision math, so a 580 might be on par with a 680 for your usage(despite 6xx cards having way more CUDA processors). It's worth doing a bit of research on that, since it could save you some cash. You won't get the 4gb of memory though, which will benefit you with the 680.
 

DBP

Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
1,026
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UP5 TH
CPU
i7-3770K
Graphics
HD4000 / GTX 1050 Ti
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
eMac, iBook, iMac, Power Mac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
I like the NH-D14 too. :)
As for all those SATA devices: you have a problem. You're looking at one SSD, one optical, and seven HDD. That's 9 ports.

The motherboard has:
Intel Z77 controller:
2x SATA3 (6 Gbps) ports
4x SATA2 ports​
Marvell controller:
1x eSATA3
1x SATA3​
That's only 7 internal SATA ports. You should at least track down a 2-port PCIe SATA card (I found ones using the support ASM1061 chip at my local computer store). That's a x1 PCIe card so you'll have a free slot. For any more than 2 ports you'll need a more-expensive 4x or 8x card (or just more 2-port cards if you have enough slots).
One 2-port card would let you put the SSD on one of the Z77 SATA3 ports, have the Blu-ray drive and 7x HDDs on a mixture of SATA2/SATA3 ports (none of those devices will be able to go faster than SATA2 anyway: only the SSD).

With so many HDDs, are you going to place some of them in hotswap bays? In lammergeier I have 3 drives in an IcyDock hotswap enclosure that takes up 2x 5.25" bays, but there are also bays for 5 drives in the space of 3x 5.25" bays.

I would also point you to my recent post about the Seagate 3TB drives in case that affects your purchasing decisions.
 

DBP

Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
1,026
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UP5 TH
CPU
i7-3770K
Graphics
HD4000 / GTX 1050 Ti
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
eMac, iBook, iMac, Power Mac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
I just need a cold, stable, silent and efficient workstation for long days of intensive work (sometimes full week without shut it down !).
I had to laugh at this. Of course a stable machine is needed.
But a full week? OMG! Once my machines have been running for a couple of months without a reboot I tell myself I should reboot them anyway... ;)

One other thing about those Seagates: their reliability data is only rated at 2400 hours of power-on (i.e. 100 days). This is not the MTBF data, it's different. But other drives are often rated for a whole year of continual use. The Seagates apparently like to be powered down every now and then (this "2400 hours" figure is from Seagate's own datasheets).
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
166
Motherboard
Sabertooth x79
CPU
Core i7-3930k
Graphics
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Also.... are you going to be transcodding that 4K footage? If not and if you are not getting a RED Rocket Card, then the best you'll be able to get from 4K footage is real time playback at 1/4 in Premiere. I haven't tried other programs, but I imagine that it's the same. GPU doesn't affect the encoding needed to playback footage high res footage: that is the CPU. GPU does help with renders and adding effects, doing color correction...

At 5K footage, you will get choppy playback at 1/4 in Premiere... and at 1/8 you'll get smooth playback but it will look like a$$.

So, if you are dead set on 3770k, you don't want / need to edit in anything higher than 4K, and you aren't gonna get a RED Rocket card, then you can just barely get by.

I'm actually not sure if a 3930k would be more helpful for playback of 4K and 5K footage. My suspicion is yes, because Premiere uses all the cores available to it in its decoding. There really really needs to be a conclusive test or something of this! I would love to see it if anyone has a link????

BTW, I already started a thread about 3930k vs 3770k for high end video editing. You might want to check it out as there's a few useful links, etc in there. Let us know what you end up doing.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
61
Motherboard
none
CPU
none
Graphics
none
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
First, thanks for all your replies !! ; )

COOLER
OH MY GOOOOD !!!! This thing was made for an airplane, not for a computer !!!
Ok.... I'll take one.... but.... motherboards never broke with that anvil ??! ; D

I saw a video about the install of the NH-D14.
Do I have to use the provided Noctua thermal paste,
or I better take another paste like liquid ultra, or MX4, or PK1, or... ?
And I don't have to paste the entire CPU, but just the center ???

RAM
"StickyS", you told me that I'd better take Vengeance Low Profile
or Gskill RipJaws, but none or them are CL9 (or less) and quad channel !
So what is the most important, CL or Quad channel ?
Can you directly tell me what RAM will fit the best for my need ?
(and if possible less or more at the same price, 160€/220$)

DRIVES
As "DBP" said, and Gigabyte confirm it today, there's only 6 SATA ports + 1 mSATA + 1 eSATA.
So, 6 HDD + 1 SSD, or 5 HDD + 1 SSD + 1 bluray burner.

And thanks for the link, I knew about the Seagate 2400 hours, but not about the freeze issue.... annoying !!
To be honest, I don't really know what drive I'd better take.

My 4K video files are really huge... only 5 hours by Tb !
And while the "base" read rates are only 30MB/s, it seems that all editing softwares
need to read more than only one frame at time for this kind of video files
...
so that's mean you need to have a drive capable to read at least at 200MB/s for only one stream !!
And, we often have at least 2 or 3 stream in same time, so it's mean to work nicely we need a good 600MB/s... for a 30MB/s file !

The second point is, for safety reason, it's better to have at least 2 copy of the same video file.
2 physical copy, in 2 different drives (or 2 different RAID).

The third (and funny) last point is I don't have a lot of money, and I can't buy an external bay for the moment.

So... if I can only have 7 disk in my computer, minus 1 SSD for the OS, minus 1 drive for temp and render files, I only have 5 drives.
And if I divide by 2 those drives for safety copy, I only have 2 and half drives for my video files... and one alone for... I don't know !!! ; )

As you understand, I had to chose the faster and bigger drives I could afford.
The Barracuda 3Tb at 190MB/s and only 150$ looks really interesting,
and the Deskstar 4Tb at 160MB/s while bigger are slower and cost 300$ for only 1Tb more
(but seems more "resistant" than the 2400 hours of the Seagate).

Well... to summarize, I can have to work :
- 2x Barracuda 3Tb = 6Tb = 30 hours of video at 190MB/s
- 2x Deskstar 4Tb = 8Tb = 40 hours of video at 160MB/s
- 1x RAID of Barracuda = 3Tb = 15 hours at 380MB/s
- 1x RAID of Deskstar = 4Tb = 20 hours at 320MB/s

Or maybe, 2 RAID with 4 drives for work (30/40 hours at 320/380MBs),
and 2 drives alone for backup of the 2 RAID, and 1 external USB3/mSATA for temp files ?

What's your point ? What's the best drives between Seagate Barracuda and Deskstar 7K4000 ?
Do I really need to buy one RAID controller card, or can it be only a RAID software ?
And those of you using R3D video files, what's the speed rate of your system ?

GRAPHIC CARD
I chose the EVGA Classified because it's a card which expels the hot air outside of the tower,
and also because it seems to be a great graphic card ! (even if I don't want to overclock it more.)

But... (there's always a but !!) this card is in short supply, and EVGA told me that they don't know
when they will produce new round of it. Do you think I'd better wait, or (if there will not be a lot of difference)
take a non OC card like the regular EVGA GTX680 (or the slight OC EVGA FTW),
or even another brand like the Gigabyte, Asus, Gainward, Zotac, Inno3D, etc ?

It's not a question of money because all this cards cost roughly the same price, but it's mostly about capability, noise and heat.

PSU
I made a calculation of my energy needs on the Corsair "Power Supply Finder"
and it said I only need 650W PSU with all my disk...
but is a Blackmagic Decklink output video card is considered as a second graphic card ?

THE REST... (sorry, it's gonna be long !!)
"DBP", you can laugh at my sentence, and I agree with you, because it's a silly sentence !! :D
What I meant is I need a workstation capable of rendering video with all CPU at full load,
during hours and maybe few days for feature films, without the need to live next to a fire station ! ; )

In fact - and that's why I use sentence like this - the problem with my work (camera, computer, etc),
is that the stuff used is always really specific, and each time I ask a question,
only few people have the precise and good information to help me.
And the other people (which are really nice of course to try to help me on many forums)
often advise me from their own point of view... gamers... tech lovers....
"nobody need 4Gb for a graphic card", or "you'd better overclock your GPU",
or "don't worry there's lot of freeware to fix this bug later".
So I have to check every solution people kindly submit to me, to see which one fit the best
and let my system stable even if it's not the faster or the most powerful.
Because 4K files and the way new cinema camera encode them
are absolutely not the same than regular H264 video everybody use.

That's why I often says I can't use a half-stable solution, because when I start a work
I can't upgrade OS/softwares for weeks, or make physical change inside the computer...
when the race is started, I can't change my engine until the end ! ; )
Few years ago (and still now) I was a "handyman", always tweaking my stuff,
but now I realize I spent more time working on my gear than working on my pictures ! ; D

"Qwerty123", whoooo tooold yoooou I use a RED camera ????!! ; D
Yes, you're right, I work with RED footage, and that's why, "Kundica", I won't take a 6-cores.

The RED files, can't be read at full rez, by any computer in this world
even with those super computer made for the Pentagon !! Everything is said ! ; D
More seriously, as you said, to read those 4K files in real time, you absolutely need a RED Rocket card at 5000$.
I had plenty of private conversations with workstation suppliers (so unfortunately, no links to gave you
to prove my words) and they all said none of their many-cores workstation with hundreds Gb of RAM
are able to playback R3D more than - and hardly ! - 1/2 rez without RED Rocket...
So at the end, no matter if you use an i7, or a 12-core XEON, because there will not have a lot
of difference with my old Mac Mini Core2duo / 2Gb RAM, which can read R3D at 1/8 with Premiere CS5 !!!

That's why (and also because I'm not rich !) I decided to make a strong but "small" editing computer for no more 2000€/2500$,
and later, in the coming years, and after few works, to spend more money in a huge HP or Mac Pro 16-core (or more) with RED Rocket,
and use this Hackintosh workstation as a "render farm", for encoding and burning bluray, DVD, web.
(That's why I will buy now an internal bluray burner, even if I don't use it for the moment)

But for now, the "magic" trick I will do to work with those footage in good quality, is just to use a 1080p timeline in CS6 Premiere,
and put the 5K file inside, and let the engine of Premiere CS6 render in realtime the "down-scalling" of this timeline through the graphic card.
That's why I'll use the GTX680, because now it's fully working with CS6, and the creator of the PPBM6.com benchmark agreed it will be better
than using the previous GTX580 for this software. And the 4Gb let me to have more "room" for the huge 4000x3000 pixels size of each frame.

The most important for me is to be able to work in realtime, like if it was DV footage.
And at the end of the editing session, I will convert my 1080p timeline in 4K
to have the final timeline file for the full rendering with the original 4K footage.
And about the final transcoding, of course with an i7, the rendering time will be longer, but in this case, I'll have no choice...
I know I'll have lots of time to smoke cigarettes and drink coffees during the transcoding,
but at least I won't pull my hair because of an horrible quality during the editing session !

That's why, I preferred the GPU and thunderbolt rather than the CPU.

That's also why I need a LGA1155 Socket motherboard because as I know, there is no thunderbolt in other type of motherboard.
I'll use the thunderbolt to output the REC709 video signal in realtime from the 1080p timeline of Premiere
through the Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini Monitor, and it will allow me to do color correction in realtime.
I don't know about Blackmagic Resolve, but I think it will be "almost" in realtime too.
And about Nuke and Maya..... well..... hmmmm..... I have absolutely no idea !!! ; )

I really believe the thunderbolt will be the next major step for film, with external card, output monitor, and drives.
And while I anticipated to maybe using one day a Decklink 4K internal card, I prefer waiting the next generation
of external thunderbolt output card, because if it's possible to buy only one output card for all computer and laptop, it will be great !

Sorry for my long speech, but I prefer to say everything now, because if you have better solutions,
or if I say some bull****s, at least, you can tell it to me before I'll order all my gear !! ; )

Thanks again for your great help guys !
(and "Qwerty123" what's the link for your thread about high end video editing ?)
 

DBP

Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
1,026
Motherboard
GA-Z77X-UP5 TH
CPU
i7-3770K
Graphics
HD4000 / GTX 1050 Ti
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
eMac, iBook, iMac, Power Mac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
The CPU/motherboard only support dual-channel, so don't worry about quad-channel. Four sticks of RAM are treated as two pairs. You'll see in my lammergeier post I used Geil Leggera 1600 MHz CL9 modules which fit neatly under the NH-D14 on this board.

The Noctua paste is good stuff. Whatever paste you use, just put a piece the size of a grain of rice on the middle of the CPU, put the heat sink on and bolt it down. It will spread.

Be aware that the drives slow down as they fill (the "inside" of the drive is slower than the "outside": at the start of the disk more bits travel under the heads per revolution). By the time you get to the end of the disk the speed can be halved. This applies to most drives. So those throughput figures you mentioned for drives are best-case. You can stripe (raid 0) drives together for added speed, but with higher risk of failure (possibly still acceptable for non-long term storage).
 
Top