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Hackamac or Hackintosh - making a decision (inviting input and advice)

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So I want to get my 9 & 12 year old sons into computer tech and learning about operating systems. So they have ipads and old windows pc's. They want to build a computer. So, my idea is to either buy an old Apple Mac Pro 1.1 w/ 2 dual core chips and change out the dual xeon x5150's with x5365's (SLAED, 4core, 3GHz,8MB L2 Cache, 1333MHz). Ditch the air cooling for liquid cooling (yes I know its not gonna be a cake walk, but it is doable.), upgrade the BIOS to recognize that it is a 64 bit architecture so i can upgrade to Yosemite, upgrade the old graphics card to a new NVIDIA card capable of video editing and graphic design (cuda cores, and light gaming (got an x box for games). Note: vid editing and graphic design Not a Pro just for learning and doing some youtube video production for the boys,and animated graphics projects.
Pros: its a mac to start with. it will be usable for a while. Case reusable for a hackintosh in future.
Cons: i would be hacking up an old mac that may not be able to upgrade to mac's next OS! Processor will be maxed out!

Or build a smaller, lighter mac pro 2011 m-atx rig for the same uses.
Pros: all new components, expandability, decent life-span left, upgradability (processor upgradable).
Cons: I a'int starting with no mac (yes aware of the grammar), arguably legal gray area i os software hackintosh.

Price: either is going to cost me about $1200-$1500 USD.
Any thoughts?
 
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I honestly would do the scratch build. When I was learning about PC building it really helped me to start from square one. It allows them to build a foundation and I feel like it has more practical applications to learn to build the system from the ground up. If you build a new system basic system now you can mod it over time as their interests change. A Hack build takes patience and I strongly believe if you teach them how to build one of these it will be a major lesson.

I do like the idea of the other project but honestly I think theres less useful things to be learned there.

Just my two cents....

I like this discussion by the way!
 
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Plus all the troubleshooting you will have to do!!!

Valuable experience building the Hack.
 
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Thank you for your two cents. It is greatly appreciated.
 
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So I want to get my 9 & 12 year old sons into computer tech and learning about operating systems. So they have ipads and old windows pc's. They want to build a computer. So, my idea is to either buy an old Apple Mac Pro 1.1 w/ 2 dual core chips and change out the dual xeon x5150's with x5365's (SLAED, 4core, 3GHz,8MB L2 Cache, 1333MHz). Ditch the air cooling for liquid cooling (yes I know its not gonna be a cake walk, but it is doable.), upgrade the BIOS to recognize that it is a 64 bit architecture so i can upgrade to Yosemite, upgrade the old graphics card to a new NVIDIA card capable of video editing and graphic design (cuda cores, and light gaming (got an x box for games). Note: vid editing and graphic design Not a Pro just for learning and doing some youtube video production for the boys,and animated graphics projects.
Pros: its a mac to start with. it will be usable for a while. Case reusable for a hackintosh in future.
Cons: i would be hacking up an old mac that may not be able to upgrade to mac's next OS! Processor will be maxed out!

Or build a smaller, lighter mac pro 2011 m-atx rig for the same uses.
Pros: all new components, expandability, decent life-span left, upgradability (processor upgradable).
Cons: I a'int starting with no mac (yes aware of the grammar), arguably legal gray area i os software hackintosh.

Price: either is going to cost me about $1200-$1500 USD.
Any thoughts?

I had until the beginning of this year, an old Mac Pro 1,1. I had upgraded it to X5635's which is quite easy technically and a PITA in real life as the coolers are a nightmare to get on and off. However its not difficult, just lots of grazed knuckles and LOOOOOONG Torsen drivers.

I do not think you can watercool these chops with this setup as nobody appears to make the mounting plates. I looked hard and found one person who did it and he owned a water cooling company. I'd check very carefully indeed if you want to do this as I *think* you will struggle. I would be happy to proven wrong, but I looked for a long time.

You cannot upgrade the BIOS per se for Yosemite. You can add in a layer of software called the Tianmo fix (or something similar) that adds shims to let the 32bit BIOS boot. This does work but I forget the details. When I sold my Mac Pro I had done all of this for the new customer. I recall I still have the USB build key for the Mac Pro 1,1. Not sure on the nVidia card, you need to check on power ratings. You will almost certainly NOT have the boot screen until the Mac Pro boots up making debugging tricky. An older 5770 card will work BUT that also has the same boot screen problem until it boots unless you have a genuine Apple 5770 which is not cheap.

I think you are in for a lot of hassle and its actually easier to build a hackintosh than to do all of the above. There are a few threads on doing what you are trying to do, but you're hacking a 8-10 year old machine. The actual Xeon chips aren't that quick in comparison to todays CPU's. The cases are non-standard, you have to add in USB 3 cards for decent USB connections, your nVidia might work, might not, I do not think you will get water-cooling working (happy to be proven wrong) and every time Apple releases a new kernel you have issues and the support group is small.

Going with a Hackintosh using modern hardware gives you a far better chance of getting things working. I agree the older Mac Pro cases are superb but thats the only advantage for the Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro also has slow SATA channels as well.

I upgraded my Mac Pro 1,1 to 16GB, dual 5770's, 2x USB 3.0 cards, better DVD but I eventually said enough was enough and brought a modern system which is 2-3 quicker. As an aside a modern i7 CPU with four cores will slaughter the 8 core Mac Pro for video editing as it has video 'stuff' built into the CPU.

Best of luck with whatever you choose, but choose wisely,

Rob
 
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Thank you so much for posting. That post helps greatly. I want my boys to have a fond memory of this experience and have a computer that helps them learn about computers, operating systems, graphic design, and video editing. Hacking something together that only causes headaches would be the opposite of my goal.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me!
 
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Going with a Hackintosh using modern hardware gives you a far better chance of getting things working. I agree the older Mac Pro cases are superb but thats the only advantage for the Mac Pro.

I had a similar dilemma as IrishPennant.

Wanted as much OS X compatibility as possible while retaining the Mac Pro case. I went out and bought a beat up 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 w/ 16gb RAM, dual 2.66ghz processor (8 cores total) and a messed up GT120 GPU (DVI port wasn't working). The case was bent and scratched to bits but I got the system for about $450 or $550. REALLY cheap. I bought a brand new replacement case for $100 with another 75 bucks for shipping. Geekbench scores gave me around 10,000-11,000; not bad. But I wanted a desktop that I can also use for gaming. I bought an ASUS Geforce 660 GTX Superclocked and this is where things went bad. Framerates with the 660 seemed good at first. I knew I wasnt going to get top tier results with the card as its not particularly great, but its enough. I was able to play all old Valve games easily (HL2, Portal 2, L4D2, etc). Once I started playing Battlefield 4 is when things started going shaky. I was getting about 40-60fps avg. at high settings with 2X MSAA @ 1920x1200 resolution. I eventually got pissed because frame rates would often dip down to 20fps in certain maps. And this is where the moment of enlightenment came in:

I went out and bought a GTX 960. Great card for the price and power draw. At only 120 watts full load it performs about as good as a AMD 285X which draws almost double. I saw the online reviews and its a solid card. Choosing the card was also a pain in the ass. I couldn't get anything better because both the Mac Pro 3,1's PCIe connectors for GPUs are 6 pins, which means a maximum output of 75 watts each. A GTX 970 or 770 requires more than 150 watts. However, the PCIe slot provides 75 watts, 6 pin power connector also provides 75 watts. So I was limited to staying under that amount. If I wanted a 970, I'd need an 8 pin connector, which the motherboard doesn't have as THATS where the connectors are!

So I fired up the 960 and frame rates in BF4 werent much better, maybe by about 10%. Couldn't understand why. PCI slots are set to 16x lanes, PCIe 2.0 vs. 3.0 isn't that big of a difference anyway so performance should have been good. Hell, even PCIe 1.0 doesnt make that big of a different either! Finally, Cinebench scores in both OS X and Windows gave me lousy scores (45 FPS).

I've attributed the really BAD performance to the processors;

http://barefeats.com/gpu680v4.html

This page shows the performance difference of a GTX 680 across three different Mac Pros. The 2008 MP in some tests performs at HALF the speed.

Taking a look at the 2010 Mac Pro with an even newer card, Cinebench scores are still pretty miserable:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulG5SiizMSw

32fps is pitiful.

There's one user on MacRumors with the same setup (just found it);

http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...-graphics-cards.1440150/page-42#post-17908956

I'll run a benchmark on my Mac Pro and compare scores. If mine's way off, it's likely something with my Mac Pro, but at this point, I doubt it.

So, over the last couple of weeks I've been looking at a PC build and making sure to get hackintosh parts. Got a Gigabyte Z97X-UD3H-BK motherboard, 4790k processor and 32gb RAM. Fired up the GTX 960 in Windows with Battlefield 4, upped the graphics to Ultra and still managed to get almost triple the framerates (90-120fps).

At that point I was floored.

Ran a Cinebench benchmark and got 165fps compared to 45-50 on the Mac Pro. Somewhere in the system there is a bottleneck.

So, in regards to the Mac Pro case, as nice as it is.... yeah, at some point we're going to have to let go of that design. But, there are three cases out there that may be considered superior and I think the one below finally has the Mac Pro beat:

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv

yA2kDdU.jpg


These cases come in 3 sizes (ITX, mATX and ATX). Windows and non-windowed and in three colours (shades). This is the first case that looks better than the Mac Pro in my opinion. As soon as the gunmetal ATX one comes out with the window, I'm buying it (so far can only find ITX and mATX on sale).

If you've got the cash, you could go for something ridiculous like the In Win Tou:

in-win-tou-main1.jpg


Personally, I went for the Fractal Design Define R4 in white with a windowed panel. It's not as nice as the two above, but its very quiet.

So, to summarize, I've had a lot of headaches with the Mac Pro and all out of vanity. If you want to teach your kids about computer hardware, you should get them the Hackintosh/PC rig as that will enable to see them for what computers should be about; BUILDS rather than Apple's walled garden. I wish I had gone the hackintosh route faster though... the cost to performance ratio is insanely great. And with the ability to swap parts and cases at will, I have the option of making the build prettier as I see fit.

I hope my experience gives you some insight. :)
 
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Hello,

I am considering the same ( $300) Used 2008 Mac Pro or a Hackintosh.

Purpose will be to use this as a Multi-media computer for Video and Audio content creation.

I was considering buying a 8 core, dual quad core xeon 2008 Mac Pro because they are inexpensive right now. ( about $300 used ).

What do you recommend a 2008 Mac pro or an Intel-i5 Haswell Hackintosh or an Intel-Xeon Haswell Hackintosh? They all sell for under $400

( Lenovo TS140 Xeon Haswell ).
( HP Z210 Intel-i5 )
( HP Z800 Intel-Xeon )
(Dell XPS 8700 Intel-i5 )


The problem with hackintosh is getting past Apple security and getting iMessage to work which I have not figured out how to do yet.

Below is some research I have done on hackintosh

From my experience. An Intel-i3 works fine for everyday computer. Intel-i5 would be better.
A Samsung evo 850 is a good choice. With a 500gb SSD you can make two partitions and dual boot OS-X and Windows. OS-X only uses about 15gb of disk space. And you can always move your application to a second disk to save space on your boot disk.

Memory: 8gb minimum, 16gb better.

Samsung Evo 850....Buy it here
134811d1429633440t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-samsung-evo-850.jpg
134837d1429644591t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-samsung-850-evo-series-1tb.jpg



1tb. Seagate barracuda has worked fine for me as a second disk. ( Storage Disk ).

141497d1434711301t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-3-5-inch-internal-100-original-seagate-barracuda-font-b-1tb-b-font-hard-drive-bare.jpg


Might as well buy the Corsair 750 watt PSU. You may need the Wattage in the future if you decide to add a powerful graphics card. Most graphics cards require a minimum of 500 watt PSU. But, make sure the PSU is rated Haswell "ready" or "certified."

Power Supply
options. Plug and Play for Mac and Windows.
Corsair 750 watt.

137907d1431986342t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-power-supply.jpg


There is a NEW WiFi card now. The TP-Link Archer. which is WIFI-ac

TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Dual Band 802.11AC Wireless PCI Express Adapter, 5Ghz 1300Mbps + 2.4Ghz 600Mbps, Beamforming, 3T3R
Works Vanilla with OS-X Yosemite and MS-Windows. Buy it here
138061d1432135167t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-tp-link-archer-002.jpg
139904d1433433942t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-71zq4vkmbzl._sl1500_.jpg



I also have an Apple BCM94360CD Bluetooth 4.0 802.11AC Apple Mac Desktop Wireless 1000Mbp Card. PCIe. Which I bought on ebay.com. Uses Native Vanilla kexts from OS-X. Plug and play for OS-X.
MS Windows Drivers can be found here: Apple BCM94360CD

Apple BCM94360CD WiFi-ac PCIe Card = $57
134221d1429165806t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-apple-wifi.jpg


Bluetooth USB Dongle
IOgear - $12
Kext - Vanilla with OS-X and Plug in play for Windows.
140131d1433594739t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-iogear_gbu521_bluetooth_4_0_usb_micro_855744.jpg




Memory Card Reader
Sabrent 74-In-1 3.5-Inch Internal Flash Media Card Reader/writer with USB Port
Buy it at Amazon = $7

140204d1433635176t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-815qrzluwzl._sl1500_.jpg
140205d1433635262t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-818ui2wnwjl._sl1500_.jpg



Sound Blaster Omni USB 5.1 Dolby Digital with Tos-link Optical
Plug and play for OS-X and Windows
Buy it here: Amazon.com

137478d1431673267t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-sound-blaster-omni-001.jpg
137449d1431644692t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-creative-sb-003-omni.jpg



These Budget USB Audio devices are plug and play and require no software to install
Sometimes they work better than the MultiBeast audio kexts.
And they are very inexpensive.
Link: Buy them at Amazon.com Mac USB Audio devices

IMG]http://www.tonymacx86.com/attachments/user-builds/134801d1429632478t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-91w-naqwdll._sl1500_.jpg[/IMG]
134802d1429632495t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-61xrd3n4rql._sl1500_.jpg
134803d1429632509t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-61scw2ufy5l._sl1500_.jpg
139095d1432892759t-199-intel-i3-haswell-4gb-ram-lenovo-ts-140-server-hackintosh-yosemite-91-hwraa9tl._sl1500_.jpg



CPU Benchmarks

Dell XPS 8700 Intel-i7-4790.........................................(4823 single core)and ( 19381 multicore).
Mac Pro 2014 - 4-core Xeon, $3000 Base model.............(3274 single core)and ( 13027 multicore).
Hackintosh -Intel Xeon E3-1225,4gb Ram,120gb SSD......(3220 single core) and (11952 multicore).
iMac-27, 2014 -Intel i5-4690 (4cores), 1tb Fusion Drive..(3541 single core) and (11350 multicore).
Hackintosh - Intel i3, 4gb Ram, 120gb SSD...................(2911 single core) and (6334 multicore).
Mac Mini 2014 - Intel i5, 4gb ram, 500gb hard drive.......(2418 single core) and (5142 multicore).


Hard Drive Benchmarks

DELL XPS 8700 with Intel 750 PCIe SSD..................(write -1243mb/s) and (read -1506mb/s)
Hackintosh with Intel 750 PCIe SSD.......................(write -1243mb/s) and (read -1506mb/s)
Mac Pro 2014 - Xeon, $3000 Base model , PCIe SSD ..(write - 783mb/s) and (read - 915mb/s).
Hackintosh with Kinston Predator PCie .................(write - 663mb/s) and ( read -1189mb/s)
Dell XPS 8700, Samsung Evo 850 mSata SSD............(write - 525mb/s) and (write - 550mb/s)
Hackintosh with Samsung Evo 850 120gb..............(write - 489mb/s) and (read - 505mb/s).
Hackintosh with OCZ SSD blackmagic benchmarks.....(write - 368mb/s) and (read - 436mb/s).
iMac 27, 2014 Fusion Drive blackmagic benchmarks...(write - 292mb/s) and (read - 629mb/s).
Mac Mini 2014 500gb. hard drive benchmarks..........( write - 90mb/s) and (read - 103mb/s).


Graphics card benchmarks


Observed Cinebench scores ( Higher is better ).

Nvidia Geforce GTX 980...................................( OpenGL 149fps ) ( CPU 824cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan.................................( OpenGL 126fps ) ( CPU 811cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780...................................( OpenGL 122fps ) ( CPU 802cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 970...................................( OpenGL 114fps ) ( CPU 573cb )
AMD Radeon R9 290x......................................( OpenGL 112fps ) ( CPU 812cb )
iMac 2014 5K AMD Radeon R9 M295x................( OpenGL 105fps ) ( CPU 781cb )
AMD Radeon R9 280........................................( OpenGL 94fps ) ( CPU 560cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 650ti……….........................…( OpenGL 89fps ) (CPU 1056cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 750ti..................................( OpenGL 85fps ) ( CPU 637cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760....................................( OpenGL 82fps ) ( CPU 581cb )
Nvidia Geforce GT 740......................................( OpenGL 79fps ) ( CPU 206cb )
AMD Radeon R9 270.........................................( OpenGL 78fps ) ( CPU 240cb )
Nvidia Geforce GTX 960....................................( OpenGL 73fps ) ( CPU 914cb )
Mac Pro 2014 Dual AMD FirePro D300 ................( OpenGL 73fps ) ( CPU 736cb )
AMD Radeon R7 260x….................................……( OpenGL 73fps ) ( CPU 337cb )
DELL XPS 8700 , Nvidia Geforce GTX 745.............( OpenGL 72fps ) ( CPU 463cb )
Mac mini 2014 Intel HD 5000 graphics.................( OpenGL 23fps ) ( CPU 228cb )
Lenovo TS140 , Intel Haswell HD 4600 graphics....( OpenGL 22fps ) ( CPU 213cb )
Nvidia Geforce GT 610 ( Lenovo Hackintosh )........( OpenGL 16fps ) ( CPU 338cb )
 
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Hello,

I am considering the same ( $300) Used 2008 Mac Pro or a Hackintosh.

Purpose will be to use this as a Multi-media computer for Video and Audio content creation.

I was considering buying a 8 core, dual quad core xeon 2008 Mac Pro because they are inexpensive right now. ( about $300 used ).

What do you recommend a 2008 Mac pro or an Intel-i5 Haswell Hackintosh or an Intel-Xeon Haswell Hackintosh? They all sell for under $400

( Lenovo TS140 Xeon Haswell ).
( HP Z210 Intel-i5 )
( HP Z800 Intel-Xeon )
(Dell XPS 8700 Intel-i5 )


The problem with hackintosh is getting past Apple security and getting iMessage to work which I have not figured out how to do yet.

I'd build my own from a MB, a CPU and a GPU. The rest of your decisions are just noise in the grand scheme of things.

Your GPU will probably dictate everything else and your chose of software dictates the GPU. Work out what software you want it use, specifically if its for video editing and buy the GPU to work with that. e.g. FCP X is significantly better on AMD cards than nVidia. The 2008 Mac Pro will struggle with any AMD card more powerful than a 5770. You can put two 5770's in a Mac Pro and I have done and it works well, but its not a patch on an i4790 CPU. Everything is so much quicker and smoother.

I wouldn't buy any pre-built PC, I've always built my own. You get exactly what you want and you compromise where you want to compromise, not where Dell, HP or Lenovo does.

I don't use iMessage so can't comment but there are countless threads on this forum to help you. Start with a golden build that fits your needs and work from there.

Whilst a Mac Pro might be cheap, its very under powered now. Do not get fooled by the Xeon tags. Also remember that the i7 chips have H264 encoding built in so are far better for video work.

I brought a Hack to replace my Mac Pro as I couldn't get the right machine from Apple at any price. I wanted a modern Mac in the old style case with lots of storage and the ability to upgrade. Apple don't make it, so they lost a sale. I almost brought a new Mac Pro but decided it was a pain to upgrade and I didn't have the desk space. Never regretted it. Maxed out the MB with memory, maxed out the CPU and put dual 280X cards in. The only thing different would be to try and find 64GB of memory instead :)

Rob
 
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Thanks, "energy23." Sharing your experience definitely give me valuable insight!
I believe that I shall be choosing hardware from the "Build" section to assemble a machine I can utilize Mac OS X and Linux. Don't know how ready I am for Linux Debian Jessie, but I might try it out as well. But as the primary idea is Mac OS X experience, the system will be geared toward a proven Hackintosh build.
 
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