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Hackintosh for Music Production - a Few Questions

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Hi Guys,
This is my first post here, although I've been reading posts on this forum for ages now.
First off, I apologise in advance if the topic of my questions has been covered elsewhere already, I've read through as many posts as I can handle and I've not found a clear answer to a couple of my points yet, so please forgive me for the middling originality of my post. Also, I just need a few opinions on what I am aiming to do, and the best way to go about it.

Ok so, I want to build a Hackintosh to use in my music production studio, for the all the normal reasons mostly centred around the fact that Apple stopped making professional grade computers years ago, and don't seem to support professionals anymore.

I wish to use Skylake CPUs (i5 6600K) and a Z170 motherboard to enable overclocking, I'd really like to get a lot of years of use out of this machine. I'll likely be putting an older GTX760 inside, as I do a bit of indie game dev on the side and I'd like to take that stuff more seriously in future. I will install Windows 10, and probably end up using that for Protools 10 (as Avid love to cut off older versions of their software running on newer MacOS, but they seem to run fine no Windows 10), as I'd sooner build a whole new studio machine with £550 than upgrade Protools as I rarely use it.

So my main quandary comes from my choice of Motherboards, I've read through the other post about music production machines with TB3 and I can't really see a clear conclusion in there yet. Currently I don't actually need TB3, but as I said, I'd like this machine to work for me for some years to come and as Thunderbolt 2 was so widely adopted in audio interfaces, I'd like to think TB3 will see a similar fate too. So I'm trying to find the most cost effective Z170 board with usable TB3, currently it's looking like the Gigabyte UD5TH, but any other opinions would be very welcome.

What I DO need right away is Firewire, so I was going to buy a PCI firewire card to gain some FW400/800 ports.
I use FW for older audio interfaces and hard drives too regularly to forego.

The main thing I'm wondering is, should I just buy a mobo without Thunderbolt 3 (the Gigabyte UD3?) and wait for that whole thing to even out a bit more? It seems like very few boards have it, and Apple's support for it is non-existent at this stage, so maybe in a year's time when I actually need to make use of it, I could either add a PCI card to enable it, or swap mobos for something newer which has native TB3?

Also, am I crazy in thinking the Gigabyte UD3 has the same port and TB chipset as the other boards which have had TB enabled on them, yet it's not enabled on that board?

Sorry if this seems rambling, there is a question in there somewhere. I appreciate anyone taking the time to read through this.
 
Joined
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I don't have enough experience to answer all your questions. I just recently completed my first build: Success: Gigabyte GA-H170-HD3 + Intel Skylake Core i5-6600 in a Corsair Carbide 200R case). As you can see I installed a FireWire card because I have two FW 400 legacy devices including an M-Audio FireWire Solo audio interface. I thouroughly researched the issue and found out the #1 spec for a FW card to work with OS X is the TEXAS INSTRUMENTS Chipset.
The card I chose is from a French vendor and is probably not available in the US but may be in the UK through Amazon. It's very cheap and it worked out of the box. They make FW 800 cards too.

Nick
 
Joined
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Hey NicoD, that's extremely useful information, thanks a lot.
Do you have a link for the French Vendor at all? I'm in the UK so shipping should be fine from there I think.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H170-HD3
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Hey NicoD, that's extremely useful information, thanks a lot.
Do you have a link for the French Vendor at all? I'm in the UK so shipping should be fine from there I think.
What convinced me to choose their product was that their #1 argument is their use of the famous TI chip on their card. They add a picture of it with the photos of the card. Obviously they understand what a FW card needs in order to work, especially in the music industry.
I am sure you can order it from Amazon France. I already ordered stuff that were shipped from the UK or Germany.
I didn't search for the vendor itself. Here is their range of FW cards on amazon.fr: KALEA-INFORMATIQUE © - Carte PCI FireWire, whether 400, 800 or mixed.
I had read lots of stuff about the issue of running a FW card on a hackintosh. In particular there is a long thead about it: The FireWire 800/400 card to own for 100% compatibility. So when I started mine it was one of my worries.
It was just a breeze: my FW HD just popped up on my desktop and later when I plugged the audio interface it needed no setting at all (even though I can't access the preferences because M-Audio doesn't support the driver any more).
Nick
 
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That is awesome, thanks so much. I see the 2x FW800 + 1x FW400 card is €44 which is a bargain, thanks so much for your help.
 
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That is awesome, thanks so much. I see the 2x FW800 + 1x FW400 card is €44 which is a bargain, thanks so much for your help.
You are welcome. I hope it'll work. It should.
As far as TB is concerned, since I have no device and don't plan to buy any in the foreseeable future, I didn't thoroughly study the topic but my impression is that's it's urgent to wait until Apple supports the new chipsets and in particular TB3. So there is currently no way to use a TB3 device with OS X.
Nick
 
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I bought a delock fw (TI)card for my Z170x. Easily available and cheap. Works great. Only drawback is the extra power connector the card needs.
TB(3)is a different story, lots of stuff just doesn't work yet, and the stuff that works can't be hot swapped etc. That's even the case with TB1 and 2.
Let's hope Apple comes up with some hack friendly drivers in the near future.
 
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Last edited:
Joined
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Messages
202
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H170-HD3
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Thanks Zipb, that's also good to know.

I know the current limitations on TB3 are on Apple's side, so yeah let's hope they make use of it and make so we can use it too.

In the meantime I thought you might like the know that I heard back from Gigabyte on the TB3 chipset in the Z170x UD3:

https://twitter.com/GIGABYTEUSA/status/763124248168857600

Looks like the UD3 Ultra is TB3 enabled too now.

https://twitter.com/GIGABYTEUSA/status/763124248168857600
AFAIK, OS X doesn't support TB3 at all for the time being. Hopefully it will but it's unknown if it will support the current TB3-ready mobos.
Nick
 
Joined
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Messages
20
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170X-UD3
CPU
i5 6600K
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 760 Windforce 2GB
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android
Sure thing, thanks Nico.
I'm half tempted to leave Thunderbolt and go for a smaller, cheaper motherboard, especially as I don't currently have a use for it, and including is merely for future proofing. Maybe it's better to just pick up a board that will support TB PCI cards instead.

Am I right in thinking a board MUST have a TB header to allow TB PCI card expansions?
 
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