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Kaby Lake Thunderbolt Audio/Video Workstation (silent)

Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
46
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 7
CPU
Intel I7-7700K
Graphics
Intel HD630
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hello,
Since I've waited with anticipation for the WWDC 17 and the following disappointment that came after it I'm 100% sure going for the Hack instead of a new iMac/MacPro/Macbook Pro.
I'm reading a lot here on the forum but I need some help with choosing the right parts.

My goal is to build a stable Workstation for Audio and Video Production.
The most important thing here is Thunderbolt, it has to work at 100% because my whole recording, mixing and mastering Rig is dependent on this connection. Just in case someone wants to know or has experience with it, I'm using the UAD Apollo 8 Duo as a Thunderbolt Interface.
Second I want to go the Kaby Lake road especially because Apple released the new Macs with KL CPUs.

The big question now is, with which Motherboard should I go?
Gigabyte does offer a some with Thunderbolt 3, Asus doesn't have any of the Z270 with Thunderbolt.

I'm aiming for the following specs:
CPU: i7700K
Mobo: ???
Graphics:
Integrated at the moment, maybe later this year a 1080Ti or something from the AMD Vega Ballpark for video editing
RAM: at least 32Gb because 16Gb on my MBP were to less for my tasks
Storage: Samsung NVMe M.2 Drive

I hope someone can help me with choosing the right Motherboard for my needs.
The project itself is going to be something very special because I'm building the case myself but before starting the woodworking I want to have the machine running. The case is going to be made out of beautiful wood, acrylic and glass.
I hate all this gamer stuff and overuse of LEDs. Due to the fact being a guitar builder I'm very focused on aesthetics and there's absolutely no case out there that looks beautiful and fits in my home.

So I want to write a buildlog for the Hack but also for the case because there's absolutely nothing out in the web that shares proper woodworking skills and tips and things you have to consider building a wooden case.

 
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
46
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 7
CPU
Intel I7-7700K
Graphics
Intel HD630
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
please, can somebody help me?
 
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
46
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 7
CPU
Intel I7-7700K
Graphics
Intel HD630
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hi, budget would be around 300€. But the important thing is Thunderbolt. I don't need all the fancy looks and pseudo-gaming stuff. I'm not a gamer. So if there's a proper mainboard for like 100 bucks I'm fine, but if it is better choosing one for 300 or 350 I'm fine too.
I want to have space for 2 NVMe M.2 drives for dual boot Win and Mac. Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3. 4 Ram slots. On board audio is absolutely not needed. I would not use it due to my Audio Interface that needs the Thunderbolt connection.
I would prefer less gimmicks but more build quality and the best compatibility for a Hackintosh build but if it has to be some gaming board I'm okay with it, just want to make sure that I don't need any of this fancy stuff.


The board you mentioned has a good price point. Do you have any experience with it?
 

trs96

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Jul 31, 2012
Messages
14,515
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GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
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i5-4690K
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HD4600 / RX 570
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Android
You should be considering this : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRYHW6B/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
if you don't want all the gaming features, led lights and bling. It has one M.2 connector and one U.2 instead of two M.2. Many of the Asus Z270 motherboards supply Thunderbolt via one of their add in cards sold separately. Look at the Asus website to determine which ones will work.
 
Last edited:

WonkeyDonkey

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Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Asrock Z87E-ITX
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A couple of observations for you :

1. I like your idea of building a custom timber/glass/acrylic case, that sounds awesome. I hope you do post a full log of your progress with lots of pics as it progresees :)

2. You mentioned video production in your first post, but did not elaborate on that further. I just want to throw in the consideration of a discrete graphics card, depending on the nature of your video work.

3. Also consider that there are some motherboards where you can get an add-in TB3 interface card, so don't necessarily limit yourself to boards that already TB3 built-in. Have a good search of the forums and in particular the User Builds section of the site. Plenty of folks have gotten thunderbolt working, usually with small caveats such as not having hotplug available.

:thumbup:
 
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
46
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 7
CPU
Intel I7-7700K
Graphics
Intel HD630
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
thank you trs96for the information. I looked at the asus website and found the TB card but I would really prefer to have TB on board.

@WonkyDonkey:
-of course I'll post a full build log and share my experience here on the forum to give something back for all the awesome information you can find here and the kind community.

-yes, but video production is not right now my big goal, I'm finishing my recording studio and want to put out some lesson stuff, gear reviews and so on but this would start at the end of the year and the video production I did so far on my 2015 Macbook Pro were okay. When the time is ready to start and put out more content I want to add in the Card but before it's not really necessary for my because my main focus is on audio production.

- I'll definitely search the forum for that topic again, haven't found much so far. too bad there's no subcategory for connections in general. A dream come true would be a working hotplugging for TB but do you know if there's anybody out there got it working?
 

WonkeyDonkey

Moderator
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
4,555
Motherboard
Asrock Z87E-ITX
CPU
i7-4770S
Graphics
GTX 760
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
iOS
I'll definitely search the forum for that topic again, haven't found much so far. too bad there's no subcategory for connections in general. A dream come true would be a working hotplugging for TB but do you know if there's anybody out there got it working?
Im not aware of any builds that have hotplug working for TB3. If you find anything to the contrary, feel free to link it into this thread. :thumbup:
 
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
46
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 7
CPU
Intel I7-7700K
Graphics
Intel HD630
Mac
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
I think I'm settling for the Gigabyte Gaming 7 - Z270

Today I got an amazing deal on Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 2666 and I see this as a starting point for the build.
As soon as they are into shipping I'll order the other stuff.

What do you guys think about that:
Mobo: Gigabyte Z270 Gaming 7
Ram: Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 2666
CPU: Intel i7 7700K
CPU cooler: Noctua NH D15
Graphics: for now integrated and then maybe a 1080Ti
PSU: Corsair HX750i or something different that can handle at least the 1080Ti but most important factor is noise level and the Corsair doesn't move it's fan until heavy load. Do you have different or better options for a as silent as possible PSU under 200€?
Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 500GB or should I go with the Pro?
 
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