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Music Production/Visual Arts Build - First build, help needed!

Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
3
Hi guys, hoping to start my first ever build soon and looking for some advice.

Currently running a 2013 Retina Macbook Pro with these specs:

CPU: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
GPU: Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
Storage: 500GB SSD

It works great, and isn’t in any need of replacement yet, but I'm needing the portability of a laptop less and less, and definitely won’t be investing £3000 into a Mac Pro any time soon, so I would like to prepare for the future and have a more fluid system that I can upgrade without breaking the bank!

This is the build I am considering at the moment, and I’m open to buying parts second hand off eBay:

Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
NZXT Kraken X61 106.1 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Asus PRIME Z270-AR ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Corsair Vengeance LED 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Crucial MX300 750GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
2x Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Video Card
NZXT S340 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply

This build will be primarily for professional audio production/sound design - using Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic and various other programs (e.g. Max 7). This is my career rather than just a hobby so I’m happy to spend around £1000 at the moment. Looking for proper performance day in, day out, which needs to beat my current MacBook. I have a UAD Apollo 8 interface, running on Thunderbolt 2 to my MacBook, so stable connectivity for audio via Thunderbolt is a must here.

Along with music I also work in the visual arts, and want to be able to run things like Final Cut, Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects when I need to, so a build which can cover all of these bases too would be great. I'm really unsure on my choice of GPU and some help here from someone in the field would be greatly appreciated. Would love to know if I could get two different GPU's in there in the future?

Wifi and Bluetooth would be great too, im just not sure which adapter to get! Monitor is a 29 inch LG Ultrawide, so im ok in that department.

Any help would be hugely appreciated! Thanks in advance, looking forward to being part of the community!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Adrian B

Moderator
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
7,588
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-B75M-HD3
CPU
i7-3770
Graphics
HD 5570
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Other
The ASUS Prime Z270-AR uses a new Realtek ALC1220 audio codec that at this point in time still needs development work to get it running in macOS. There are USB audio alternatives that would suit non audio production users - if you are using an additional macOS supported audio card then you can ignore the ALC1220 audio issue.

For thunderbolt 3 - you will also require the add on card from ASUS. I suggest that you spend some time reading up on Thunderbolt 3 on 'CustoMac':
https://www.tonymacx86.com/search/2671294/?q=thunderbolt+3&o=date

I wouldn't advise running two different GPU cards in any build running macOS as there is no way within the operating system to switch one GPU off or on - you are also not able to allocate a GPU to any specific application or tasks within an application. Using two different cards will probably result in a degradation of app/task performance and would probably cause issues running some apps like After Effects and FCPX.

If you want to run two GTX 980TI cards for a performance boost then update the PSU to at least a quality 850W specification to handle your full hardware load and provide additional headroom.

Adobe applications are heavily optimised towards nvidia GPU models while Apple have heavily optimised FCPX towards AMD hardware like the 7970 and R9 280 X - running two identical models of these older cards would be an option if FCPX is really something that you use more than the Adobe applications.

At present you are using a laptop with a dual core I7 processor - I would go with using a GTX 980Ti as an all round GPU for everything. Adding a second 980Ti in the future is an option. The machine specs that you have assembled is a rocket in comparison to the MacBook pro that you use today!
More information on graphics:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/forums/graphics.13/

For wifi and bluetooth use the following card - it is fully supported, has great range, signal integrity and supports Continuity and Handoff features within macOS :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M997EKF/?tag=tonymacx86-21

You have picked the Corsair CX500 PSU - which is better suited to a budget build. As it stands this would be the weak point in your proposed build and isn't really up to the job of running all the hardware that you have listed under sustained load without likely generating a lot of heat and fan noise. I would look for a primary brand PSU with a rating of 600W minimum for your hardware. Look for something that is at least Gold rated and expect to spend a good £100 - £150 on a more professional level PSU to better accommodate your build requirements for your proposed hardware choices.

The Corsair RM i750, EVGA SuperNOVA G2 750W and the FSP Hydro G 750W would all be worthy of consideration - there are many other options on the market

System Usage section has Video and Music threads that you should find useful:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/categories/system-usage.19/

Lastly - the SSD that you have picked is good value for money for general apps and stuff - it is worth adding a scratch disk like the Samsung 850 Pro SSD as the read and write speeds are considerably faster - something to consider later.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
3
The ASUS Prime Z270-AR uses a new Realtek ALC1220 audio codec that at this point in time still needs development work to get it running in macOS. There are USB audio alternatives that would suit non audio production users - if you are using an additional macOS supported audio card then you can ignore the ALC1220 audio issue.

For thunderbolt 3 - you will also require the add on card from ASUS. I suggest that you spend some time reading up on Thunderbolt 3 on 'CustoMac':
https://www.tonymacx86.com/search/2671294/?q=thunderbolt+3&o=date

I wouldn't advise running two different GPU cards in any build running macOS as there is no way within the operating system to switch one GPU off or on - you are also not able to allocate a GPU to any specific application or tasks within an application. Using two different cards will probably result in a degradation of app/task performance and would probably cause issues running some apps like After Effects and FCPX.

If you want to run two GTX 980TI cards for a performance boost then update the PSU to at least a quality 850W specification to handle your full hardware load and provide additional headroom.

Adobe applications are heavily optimised towards nvidia GPU models while Apple have heavily optimised FCPX towards AMD hardware like the 7970 and R9 280 X - running two identical models of these older cards would be an option if FCPX is really something that you use more than the Adobe applications.

At present you are using a laptop with a dual core I7 processor - I would go with using a GTX 980Ti as an all round GPU for everything. Adding a second 980Ti in the future is an option. The machine specs that you have assembled is a rocket in comparison to the MacBook pro that you use today!
More information on graphics:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/forums/graphics.13/

For wifi and bluetooth use the following card - it is fully supported, has great range, signal integrity and supports Continuity and Handoff features within macOS :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M997EKF/?tag=tonymacx86-21

You have picked the Corsair CX500 PSU - which is better suited to a budget build. As it stands this would be the weak point in your proposed build and isn't really up to the job of running all the hardware that you have listed under sustained load without likely generating a lot of heat and fan noise. I would look for a primary brand PSU with a rating of 600W minimum for your hardware. Look for something that is at least Gold rated and expect to spend a good £100 - £150 on a more professional level PSU to better accommodate your build requirements for your proposed hardware choices.

The Corsair RM i750, EVGA SuperNOVA G2 750W and the FSP Hydro G 750W would all be worthy of consideration - there are many other options on the market

System Usage section has Video and Music threads that you should find useful:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/categories/system-usage.19/

Lastly - the SSD that you have picked is good value for money for general apps and stuff - it is worth adding a scratch disk like the Samsung 850 Pro SSD as the read and write speeds are considerably faster - something to consider later.
Thank you so much for the extensive reply!
As i've done some more research i've realised that it would be best to start with an Asus Z170-A board for the moment, due to the issues you mentioned with the Z270. My audio interface runs over Thunderbolt 2 so am I right in thinking that as long as I get the correct Thunderbolt card from Asus I should have no issues here with the Z170 board?

I will look into invest in one of your suggested power supplies and stick with the 980ti then!

I actually picked the Crucial as a placeholder, i'm on the lookout for a few used Samsungs in that price range, and will hopefully run the WD Blacks in RAID too, so hopefully read and write speeds will work out well in this build!

Thanks again, and let me know if this is all ok!
 

Adrian B

Moderator
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
7,588
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-B75M-HD3
CPU
i7-3770
Graphics
HD 5570
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Other
If you are pretty new to this hackintosh stuff, then use a motherboard with good success within the community that is known to work well and has installation guides that are of a high quality with a high level of detail. An active builder will be around to answer questions and further guide you if necessary. CustoMac is not as easy as a windows install - having known working build guides that are kept up to date is really helpful.
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/pastrychefs-build-asus-maximus-viii-gene-i7-6700k-gtx-980.198470/


Apple supports a soft raid system but on SSD purchasing be wary of used SSD hardware - as they may have been hammered for video editing for a couple of years use already and are now being off loaded to upgrade for a larger capacity model. I know that SSD ptices in the UK are silly at the moment - there is no way around this situation at present. The Samsung 850 EVO is a great all rounder but the 850 PRO is designed to be hammered relentlessly and is an ideal candidate long term.

Get the best that you can afford at this point in time - you can update as your needs require in the future.

Good luck :thumbup:
 
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