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Semi-pro Audio/video workstation for Logic pro x and Premiere/Final cut pro x

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Apr 28, 2017
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Hi guys!

I´m planning to build a new Hackintosh workstation for use with logic pro x and premiere/Final cut pro x.

Been building a couple of pc´s a few years ago, but a lot has changed since then and i feel like a noob when it comes to specs now. ESPECIALLY when it comes to GPU´s...

So i would be ever so grateful for any advise you might have for the specs for my new build:)

Here´s a bit of background info:

I am going to use it in a semi-pro music studio environment with different usb/firewire interfaces and 1-2 displays. Occasionally i will be doing editing with final cut or/and premiere, typically with 1080 or 4k video files and effects. Sometimes i also might use after effects for some things.

I am using a LOT of big samples (drums, strings etc) and a lot of processing plugins. I am currently using a macbook pro 2013 i5 with 8 gb ram and it often bottoms out on me during the mixing stage.

A typical project in logic for me is 40-60 audio tracks with a boatload of sends/buses and effect chains + VI´s and effects.

A big priority for me is silent operation (i use lots of microphones) , hence the choice of fanless stuff and the dampened Fractal case.
I´m not so so much interested in costs as in stable operation and good performance, as long as the price is below the equivalent mac pro from apple.

I´ve put together a list of components that i can afford and i hope that you can give me some valuable advise and/or suggestions for what to change and what to keep. Cheers!

Component list:

RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (4x8GB) / 2400Hz / DDR4 / CL16 / BLS4C8G4D240FSB http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/bls4k8g4d240fsb

Case/chassi: Fractal design define R5 http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/define-series/define-r5-white

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170XP-SLI / Z170 http://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-Z170XP-SLI-rev-10#ov

Wifi/bluetooth card: Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I WiFi 802.11ac/Bluetooth http://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GC-WB867D-I-rev-10#ov

GPU: This is the one i´m most uncertain about... i seriously read nothing about GPU´s for the last 15 years:eek: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Windforce 2 (GV-N105TOC-4GD) OC http://www.gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-N105TOC-4GD#kf


CPU: Intel core i7 7700k 8mb cache https://ark.intel.com/products/97129/Intel-Core-i7-7700K-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4_50-GHz

CPU cooler: Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 CPU cooler http://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/482

SSD´s for operating system(s) and file/samples storage (will also be using external drives): Samsung SSD EVO 850 500 gb
http://www.samsung.com/us/computing/memory-storage/solid-state-drives/ssd-850-evo-2-5-sata-iii-500gb-mz-75e500b-am/

PSU:
Seasonic power supply platinum fanless 520w https://seasonic.com/product/platinum-520/


I would be very grateful for any advice given on this:)

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

Adrian B

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All your links go to a fractal design page for the R5 case.

The gigabyte wifi card is not compatible with macOS. See the buyers guide accessories section for supported models. I would be tempted to go for a bigger PSU given the system requirements.

You will find the music and video sections probably offer some good assistance:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/categories/system-usage.19/

The GTX 1050Ti will be great for adobe applications, but FCPX speed is slower using nvidia cards - this may not be as big an issue for you as it is for some people that adopt the benchmark scores as vindication for their purchasing choices. FCPX is heavily optimised for AMD cards but it does work just fine with nvidia models.

There are some issues with using the latest AMD cards so I advise you to use due diligence and ask the pertinent questions to those people that are testing them to decide how to progress on the final GPU options at this stage.
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/macos-sierra-pb-need-testers-for-new-amd-radeon-drivers.197273/
 
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I noticed you had a Z170 board and a Kaby Lake processor. If you are happy with the Z170 series features you could save some money by going with a 6700K processor and giving it a slight overclock to match the performance of the 7700K.
 
Joined
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All your links go to a fractal design page for the R5 case.

The gigabyte wifi card is not compatible with macOS. See the buyers guide accessories section for supported models. I would be tempted to go for a bigger PSU given the system requirements.

You will find the music and video sections probably offer some good assistance:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/categories/system-usage.19/

The GTX 1050Ti will be great for adobe applications, but FCPX speed is slower using nvidia cards - this may not be as big an issue for you as it is for some people that adopt the benchmark scores as vindication for their purchasing choices. FCPX is heavily optimised for AMD cards but it does work just fine with nvidia models.

There are some issues with using the latest AMD cards so I advise you to use due diligence and ask the pertinent questions to those people that are testing them to decide how to progress on the final GPU options at this stage.
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/macos-sierra-pb-need-testers-for-new-amd-radeon-drivers.197273/
Thank you for replying!

Sorry about the links, i fixed it now.

Good advice regarding the wifi-card, i´ll swap that for another compatible one then.

The main reason i choose that CPU-cooler was for it´s low noise, but i´ll definitely look into getting a more powerful one.

I use premiere as my main video editor, but for some projects i will use final cut. Thank you for the link, i´ll ask (and read) there!
 
Last edited:
Joined
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I noticed you had a Z170 board and a Kaby Lake processor. If you are happy with the Z170 series features you could save some money by going with a 6700K processor and giving it a slight overclock to match the performance of the 7700K.
Thanks for replying!

That is a good idea i think. One thought pops into my mind though...Are there any risks regarding heat/ventilation if i overclock it that might interfere with fan noise etc---making it louder?
I´m thinking it might require some more cooling when overclocked=more fan noise?
But since the CPU cooler i am considering is fanless it might work anyway?

I´m willing to pay more if i get a quieter system, but cutting costs and maintaining performance is always nice:)
 
Last edited:

Adrian B

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Al the newer nvidia cards run with no fan for most of the time and are actually very quiet. For music production the GPU fans will never come on. To get better video editing performance in Premiere and FCPX and since you are mainly looking at using Premiere a better higher speck model would perform better.

You can easily get a mild overclock to give more CPU performance. Large fans that turn slowly will move air and keep temps down - but you need case fans to bring cooler air in and exhaust fans to removed hotter air to keep a computer working well. A fan-less CPU cooler will make the inside of you case very hot - this will negatively effect performance. Heat dissipation is important for performance and reliability. In an extreme example heat buildup could well lead to a system shutdown while you are using the system under heavy load.

The enemy of noise is lots of strategically placed quality fans moving air through the case. This can be done with 140mm fans front and rear working at say 900RPM. Keep the computer away from microphones and you will be fine.
 
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Messages
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Al the newer nvidia cards run with no fan for most of the time and are actually very quiet. For music production the GPU fans will never come on. To get better video editing performance in Premiere and FCPX and since you are mainly looking at using Premiere a better higher speck model would perform better.

You can easily get a mild overclock to give more CPU performance. Large fans that turn slowly will move air and keep temps down - but you need case fans to bring cooler air in and exhaust fans to removed hotter air to keep a computer working well. A fan-less CPU cooler will make the inside of you case very hot - this will negatively effect performance. Heat dissipation is important for performance and reliability. In an extreme example heat buildup could well lead to a system shutdown while you are using the system under heavy load.

The enemy of noise is lots of strategically placed quality fans moving air through the case. This can be done with 140mm fans front and rear working at say 900RPM. Keep the computer away from microphones and you will be fine.
Thanks again for your reply Adrian B!

The fractal case i linked has at least 2 very silent fans (at least according to their own specs) inside the case for ventilation throughout the whole system and exhaust, so i hope that will do for now. If it gets too hot i can always add more fans when needed.

Regarding the GPU i´m looking around now for a slightly better spec´d card here on the forum, but maaaan do i have some reading up to do:)
 

Adrian B

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Regarding the GPU i´m looking around now for a slightly better spec´d card here on the forum, but maaaan do i have some reading up to do:)
As long as you feel that the information that you find is informative, then learning more on a subject of interest can be very enjoyable. At first the flood of links and information can seem daunting, perhaps even overwhelming, but once you start to actually get into it you quickly get to a point were the information positively confirms the way forward and the buying options that you finally make.

Depending on the level of video work that you will do from day one I would suggest that a GTX 1050Ti would be suitable for some light home use hobby level. At the Pro end of the spectrum you have the 1080 and 1080Ti models. You probably want to be doing a series amount of editing to spend 1080/1080Ti money on a card.

Start off with what you feel suits your workflow today and if you can later justify a better card then check what models would be suitable at that point in time
 
Joined
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Messages
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As long as you feel that the information that you find is informative, then learning more on a subject of interest can be very enjoyable. At first the flood of links and information can seem daunting, perhaps even overwhelming, but once you start to actually get into it you quickly get to a point were the information positively confirms the way forward and the buying options that you finally make.

Depending on the level of video work that you will do from day one I would suggest that a GTX 1050Ti would be suitable for some light home use hobby level. At the Pro end of the spectrum you have the 1080 and 1080Ti models. You probably want to be doing a series amount of editing to spend 1080/1080Ti money on a card.

Start off with what you feel suits your workflow today and if you can later justify a better card then check what models would be suitable at that point in time
Good advise!

and +1 on the learning part!

Right now i only occasionally do serious video editing work, audio is definitely my main focus. But more and more of the projects i do tend to include video at some point. So i´ll give this some more thought before i decide. I have now confirmed that all my external sound cards are listed as compatible here on tonymacx86, so that´s a relief:)
 

Adrian B

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If the video work is more occasional then I would stick with a GTX 1050Ti or a GTX 1060 at a keen price. This will allow you to get editing done just fine without blowing several hundred on a card that you are not getting the best from.

If some time down the line you need to do more editing then your options would be to build a dedicated video rig or more likely to utilise a higher performance card bases on the options at that time.
 
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